Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Wind

 Song - Summer Wind by Frank Sinatra

Our weather lately has been a little like the two figures who are on the window ledge in my office.


Elmo is the 3 1/2 year old red furry puppet from Sesame Street, who talks in the first person and has a lot of innocent questions about the world around him.

And Quan Yin is the Chinese Buddhist goddess of compassion, mercy and understanding.


I like them both.

But my point is the difference and the changes, just like our weather!

A "fried" rose

We had a heat wave last weekend during my art show and the weather was up to 105.

But over the last few days it has been overcast and blustery.

Chairs are being thrown

In fact, it has been so windy that several chairs blew over as well as several of my favorite topiaries came crashing to the ground.  The pool is full of debris and it has left me with an "unsettled" feeling. 

Chards of terracotta

Today began with cold-gray skies, just the kind of day you want to stay in bed, snuggle the dogs (Mr. B was out of town) and read but it has turned into a mild afternoon, so I thought I would take my camera out into the yard and see what's growing (or what has fried in the last week!)

I let the Sweet Pea's go to seed to see if I can save them for next year

The grapes on our pergola are very happy

Sweet Feverfew

Grandpa Art's favorite - Double Delight

My Heirloom tomatoes grew very fast during the heat wave

Tarragon is great with chicken!

Thai Basil - first time growing this

Lobelia is growing happily in the shade but got fried in the sun

Even my garden bunny is looking up for sunshine

Alpine Strawberries that the dogs like to eat - they are tiny but with an incredible intense sweet flavor

All three Apple trees are filled - time to thin them out

The lemon trees are also developing fruit
Tyler's Jeep has had the roof off for the last week - I guess he doesn't mind the wind.....or heat....or cold?

 But my one of my favorite flowers is beginning to bloom right now - The Hydrangea

I don't know what it is about Hydrangea's but they feel so "cool".  Probably because they grow in semi-shade around here and take so much water to keep alive (which is why Mr. B doesn't like them! - but I grow them anyway but don't tell him!!!)



Agapanthus - kinda looks like fireworks

Single petaled Dahlia

Echinacea or Cone Flower

Thanks for taking a walk with me through my garden.  Please come again.

"A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. " - D. Elton Trueblood

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Business Side of Art

Song - Norah Jones - Painter 

Whenever I tell people that I am an artist, I get the feeling that they think I sit in my studio all day and play with my paints, eat bon-bons and drink scotch....with an occasional break for a wonderful artistic event.  Well, that is somewhat true.  

I love waking in the morning with nothing but a blank canvas to cover with color. Pure joy.

But those days are few and far between.  There is a lot of paperwork to take care of (you mean I really have to pay TAXES just to paint?), frames to be purchased, show dates to prepare for, answering emails, staffing gallery slots, designing, advertising, keeping track of expenses and maintaining an up to date website.

Recently while preparing for a show, I realized that I couldn't find where I had stored several paintings.  I have my studio walls for storage, a wonderful storage area under our staircase and a closet in the "guest" bedroom all for art storage.  So I pulled everything out of all three storage areas and organized it by numbering each place a painting was stored.  

Well now I am home from that event and I have to figure out where each painting goes so I can find it again! I think I need to paint smaller......

Several artists asked me the other day how I keep "things" organized.  Here is my system.  I would love to hear from you if you have a simplified one!

1. As soon as I finish a painting, I take a photo and make an inventory page. On this page is a thumbnail photo of the painting, the title, the size, medium, the cost of the frame and what galleries/events it has been in.  I also like to keep track of the pricing (sometimes it changes depending on the overhead of the event) and if any comments were made or if it sold, it was donated or given as a gift.


2. Each painting has a number.  The first two numbers are the date it was painted and the second two are the sequential order of my paintings for that year.  That number goes on the inventory page as well as the back of the painting.

1112 - This painting was painted 2011 and was number 12 during that year.

3. The painting also gets a title and any other pertinent information on the back. I recently read that you should not date your paintings because if a painting has an older date, it looks like it has just been sitting in the closet to a customer.  I personally think this is valuable information and if a customer likes your artwork, they won't really care what date it was painted. Heck, I'd buy a painting from 1856, wouldn't you?  I also add the size & medium for my personal notes.

4. Originally I began keeping track of paintings by date but then I realized I had trouble remembering if I painted it in 2007 or 2009.  So I began an ABC list as well.

The painting number comes first, then title, medium & size.

