Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year and 30 in 30

Well it's been awhile since my last post, but I'm ready to start the new year with a repeat of last year's challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days!  This year, Leslie Saeta issued the challenge and 100's of artists are participating, I can't wait to see everyone's work!  Stay tuned for a great year of painting!  Happy New Year and many thanks to all of my followers, I appreciate every one of your comments and support over the past 2 years.

Friday, November 30, 2012


(made by Scott Lightfoot for me in 2011)

This is by far the hardest blog I've written to date, and being a private person I've hesitated sharing my personal grief with what is going on, but in the spirit of how public Scott Lightfoot chose to share his couragous battle with cancer, it seems only fair that I finish his story for him, from the perspective of one of his biggest fans.  One of Scott's concerns in the past few months was how much unfinished business he had left, mostly through family, but also with his art.  Those that have read his blog for the past 2 years realize that he gives you a play by play description of his battle, from diagnosis to the final stages.  His ability to write with such clear language and emotion is a gift he waved aside, but every time I saw a new post from him, I would settle in for a good story like I did long ago as a kid in the library stacks.

I think I was lucky because I realized the importance of a legacy early on.  I decided to be an artist after having a panic attack watching the news at some point in my early 20's.  A tragedy similar to 9/11 had a occurred and I couldn't get past the fear of dying and having no point to my life.  Yes, I was a mom, and that matters, but I felt like I needed something tangible, something lasting that would go beyond just the memories of me once my kids passed.  I needed to make a difference.  It was then I decided to become an art teacher.  I had long been painting on my own by then, but I needed more.  I met Scott at a school where I taught, a place I know that both of us left a huge impact and legacy with the students, yet both of us didn't seem to "fit in".  I guess we artists don't "herd well" and  so we found other avenues for our legacy.

I know Scott as a friend, as a big brother, a mentor, an artist, a father, a husband, and a teacher, but everyone who knew him will all agree that he had passion for art, teaching, and LIFE like no one I've ever met.  (yes, he could be opinionated and grumbly, and he made enemies, but I loved him even more for that, because he wasn't afraid to speak the truth)

I wish I had the gift of writing that Scott was given, but a stranger solved that problem for me, when he wrote on Scott's blog what I would have loved to be able to say.  After I said my goodbye to Scott at few days ago, I needed to hear his words again and I found the post from a complete stranger.  I'm fairly certain Scott hadn't read it as he had been so ill, so I sent it to his wife to read and I told him about it when I saw him at hospice.

It's long, but worth it. I can only hope I leave half the legacy Scott has left behind.  Here is the post from a stranger:

Dear Scott, about 12-18 months ago, I came across your blog. It was about art, the quality of life, the meaning of life, unemployment, and daily living. It was about struggle. It also spoke strongly to the theme of what it meant to be a man. To be a provider. To make a difference in the world. To achieve. To make an impact. Many of those issues struck a chord with me during a year of unemployment as a middle aged man, potentially needing to redefine who I was or who I was to become. You are a great writer and in that sense, not just a graphical depicter of images, but a true artist.

Expressing your view of the world and sharing your perspective. Changing the views, perspectives, and values of others as a result of implanting images in their mind that affect how they live out their journey. You have changed the images in my mind not necessarily because of your graphical depictions in a media but because you have affected my worldview because of who you are as a person and what you have done with your artistic endeavor along your life's journey. As difficult as it appeared to be at times against your own true self, you opened yourself up to the world and revealed your innermost vulnerabilities. You have told the story of Everyman and Everywoman in the flow of Humanity. The weakness. The chaos. The search for meaning. The effect of the world against the individual. The seeming lack of control and influence over things that are larger than any of us alone. The deep need to have friends and family. How many artists have there been that perhaps sketched drawings or painted pictures but had no lasting impact upon humanity? They are also artists. But we start out only as practitioners of a skill. Perhaps we are fortunate enough to add some practitioner's knowledge. If we are committed, perhaps we gain experience. And perhaps one day, someone looks at what we have done and says we have ability. But is Art about Knowledge, Ability, Skill, and Experience. Perhaps. But the greatest artists have faced the Void and gone into a Realm where no timid soul has ventured before. Their bravery and bravado put the deep life experiences into their unique expression.

