Thursday, November 5, 2015

Courageous Women Portrait of Nikol Peterman

Nikol's Courageous Women Story:
"When I discovered that compassion for others is the key to self-compassion, I knew I would be able to heal."
Nikol’s experienced a year of loss when her marriage ended in a painful divorce, a dear friend died of a heart attack in a heavy traffic jam and she was broadsided in a car accident. She was fortunate to have friends and family to reach out to because she increasingly realized how important it was to avoid isolating her pain by creating a bubble around herself. In her struggle to put her life back together, Nikol discovered meditation. The divorce had torn her plans for a family apart while the meditation brought her in touch with herself, her art and her calling. Nikol’s profession as a dancer, actress and dance instructor changed forever. In her early career, Broadway auditions were emotionally wrenching; surrounded by competition, hoping to be seen, feeling opportunities to succeed were scarce. Nikol’s move into meditation and yoga changed everything. As she rode the subway in NYC, she saw a man sitting across from her who was in so much pain.  She had compassion for him as someone who was also suffering. Nikol recognize at that moment how healing it was feel compassion for herself, as opposed to blaming herself for her circumstances. It helped her to more fully integrate the philosophy of non-separation, the integration of body and mind that comes from a focus on the breath. She recognized this included the connection between people. She could experience her journey in a new, healthy way. The positive qualities that came with that healing were numerous. Her new outlook helped her own her performances and trust that the right opportunities would come. Nikol’s performing and directing grew immensely because of her awareness. She began to trust in the powerful connection between the audience and performer and the true nature of resonance. She also realized that the power of authentically owning ones performance with an open heart meant an artist could create work that was of tremendous service to their audience. It also draws the audience closer as it feeds their needs, making that connection so powerful. So grateful for the changes that coaching, meditation and these new insights opened for her, Nikol is now coaching others to become wealthy artists. Learn more at:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Courageous Women Project video


“Today is the sixth anniversary of the day I did not commit suicide.”
Jess had a hard time making friends. She never understood why. Lonely in middle school, lonelier in high school, she was angry with herself and purchased razor blades to cut her skin so her outsides would match the way she felt inside. For college, Jess moved out of state to make a fresh start. She met a young man who was a bright spot. She also made friends with her roommates and people in the dorm. She confided in her roommate that she was cutting herself, and her roommate gossiped to everyone. They all left Jess alone. When her boyfriend broke up with her and refused to explain she had had enough. While preparing a deadly brew a thought came to her: “If no one else is going to treat me well, I will treat myself well.” Today Jess is a psychologist specializing in depression and suicide prevention. She’s created The Fuzzy Project, an online community devoted to helping people understand what depression feels like. Jess’s goal is to create a place to reach out and meet others who understand the struggle.
You can learn more about Jess’ work at:

For a more detailed description please visit and look at the Courageous Women Collection

Friday, April 24, 2015

Kendra - Courageous Women Project

Kendra still remembers wanting to be like all the other kids growing up. She wanted to feel free to be herself; say what she was thinking, make a mess, get in trouble. She didn't let herself. She was the good kid. Her family valued hard work, faith and education, excelling and doing ones best. There were a lot of high expectations. Kendra was determined to achieve them.

Kendra thrived on keeping it together. She ran track in high school and college, got good grades, graduated from an Ivy League college, was a devoted Christian, had a great job and lived on the Upper East Side of New York City. On the outside everything looked perfect. She was living the life, right?

Something felt wrong. It was that nagging eating disorder. If she could just clear that up… When Kendra was in 9th grade and joined track, she became very body-conscious. Running was her solution and track kept her focused on her body.

In Sophomore year psychology, one of the topics they studied was eating disorders. She had never heard of bulimia or imagined purging to keep weight off. But it sounded like it was worth a try. After all she wouldn’t have to be hungry and stress about what she ate. She’d just ‘take care of it.’

She started binging and purging to enjoy food and the feelings of being full. And she’d run really hard. Just to be sure she wouldn’t gain weight she’d run an extra few miles after track practice was over. When she binged at her parents house, she’d be careful and reorganize the boxes so you couldn’t tell food was missing. She was great at covering her tracks.

