Friday, December 30, 2011

The Two Faces of Janus

Janus is the ancient Roman God of beginnings and transitions.  He is the namesake of the month of January.  He has two faces.  One looks forward to the future and one looks back to the past.
As you make your plans for the new year take a look at your past and your future.
What lessons have you learned in 2011 that you can apply to 2012?
I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
-Jimmy Dean

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Wind in the Trees

The Wind in the Trees
Oil on Canvas
9" X 12"
Original $275.
Available on Etsy
Caresses, expressions of one sort or another,
are necessary to the life of the affections
as leaves are to the life of a tree.
If they are wholly restrained, love will die at the roots
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

This quiet landscape painting features a beautiful tree
on the Broad Ripple Canal in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to Create a Painting in 3 Simple Steps

Autumn Day by the Bridge
This painting will be available at the Fletcher Place Show opening April 6th
I am often asked how I create a painting on canvas.  Here is a breakdown of my process in three steps...
Step 1
Paint on a light wash of acrylic paint.  This sets the tone of the work.

Step 2
Paint a layer of acrylic.
 This is another thin layer that blocks out the shapes into the darkest and lightest forms.
Step 3
Paint a THICK layer with oils.
I used water soluable oil paints to create the final coat which almost completely covers the previous layers.  The biggest tip I can give is to make the paint as thick as you can at this stage. 
I sometimes even paint with a palette knife to get a maximum thickness. 
Most often however I use a traditional brush.
I have found that creating multiple layers makes a work more rich. I always put at least three layers on my paintings.   
One important thing to note is that you can paint oils on top of acrylic paints, but not the other way around.  Once you start using the oils there is no going back.

I would love to hear others folk's methods....

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
-Maori Proverb

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year.
Now we can welcome back the light... and yes it will get worse before it gets better.
Winter winds are going to blow but don't give up.
There is light at the end of this tunnel.

Let us gather together to celebrate light.
Let us celebrate our differences and our similarities.
I believe that we created this beautiful variety of holiday traditions to get us through this darkest time.
Together we can do it.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One Dollar and Eighty-Seven Cents

Bridge over the Canal
This painting will be available at the Fletcher Place Show Opening April 6th
Friday my computer died.  Yeah- it is the worst.  The hard drive is toast. 
I lost videos of my daughter... sigh.

But you don't take anything with you when you die.  I've got to let it go. 

We spend so much time documenting it all.  Honoring it, putting it up on a pedestal.  All people, all artists create the kodachrome.  I believe that it is still worth doing even if it will be destroyed later.  We create our art then let it drift away like teenagers fleeing the nest.  It is our gift to the world. 

Of all who give and receive gifts, such as these are the wisest.
-O. Henry, The Gift of the Magi

So let's all bake cookies then eat them.  Let's share the love.

O Henry

Monday, December 19, 2011


It is rare to officially "win" anything.

Last week I bought a book I am excited to read called No Ordinary Woman, a manifesto on how to be a fabulous woman in our crazy world.

And for this I WON the artwork below by the artist Barb Bazan!!!

Isn't it awesome!  It quotes Charlie Parker:
"If you don't live it, it won't come out your horn."

Another artist recently told me that if "I don't toot my own horn, no one else will."  

We have got to be loud about it!  Yes!

Thank you Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli and Barb Bazan for your generous gifts.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Riding the Wolf

Riding the Wolf
Oil on Canvas
9" x 12"
SOLD from Etsy

 "There is still somewhere deep within you
 a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted."
-from Morning Poem by Mary Oliver

Inspired by the Art Nouveau style this painting depicts a woman standing on the back of a wolf.  As I painted the wolf emerged from the swirls by accident.  Now he brings a whole new meaning to the picture.

So... are you riding a wolf?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Shelf Elf

I added hair, fancy ribbon and a lace skirt.


The children's librarian side of me loves gifting kids books.  This year one special kid in my life is going to get her very own Elf on the Shelf book with a new and improved Shelf Elf. 

Oh what fun it is to craft and play!


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Old Woman and the Vinegar Bottle

What if your wishes were granted?