I am only one small witness about you and testimony for you across the country and this globe. I started a blog because of you. It is about Art, Daily Living, the Artistic Endeavor, the Journey, and reaching one's Unique Potential. It is about making an impact during our time here in the flesh. It is about asking the deep questions. Although I have returned to work in Boston, I see things differently now. I have a different balance towards my daily walk. I sketch on the commuter train and the subway. I take photos with a different view towards how they could be used in my artistic endeavor. So how is the world of art changing and what part have you played in today’s art? You have been part of the Daily Painting initiative. Art is a more "democratic" experience whereby many more people practice the craft. It is a movement. You have been a part of its early formulation. And perhaps it can be said that the daily artists influence others through their art and that they enjoy being appreciated. But perhaps you have shown it is more than that.

As you know, the truly great artists changed the world by affecting the worldview of others through their expression. And like the Olympic champions of old, we observe that the torch gets passed from generation to generation. But the Olympic endeavor message has similarities to the artistic endeavor, the triumph of humanity over the struggles of life, the noble message of pure things that are to be aspired and expressed rather than the base things, the physical/mental/emotional struggle to be the best, to reach one's unique potential, to leave a legacy, to get it right, to be remembered in the flow of humanity. We each have a part to play. I am part of your legacy. You have made a difference in my life and how I see the world and what I should do in my time remaining however long that should be. I also am preparing to pass the torch along the timeline of the artistic endeavor. But it is not just about art, is it? I am more sensitive to my frailties and my weaknesses. My limits are more known to me today. I am bounded and constrained. For me, much of your message is about how short a time we have here in this life. To surmise otherwise is a fool's errand. There is great wisdom about the human condition in your story, Scott. So I endeavor, in my small part to play on this stage, to pour myself and my life's experience into others. And may attempt to do just a little art along the way as one medium of expression. But the true artists have changed the world. Just as you did for me. Thank you. jim

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Out With the Old.........

 $25 each plus  $5 shipping 6x6 oil on panel
Be sure to indicate in payment notes which painting you would like.  (i.e A, B, C)


1, 2 , or 3 paintings
It's time for my semi-annual studio clearance sale!  I will be selling all remaining 6x6 paintings in my studio to make room for new.  I have been blessed to have been asked to teach a painting workshop in the Daily Painting format, so I will be painting lots of the little gems in the coming months.  I will be updating this grid as they sell, so if you see a little red dot in the lower right corner of the painting, it has sold.  I have at least 30 to sell so keep checking back for the updated grid.  All are $25 each with $5 shipping (you pay $5 shipping regardless of how many you purchase).  My prices will all be going up at the first of the year so now is your chance to get one at the lowest price ever.
 Thanks as always for looking and following my work!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ten Fold

I've been so caught up in the business of life and creativity I have neglected my blog and often my faithful fans and followers who leave kind and inspiring comments.  I decided that today I would  try to slow down for a minute to thank you for taking time out of your busy day and life to read or comment on my artwork and ramblings.  Often the words people write to me are what keep me going when I'm in a rut or feeling like not so good of an artist or person. I have a story to tell as well, one that I have hesitated to share lest I sound selfish, but it's a good story and a bit long, so grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine and sit for a spell.

As a young child, my mother taught me what it meant to give.  I remember often being the "delivery girl" with goodies for sick neighbors or friends, or sharing Christmas eve with an elderly woman she met at a restaraunt who had no family and hadn't seen the magic of Christmas for decades. My mother encouraged us as children to give and share, and we were required to always give a portion of our meager allowance or earnings when the plate was passed at church.  She would remind us that God would reward us someday and when he did so, it would come back ten fold.  As I child I remember mentally calculating monetary amounts in my head, not understanding that God's rewards didn't necessarily include currency and dollar signs, but as a child it was easiest to see and measure.  

