Monday, December 31, 2012


I am embarking upon a new project, "Whidbey Animal Stars."  I love painting animals and have committed to doing 12 animal portraits for a 2014 calendar.  I am soliciting local animal model nominations from Whidbey animal lovers/owners.  To show them what I'm made of, yesterday I painted, "Shelton," a steer in Shelton, Washington whom I photographed earlier this year.  I think he's quite compelling.  In fact, I'm in love with him.  Cool dude.  I'm inviting Whidbey residents to come to our Studio 106 opening in Langley on 1/5/13, from 5 til 8 to meet me, Shelton, and nominate their animal photos.  I hope local newspapers may take on this feel good story, because we all love our animals!!!  I think it's a ton of fun project.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


My sister Lynne is crazy about her Irish Setters.  I'm crazy about painting.  I thought ... hey!  why don't I paint a portrait of one of her Irish's?  This spring I asked for a photo ... she sent it ... and for Christmas I surprised her with this oil painting of Cassie.  6"x12" on a cradled panel.  She posted it immediately and got so many "Likes" I was amazed.  Several people suggested I paint their favorite dogs too!  I'd love to!

Monday, December 3, 2012


These were my first sketches in Morocco - here, I'm in Marrakesh.  This began a spectacular trip staying in incredibly beautiful Riads - large private homes built like fortresses.  From the narrow souk-lined, motor skooter, horses, donkeys, and bicycle-crowded streets, all you could see were tall walls and hunky front doors.  Enter the door to surprisingly lush oases with elaborate gardens of fountains, vines, trees, birds, feral cats who came & went.  Around the courtyard would be two or three stories of balconies, sleeping quarters, sitting rooms, studies.  This is in Dar Aloumond's courtyard & kitchen entrance.  I wanted to capture a sense of the tile work and carved plaster trim for which Morocco is famous. The pink apron belongs to our gracious chef & housekeeper, Fautima.

Now I'm in Taroudannt, a city circled by an 800-year-old wall, at the foothills of the Anti Atlas mountains,  south of Marrakesh.  This pool is in the courtyard of Riad Dar Louisa.  We were greeted in the entry way by Abdolelah's colorful art.  Fellow Whidbey Island Sketcher, Phyllis Ray, and I vowed to do a sketch a day and long story short, began exchanging sketches with Dar Louisa's owner, Louise, in England.  What fun!

  The tea service was part of our after-dinner routine, warmed by a big fire built by our dear Abdolelah - personal chef, tour guide, translator.  Louise, the owner of this Riad, has beautifully redone this ancient home, and filled it with various sculptures, furnishings, and wall hangings from all over Africa.  I wanted to capture TEXTURE.
 The dining room walls were covered with a traditional Berber tent.  Over the table, a beautiful traditional Moroccan lamp.  The ubiquitous ball of fruit ... a traditional Moroccan dessert.

Abdolelah modeled for us, first in his black traditional Jelaba.  I love the teal flip flops.  Then, he posed in a finely embroidered Jelaba used for special gatherings, such as the Camel Races, which sounds like an amazingly good time.

Fatima was our housekeeper, assistant Moroccan chef, Hammam-scrubber, and ultimately, model.  Sweet, attentive, Arabic speaking, she always wore a head scarf & woman's Jelaba for public, but unabashedly bathed with us in our hammam.  The hammam was quite the experience!  In preparation, a huge pile of firewood appeared outside our Riad door.  The morning of our bath, Fatima and Abdolela loaded the wood into the hammam's fire pit.  The room heated all day, built-in tubs of water steamed until the intimate hammam became a cozy steamy dreamy bath "womb."  Fatima scrubbed us 7 different ways, from mud to Argan oil.  Fatima's hair was always covered until bathing (and modeling), for which her thick black wavy tresses were unfurled.

These two sketches are of the cozy room waiting room for our massages and hammam.  The next is of Dar Louisa's media room ... where one could watch films lounging on deep cushions.  Moroccans know how to relax!

In return for our sketches of him, Abdolelah honored Phyllis and me with portraits he did of us.  Here's how he saw me.

Well, now I'm off to Barcelona.  Here's the view from our balcony.  I'd never been to Spain before, so this was a real treat.  I just had to sample Catalonian cuisine and put my feet in the Mediterranean.

I'd always heard of Antoni Gaudi, the unique innovative Modernisme Spanish architect who designed the famous cathedral, the Sagrada Familia.  I had no idea how inspired Gaudi was by the expressions of nature.  Apparently, his mother took young Gaudi for walks in nature, and instilled in him a fascination which wouldn't quit.  His works are dreamlike,  surreal.  I fell head over heels for his work.  Here's a sea monster he created for Park Guell.

As luck had it, I had trouble with my flights and was forced to spend an unexpected night in Madrid.  American Airlines found me a real deal in a beautiful hotel.  This Impala car art was in their lobby.  I sketched this fellow traveler as I ate Spanish food, drank Spanish wine, suffering over my delay.  Seattle would have to wait an extra day while I swam in their 25 meter pool, sauna'd, dined, sketched, and rested in splendor.  Thus ended my travels.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Since the Michelle Usabelli-influenced paintings, I've studied with some wonderful teachers, including spending almost a year doing classical drawing and painting in Tenaya Sim's Georgetown Atelier, painting with Suzanne Brooker at Gage Academy, with Henry Stinson both here in Langley and at his studio in Pullman, and Pierre Bonaparte through the Whidbey Island Fine Art Studios.  The eggs and chocolate painting was a still life at WIFAS.  The cow, entitled "One of the Girls," was from a photo I took on a ranch in Kansas last fall.  I adore cows (and other farmyard critters) and have another cow painting planned for the near future.  I love her teal face, and sparkly top-knot.  Both of these paintings were recently sold.


