Category Archives: Portraits

Friends and Relatives

Instead of loving your enemies – treat your friends a little better” ~ Edward W. Howe

Have you ever met someone you wish you hadn’t?  Someone who really shouldn’t be a part of your life but somehow you just can’t erase them from your acquaintance list.  Maybe a co-worker, an ex spouse or the tax man?  Being a laid back easy going sort of person, I do not meet this type of person very often.  In truth I can only think of maybe one or two people, if I think really hard, that I would like to eliminate from my life.  Some of you may have relatives that fit into this “wish I could eliminate” category and I do pity you as you really can’t choose your relatives can you?  Wouldn’t it be fun though if a family could have a vote on who their relations bring into the family????  I might never have been married….. hmmmm.  I think a new family member should be submitted to a written exam, personal interviews, personal skills demos and perhaps a scavenger hunt for good measure.  Maybe a dowry for the family members would be nice.  I know I could use some new sheets (they are expensive these days), an espresso machine or a vacuum.  Then, once the newly elected family member joins in everyone would theoretically be compatible and they could all live together in a grand and happy compound.  Rather like world politics I’d say.

Contrary to what many people think, money can’t really buy you status. It can temporarily give you a false sense of class, but true worth comes from the inside.  The people I allow to stay in my life are primarily those who I have a great deal of admiration for.  I am constantly being amazed at what we humans can accomplish and produce.  Personally, I enjoy being surrounded by friends who are witty and creative.  Laughter brings out the joy of living and a day without laughter is a rather dull day I’d say.  So, enjoy your friends, relatives and acquaintances and pick them out very very carefully as they reflect your personality and confirm your worth.
My pastel of an Akha Bride – do you think she was voted into her new family?  I think so.

Take Down That Photo !!!


“And no greater treasure has brought homes more joy
Than a curious, active, and lovable boy! “    Author Unknown

My son is in the U.S. Air Force and flies B52 Bombers out of Minot, ND (Brrrrr) and soon from Guam.  When he was in training and during his first solo, he took a photo of himself with his phone while up in the clouds and sent it to me – big mistake.  Being an avid Facebooker I posted it immediately – much like any other proud parent would do.  Around midnight, long after falling asleep, the telephone rang and without any preliminary greeting or even a welcoming “Hello Mum,” I was told to “TAKE DOWN THAT PHOTO“…… apparently, it’s against regulations to photograph yourself during your student solos!  Hmmmm, I wonder why?   I’m still a proud supportive parent and also proud that he showed me the stern, demanding side of him that I thankfully do not see.  To me he will always be the chubby cheeked little boy I love to hug, all six plus feet of him.


This watercolor was very difficult to do as the original photo was quite dark and you normally don’t see any land behind clouds, it’s usually a big blue sky.  I know the gear is probably not drawn completely correct but I am sure that the viewer gets the idea.  I was happy with the shadow in the bottom left and also with the mask over the nose.  Somehow, I do believe I found the sunlight glint to make it realistic and, as you can see, I did take artistic license with the hand.  This photo below is the reference photo AND the photo that I had to take down from Facebook ….

Head Shots


“A daughter is a gift of love, a little girl who grows up to be your best friend.”  ~Author Unknown (and revised by me)

My daughter was raised and educated in Texas (with a short stint in the UK).  When we moved to Pennsylvania for a few years she refused to spend her summer college breaks there.  Being the adventurous spirit that she is, she applied for a nanny position in Croatia and went there instead.  The following summer break she worked as a nanny in Honolulu where she met her now husband.  During the years of their courtship they traveled the world together and wherever they were they would send me a head shot of the two of them taken with some beautiful or historic scenic spot behind them.  After they were engaged I sent them two hats – one for the bride and one for the groom.  This watercolor is the result of one of their head shots sent to me which they took while wearing their hats overlooking Hanauma Bay, on the island of Oahu where they now live.   I miss having her close but am happy that she is looked after and cherished by such a loving man.


I enjoyed painting this watercolor, forming clouds and portraying the Bishop Museum emblems on the t-shirt (if you visit Honolulu visit the Bishop Museum – it’s very well worth the time).  My biggest challenge with this painting was the bill of the hat and the sunglasses.  If you look closely you can see my daughter’s eyes through her sunglasses and her husband’s arm and camera reflected in his sunglasses.  They are on a bluff overlooking one of my favorite places in Hawaii where we have spent some wonderful days together snorkeling and relaxing.

This is the reference photo I used for my painting.  I really do not think anyone can capture the beauty of Hawaii (or these particular subjects) in photo or with paint.


“But in a little while it may strike you as a small miracle that you have someone in your life, whose taste you admire (after all, this person loves you and your work), who will tell you the truth and help you stay on the straight and narrow, or help you find your way if you are lost.
Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott

I am one of the lucky ones.  Lucky enough to have found in my husband someone who sees inside of me and who nurtures me in a way no one else can.  When he looks at my attempts to create art in different mediums he doesn’t see elementary attempts to create, he sees masterpieces.  For the last few years I have dabbled in watercolor and pastel very non-prolifically.  Creating, entering local shows, meeting colorful characters in the art community and learning – always learning – has become a mild passion of mine.  I hope you enjoy accompanying me along my journey.


I drew this little girl from a photo I found on the internet years ago.  After a few attempts it was put away in the closet for a few more years and brought out about a year ago to work on as a class project.  I never bond with or like my art at the beginnings and this one was a bit too washed out for my taste, but after bringing in the darks and a little help with the tears I find myself very fond of it.  I especially like the light on the straw hat and the beads on the shoulders and neck.   Girl in a Hat is used as the background for this blog.

Igniting the Creative Spark Within