Suddenly she realized she had been living and eating like this for 5 years. She knew there was a problem and that it wasn’t healthy. If she could just get rid of the bulimia. So she became increasingly conscious of her behavior and started to get it under control. Until she relapsed.

One pivotal day Kendra was with her boyfriend’s family. They commented on how perfect she was. Perfect education, perfect job, perfect…  It was stifling. She felt like a fraud. Later that night, her boyfriend mentioned that he thought she was perfect. That was the last straw. Kendra completely broke down and through tears screamed. “I’m not perfect! I’m bulimic!” And with that a rush of calm swept over her. The truth was out and she could stop hiding behind a facade of perfection.

She knew in that moment she would stop living like this.  Kendra thought maybe that was all she needed to do, that being honest about that problem was enough.

But deep inside the little girl who wanted to just be herself was still waiting. Kendra realized there was more work to do. Loving herself and letting herself experience life fully was complicated.

Kendra had been hiding her shame behind a wall of perfectionism her whole life. The church services she always slept through as a kid? That wasn’t the faith she wanted. There was so much shame in that church’s philosophy that it took her away from herself rather than enlightening her. And she wanted to understand her relationship with men and with money. She saw many ways we can lose touch with ourselves.

And so the layers peeled back one after the next. Her consciousness and responsibility for her life was expanding. And that felt good.

Today Kendra lives in Wales. She shares her message through a website called the True You Project. She runs retreats in the Welsh countryside and works with women one-on-one all over the world. When Kendra works with people she takes a holistic approach. For example, when clients first come to Kendra to work on eating disorders, she talks with them about their lives, desires, beliefs and what’s holding them back from living the life they want. They spend time getting to know who they really are. Kendra’s found that clarity alone resolves a lot. Often without discussing food, people's eating disorders disappear. Kendra knows first hand how important it is to have an honest relationship with ourselves. And helping people do that is her life mission.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Woman of Courage Project by Barbara Ferrier. Portraits of women who build strong communities as a result of overcoming personal struggle. This portrait/story profiles  Yvonne Whitelaw'. Please leave comments about how you would choose to roll this painting project out - your perception and insights are appreciated.

Yvonne's Story
Yvonne was born in London and lived in several cities in Nigeria and the United States, which gave her an intimate look at humanity as a global citizen.
Yvonne thrived in medical school. She became a medical missionary and an NC Albert Schweitzer Fellow. She pioneered an HIV outreach program that served 2500 people and trained 75 more medical students to help. She received a Humanitarian Award and two service awards.
Yvonne moved with her 5 month old infant to her Residency - alone. Her husband couldn't leave his job. She had no family, no community, 80 hour work weeks and the care of her infant. Yvonne experienced first-hand a cold and sterile life. For all the care and support she provided wherever she went, there was no reciprocity. No matter how idealistic and committed she was, there was no opportunity to rejuvenate. It was a gut wrenching ordeal. Yvonne reached burn out and exhaustion. Heart palpitations and chest pain sent her to the doctor where Yvonne was sent to a Psychiatrist who immediately told her “you don’t need a psychiatrist. You need support!” Yvonne realized she had to resign her residency. She would no longer practice as a doctor. After all that hard work she had to walk away.
Yvonne saw physicians differently. She saw how exhausted they were. She knew how hard driving their work was. And she knew a lot of them had second jobs to pay down their student loans. They lived in a world that was cold to them in return. And then she thought “What if they all burned out? What would we do? The system could collapse.” At the same time her father had a stroke in Nigeria and was in a coma in the ICU. The physicians went on strike. The patients were discharged – all of them. Hospital rooms full of beds lay completely empty. It was silent. Her father was sent to a small rural clinic. He died within 24 hours. Devastated by the circumstances surrounding the loss of her father, Yvonne realized she was meant to help.
Today Yvonne’s mission is to generate awareness of this serious problem. She works as a physician coach and advocate, building a support system so they can get help. As physician suicide has become more common (400 suicides per year) Yvonne is working as quickly as she can.
In early 2015 the University of California physicians went on strike. Yvonne is building a large movement. She understands both the burnout and the solution.
Yvonne inspires a global tribe of humanitarian, idealistic and visionary physicians to thrive as they make a positive impact in the world. She creates a sense of belonging, a safe, positive and sacred space to share their stories and she teaches practical ways to cultivate their light by integrating community, music poetry and art into their lives.
You can learn more about Yvonne’s amazing work and services. Please find her at and her Live Your Ideals project.
Prints on both canvas and paper are available of this painting. Details coming soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