Many of you know about my friend who has been battling cancer for almost two years and I spent the better part of my summer with fellow artist and friend Kelly Crosser-Alge organizing a fund-raising event to raise money for his family and a scholarship fund as a legacy for him.  It was hard work, and took up most of the time that both of us use to create artwork and sell for our summer show circuit.  At one point when we were both frustrated and weary, we questioned our wisdom of doing it, wondering if we were not taking care of our own families and priorities first.  Kelly's summer show income is essential to her family's budget, while mine is not as important, so I felt a bit responsible and sorry I had enlisted her help; help that she gave willingly, that I would not have been able to do alone, and I started to worry that I would lose her support. 

 It was then that I told her about my mother, and all the times that she promised "ten fold", and all the times it truly did come back to me. I even taught my children the same thing, and I shared with her the example of when my children looked at me in awe the time it came true for them.  Years ago, when I worked for the Boys and Girls club, It was Halloween,and I asked the kids at the club (inner city, very poor children, often with dismal home lives) if they were going to go trick or treating.  Most of them said they didn't go because their folks wouldn't take them.  I'm not sure why; I never asked, but I went home and told my children who have always had the privelage of a safe neighborhood, a mom who would help them make costumes, and a dad who would safely take them around.  I asked my kids to give their candy to the kids at the club since they didn't get go, and promised them it would come back ten fold.  I don't know about you, but I would NEVER have parted with all of my candy loot when I was 8 years old.  But my boys did, and never complained.  The kids at the club were thrilled of course, and a few even sent notes of thanks home to my kids.  Not a week had passed when my son came home after school with a big grin on his face saying that I was right, the ten fold worked!  It seems that at some point he had entered a contest at the library, a raffle, and his name was drawn as the winner.  The prize: a giant bag of candy.

I was thrilled that my kids were shown in such an obvious way about the rewards of giving, because they believe it to be true to this day.  They still tell the ten fold story to others as they were just as awed as I by it.

The event for my friend was a resounding success and Kelly and I went back to the business of life and art.  We had to play "catch-up" for all the time we had devoted to the event, and life went on.  We forgot about the loss of time and felt rewarded by the success and sheer joy we saw on our friend Scott's face during his fundraiser.  Then things started to happen, good things, for both of us in ways that mattered to our own individual lives.  I'm hoping Kelly will write her own ten fold blog and share her stories, but I can assure you, they are huge when it comes to what she wants for her career and life.  My rewards have been interesting as well.  First, I have been selling a lot more art work, and one collector (a complete stranger) did the unheard of.  She purchased my painting for my asking price and then paid me 4 times the price, saying that she felt it was worth it.  I was flabbergasted and grateful. Then I thought to myself: ten fold.   I have also been asked to do a workshop, my first ever, at the local college, getting paid a ridiculously high amount of money for the time I have to work  AND with a promise of a show in January in their gallery.  Yep, ten fold.  

I know instinctively that I am a giver, a helper, and I like to share, and I don't think of getting anything back when I give, but it sure is nice sometimes.  My friend Scott is not doing so well with his battle.  He has exhausted all of his treatment options and spends a lot of time in pain and emotional agony.  For a while I didn't visit because it was hard for me and I wasn't sure if I could handle my own emotions.  He has also been angry and bitter and I distanced myself from him because I didn't want be around his negativity, not realizing that I could have helped.  I realized I was being selfish and I needed to be a better friend.  Kelly and I took a day last week when the weather was gorgeous and helped him clean and re-organize his garage studio.  We brought art materials for him to experiment with, and had a much needed visit with our friend.  It's not easy to see someone you care about in pain, and we worried we weren't much help since he withdrew from his usual forms of social networking and communication after our visit.  Then, out of the blue, he was back.  He wrote on his blog for the first time in months and spoke about things most people just fear, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I could hardly read through my tears when I got to the end. If you read it, you too will understand.  Ten Fold.  