Click below to hear my latest podcast featuring the folktale of the
Old Woman and the Vinegar Bottle.
Also available on iTunes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why paint realism?

Illinois Street Bridge Painting
Oil on Canvas
9" x 12"

When painting it is impossible to depict every leaf of a tree.  So... why do it?  Since the advent of the camera why do artist's continue to paint landscapes or anything else in our concrete world?

Simple Answer:
It is fun.  Playing with the yummy colors of a landscape is my idea of a good time.

Cheesy Philosophical Answer:
To honor the beauty we see. To reflect it back.

Art communicates with the viewer or listener.  When I share a story I have a hidden message for the audience.  When I paint my message is to celebrate the beauty I see.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Notes on Nudity

Notes on Nudity
Oil on Canvas stretched over frame
9" x 12"
Original $275.
Available on Etsy

Inspired by Rodin's Danaide sculpture and the Art Nouveau style I created this painting.

I would like to contend that when I paint a nude it is meant to honor our human form.  To lift up our sensitive side and put it on a pedestal.  Here we are at our most honest. 

I have tried to define the difference between this and pornography, one thought being "I know it when I see it."  But the best distinction I can make is that porn depicts the "other," someone else that we are staring at in a wolfish manner whereas the nude in art reflects us.  We are looking at ourselves.  Is this an odd definition?

Mr. Bones winner of the award for
"Most Exposed Model"

I'm not for gratuitous nudity, but if there is humor I don't have a problem
-Rebecca Romijin

Hence we now have "Mr. Bones" who won the prize for the "Most Exposed Model" drawn in my Anatomy Studies class at the Indianapolis Art Center. 

We started by examining the skeleton, the idea being that if we can understand the core structure of the body we will be able to draw it better.

So what is our core stucture?  Mr. Bones has all kinds of bolts to hold him together while we have tendons and tissues.  What is holding us together?  Can we reflect a human soul in a picture? 

P.S.- My current "partner in crime" hates my nudy paintings and prefers my landscapes- what does that mean?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Odyssey

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." 

Click below to hear my latest podcast featuring Homer's the Odyssey.

Also available on iTunes.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Etsy Shop!

Festival of Venus Painting
Available on Etsy!

Exciting news- I just opened up an Etsy account:

On this site I will be posting small paintings for sale (and saving the larger items for gallery shows.)

After all that work setting it up- I now need a piece of chocolate.  Wheww.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Forest at Holliday Park

The Forest at Holliday Park
Oil on Canvas
9" x 12"

Holliday Park in Indianapolis is the sort of deep rich forest where your blood pressure lowers as you enter it.

"It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes claim upon men's hearts,
as for that subtle something,
that quality of air,
that emanation from old trees
 that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, November 28, 2011


6 PM on the Canal
Oil on Canvas
20" x 16"
Available for sale at the Fletcher Show!

Exciting announcement everyone! In a couple of months I am going to be hosting my first show of paintings at the Fletcher Place Art and Books Gallery.  Together with Beka Nimtz I will be sharing paintings on the theme of "Reflections."  

So mark your calendars to join us on April 6th for the First Friday opening!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Enter your Best Gift Idea!

Do you have any stellar gift ideas for the holidays?  Share your creative gift giving ideas with us as comments below.

On Monday morning (11/28) I will use to select two lucky winners!  The first will earn a copy of my book, Art Stories, Folktales to Inspire Creativity.  The second will will earn a set of five note cards featuring my Broad Ripple Canal painting below.

To get the ball rolling here is a gift idea for you:

Create a Unique Coloring Book for Kids:  Google "free coloring pages."  You will be amazed at the choices you can print off.  Add doctored photos of the child for a personalized present.

I look forward to reading your ideas (I need them!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

How to be Happy

My daughter at the dinner table of my new home           
A few years ago I was stuck in the sad rut.  I wallowed in the mucky mud of self-pity.  I probably had postpartum depression.  While it is healthy to face the bad stuff and talk about it, if you want to be happy you've got to come to a point where you get over it.

