Fireside Women Warriors

Fireside Women Warriors

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My People, My Land

At the advice of my sister, I decided to post this page from my sketchbook.  I did it October 2nd while we were staying in Los Angeles while Bruce was in the hospital at the VA. 

The inspiration for this sketch was from a face of a man I sketched while waiting in the hospital. He is all of us in a sense because we are all people of the land, the earth.  We are all caretakers of the planet.  He, dressed in white in the colorful surroundings of the world as he sings his song of freedom.  Is he free from illness or oppression?  Is he celebrating a recent victory? Or is he standing to march for something he believes in?  The point is he, this man is celebrating a freedom. 

In 1854, Chief Seattle of the Puget Sound Suquamish tribe solemnly handed over his territory and his people to the sovereignity of the United States.  this speech he gave serves as inspiration to all of us with our relations to each other and to our land. 

"Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother.  Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.  If men spit upon the ground, they spit on themselves.  This we know: the earth does not belong to man-man belongs to the earth.  This we know.  all things are connected like the blood that unites one family.  All things are connected."
-Chief Seattle 

It seems that this sketch as it evolved from my mind with inspiration will be part of the Mother Earth series.  Perhaps the father figure needs a place of importance in this body of work.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Universe Goddesses

The Universe Goddesses is the first picture in my Mother Earth series of work that I am currently working on.  It started out with an idea of the times of the day.  The mysterious night, the in between of dawn and dusk of the day and the light of the day.  The first goddess is one with the night she is partly covered by the night.  The second is beginning to see the change in herself with the start and end of the day.  The third balances the earth and life on the planet.  From her springs the life on Earth.  She carries the planet and walks the earth with her creatures.  

This picture contains sheet music, stamps, papers, watercolor pictures and acrylic paint.  They are combined to create the composition.  The painting was created recently during personal transition for me and my family.  I personally love the mystical and the color of life.  Adding each element to the painting is the fun of the work.  I hope you enjoy this series of work.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Golden Double Eagles

After spending the weekend in Santa Barbara, California with our friends, we drove back to San Luis Obispo via of Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and the Foxen Canyon road.  On the drive I noticed 2 Golden Eagles and a hawk flying away.  With the sight of eagle, I am always inspired as Eagle is my totem.  To see 2 of them was true inspiration.  Double Eagles are very symbolic in ancient times mostly one eagle with 2 heads. 

There were quite a few deer sightings and even 2 wild turkeys that day.  The autumn in the Central Coast region is beautiful with that feeling of fall and the smells of change in the air.  Change is always good and inevitable.  I decided to paint this acrylic in my sketchbook to use as future reference material for paintings. 

The day before at the Santa Barbara zoo, we saw a young juvenile outside of the fence on a pole looking into the caged bald eagles that had been rescued and now part of the exhibit.  Also were condors, the first I've seen. 

Eagle is the sacred messenger, carrying our prayers to the Creator and returning with gifts and visions for the people.  Golden Eagle flies higher than any other bird and, in many traditions, is the spirit keeper of the East, from whence comes dawn and illumination of the darkness.  If Eagle has blessed you with its presence in some way, you are being given potent gifts of clarity and vision to use for the good of all people.  You can bring forth light out of the darkness.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Whispers of Spring

In "Whispers of Spring" there is a a symbol of the 2 ladies in one that reoccurs in my work. I am very fond of this image.  To me, it expresses much.  It is the woman that we all are with at least 2 faces.  She faces herself her true self and her imagined self.  We all have many faces we present to others and our self.  Spring is the season of renewal.  The weather changes as does our life.  Personally, this has been a season of much change in my own life.  But with Spring there is always the hope of change, the growth of leaves, flowers and birdsong.  All of which are in this painting. 

I have this painting hanging in my studio as I am reminded of the strength and weakness we all have within ourselves.  It is layered with papers and paint which glaze through to produce many colors in the work.  There are the 3 watercolors, the mirror image of the woman, the flower in full blossom and the bluebird singing in the sunshine.  We have the sound of the birds throughout the day with their brighter colors of spring with longer days and more sunshine. 

