Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giacomo at Glendalough or The Darling Buds of May

Oil - 10 x 8 inches

This is a Yellow-rumped Warbler who makes his home in western Minnesota at Glendalough State Park. It is not my intention to paint birds as accurately as possible, as if staged in a photographer's studio with perfect lighting. I'll leave those duties to the editors of ornithology reference books. In art, I find nature to be a lot more fun with so much more to offer. For example, this little guy's head feathers are reflecting the blue tones from a most beautiful May sky.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Northern Flicker

Oil - 4 x 4 inches

     At the end of September and early October, I witnessed around three bird fallouts at my home in Duluth, MN. A fallout is a large migration of birds caused by strong northerly winds. They are unmistakable in their capacity to amaze and dazzle simply by producing extraordinarily large numbers of birds. Unfortunately, the birds are often weak and hungry, sometimes leading to their demise. Many are susceptible to being hit by cars, just as they were in the great warbler carnage on Highway 61 along Minnesota’s North Shore during early October's fallout. 
     At my home, my yard was filled with American Robins and Northern Flickers foraging for food. A few days later, another fallout occurred. It was during this second fallout when I met this beautiful, female Northern Flicker resting on a Norway Pine in my yard. If you’re unfamiliar with Flickers, don’t be confused by this painting. She's clinging to the tree trunk on her left while looking over her shoulder. This painting depicts that pose. In other words, the spots show where her belly is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Of the First Kind

Oil - 4 x 4 inches

Crows seem to be one of those birds that evoke strong emotions in humans. I am no exception, but my feelings have changed over the years since I was a kid. Besides a recent, strange encounter with a lone crow, two things have influenced me greatly about the lives of crows: a PBS documentary titled "A Murder of Crows" and the book In the Company of Crows and Ravens. Scientists have conducted some fascinating research on these birds, and both of these are excellent resources should you wish to learn more about them. My strange meeting with a crow is described in the following paragraphs.

          Every now and then, there’s a ripple in the general state of things that makes me question the structure of our place in this world. This past summer, an American Crow visited me while I was weeding around my blueberry plants in my enclosed garden. Crow approached from afar and walked a decent distance across my yard, cawing every seven seconds, or so. Alone and getting closer, it occurred to me that this was going to be no ordinary encounter.
          Crow stopped about ten feet from me and continued cawing opposite the chicken-wire fence that stood between us. I couldn’t help but think Crow wanted me to understand its language. I said hello and offered a few blueberries, but Crow declined. We chatted for a few minutes, which in my opinion, was an extremely long time. This crow definitely had something to say. Finally,  it moseyed on towards the woods. Occasionally, Crow looked back at me, usually after I said some words of which I don’t remember anymore.
          Out of sight and still walking, I heard Crow encounter a pair of American Robins along its journey, seemingly unappreciative. And for the next ten minutes, I audibly tracked Crow’s path simply by listening to the other creatures in the forest react to its approach. I’m aware of how extremely intelligent American Crows are, and do wonder if we’ll meet again one day, or if perhaps, we are already old friends. I could've thought nothing of it, but it's not in my nature to do so.

Friday, September 19, 2014

White Throat at Tioga

Oil - 12 x 16 inches
This is my oil painting of a White-throated Sparrow. Since moving to Minnesota, I've found these birds to be one of the the loudest birds in my neighborhood during the spring and summer, and with one of the prettiest calls. It's easy to mimic their call, and if you know how to whistle, I have no doubt you'd be whistling back to them almost involuntarily should you hear them in your presence. They're also beautiful, shy, and busy little birds, so if you happen to see them, you've got keen eyes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Last Valentine

Oil - 4 x 4"

Lots of paint, heavy brushstrokes, and vibrant colors give this mourning dove the look I was going for.  With anything, if one studies a subject long enough, its true colors will show through time after time.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Lemon Drop, Barley, and Ruby

Here are three recently finished miniatures in oil: Lemon Drop, Barley, and Ruby. Respectively, they are a yellow warbler (oh, spring has sprung when you see these beautiful birds in your trees), a barn owl from the Schlitz Audubon Nature Preserve, and a ruby-crowned kinglet.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Oil - 4 x 4"

Just a bit outside of my comfort zone, I wanted a very limited color palette for Meringue. In actuality, I drew from seven different tubes of paint, but still achieved the look I was going for. If you've ever observed a soaking wet bird in the rain, Meringue is a gentle view of that bird, having fluffed her feathers as best as she could, yet still only able to form stiff peaks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Ink drawing on Strathmore cream paper - 8-1/2 x 6"

Monday, March 17, 2014


Oil - 4x4"

A part of me just can't stay away from painting miniatures. This little sanderling was having a lot of fun on the beach. Well, that's what I'd like to think anyway. Their little legs are some of the fastest moving legs on a bird you'll ever see. Fun!