This weekend, Kelly and I were at a workshop teaching her glass techniques and we had some time in the evenings to talk about the summer and the rewards that have come to us since then.  While we were talking, I glanced on the floor of the living room where we were staying and found this message. 

Ten fold. God works in mysterious ways.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Still Playing.....

Ink on Yupo paper 8x10 Winter Landscape 

A few of you have asked (or even wondered) about my "change" in style since I've posted my latest works with alcohol inks.  Let me explain.  I stumbled on the inks quite accidently while looking for a medium that would work artistically on white glazed tiles.  I was instantly drawn to the ease and fluidity of the inks and they bring me back to my start in art about 15 years ago.  When I was a young mom with 4 little toddlers running around, I dabbled in watercolor.  While the "daily painting" movement is fairly recent in the past decade, I'm certain many artists were already doing it, myself included, just not calling it such.  While my kids were napping, I had a small window of opportunity to paint, and watercolors were easy to pull out, clean up, and had no fumes.  I was attracted to a particular style of bright loose painting that is atypical of the light, layered look of many watercolorists, and I developed quite a following in the early years of Ebay selling my work starting at $1.  I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable when the bidding exceeded what I would have felt comfortable asking for the piece.  I also felt I wasn't a "real" artist since I had no formal training at the time and no degree.  Silly me.  I gave up painting and my huge following to pursue my art degree, which changed my style and thoughts on art.  My experimentation with the inks (and glass) recently are enhancing my understanding of what it is that I want to SAY in art.  I have struggled with the idea of how I can find my own voice in my art, and these exercises and diversions are helping me figure it out.  I will likely be posting random works of oils, inks, and glass while I continue to find my way.  Thanks for looking!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Work in Progress

This is a painting I've wanted do do for some time, since my son got engaged, so I attempted it on a 8x10 panel but I think I need to try it larger as I'm having problems with the face and hands.....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Still Playing with Alcohol

I'm really enjoying these alcohol inks.  They are quite addicting despite their unmanageable nature.  I think the challenge is learning how to make them do what I want them to do instead of them taking control.  I know my last post about these inks was rather hurried so I will try to slow down and explain a little better what they are all about.  I stumbled on alcohol inks (brand name Adirondack) when I was trying to find a use for the obscene amount of 4x4 white glazed tiles I have at my disposal.  I thought I could use them for coasters or something of the sort, but hadn't yet found the surface treatment that sparked my interest.  I tried collage, oil paint, glass paint, you name was boring and quite honestly, cheesy.   When I discovered that alcohol inks only work on NON porous surfaces, I decided to give it a whirl.....I was amazed at the vibrancy of the colors and how the movement of the ink on the slick tile surface was rather  soothing.  I even brought my creations to a show alongside my oil paintings and the ink tiles outsold my oil paintings 10 to 1.  Long story short and hundreds of tiles later I am still learning about all of the capabilities of these inks, but I decided to try some works on paper with this technique for ease in framing, and after googling enough times, I found that Yupo Paper is perfect for these inks (don't be fooled by the paper the craft stores sell along side these inks, and glossy photo paper doesn't work either.....Yupo is the way to go)  Here are a few of my creations from today, I like to do these when I'm in a rut with painting or just simply don't have time to start one.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Candy Apple

6x6 oil on panel click HERE to bid

 I've wanted to paint a candy apple since I saw one painted by fellow artist Kelley MacDonald some time ago.  We have a number of fruit trees on our property and this is the first year we took great pains to spray for bugs and blight and we were rewarded with a great crop of apples.  When I saw the candy apple making kit in the store I had to buy it.  Here's my photo reference, feel free to use it if you've always wanted to paint one too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Covered Bridge