Are we whispering the songs on the wind?  Sometimes is that what we hear our own true voice?  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Angel of the Evening

There is an ancient town in the hills of Italy.  Below the town are the Greek ruins of a temple.  In the evening as the sun sets, the people feel they have been blessed by a special gift.  It seems that as the sun sets, they all feel a connection to each other.  They walk the main street, stop at sidewalk cafes for a visit and a drink together.  The children run and play together and the adults visit and sit at the outdoor cafes talking about the days events.  Teenagers get together, talk and walk in groups.  Everyone knows one another and they share stories of their day and  life together in the town.  They have been friends for many generations these families.  Sometimes they share a meal.  There is music and laughter in the air and the wonderful smell of food.  This is their social life.  Is it the Angel of the Evening that keeps watch over them?  They share happiness and sorrow. 

I wanted to paint a picture of an angel that appears to float across the landscape.  The warm colors of the beginning of dusk with the bright colors of the evening.  There is for me a love of the temples from ancient peoples.  It seems that they are always in a very spiritual spot and when you visit these sites, you get the feeling of a guardian, presence of spirit, the transcending of human understanding.  They are always beautiful places and I wanted to capture that in this painting.  I love the old with the ancient in the towns of Europe.  I imaging the torn sheet music to be steps to the ancient temple.  On the lower left hand corner is a ghost image of a woman and a man.  They appeared in the work as I painted. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Chaos, was the first picture I painted when I started this series of work for my show this March.  The interesting element in this painting is that the reaction of the viewer is either love or hate.  There are quite a few people that have viewed this painting that are very facinated by it.  The inspiration for the work was an article I read in Vanity Fair magazine about Peter Max, the pop artist.  His work is very colorful using many primary and secondary colors.  It was the first that I did in mixed media for this project.

I had this canvas at the cabin and started the painting with the sailboat image.  I painted in a backround and used tissue paper in the work.  It sat on my easel for about 4 months.  When I returned I looked at the work and it was really boring.  It had the holy card of "Our Lady of Guadalupe and was to be a vision looking out a window.  However, I started with the colors and couldn't stop myself.  I like abstract expression and the feel of the pure color in this work.  It has layers built up with paint and papers. 

During my show in the Gallery, I put the painting in a prominent spot.  Walking up the stairs, it was an image that attracted people to engage themselves in the work.  Watching people looking at this painting was really interesting.  With this work the emotion was either love or hate.

Now that my work is home, this one I am hanging in my hallway.  

Yesterday was life drawing open studio at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.  I sometimes refer to it as a "class" but it isn't.  Life drawing is a group of artists that get together to draw a live nude model.  In this case, Jessica, one of my favorite models.  She is a beautiful woman and one that I have a connection with.  This painting was a 25 minute work.  Some of the other stuff in the session was great.  We work for 3 hours with a break.  There is great music and the studio manager, Dona, a treasure.  So, this is "hot off the press."

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Lady of the Flowers

This painting is in the Gallery at Marina Square as part of my ongoing exhibit.  Tomorrow I will be taking down my show.  It was really an interesting experience having this show.  I am very grateful to everyone that came to see my work. 

The Lady of the Flowers started with a different story.  But one day while working in the Gallery, a man was looking at the work and I struck up a conversation with him explaining the stories of some of the paintings.  I told him my story of this lady.  He told me his which is the one I now will relate to you as it is much better than mine.

Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States,United Kingdon, Canada and Germany during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil "morale booster" — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front. 

This lady planted the veggie, fruit and herbs as people did during the war.  Her garden was wonderful and she worked in the garden every day she could.  Her garden was so sucessful that she was able to share her food with others that herself.  She considered herself lucky to have land to plant a garden.  She even planted her front yard rather than grow grass. 

After the war, she planted flowers and when they bloomed, she celebrated her own victory.

