A few photos of my new work space!

“The studio is less important than other things, like the burning desire to paint. If you don’t have this disease, you can’t catch it from a nice studio.” -Warren Criswell

My new studio is still a work in progress as you can see in the photos (click to see them larger). It’s a daylight/walk-out basement. I can already feel my work changing. There’s an uncertainty as I get to know the personalty of this new space. The only constant is my companion – Watson and he’s not waiting on the next-great-painting — he’s waiting on me to throw his ball! It’s good to have a little reality around -)

“This job — as well as the plight and the unexpected joy — of the artist is to embrace uncertainty — to be sharpened and honed by it.” -Maria Popover

Posted in folk art, Judy Shreve, studio space | 5 Comments

Leopold Joins the Rabbit Family

“Instead of discussing with myself every morning whether I feel inspired or not, I step into my office every day at nine sharp, open the window and politely ask the muse to enter and kiss me. Sometimes she comes in, more often she does not. But she can never claim she hasn’t found me waiting in the right place.” –historical novelist – Peter Prange

Leopold acrylics, charcoal, cold wax 18x12 birch panel

acrylics, charcoal, cold wax
18×12 birch panel

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able go into my studio every morning again. Life is finally back to a rhythm that fosters creativity. But at first I found myself lost — not just in a new studio where everything seems to be in the wrong place – but also lost in being able to tap into my imagination. It’s taken a couple of weeks to shut down that task master mind and pick up the brushes again. One thing that always seems to help is to add to my family of rabbits. The rabbits come quickly and seem to not want me involved in their development. In fact Leopold’s expression seems to be critical and cranky -lol.

I have lots of family and friends in northern Idaho. They are dealing with horrendous drought conditions and wildfires. Ash is on everything they own — the sky is a weird red tone. Life is only about the fires and survival. I dreamed about rescuing them last night. And this painting is the first thing I did when I woke up this morning.  My hope is that this bird can heal the fires with it’s dance and morning songs.

Rain Dancer acrylics, charcoal, cold wax 18.5x12 birch panel

Rain Dancer
acrylics, charcoal, cold wax
18.5×12 birch panel

“Once upon a time when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy.” -Terry Tempest Williams

Posted in acrylics, charcoal, folk art, Judy Shreve, rabbits | 6 Comments

Paintings Can Always Change – and – Gallery News

“Men have forgotten this truth, said the fox. But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Bird Listener acrylics, charcoal, cold wax 24x24 birch panel

The Bird Listener
acrylics, charcoal, cold wax
24×24 birch panel

This painting didn’t finish this way the first time. I posted the image below on FB the other day, thinking it was completed.

The Bird Listener - Work In Progress

The Bird Listener – Work In Progress

But as I thought about what I was trying to convey with the painting, the image didn’t quite tell the story. This piece – to me – is about the importance of taking care of our environment. I wanted the bird to look as if it was pleading for help. But the green trees made it difficult to understand what the bird might be asking for. The green trees seemed to confuse the message. It needed to be starker – it needed to look as if there were no place for the bird and that you get the feeling the bird is asking for help. I am happier with the painting now. What do you think?

I delivered some new work to High Country Art And Antique in Blue Ridge GA on Sunday:

And this piece sold yesterday:

Did You Hear The One About the Big Cat and the Fish Out of Water? (14x18)

Did You Hear The One About the Big Cat and the Fish Out of Water? (14×18)

It was at High Country Art & Antique. The new owner who doesn’t live anywhere near the gallery, found me on FB and ‘messaged’ me about how to purchase it. She had seen it online. The gallery handled the sale and is shipping it directly to her.  YAY — thank you so much, Paula. I hope you enjoy it.

“If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.” -Edward Hopper

Posted in folk art, galleries, Judy Shreve, painting | 8 Comments

Saturday In The City – It’s A Zoo!

“Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart” -Kahill Gibran

Saturday In The City - It's A Zoo! acrylics, charcoal,cold wax 20x18 birch panel

Saturday In The City – It’s A Zoo!
acrylics, charcoal, cold wax
20×18 birch panel

I’ve been thinking about ‘personal voice’ lately. Today the internet makes it’s so easy to create a visual library of all the artwork you love. There’s Tumblr and Instagram and Flickr – which is a wonderful thing, except that it makes it too easy to compare our own work to what we think is good art. And I think that is what makes it harder to find our own voice. We become too self-critical. We measure instead of digging deeply to find our own style.

It’s one thing to learn about your materials, but to discover your own personal style takes a different kind of work. I don’t think you can learn it from a book. Personal voice is that underlying ‘why’ of our passion. It needs to be uncovered — not created. In fact I think you might not like what you find at first – but by embracing it, becoming comfortable with it, you can learn to be in that unique place for which you are wired. It’s a little like meditation. You have to tune-out the distractions; tune out all that great work you’ve seen and think you need to make. It’s about discovering who you are and learning to express it.

Life is about connecting with one another. We each have our own unique way of telling our stories – the truer they are, the better the connection. Some days it’s easier than others to tune out those distractions, but when it happens with something you’re working on — you know it and it feels amazing!

“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” -Ben Sweetland

Posted in acrylics, art philosophy, folk art, Judy Shreve, painting | 7 Comments

Uptown Funky Chicken

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.” -Barbara Kingsolver

Uptown Funky Chicken acrylics, charcoal, cold wax 18x20 birch panel

Uptown Funky Chicken
acrylics, charcoal, cold wax
18×20 birch panel

It is so very wonderful to wake each morning and be able to spend a few hours in my studio. All of the big chores from moving are done! YAY! So back to making work. My list making can be replaced by daydreaming again. Even though I’ve moved uptown (at least during the week), I’m still painting chickens — well with a city skyline.

