Sunday, October 19, 2014


October is my month, I claim it for myself. The rest of you people can have the other 11 months.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

the dinosaur room

I painted this mural in my youngest son's room nearly 20 years ago. It is now a beloved family treasure. At one time or another everyone in the family and many, many guests have slept in this room over the years under the gaze of these benevolent dinosaurs.

When I painted this, my son was still in diapers, he is now about to graduate from college. Although he still enjoys this room, he moved into a larger room when his older brother left home. Now we have two grandchildren and more on the way. Our 15-month-old granddaughter has decided she loves dinosaurs and this room was her first introduction.  We keep a crib in here now and when she wakes from a nap the first thing we do is walk around talking to all the dinosaurs.
They all have different voices and only she can understand and talk back to them in her special baby language.
It is the smallest room in this house, a baby room, tucked under the eaves of a little Cape Cod style home in the Chicago suburbs. We hope to keep the happy dinosaurs in here forever to continue to delight new generations of small paleontologists.
I painted over the switch plate for the room light with a smirking parasaurolophus. 

A mother dinosaur and her newly hatching babies.

 I tackled the whole project without much preparation. One day at home with my toddler, inspiration hit and I began to sketch out the entire wall with images out of my head. I referenced our large collection of dinosaur books frequently but it was mostly a free association fun sort of composition. Our very-most-absolutely favorite dinosaur author is James Gurney writer of  "Dinotopia" and other stories. 
After I had sketched all the creatures and vegetation out with a soft prismacolor pencil, I painted in the line work with a brush and a grey-brown mixture. I then washed in loose areas of light color. I was going to keep the whole thing that way, very loose and not too high contrast or detailed. With the encouragement of my little boy, I got interested in detailing a few of the dinos. This spinosaurus, the velociraptor on the facing wall, and the parasaurolophus by the door. And then we decided that we liked it just the way it is. Not too overdone and finished but just enough detail. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

modern art at the youngest level

When I first saw this painting I thought perhaps it could have been painted by Helen Frankenthaler or by Mark Rothko or another great Abstract Expressionist from sometime in the 1950s to 1960s.
But in reality it was painted in 2014, a week ago by a Kindergarten student at Naperville Classical Academy where I teach art. Although this 6 year old was painting with much concentration and deliberate intention in his choice of colors, we could call it naive or primitive art. I was delighted with the result.
Three of my favorites by Mark Rothko here:
And one of Helen Frankenthaler's soft floating colorscapes:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

fairest beauty

A fellow blogger by the name of Melissa (anthem sweet) has written a lovely piece on Beauty in the Church. She mentions me and the work I have done for the Church of the Resurrection here in Wheaton, Illinois.
I appreciated her thoughts on making beautiful things and contemplating the reasons for the creating. She admits that money is one of the reasons. But we creative people know the truth is that we will continue to paint, sculpt, photograph, or write poems for no ulterior reason. We feel the interior drive, the urge to create and will continue no matter the reward or lack of it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Old Testament last Sunday

Last Sunday in church my husband was a Scripture reader. The passage he read was Judges 6:11-27, a militaristic story about Gideon meeting the angel of the Lord sitting under a terebinth. The angel says to Gideon "The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor." (Gideon is skeptical).  And then the Lord said to him; "But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man."  I don't know how the Midianites felt about that, they might have been trying to conquer the Israelites but weren't they in the land first? It's a long complicated story in more ways than one.
My attention was caught by the word terebinth. The angel sat under the terebinth? What is a terebinth? My first thought was that it was an architectural term, a type of column.
I pulled out my smart phone, (in church!),  looked it up, and found out it is a kind of tree. A large leafy spreading branches sort of tree. Outside the church windows is a very tall leafy spreading maple tree with wonderfully interesting branches.  I thought of the angel of the Lord waiting under the terebinth and how appropriate to the day and our church to have our own terebinth outside the front doors.
Sketched on my android phone using SketchBook for Galaxy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

the show must end... most all things do, eventually! "Consider the Lilies" was dismantled this week and we hauled all the art home. Here it all is stacked in my living room waiting for me to figure out storage solutions.

And a shot of the stacked up art with my granddaughter wondering if I am going to play outside with her instead of organizing my studio.

the party is still going on

My art display titled "Consider the Lilies" is about to end. Another QuinceaƱera took place last weekend and my daughter and son-in-law were there to enjoy the special moments in front of my artwork. Fun to see this lovely young woman with my art as a background for her festivity. 
Another anecdote I heard from some of my friends who attend St. Mark's was concerning a funeral service. I heard that there was a terribly tragic death of a young person. My first thought was dismay that my art would not be appropriate and the bereaved family might not like it at the service. But I was assured that this was not so. The family said that their loved one was a flower lover, and would have been pleased. I hope so. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Watching Football Last Night

Notre Dame 31, that other team, 15. Our duty last night,  watch,  cheer, do push-ups when ND scores. My husband is an ND alumni. I sketched in my phone app. Wow, those golden shoes were awesome. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

a part of the big picture

The young choristers of St. Marks Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, working on their first rehearsal of the fall liturgy, surrounded by my paintings of flowers. My art display is up for less than a week now. I have heard some interesting stories from the past few weeks. Life in the church goes on in all the ways Life unfolds and my art has been part of it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

happy first day of autumn

 "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." -- Albert Camus

And today is just such a day. Some early color in small foliage, but the sky! Oh the sky is the bluest blue we only see in September.