This painting was a vision of a woman that I wanted to show in her garden with her dress blossoming into flowers.  She is one of the models from my life drawing sessions.  I love her happy expression and this painting was done in a couple of days, the weather was sunny and nice when I painted it.  It is an 12x9" painting. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Coyote Woman of the Praire

She looks out at the Prairie seeing a lone buffalo in the distance.  Stopping at an oasis, she takes a sip of water.  Her faithful companion is coyote.  This woman has led a hard life.  She is forever influenced by the elements.  The weather changes with each season and she must adapt.  She walks in the tall prairie grass.  The wind brings sweet breezes.  Forever she can see, she is part of the big sky.  The music of the prairie is the birdsong, the call of the animals and the breeze itself.  Her shelter, she builds where ever she decides to spend several days.  She is a nomadic woman.  There is a scar across her face, she considers it a part of her beauty.  She has a clear voice and loves to sing.  There are others like her but they are all solitary creatures. 

Coyote has been called the trickster and he is both the great one and the foolish one.  Coyote does not consciously  try to trick us, but because Coyote and two-legged are very much alike, he mirrors our own human capacity for displaying cleverness and stupidity, sometimes both at once.  Just like Coyote, we can work with others to get what we want in life or we can dive into the lake to catch a reflection.  We can send troubles away or invite them carelessly.  If Coyote has wandered into your life, you are being asked to look at something you have been avoiding.  Coyote is the mirror for the lessons we need to learn in order to walk a good, sacred road.  Coyote will hold up the mirror relentlessly until we finally get the picture.  Call on Coyote as an ally for negotiating a difficult situation.  Or thank him for coming and showing you a trap that you are caught in, or a way you are fooling yourself.  Coyote is an especially powerful teacher with regard to relationships, because it is when we are in a relationship that we can fool ourselves the most.  Coyote is not out there to get us but to teach us, whether we want to learn or not.

Well, considering events of today, it is interesting that I would choose this picture and story to post.

Gallery closed for Friday's Exhibition

So, this morning our daughter sent her Dad a text to tell her about the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.  In Morro Bay, Embarcadero Street has been closed and evacuated due to high waves.  It seems there has been some damage and 6 foot waves.  So, what can I say?  My sister says it is an Act of God.  My husband wants to know what we are going to do with all the food.  The Featured Artist and Guest Artist provide food for the show.  Me, well, I have worked for over 6 months on this show with 25 paintings.  These paintings will be at the Gallery and may be seen by visiting the Gallery this month.  However, this will not stop me with my stories about the work...

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Lady of Windsong

She stands in a field of red poppies.  There is a warm breeze that blows along the praire.  Some have suggested that she is in Tuscany Italy but in fact she is in Montana.  It is late summer and she walks along a path and stops to enjoy the sweet smell of the plains.  She thinks of places she has been and hears the music on the wind.  There is the musical birdsong of meadowlarks and in distant, their singing echos in the air.  It is this sound that always makes her think of her home, the place she was born.  She remembers that clean fresh air from her childhood that is still in this place.  It fills her soul with happiness.  Wherever she is in the world, there are places that compare to her home.  But, there is that special feeling that she feels when she enters Montana that makes her heart sing.  It is this special longing that brings her back from time to time. 

This painting was actually painted in Montana.  There were suggestions from my family as I worked.  It was fun to layer the papers and paint that contribute to the work.  The poppies are torn pieces of paper.  This was another fun painting to do that has many layers to create depth. 