I love the mountains, but it sure is nice to hop in the car and go in a local store that carries what you’re looking for. Shopping is definitely a challenge when you live rurally. I did a lot of online shopping which requires planning ahead and patience. Neither of which are my best traits.

Going from a couple of acres – surrounded by forests and braying goats is very different than living sharing walls. It’s nice there’s no yard work, but I haven’t lived this close to neighbors in a very long time. We audibly sigh when we walk back in the door of our mountain home. I feel very blessed to be able to live in both worlds.

“In the universe, there are things that are known and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.” -William Blake

Posted in acrylics, charcoal, folk art, Judy Shreve, painting | 4 Comments

New Work at High Country Art – Blue Ridge GA

“My role in society or any artist’s or poet’s role is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.” -John Lennon

Just dropped off some new work at my gallery in Blue Ridge, GA yesterday. Cheryl, the gallery owner, will let you purchase by phone if you are interested and the info on how to reach her is under the above tab – ‘Where to purchase my work.’

She’s putting my work in the window again. It’s exciting because of the attention and sales it brings, but it sure keeps me busy. And that’s okay. My new studio space is ready!

“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers – of persistence, concentration and insight – to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply.” -Susan Cain

Posted in folk art, galleries, Judy Shreve, painting | 2 Comments


“The only magic we have is what we make in ourselves, the muscles we build up on the inside, the sense of belief we create from nothing.” -Dorothy Allison

Blue acrylics & charcoal 24x30 cradled birch panel

acrylics & charcoal
24×30 cradled birch panel

When I was in high school I used to babysit a neighbor’s kids. The family had a basset hound named ‘blue.’ I asked the kids why would they name a dog -blue? And all of them looked at me with incredulous faces and said, ‘why? well he is blue.’ That has stuck with me all these years. I don’t think we need to build up those imagination muscles. I think we just need to re-awaken them. When we are young, those muscles are strong.

“My foregrounds are imaginary, my backgrounds real.” -Gustave Flaubert

Posted in acrylics, folk art, Judy Shreve | 4 Comments

The Love Birds

Newest piece:

The Love Birds acrylics, charcoal, Derwent Pencils 24x24 birch panel

The Love Birds
acrylics, charcoal, Derwent Pencils
24×24 birch panel

Instead of quotes on this post like I usually do I want to share something I found on Tumblr. I really believe this to be true. The only thing I would add to this bit of wisdom is love . . .  .  .which I believe makes this philosophy work — love! Love for ourselves and love for others and a love for life and its possibilities.


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Did You Hear the One About the Big Cat and the Fish Out of Water?

“Routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration – maybe more.” -Twyla Tharp

Did You Hear The One About the Big Cat and the Fish Out of Water? acrylics and charcoal 14x18 birch panel

Did You Hear The One About the Big Cat and the Fish Out of Water?
acrylics and charcoal
14×18 birch panel

My studio is finally set-up enough to paint. It feels good to be back in my routine. I have missed it. I finished this piece yesterday and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen it. Thanks for all your comments and ‘likes’ there.

I’m finding folks are not posting to their blogs as often as they used to or visiting other blogs. We all seem to be so busy these days. Too busy to even visit online unless it’s quick. I think we all have ADD (lol) thanks to the internet and smartphones. We text more than we email. We read about our friends instead of calling them. And when was the last time you got a letter or a card in the mail? It’s a different world – some changes I appreciate and some things I really miss. This blog is my painting journal, so I will continue to update it. Your visits make me happy and I really enjoy your comments. Although I also enjoy interacting on FaceBook – so come follow me there -)

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” –Jack Kerouac

Posted in acrylics, folk art, Judy Shreve, painting | 8 Comments

Bird Dog

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” -Rumi

Bird Dog acrylics, charcoal, oil pastels 18x18 birch panel

Bird Dog
acrylics, charcoal, oil pastels
18×18 birch panel

I have not been in my studio for more than an hour every few days since the beginning of July when I started this piece. In fact there were times when I lost the entire direction/story for this painting. And in reality, I have been scattered since mid-May when we began looking for a townhouse in Atlanta. Long-story-short — we closed on our townhouse June 19, and then went to northern Idaho for a week and now I’m trying to set-up my new studio space.

We’ve kept our mountain home and plan on enjoying it as well, so we left it fully furnished. That means this new place is a blank canvas. I did purchase a fabulous new piece of artwork for our new house by Mel McCuddin at the Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene. He’s an artist I’ve long admired and lives in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve never seen his work in person, so I was completely blown away. Here’s the piece I bought –

Another Blessed Event Mel McCuddin 44x48

Another Blessed Event
Mel McCuddin

This weekend Bob is going to build a big table for my new studio space. I am taking the entire basement for my studio and I am hoping to begin to work larger. I also have a new technique I want to try and I think a new space is the perfect place to start exploring a new direction.

“My other heroes were the jazz giants: Louis, Bix, Hawk, Pee Wee. Teagarden. From them I knew my paintings had to be improvised, spontaneous, made up out of whole cloth, one thing leading to another, accidental, a series of metamorphoses, surprised arrivals. A painting without surprise soon fades into the woodwork.” -Robert Hamilton

Posted in folk art | 2 Comments