Saturday, February 29, 2020

No Title Needed...

Just a few portraits to share today:

From top left to right and then bottom:
"Spring Break" watercolor
"Amy and Pete" watercolor
"Miss Kay and Destiny" pastel
"Liberty" oil

Friday, February 28, 2020

Everything Has an End

We have had 'dogs' in our lives for the last 17 or 18 years. Our big dog, Bailey, the Weimaraner, left us last July.  Our one last dog, Chaco, the Dachshund is almost 17.  He still goes outside, but with supervision.  He waddles at best and is blind and deaf.  The chain link panels had a purpose, but NOW they don't, they detracted from the beauty we see to the west out our back door.  We no longer needed this fence around our back deck, so yesterday, we began removing it AND the snow drifts that are left there from the last snowstorm.  We have a LOT of wind, up against the Sangre de Cristo mountains. This job is easier, as we have the equipment to do it (tractor, ATV plow and our plow on the Wagoneer), but still have to 'hand dig' the bottoms of the fencing out of the ice.  It is supposed to be another nice day, we will get it done.  I can handle these nicer days, even though the nights are still freezing cold.  
Come on, Spring!

Yesterday - I dipped my brush back into the paint on the palette for this painting to fix the dark gray at the bottom of the may still need a little more work.

"Rain in the Gap"
oil painting 
final?  TBD

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Using Up the References

'Mark making' with pastel has always been my favorite medium.  I think I was about 12, when I got my first set.  I still have SOME of those pastels...and many many others.  I have a favorite.  Terry Ludwig , in Littleton, makes THE best..they are true butter in your hand and on the paper..just a little pricey when I consider all the other medium I have and use.  I have a few pieces. So, someday soon, I feel - life is short, I am reminded often.  I also use pastel pencils - my favorites are the colors, more than the brands. 

Stick pastels are sorted into colors and dark to light.  Pencil pencils live in cups within general color together.  This is the way it has been for it seems a lifetime.
I have several reference photos from a 'reference seeking' journey and place to plein air paint that I took on a road close-by. This is the tree stand off of Sampson Ridge Road.  I did some plein air painting up in that area, last year.  I never leave an eye catching place, until I get photos of every angle and view around.  It's like sampling candy at the counter.

"Sampson Ridge Meadow"
pastel on sanded paper
12" x 9"

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Off in the Clouds and a Work in Progress

Living in the Wet Mountain Valley, with a 360° from our deck (front and then back) I have the good fortune of seeing all types of skies, clouds, daily life, weather, wildlife, and yes, even wildfires from my vantage point. I can see the Wet Mountain range, the Sangre de Cristo range, the Collegiates, and the Spanish Peaks.  Above me are skies that are my local version of the "Big Sky".  I take so many photos of these aforementioned wonders that my 'phone camera' is always full and my Sandisks are jammed with photos. 

There are particular photos that I 'save for later' in my 'to paint' or 'to study' pile in the studio. This is one of those. Time flies, can't believe this photo is from 2/6/18.

I recall that not soon after,  I did a small pastel and colored pencil study just for fun and to get the feel for the cloud's structure and placement above the mountains and valley.

Last week it made it to an 'almost' final 9" x 12" piece in oil. Using artistic license, 
I made the cloud more ominous and rain producing.  
Not much color though, it WAS February.  I may have to tweak that GRAY on the bottom of the cloud just a bit.  If it was that dark of a gray, the rest of the cloud would be a tad more gray as well.  Always a good idea to study a 'photo of your work' for possible corrections. 
 I will post a final of this one soon.

 "Rain in the Gap"
(still a work in progress - WIP)
Pattie Wall

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Wind - Not MY Friend

Yesterday, this is the back side of our house on our 40 acres - we get a lot of wind, from time to time.  Dog fence will be coming down soon.  We no longer need it as our 16 y.o. (almost 17) 'wiener dog, Chaco', who doesn't venture very far, plus we are always with him when he goes out. Our big Weimeraner, Bailey, passed away last August.  And in his failing days, he didn't need a fence either.

I was planning on making a trip to Denver, yesterday. I belong to a book club group of fellow teachers in Jeffco and was looking forward to meeting and discussing our latest read "This Tender Land" by William Krueger.  I really enjoyed reading this book, set in the Depression Era times about some orphaned children who were on the run from an Indian boarding school, which was a cruel place for them to be, in Minnesota.  As I read it, I could picture 'my father as a boy', he would have been the same age as the protagonist in this story.  Those times must have been for the strong and brave. 

The 'front range' highways and byways were all dried off from Sunday's snow accumulation, as far a I could tell.  It was the wind that kept me from going.  Lots of drifts and ice in these parts (at 8200 ft.) and I don't do well driving (especially that distance) with either I stayed home.   Local schools were even on a delayed start schedule due to this weather.

So, I spent the day finishing another book I was reading, the controversial and much talked about "American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins.   I had to see what all the buzz was about and I don't quite understand the controversy.  It was a fantastic read...full of twists and turns, well written.  I couldn't put it down most of the time.  I am getting better about using long stretches of time to really dive into books..LOVE IT!   Anyway, it goes on my top 10 best reads.

