Introducing my new painting, inspired by a dream during a challenging time in my life. It brought me a sense of hope, remembering that nighttime turns into morning, eventually.
It reminded me of the many camping trips I've been on when I always seemed to hear creepy sounds in the night that caused me to shudder but then turned into a beautiful symphony of nature in the daylight.
"Song in the Dark" also holds a very precious moment for me. I was looking for a model to render for a young girl in the painting. So I choose my granddaughter who, at the age of six, is an amazingly talented singer. We had so much fun together; setting up lighting and having her sing out loud as I took photos. I hope the joy of that experience touches you. My joyful time with my granddaughter is woven into the painting as much as the paint that I applied.
"Song in the Night" was recently shown at the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix. It's now available for purchase. (Click on the photo for more information).
Out in the desert, it's not unusual to find a cactus that's dying yet still manages to spend it's last bit of energy on a bloom. "Prickly Pear's Last Bloom" was created from a cactus like that.
Life is a continuous process of growth and death, often occurring at the same time in any living organism or landscape - which fascinates me. In this natural flow beauty often passes swiftly. I love to try to capture those moments with painting dramatic visual experiences of color, contrast and depth. My style reflects my awe with the designs and mysteries of life.
Another really important aspect of my art is for me to get out and interact with the things I love to paint - like roses, cactus skeletons, wild Arizona poppies, cactus flowers and the stunning red rocks scattered throughout my State. I want to experience those "mystery of life" moments for myself before I paint them. I want to dig in the dirt of my garden with my hands, prune a prickly rosebush, aimlessly wander in the desert looking for old metal trash, and be visually amazed by the unusual plants and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert.
Usually in June, the delicate yellow flowers start showing the orange/red colors. It's worth braving the heat in the early morning to hike a desert trail to find them. Personally, I would much rather be in the desert in January! Especially during a cool, wet one like we're having now. And besides - the snakes are still hibernating. That's a thing!
So our last name "Farmer" means a lot to my husband. He takes his gardening seriously and thoroughly enjoys it. I think it's really all about his Grandma's influence on him. She was in the garden as much as she possibly could be.
When we were first married, John couldn't wait to move out of our apartment and get his own piece of land. Gardening was completely new to me, being raised Air Force and constantly on the go. I have learned a lot since then. But my biggest accomplishment was convincing John to grow something other than food producing crops. That remains his priority, with the addition of lots and lots of roses.
My husband is simply an avid rose enthusiast, with over 40 rose plants in our garden. I never tire of them. Every new rose amazes me. There's something about the winding visual trip they take you on that fascinates me. The stunning colors just grab at me. The sunlight glowing through the pedals is sublime. Incredible beauty!
Looking at an arrangement of red and white roses on my kitchen counter, I was struck by the interaction between the two colors and how it defined their personalities. Of course, I just had to explore it thru painting. I just can't help myself.
"Red + White Roses" is a large painting at 30x48. Purchase price is $2,800 +tax/shipping. Click on the photo below for more information and a professional photo.
My newest painting "LIFE: the ultimate construct" is a visual expression of unseen mysteries that fascinate me.
Mystic messages holding the key to create life. A plant or an animal? A flower or a human? Blue eyes, hazel, green or brown?
These amazing messages are more commonly known as DNA. They come to us from the past, make their own tweaks and variations in the present to ultimately script the future. That's the bottom line of how life functions. And I really nerd out on it!
Scientists have recently discovered an important system in the mysterious cloudy mixture of fluff between the well-known double helixes of DNA. In my painting, this replication platform is portrayed with what some scientists have called a DNA hand.
The flowers represent another peculiar phenomena in DNA. There are gene sequences that are the same in some plants as in humans. Isn't life stunning!
As I paint, my thoughts explore and imagine the beauty of life in things I can and cannot see.
It may be the last glimpse of structural beauty in a cactus skeleton, hidden most of its life by the outside tissue of a plant long since decayed. I personally think the skeletons are way more beautiful that their live cacti counterparts.
Or brilliant desert flowers casting their seeds of the future to the wind before they quickly fade.
And of course roses, that have captured the imagination of genetic engineers for centuries, intermingling unseen codes and creating new species for a legacy of pleasure.
