Birthday Studies in Color and Value

I’ve been laying low online, but in real life I’ve been working on studies and homework from group lessons with Nancy Frost Begin.  She’s from Las Cruces — here’s a bit about her and her varied work.   I have gotten so much out of the two classes we’ve had with her.

Here’s homework that I just finished where we had to paint a small painting in our regular style, and then repaint it two ways:  once in darks/shades, and the other in palest hues/tints.  I took my birthday bouquet as the starting point.

And here they are in black and white through the magic of software.

I found the dark one the most difficult to paint.  I knew that yellow would be the lightest dark on the value scale, but I thought I was getting the rest pretty dark, but as you can see above, they are a bunch of lights in the painting.

All in all, it was an excellent exercise all around in the pigment/water ratio, mixing darks, while just having fun!   oh yes and my birthday was chill and relaxing…just what I needed!

Birthday trip: painting, chocolate and more…

Bare branches against blue NM sky

Winter tree against blue sky in sketchbook. Click on image to view larger.


The other week my DH and I went overnight to Silver City, NM which happened to be holding their chocolate fantasia event — 31 chocolatiers made their specialties and there was a treasure hunt through art galleries, antique stores, restaurants and the like. Such fun!

I got in some outdoor painting (plein air) for the first time and it really made the day memorable.

Yes, the sky really was this blue, if not even bluer!  lovely winter New Mexico sky.  The tree was made again with the credit card technique, and done in a small watercolor sketchbook. The paper isn’t nearly the quality of buying good watercolor paper by the sheet, but it’ll do, pig, it’ll do!

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Artsy patio door at the Copper Quail Gallery, Silver City, NM.  Click on image to view larger.


This is my favorite art gallery in Silver City, NM. The Copper Quail Gallery has a great collection of jewelry, woven clothing, paintings, photographs, woodworking, metal working. The artists take turn in the store and are really friendly and open to talk about their work.

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Interesting, artsy way to recycle glass bottles and keep the birds from resting on the wall. Copper Quail Gallery, Silver City, NM


Sketch while a passenger, with watercolor wash later. The beautiful rust colored cliffs at Hurley, NM.  Click on image to view larger.

photo of peach roses

Peach roses earlier in the week. You will see these in a painting I’m sure some day!



I came home inspired and ready to paint, draw, excited about the coming artsy year!




Birthday trip to Alpine and Marfa

My sweet husband and I took another Miata trip this weekend, to Alpine and Marfa, TX, coming back through Fort Davis. Beautiful country. Can’t wait to go through it again with the kids and keep going to Big Bend National Park! The first night in Marfa, we stayed at the Hotel Paisano, on the historic register, and very lovely. here’s the lobby I sat and sketched for awhile, the ornament on the pillars.  very relaxing.


Further sightings in town were this hearse, (only in Texas is what I think!) that was parked outside a  mid century modern home interiors shop that was sadly never open.


Got a neat book on West Texas women artists at the Marfa Book Company and sat in these cool woven wood chairs.


This sculpture is amazing.  It’s made from natural wood with metal and more.  The artist is Craig Schowengerdt and here’s an interview with him on Marfa Public Radio.  The show was in the Greasewood Gallery at the hotel.

Other funky things on the trip:

Vintage picture in the Holland Hotel,
a man walking his Javelina


Neat texture and color of the underside of a tin overhang.

larger than life boot planters.

Cactus growing out of a life alligator juniper evergreen.

Wonderful Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine at Sul Ross State University.  This is a recreation of the Tall Rockshelter pictograph found in the nearby mountains.

and lastly, some presents from the journey, from my inlaws and my husband.  I am very blessed!


I saw works by Anne Eckley at the Gallery on the Square in Alpine.  Her threadpainting is so beautiful!  Books are from the fabulous Front Street Books in Alpine.

The shawl was spun, dyed and knitted by Lynnae at Chamomile Connection.   The yarn is Manos del Uroguay from a cool yarn shop in Marfa called Wild Woolies.