STRENGTH to make it to the top Title: Cascading Ascent

I updated this painting recently because it is SOOO Motivating!! Wouldn't you love to be as strong as this woman? I know I would. She is the ultimate in pure strength and agility. Physically running to the top of a beautifully rugged path perfectly parallels the strength and outlook we acquire as we put our next adventures together - those amazing ones way off the beaten path. And you know what? She is going to make it there with ease. And so are we!!  Words of advice: Don't forget to enjoy the view along the way.  It always feels so good to be above the lowland trail - you know - the beginning of every hike where you're traveling through the forest floor for what feels like forever? How much longer? As if by magic the scenery changes and the path opens into a place you've never been before. A place that is wondrous at every turn. All I can say is that, if I were her, I'd set my tent up on a high perch, protected by the wind and elements where I have the most incredible view into this valley ever!!

In reviving my Woman in Sports series lately (that I began the drawings for the year my kids were all in track and my husband coached them.) Do you suppose this is a Self portrait of my mind?


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Girl Without Pearl Earring

How Portraits make a difference:
Portraits, by their nature are a visual document. They can record history and have been used that way for centuries. But they also create mythology and tell stories. Ultimately they fall into the category of an ‘emotional truth.’  Characters within a mythology, like Gandolf or Merlin (in his many literary incarnations), stand for ideas and hope that lead us through the darkness of the stories as we read or watch them. 

My own portraits cross between both worlds – that of literature and that of real life because some are based on specific individuals and are historical in nature. But the stylistic way that I paint people places them in the world more literary or fictitious in nature. Girl Without a Pearl Earring, for example, is based on more than one person and is technically made up. She is a character in a work of fiction I am writing.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Anatomy of My Portrait Commission

Sasha asked me to create a commission for her this January. She sent a 'selfie' from her phone. (bottom center).  Photographs can be challenging because our eyes forgive lens distortion from photography. It's part of our visual language. However, we expect our paintings to look as accurate as if we're standing in the room with someone.

We talked about goals and what made that specific image significant.   Her goal: "capture the power of confidence but also love and wholeheartedness. Use  your instincts."  I found a photo taken from a better camera that I could treat as if it was the selfie. Next I photoshopped the mouth from the selfie onto that photo, knowing I'd have to create new lighting (as the two didn't match). And then for good measure I used two more for detail. This is what the computer monitor looked like:

Here is the final painting that I created from these selected images. Confidence, Love and Wholeheartedness. I genuinely appreciated the words: Use your Instincts. It really helped me attain at my own peak performance. Please add your own comments.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

JOYA portrait

I am working on a series of portraits of women whose life stories I find inspiring and amazing. This is the first one I am sharing. Please respond with your feedback.

Joya Iverson was driving through a blizzard on the Mt. Baker highway. The powder was going to be amazing! Knowing her good friends were waiting on the mountain made the trip even sweeter. It was an awesome opportunity to see them. In 3 days she’d be flying to Ethiopia on a one way ticket. This would be her biggest trip yet in an epic career she’d designed deliberately so she could work and travel at the same time. So far she’d lived in Turkey, Ethiopia and Indonesia, up to two months at a time, for the past 4 years. This time she’d be going for over a year.

An SUV coming down the narrow, windy slippery Mt. Baker Highway at 60mph lost control and struck Joya’s car head on. Fortunately, she swerved and lived – but the injury to her brain and PTSD from the accident made for a long, hard recovery. No longer able to use the part of her brain that provided data analysis, Joya lost her job. Severe headaches, complete sensitivity to light and a general inability to focus her attention meant she needed serious help. At first, she was unable to perform basic tasks like choosing a loaf of bread at the store or concentrating long enough to brush her teeth. Fortunately she found a fabulous brain injury counselor who helped her re-learn to focus her attention and trained her in techniques to help her while her brain healed.

