My love for Halloween Thursday, Oct 22 2009 

Watercolor painting lends itself to spooky paintings.  Mixing the dark, opaque gouache tones with the watercolor paint straight from the tube and applying to a wet page allows for the paint to bleed and saturate as far as you are willing to let it go.  I especially like to add silver and gold pigment either directly into the paint or water it down and then apply as a wash over the entire page. Here I’ve done a combination of all these techniques as well as added Iron Oxide  and pure gouache to the piece.  It’s my favorite Halloween piece so far.  5×7 original.   Prints available soon!

Graveyard spiderweb

This is another Halloween inspired piece I’ve done recently.  It was a bit of an experiment and I had an idea going in, which usually is not the case.  I often just get out the supplies and start within nothing in mind and see what comes out of it.

Based on my inspiration from the Orb Weavers that I refer to in a previous blog, I wanted to see what would happen if I had little windows looking deeper and deeper into the painting, each revealing another web.   Lots happened here, initially I painted it vertically, but then once finished I liked it horizontal so that the trees were in the foreground rather than just being limbs coming in from the side.  I used silver acrylic to bring the main web forward and accentuate the lines of the trees.   7×11 original.  Prints available soon.

spiral with trees


Awesome Portland Metalsmith! Tuesday, Oct 20 2009 

My birthday present just arrived!  An awesome made to order Angel Skull necklace from Ivey Bows of Creeping Vine Designs.  It is an individually handmade masterpiece!  Brent and I found Ivey at Art in the Pearl in September.  Amazing work and awesome customer service!


Mini Pita Pizzas Sunday, Oct 18 2009 

Tasty and low in calories, these little pizzas are super easy and could serve as a snack, appetizer or serve with a salad for any light meal.



Mini Pita Pocket Bread

Fresh Spinach

Roasted Red Peppers (packed in oil)

Kalamata Olives (pitted)

Manchego Cheese

Preheat oven to 425.  Line baking pan with parchment. Lay pitas on parchment in pan at least 2″ apart.

Chop spinach to about 1/2″ slices. Place about 1/4 cup chopped spinach on top of pita, some will fall off but don’t worry, the cheese will hold it all together in the end.

Slice roasted red pepper into thin strips.  Lay 2-4 slices of pepper across spinach on pitas.

Half kalamata olives and place on top of the spinach and pepper on the pitas.


Finely grate cheese.  I used a 4 month aged Manchego from Spain, it’s delicious! Make it easy on yourself and use a flat grater, these things are great. If you don’t have a flat hand grater I highly recommend you get one as they can be used for chocolate, zesting, etc!


Once the cheese is grated, place about 2 tablespoons on top of each layered pita. It seams like a lot but the cheese is fluffy and it will melt down nicely and hold all the ingredients on the pita.

Place in the preheated to 425 oven.


Bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and just starting to brown.

Serve immediately and enjoy!


If you want to serve these with a salad as shown in the first picture above continue with the following:

green or red leaf lettuce

diced tomato


Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinaigrette

For Balsamic vinaigrette:

In an air tight glass container combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar with 1 cup extra virgin olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Add 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.  Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Seal container and shake vigorously.

Place greens on plate.  Top with tomatoes.  Drizzle with Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Shave cheese from block of parmigiano-reggiano (easiest way to do this is with a Y-peeler). Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Serve and enjoy!

Halloween Inspiration Tuesday, Oct 13 2009 

Orb WeaverOrb Weaver Negative

The large, scary yet non-aggressive Orb Weaver spider that inhabits one of our bamboo pots outside the dining room.

This fellow has been living with us since at least mid-September and we have come to enjoy watching him.  He builds a beautifully huge perfect circular web and every few days he eats it, rests a few more days and then builds again. We’ve noticed that he’s growing!  Though he’s never been a small spider, I would guess if you could get close enough to measure him, he’d been about 2 inches in circumference if not more.



Several of his relatives inhabit the other plants around the yard as well.

Being that it’s Halloween season, Mr. Weaver has been quite an inspiration to many of my recent paintings.  He has the most beautiful detail on his hind end, this particular painting does not do him justice but I think it serves as a good spooky Halloween decoration.

Orb Weaver watercolor

An Artistic History Tuesday, Oct 13 2009 

As far back as I can remember I’ve been painting, drawing or making something!  As and only child and the daughter of a father who ran a company that sold art supplies, you can imagine I had many!  Pens, pencils, rulers, glue…you name it…I had it and you can bet I used it!

In high school by the time I reached my senior year the majority of my classes where Independent Art.  Art was just about all I did and Independent Art class was one where you could do any kind of art that you liked.  Much credit goes to my art teacher, Mr. Schlegel who was an extremely supportive mentor.  The focus of my art in high school had much to do with painting furniture.  Telephones, tables, chairs, my bedroom walls…..I painted it all with acrylic paint (medium of choice back then) and covered it with a thick coat of polyurethane.

