Chile Trio and more in the Gallery


I’ve written about the process of painting these three chiles here and decided to frame it and take it to the Sunland Gallery.  It’s definitely a harvest/fall piece and I really enjoy the copper frame that it’s in.  This is an inprocess framing job, taken before the glass was inserted. It’s available for $225.

I’ve also matted and bagged various sizes of prints of my paintings, some of the originals are already sold, and some still available.  Prints matted to fit in a standard size 8″ x 10″ frame are $15, matted to a standard 11″ x 14″ are $30, and prints matted to fit a standard 16″ x 20″ frame are $45.    They are at the Sunland Art Gallery now  and soon to be available online.

I will also get my feet wet at selling at an indoor fair.  I will have originals, prints, cards, and ornaments for sale at Queen of Peace Bazaar on Belvidere Street, on November 12-13.

Second try — way better!

“Not having a goal i more to be feared than not reaching one”.

That’s a chinese cookie fortune that I’ve kept and I truly believe.  As you may know, my goal is to travel and teach watercolor when my kids are in college, and my first attempt to do a demo in a small setting at the gallery had its ups and downs.  So I knew that I had to try it again, and when the opportunity came to do a presentation for the Southern Chapter of the NM watercolor society, I accepted.  and I’m very pleased to report that it went well!  What a great friendly group of artists and very attentive.


My topic was challenging yourself and ways that I do that.  I talked about my involvement in the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge that I’ve done four times so far, twice in January and twice in September. The photo above shows one of my collages of paintings done in a certain month.  You can see it and other collages at my 30 in 30 page. nmws-sc-demo-oct-2016-2

As part of this September’s challenge, I moved forward to painting on half sheets, which is double the usual size that I do.  A full sheet is 22″ x 30″ and my largest paintings so far have been 1/4 of that size, or 11″ x 15″.  So moving to a page that is 15″ x 22″ is a challenge because the brushes have to be bigger, the puddles of pigment bigger and more thought placed on how to do smooth washes etc.

Behind me in this photo you see the two half sheets so far of the Century plant, an agave that doesn’t really live to be 100 years old, but it takes several decades before the plant is large enough to flower and then die while its pups, or small plants that surround it, can take over. I’ve written about painting the first one here.  It is on the left in this photo, and here’s a better view of the second one (on the right above).



So here’s my second attempt which isn’t finished yet, it doesn’t have the deep darks in it to make the center spine stem “pop” and it may not pop as much as the first that has whiter parts of the paper showing. I like how smooth and satiny the washes are in this one but I have a feeling I will paint this at least one more time in this size.


And here’s the palette after the demo where I put down the first wash of this beautiful Daniel Smith color:  Cascade Green.  all the color in the middle of the palette is this pigment which is a mix of pthalo green and raw sienna.  I just love how it separates and moves and granulates.

So what I learned from this whole procedure is that if you aren’t successful the first time — as I’ve written about in “how NOT to do a demo“,  you have to try again rather soon afterwards, and keep trying! My next demo must be more painting, and less talking and showing images, because that’s the part that still makes me nervous…

Demo this Saturday at 3


In progress century painting #3 started at my NM Watercolor Society presentation

Hey everyone, I’ll be doing another informal watercolor demo in conjunction with the El Paso Scene art show opening at the Sunland Art Gallery this Saturday.  The opening runs from 1-6 pm, and my demo will be at 3.  John Collins will be doing a demo at 5 and there will probably be other artists earlier in the afternoon.  If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello and enjoy the finger foods, wine and good art and company.  We’re located next to Tippi Teas in the Placita Santa Fe shopping complex at 5034D Doniphan.

We had a great little painting group today, not many people, we were all quietly working away…it was a productive and fun session.  This is what I worked on.  You can see  another version painted of the same image

These are the two paintings I have in the show, both done plein air.

Petals Askew


This piece was done during a class with Julie Caffee-Cruz and we could use her photo of sunflowers, or one of our own.  This was one of mine and I liked how its petals were not quite perfect and how the light was shining through some of them.

The seed filled center was fun to paint, charging in rich colors of quinacridone burnt scarlet, ultramarine blue, indanthrone, some quin burnt orange and some yellows.  I thought I’d taken a photo of it at that stage, but turns out I didn’t, or I can’t find it!  anyway…  I thought it needed more definition to show seeds and light shining on it, so I risked putting on another layer of color and I think it worked.

Here’s the reference photo: 2014-07-025



A Christmas Fair: Feliz Navidad y’all!

Good friends of mine are associated with Junior League and their Christmas Fair in early November is their largest fundraiser and a huge draw in the city.  When I was approached to donate artwork to help fund their good works, I was happy to do it.  These are the three I’ve chosen.   I’m in the process of matting and framing them, so the first two are taken without the glass in so there isn’t the glare.mountain_flowers_donation_christmas_fair_rachel_murphree_watercolors

This is called Mountain Flowers and I’ve written about the process of creating it at this blog post if you’d like to take a look.


I’m calling this one “Commision Study of Charley” and I’ve written about this little pup and the process of doing the commission before.  The commission is finished and owner and Charley are happy!


