No Cart, But Lots of Heart

Last week was a bonus week . . . I was gifted with a full week in the studio . . . practicing, playing and picking up the pieces of paintings left unfinished. In other words, although there were struggles, there were also some successes and I found myself feeling good about a couple of things I wanted to share with you.

The first was an exercise in freedom. It’s harder than you think. No planning allowed, only a will to lay color to the surface and keep going until you feel satisfied. The big idea behind this exercise was to be oblivious to the applause of others. Over the years, I have somewhat grown in confidence because of time spent practicing the process, and although I still seek approval, I am happy if I can look at the finished work and smile, at least a little, knowing I did my best and that I would happily hang it on my wall. But please don’t stop the ‘likes.’ I’ll be devastated.

The second thing I learned last week came after a conversation with a dear friend who wanted to know why I don’t have the ability to make purchases on my website. Without even thinking about this in depth question, I said, “because I want to meet the people who like my work.” So far, I really like everyone who likes my art. It’s crazy, but I don’t want to give that up by including a shopping cart and digital checkout. I want to get to know you, maybe meet your family, share a few bites or a glass of wine and hear what you love about my art. It feeds my soul and gives me the courage to continue.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I need you. I enjoyed the quiet studio time striving for freedom from fear. But we need each other in this journey of life, and art enhances it.
I hope I’ll see you at the studio someday soon. In the meantime, enjoy the new additions to my website. No cart, but lots of heart!

Caught in the Rain and Caught in the Moment

You should see my “Hiking Glacier” book. I couldn’t possible part with it now. The glossy full-color cover is now a thin film separated from card stock, and all 232 pages are as wavy as the flood of water that filled my backpack. That book survived the coldest, wettest, most miserable hike I have ever experienced. My fingers were numb after the 10 miles. All backpack contents needed to be laid out by the fire and one camera body didn’t make it. But my book . . . it lives to tell the tale of a wild and wonderful adventure of moose spotting, rain in an alpine lake home to the icebergs and the warm welcome of strangers sharing shelter beneath the hemlocks as we made it to the lake. They smiled without a single complaint about the weather because they shared our love of mountains, cliffs, rushing water, wind, courage and beauty beyond anything you can experience without getting your feet wet. Take a chance. Take the hike. And take in the marvelous mystery of truly living in nature. Let me know if you want to borrow my book.

PS: This painting is inspired by Upper Grinnell Glacier Lake, and I was grateful for the warm sun that day.

The Restroom Artist

Not surprisingly, tears fell at a dear friend’s memorial service.  But joy was also in the air, as I came to realize that each of us touch others in ways we do not realize.  I learned that day that not only was my art a catalyst to our friendship, but that family time in The Henderson Resort bathrooms was one of the best memories this young nephew had of his wonderful aunt.

Zachary spoke from the heart when he relayed a heartwarming story of “Punkin” taking the family to lunch at The Henderson, with an agenda to include a museum quality tour of both the men’s and women’s restrooms for all to see 27 paintings in each and every stall and wall.  Punkin, asked the hotel staff to guard the doors so this tour remained private while the whole family viewed the creations by her artist friend (that would be me).  His point was she was unique.  My point is we are joined to one another as we journey through this life, and sometimes it’s art that creates the bridge that brings us together.

Today, my car is packed with new works for Art Wave at The Henderson Resort.  It’ll be a great party, as we help to raise funds for South Walton Artificial Reef Association.  I wonder who will be drawn to my paintings, who will like what they see when nature calls and what new friends I will meet.  I’ll be sharing studio adventures with my artist friends, grateful for The Henderson bringing us together.  And I’ll be thinking of Punkin, knowing that in my own small way, I helped a young man with a memory that will bring him smiles for years to come.

With Special Thanks to Melissa Mercer Brown for introducing me to an opportunity of a lifetime.

Where Did That Come From?

Some days, it can feel like magic . . . you go to work in the studio, stand for hours making strokes with paint, and you end up with a “wow” and you question, “where did that come from?” And other days, you start the same but finish with an “ugh” and you question, “where did THAT come from?”

The process of making art is always magical to me, always a time to get lost in the search for something wonderful. On a good day, the process brings a sigh of satisfaction and sense of peace. On a not-so-good day, the process can be painful, and worst of all, that little voice of negativity says the hours were wasted once again. Those are the days I have to quiet the voice and say there is no waste when there is learning.

So where is the consistency? I have not found it yet. I don’t know where it comes from, but I have a feeling that it can be found in perseverance. Or maybe consistency is the carrot I chase, believing with each “wow” that it can be caught.

Today I will gladly try again, and I hope you will, too. Make something beautiful or make someone smile. And know that it came from inside of you.

Roads Less Traveled


Times change and roads that were once void of traffic are discovered, thus losing the loneliness I loved. The only solution for me is to get on a new road — one less traveled. So off we go to the land of the cypress and the tiny town of Wewahitchka. I wished for nature trails and paths to the paveless places. But this town is not looking to be discovered, not looking for fame and fortune. It’s not looking to entice visitors with TripAdvisor attractions.
This is a simple place where white-haired women with tangled fishing lines chat easily with anyone and everyone, and where young men who just moved here from Alabama are quick to share alligator gar stories and smile big while luring bait fish along the cypress banks of Dead Lake. I am here to catch a glimmer of fall Florida color, missing the Jersey leaves but not the northern cold.
The gray sky mimics the cypress trunks as reflections of bronze, rust and gold float on calm water. New colors can be exciting — so unfamiliar to this blue and white based beach girl.
So today, in honor of yesterday, I will travel the quiet roads in my memory and open up to new colors of paint. Let’s try a little change.