Joya knew she needed to put an income together. Medical bills and loss of work had drained her savings. It took a long time to decide what she could do. The idea of starting a coffee roasting company stuck. So with 2 1/2 hours a day of energy Joya decided she'd better get started. Living in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, she knew the drive through, boarded up neighborhood of Hillman City pretty well. It was a neighborhood, in her estimation, that just needed a ‘little bit of coffee’ to rebuild it into a wonderful community. Joya picked out an old corner building with blown out windows and a trashed interior. It was a known gambling den. What Joya saw was a beautiful old building in need of some love and attention, and hopefully an opportunity for the rest of the boarded up buildings (3 out of 4 storefronts) to transform also. Joya knew it was the perfect place for her coffee roasting company.

The decision to revive that space struck a chord with her community. They wanted Joya's coffee house to be their meeting place –and provide the quality of life their community seriously lacked. When Joya started a Kickstarter Campaign, the community came together in strength - and then the Kickstarter Failed! The community came to her defiant: “We will have our coffee house!”, they insisted. Everyone kept their money pledged to the coffee house. Joya sensed opportunity. Her favorite self-description: “The Marketer Lives!” pulled her forward. Joya sent the message to the media: "Our Kickstarter failed and we’re doing this anyway!" The media loved it. And the word got out! Enough money was raised on Indiegogo to clean up the building and purchase basic equipment to roast coffee. A swat team was sent in to close down the gambling den. And the smashed up storefront was rebuilt into a comfortable meeting place. The community strongly came together for this effort. It wasn't for the feint of heart. They took total ownership! When the sign blew down in a windstorm, Joya hurried to deal with it and found two men from the community on ladders, already rehanging it. Whenever anyone tagged the property, Joya painted it out and added more pots of flowers. It worked. People respected the property and the neighborhood began to transform.

Joya’s coffee shop is called Tin Umbrella Coffee. When asked about the name she told one reporter in 2013: “To me, it reflects simplicity and a shelter for good things. When traveling I would find myself in these corrugated tin roof shelters. And I loved the sound of rain on the roofs. It's kind of Seattle, kind of global: We provide comfort and shelter. It fits.”
Joya’s accident happened in February of 2012. In August of 2014 Tin Umbrella Coffee celebrated its one year anniversary! Joya was working long days again (although her doctors and employees all insisted she relax, sleep and care for her still recovering brain!) Her shop is nearly ready to pay her for the first time. The infectious energy to rebuild the neighborhood has taken off. A Peruvian chicken restaurant opened across the street in September 2014, a furniture store moved in May 2014 and a pet supply store will be opening soon. This neighborhood is said to be the most diverse zip code in the country. (98118)

Joya is treasured by all for her insight. It is not uncommon for her to speak many languages in a single day as immigrants from Indonesia, Turkey and Ethiopia come to Tin Umbrella Coffee. She is receiving awards for her Entrepreneurial skills and vision. Joya continues to take care of herself and her community. Her spirit and dedication helped heal an entire neighborhood and deepen the strength of the community.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

And Something I'm Proud of:

As you know, a few days ago I shared my biggest fear!  So today I'm going to talk about something I'm proud of (besides finally admitting to my fear). And i will keep this on point to my art - lest I get all caught up in my philosophy of child-rearing and how amazing that worked out!

As with all transitions in life, the hardest part is changing ones self perception. We live in a world of identification by job title. When I graduated from college I ended up working in television. It was at a time when cable was really taking off. As I had worked hard to go into film since I was 14 and studied acting in London at 16, shot and edited a documentary film in Katmandu Nepal in college, it was a relative breeze to work as a production coordinator for a television series. My boyfriend and I both wanted to move to New Mexico and get out of LA. Meanwhile at my job, management and the owner wanted to promote me to General Manager, overseeing post production for 2 feature films and 5 television series. I only found this out once the car and U-Haul were packed and we were literally driving out of the driveway. That's when the phone rang with the job offer.  At the time I was 22.  Had I stayed in the crazy freeway land of southern California, I certainly would have reached my goals of making movies - whether producing or directing - or acting.