One trick to moving forward is to voice what is good in your life.  By focusing on what you love you will find ways to create more of what you want.

My family and I have a ritual of saying what we are thankful for at the dinner table before we eat.  It is very therapeutic. 

Here are the top five things I am thankful for this year:

1. My Mom

2. My Daughter

3. My New Home

4. Chips and Salsa

5. The audience.  Without you my friends I would just be one hand clapping.   ha- ha

So what are you thankful for? 

Do any of you have tricks to get over what Zig Ziglar calls stinkin' thinkin'?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Collage your Vision of the Future

Believe it or not, the photo above is my business plan for 2012!

Inspired by the excellent book, the Right Brain Business Plan by author Jennifer Lee I created a vision board of my plans for the future. 

By cutting out pictures and layering post-it notes I made a concrete collage of my hopes and dreams and !WOW! this really helped me to clearly see where I want to go.  In the past I have jotted ideas down on little scraps of paper, but now these aspirations are all in one place.  It is now a plan that I can interact with every day.

But a collage like this doesn't have to be a business plan- it could be your LIFE plan.  Where do you want to go?  Can you make a picture of it? 

You have to know where the track is to get back on it. 
                                                                            -Benjamin Zander, conductor and writer

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

White River Reflections

White River Reflections
Oil on Canvas stretched over frame
9" x 12"

This painting depicts the banks of the White River next to the Indianapolis Art Center. 
To see this view you must look west from the Monon trail bridge. 

Do I need to tell you that it was early morning? 
I had drunk my coffee and was ready to welcome the sun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

King Midas

Click below to hear my latest podcast featuring the ancient story of King Midas.
Also available on iTunes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Definition of Art

Yesterday I was walking to meet my daughter, Emmaline at the bus stop.  Rain was blowing in my face and I was squinting against the shining sun.

I suddenly remembered something my step-dad, Thomas told me years ago.  Under these conditions there is ALWAYS a rainbow.  You just have to turn away from the sun. 

I turned around and there was a fully arched rainbow! 
And... one end of it started at my house!!!

I stood for a moment smiling at this happy site, when a man in a car drove past.  I pointed urgently behind him and mouthed, "Rainbow!"  I am not sure if he understood or thought I was crazy, but I realized that it was the artist in me that wanted so desperately to share that beautiful miraculous moment. 

And that is what art is all about.  Sharing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

White River from Broad Ripple Park

White River from Broad Ripple Park
Oil on Canvas stretched over frame
9" x 12"

Brrrrr!  It is blustery cold outside today. 
The clouds are moving fast and I had to hold my canvas down with my thumb to keep it from flying away. 
But... for a brief hour the sun showed his face and I was able to create this painting.
Keep a tight hold on your umbrella people!


Monday, November 7, 2011

The Strawberry

Click below to hear my latest podcast featuring the Buddhist Koan story, The Strawberry.
Also available on iTunes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Broad Ripple meets Hudson River

Canal Greenway Bridge
Oil on Canvas stretched over frame
12" x 9"
Original $275.

I have been doing a study of the Canal near my home in Indianapolis. 
I paint it in different lights and am facinated by the variety of reflections in the water
(as well as the many little bridges that cross it.)
Maybe it is the yellow ochre paint, but this one turned out very Hudson River School-ish?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Storytelling Photos- Thank you Lisa!

Last week I shared stories at a local elementary school. 
One of the parents, Lisa Bonconsky is a professional photographer. 
She sent me *beautiful* photos from the storytelling. Thank you Lisa!

To find out more about Lisa's work visit:

Who is that behind my back?

Children love stories!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Jack and the Ghost

Happy Halloween everyone!

Click below to hear my latest podcast episode, "Jack and the Ghost."  Also available on iTunes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn on the Canal

Autumn on the Canal
Oil on Canvas
10" x 8"

This painting depicts the Broad Ripple Canal just west of the Illinois Street Bridge in Indianapolis. 
I love my new city!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hypnos God of Sleep

Hypnos God of Sleep
Acrylic on Paper Unframed
12" x 9"
Original $125.