The painting number, the title, medium, size and storage place ( 3D = under stairs in the 4rd slot)

 5. Then for each show or event, I look up that painting and add any changes.  I also now add where it is stored.  

6. For commissions I have a form letter for pricing but I also include photo's of framing ideas for clients to consider.

 Gallery wrapped canvas with the painting continued around the sides (this painting is not completed)
Clear Maple floating frame - my favorite these days
Gallery wrapped canvas with one color around the sides
Another Clear Maple floating frame with a thinner depth

Clear Maple Floating frame with black interior

"The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they're organized for."  - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Song - Too Darn Hot by Ella Fitzgerald

Welcome to Summer!

Our  BASA group (Bay Area Studio Artists) participated in the Artist Market in Lafayette over the weekend. It was a scorcher to say the least!  Someone said it was breaking records in the area. Even though a few brave artists weathered out the heat, we had very few customers.

It was the kind of day that could of melted Joanne Taeuffer's yummy Banana Split!

Usually I paint during such events but it was too hot to get my supplies out.  So we visited with each other, wilting in our chairs. Luckily we had the shade of a big Oak tree but the heat from the pavement added to our discomfort. One woman across the way was trying to sell crocheted shawls!!! Good luck there! 

Marcy Wheeler's "Big Granny" in the background & Patricia Dallacroce's cityscape in the foreground

Even my chickens where looking for shade!

No sales for our little group except one!

I purchased a painting from Patricia Dallacroce and I just love it and so does Mr. B!  It hasn't been hung yet as I keep walking around the house trying to find the exact place for it to be at home! I am so excited.

Pat is a relatively new painter but she has an amazing eye and plenty of talent. Lately she has been painting San Francisco city scene's.  The color on this painting is so much better in real life than this photo shows.

Please check out her website here -

Catch her fresh work before her prices skyrocket - I mean....really!

Doesn't that car look real?


"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."  - Marcel Proust

In case you missed my Summer Solstice recipe this spring, here it is again!  Just in time for the longest day of the year!


  • 2 1/2 ounces raspberry vodka
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce Rose's lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
  • 2 ounces orange juice 
  • Place in an ice filled martini shaker and give it a good shake.  Pour into martini glass and add a slice of orange.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Sketchy Workshop

Monday I took a little informal "Travel Sketchbook Workshop" in Healdsburg given by Joanne Taeuffer.  Several friends of hers are traveling to Italy next month and they wanted to chronicle their travels with a sketchbook-travelog.  So I joined in!

When you walk into Joanne's beautiful home you are met with this.....

A Cowgirl (Joanne) with guns raised and attitude!

Please check out her site at -
You will be amazed!

Joanne's sketchbook

There is a certain excitement in trying to capture the energy in a quick gestural sketch.


Merriam-Webster's definition: 


adj \ˈske-chē\

Definition of SKETCHY

1: of the nature of a sketch : roughly outlined
2: wanting in completeness, clearness, or substance : slight, superficial <the details are sketchy>
Joanne was very organized with supplies and several of her own sketchbooks to use as examples. She had reference books and props to get us started.

We began with black & white - pencils & pens.

But I jumped ahead to color a little too soon because I just couldn't resist not making that tube of lipstick pink.  

Then we moved on to color - watercolor.  Not my thing. But I did try.

Watercolors in stick form
Joanne had some great examples to share.

I really love this one!
It is so the opposite of oil & acrylic painting. You really need to focus on going from light to dark and if you happen to make a mistake - new page - no going over it with new paint!

 Hannah's beautiful attempt at a California Poppy growing in the yard.

Really amazing

I attempted Joanne's little studio cottage in her backyard but my painting turned out like a Frank Zappa Fiesta Pizza run over by a car. Not showing you that one!

The shady little park square

After lunch, we strolled down to Healdsburg square to sit in the dabbled shade and sketch people walking by.  Only problem was.....they moved!  So Joanne was a sport and did several short poses for us.

Laurie & Hannah sketching Joanne

Just a 2 minute light-dark composition
I like my various shades of gray, a good camera.....

.....and to travel light.

 A variety of pages from my sketchbook done in France.

It was a fun day and I truly hope Hannah continues with her artwork as she has a great eye for proportion with both buildings and people.  For a lot of artists that takes a lot of time to develop! 

 And on a final note, I hope you take the time (one minute) to watch this guy paint - FAST!

“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” - Richard Moss
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