Friday, March 7, 2014


Oil on Canvas 9x12"
1-1/2" finished profile, gallery wrap

This painting is composed of several layers to add depth, especially in the bird's feathers. Purple turned out to be a nice surprise at the feet, so I went with it to add interest. Although I'm not particular fond of painting on canvas versus a smoother surface, I am very happy with Ivy.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Ink drawing in Strathmore cream paper - 8-1/2 x 6"

Western willets are fairly large shorebirds, and this one had found a shrimp for lunch along the coastal waters of Florida when I saw her. She hunted alone, which is common for this bird.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Duke Wants

Ink drawing on Strathmore cream paper - 8-1/2 x 6"

This is a fish crow that cried outloud, not shy in any way, wanting a morsel to gobble from any human passerby. I had nothing. I've mentioned several times how nature talks to us, and those that choose to listen may have to block their ears every now and then.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lunch With Benny

Oil - 16 x 16"
Benny is a downy woodpecker foraging on reeds at the Lewis Nine Springs E-Way in Madison, WI. My visit last spring started with a few raindrops that gave way to warm sunshine and abundant bird activity. When I was close to finishing this work, I toned down the oranges, added color to the reeds while increasing contrast, and gave detail to Benny in many layers.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Oil on Panel
I experimented with the background on this work, changing it three times. Often, simple backgrounds that place the focus on the subject matter win out with me. It's a conscious decision.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Oil on Switch Plate
I can think of few things more peaceful than swift, busy little chickadees and airports. Both exude chaotic visual forces, like tiny volcanic eruptions meant to interrupt. Yet, the more I am engaged, the more I am at peace.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fisher with Cat

Oil on Switch Plate
This is a little fishing scene that came from somewhere in my brain. I love to fish, so I often daydream of fishing. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Oil on Switch Plate

Snowy egrets have all sorts of looks. When the air is still, their plumage looks delicate and silky, but when the wind blows, their feathers blow every which way. This particular egret was hunting for food in the ocean on a windy day. As you can see, this painting's style is loose and free. It's nice to change things up every now and then. Great expressions can still be accomplished with tiny brushes, a needle, and a magnifying glass.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Green Heron at Suncoast

Oil on Panel
I recently moved to Duluth, MN and had to put painting on the back burner. Now that I'm settled, here's my first piece from my new home. This green heron is from the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Florida. I constantly go back to my photos of the birds there. It's a fascinating place, and figuring out when I can return is always on my mind.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Goldfinch on Zinnia

Oil on Panel

I've never been much of a flower person, but that's starting to change a little. I think it's because life has slowed down for me and I see things differently now.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Oil on Panel - 4 x 4"

Georgie is a long-eared owl who resides at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. She may be a he, and doesn't have an official name, according to their staff. Well, obviously I've decided to change all of that, so heeeeere's Georgie!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Magnolia's Shadow


There are shorebirds, and then there are white ibises. These guys always seem to steal the show when it comes to size, numbers, and consistency. You can always depend on a visit from these birds if you're wading in the surf.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Robin in Blue


Here's a robin where I pushed the color palette, starting with his orange belly and then adding complementary colors from there. Robins don't have blue feathers, but who cares! Experimenting is fun, and I bet you still know it's a robin, don't you?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Song Sparrow Along Boardwalk

Oil on Panel - 3-7/8" x 10"

This is a little song sparrow I saw along the boardwalk at the Nine Springs E-Way in Madison, WI. These birds are often overlooked because they are quiet flyers, frequently low to the ground, and camouflage easily with their surroundings. What they lack in ostentation is made up with a distinctive and pretty call.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rousseau wins again! and Killdeer at Nine Springs

1st Place, Plymouth Arts Center
Alive in the Arts Exhibition

Rousseau is becoming a popular bird. He just won another award, this time 1st Place at Plymouth Art Center's Alive in the Arts Exhibition now through Aug. 2nd. Gallery hours are Tues.-Sat. Noon-4 p.m, Sun 1-4 p.m. Free admission.

