Are You Curious? Einstein Would Be Proud

Posted on Aug 13, 2020


I’ve had several role models in my life. Two stand out above the rest – my mom and my Aunt Fern. My mom was a huge proponent of education and my aunt was all about lifelong learning. I always felt their support and encouragement.

They shaped me into who I am. And guess what? I’m still following their lead. I’ve been taking an online watercolor class this week taught by Nancy McCarthy, an artist I greatly admire. I didn’t make any art that WOW’d me or anyone else but the lessons I’ve learned will help me in my future art making.

Take away? Look for shapes. The ink and bamboo brush work above looks simple and you’re right, it is simple. But to a line freak like me it was challenging. It took me three tries to get to this degree of simplicity without falling back on line work (see below). Nothing wrong with line work but the exercise was to make shapes using only light, medium and dark values. Lesson learned!


I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. — Albert Einstein



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Clouds Always Steal My Heart and The Show

Posted on Aug 6, 2020


I painted for the first time at Pilot Butte today. It’s “our” butte that is right in town. From the summit the entire city of Bend is visible as well as several major Cascade peaks. It is one of only four cities in the country that has a volcano within their city border. For the curious the other three are Portland, Oregon; Jackson, Mississippi and Honolulu, Hawaii. That’s what I said, Mississippi has a volcano?!

I made a couple thumbnail sketches prior to painting and it became obvious that the clouds were going to steal the show.  I wanted them to float, to interact with the butte and mesmerize the viewer as they did me.

I will definitely paint at Pilot Butte again.

Stay safe everyone.

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Mosquitos and Crashes and Sprinklers, Oh My!

Posted on Jul 30, 2020


Painting outdoors is fun and rewarding. It’s also exciting!

First, there’s the wind. I have a good setup (see below). It’s very stable, but painting in 30 mph gusts is a little disconcerting. Painting with my right hand and holding the easel and palette in place with the other hand is a new skill that needs to be added to my resume.

MOSQUITOS. I grew up in Michigan so I know mosquitos. They’re a pain in the you know what. I’ve actually had to change my location because I would have been eaten alive. I’m talking about you, Tumalo Reservoir.

Finding the perfect place to paint has little to do with what’s under foot. It’s all about the scene and keeping the canvas and palette in the shade. Moving the setup to stay in shade requires some coordination and remembering that the ground under foot is not always level. CRASH. It’s amazing how fast an entire setup can end up on the ground. Twice!

There are also man-made dangers that come with urban settings. SPRINKLERS! You know the sound when they’re getting ready to blow. It’s just a matter of time before you grab the whole setup and RUN!

This passes for fun right now. How about you?



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Friends Forever

Posted on Jul 16, 2020


Part of painting outdoors begins with walking around with a sketchbook looking for a good subject. A few times I’ve explained to people what I’m doing, especially if they seem a bit concerned. Ha!

These two stumps stopped me in my tracks. At the time I didn’t know why, maybe the circular shapes, maybe the mass, maybe that they were in the middle of an Aspen grove.

About an hour into the painting I realized I was making a narrative painting. These two were snuggling. What had they been through? How long were they there? Are they still communicating through the roots somehow? I’m guessing someone knows the answer to this.

Did you see a story in this?”


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When Rule-Breaking Is Fun

Posted on Jul 9, 2020


I think you know that during this pandemic I decided to learn how to paint en plein air. French for outdoors.

Like everyone else on the planet who wants to learn something new I headed to YouTube. I watched lots of videos on everything plein air. I learned about the setup including a tripod, sketch book, palette, Pochade Box (didn’t even know what that was). I then discovered Plein Air magazine which has a video publishing arm with tons of free videos. There’s also the fabulous Tucson Art Academy. Don’t get me started.

Of course, there are thousands of videos for sale. I even purchased a couple of those and am currently signed up for Plein Air LIVE (online) which begins next week. EXCITED!

