Beach Designs

This post is going down a different path than my posts on painting. When the weather was frigid in Ohio, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Florida. Every morning I walked on the beach and created a design with whatever nature had to offer. I was awed by the intricate shapes and colors and thankful for the abundance. It’s good to slow down to just look and appreciate.

Beach Butterflies

So I gathered whatever interested me, usually two handfuls and sometimes a pocket. Tides and weather washed up new treasures every day. Near the dunes I found grasses and sticks.

A good morning catch

The first design incorporated broken pieces of dune fencing, probably damaged during hurricane Michael.

A special prayer

Some days I focused on shapes and some on color.


I even made a design near the camellias at Eden State Park.

Star of Eden

The designs were inspired by the book, Morning Altars by Day Schildkret. In the spring I am offering a workshop at Shepherd’s Corner in Blacklick for anyone who wants to see spend some time to appreciating the variety and beauty of nature in Ohio.

Venus on a Half Shell

Being Creative with a Traditional Theme

When I saw the announcement from the Martin De Porres Center for a show titled, “Sacred Images of Jesus and Mary” I wasn’t sure I wanted to enter.  The theme brought to mind the religious art of centuries past that you see in museums or on Christmas cards.  The show was an opportunity to show art that might not be accepted in secular spaces and for the De Porres Center to obtain art for their annual Christmas card. There were no prizes.  Although the venue is beautiful, the events held there are not likely to result in sales.



I waited to see when and if inspiration might strike and I can’t say that I did a lot to encourage it until about a week before the September 14th deadline.  Then  I went through a stash of old Christmas cards and a few books looking for a concept.  I happened upon a doodle in my sketchbook for a very stylized Christmas card that I made for my family a few years ago.  I decided on a square canvas and began to refine it.

It’s pretty traditional.  I thought the heart-shaped window made of stone was a little creative and I wanted to make sure the people looked at least somewhat Middle Eastern.

When I went to the show’s opening I was really impressed by the creativity, especially by the artists from the group, Creative Women of Color.  The photos below include some of their work.

“The Guardian II” by Kenya Davis

“Chosen” by Janet George











This was a large painting done on plywood with charcoal.




Here is my painting hanging with some of the more traditional ones. 


This is the painting by artist Patricia Howard that was chosen for the Christmas card.

It wasn’t until I wrote this blog that I realized that I’ve entered three shows with a spiritual theme in the last few years and all three entries included faces of women.  Something to think about??

State Fair 2018

Butter cow?  Ferris wheel?  Pigs?  Cotton candy?  No shortage of things to paint at the state fair.  This year’s plein air competition started on Wed. July 25, the first day of the fair with check-in at the Cox Fine Arts building on the south side of the fairgrounds.  Unfortunately the parking passes they gave to competitors were for the north lot, so the day began with a trek to get canvases stamped.



I knew I wanted a midway picture because nothing says Ohio State Fair like lemon shake-ups, tents and rides.  I found a sweet spot away from the crowds with reliable shade for several hours.  This painting spent a long time at the ugly stage so there weren’t too many folks stopping to chat.

The best part of that day was when the All-Ohio State Fair Marching Band stopped right in front of me for a concert.  They were awesome!  You have to be young to do march and make music in the hot sun.  I worked a few of them into my painting very quickly.  It was hot and humid so I ate lunch and trekked back across the grounds before 1:30.



On the way out the first day, I checked out the Budweiser Clydesdales.  When one of them gave me the most soulful look,  I decided I’d spend the next day painting there. (Their tent was also a shorter walk from the parking lot!) 

The next morning I asked one of the attendants about their schedule. I had to make sure they wouldn’t be leaving in the middle of my painting.  They weren’t due to parade till 4:00.  The attendants graciously  let me work in their restricted area while one of them washed each horse’s feet.   I had plenty of time to paint various horses in the same pose. The one in the painting is a composite. I had plenty of onlookers this time.  Everybody loves the Clydesdales!

Spa Day

After the shampooing was complete I stayed to do a portrait. Ivan wasn’t into posing. It was interesting to watch all the work that the crew does to keep those horses looking good and feeling healthy.

On the last day I decided to pay for parking by the south gate so I could drop off frames at the Cox Fine Art Center.

I headed out to find some cooperative cows to paint.  At the OSU Veterinary Medicine area they had dairy cows and three of them were due to calf soon.  I did a jillion quick sketches up close but couldn’t get anything I liked.  Then I stepped back and decided to include the vet student on maternity watch in the painting.  This was a quick one.

Maternity Ward

So I framed and entered Spa Day and Maternity Ward and went home to put my feet up.  There were some truly outstanding entries in the competition, but none of those award winners are on this page.  No matter.  I tried something new and had lots of fun.