Ultimately, my thoughts always return to the beauty of human life. The unique individuality of each and every person on this planet. The vast diversity of community and culture.
The hope and the possibilities.
My newest painting was inspired by losing my Mom to cancer, one of the darkest seasons of my life.
As I came out of a very deep grief, I realized I was a different person. I had found treasures in the journey. Clarity. Compassion. Determination. Hope.
This painting is one in a series that expresses the darkness that I felt and yet the sweet water that can only be found in the deepest wells. I was very honored to have it chosen for a recent exhibit at Art HQ Gallery of art by the Cancer Support Community.
It's really important to me that my art can bring hope and encouragement. From the earliest sales as a professional artist, I was told stories by collectors of how my art lifted and inspired them. Wow - what a joy that is for me!
"Deep Wells in Dark Places" has just been delivered to a new gallery for another juried exhibit. I'm pretty excited about this one because it's a popular annual event in a prestigious gallery.
I'd like to invite you to come out and see it
along with nearly 100 paintings from artists all over Arizona!
Art Intersection Gallery
Aug. 14 - Sept. 25
Open Wed-Sat, 10am-6pm
207 North Gilbert Rd, Ste 201, Gilbert, AZ
This painting has a wonderful story of hope that I'd like to share with you.
There are children, throughout the world, that are born into dark and chaotic times. It wasn’t something they asked for or even deserved. But even though their parent is immersed in terrorism, violence or horrible crimes, many dream of a better life and hope for good things they’ve yet had the chance to experience.
Such is the story of a woman I met in Germany. She was born into a horrible situation. Her father was a Nazi scientist, involved in unspeakable evil. Her early childhood in communist Eastern Berlin was filled with great darkness and shame that she didn’t understand.
She told me the story of her childhood memories of passing by a gate in the wall with the view of Groẞer Park. In the distance she could see a tall tower with what appeared to be a gleaming angel on top. It was a magical sight to her. As an adult she learned she was seeing Napoleon’s Victory Column at the end of the beautifully tree-lined Linden Straẞe in West Berlin.
That glittering point of light became a childhood beacon of hope to her. She just knew that there had to be good in the world, if only she could get out and find it. She would remember that golden flicker in her most dreary moments.
After her Mom miraculously escaped with the children, they moved to a free nation. She grew up taking every advantage she could to find good for her life. She met and fell in love with a wonderful and good man. They raised a family together and are still happily married. I know her as a very loving and thoughtful person, never dreaming of the ugliness she had endured as a child.
Every time I hear about evil acts that are committed throughout the world, I think of those families who didn’t choose the way of evil but are shamefully stained by association. I pray for their victims. And I include their loved ones; that they will find a beacon of hope and pursue it; that they will break through the darkness around them and find good.
This portrait of a sweet young child caught in a dark situation was very difficult to paint. I struggled to capture both the innocence of a child as well as the heaviness that was so evident in the photograph of her that I used as reference.
Experiencing the death of an elderly loved one who has been there for us our whole lives is a universally shared pain. Though I often wonder if I'm the only one who cries when a large, old tree is cut down.
I live next to a road that is lined with ancient trees. They have been huge since I was a child. It isn't the first tree-lined road in this area. Two others I remember were cut down over the years. This road is the last.
This majestic avenue stands next to fields that were once irrigated regularly. This past year there was a massive surge of industrial buildings going in that don't require watering. Being cut off from regular indirect watering will result in a slow, sure death for these precious giants.
So this is the back story of a project I'm working on. I've been shooting videos, making draft compositions and a new, for me, painting study of a tree. I'm very excited about this project because I feel very deeply about the subject. I want to show my appreciation to these natural icons in a tangible way.
Yes - we live in an ever changing world. I appreciate the jobs and contribution to the local economy that this new industrial center will bring to my community. But I cannot take a pass on seizing something of lasting value from these majestic and colossi living sentinels.
This topic does make me a little sad. There's also another side of the story that gives me great joy. I cannot stop progress and don't even want to. Yet I CAN express, in a tangible way, the lifetime of inspiration and beauty I've experienced through these trees - through my painting. I'm thoroughly blessed by being able to acknowledge and memorialize their value.
