Palette Knife Paintings

blank canvas


One of the things I love about vacation, especially in the great, inspiringly beautiful outdoors, is trying new things.  We started with a day trip to nearby Salida, Colorado, a wonderfully artsy town with 20 art galleries!  I am not normally much of a landscape painter, but after a visit to the studio/gallery of Carl Bork, I was inspired!  So back at the campsite, I pulled out my palette knife, canvas, and acrylic paints, and gave it a try.

mountains at night watermark


This was my first attempt – appropriate for the dusky time of day I was painting.  I call it “Night in the Mountains”.  I used only a large palette knife, so had to work much “looser” than I was accustomed, focusing more on color than detail.  It was so fun!  I just had to run to town again to buy more canvas!

mountain painting


This one is “Sunset in the Mountains”  inspired by the absolutely gorgeous real thing we had seen the night before.



I couldn’t miss an attempt at the lovely Aspen trees, and the hummingbirds (the only part touched up with a brush) that kept whizzing past my ear as I painted.

mountain lake watermark


In my final landscape, “Mountain Lake” I used a larger canvas and finished up the palette knife painting with paint brush pine needles.

I love this messy, but very satisfying, new to me technique.   The moral of the story? Never hesitate to try something new!


To purchase my original artwork,

To purchase prints,

Vacation Gratitude Greats

There is nothing like camping in the Colorado Rockies for a week to help you appreciate the simple things!

Water for example.  There is no tap water at the convenience of the kitchen sink to take for granted at the campsite, but there is a nearby pump where with just a little effort drinkable water is available.  Water that requires even a tiny bit of effort is suddenly more valuable.  Hmmm….

I also really, really, enjoyed the constant sound of the rushing mountain stream that we were camped next to.

And a little further up, that same stream was a lovely waterfall!



The cool crisp mountain air at 9,000+ feet in elevation was a welcome change from the heat of a Kansas summer, and of course those nippy mornings and evenings were cause for one of my camping favorites, a nice toasty fire.  Fire is so fascinating, so dangerous, so enticing… It draws everyone to it, and therefore together as well.  Sitting around the campfire just has a bonding effect and I enjoyed the too quickly vanishing time with my three teenage daughters.



Of course, I also have to mention being surrounded with stunning beauty on all sides.  It was like manna for my creative soul, nourishing a frenzy of painting, and inspiring me to try new techniques.  I even went to town to buy more canvases!

blank canvas


Rest was another enjoyment I was thankful for on vacation.  Losing track of time other than night or day.  Eating when we were hungry and sleeping when we were tired.  Taking time to stare at the clouds and watch the hummingbirds and chipmunks. Dates and schedules did not exist for one blessed week!



Finally, I realized how much I take my sturdy house for granted.  Somehow when there is only a thin sheet of nylon between me and the elements (and the black bear that entered our campsite twice!) I become very thankful for what I have.



What were you grateful for this week?

Mask Making How To


A quick and easy way to make an interesting writing “spot” in your art journal is to use a mask.  It blocks the paint to leave a blank space for writing.

m1  m2

The first step is to find an image that you want to use in a magazine.  Carefully cut out the image.  Simpler images usually work better.

m3 m4

Taking a page already prepped with a coat of gesso, decide where you want the blocked area to be.  I turned my image over so I could still use this lovely lady elsewhere if I choose to. Add a tiny touch of glue, or rubber cement to hold the image in place.


I used Montana Gold spray paint (the kind used by graffiti artists) to make a quick design on the pages.  These paints are great because you can order different size nozzles according to the kind of painting you want to do, and they come in a gazillion different colors!  I ordered mine from Plaza Art Supply.


And there you have a lovely page ready for more embellishing and writing!

Gratitude Greats of the Week


This week I have been thinking about a quote I read somewhere (probably Pinterest) about how we totally take for granted the very things that others are earnestly praying for.  So, for starters this week, I am thankful for my daily bread. I seldom have any worries about where my next meal will come from.  Not only do I need to share, but also I also need to appreciate what I have been blessed with.  Want to see how you compare with the rest of the world?  Check it out at




I am thankful for my daily bread.  Something I so often take for granted while many go hungry.

woman praying


I am also grateful for the avenue of prayer, both for giving thanks, and for asking to receive!

fire photo copy


Fire.  A favorite part of a camping trip, but also something I take so for granted – until there are no matches or lighters!

unborn child copy (1)


Life.  Such an incredible miracle.

journal and pencil


Words to write it all down.  Paper and pencils in abundance to record them all!

Have a great-full week!




Decorating tags is a quick and easy project that gives you the satisfaction of completion in a short amount of time.  I wanted to have some tags on hand to use in my art journal, so painted up six tags to use.



I was fortunate enough to acquire a batch of these vintage tags, but new ones work just fine too.




Since I don’t know for sure how I am going to use these yet, I went ahead and decorated both sides.  I used book pages, a cigar wrapper, geological map bits, paper scraps, paint and alcohol sprays.  I used a black Flair pen for the black borders, then ran over them with a wet paint brush to give a washed look.

IMG_7358 IMG_7357


I finished up with a bit of stamping, but left room for writing or more embellishing later. Finally, I took the messy paper that I protected my table with, and used it as a journal page!  Even art should be recycled!



Thanks Hannah!

Hannah copy (1) copy


Several years ago, I wanted to add some color and visual appeal to the Bible studies I was writing.  The cheapest and easiest solution was to produce my own illustrations, but since I hadn’t done that type of thing before I felt a little hesitant.  I could come up with simple little line drawings…but anything more?  Then I did a lesson on Hannah.  Desperately longing for a child, she passionately cried out to God with tears flowing.  The part of the story that really struck me is that BEFORE she was granted her request, she left rejoicing.  It was that image of a rejoicing Hannah that I wanted to capture.

Setting a strong fear of failure behind me, I gathered some simple art supplies. I used watercolor pencils in addition to watercolor paints, enjoying the “safety” and familiarity of holding a pencil and making soft sketches before I was committed.  I loved the process!  I loved watching the image in my mind emerge on paper.  Not a perfect masterpiece by any means, but it captured what I really wanted it to.  And, it left me wanting to do more.  For the next couple of years I “practiced” by making quick illustrations for my weekly Bible studies.  Admittedly, they weren’t the best, but they gave me valuable practice, and I slowly gained confidence…and most importantly I was hooked!  I had rediscovered my childhood love of painting and all things artsy.  All thanks to Hannah!

Practicing Faces


I’ve been practicing faces lately. Lots of faces.  Some I am happy with, some not so much.  But I keep plugging away on them because I love the expressiveness of a face.  Each face holds its own unique beauty and is usually the first thing we see of the real depth of personality beneath it.  So, I am working on capturing that in my artwork.  Practice, practice, practice!


in pencil…


Ink on a brush and acrylic…


Abstract acrylic with ink…