Like most days during this pandemic I practiced social distancing out in nature. I packed all my painting goodies into my trusty Prius and headed out. In fifteen minutes I was at Lava Island Falls painting. What? No value study, no sketch, no pre-determining a color scheme, no preconceived ideas about composition? No. No. No.

Today I broke all the rules I’ve been so studiously learning and it worked out anyway.

Rules be damned – but I’m so glad I know you.


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A Slice of Paradise

Posted on Jul 2, 2020


This painting, A Slice of Paradise, is part of my Nature Series. It will be around for the summer.

I found this location only because the location where I was going to paint was closed due to bridge construction. I was determined to paint so I hopped in my car and headed down a dirt road not more than two minutes away – Voila! This scene came into view.

Looking at the beauty before me, listening to the wind in the trees and watching an Acorn Woodpecker climb up and down and all around a Ponderosa pine, I knew this was the spot.

I spent three hours out here. I made a couple of quick sketches, determined where I wanted to set my easel and got to work, or should I say play.

“A Slice of Paradise”, 10″ x 8″, oil on canvas panel.

I hope you and your loved ones are well.


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Posted on Jun 19, 2020


As a white woman I cannot even imagine what it is like to live as a black person in this country. I never had to have “the talk” about how to behave outside the house. That if I were ever pulled over by the police that I was not to move my hands without telling the officer what I was going to do so as not to get shot. To not talk back. To say yes, sir and yes, ma’am. And that even if you do everything “right”, you may still be shot and killed.

I also can’t imagine being hated for the color of my skin. I’m pretty sure I was never denied a job interview because my name was too “black-sounding”. It goes on and on. It’s shameful and disgusting.

In 2019 I began a series of figurative paintings. “Struggles” is of a dark-skinned woman who is standing amidst coils that are circular representing recurrence. They are also jumbled, knotted, and irregular. She stands in innocence in her white dress and Mary Janes. Her struggles are ongoing, challenging and at times life threatening.

“Struggles”, 49″ x 18″, mixed media on board has been included in an online show titled “For Mr. Floyd, Ms. Taylor…
a memorial exhibition” at Works/San Jose in California. A portion of sales will go to a racial justice group.

In honor of Juneteenth, may we all speak up, especially white people, to defend, support and make life better for black people in this country.

Thank you, Mary

P.S. A huge thank you to all of  you who took the time to write or to send good thoughts, in spirit, my way. I am grateful to have such a caring and loving community. I appreciate every single one of you.


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Donation to MOTH

Posted on Mar 14, 2017

Today I donated this painting titled “We Go Together” to My Own Two Hands (MOTH). It is a benefit auction in support of music and arts programming in the Sisters, Oregon schools and community.


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Salem Art Fair Weekend

Posted on Jul 19, 2016

We started our weekend in Corvallis last Thursday, and then headed up to Salem for the Art Show. We were in Corvallis long enough to visit a few of my favorite people and places, namely the Corvallis Art Center, Allann Brothers Coffee, Paige at Pegasus Gallery and The Book Bin. Sam took me to Nearly Normal’s Gonzo Cuisine and it was awesome! Thank you, sweetie.

Check out the shot of my booth at the Salem Art Festival. It was in the beautiful Bush Pasture Park. A lovely setting for an art show. I had great neighbors and met lots of new people. This was a good show for me because of all the new contacts and because I sold several paintings. Here’s what sold:





The Jay



Tight Rope



Yellow Eye

A big thank you to those that came from Bend to support me and the other artists. You surprised me, and I am grateful for your support.

Lee August and her sister who lives in Salem.
Vern and Judy who came to Salem for the day, just to see the show.
Stephanie Roussel, who’s husband was also in the show.
Beverly, my half-marathon walking buddy.

Can’t wait to do it again!


Book Bin kitty


Nearly Normal’s Gonzo Cuisine


Paige at Pegasus Gallery


My favorite bookstore in Corvallis.


My booth in the festival.

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During this pandemic I have taken up painting outdoors. I've explored painting in the woods, next to rivers and on the mountains. I have been sharing a painting and a short description weekly. Sign up and I'll send you a little document I wrote called Finding Beauty.

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