Have you noticed the value of ancient things? Maybe really old people! Or traditions that have been meaningful to your life?
Have you thought of ways you could continue their memory out of the blessing they have been to you? And if you don't mind, I would love to hear what ideas you're mulling over in the comments below.
I encourage you to act on your ideas, no matter how small or large. You never know what treasures you may be passing along to future generations!
We all want to avoid as many difficulties as we possibly can! As the world has seen this past month – there are hard things that just can’t be avoided.
When I began my journey of being “sheltered in,” I wasn’t in much of a mood to be painting. Uncertainty and fear had gone viral (yikes – bad pun???) I had just returned from an out of state trip that was fabulous but I had jet lag and was grumpy. Then the reality and seriousness started settling in and I knew I had a decision to make.
I knew I had to make a choice because COVID-19 isn’t the first crisis in my life. In fact, there’ve been many difficulties in my life, perhaps the biggest was being born with a brain tumor. As difficult as that tumor has made my life, I have benefited from it probably more than any other one thing I can think of.
I wouldn’t have the same compassion, inner strength, grit and enthusiasm for life if I hadn’t faced my own mortality and physical challenges at such a young age. I learned that I didn’t have a whole lot of control over life but I could decide to focus on things that are beautiful, grow in grace and faith, and recognize how important the people I love are to me.
The pandemic is nearly over. But I choose the good I can take away from this experience: like more faith, hope, love, appreciation for what I have and maybe an extra pack of TP in the closet.
So that’s the short story version of my “COVID Shelter In” painting. It started out to be another beautiful flower I love painting. It turned into an emotional project for me to process my fears and grumpiness.
Then I remembered how beautiful the other side of a difficulty can become.
My formative years in Europe were saturated with art. I have vivid memories of standing in front of the massive “Las Meninas” at the Prado and being drawn into the beautifully mysterious space that Velazquez created. Standing in front of the “Mona Lisa” in Paris is a clear memory of looking through a window into another world. That type of creativity is contagious. I longed to be an artist too, so I emulated the artists I admired through drawing and painting.
When I was ready to formally study art, I pursued it with my favorites in mind; Da Vinci, Caravaggio, M.C. Escher and Dali. My teacher, Christopher Magadini, was acclaimed for his illustrative and composition superiority. To obtain depth, he was insistent upon the mastery of chiaroscuro. I drew spheres and flowing cloth to the point of annoyance! Now I am so grateful that Magadini taught me a solid foundation of drawing skills to build upon.
In college I was also studying molecular biology and chemistry. Those pursuits had a strong influence on my curiosity for living organisms. My imagination was sparked by discovering the mechanics of life and that intrigue continues to be an important part of my creativity.
When I saw my friend Hanne’s photo of her houseplant, I was so inspired by the transparency and the brief glimpse into the workings of a leaf that I knew I had to paint it and paint it big!
I began with an exercise of exploring the plant that had inspired me. I examined how it grew and moved; what is close to the surface and what things are overlapping or hidden. I looked at it from several different angles and experimented with close cropping and negative shapes that I found interesting.
Then I got out my big house painting brush and started in on it. There are many layers of color used. The brown background has several glazes of reds, yellows and purples, that can be seen differently in different light. The thicker flows and fragile transparent spaces of the leaf were very intriguing to me as I interpreted what I saw using many shades of greens and yellows.
"A New Leaf" was a joy to paint. I hope you enjoy it as well!
I was raised with a strong respect for nature which continued to be an important value for me throughout my life. Nature is, after all, my greatest inspiration for painting!
Because I worked at the state Capitol for so many years, I had an opportunity to get to know the AZ Game & Fish Department on many levels and was always impressed. The best example of their effectiveness can actually be seen in the lands they manage. We're avid hikers and campers, so we get to see first-hand the abundant wildlife and overall health of Arizona habitats.
My most recent painting is a portrait of a bald eagle that was rescued, but not recovered enough to return to the wild. He comes to the state Capitol annually to show off his regal beauty and help get everyone interested in Arizona bald eagles. I fell in love with him!
I hope you have a chance soon to see the beauty of Arizona deserts and forests. You might even get to see a group of bald eagles in the wild, as we've had the privilege of seeing.
Our state lands are precious and well-worth the effort to preserve!