We moved to Albuquerque, before the days of Breaking Bad or any studios were built. Occasionally I freelanced on low quality TV commercials. Mostly I worked at a series of random jobs while I developed my painting skills. My challenge was two-fold. My self perception was as a film director/coordinator/producer and i knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that I was good at that. And while frustrated with the process of learning to paint, I was more frustrated with the fact that my paintings didn't have a story that unfolded in scene after scene. I loved the temporal story telling of film making more than I realized!! Nobody understood. 'You want to be an illustrator? An animator? No, I didn't. I just wanted a large, cohesive group of paintings that was bigger than the sum of its parts - with really cool characters and an amazing story! What's not to get? I was isolated and I didn't know what form it would take. And then there was that massive doubt about if I was any good at painting anyway and if I would ever make the transition mentally.

So what I'm proud of: Hanging in There and finding a way to create a story with the characters and landscapes. AND reaching a point where I feel all the confidence toward my painting career that I felt towards film making - and being able to combine both skill sets together. Super Excited to unveil the project soon!!!!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Divide

The Divide    36" x 48"  

As our characters find their way out of the Crystalline Forest, they are confronted with their next challenge. It's going to be a long way to get to the Gabriella Passage. They can almost see it way off in the distance.

What would you, the viewer, think if you found yourself having to pass through this land? What if you had to cross The Divide? How deep is it and what's at the bottom? Does anyone live here? As I write this story, with the painting prompting my writing and the writing prompting the next painting, it's fun. As a viewer, does it make  you want to participate? I'd love to hear your thoughts!! Please feel free to comment.

This painting is available for purchase at:

And My Biggest Fear is:

(I've accepted a Holloween Challenge to admit my fears) 

Snob. Yes, you read that right. Snob. Really, I think to myself. That’s it? You’ve held yourself back all these years because some people are snobs? It’s true. It’s not a fear of rejection. It’s a fear of irrational rejection, based on arbitrary rules made up Just to Reject by snobs. The kids in 3rd grade who wouldn’t talk to you because of your shoes or hair tie, for example..

How does this relate to my painting? Back in the olden days - say 1995, art dealerships were the primary source for selling original paintings. And because there were so few of them compared to the number of artists, they had an unreasonable amount of power. They borrowed inventory from artists, cutting their overhead dramatically compared to a store.. If  you were an artist you needed a Gallery With Integrity. If they had poor business skills it was a big risk. In the city I lived in, the snobs thrived!! One gallery had 360 artists - they had 3  artists show each month. And they took an exclusive for the whole state! Want to be taken off the market to say you had a gallery?  In other parts of the country, relationships between artists and galleries were very reasonable. I knew a dealer from New Mexico who opened a gallery here, looked at the 'provincial culture' and within a few months packed her bags and moved back. She knew what professionalism looked like.

I was offered a show in Portland in'97. It was during a time when my husband had been laid off and we were scrambling. I was running a fundraiser with a limited edition print and had several articles published in various magazines. My prints were selling well around the country, but they weren't replacing my husband's salary and we  had 3 kids under 7 at that point. It was precarious. The gallery in Portland had bought and sold several prints and they had six customers waiting for prints to arrive!  I suggested the gallery buy my smallest, least expensive painting wholesale, or the six prints for their waiting list (either would have covered my cost to travel and deliver more work).  They went to an Art Dealer Association meeting. The dealers as a group said artist must always deliver the art first and get paid later - even prints that were selling well. Was that snob or just bad advice? Since I couldn't afford to travel (but felt ashamed to admit it), they cancelled the order for the prints because they didn't want to offend the other art dealers by paying for them. They had wanted to add two more prints and had already published one of my paintings in an advertisement! I lost. The customers lost. And the gallery that made it's money on framing lost. Do you suppose they were afraid of rejection or afraid of a snob at that meeting? The moral of the story? Don't let a clique make your business decisions! And never fear a Snob.

