Sketchbook Drawings

“The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication.” -Cyril Connolly

I rarely post my sketchbook drawings on my blog. What I do in my sketchbook is totally different than what I do on birch panels. In my sketchbook, I usually work with charcoal and graphite pencils. Just recently, I posted a couple of faces I’ve drawn in my sketchbook to my Flickr account and was encouraged to share more of them. Here are two I did just recently (I also posted these on Facebook, so you might have already seen them.):

I enjoy the process of using charcoal —  making marks, smudging, erasing, making more marks, smudging, erasing — until finally you have your drawing. When I work on birch panels I mainly use acrylics, but after I lay down the acrylic background, I draw my images using graphite pencils – that allows me to work out what I want to say before painting it. The pencil lines can be erased, so I have the freedom to change things.

But recently I did a piece that was a little different for me. I gessoed the individual panels and then used charcoal to draw the rabbits like I would in my sketchbook – same process of making marks, smudging and erasing. When I finished the drawing, I used a fixative to seal the charcoal so it wouldn’t smudge anymore. Next I used my acrylics to paint inside the lines – sorta. I thinned the acrylics quite a bit so they would work more like watercolor to get the effect I wanted. Then I finished them with some line work using the pencils and sealed them again with a fixative.

3 Rabbits charcoal, acrylics 9.5x22 birch panel (sold)

3 Rabbits
charcoal, acrylics
9.5×22 birch panel (sold)

My husband does all my framing for me and he created this one. Each rabbit is 4 inches square. My photo cropping has removed some of the outside edges of the frame – the edges aren’t that thin, but this is the only photo I have and I wanted you to see this different technique and the fabulous frame. Thankfully a dear friend bought this, so I’ll get to visit it. I didn’t want to sell it, because I made it for me.

I love to peek into other artist’s studios, so I took a couple of photos of mine to show you my sketchbook working area and my painting area.


“Stay loose. Learn to watch snails. Plant impossible gardens. Make little signs that say ‘yes’ and post them all over your house. Make friends with uncertainty.” -Henry Miller

Posted in acrylics, charcoal, drawing, folk art | 8 Comments

Surrender – a poem

“Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.” -Ben Okri


She stepped out beyond her comfort

And he stripped away all her masks

Exposing all her secret places

So, at once, resisting and craving

She showed him her soul

Her last secret place

An instant connection so deep and unexpected

Forces them to embrace who they truly are

Two, lost and found, in the same place

They feel the aliveness in the mystery of surrender

It’s where the magic happens

Places they didn’t know they left sleeping

Are suddenly stirred awake

No choice

But to tumble into the wildfire

Forcing them to expand

Releasing pieces of who they each were

They became as one

 “You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place. Like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”-Azar Nafisi

Posted in poetry | 4 Comments

Heading Out Of Town For A Little Fun

“My reality is elsewhere.” -Marc Chagall

Heading Out Of Town For A Little Fun acrylics 12x14 birch panel

Heading Out Of Town For A Little Fun
12×14 birch panel

Other tasks have kept me from my studio lately – mainly putting food away from the garden –  snapping beans, shelling peas, chopping tomatoes and canning and freezing. I’ve learned that while I love growing almost anything and find great joy walking into my garden, I don’t love the preserving part.

I think it’s really important to show up for work everyday. I try to go in my studio daily to draw or paint, but my reality has definitely been elsewhere; my focus too scattered. I started this piece almost two weeks ago. I need a vacation and time to refuel my creative self. Thankfully we have one planned. YAY!

I have added a couple additions to my blog – under ‘Where To Purchase My Work’ is a link to see a virtual tour of my gallery in Blue Ridge, GA – High Country Art & Antiques. You can see my pieces displayed and also check some of the other cool work there.

I’ve also added a tab – ‘Reviews’ which includes the following:

I was mentioned in a review in the Telegraph (newspaper in Macon GA) of the show I did there during the month of August – ‘Figures.’

And a friend found a very cool blog post from a guy who lives in Cork County, Ireland – Moray Mair. He’s involved in the arts there and has a blog. I don’t know how he found my work, but he’s done a pretty great post about it. I am humbly thankful and amazed!

“Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still
and learning to be astonished.” 
-Mary Oliver


Posted in acrylics, folk art, gardening | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Changes and the Editing Process

“We have art so that we do not die of reality.” -Nietzsche

I have really struggled with getting this painting to say what I am imagining. When I paint, I usually see something happen in my environment and then try to push it through my imagination.

In my first attempt at the painting, the girl had no story to tell. It felt to me that she was not part of the painting. It took a few days of looking and feeling, before I decided to continue working on this piece. The great thing about acrylics is I can paint over areas I don’t think work and try again. It’s great to have the ability to edit my paintings. I don’t always get the story right the first time.

It’s interesting living in the middle of apple season, it’s all consuming. There are so many tourists, that our rivers, mountain trails, restaurants and shops all become so crowded. Our sleepy little town even has traffic jams during apple season. The tourists are welcome – they help our economy and seem to really enjoy visiting our area – but it affects everything.

So I wanted the painting to convey the all consuming nature of the season, so here is my second attempt. We become the apples . . .

It's Apple Season Again acrylics 16x12 birch panel

It’s Apple Season Again (final)
16×12 birch panel


“In the creative state a man is taken out of himself. He lets down as it were a bucket into his subconscious, and draws up something which is normally beyond his reach. He mixes this thing with his normal experiences and out of the mixture, he makes a work of art.” -E.M. Forster


Posted in folk art | 14 Comments

It’s Apple Season Again?

