Keeping A Record…

Yesterday, March 16, kind of feels like the first day of the rest of our lives. And, as is true for so many, we’re now sheltering in place due to the coronavirus. Fortunately, we’re in a northern California county that had one confirmed case back in January (a person who had just arrived back from an infected area of China) and none since then. But people here are preparing just the same since it’s almost sure to make another appearance.

Not sure why, but I’ve found that I want to record what it’s going to be like between now and when the “all clear” is sounded. I’ll be posting whenever I have something to say or show you. My husband and I are fortunate in that we are in good health and we work at home. He’s the Executive Director of a tech consortium with members in a variety of countries. Their April meeting has already been pushed back to June, now with the expectation that it will be pushed back again to fall at the earliest.

I’ve been an art professional of one kind or another (sign painter, graphic designer, illustrator, now fine art painter) for over forty years, so my art will be part of this record. I’m also an avid gardener and have an acre to play with. All our travel is cancelled so the garden will get my full attention, including the vegetable part of it. We also have six apple trees, three dozen blueberry bushes and a raspberry “patch”, so I’ll be posting photos through the year of all that. The blueberries are already flowering. We get between five and six gallon bags of berries from them every year.

Right now the clematis armandii and wallflowers are blooming, along with crocus, grape hyacinth, daffodils and early tulips.

Clematis armandii in full bloom. The fragrance is wonderful!
English wallflowers I grew from seed
Daffodils in bloom

We share our home with two rough collies Hailey and Peregrin (“Lassie” dogs) and two cats, Michiko and Alexander A Really Great Cat.

Hailey, our seven year old tricolor and Peregrin, our 3.5 year old sable merle
Michiko in front and Alex in the back; dog toy box to the left

In other news, I’m participating in a fun art event this year called Inktober52. The original event, Inktober, calls on artists to create one black and white piece a day in the month of October. Inktober52, in its first year, is about creating one black and white piece a week for the entire year. I’m going to do my best to not miss a week and so far so good. All the finished art is posted first on Instagram here with the #inktober52 hashtag, including mine. I’m also posting to my Facebook public page here and on Pinterest here. Jake Parker, who invented and runs both events, sends out an email on Thursdays with the prompt for the next week, so everyone is doing the same subject, but in their own way. Hundreds of artists from all over the world are participating. So, sheltering in place or not, I’m able to connect with other artists.

Inktober52: Prompt: Tower

This is what I had to say about this week’s drawing: “After thrashing around I decided that I could use “tower” as a verb, but then what was towering over ? I tried a couple of different ideas and then “towering redwoods” came to mind. I grew up, and live in, Redwood Country so I dug out a photo I had of me standing in front of a huge coast redwood right by the road in Prairie Creek State Park. I started out intending to fully render the trunk, but had the thought of doing a “reverse”. Less time (a LOT less), maybe more visually interesting and different. I also create downloadable pdf coloring pages that I sell in my Etsy store and maybe this piece will end up there. I used a Gillott 659 crow quill nib (Joseph Pennell’s favorite), Platinum Carbon ink on Clearprint vellum⁣.”

Ikh Nart Sunset, Mongolia

Finally, for now, the 12×16″ oil painting above has been accepted into the Fusion Art Gallery online exhibition “Sunrises and Sunsets”! The location is one of my favorite places in Mongolia, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve. I own my own ger with all the furnishings and have been allowed to set it up in the reserve and live there for a week or so and that’s when I get to see sights like this and take photos that I can turn into art.

International Juried Show Acceptance!

Very pleased and proud to announce that “In His Prime, Gobi Argali Ram” 22×28″ oil on canvasboard, has been accepted into the Artists for Conservation “International Exhibition of Nature in Art”, which will debut in Vancouver, B.C. Canada in September and go on tour to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona from January 18 through March 30, 2020, with an anticipated return to Lanwan Museum in Qingdao, China.

You can visit my personal page and gallery on the Artists for Conservation site here. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of listed paintings will be donated to selected conservation organizations.

The Art Life: Salmagundi Club Juried Exhibition Acceptance!

"Mongol Horses" oil 14x18"
“Mongol Horses” oil 14×18″ (price on request)

I entered my first juried competition in 1991, an Artist’s Magazine contest for wildlife/animal art. I got an Honorable Mention for a colored pen and ink drawing of a wild boar I’d photographed somewhere. Woohoo! I was out of art school, but had not started to paint in oil yet, a childhood dream. I was able to begin that with two years of private study in 1995. In 1997 I decided to focus on painting wildlife in oil. In 2003 I was accepted into my first national juried exhibition, the Art for the Parks Top 100, with a painting of a Yellowstone bison. Since then there’s rarely been a year that I haven’t had work in at least one juried show or another. But this one is really, really special. “Mongol Horses” will be in the Salmagundi Club Annual Member Exhibition, which has been held every year since the club was founded in 1871. It is open to all media and “is meant to showcase SCNY member’s finest work”. It’s the first time I’ve gotten in. Not only is it for all subjects, but I’m very proud to have one of my Mongolian subjects in this prestigious show!

This piece is part of a “new direction” my work is going. I’m drawing, so to speak, on my background in graphic design, calligraphy and love of historic decorative styles, to move away from animals in a landscape and put the focus directly on them. This makes sense for me because since I was a child I drew animals constantly.

In other news, we’re off to Hawaii next Tuesday for a two week vacation. I’ll be taking my sketching and watercolor supplies with me and will be posting here, on Instagram and on Facebook. Come follow along! Aloha!

“A Good Stretch” Accepted Into Major Juried Exhibition “Art and the Animal”! Also, A New Painting Debut!

