When life gives you lemons, draw them, 11 x 14 inches dry pastels, graphite on paper

"When life gives you lemons, draw them". (Nikki)

"Trust your intuition, it's just like goin' fishin'; you cast your line 'til you get a bite." (Paul Simon)

"Color! What a deep and mysterious language..." (Paul Gauguin)

digital manipulation

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Fields of Flax – Rowley, Alberta Canada

Monday, November 12th, 2012


Fields of Flax, Rowley, Alberta Canada - in progress, 12H x 16W inches watercolors on paper
Fields of Flax, Rowley, Alberta Canada,  12H x 16W inches watercolors on paperpreliminary study for larger acrylics painting


Dr. Ip

Friday, November 25th, 2011


Dr. Ip's Home Improvement Tip

The move west, and renovating homes around that, has unfortunately thrown my career on the back burner. Hence the home improvement tip brought to you by Dr. Ip, another new character based on good ol’ Monte, who has evolved since 1974 and still plays a part in my expressions today. He’s getting a good work-out these days!

The secret life of wall paint

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


The Secret Life Of Wall Paint

Monte paints wallsI have a whole new respect for all trades-people! All I’ve had time and inclination for art-wise are a few little cartoons using my laptop now and then. I’m going a little nutty with all the wall painting here in Ottawa (Canada), so am having some fun with the secrets revealed to me as I work. Monte is optimistic….

Basic pricing strategies: Artists and the economy

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

How do artists price their work? How do artists price their work honestly, consider themselves as legitimate business persons, still with equal regard to the buyer looking for quality and a fair deal? How do artists price their work reasonably while acknowledging the responsibility we have to our trade; that is, respecting that we, in many cases, base our prices on each other’s? How do artists price their work while competing other artists, when for some, savvy marketing skills yield profits far higher than the quality of their art? (Subjective as art is, we all recognize quality…or do we?). How do artists price their work to sell in a dicey economy? How do artists price their work to sell in a dicey economy that’s dependent on the moral and ethical whims of public spending, and the consequential extremes of society?

Support Your Artists decalI have just reluctantly slashed the prices on my artwork. I’m not going to soften the announcement with a less violent description, because compromising what I feel are well-earned wages, whether adapting to economic conditions or sharing a percentage of it for any reason, is brutal. My canvases are not the only ones feeling the brush of reality these days though; I see, hear and read that a lot of artists are reevaluating how much they ask for their work. Still, I applaud those artists who continue to stand up for the principles of the unspoken “Artist’s Code”, as Homer Simpson might put it. I’m not fond of unsold art accumulating and spilling out into every room of my home though. The hope is that it will resonate with someone else besides me. It must be seen and it must be shared.

Andy Warhol said: “Art is what sells”.
Maybe the average art enthusiast doesn’t know how we derive prices for our work. Maybe many artists don’t stop to dissect their decisions either. The prices of art in galleries worldwide are inconsistent, confusing and often irrational, and who is authorized to price artwork like that anyway? (Ideally it should be the artist). There are so many variables. I’m probably going to miss naming a few here because methods for pricing vary from artist to artist, hobby or career, and if their art is in the form of products or services. Costs of materials and time spent are considered, and price differences with regard those two factors have everything to do with the quality of time spent and quality of materials. Skill levels, concepts, originality, to some extent size, (ie. sculptures, murals), and if it’s for sale in a home studio in Rocky Mount, North Carolina or a high-end gallery in New York City…and most artists will tell you that above all, the final price has to “feel” right. For some strictly structural Art-minds, feelings in art don’t have a leg to stand on – but in actual fact they have two legs (the human thing). The most unpredictable, nonsensical thing is that even if the artist makes an impact while alive, their older work may be worth much less than the most recent, but when the artist dies, prices of their earliest works may increase.

Will Sing For Feathers, 8 x 10 inches, traditional graphite drawing scanned, drawn digitally, printed, process repeated

Will Sing For Feathers, 8 x 10 inches, traditional graphite drawing scanned, drawn digitally, printed, process repeated

As we gain experience, confidence toward change and experimentation, and progressively improve our development as Artists, theoretically we should be able to charge more, which is why “mature” artists naturally feel they deserve to be paid more. Case in point: me. The price I initially wanted to charge for “Dancing With Trees” was $7,500.