Juror and notable artist, Craig Blietz, commented about Rousseau: 
"The mark making in this piece is stunning. When viewing this work up close, one can witness this artist successfully bringing together a great variety of squiggles, smears, patches, lines, and other such touches into a symphonic abstraction. When viewing this painting from a distance, this abstraction is cloaked as it all morphs into itcohesive subject matter. Pure illusion. Thrilling to look at!"  

Thank you, Craig Blietz!!!!

In other news, my newest painting....

Killdeer at Nine Springs

Oil on Canvas - 11x14"

My most recent painting stems from the Lewis Nine Springs E-Way corridor in Madison, WI. A few weeks ago, I visited this area on a rainy morning. A group of photographers walked together on the other side and slowly headed out when the rain got heavier. Sandhill cranes were coming and going, and I suspect these may have been what the photographers were after. I continued on, not quite dressed for prolonged rain, but brighter skies were off in the distance. 

This killdeer (above) was at my turnaround point. Nearby, a mother goose splayed her feathers over her eggs, and goslings from another family followed their parents to a safer distance into the water. Red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, swallows, goldfinches, cardinals, orioles, warblers, and herons were all active. I saw my first American Bittern, spotted sandpiper, and a pair of northern shovelers during this outing. It's also the first time I'd ever seen a Canada goose battle a mink (photo below). Notice the red-winged blackbird watching in the distance. One last broken egg was nearby. Nature is harsh, no doubt about it.

A Canada goose and a mink go to battle. (photo)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pelican on the Bay

Oil on Panel - 4 x 4"

The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds that spends its summers in Wisconsin. They migrate in flocks like Canada geese, except they are very quiet. They can be easily overlooked because of this and their mostly white feathers. Their landing takes forever, hovering in circles. Think of a really long spring coil pattern with no ending.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Louie II

Oil on Panel - 8 x 8"

This bird continues to be one of my favorites, what more can I say? He is a male house finch in case you're wondering what kind of bird he is.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Oil on Panel - 12 x 9"

This painting depicts a ruddy turnstone splashing the beaches in the warm sunlight of Sanibel Island. These shorebirds can be found along many shores throughout the coastal regions, and are often blazing the salty sands alongside sanderlings. As their name indicates, they turn over stones looking for food.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Phoebe on Thermometer


Eastern Phoebes in the summertime, now there's a familiar sound that means home. Along with the Eastern Wood Pewee, this bird's call reminds me of harvesting vegetables from my Dad's garden on hot and humid days, aka doing chores.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tskili 2


This is the second painting I have done of Tskili, a great horned owl from the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee. More of her fluffy feathers are showing in this one. In order to obtain a soft look, I used a couple of different brushes to soften the initial paint application.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rousseau takes Award, Tskili, and More

Oil on Panel - 8 x 10"

Rousseau, my painting of a blue-winged teal in Lion's Den Gorge, Grafton, took the People's Choice Award at New London's Wolf River Art Festival, held Jan. 23-24. Hooray! I was so excited!!!

In addition, look below to see my newest bird, Tskili, a miniature painting of a great horned owl who lives at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee. Tskili was taken from her nest as a baby and fed inappropriate nutrition and also became imprinted on humans. She is now a permanent resident of SANC and has a delightful personality.


And finally, you are invited to The Arts Mill's 2nd Anniversary Event and Peep Show, held March 22, 6-9 pm, 2013. As many of you know, this is where I have a studio where I display my work and also paint on occasion. (I split my painting between home and the Arts Mill.) This event is coupled with a Peep Show, a juried Exhibition of Fine Art Nudes. I've added new, signed prints of some of my latest work, too. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Oil on Panel - 16 x 12"

This is a painting of a yellow-crowned night-heron in J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. I was one of the lucky ones able to watch him stalk a bug, up close and personal. He paid no attention to us humans, and was solely focused on breakfast. This chap swayed his neck back and forth like a king cobra and wiggled his tail feathers just before striking. As far as birding goes, this remains one of my favorite experiences.

Saturday, January 26, 2013



Sunflower - Oil on Canvas

This piece was sold at The Arts Mill's 24-Hour Auction, held Saturday, Jan. 26th. All pieces had to have been created in 24 hours on 11x14 inch canvases.