11x14 oil on linen board  Click here to bid 

Now that fall is finally here I am hoping to post and paint more regularly.  Show season is officially over with the exception of a December widget (craft) show (widgets are things I make that are low in price and SELL, like tiny paintings, magnets, jewelry, etc....Widgets are not real art but they help pay the bills especially around the holidays.  I like making widgets sometimes, it's a nice diversion from painting.)  This painting is from a painting retreat I went to last month in French Lick, Indiana compliments of a wonderful friend and fellow artist Marianne Van Rohr.  We met at a workshop last year and i attended another workshop this past spring with her.  She generously shared her timeshare with fellow artists and we had a wonderful week of fellowship, painting, and visiting.  We took many photos of this idyllic town so I'm certain you will see more of them in the near future.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Playing with Alcohol

8x10 on acetate

4x4 tiles
Now that the summer show season is winding down, I have time to play a little.  We've had cases upon cases of plain ceramic tile in storage waiting for me to find something creative to do something with and I think I've found it. These would make great coasters or a backsplash in a kitchen, or even framed alone.  Made with alcohol inks (purchased at any craft supply store in the stamping section) these inks only work on non porous surfaces(like glazed tile or acetate)  No brushes used!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm Back!

6x6 oil on panel $50 click HERE to buy

I'm back!!  I'm sure some of you thought I'd given up painting and gone on walkabout somewhere but I have been just as busy as ever, but decided to take the summer off from blogging to recharge my brain.  I have lots to share, but for now I will just share a painting I created during the Black Swamp Arts Festival this weekend.  I traded one of my not so famous cupcake paintings with a local cupcake shop for some cupcakes to paint while I sat in my booth. This is the first time I'm dared to venture out and paint publically and I was surprised at how I didn't seem to mind it as much as I thought.  People were very gracious and most just watched without comment, something I was worried would be too distracting for me.  Here is the first one I created yesterday.  Unfortunately the free cupcake offer is no longer valid (sluuurp)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SOS please help an artist in need

For those of you that have been following my blog since I started, you know that one of my dearest and most loyal friends has been battling colon cancer for the past year and a half.  He has undergone major surgery, radiation, and ongoing chemotherapy.  Two months ago he received the news that everyone was dreading: 6 months at best.  Scott has been out of work since he began battling his illness and the medical bills are piling up, as well as regular household bills.   As he continues to try to fight this horrible disease with experimental treatment, he lives in a sweltering old house with his wife and 2 children with an electrical system that won't support air conditioning.  I know this past Father's Day was bittersweet for him, and it's too painful to imagine how this summer home with his kids must be for him. Even the thought of a final family vacation is just a pipe dream for Scott.  Final expenses will be an extreme hardship in not an impossibility for the family if a miracle doesn't show up. 

Scott is an artist like many of us and dreams of leaving this world with dignity and with a legacy. Throughout his struggle Scott has maintained the most positive attitude I have ever seen, always available to help his friends.  My wish is to raise enough money for the family as well as a scholorship fund to an art school in his honor, art is what keeps him going everyday and has been a huge part of dealing with his battle with cancer. 

 I know many of you have helped in the past when I asked for help for him, and I appreciate it more than you will ever know, but this time it is more important than ever, and no amount is too small. Even just sharing this story with your friends and followers is a gift.   I am organizing a major fundraiser in August in my hometown and if you wish to help or donate there are several ways you can do so, and one doesn't cost a cent.  In my life experience I have found artists to be the most generous of any other group of people.

1.  Donate a piece of art for our silent auction.  Scott's deep love and appreciation made this fundraiser a no-brainer, it has been his dream to have an event with artists and art from everywhere.  If you are willing to donate art or even another item for silent auction please contact me via email at for my mailing address.  I will be happy to pay for the cost of shipping, just let me know the cost.