The painting above was done in a Michelle Usibelli workshop, from one of her photos.  I just love the crispy white shirt.  That's actually what this painting is all about .... and the lighting in the bar.

The bed is a painting I did in my old bedroom.  My painting girlfriends, Joanne Shellen and Phyllis Ray, and I spent a day setting up easels around the house and painting inteiors.   It was an old 1920s house with lots of cool scenes to paint.

This other interior was painted in another Michelle Usabelli workshop, from another of her photos.  I guess I take to her photos!  I think this is of her sister.  The original painting is brighter and crispier than this photo and is entitled "Pep Talk."


After the pregnancy series, I studied a bit with Phil Borges, a wonderful Mercer Island photographer.  He inspired me to get a Hasselblad and to shoot square format.  I began a couple of color travel series, first in Peru when I traveled for his Bridges program, working with the native students in the remote mountains of Peru, and then in Istanbul.   The above photo ... which was a natural light 3 minute exposure ... lends itself well to being printed very large, poster sized.   In December '03, I held a show at Cafe Paloma in Pioneer Square, entitled "Mystical Istanbul."   The show was of ancient sites in the old Istanbul, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the amazing underground cistern, shown above.   The show also exhibited at the Seattle Center for a Turkish festival.  I got many beautiful shots of the people and places in Peru and Istanbul, but I was printing large images and my scanner cannot accommodate them.  This gives you a taste!


I continued to study color photography under Seth, and continued to shoot the pregnancy series.  One of my fellow classmates became pregnant.  She was a delightful photography buddy, and became an inspired model.  She chose the bold primary colored paints, and did her own body painting.  I chose the brilliant red backdrop, and did an edgey play with the type of film to get this bold contrast and unusual colors.  I forget the details now, but I believe it was an odd use of slide film for still photography.


I began shooting a pregnancy series.  This is the first of the series, and seriously reflect's Joyce's influence with it's soft light, draping the model, and gentle palette.  It was funny ... my girlfriend asked me to journal her pregnancy with photography.  Our first images were terrible ... I didn't know lighting at all!  But the bigger she got, the better I got.  Ultimately, I was pleased.


I was studying under Seth Thompson, a great color teacher at the Photographic Center Northwest.  He suggested that, to practice lighting, etc., I find a photographer I admired and copy some of her work.  I chose Joyce Tenneson.  These images are my version of two of her photographs in her book, Transformations.  Check out the originals!  I hand painted the backdrop, found a lovely young model who reminded me of Joyce's.


Three Pears

Queen Anne

Paris Country House shot with a Toy Camera

Infra-red Photo at Seattle's Japanese Garden

French Countryside
Confessions of a lazy blogger:  I started this art blog earlier this year but haven't been posting any work.  Today, I decided that my New Year's resolution is to keep painting and blogging.  First things, first.  I'm going to put some of my art history here, for my own sense of continuation.  Here's a few samples of what's left of my photographic days.  I studied at the Photographic Center Northwest for a couple of years, learning B&W film techniques, appreciating the great instruction & facilities at PCNW and grateful for Ansel Adam's generous teaching books.  He taught me that it all starts with knowing how to make a great negative (exposure, lighting, etc.) and then your printing efforts can concentrate on enhancements, rather than corrections.  My first photographs, of course, were black and white.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Pam Ingalls was teaching this past week at the Whidbey Island Fine Art Studios and I had the privilege and pleasure to proctor the class. She's of the Russian Impressionism tradition, having studied with Ron Lucas back in the day. She's also a lovely teacher, and I think we all had tons of fun while we struggled and learned. Here's my still life. It's a tough shift back to direct/impressionistic painting after studying layers with Suzanne Brooker at Gage these past two quarters. I'm enjoying the blog format for keeping my personal notebook!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spoiled Dog Winery

The Whidbey Island Sketchers gather weekly at some compelling site.  It is a wonderful regular practice to sketch weekly (or more!).  I'm grateful for the opportunity & inspiration.  I joined them at the Spoiled Dog Winery and despite chilly breezes & episodes of drizzles, it was fabulous.  I learned that sketchers adapt; we pulled out umbrellas while the rain spritzed and continued on our mission wrapped in warm clothes, undaunted.  Horses, lamas, spoiled dogs, a charming main building, and excellent wine.  That's Mary and Sherryl sitting in beach chairs with their sketching paraphernalia scattered about.

Bayview Market

Throughout the Seattle area, they had farmer's markets, which I loved.  Here in Langley we have the Bayview Market.  The produce is local, organic, and magnificent.  I sketched this scene sitting next to a wonderful guitar/vocalist who's name I regret not getting.  The booths next to me were Bob Bowling Rustics, a fellow who creates super imaginative one-of-a-kind structures, Ferry View Farms, and a bonsai plant seller.  Today's sketch is called "Sale on Bonsai" honoring the bonsai seller.  She's the blonde in the red top.  There was so much going on ... note the fellow in the center, the author one could meet today.  I tried to capture the busyness of the place, as well as the sparkly lightness of this sunny day.

Trout Fishing on Lone Lake

I am very excited to be joining the Langley community, and the Whidbey Island Sketchers.   I just began posting on their blog, which inspired me to start my own blog to further what I do there.  I started posting all my new sketches on their site and became embarrassed because I was taking up so much blog space!  Well, I realized I needed my own blog.  Here it is.  Today, I was invited by Sketcher Faye to come to Lone Lake to sketch.  This watercolor took me no time at all ... it was an inspired painting of the men trout fishing on Lone Lake.  It is a beautiful spot, and I got to meet the fishermen.  They all have little rigs self-propelled with flippers.  No polution!  A beautiful new space on Whidbey Island.  I am grateful for all these new experiences.