It seems like a lot to be asking for those unfamiliar with all that painting or other forms of artwork involves. Time seems to be the most accountable factor in producing it. After viewing the artwork and the price, the most common question is: How long did that take you? It’s a fair question, because for most jobs, time input equals amount charged; a predictable amount of money is paid in exchange for a certain amount of labor within a set amount of time. If only it were that simple.
Using that system to price then, Dancing With Trees is my very best work to date, and it took almost 50 years to learn how to paint it. The price was reduced from $7,500.00 to $5,500.00. Assuming I don’t have to share a percentage of that figure with a gallery, and assuming it sells in the next year, that works out to approximately .7638888888888889 cents per hour. I feel confident that it’s worth that much. That’s a wage about as kookoo as a bird dancing for its own feathers. One day someone will come along who has an extremely large wall and agrees that the painting is worth .7638888888888889 cents per hour, and they will buy it. Each year work hangs around with me though, I decrease the asking price as new pieces are created.

Sometimes I wish I was just a bird!
The vocation of Artist is a calling, and a journey of personal growth. Who doesn’t want to do what they love, learn all the time, contribute the best they have to offer to the world, and earn a living as well? Creativity is not only what we love to do; it is a deeply-rooted habit, a compulsion and an addiction of the very best kind. Art is connected intimately with our lives so we continue to make “stuff” no matter what, and preferably, the artists’ judgment of its’ value will be trusted. In my revised Price List I’ve made a good effort to be fair to the buyer while at the same time remaining true to myself.

Post script, 2016: Well, such is life — due to the economy, and a taste of humble pie, I have since lowered the price of Dancing With Trees 03 to $1,100. It’s still substantial enough to pay for my time and material costs, and perhaps more in tune with the reality of art sales expectations these days.

The Dryer Elf

Friday, May 1st, 2009


The Dryer Elf

Alright, I try to work every single day, but there are days when work just has to be play for a while. This morning my husband and I had a little argument over who it was that dumped all the clean clothes that were in the laundry basket onto the floor.

In Dryer Elf world, one sock is the new black

(Alain, they take our socks too)

Design Inspiration

Sunday, July 27th, 2008


14 inch long Flamboyant Tree seed pods from Chapala, Mexico

Flamboyant Tree seed pods, pencil sketch then detailed with digital pen        Flamboyant Tree seed pods, pencil sketch then digital effects        Flamboyant Tree seed pods, pencil sketch then digital effects

Wind in the Maples, Kingston, ON, Canada

Wind in the Maples original design sketch, pencil on paper        Maple Keys design, pencil on paper        Maple Keys, scanned design sketch then digital play

My Dad recently gave me a few Art books of his. I remember browsing through them when I was younger. He always left his books out laying around on the tables, intending to plant the “drawing seed” in me, and it worked. One of the books Is about the art of  M. C. Escher. What a mind! You can’t help but flip through pages of art like that and not be inspired.

Eastern Cottonwood, Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaThis week I was also organizing my photos of leaves, seeds, and bark that I took specifically because of their outstanding design. Looking through the books plus my photos compelled me draw a few designs I’ve had in mind for a couple of years. I may paint some large one-of-a-kind cushion covers using a few of the best.
American Elm Seeds/Keys, early Spring, Coppell, TexasThere is no substitute for a good old fashioned pencil, but it’s sure fun to play with the Paint Shop Pro effects, cut and paste, repeat patterns. The drawing combined with computer play have me appreciating Escher’s work so much more. He did not use computers at all.


Eastern Cottonwood leaves, pencil sketch then detailed with digital pen        Eastern Cottonwood leaves, pencil sketch then digital effects        Eastern Cottonwood leaves, pencil sketch then digital effects

American Elm Seeds/Keys, original pencil design        American Elm Seeds/Keys, pencil sketch then digital effects        American Elm Seeds/Keys, pencil sketch then digital effects


Pecan nuts, Dallas, Texas   Pecans, preliminary design, pencil on paper  Raindrops and Leaves, pencil on paper, scanned, digital play Early Spring rain, Coppell, Texas

Every day is Earth Day

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008


Green Anole - digitized sphere, photography

Caring. It’s that simple.

For facts about Green Anoles and other reptile care and conservation: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Anole.cfm

Great White Egret and Mayfly

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Great White Egret and Mayfly in Coppell, Texas

Great White Egret at Andy Brown Jr. Park, Coppell, Texas. Early morning melting frost, still slightly foggy, enough sun to make the water and dew in the grass sparkle, with a Mayfly appearing at exactly the right moment!
The photo was digitally changed to black and white and the contrast was clarified.

Sky Diver

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Sky Diver - Basil stem and roots - Photography, digital manipulation

Sky Diver- Basil stem and roots (this is the last of the root-sculptures  for a while I think) – this one has a thick stem, removed with PaintShop Pro.

Don we now our gay apparel

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Don we now our gay apparel!

The temperatures have dropped considerably here today… see what I found on the dining room shades this morning. Don we now our gay apparel!

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