Life Lessons

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

Friday, December 31, 2010


"If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you."-- Winnie the Pooh will always be in my - j

Thursday, December 30, 2010

In The PINK !

Today is a cold but beautiful day.  I am wrapping up 2010 and reviewing all that has transpired this last year.  It has been a difficult one for me personally but today on my walk through the garden, I spied this last little pink Coneflower (Echinacea) that was braving the cold morning chill.  Somehow I can relate to her. Also, I love this quote by Audrey Hepburn......

Pink Coneflower
"I believe in pink.  I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.  I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.  I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.  I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.  I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles."
- Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting Un-stuck!


Iceland Poppy

The last two days I have been working on several new paintings for two new gallery shows.  When I am under pressure to complete something in an allotted time, my creativity doesn't flow naturally and I find myself constantly distracted.  Yesterday I struggled all day long and ended up painting over the portrait that I had been working so hard on!  So I woke up this morning with a new attitude.  I decided that I would take some breaks during the day and before I began to paint, I would have a game plan.  What a surprise, it was a much better day!  I took a break first thing this morning and walked around our yard looking at and enjoying nature.  Then I took three deep breaths and planned what I needed to do to resolve some issues with my paintings.  At noon, I took a lunch break and sat in the sunshine coming through the studio window.  Later in the day as the shadows got long, I went outside again with my new camera and shot some photo's of my garden.  It was interesting that most of the plants that are blooming are white.  Is that because I tend to gravitate towards a white & green garden design or is it because of something in nature where more white plants flower in the winter?  Mmmmm....I'll have to investigate! 


"The earth laughs in flowers" - Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter White Hydrangea's

Winter White Hydrangea's

I just spent the last few days with my husband and our three son's who were home for Christmas.  As a Christmas gift, I received a new camera and I was itching to get outside and play with it some but somehow with four guys in the house, somebody always wants to eat!  Today I did spend some time reading the instruction booklet and taking some photo's in the garden. I take a lot of photo's during our travels and for studio reference.  I think I may need a class in photography so I don't keep the camera on "auto" all of the time!  This photo was taken indoors from our table centerpiece with the camera set on "A" for Aperture.  I did have fun seeking out interesting photo "op's" and I am very excited to share some more photo's as well as paintings!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

May every heart
On earth
Find peace,
And beauty.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Wedding

My nephew Sean is getting married this afternoon at the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California. It is a comfortable little boutique hotel just north of Clear Lake. The rehearsal dinner was last night at the Blue Wing Saloon just next door and it was great! Live piano, good food, great service in a very cozy atmosphere! Even my 80 year old father said "Wish they had one of these in our home town!". It's a rainy day, the week before Christmas and after a walk down Main Street, I retured to my room to do some sketching.


"It's tough to stay married. My wife kisses the dog on the lips, yet she won't drink from my glass."
Rodney Dangerfield

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Walk in the Park

Yosemite Meadow in the Fall

I love to go to Yosemite in the Spring, Winter and Fall.  In the past I have taken painting classes through Yosemite's free Art Program.  You can go online and check out the various programs, walks, photography, art teachers, etc. If you go to the Indian Museum be sure to stop by and say "hello" to Julia Parker. Julia is an incredible basket weaver and loves to share her art with others.  I especially like to go out with my painting supplies and camera in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is just beautiful!  I caught a photo of this deer resting in the early morning in a meadow amongst the some little yellow flowers.  He reminded me of this holiday season because he kind of looked like a reindeer from a distance! 

"When one tugs at a single thing in Nature, (s)he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
--John Muir

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Small Original Art for Sale

There are a group of artists from the Lafayette Studio who have painted together for several years now.  We have also done some group shows as well as an Open Studio.  We mostly support one another and enjoy the comraderie!  We have begun a new venture of offering small works of art for sale online.  Please check it out and enjoy!  Paintings will be updated often and will consist of a wide range of styles.
Bay Area Studio Artists

Here are my first two posts.....