"A Good Stretch" oil 20x24"
“A Good Stretch” oil 20×24″

I’m very pleased to announce that “A Good Stretch”, 20×24″ oil on canvas, has been accepted into the 55th Annual “Art and the Animal”, the prestigious international juried exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists (I’ve been a member and Signature Member since 2002). The venue for this year is the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History from August 28-October 25. There were 395 submissions from 237 members (the Society has almost 500). One could submit two works, but only would be accepted. It’s extremely competitive and a real honor to have made the cut. (This is my fifth time in the show since I first got in in 2009.)

Ikh Nartiin Chuluu

My subject is a Gobi argali ram, seen above, who I spent a hour with at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve last year. I climbed up and sat on a rocky slope overlooking the valley where the research camp is located, across a draw from him and in full view. Even did a few sketches. When I got home and went through my photos I realized that he was in three of my argali encounters over the four days I was at the camp. The white area on one horn where the surface layer has broken off (almost certainly from a fight during the rut) makes him easy to recognize. Nice for me because I always want to paint individuals.

Mongolia Monday- Juried Show News and More!

Mongol Horse Foals: Ready to Grow  14x18"  oil
Mongol Horse Foals: Ready to Grow 14×18″ oil

I am proud to announce that all three of my entries have been accepted into the Academy of Equine Art’s spring show “The Horse in Fine Art-2013 AAEA Invitational Exhibition”! I’m very pleased to be included in this invitation-only show. Once again Mongol horses will be “invading” the Blue Grass Country of Kentucky.

Mongol Horse #8- Watching You
Mongol Horse #8- Watching You  12×24″  oil

As it happens, all three of these paintings were from the same stop not far from Hustai National Park in August 2011. We were heading south in the morning and saw a large herd of horses right by the road. I shot dozens and dozens of photos. There were a lot of flies and the horses were circling and circling to try to get as far into the group as possible. But then they’d break up and I could get shots like the ones I used as reference for these works. The background wasn’t particularly interesting, so I left it out and just let the horses be the design element on a blue background.

Mongol Horse #9- Friends   18x24"  oil
Mongol Horse #9- Friends 18×24″ oil

The exhibition will be in two venues:

Georgetown College, Anne Wright Wilson Gallery Georgetown, Kentucky- April 12- May 24, 2013

Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, Marietta, Georgia- April 13- July 2, 2013

You can find out more about the AAEA here.


And…I have made the first cut in the We Said Go Travel website’s Travel Writing Contest. As of this writing two of my five entries have been posted and I have been told that the other three will be soon. All of them are adapted from blog posts I did about my wonderful -and wonder-filled- two week camping trip I went on in the Gobi and Hangai Mountains of Mongolia in July 2010. You can read the first two, which both start with the word “Mongolia” in the title, here.

“Enchanted Evening” Has Been Accepted Into “Art and the Animal”!

Enchanted Evening   36×40″ oil

I’m very proud to announce that my latest takhi painting “Enchanted Evening”,
has been accepted into the Society of Animal Artists’ 52nd Annual Exhibition of “Art and the Animal”. This is the fourth year in a row that I have had work in the show and they have all been Mongolia subjects, which pleases me a lot.

The exhibition will be held at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, which is located in Oradell, New Jersey, and officially opens on the weekend of October 5-7. I plan to be there for all the festivities. More details later on as the opening approaches, but consider yourself invited!

The story behind the painting: Last August, nationally-known sculptor Pokey Park and I were on a two-week tour of the best wildlife watching locations. We were leaving Hustai National Park, one of the three places in Mongolia where takhi have been reintroduced, after a last horse-watching drive, which had already been very successful. Then, less than 50 feet from the road we spotted this small group of takhi coming down to a pool of water. We stopped and got our cameras ready. Would they come or not…

Trying to decide…

We’re thirsty!

And here’s a short video that I shot on my Flip HD. Unfortunately we ended up with a lot of cars stacked up behind us, just like a bear or bison jam in Yellowstone. One woman came up next to me out in plain view (I was behind the open door of the car, using it for kind of a blind) and spooked them, but at least they’d all been able to drink. Enjoy!

“Mongol Horse #5-Evening Run” Accepted Into “Art And The Animal”!

Mongol Horse #6 - Evening Run 24x36" oil

I’m proud to announce that “Mongol Horse #5-Evening Run” has been accepted into the Society of Animal Artists 51st Annual Exhibition of “Art and the Animal”.  The subjects are part of a herd of horses which wandered past the Red Rocks ger camp at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve when my husband and I were staying there in 2008.

Currently I’m down on the Delaware Coast. My artist friends, Guy Combes and Andrew Denman, and I are planning to spend tomorrow exploring Assateague and, if we have time, Chincoteague islands.

Two Paintings Accepted Into Greenhouse Gallery’s Salon International Juried Show!

I got the email telling me to go the site and check the acceptance list yesterday morning at 9am. It was in alphabetical order, so I slowly scrolled down, holding my breath. And saw my name. Twice! I entered three pieces, so two out of three.

One of my goals for many years has been to have my paintings accepted into juried shows that are outside the “wildlife art ghetto” to which the genre of animal art has been foolishly and ignorantly consigned by many in the mainstream art world, even though great artists who these same people often admire also painted animals.

Clearly, the good folks at Greenhouse Gallery don’t share that bias, bless their hearts.

I’m proud to be an animal artist and know that our genre’s best work easily stands with the best in any other field of representational art. And I also know that to paint animals successfully requires a specific depth of knowledge that is not appreciated by those outside the field.

Here are the two paintings that will soon be on their way to San Antonio, Texas:

Done for the Day 17x30" oil on canvasboard

Takhi Stallion, Hustai National Park 17x30" oil on canvasboard