Meanwhile I sold my prints directly to people in the US, Japan and Canada and enjoyed that immensely!! I always knew prints arrived in good condition because I called and asked.

 Boldly Forward is my new motto.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Back Story of this painting project

I want to tell a short story about where this project came from - it may feel like ancient history to my those who know me. I think that means when an idea sticks, it's lighting your path.

When my oldest daughter was born I went through the upheaval of having no sleep, a 24/7 responsibility without  weekends or semester breaks or anything that historically had been a reprieve when I was this exhausted. I was home with her unless we were taking walks. I was blown away by the magnitude of the energy required. I was so sleep deprived I didn't feel safe driving to the grocery store! I eventually looked into daycare but when they said 3:1 ratio I thought 3 adults, right? She easily consumed all of the mental and physical energy of three adults!

Deliberate Intention, the theme of All My Work, was something I first implemented in a PEPS support group while creating the world for my family that would be satisfying. We parsed our childhood experiences so we could be deliberate about what traditions we passed down. We talked about Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc, and made deliberate decisions. I remember stumbling into Easter with no plan, just the old family playbook.  Immediately realized I needed to be more intentional. It was a powerful lesson that stuck with me.

One night my husband and I were looking through my paintings and we started talking about what it would be like to walk into the landscapes. Who would we meet there? What was that place that felt so 'enter-able.?' We started telling creating stories inspired by the paintings. It was so exciting to watch this whole world come to  life and become a place. And, having a large project I could control immediately increased my patience and my happiness level. My daughter was 6 months old.

That painted world has lived with me for all these years! I've written several stories or chapters, made a coloring book and now it's being integrated so you can share and enjoy this project!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October 1, 2014 UPDATE of THIS BLOG

I have several ongoing painting projects that are very important for me to share. Some of these projects appeal to different people, and as a result they can get confusing. I want to describe them separately just to clarify.

1)I have a story that I've alluded to here before. It's called the Land of Kalendra. Ultimately it is fictional, somewhere between a novel, a feature film and a video game. It's made out of paintings and writings and I haven't released many of my words yet. We'd best consider it trans media - but some of the media it involves are things like coloring book pages based on my paintings - not so high tech. I'm fine with technology, but I like things I can make with my hands. And face it, who doesn't like to color? It feels good and I promise my designs, as I release them will be satisfying.  I even have work book pages with questions the characters in the story have to answer so  you can ask what you'd do if you were them. Depending on the mood someone is in, they can draw, write or read and enjoy the landscapes of this completely fun and colorful place and its characters. I'm also planning to make more paintings available as high quality prints - so they're affordable to a lot of people.

2)Using the same style (because it's the one I really thrive on), I have a different project called "Images of Empowered Women." In that project I paint portraits of amazing women and write their stories. I haven't released any of those yet - but they're coming.

3)And of course my 3rd, equally relevant project is providing custom portraits for people - again in my signature style. With those paintings I once again create the portraits in my way, but sometimes people have special requests beyond making sure I capture their likeness. Each of those projects provide it's own gifts as well.

If you at any time have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I am located at

Thank you so much. I am grateful you stopped by my blog. I hope I can be of great service to you in the future. That's what I'm here for.

Friday, June 13, 2014

By Moonlight

By Moonlight, 12 x 24 $975
You can feel the night air on your cheeks, as you wonder what it would be like to actually cross that moon bridge over the water.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Come for an adventure (in Spain)

This is an original portrait of my youngest daughter on a trip to Spain. It is permanently in the collection of the artist - yes, I commissioned myself on this one. This is also a part of the World of Kalendra series in which Angela beckons you to go on an adventure with her.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rock Climber