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks

Mentors maybe our parents, spouse, children or friends.  Certainly we glean much about life from them but my true mentors have been two incredible women who came into my life during a personal struggle.  Both have taught me to see life in a new and exciting way.  Gayle has taken me on a journey to discover my deeper self and my strength.  Marcy has helped me see the light in life through painting and how to find my true passion.  And both have taught me to laugh!

"More than mere teachers, mentors are often emancipators, freeing artists from poor technique, clouded vision and personal uncertainty."  - Paul Soderberg 

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." - Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weight of Spirit

Yesterday my husband and I went to a friends wedding at the San Francisco Presidio.  It was a blend of cultures as the bride was from Napa and the groom is Nigerian.  The guests were a colorful blend of ethnic backgrounds.  What I found most interesting were the grooms' mother and aunts who were dressed in bright tradional clothing and head wraps.  I have found with age & weight, that I personally have begun to wear "black" as a daily routine.  I never would have been courageous enough to stand out in a crowd!  But these women had weight - real weight.  They had weight of spirit.  They were full of smiles, family, love, courage, pride and - oh yeah -FUN!  Gave me something to ponder.....

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." - The Dalai Lama

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Four Sisters

"Smitty & the Girls"
by Jeanette Baird

My mother has three sisters and even though they are in their 80's, they will forever be "the girls".

"Sisters are different flowers from the same garden." 

~ Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chicken Scratch

"If I didn't start painting, I would have raised chickens." ~ Grandma Moses 

I guess that I did it backwards as I raised my chickens first and after several years of enjoying their antics, delicious eggs and funny personalities, only then did I begin to paint! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Owl Moon

Last night I could hear an owl calling from a nearby tree. It reminded me of my middle son Jon. When he was about two, he was enthralled with the book "Owl Moon".  We read it to him often and he had a cassette tape of it so he could listen to it whenever he wanted. Within a few months he had  memorized the story and I remember him playing his tape and reading along with the storyteller word for word.  My husband and I watched him from his bedroom door, sitting on his bed and "reading" along with the tape.  Such a sweet memory. Thanks Jonnie!

"I could feel the cold......But I never said a word. Because if you go owling, you have to be quiet and make your own heat."  - quote from Owl Moon by Jane Yolan

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Pond Gardener

The Pond Gardener at Giverny

Today I am working on a painting of the pond cleaner at Giverny.  I am working at adding some background atmosphere, as it was a overcast Spring day.  Every morning a gardener goes out in a little green boat and maintains Claude Monet's waterlilies.  I am trying to capture the tranquility of the pond as well as the gardener who is intent on doing  a good job in this beautiful place. This is my photo reference and tomorrow I hope to post the finished painting!

"Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment."  - Claude Monet

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rain and a Comfy Chair

"Playgirl" rose hanging her head in the rain
Today I woke to the pitter-patter of rain on our rooftop. I am glad the garden is getting the water it needs.  Rain makes me feel like curling up in a comfy chair, having a cup of fragrant tea, a warm fire, reading a good book and putting flannel sheets on all the beds.  The reality is that I will probably end up doing a load or two of laundry, cleaning up last nights dishes, feel guilty for not planting those last 50 bulbs yet and paying a few bills. But still the cozy feeling will be with me all day long and I still may jump into that chair for a chapter or two!

"Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet." - Roger Miller

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Value Studies

"Promises" by Jeanette Le Grue

Yesterday I took a painting class from Jeanette Le Grue at her studio in Tomales, CA.  It's a quaint little town just a few miles inland from the ocean and a beautiful drive from my home in Walnut Creek.  There are farms nearby and we could hear the cows "moo" while we were painting.  Jeanette had us work on a three color value study from a still life set up.  It is interesting how intense that can be when you need to break down all of the colors that you see into only three values.  It is a good lesson as it helps you to see how important it is to simplify your painting and to tie your darks together.  Next week we will move to color.  Jeanette Le Grue is a gifted teacher and wonderful artist.  If you would like to see her work, check out her website or head on over to Tomales Fine Art Gallery.

