December 25, 2009


Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration
is being Wreathed
Author unknown

December 23, 2009

Traditonal Lines

I've been thinking a lot about how we love to bring into our home this time of year something young and green, something growing. I put wreaths inside and outside my home and I make swags for garden gates. I especially love growing Paper White Narcissus and red or white Amarylis. Except this year my Amarylis are being shy and holding back. Oh well that means the New Year will get its flower. One of my favorite scents of Christmas is the pungent smell of Paper White Narcissus. I usually start them sometime before Thanksgiving or the week following. I have a little bulb nesting area at a south facing window. When the stems sprout I remove them from the nest and place them around the house. All is magic until I awake one morning to this sight.

My solutions vary. Sometimes I prop them up or lean them on nearby furniture. I have read and tried a variety of methods to solve this problem. I have thought of them as Dynamic Diagonal Lines and tried just to accept them. This year I decided to make bouquets of them and move my new crop of Paperwhites into spaces recently vacated.

"The observation of nature is part of an artist's life. It enlarges his form knowledge, keeps him fresh, and feeds inspiration" Henry Moore

December 20, 2009


I am grateful to friends who remember to get reservations at The Brown Palace so that I can continue to celebrate this season in a time honored fashion. It is best to get them (the reservations) the January before the Holiday season as the tea times become quickly filled. I have lovely memories of times when I did remember to get reservations and hosted my Mother, my Belle Mere and my two daughters when they were much younger. I also have celebrated important birthdays with friends under this stained glass, listening to harp music being performed live. No piped in sounds here.
The Brown Palace opened in 1892 it was built by Henry Cordes Brown who felt Denver needed a grand hotel. This hotel was considered the second most fire proof building in the USA. Where is the first? I don't know. I do know The Brown is built of Colorado red granite and Arizona red sandstone, there are no wood floors and no wooden beams. It is an elegant Italian Renaissance style building and looks especially grand in its Holiday sparkle and glitz. It is a tradition which is worth planning and sharing.

December 16, 2009

Not Holly Green

I  just had to show you these beautiful colors.  I know this season has theme colors but I had to show you these rich merino wool fibers before they became entangled together into fabric.
My friend Theresa Clowes whose work can be found at  gave a felted scarf workshop at Platte Forum in Denver.
What a peaceful afternoon spent with interesting people as they carefully selected colors which appealed most to them  . Watching the participants interact with these luscious textural colors and then to see a variety of color patterns emerge was fascinating. I will share a few with you here.
We laid fiber out on a polyester film and then rolled it up, immersing the roll in hot water and gently twisting and turning making the hairs of the wool bond together.
The completed piece was an open lace scarf about four feet in length. Now I am thinking about all these twining and open shapes. I knew you would enjoy these colors!

December 12, 2009

The color of Joy

Somehow today seems like the perfect day to remember a little chapel  two miles from my house. This chapel can now be rented out for weddings and special events but during the Presidential term of Dwight D. Eisenhower it was often used as the place they would go for a bit of spiritual solace.
 The week before Thanksgiving I heard the Eisenhower Chapel was going to be open to the public as part of Opera Colorado's "Fete de NOEL". This is a small building which has been in existence since 1941 and listed on the National Historic Registry for the past 20 years. I have seen and drawn its exterior for many years and was very much  interested in seeing its interior. I was also looking for some color experiences to put me in the mood for the upcoming holidays.
This unpretentious small building has housed a variety of emotions.  I thought about that as I put together this Post as our family is experiencing a lot of happiness as we move into a season of traditional colors. Our families color this season will be the color of JOY as our youngest daughter has become engaged. You can read her version and feel her excitement at

December 10, 2009

Blanc ,Neige, Froid, ie. Freezing!

Winter Solitude
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.

Matsuo Basho

Our color has been white and cold, here on the high plains. Today there was a break and we will begin to climb toward warmer degrees.  We have hunkered in and walked over wonderful tracks of a fox running by our living room window (and please know we live in a large city).  The presence of the fox keeps us honest.

Some white views within our warm house.