2.  Sponsor one of Scott's friends or family members who otherwise could not afford to attend the event.  (or attend yourself!) Ticket prices are $50 each for the SOS Gala on August 10th and that price is simply out of reach for many.  Our theme will be Caribbean Treasure and will feature Glass City Steel Drums and other live bands and entertainment. Official details such as time and location will be available no later than this friday, but it will either be in Findlay Ohio or Toledo Ohio. Click the Donate button below for this option. (please specify with the donation if this is a sponsor or a ticket purchase) (if you wish to purchase or sponsor a table of 8, please email me directly at and I will send an invoice)  

3.  WIN a commissioned masterpiece.  My friend Kelly Alge who is the amazing glass artist that gave me my start in fused glass is selling a  chance to win a commissioned piece of your choice for a $5 donation. ($700 value) ..Here is an example of several of her recent pieces.   To donate for a chance to win a piece like this with your idea in mind click HERE   Feel free to enter as many times as you wish to increase your chances.

4.  Make a donation for ANY amount through paypal 

5.  Send him a message of hope.  Our theme for the Gala is SOS (support our Scott) and it will be a Caribbean party with messages in a bottle.  We will be collecting messages to put in a giant bottle for Scott to read as he continues his battle.  you may email me your message at  and I will add it to the bottle for the event.

6. Purchase one of his mugs or prints depicting one of his drawings of the drug attacking colon cancer OR breast cancer (his sister is currently fighting breast cancer) 
Here is his WEBSITE 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

View looking west before noon

I'm at the point in this painting where I am close to finished but don't want to "kill" it with unnecessary strokes. I'm going to walk away for a few hours and see what jumps put at me when I come back. Suggestions welcome.

Monday, June 18, 2012

View from my yard looking west

8x8 oil on panel click HERE to bid
8x8 oil on panel. It was a stormy day so I painted from a photo from last summer. This is a view I see every day and when the hay is near harvest as it is about now it creates an incredible golden contrast to the fresh green of the growing corn and soybeans of neighboring fields. I hope to capture this scene again from a different perspective.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Plein Air Crash

Little Red Schoolhouse 12x16 oil on canvas 
To bid click HERE

"Bobcat" Oil on Panel 8x10

"Plein Air Crash" 6x8 oil on linen 

Summers are always so busy and crazy and this one is no exception so I've decided not to put too much pressure on myself to blog as often as I'd like and maybe during the summer months, share updates weekly.  I've been working on my new skills I learned at Kyle Martin's workshop and I'm really learning how to see value and color temperature.  On of Kyle's bits of advice were to stop looking around for pretty pictures and look for good design and contrast.  So you will see that some of my subjects are a bit ordinary but It allows me to focus entirely on learning about value while painting plein air....the one of a farm scene had a bit of an "accident" after my easel tipped over under very suspicious circumstances since there was not even a hint of a breeze...hmmm one wonders one wonders....Anyway, I kind of like the effect of the accident.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kyle Martin aka "kmart" Workshop

12x16 oil on Panel  

Just a quick post and some pics from this weekend's workshop with Kyle. (to view his blog and artwork click HERE) We couldn't have asked for better weather or company for this plein air workshop. Kyle was an outstanding teacher with a lot of energy (more than me if that is possible...) We're already planning our second painting event with him hopefully this fall on Kelley's Island in Ohio.  This workshop was held in Lima Ohio at the studio of Ruth Ann Sturgill and all but 2 of the attendees were "alumni" from Carol Marine's workshop last year so we had a great time catching up on the "good ol days" and making new friends that fit right in to our eccentric little group.  I'll write more tomorrow about what I learned, but I can tell you this: I will be using a lot of sunscreen and bug spray this summer.....stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Catching up and Planning Ahead

I'm trying to plan ahead for an upcoming show I have at the end of July by framing some of my completed glass works and looking into how to display my 40 or so 6x6 paintings from this past winter......I have a painting workshop this weekend so I am excited to get back into painting again and leave the glass on the back burner for a bit......

Friday, June 1, 2012

Today's Efforts

 Both of these are about 4.5 x 5.5 inches fused glass.....
This one is approx 4.5x6.5

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Latest Obsession

Here are a few of my creations from my latest glass obsession.  I'm trying to paint in between but I'm just having so much fun with this glass I can't stop.  Photos simply do not do glass art justice.