The third piece I’m donating is “Fall Hillside” in the muted colors of a late fall day in the mountains.

Christmas Fair  “Feliz Navidad, y’all!” runs the first weekend of November at the El Paso Convention Center. At this point I’m not sure when or how the paintings will be auctioned, but I can find out and let you know.  Drop me an email at if you’d like more information or if you’d like to discuss having a pet portrait done!

Chile Trio 30 in 30 days 22-24

I ran across fresh chiles in the produce aisle last week and carefully picked out colorful ones with interesting shapes.  In the back of my mind was the NM Watercolor Spring Show in Las Cruces whose theme is New Mexico food.

I placed them on a white board and lit them strongly with a small lamp perched on a tissue box to get a neat angle.


Chile Trio photo

Once happy with the arrangement I did several sketches, one small in my book, another more life size, 9 x 12, and used paint to put in the shadows an indicate which areas were kind of fuzzy rather than sharp edged.


Chile Trio sketch

Then the fun began because I put in various colors of yellow and blue trying to get some of the shadows that form the shapes.  Some of the pigments bled bigger than I expected, oh the joys of watercolor!, and I forgot to snap a photo after just the first stage.  This one is actually after I went in on top and started the middle chile.


Chile Trio stage 1

On the next day I went in with bold colors and let them mingle together and had fun with portraying the shapes. I used a cool and warm orange on top of the yellows, and actually used the Cascade Green from Daniel Smith because it was squeezed on my palette and it blended well.  Not sure I would have chosen it if it weren’t just “there”.


Chile Trio stage 2

And then the next day I put in more details and the shadows, some of which have beautiful blending of colors. I realized that I was working from the actual chiles in addition to the photo and in the mix, got my shadows mixed up, and also I was reacting to where the colors had formed on my paper.  Just a huge fun bunch of color that I think turned out kinda cool.


Chile Trio stage 3

There is more to be done, or perhaps a new one to paint, but for now, I’m relieved that I’ve gotten time to make this post!  I’ve been busy choosing paintings to print, learning how to cut matboard, and getting an inventory to perhaps to a small indoor sale in October and take some to the gallery.  The next step after that is to set up an online store on my site.  always something more to do!!

Hope you enjoyed my Chile Trio.  I’d love to hear from you.  Thanks for stopping by!



Mail call

matimg_20160918_095424This was mail call the other day.  Plenty of full sheets and half sheets of matboard, some paint tubes, including Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green (a phenomenal color!) and some alternatives to watercolor paper/mat/frame.  A fun day!

Today I ordered more: a bigger tube of cascade green — wait until I show you the playing around with that — a wringer to fully empty tubes, and other stuff…oh yes, and clear bags to put matted prints in to sell.

French painter stage 2 — 30 in 30 day 15


French painter a la Julie Caffee-Cruz


In painting class again this week with Julie Caffee-Cruz, we worked more on our version of her award winning painting, Parisian Artist.  It is fascinating to see how differently they all  are turning out, and in fact how different her own painting this time differs from the last time.  His scarf is done with borrowed paint, Schminke Translucent Orange, which is such a yummy color.  I may have to get that for my own collection!  I haven’t done his water bowl yet, so  perhaps that will be orange too to tie in that color a bit more.

Here’s how it looked before the class. I had to do a lot more sketching in of the details before starting to paint. There are still some details left to do on it, and it was a great learning experience.


Have you used Schminke paints? If so, what colors are your favorite?  Or what orange is your fav?

Thanks for stopping by.  I enjoy hearing your reactions to my paintings or my ramblings…

See you at the ADC show?

My watercolor “Balcony View” was juried into the Ardovino’s Desert Crossing Celebration of our Mountains art show, and the opening is this Thursday from 6-9.  Will I see you there?

I’m excited about going first of all because it’s the first time I’m in this long running show, and second because the food there is amazing!  and the whole vibe is fabulous.

The painting was done “en plein air” painting outside with our local group.  I’ve written about the process here and here. It is framed to 16″ x 20″ and is $250.

Charley finished! — 30 in 30 day 13


I am very pleased to announce that my first commission, Charley, is finished and the owner loves it!  I asked if I could quote her.  She said “The painting makes my heart smile!”

I am so glad.  Doing the commission was a great and pleasurable learning experience that I would definitely do again. You can see the last post on this commission, and the first post. 

I’ve ordered the matboard for it, she decided on an offwhite and a steel gray blue, and I’ll post a photo when it’s framed.  The painting itself is 13″ by 15″ so I’m thankful I have a mat cutter so I can cut this custom size myself.

I’m counting this as part of the 30 in 30 because we last saw it without a background and I’ve added that this week.  Once again life is busy so I’m not posting every day but I am painting most days, and that’s a habit that I will be happy to continue.  That’s my goal for this month and next…painting most days and posting several times a week.  Wish me luck!

Speaking of goals, I’ve ordered a variety of matboard colors and will soon have prints in standard sizes for sale at the Sunland Art Gallery and later this fall, available online.  Stay tuned!