November 24, 2009


New crayon boxes at the beginning of the school year were filled with anticipation. All those cool colors, did you want to have magenta and teal crayons or a red! The fun of looking forward to all the possible pictures that would be produced in the future. I actually, must confess to looking forward to using brown.

Why!! because when I used brown the most, it meant it was time to draw Pilgrims and practice making mysterious reaching tree branches. Did I mention I got to make Turkeys. I loved designing their feathers.

Now I have seen " Wild Turkey!" by James Audubon and my multi-colored birds need a little more refining.

When I finally saw Claude Monet's "Les Dindons" I thought them beautiful but he was
definitely missing my
brown crayon. Monet's turkeys are living the cultured life on the lawn of his pink home in Giverny.

These lovely brown birds are the type that could make Ben Franklin believe they should be our National Bird.  Here's to BROWN and childish anticipation for we are beginning the season of family fun, hope and dreams!

November 21, 2009

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato More!

I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving and thinking of a Menu. Of course potatoes are in the mix and lucky for me I have plenty of potatoes after my trip to the San Luis Valley in early October. Now I know that Colorado is the third largest producer of potatoes in the USA, also that they grow a variety of potatoes, Russets, Yukons, Butterballs and a host with Colorado placenames.

The San Luis Valley is at 7600 ft and is surrounded by mountains which reach 14,000 ft. Its a beautiful valley and potatoes were grown as a crop starting in 1875. This makes it one of the earliest potato growing areas in the States. The whole time we were being toured through potato fields and observing the sorting and processing of the potatoes I was recalling Vincent Van Gogh's "The Potato Eaters".
It ran through my mind like a melody which gets stuck and won't let go.

In 1885 Van Gogh painted "The Potato Eaters", this was 10 years after potatoes were grown as a crop in the San Luis Valley. When I got back I looked again at this painting and discovered the blog, which I have listed in my blog list. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam has been posting these blogs with regularity this year based on Van Goghs writing. The last three posts have been especially interesting, one on color creating change,drawing etc.

As I roast, mash and cream my potatoes I will be both thinking of Van Gogh and remembering a beautiful high mountain valley.

November 16, 2009

Falling/Seeking/Finding Autumn Colors

"October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky;November the later twilight." Henry David Thoreau

I had an interesting find in September. I was anticipating the colors of a Colorado fall, the leaves had begun early to turn their glorious yellows in the mountains. I was waiting to see the beauty of the colorful fall that was too come down here on the high plains. I found a book entitled "Autumnal Tints" by Henry David Thoreau. The book was written in 1862 and I read it looking forward to yellows, oranges and yes a few reds. But then we had early frosts and 18 inches of snow. Fall was hurried along and while other places at lower elevations had a slow langorous drift of color our leaves plummeted to the ground and were covered by snow.

I found the colors I was seeking but I found them INSIDE. I wrote in my October 14th blog, "Interior Twists and Turns" about the arrival of the artwork of Nigerian artist El Anatsui at the Denver Art Museum. This piece is part of the exhibit "Embrace" which includes 17 artists work which is site specific. The artwork which you can see being prepared for hanging in my former blog is now it its full glory.

It is an exciting large drift of metallic cloth made from recycled foil from beer bottles and caps, entitled "Rain Has No Father". You can see the influence of Adinkra cloth and Nigerian weaving on this current work.
Last week while walking around a corner at the Kemper Contemporary Museum in Kansas City I was as delighted as if I had stumbled upon the sight of a red leafed maple tree.

These are two works of art, in front is a piece by John Chamberlain. I believe it is "Apparently Offfspring"1992. The painting behind it is by Friedl Dzubas, "Augenblick", 1986.
My eyes finally experienced the dazzlement I was longing for this fall.

October 30, 2009

Where do they stand when it is white and cold?

I am the person who always wonders about the details when I think of a lot of historic events or places. I want to know where the plumbing is in Versailles and if the residents had privacy for a moment alone? I also am the person who wonders- How cold were they? What kind of mittens, mufflers and boots did the artists who are plein aire painters in the winter wear?