How Portraits make a difference: Portraits, by their nature are a visual document. They can record history and have been used that way for centuries. But they also create mythology and tell stories. Ultimately they fall into the category of an ‘emotional truth.’ Characters within a mythology, like Gandolf, or Merlin (in his many literary incarnations), stand for ideas and hope that lead us through the darkness of the stories as we read or watch them. My own portraits cross between both worlds – that of fiction and that of real life because many are based on specific individuals and therefore are historical in nature. But the stylistic way that I show people places them in a more fictional world. Others, like this rock climber, are on a mission we can all relate to. They really exist in our collective emotional memory – even if we’ve never scaled a wall like this.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Walenda: Chiaroscuro Lighting Follow up

Walenda is a character in my Land of Kalendra world. - She's an important leader.
This is a follow up image based on my desire to use more chiaroscuro lighting. This painting is based on a beautiful photograph by San Diego photographer Lev Tsimring.  More of Lev's photography from around the world is available at That photograph was used with permission and changed dramatically as I made the painting my own.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


This is Jasmine. She has so much energy and spunk. The original painting is sold. A print available soon. Please leave comments here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Violinist Time Lapse

The Violinist, based on Shannon Frid of Cloud Cult, was a genuine pleasure to paint. In this time lapse you can see that when I began this painting she was seated next to a window at sunset. The lighting that day was so beautiful. As I painted I realized that I could show her beauty off so much better if I created a dark background. When I put stage lighting behind her  the light coming in from the window fit perfectly. That lighting creates such an intimacy with the detail of her skin and face.

Cloud cult's music is so visual and with their painters performing along with the band I always associate the two together. It was natural to add color to the violin itself - as if the violin makes music by its very being - even when it isn't being played.
As always your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Story about Me

    At 14 I decided to go into film acting and directing. I was on track, studying acting in London, student directing, acting wherever I could. Then at 18 I paralyzed my left hand in a work related accident. Everything in me said 'Learn to Draw' - deep down I knew it was a skill I'd need. Moving forward with my studies I made a documentary film in Nepal while living in a farming village and backpacking through the Himalayan mountains.  I also painted watercolor landscapes.

    When I went to art school, I was shocked the teachers carried razor blades in their pockets to make sure the students did things 'right,' physically cutting student's work while saying "there's only one right way."  6 weeks into the quarter, I re-enrolled at my college, and committed to learning as much as I could from other art students in the short time I had left. The professors who sent me to Nepal were decent and supportive.  I studied film making through the anthropology department and learned about cultures through film making.  I decided to study the art of other cultures with them also. As a result I learned about the valuable role of the arts in cultures throughout time. I leaned how symbols like images, music and dance hold cultural stories and help pass them from generation to generation.

    My biggest hurdle was my own self perception. In American elementary schools kids were judged by their illustrated stories. Students who knew how to draw were praised. Everyone else, including me, felt bad about their ugly, messy work.  Changing that self perception took years. Creating skillful work wasn't enough.  My early deep belief had to be overturned and replaced in order to move forward with pride.

    I worked in television in L.A. and left a big promotion to move to New Mexico with my boyfriend to paint. Stuart convinced me my energy was better spent painting, and I knew the air pollution and stress in LA was harmful. I'd have nightmares and wake up with an uneasy feeling.  And yet I loved my work and the people I worked with. In New Mexico I painted a lot, but I  felt I was leaving valuable story telling skills behind. This Kalendra project helped me find the balance.

     My paintings needed a story - one that was universal, timeless and bigger than all of us.  I've been developing this world, it's characters, and a map of their journey. This is where it all begins. And I invite you to enjoy the journey with me moving forward.

    Beyond the shores of the Washlin Ren and above the Kumerlin Plains, lies a world of magical characters and breathtaking valleys. It's  powers have been discovered, it's borders still unknown. Join me as I explore this world through a cast of characters who find themselves struggling to navigate harsh environments and develop a keen sense of whose advice they can trust and what must be discovered for themselves. We have just entered the "Land of Kalendra." Welcome.

To stay up to date please join my mailing list on this page.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A tour of Custom Portraits. How to hire me.

Did you know that I do custom portraits of you and your loved ones? I'm not sure if that message has been made clear enough. So Sarah and Stuart, the amazing film makers at Blue Fern Productions, helped me make this video to explain the portraits and give a better context. Details and photographic guidelines are on the website.
As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated!