What drew me to read this one is I saw a news piece about 'readers did not think this author knew what she was talking about' since she told a story about a fictional Mexican mother on the run with her son, as migrants and she supposedly is 'not of true Mexican heritage',  However, does that mean that she can't write a story about Mexican people?  Some claim that the characters in the book were 'stereoptypical'.  Maybe so, but this book shined in the 'story telling realm'.  I think many may miss the true theme of the book..a loving mother's strife for her child and her identification with her immediate family, the reality of the intensity of the presence of drug cartels in Mexico and Central America and it's effect on everyday citizens and the responsibility and consequences of reporting in journalistic writing. It truly gives soul to the migrant population.  I kept thinking, OK, when do we get to the 'hokey' part, but it never came.  Read it and tell me what you think. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

An Oil Painting of a Coyote

"Eyeing Lunch"
11" x 14"
oil on Judson plein air panel

While painting plein air 2 years ago at the Music Meadows Ranch, I left that area and went "subject hunting" on the back roads of my area (truth be told, about every road in this area, could be called 'back roads'). Anyway, I had my P 900 Nikon camera with me.  It has a great telephoto lens on it, I captured this coyote stealthing along the fence line with the obvious intent of finding a prey.  Coyotes in the daytime, not a USUAL sight in these parts, 
but you can see them if you look hard enough, foxes, too.  BTW, he was SO camouflaged walking in that tall grass that was the same color as he was.

I purchased some Judson Outfitters plein air panels about that time, as well.  Decided to try one for this painting.  I LOVE this surface!  I plan to get more.  The surface is silky smooth and seems to help decrease the drying time of the oil paint.
You can see more about these panels and  the price HERE.

It seems safe to leave a comment below and helps me to know that 
a 'reader' visited this site. Thanks!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Where I Stand Sunday

Standing in the studio, with a foam mat under my feet (and sitting at the drawing board because 'standing' eventually creates a stir my arthritic ankle) is where I have been most days of this past couple of weeks. (Fat Cat is getting ready to leap through the underneath of the Sorg Easel, foil is for catching pastel dust if I am standing doing pastels.) So many things going on right now, but 'looming the largest' is getting some painting done for an upcoming art show ~ our first of the 2020 season, at 3rd Street Gallery in Westcliffe.  Intake is in 2 weeks, and if  I paint in oil, it needs drying time.  

Oil paint and I have a 'love/hate' relationship these days.  But as in most cases, 'you win some, you lose some'. It's all practice.  

Procrastination is my middle name, so I have taken the time to play around with a new medium for me, Casein.  It is a milk emulsion based 'gouache-like' paint which smells strange and acts differently than what I am used to with water-based mediums.  The jury is still out on that one. However, I enjoy the chance to try on something new.  I have finished a pastel or two and a few oils.  This is ALL after I spent weeks on some weaving at the large weaving loom.  That's another blog post - coming soon.

Thanks for visiting.  Here is a photo of a dog portrait, I couldn't resist to just paint and have fun with.  It's a 'family dog' named Izzie.  I think they call her 'Princess Izzie'.  She has these unique eyes (of course that is what cued me) and her ears have this perfect edge striping, black and white.

oil on canvasboard
10" x 10"

"Where I Stand Sunday" is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend
my life standing.  Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend out lives walking on.
I am not the only one who posts about this - google it.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

02-22-20 (a Palindrome!!)

Thanks for being patient with me while I return to this space and get it up and running again.  Feels good to be back. 
In the meantime, check out this's my Pinterest page on my artwork of animals..which is (as you know) my most favorite of all subjects to draw and paint.

"The Three"
pastel on Canson paper
9" x 12"
This one won a People's Choice award at the Nov./Dec. show in Westcliffe.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Thank You

Since moving back to Colorado and NOW living in a place that supports what I like to do, in a BIG way, I have come to be involved in the community in a way of 'supporting, serving, and DOING ART', more than I EVER have.  
I became a member of the local guild as soon as we took the keys to our new house.  

Sangres Art Guild is a dynamic non-profit organization that supports local art and artists.  Each year our community holds a 'funding' drive where donations are made in the month of Dec. to many of the organizations who operate in the Wet Mountain Valley.  Dollars are matched.  Today was the awarding of the monies collected in this wonderful drive by the WMV Community Foundation.  
Being a member of the SAG Board of Directors, I had the opportunity to accept the check for SAG and give a short talk on what we do and how we connect with many of the valley non-profits - at our local bowling alley's community room (how 'smalltown' is that???)

But in a BIG way (just gotta say that again😉), we wanted to thank the foundation and the community for it's support!
So I did!  LOVE living IS a great community full of really caring people and 
organizations.  You can read more about the Sangres Art Guild here.

Stay Tuned

Dear Blogger followers,

Over the last 14 months or so, I have attempted to keep a FASO (Fine Artists Studio Online) blog going (  My last post on this blog was over a year ago  - and you know what I mainly found out that was missing?  The personalization - the back and forth, the sharing and the giving.  And although FASO WAS very professional - it hasn't worked out. 

My life, although it has LOTS of art in it, it has other happenings as well.  I find that just sharing ART - isn't completely my world.  So, I will be coming back to this blog. 

"Dust Off the Butterfly" was started way back in 2007, when we moved from Colorado to Kansas.  I have 'backed-up all those blog posts' and am ready to 'begin again'.. My plan is to leave this entire blog RIGHT here for awhile, then I will slowly remove the years..up to 2019.  My FASO blog will remain until the end of this month.

I might even do a month of 'Where I Stand' - to re-inaugurate this blog.   Who suggested this?  Why my most favorite--ist and bestest critic, DH.  I LIKE to write.  I have something to say.  That's what a blog is all about, right?

So as the title of this post says - STAY TUNED!!

Happy 17th Blogiversary to ME

 I would like to admit, it's still here, I'm still here and it's still worthy of my attention - although sporadic.   Here are a ...