Hypnos was the Greek God of sleep.  He was often depicted with wings on the side of his face.  Although he is said to have dwelt in a cave, here he is under the light of the harvest moon ready to hypnotize you.

As a side note, Hypnos' twin brother was Thanatos, God of Death.
So... sleep=death?
I certainly feel more alive after I sleep, but da Vinci and others loathed sleep. 
Ben Franklin wrote, "There will be sleeping enough in the grave."

Purchase the original:

Or buy a reprint through Fine Art America.

"Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast."

~William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Celebrate the Day of the Dead at the Indianapolis Art Center

Addie in front of her Altar to honor her grandfather, Lonie Rudd
at the Indianapolis Art Center.

This Saturday, October 29th the Indianapolis Art Center will be hosting a Day of the Dead Celebration.  Celebrate the lives of our loved ones by participating in the workshops, hearing music and viewing the altar exhibit.  I will be sharing stories at 2:30pm.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Podcast featuring Monsters and Mayhem

Are you in the mood to be scared?

This month I am featuring various "scary" stories on my new Fantastic Fables podcast.

Click below to listen:

Episode 2, Hercules and the Strife Monster

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The White River from Holliday Park

The White River from Holliday Park
Acrylic on Canvas Stretched over Frame
10" x 8"
Original $125.

I keep visiting Holliday Park to paint the White River.  It is always so amazing how many different colors and moods come from the place at different times of day.

"Beauty is the oracle that speaks to us all." -Luis Barragan

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Ghost that said, "Boo!"

Yesterday my daughter, Em and I wrote a story about a little ghost.  He tries to scare people but can't.

Em wanted to document the story herself.  Here is the first paragraph:

"Onse upon a tim ther was a gost. He live in a hauntend tas ad it in a tost.  On halwen it sim w not on the dor.  The gos wet daw the sars.  Te ont the boooooooo."

I do have to wonder why so many of our words are not spelled the way we say them.  funny.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The White River in October

The White River in October
Acrylic on Paper Unframed
11" x 14"
Original $150.

It is a challenge to depict sun shining on water! 
The ripples and constantly changing colors are fascinating.  We think of water as simply blue- but when you start really looking at it so many other colors come out.

I have been visiting Holliday Park in Indianapolis to paint.  It is a beautiful place!

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Fantastic Fables Podcast!

I have just created my first podcast to share inspirations and stories! 

In this first episode I tell the "Faceless Nun" an Indiana ghost story.

My Daughter's Wonderland

My five year old daughter, Emmaline, drew this picture. 

When I asked her about it she said,
"It is Wonderland where the fairy tales happen and everything comes true."

Indeed.  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sun on the White River

Sun on the White River
Acrylic on Paper Unframed
11" x 14"
Original $150.

Is there anything more beautiful than the sun filtering through the autumn leaves?
These few days when the leaves are at their peak are the best.
I am ready to eat pumpkin pie!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Define "Scary"

I have been sharing a lot of "scary" stories lately. 

Most teachers who book me for a storytelling performance in October say that they want scary stories, but not TOO scary.   

One of my favorites is the Belly Button Beastie, a Japanese folktale about a boy who has his belly button stolen by a monster that turns out to be friendly.

When my daughter Emmaline was four I read the story of the Gingerbread Man to her.  After the horrible demise of our hero, I asked Em if this story was scary.  She rolled her eyes (just like a teenager!) and said, "Mom, he is a cookie."

I want to be sensative... where is the line?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Sun and the Circle

The Sun and the Circle
Acrylic on Canvas Stretched over Frame
8" x 10"

How many colors radiate from this sun?  Is it an infinate spectrum?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Latte Art

My college buddy, Kent Kingrey, created these images in cups of latte coffee! 
Isn't it amazing? 

This is making the ordinary extraordinary.  This is Art with a capital A.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Is it Fall yet?

Autumn Leaves
Oil on Canvas
12" x 16"

I love this time of year when a couple of crisp days shock the trees into gold.  It is a challenge to portray trees and I just love the way this painting turned out.