Friday, February 21, 2014

FIRST VIDEO coming soon!!!!!

Yesterday we filmed an interview where I talk about my paintings and process. It was fabulous to articulate my goals for my custom portrait work that I want to share. But I was intimidated for about the first 20 minutes. Finally I let go and started to talk normally (rather than slowly, cautiously and using a bazillion words). I hope the finished video will be ready to show within the next week!!
By the end what had taken sentences just took a single sentence. I'm excited to build speaking skills!! See you soon!!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sophia Leads the Way

Sophia- Another portrait I finished for the Portrait Series I've been working on. If you'd like a custom portrait please visit my website.  All the details and a link for us to get started working together are available. OR you can e-mail me at and we'll talk.
Your comments are welcome and valued.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Bike Rider

 The Bike Rider has a special place in our hearts. We remember biking our whole lives. There was the Big Trip that stands out. For me it was biking from Seattle to northern Vancouver Island, camping on San Juan Islands, pedaling past fields of grain and fruit and singing at the campfire at night.  My rider Jazelle expands our reach into the Land of Kalendra. This'll be an adventure to remember.              $1150.00
Your comments are appreciated and welcome.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This project is called The Land of Kalendra. Enjoy!!


 Tahendra, the person shown here, is a traveler in the Land of Kalendra.   $1250  

What is Land of Kalendra? Here's the back story:
After my oldest daughter was born, it was hard to get time to paint - or do anything for that matter. She slept 5 hours at night and only took one 10 minute nap a day. I was afraid to drive to the grocery store I was so tired. The blessing in disguise (besides my daughter) was that at night my husband and I would  look at my paintings and invent stories chronicling  the adventures of a group of characters inside the world of my paintings.  At that time I didn't have the skill to paint portraits, so I wrote character descriptions and painted landscapes, confident I would develop the portrait skills.

I've been sifting through notes and finding more pieces of their story. The cast of characters I wrote about then are filling my canvasses now. I invite you to enjoy this adventure with me and add your 2 cents as you see fit.
Your comments are definitely valued and appreciated.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lighting Approaches


I went to a concert in West Seattle where my favorite band Cloud Cult was playing. It was their first acoustic concert so they weren't expecting many people. They performed at the Arts in Nature festival the day after performing at the Seattle Center. Of course everyone wanted to be there!! The small community center they performed in was surrounded by a crowd because there was only room for about 80 people inside. The windows were open with people standing in the gardens outside and on the grounds. It was like the whole city had come to listen to them perform in what felt like a living room. We spent the day at the festival so we could be sure we were the first in line for Cloud Cult's concert. We earned our front row seats! They are all such amazing performers and kind people it was a real treat to be part of their first acoustic performance. My youngest daughter even made it her mission to give each of them a hug by the time we left that evening.  It was very memorable.

The band performed as the sunset streamed in through the window. The 'golden hour' light that lasts so long on an August night was spectacular. That was when the photograph was taken that I based this painting on.  Shannon Frid, their amazing violinist, was sitting near that window and had the lighting streaming across her face. When I first painted this I tried to paint the light coming through the window - but really it was too much detail and a distraction from her beautiful face. So I chose to use light rays more similar to a stage performance as a simple background.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Chiaroscuro Portraits

I have made some serious changes and now it's time to renew this blog (which I admit I abandoned for some time). I have been focusing on my portraits for the past several months. It definitely felt that was the direction my energies needed to flow. A collection of these portraits are at my website I was asked the other day if there was one thing I really wanted to do with my paintings – and honestly I’d have to say I want to improve my lighting techniques and the atmosphere of the paintings. I’ve always loved the work of Rembrandt and Rubens and their contemporaries in the 1400 -1600’s. Oh, yeah, it's also the lighting that is used in Film Noir, and in fact dramatic film, period. No matter how modern painting and design gets, there’s something timeless about the amazing chiaroscuro lighting that has been passed down for centuries. It’s definitely a keeper! And I’m increasing my use of it in my portraits. Next up for me: the shape of light!!!