Thursday, May 23, 2013

Never Stop Living!

plein air, 8" x 16", oil, 'By the Pond'

Create an adventure in your life today, something crazy, joyful and exciting! 
Open yourself to new opportunities. Whatever it is, life is moving on. Climb aboard.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


plein air, 8" x 10", oil, 'Last Sanpete Sunset'

I didn't realize this would be the last sunset Mr. Mount Pleasant would ever see again! It is comforting to have a record of how the sky looked on that beautiful May evening in the Cedar Hills west of town.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nerves are Quaking!

studio, 9" x 12", oil, 'Up on Top of the Hill'

It was an ATV ride on the Skyline Drive that seemed to quite my mind and nervousness for decisions needing to be made. Fresh air, high elevation, and sunshine are a good mixture along with companionship. On the ride we met up with an old sheepherder tracking down his wandering ewes coming up a side hill on a quakie draw. The grizzled figure dismounted his horse, introduced himself, then shared stories and his sage advice about life. I felt like he was talking directly to my heart and soul, somehow knowing or sensing my circumstances of indecision. Never had I met him nor will I see him again but....I will never forget his intuition and common sense when our paths crossed up on top of the hill.   

Monday, May 20, 2013


plein air, 9" x 12", oil, 'Sunburst'

"Some people feel the rain, 
Others just get wet."

Roger Miller

I was caught in a drenching spring rain storm while changing the sprinkler lines one afternoon on the farm. I had just changed my wet clothes at the house, when I looked outside to see the sun bursting out of the cloud bank and lighting up the horizon with luminous color and reflective puddles of water. I ran to the lane with my back pack and painting gear, threw a panel on my easel and started to capture the beauty before me. It wasn't until after my last few strokes of paint that I realized I was in my pajamas!  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sunset Speed: Mach 3+

plein air, 9" x 11", oil, 'In a Hurry'

Chasing the light at sunset is a challenge. I had been painting in a different direction on the farm for over an hour when I glanced over my shoulder and realized how dynamic the sunset was getting with each passing minute. I threw another panel on and turned my easel to the west quickly trying to capture the vibrate colors "in a hurry!" 

Going , going... another day gone!  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Have Patience

study, 4" x 8", oil, 'Aspens'

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. 
Never make a negative decision in the low time. 
Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. 
Be patient. 
The storm will pass. 
The spring will come.

Robert H. Schuller

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Going on 102 years old...

studio, 12" x 16", oil, 'Mother's Passion'

This is part of a collage I created for the celebration of my Mother's 100th birthday in 2011.
Here are just a few interesting facts about Edith Freeman Elswood :

Born October 25, 1911
Grand daughter of Utah pioneers
Worked on her father's farm in Riverton, Utah
Hand dipped chocolates for Sweets Candy
Traveled for adventure and employment to sunny California  
Married June 21, 1935
Relief Society President during World War II
 Garden Club Member in Salt Lake City, Utah
PTA President in the 1950's
Single mother of four children
Held two part time jobs as a book keeper
Graduated from college after age 60
Served three LDS missions to Texas, California, and Utah
Line dancing at age 90
Loves her family, God and country
and ...
We love her! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Do Geraniums Stink?

plein air, 10" x 8", oil, 'Ellen's Geraniums'

Some people think geraniums smell really bad! Personally, they are one of my favorite flowers because I can bring them inside in the fall to have beautiful blooms adorn my windows all winter long. Even a bit neglected, they seem to thrive. I only notice their strong fragrance when I remove the spent blossoms.

I love to paint geranium florals, especially the vivid flowering reds against the complementary leafy greens. Stunning not stinky!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Progress and Innovations

plein air, 12" x 6", oil, 'Onward and Upward'

Challenges help us to move forward. 
Without them we have no incentive to do anything different.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Divine Intervention

plein air, 8" x 16", oil, 'Cathedral Rock'

A few years ago I had the opportunity to be in Sedona, Arizona with Jill Carver and a few other wonderful artists as we were taking her workshop prior to the Sedona Plein Air. One of the ideal painting spots was at Catherdral Rock. I had set up my easel and proceeded to do my quick sketch when several people tromped by, then a few more. They all asked the same question, "Is it here?" I wasn't sure what they were looking for, so after several more came by, I asked what they were trying to find. With great enthusiasm they replied, "The Vortex!"  I hadn't realized until then, but I was right in the middle of a pilgrimage of seekers looking for divine guidance. 

Plein air painters from all over the USA.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Art Titles - The Voyage of Imagination and Discovery

plein air, 10" x 8", oil, 'Desert Surprise'

Does an artist create a painting first and then title the painting? Or does the artist have a title in mind and then creates a painting to fit the title?

Robert Genn, in his inspirational art newsletter, The Painter's Keys has said this, "Most of us paint first and title last. Sometimes, about the middle, a title just pops out of the ether. And there are a few of us who get a title in our heads and figure out the work to go with it. Particularly with whimsical and didactic art, this last system is worth considering. The right title makes a difference as to how a work is seen and understood. Not only are titles a bridge to the viewer, they are also part of the art."

Genn suggested there are five main kinds of titles:
and Mysterious.

I know several artists who have complained about how difficult it is to figure out names for their art work. They resort to titling numerically because they are pressed for time or they haven't thoughtfully prepared a list of ideas.  

Dr. Paula McNeil, an associate Professor of Art at the Valdosta State University in Georgia, gave a presentation about the life and work of Utah wildlife painter Randsom Owens for 2008 Everett Ruess Days.  She asked how he came up with names for his paintings. Randsom said his titles for some of his art came to him in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. Sometimes he would see words come together in various places like on bill boards, cards, magazines, etc. Or he would have an idea come to him as he was driving in his truck in the mountains that inspired him for a future painting. He said he was never to far from a notebook and pencil when the ideas arrived.

I tried his suggestion in my travels and have now collected over 1,000 art titles by doing these four simple steps.   
  1. ALWAYS have a notebook and pen close at hand while driving or as a passenger.
  2. LOOK at rich print everywhere. Advertising, billboards, street names, businesses, signs, etc.
  3. WRITE it down as best you can without driving off the side of the road!
  4. COPY your notes onto a spreadsheet at your computer. 
You will be surprised how quickly the list grows over time. It's easy to do and convenient to have. Just try it!

I found this advertisement at the Paris airport and used it for a blog post title last week.