I worked in the Gallery on Wednesday and the people that looked at the exhibit saw their own story in the work.  I may add one gentleman's story to one of the paintings for fun.  I like the viewer to invent their own story.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our Lady of the Comet

It is the tropics at sunset.  She turns to look at the sky and sees the comet. There are also stars and it is a moonless night.  There is music in the air.  She longs to travel to distant places and wonders about the other people and their thoughts as they watch the comet.  There is a floral fragrance to the evening.  Her eyes look into the distance and she sees the tropical shoreline.  The night is so calm, the bee travels back to it's home.  Her friends are laughing and enjoying the comet as they watch behind her. We are also viewing with them. It is warm and a soft breeze starts to move the air.  As the stars fill the sky, she and her friends decide to walk to a restaurant to have dinner and enjoy their meal outside.  Everywhere people are talking about the comet.  Here in this part of the world, they experience sunsets quickly and the day is divided half by night time and half by day.  The birds are now gone and the only sounds are the sea, the music and conversation. 

She is a wonderful musican and writes music.  He voice is clear and when she sings people are in awe.  She is filled with happiness and wonder.  She will write a song about this day.

This was one of the first paintings that started with the image sketched and then painted on the sheet music.  The colors are metallic and shimmer in different lights.  They are layered on the canvas to create depth.  The flowers and the bee are watercolor.  I like the back of the female nude and it is one of my favorite things to paint.  It seems there is always a mystery with a person painted this way. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Lovers Story

They see each other from across the room in a cafe in Taromina, Sicily.  She is young he older.  He realizes that he can only talk to her but not have a relationship with her.  Although the women are no longer chaperoned, it is still old fashioned in this part of Italy.  The years pass by and she turns 21.  He sees her again with her friends.  They start to date and then get engaged.  He has waited a long time for her and his heart still yearns for her.  She is happy and fun.  He is charming and very much a gentleman.  He sends her flowers, love letters and small gifts.  She finds that she has loved him from the moment she saw him.  They marry and she has saved every scrap of paper and gift he has given her.  Always, they enjoy the sunset together and walk  the passegeggiata in the evening.

This painting started with the dark papers and the blue paint.  You can see Mount Etna in the distance next to the town.  It is both painterly and linear.  It is my impression of my favorite town in Sicily, Taromina.  The town has no cars.  You drive to a large parking lot and walk to your hotel.  The view is to the south.  Taromina lies on the slopes of Monte Tauro and overlooks the sea.  It is a treasure and the site of remnants of its Greek and Roman past.  It is very romantic.  It is my favorite town in Sicily.  I chose to keep the colors in the painting and draw the town rather than paint it.  For almost a month, I left the spot where the Lovers are blank.  Then one evening, I picked up a watercolor pencil and added the Lovers.  She has several trees in her hair. I think it is time to go back to Taromina. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Ladies of Spring Song

Today I went to the Gallery and set up for my month long show.  I have lots of space and various sizes of paintings.  The day starts sunny and cold but turns into a wonderful warm day.  I sat, had coffee and breakfast at Top Dog in Morro Bay before I set up the show.  While I was there, I  made my tags for the paintings.  It has been a while since I sat and listened to people in a coffee shop.  There is a certain amount of comfort sitting and listening to conversation that covered a range of subjects.  

What are these ladies in "The Ladies of Spring Song" doing?  Well, they are delighted that there is birdsong and warm sunshine.  They are dancing and casting their fate to the wind, a warm breeze because there is a dragonfly.  Dragonflies are transformed into adults and have amazing flight capabilities.  They are able to hover and fly forwards backwards and up and down.  They have spectacular colors which sparkle with the sunlight.  When you see Dragonfly, you know the day will be warm. 

The power of Dragonfly brings to the tapestry of life is skill.  They are experts at what they do.  If you have skills that support you well, that does not mean you should stop learning and growing and adapting.  We need to continue to gain knowledge and abilities for the future, even if we are quite skilled at something.

