Friday, December 26, 2014

The "Advil" time of year

I heard a story this year at a Christmas Eve eve service. 
     "A little boy was asked if he knew what the name was for this special time of the year.
     He quickly replied, Of course, it's called Advil." 
What he meant was Advent, but there was still some truth to his answer.

We get busy ... dare I say overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and all that we think needs to be done.  There are trees, decorations and lights to buy and put up. There are gifts to buy, wrap, and mail. Cards to write and address, and send.  Food to plan, make and serve. Then dishes to wash and more dishes to wash.  AND then we get to undo everything and put our house back to "normal."

LEFT: Adoration of the Shepherds - Lorenzo Lotto
RIGHT: Detail

I hope you had a little spare time to reflect, be still and enjoy.  Hopefully you heard from friends across the miles and enjoyed catching up. Perhaps you shared a text and picture of your Christmas with someone who cares. Maybe like me you sat quietly and enjoyed the centuries old Christmas carols played on a pipe organ and heard the telling of the Christmas story once again.

I also got to experience the beauty of the Christmas story in art this season.  My friend, Sara, shared a "new" (to me) old painting that has a very special appeal.  I'm passing it on to you.  I hope you appreciate and enjoy it too.

Stay just might become one of my paintings next year. I have a vision for this one.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's a Miracle!

Last year at Christmastime, I experienced a very special Christmas miracle.  After living in my house for 8 years, I saw for the first time a beautiful silhouette "posted" on my wall.  I looked and looked and never saw it again. It happened just one time...and that's part of what made it so special. I couldn't explain it or figure it out. With the angle of the sun in the winter, it shouldn't have happened. I couldn't predict it. Nor could I re-create it.    It was beautiful and it came at a time when I was struggling. It was just for me!

                           2013                                                               2014

...December 12th 2014:  It happened again!  I must admit that this year I was looking for it.  As a matter of fact all  year long I have looked for ways that God breaks into my life.  I have been surprised over and over again.  Notice the difference?  Again I saw it only this one time.  I tried on other days, but it was not to be found.  That's okay.  I am glad it's not reoccurring or predictable.  It's more special to be surprised!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Au Naturale

A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed a wonderful morning at the Downing House here in Denver. I spent the time with like-minded women of faith and met and made some new friends. An extra bonus was that it was a beautiful day and the grounds are a sight to behold.  I actually walked up to this tree on the patio because I had to see if the "decorations" were real or not. They were so perfect but yet not like anything I had seen in a store.  I wondered where they got them.  I was almost surprised to that it was "au naturale" ... hand-decorated by the Creator.


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 24, 2014

My First Plein Air Experience...and my only one.

While teaching a workshop this past weekend I mentioned the story of my one-and-only experience of plein air painting.  The response of my students was "You need to tell that story."  So here you can blame it on them.

Painting en plein air had been on my "to do" list for quite some time.  But needless to say, I wasn't going to do that in the middle of winter or when it's rainy or the conditions were very much less than perfect.  Well one day in early fall, it seemed right.  The rabbit brush were just about at the end of their beautiful color and I needed to hurry if I was going to paint them.  My inspiration was Clyde Aspevig's beautiful work.  He is one of my all-time favorite living painters and he did a beautiful one of rabbit brush.

So loading all my paraphernalia, I headed out to the spot I had scoped out earlier.  It was mid afternoon and the heat was approaching 100 degrees.  I parked the car and set up in front of a nice view, spread out my paints on the pallet, and started painting.  Before long the sweat was dripping down my back and I had a bad case of "hat-head."  Because I'm a slow and deliberate painter, I could barely keep up with the changing light.  Very frustrating! Then the wind came up and blew my paper pallet ladened with paint creating a huge mess.  I was covered with paint from head to toe...big globs of paint, not little smudges.  But I persevered until the legs of my easel began to telescope back inside themselves and the height of my easel would have worked well for a "little person."  With that, I decided to call it a day.  So at least I can say, "I did it."  And here's what I got...

My inspiration: Clyde Aspevig's Painting
My first attempt at plein air painting
The rest of the story...At Saturday's workshop, I was reminded by my own class material of what Clyde Aspevig said about his plein air work.  At the end of a week of teaching in France, he only chose to show 10% of his work.  The rest he considered to be "dogs that he wouldn't let out of the kennel."

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Very Special Celebration

If you celebrated the 4th of July, you undoubtedly enjoyed a holiday from work, spent time with family and/or friends, headed to the pool or the beach or the ballgame, and had some variation of hamburgers & hotdogs, corn on the cob, and watermelon. Perhaps you even ended the day with some fireworks.