Jeanette Le Grue's website - 

"Still - in a way - nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time." ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Friday, November 5, 2010

New show at Lafayette Gallery

"Reflections - Musee d'Orsay"
by Jeanette Baird
Acrylic 36" x 36"
 Winter Wonderland opened at the Lafayette Gallery on Tuesday, November 2.  I have entered "Reflections-Musee d'Orsay" for the new show.  It is a view of Sacre Coeur and Montmartre from the clock tower at the Musee d'Orsay.  The painting was inspired by a trip to Paris that I took in the Spring of 2009 with two girlfriends.  As you might imagine we had a blast!

"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art."
Paul C├ęzanne

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quite Solitude

"Winter Solitude"
by Jeanette Baird
Acrylic 15" x 30"
 Lake Tahoe has always been a special place for me and my family.  My grandparents bought a cabin there when I was about 3 and I have spent every summer up there since.  The cabin sits at the base of Mt. Tallac near a beautiful meadow and spring creek.  Fall is my favorite time to spend there as the crowds have all gone home, the days are still warm but the nights are crisp.  My good friend, Jill loves to ski, so we go to North Shore in the winter.  This painting was done from a balcony off our room while the sun was setting behind the mountains. A lonely kyaker sits on the icy lake and watches the day come to a beautiful end.

"It is only with one's heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
"On  ne  voit  bien  qu' avec  le  coeur.  L' essentiel  est invisible  pour  les  yeux ." -
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Sweet Pansy Face

What is it about a Pansy's face? They all seem to have something to say to me every morning when I look into their faces.  My favorite time of day is in the early morning when the birds are singing and there is dew on the leaves. Again in the late afternoon, while watering my gardens, it is my time to reflect on the day that is quietly going to sleep.

 "The beautious pansies rise
   In purple, gold, and blue,
   with tints of rainbow hue
   Mocking the sunset skies"
- Thomas John Ouseley

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Boys Are Back in Town

Acrylic - 48" x 60"
by Jeanette Baird
  Completed a large & special painting yesterday. It is of my oldest son and three of his friends who all needed money for the summer of 2002. We offered them the job of digging out our hillside for a spa.  They did an incredible job and took a moment to pose for the camera.  I began this 4 x 5 painting at home about 6 months ago.  Three weeks ago I took it to Lafayette Studio to finish.  Getting it there and back was quite a process.  Woke at 4am and watched the sliver of a moon rise.  Beautiful!

Don't stop believing. Thank you Giants!

One day, while Renoir was being fitted for new eyeglasses, he threw 
them to the floor, crying, "Good God, I see like Bouguereau!"  - Paul 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Winter Flowers

Trying to get the last of my Winter flowers in for the season.  Last week I planted Iceland Poppies, Primrose, a few Cyclamen and lots of bulbs.  I still have some 6-packs on the front porch waiting to be settled into the ground.  The birds have been enjoying the seed I have set out since the weather has turned crisp.  It has also attracted the attention of the squirrels, who devour the seed but repay me with their amazing acrobatics! The plants will need to wait one more day as I am heading to the studio to finish a very large painting that I have been working on for months.  I may post the finished painting tomorrow. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

"Three Little Pumpkins"
by Jeanette Baird
Acrylic - 12 x 30
It's Halloween and I just met with two of my girlfriends to plan a Springtime trip to Paris!  The three of us traveled to Paree in 2009 and had a wonderful time.  We stay in a little hotel near the Luxembourg Gardens.  We shop, walk, go to museums, walk, eat, walk, people watch, walk, shop some more, go to gardens and occasionally sleep (oh yeah and take a lot of photos)!  I try to paint from life but I use photo's for reference for my paintings if I am painting something like a waiter rushing from table to table.  This painting of pumpkins was done in my backyard, with the pumpkins placed up on our stone mantle.
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