These ladies are carefree and happy.  They are dancing to celebrate spring and the music of birdsong.  Sometimes when I walk in the morning along the Lake, I hear the sounds of birds, meadowlarks, robins, hawks and even blackbirds.  Their music brings a wonderful melody to the air.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to just throw you fate to the wind and dance with your friends in the nude?  Well, that is what they are doing in a field of lovely flowers.  How lucky is that?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mermaids Song and La Bella Sirena

Mermaids Song

I woke one morning and decided to do a mermaid painting.  What is there about the mystical creature half human being and half fish?  She is the mighty sea goddess that protects the depths of the sea.  Sailors saw them in the waves.  Ran, as she is known in Scandinavia, Sedna, the goddess of the sea and honored by the Inuit people and Yemoja is the mother of all waters on earth in Nigeria, Central America, Haiti and Cuba, to name a few.  So, this is one of my interpertations of the mermaid. 

The use of colorful papers, sheet music and metallic pigments started the work.  As it evolved, I looked for the perfect Maiden to add into the picture half watercolor and half acrylic paints.  She is surrounded by the fish as if they are her pets.  This was a fun painting because it was easy to paint.  I had several mermaids to work with from life drawing.  This one was a cut out of watercolor paper as is the next.

 In this group of work, I did 3 mermaids and 2 of them will be in the show. 


La Bella Sirena

This painting is the largest one in the show.  I imagined the mermaid swimming to shore to sit  on a rock and watch the sunset.  The stars are popping out of the sky, the sun has already set.  There is a sailboat and people in the boat.  From my collection of stamps, I found a dolphin and sea turtle.  There is also a lighthouse stamp.  The waves crash on the rock and she looks to the sailboat.  A seagull fllies over.  She is more traditional, her tail more fishlike.  I imagine that she will jump into the sea and follow the boat until the sky is completely dark.  Then again, perhaps she will watch for all the stars to come out on this dark clear night and then depart to go back to her home. 

The work on this canvas was painted many layers to achieve rich color.  This was a week in progress.  The painting and contributing elements were researched even the stars, you see the big dipper and surrounding stars.  Inspiration came from trips to the ocean.  Pismo Beach is only 8 miles from the house and the color of the ocean seems to change with the light.  Sometimes I wonder if the surfers see visions as they paddle to catch the waves. 

Friday, February 25, 2011


This is the gift of warmth and growth.  After the winter is over, a place of innocence and trust.  It is a place of introspection, of looking within ones spirit.  She imagines what life was like in the past.  Where did we come from?  What is it that makes us create.  She tells her lover many stories as she imagines them in her mind.  Spread before her are maps, stamps and ephemera she has collected.  She is my version of Scheherazade.

When creating this painting I imagined the beauty of the female human form stylized.  Drawing on the sheet music creates an interesting "click" in the brain as if a switch is turned on.  My 5 minute sketches in life drawing are created on the sheet music.  The colors and papers add to the story.

Feathers are the symbols of prayers.  They represent the Creative Force.

The Hand represents the presence of Man, his work, his legacy, his achievements.  It also represents the Creative Spirit.

Arrows connote direction for a movement power of travel and the pathway breath of the life force.

This is the story but you may see something in the work that is your own story.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This is the time...

The power enters the soul.  It is the beginning of the dreamer within.  The dreaming soul contacts the higher planes and brings back visions that serve as fundamental guide posts in life.  Sympathy for life grows. 

"The Fireside Women Warriors" developed while I painted.  I became aware that the colors I was using were the colors of the evening campfire.  These ladies were painted on sheet music.  There is always music in my studio while I paint.  Sometimes an image comes into my mind and I must capture it.  Other times the image emerges while I paint. 

 I love the cave art.  It is beautiful and enticing.  Just yesterday I read an interview with Werner Herzog in Archaeology magazine about the 3D film that he made in Chauvet Cave in southeastern France.  It is facinating to imagine what this art looks like from the pictures we have all seen.  I have incorporated the animals in the work I paint and most likely will continue. 

Working on my show as Featured Artist at Gallery at Marina Square in Morro Bay, California for the last  months, I have produced  30 paintings.  Some are on display in the Gallery, others will be on display the month of March.  I will be posting images from this show in the following days.  There were 3 paintings that I decided to keep.  The "Fireside Women Warriors" is one of those paintings I am keeping. 

More to come...