In 2012, I joined a community garden. I can't remember the last time I stood next to a sunflower and admired its beauty. One day, I walked over to another gardener's plot and stood underneath one. I felt really small. When it comes to plants, sunflowers are pretty cool.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Oil in Panel - 6 x 6"
The poetry of a wren's pose wraps fallen leaves in splendor, and moves the forest's energy onto one tiny little bird.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Oil on Panel - 14 x 11"

Ospreys will always remind me of visiting my friend's family cabin in northern Minnesota where these raptors nest across the lake in the summertime. Besides ospreys, loons are fairly abundant as well. Santiago's name comes from the main character in Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Oil on Panel - 6 x 6"
Sometimes as a way of breaking out of the monotony, or just for art's sake, I paint something new and different. Meet Chip. He's a little rascal that eats my mom's birdseed and chews on her house. Referring to the background, I have seen the back and forth brushstrokes come out in quite a few of my paintings. It's something that feels natural to me when creating.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fisherman II

Here's a painting of a fisherman that I finished yesterday at The Arts Mill where I rent space to show my artwork and paint at my $20 desk that I got at a local thrift shop last year. It rained all day. I welcomed visitors that dodged the raindrops while a great blue heron hunted for food and preened just outside on the Milwaukee River. It was a great day. A pot of coffee and Coltrane on the radio topped it off. 

Monday, October 15, 2012


Oil on Panel - 10 x 10"
Otis is a tree swallow from Broughton Sheboygan Marsh Park.  The day before he came to life as a painting, he got caught in a windstorm and received specs of dirt, pollen, and other debris all over the sky. I spent hours cleaning him up, so now he's much better. Transporting wet paintings with inadequate coverage only invites trouble. If you ever want to know just how much stuff is in the air we breathe, just paint something and set it outside on a windy day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Oil on Panel - 4-7/8 x 4-9/16"
This was one of those paintings that evolved on its own. Originally, there was more to the scene and it was painted on a larger canvas, but after working on this particular figure, I let him develop into a painting all to himself.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Curtain Cat

Oil on Panel - 6 x 6"

Continuing with the cat theme, this is my bad cat, Mandy. She is a Texan and I was smitten by her flirtatious window rubbing at the San Antonio animal shelter when we laid eyes on each other. Her personality is "Play with me, or I'll torment you," except when she's sleeping, of course.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cat Looking Out of Window

Oil on Panel - 6" x 6"

This painting's style is a result of getting to the studio and realizing I had only one brush to work with. You're probably wondering how that is possible. It comes from transporting brushes back and forth between my studio and home. Since I paint in both locations, I incorrectly assumed I had more brushes at the studio. Now if I were like the late artist Mary Nohl, I might have cut my hair to make some more brushes, but I did not.

Thursday, August 30, 2012



Yellow is such a fine color. It's cheery, bright, and lifts my mood. If you're familiar with goldfinches, you've noticed that they sing when they're flapping their wings, then stop singing as they glide through the air. This scenario is repeated until they land. I had to laugh when my husband voiced his opinion on this. He said, "It's because they need to get rid of the air in their lungs to help them glide more aerodynamically." Thought-provoking or just plain ludicrous, what do you think?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Field of Yellow

Oil on Panel - 4 x 4"

My focus on this little piece was to incorporate bright colors, shadows, and light while not being afraid to let my brush strokes fall where they wanted. I've painted quite a few new pieces in the past few weeks and have fallen behind on blogging. I can't wait for this crazy world of communication methods (web, blog, tweets, etc) to settle down. Will it ever? You can always check out my website for more new pieces, too.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Oil - 6 x 6"
Agatha sat on the docks by herself, surrounded by dozens of barn swallows zipping through the air snapping up bugs. She wasn't sure which direction to go, because she wasn't one of them. She is a northern rough-winged swallow and she really stared at me when I took notice of her. Within moments she took flight, hopefully in the direction where more of her kind were flying.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Oil on Panel - 6" x 6"

Early spring, an injured heron took refuge near my home. This painting is inspired by that bird, who coincidentally managed to fly away from some kids throwing rocks at him while he was recuperating. One of my friends made a comment to me recently referring to bad behavior. She said, "They just weren't brought up properly." Isn't that the truth.