“The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust

It's Apple Season Again? - shreve

Apple season in north Georgia is a big event. It starts now and lasts through mid-October. Our sleepy little streets become full of tourists. The good thing is it really helps our economy – restaurants and cabin rentals – and lots of shopping. We have many apple houses that let the public pick their apples. There are pumpkin patches and corn mazes and lots of things to do for the entire family. Our rivers get packed with kayakers. What it’s forced us to do is to learn all the backroads. Who wants to sit in bumper to bumper traffic when you live in the mountains. So I hope the above painting will appeal to those who deal with all the extra people and to those who love to come and enjoy our apple season.

I am restocking my Blue Ridge Gallery, High Country Art and Antique with the  paintings below (click on an image to see it larger). If you are in town for the Apple Festival events, please visit the gallery. There is lots of wonderful work to see.

I also painted a piece for some dear friends who lost their Great Dane to cancer. This is my Ode to Otis:

Ode to Otis acrylics 12x16 birch panel

Ode to Otis
12×16 birch panel

It’s so hard when we lose our pets. Otis was an amazing dog – really big, really funny and extremely lovable. He loved lots of company and he loved to dance. He made so many people happy. He will certainly be missed.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” -Neil Gaiman



Posted in folk art | 8 Comments

The Whole Town Was Talking About It

“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 Whole Town Was Talking About It acrylics & Derwent pencils 24x24 cradled birch panel

The Whole Town Was Talking About It
acrylics & Derwent pencils
24×24 cradled birch panel

I’m not sure why I paint animals. I do believe they have a lot to say and would say more, if we would really listen. And I probably like to paint animals because I hang out with this guy all the time and he’s definitely a ‘talker.’


Watson – my muse

“I once heard a woman who had lost her dog say that she felt as though a color were suddenly missing from her world: the dog had introduced to her field of vision some previously unavailable hue and without her dog, that color was gone. That seemed to capture the experience of loving a dog with eminent simplicity. I’d amend it only slightly and say that if we are open to what they have to give, dogs can introduce us to several colors with names like wildness, nurturance, trust and joy.” 
-Carolyn Knapp


Posted in acrylics, folk art, labradoodle, painting | 7 Comments

He’s the only one who could make her feel the magic . . .

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” -Robin Williams

He's the only one who could make her feel the magic acrylics & charcoal 12x12 birch panel

He’s the only one who could make her feel the magic
acrylics & charcoal
12×12 birch panel

Part of the fun for me and the kind of art I do is being able to let go of seriousness and play – imagine. Ask ‘what-if.’ Lots of times, that ‘what-if’ changes the entire direction of the piece. It’s a great way to get lost. But who’s to say you’re lost. If you aren’t specific about your destination, then maybe you were never lost in the first place.

I love the quote in Alice In Wonderland:

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
―Lewis Carroll

Some paints; a piece of paper or a wood panel; no particular place to be; good music playing — it’s my favorite way to spend an afternoon. You have to be willing, though, to have paint on most of the clothes in your closet and also be willing to spend the entire day with just your imagination. Most days I do get somewhere – if I paint long enough.

“That’s the thing about magic; you’ve got to know it’s still here all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” -Charles de Lint

Posted in folk art | 10 Comments

He Didn’t Get All The Carrots

“Long ago the trees thought they were people. Long ago the mountains thought they were people. Long ago the animals thought they were people. Someday, long ago the humans thought they were people . . . .” -from a traditional Native American story recounted by Johnny Moses


He Didn't Get All The Carrots acrylic & charcoal 12x12 birch panel

He Didn’t Get All The Carrots
acrylic & charcoal
12×12 birch panel


Bob was out of town most of last week and Luke has been teaching percussion camps, so I was able to just paint – no meals to plan and cook, no beds to make – just paint and work in my garden. As you can see in the painting above, painting and taking care of the garden have melded in my brain. There are so many things that want what I have planted. I try not to think of it as war, BUT . . . I’m not letting them get everything.

“I hope the word ‘berserk’ appears at least once in my obituary.” -X-Ray Burns

Posted in acrylics, blog, folk art, gardening, painting | 6 Comments

Things Are Never As They Seem – so all we can do is catch them when they fall


“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up, I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do.’ And mostly, against all odds, they do.” Anne Lamott

Things are never as they seem, so all we can do is catch them when they fall acrylics 12x24 birch panel

Things are never as they seem, so all we can do is catch them when they fall.
12×24 birch panel

Just lately I’ve noticed whether it’s friends or family, we can only do so much. Imparting our wisdom really doesn’t work. A friend/child needs to find their own wisdom in their own time, so all we can do is be there — strong and full of love. Things are never quite what they seem and since we can only see from our own vantage point, maybe we don’t see what they see.

“Only love interests me and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love.” -Marc Chagall

Posted in acrylics, folk art | 6 Comments

For Some Friends – Hot Mess Pig

“Her imagination was by habit ridiculously active; when the door was not open it jumped out the window.” -Henry James


Luke & Ashley

Luke & Ashley making silly faces


Luke’s girlfriend Ashley is from just outside Chicago. She goes to JSU too. They’ve been together for a couple of years, so we’ve gotten to be friends with her parents. Her dad is a master at BBQ. Last spring on their way to drop Ashley off at school, her mom, dad and brother all stayed at our house.  We shared a great meal, played some cards and then around midnight, I convinced her dad to make me some of his famous BBQ rub. It’s amazing. We used what we made that night pretty quickly. I think I put it on everything, so I kept asking for more. He recently sent us a big batch, so I painted this as a GIANT thank you. Hope they like it.


Hot Mess Pig acrylics 12x12 birch panel

Hot Mess Pig
12×12 birch panel

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” -Anais Nin

Posted in folk art | 4 Comments