In ’97 I graduated with a degree in Art from Southern Oregon University.  In college I found that my favorite mediums were watercolor and charcoal.  I loved life drawing class where you spent 3 hours attempting to draw the nude figure in front of you and by the time I left class my hands would be so dry and black from the charcoal they wouldn’t come clean for days.  As a Freshman I took my first watercolor class and that was all I needed to know that this was the medium that would carry me through to graduation! The flow of the paint, water, gouache and ink on the paper…it mesmerized me and turned into a completely emotional experience every time I painted.  I found watercolor amazing by the way you can use it straight out of the tube or mix it with water, with wet brushes and dry brushes, on wet paper or dry paper and oh my goodness…the paper! Hot Press,  Cold Press, Rough….90lb, 140 lb, 300 lb……OH THE OPTIONS and all with such different results!

I started on 18 x 24 sheets of 140 lb cold press and then moved onto 24 x 36. By the time I graduated I was working from rolls of 6 foot watercolor paper that I would cut into 10 foot lengths.  These rolls would arrive in the mail from Dick Blick’s and I’d roll them out on my apartment floor until they stopped curling at the corners and then, the fun began!  Water, paint, gouache, ink, salt, alcohol….I’d take paint direct from the tube and squish it around with a fork on a dry spot of paper and then pull the paint into a wet spot of paper and watch what would happen. I would pour cups of water on the paint and lift the paper and watch all the colors blend and flow.  Then I would have to let the entire thing rest over night and see what happened when it dried because it is NEVER the same!  Obviously  I paint in the abstract, though it never fails that someone sees something in one of these old paintings – a face, an eye, a dragon, a tree……

My love for watercolor painting has never died!  There have been times since school where I have forgotten about it and put my skills on the shelf for a while but there is always a love for it there.  Other watercolor artists resonate with me and I’m drawn to them at art shows and events.

Here’s an example of one of my many works from the 90’s…


The close of catering Monday, Oct 12 2009 

In 2006 I took the catering that I had been doing on the side and turned it into a real business, LLC and all.  My day job was killing me and the dream I’d had for so many years had been to start a catering business, so I decided to do it!

Fast forward to 2008! Word was out, I was networking and business had picked up.  It was great, I had succeeded and I was out there doing my thing, not to mention actually beginning to make a profit. Unfortunately, I never could get the guts to just quit my day job.  The financial stability was too comforting and I really didn’t want to take out any type of loan to run this catering business, so I kept working while working on catering.

In May of 2008 things started to really pick up and I had numerous events that continued through August of that year.  I was multitasking like I had never known before and it was extremely difficult.  The catering events where all very successful and the responsibilities at my day job never suffered.  Somehow I kept it all going, but after that last job on the books that summer I hit a wall.  My personal life had suffered, I felt like I was leaving my husband and my pets in the dust, I had zero time for myself and it was taking its tole in a very short time.  I took a good hard look at my work style and personality and realized that I don’t delegate, I’m too concerned with the tiniest of details (probably why every event turns out perfectly) and the only part of catering I really wanted to do was put the food on the platter to make it look good and oversee the event.

Man was this an eye opener! This sudden realization that the catering I had always thought I wanted to do really wasn’t working for me threw me into a whirlwind of bummerville!!  For a while I felt like a complete failure to myself, my family, anyone along that 17 year road where I had always said “I’m a caterer” or “I’m going to start a catering business someday.”  I tried to figure out some way to do it, to stay in it and carry on but what I realized was to do that, I would need to hire an executive chef and a staff.  Contemplating this, I decided I wouldn’t invest that kind of money in the business, plus I knew I would have a very difficult time delegating to these people and actually let someone else do the work.

With the help of time, family and friends I came to realize that I hadn’t failed anyone, especially myself.  At the age of 30 I did it, I started the business I had always thought I wanted.  My husband and I gave it a go and even made some money.  Every event was wonderful, clients returned and some are still calling…it was a success.

I’ll always cater for friends and family who are just throwing a party in their home and don’t care that I cook the food in their house or mine.  If you are one of the people who has been kind enough to hire me, support me, promote me, etc through all this I can’t thank you enough! Buffet, FCCO Birthday BenefitBuffet PFS ReceptionBirthday Buffet

So what will the next phase of my creativity bring you ask?  Well, at this point I’m just going with the flow.  In this economy we all just need to be thankful for what we have and take things one day at a time.  My day job keeps me living comfortably and usually very busy, while at home I invest my time in arts and crafts and gardening and being with my family.  These are the things that keep me happy and healthy and in my opinion this is how it should be.

Buffet, Wedding Reception, Aug 2008