Where was Monet, when in 1891, he painted "Haystack Winter, Giverny"? Was he standing in the field on a cold frozen earth? Or did he design a carriage or buggy with warm thermoses of soup and coffee? He did make a special boat upon which he painted his garden ponds.

I think it is possible Gustave Caillebotte was in his studio when in 1878 he painted "Vue de toits(Effet de Neige)", View of Rooftops(Snow Effect).

A man clearly after my own heart, interested in art and moderate comfort.

Lets fast forward to this century and one of my mentors, the Kansas artist, Robert Sudlow. Where is he in a car or a truck when he records these cold bleak winter days which surround Lawrence, Kansas?

Yesterday we experienced a slow purposeful drop of fluffy, white, gold. An October snow fell resolutely dropping 15 " in my back yard. I decided to paint it. Here is the back story. I set myself up with coffee, easel a comfortable chair and a golden retriever at my feet at the terrace window -looking out at sparkling wonder.

My painting friend, Aspen, enjoying the day.

October 14, 2009

Interior Twists and Turns

If you haven't seen the new Hamilton wing of the Denver Art Museum or the neighboring buildings be prepared for an adventure of angles and geometry.

Not only are there sculptures to engage the eye in the center of town but Michael Graves' designed Public Library with pyramid shaped towers. Across the street is the castle -crenalated Gio Ponti wing of the Art Museum and now the angled walls of the new Hamilton wing. These angled walls not only have presented new solutions for hanging art but are forcing builders to prepare the pitched roof for the upcoming freezing and thawing of the winter.

Inside the museum is in the process of mounting an exhibit which is to open officially in November. It is entitled "EMBRACE", and is a site specific installation. It has 17 artists who are designing special works for the space of the new wing. Four artists are from Colorado and the rest are international. What makes this even more unique are the possibilities of watching the various artists as they create their work. Katharina Gosse worked on a fork lift while she spray painted up 4 story angled walls.

John McEnroe made resin and nylon sculpture which hang down from the angled walls and lino cuts make arching lines across walls. I went to see a large metal tapestry being readied for hanging. This tapestry is made from metal foil wrapping found on beer bottles by African artist El Anatsui. He sent this very large piece all folded neatly in a 2'x3' cardboard box. He leaves it up to the participating museum to hang and manipulate the tapestry to fit the space. I will go next week and show the finished result- this is the back of the piece-what will the front look like?

October 3, 2009

Over the Top

Last weekend my husband and I went flying over the Rockies from Denver to Monte Vista. We flew in a plane piloted by a friend and got to look at turning golden Aspen leaves from far above. I am always astounded by the color schemes of nature. We looked down at mustard gold, deep forest green, inky navy blues and burst out into the sandy golden desert of the San Luis valley marked by irrigation rondelles.
Always when I am high above the world looking at the clouds I think of Georgia O'Keefes interpretation of clouds which she saw while traveling during the 60's. This is "Sky Above Clouds IV" by Georgia O'Keefe and I believe it can be seen at the Chicago Art Institute.

Another cloud image which makes me smile is painted in pastel by my longtime friend, artist, Eugenie Torgerson. entitled "One Perfect Day". Checkout:
Leonardo Da Vinci said that clouds were " bodies without surface"
If clouds are bodies without surface then mountains are bodies filled with surface.
I also discovered for cloud lovers this site which you can explore for poetry, visuals et al.

September 14, 2009

Soft air/Golden sight

Sitting in my garden painting sunflowers when all of a sudden I looked around and said "something is different here," It is the air, it is quieter and lighter." I think the autumn light is quieter and oddly enough it creates the perfect setting for sunflowers.

My sunflowers must stretch tall to reach the sun as I have such a shady yard. I also must gaurd against the crafty, wily squirrels who run the ridge of my fence and want to fly up to the seed pod seeking a lunch which would prepare them for winter.

My father grew sunflowers and would measure across the center to see how large he could grow them. When I moved away from home sunflower seeds followed and I have planted them everywhere I have lived even Okinawa, Japan. I've also painted them everywhere in France, Italy and now here.


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