This year, the highlight of our celebration actually occurred a few days earlier.  On June 30th our son-in-law, William, became a U.S. citizen in a very special and moving ceremony.  There were 37 new citizens from 21 different countries.  They included Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ghana, Korea, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Poland, and Tibet to name just a few. Again I was reminded of the diversity, freedoms, and opportunities that are ours in these United States. These newest citizens certainly reminded me once again of what we so often take for granted.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's History

This is Jack and his family & a friend.  Jack is a serious art critic who loves my work and visits me regularly.

2 visitors help keep the flood waters out of my tent.

The 2014 SUMMER ART MARKET is history.  I had a great show...sold 17 paintings! Reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. I especially enjoyed spending the 2 days with my daughter and BEST HELPER, Casey. Swapped stories and dealt with the rising water with 2 lovely ladies all while hunkered down under the cover of my tent. Survived the rain (barely), and appreciate the friend and family who got soaked dismantling my display and tent in the pouring rain. It's all good.

Diehard art-lovers are NOT deterred.
The clouds are beautiful, but full of rain.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Remembering D-Day

Today is June 6th and we celebrate the men who fought and died 70 years ago on D-Day (the landing at Normandy). I am reminded in a very special way today by my French family and friends who keep the memory alive and are always eager to express their thankfulness to us, their American liberators.  My Dad was one of them.

My cousin, Jean Pierre, wrote to express his deep and heartfelt gratitude.  He was only about 5 years old at the time, but he remembers the joy of his parents when the GIs rolled into their little village in southeastern France in the army green jeeps.

The image above comes to you from my friend, Philippe, who has such a knack for photography.  The image was taken at one of the anniversaries of the liberation of Metz.  The beauty and message are shared with you too.

REMEMBER and ENJOY our freedoms!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Made My Mother's Day

"Tender Moment" 20x24  $3200

Today is Mother's Day.  I am reminded that it's not always a happy day.  There are many women who have wanted to be moms, but never got the opportunity.  Some who have lost or are losing a child to any early death.  Others who are estranged or fighting with their children.  There are moms in third world countries who don't have enough food to feed their children. 

I am blessed and I know it and appreciate it! My three girls all blessed me in their own special ways.  One daughter even called to tell me that she thinks that I'm such a good mom that she wants to share me with friends that are lacking one of their own.  She's dead serious and I take that as the ultimate compliment.  Made my Mother's Day.   

Please enjoy this new painting of a mom and her cute little lamb.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Sheep etc

I often have "surprise" emails from friends who send wonderful and even fanciful images of sheep who have come across their paths.  They are sent for "my pleasure" but I am going to share them with you too...just for fun!

These freshly dyed sheep can be found in view of the highway near Bathgate, Scotland. The sheep farmer has been dying his sheep with NONTOXIC dye since 2007 to entertain passing motorists.  HAPPY EASTER!

Some more ...

From a store in France
Streets of St. Tropaz
"Sheep Building" in New Zealand

Here is the piece de resistance.  Just recently, someone introduced me to "SHAUN THE SHEEP." It is a British stop-action animated children's television series starring, of course, Shaun, the sheep. 
What a hoot!  Great for kids, grandkids, and the young-at-heart.  For a sample, click on:  Shaun the Sheep - "Ewe've Been Framed"  Just google "Shaun the Sheep" to find other episodes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Harvey's Farm

I just returned from a trip to Michigan.  It was lambing season and I spent an afternoon with Harvey and his sheep.  I took hundreds of pictures and will have many wonderful images and memories from which to paint.  Harvey had a cute little Lincoln lamb that was 3 weeks old and already posed very nicely.  There was also a set of triplets that were just 3 days old.  So cute!

So stay tuned for the paintings...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Off to a great start...

I got some exciting news that I just have to share! I have sold my first painting at Anne Neilson Fine Art in Charlotte, NC.  Even better...the gallery hasn't even opened yet. Whoohoo! 

THE very first painting sold at ANNE NEILSON FINE ART

L: Anne Neilson, gallery owner, with the collector who bought my painting
R: Elise Bainbridge, Awesome Art Director 

I'm off to Michigan tomorrow.  My trip is definitely going to include a visit to Harvey's Farm.  When I spoke with him several days ago, he reported that now is the perfect time because he has lots of little lambs.  Looks like there'll be more lamb & sheep paintings!  Stay tuned.

Be sure to check out


Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Sequel

Deb's Little Blue Box

Special Delivery from Privas, France

Perhaps you remember my post from New Years Day 2014.  I sat down with a cup of cocoa and opened up the "Little Blue Box" in which I had stored all my tidbits and treasures for the year.  With great excitement, I read notes & emails, records of special happenings, and anything I had deemed noteworthy at the time...  

...Yesterday I got a very special delivery.  It was an envelope from France and its contents were definitely "Little Blue Box" worthy. It was such a wonderful surprise from Claudette. She included a 20-30 year old postcard from Privas with a hand-made onionskin key to the various pictures and locations.  Of special interest was the location of her home which was my great-great grandparents' home.  She sent a postcard of cute little goats and on the back was her own story of taking care of goats when she was a little girl (carefully handwritten and painstakingly translated from French into English).  Most of all, I love the little package of dried "mimosa" with the note that said, "for the small blue Box!"  I have to tell you, it made me cry!


These are some pictures I took of Claudette's home when we visited her last spring.  Knowing this was our family's homestead many, many years ago, she graciously invited us to visit.  We had a wonderful afternoon with her, her husband, and son.  They gave us a tour, told stories and served a delicious homemade cake with juice and coffee.  It was a special day where some wonderful memories were made.  And now ...the story continues.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Divine Perfection

"A true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection."


Yesterday was a bitterly cold day here in Denver.  But the frost on the trees, shrubs, and grasses was just too beautiful to pass up.   So I bundled up in all the clothes I owned and headed out with my camera. An hour and a half later with a cold red nose, stiff fingers, and minus one lost earring, I was rewarded with some lovely images that I'm sure will become future paintings. Please enjoy these 4 examples of "Divine Perfection."   

Friday, February 14, 2014

For Your Pleasure

I have a very special friend (Philippe) from Metz, France who periodically and regularly sends me beautiful photos that he has taken, gifts me with wonderful music, and provides video tours of places I would enjoy just "FOR MY PLEASURE."  And enjoy them all I surely do! They "make my day."  Philippe has a special way of making something extraordinary out of the ordinary.  Here are his latest photos and a link to a tour of the Sistine Chapel.  I am passing them on "for your pleasure too."

I encourage you to share something of yourselves with others...just for their pleasure.  It is a wonderful gift.  So think outside the box.  It could be a handwritten note, a call, something homemade, something unexpected or undeserved.  It doesn't have to cost.  It just takes a little thought, a little time and some effort.  It's priceless!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterbacking thought I was gonna comment on Peyton Manning and our Broncos' play at the Super Bowl.  Nope, not going there.  But I do have something to say about the commercials. The near 50 30-second, $4million commercials included the serious, the bizarre, the movie star endorsement, the off-the-wall, the really?, the I don't get it, the cute, the artsy, and the Ahhhh commercials.  It was most interesting to review the analysis that determined what made for hits or misses.  Budweiser again won the USA TODAY'S Ad Meter for Super Bowl Commercials with "PUPPY LOVE".  Coming in second was Dorito's Kid Dressed as a Cowboy Riding a Big Dog Lassoing a Bag Of Doritos.  Generally speaking, focus groups went for a "KINDER AND GENTLER" genre.  The consensus was that winning ads "touched the depths of my soul."  Often there was no dialog, just music, and great images.

Funny how that "kinder and gentler" phrase keeps showing up.  I think there just might be something to that.  In my own world, I've noticed that those are the paintings that keep flying off my walls.  Good thing is that it feeds my soul too.

"Late Fall"  24x30" Oil on Linen ~ $4800 (w/custom frame)

So here's my latest.  "Late Fall" will be one of 5 paintings going to my new gallery in Charlotte, NC.  Anne Neilson Fine Art is a brand new gallery opening its doors in early May.  I am pleased and excited to be represented by this classy new gallery in the heart of the historic district of Charlotte.  Please check out and visit when you can:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014



I've been waiting for this NEW YEARS DAY.   Back in March of 2013, I found an article in the Sunday PARADE MAGAZINE by Connie Schultz.  In her story, she details the 5 material items that she deemed worth saving should her house catch on fire.  Number 3 on her list was a really ugly old cookie jar (one of those scary clown faces) which was a wedding gift to her parents back in 1957.  She named it Charlie in honor of her dad. Connie repurposed it to hold notes that she regularly tossed in about the good things that happened in her own family.  On New Year's Eve it is their family tradition to read all these collected notes of small wonder. 

Since that day in March, I have been tossing "tidbits" and "treasures" into my own little blue box.  Every time I get a surprise email or something noteworthy happens, it gets tossed in the blue box.  This morning the house was quiet. I made a cup of hot cocoa in my favorite French mug and sat down in front of the lighted Christmas tree and opened up my blue box.  I cried while I read all the wonderful stories, surprises, and notes sent by friends and strangers alike.  I read quotes and meaningful excerpts from favorite books.  I read scraps of paper on which I had printed other artist's blogs that resonated with me.  I read a fortune from a fortune cookie.  Treasures all! It was a great reminder of the blessings of 2013.  If you took the time to send me a special email, it was undoubtedly in my blue box.  Thank you!

Perhaps you will join me in this tradition for 2014. Perhaps you can share a tradition that is meaningful to you. Most of all, I encourage you to look for the blessings!

Click on:  Connie's Original Article