Monday, December 31, 2012

Last day of 2012

Here it is January 31st and, although I've had 13 straight days of vacation, the only thing I've managed to paint is my kitchen wall! It's now bright yellow (think Fiesta Ware) and I love it but somehow, smaller brushes have eluded me during the holidays. I guess my creativity needs a vacation now and then, too. I did a couple of pencil sketches but that's all. There is a Sketch Crawl coming up Jan. 19 that I'm looking forward to and a few show deadlines loom so I'm sure I'll get back into shape soon.
Cheers everyone and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Small work

This is one of the small acrylic pieces that is currently in the "6x6x6" show at LibertyTown. I named it Distant Village and it's my favorite of all 10. I'm thinking of using the small ones as "sketches" for larger works. This one will be first.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

October Workshops

October was a record month for me as far as taking workshops goes. I started out with a workshop in Charlottesville with Alan Berkshire on the 13th. This was organized by the Central Virginia Watercolor Society and was the first involvement I've had with them since joining this year. I enjoyed the day, met really nice folks and liked the instructor. However, he wasn't a particularly good teacher. His work was very nice but he seemed ill at ease with teaching and for the entire morning he demonstrated how he paints but didn't have much to say. The small room in the hotel was far too crowded. They either need to find a bigger space or allow fewer students. After lunch, the participants got to work on their own paintings but we were pretty much left to our own devices unless we had specific questions. We had to request a critique at the end of the class and it wasn't very satisfactory. I did a piece that might work as a study for something else, but on its own, wasn't very impressive.

In contrast, the workshop at LibertyTown Arts Workshop with Lynn Goldstein on the 20th was terrific. The only problem was it should have been 2 days. Lynn is a fantastic teacher as well as an accomplished artist. Her pastel work is amazing and she shared many of her techniques with us. I think everyone got a lot out of this class. I wasn't the only one who had never worked with pastels and we all enjoyed the process. I would like very much to take more workshops with Lynn. I did a small landscape that I was fairly happy with but I'm still working on it. Like with oils, you can keep adding pastel colors on top of colors to keep pushing the painting around. For a beginning work, I was happy with it.

On Oct. 23 and 24, I took another acrylic workshop with Steve Griffin in Colonial Beach. This one was organized by Jarrett Thor Fine Arts and held in a lovely bed and breakfast owned by one of the participants. Steve taught us how he uses scraping and sanding to create a very textural, but smooth surface. The painting shown below is the one I left for the exhibit at Jarrett Thor. I put it outside to dry and an oak leaf fell on it so I took the photo with the leaf. I'm actually toying with the idea of painting the leaf on when I get the picture back. What do you think?
The orangey color is actually copper and has a glow to it that doesn't show up in this photo. I titled this one "Smoke on the Water." It's 16"x20" on canvas board. I applied the paint with a credit card in layers, scraping it off as I went to expose the layer beneath. You can see it in person this month at Jarrett Thor.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

JarrettThor exhibit over

I'm going to pick up my art at the JarrettThor gallery today. I plan to hang some of the botanicals on my wall in LibertyTown so, if you missed the Colonial Beach show, be sure to stop by L'Town and have a look. 
This is from a tobacco plant at George Washington's Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Here is a teaser of one of my latest botanicals. It will be in the show at JarrettThor on Friday. I delivered 16 paintings yesterday and it was actually kind of wrenching to leave them there. I've done most of them recently and haven't really had much time to look at them myself. Hope they all go to good homes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Art Attack!

This is one of the sketches I did during the "Art Attack" in downtown F'burg on Saturday. There were about 75 artists working on the streets all day, then we had a lovely picnic at LibertyTown during a thunderstorm. It was a fun day and I hope the promoters do it again. It was great to see and meet so many artists and I believe the public really enjoyed it, too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Show schedule

Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that I have added a section of current and upcoming shows at the top of the page. I realized that if I made the info available in a regular post, it might go unnoticed, so I've shamelessly put it in your face. Crass commercialism, I know. But hey, I'm my own agent at the moment.

I actually don't think I've mentioned the Layers of Color show. I entered another one of the acrylic abstracts I started in Steve Griffin's workshop. Thanks Steve! I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the pieces I did in that class. In fact, one of them won the "most popular" vote at the JarrettThor Gallery's exhibit of the workshop participants and I actually sold two! I've signed up to take Steve's workshop again this fall so I hope to continue to expand my abstract knowledge. Or perhaps, my knowledge of abstracts--my knowledge is already pretty abstract.

I'm also going to try my hand at pastels with Lynn Goldstein in October. Like the acrylic abstracts, pastels will be completely new to me. Hope I have as much luck with them. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Went downtown Sunday with my sketching buddy, Terri. We sipped our coffee at Hyperion Espresso and I sketched the building across the street. The doorway faces the intersection rather than one street or the other so it was an interesting angle to work with. Our project was to sketch directly with pen -- no erasers allowed. This made me really have to look closely at the subject and draw more carefully. It's a little off-kilter but it was a fun exercise. Then it started to rain... I am tempted to add some color now.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An invitation to my show!

Hope you will join us for the opening on Friday, Sept. 14 or get by the show while it's up. Here are the details:

JarrettThor Fine Arts
100 Taylor Street # 101, Colonial Beach, VA 22443
804-224-7200 • •
JarrettThor Fine Arts Celebrates its 5th Anniversary
Friday, September 14 from 6:00-9:00 pm
Music, art, meet the artists & more
Please join us!
Vicki Marckel, a popular art teacher from Maryland & a
gallery artist exhibits her new artwork portraying
"Vivid Perceptions" of cityscapes & more.
Paula Raudenbush of Fredericksburg, winner of the
“People’s Choice” in an exhibit of workshop participants at
JarrettThor Fine Arts, features botanical art in a solo show
entitled “Stems and Seeds.

September 14-October 7, 2012
Gallery Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 10:00-6:00 pm
or by appointment.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Retirement possibility...

My friend John just sent me this with the suggestion that I might supplement my retirement in a couple years doing what I already do--just add a hat and a sign!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Stems and Seeds"

Please save the date of Sept. 14, 6-9 p.m., for the opening of my exhibit of botanicals at JarrettThor Fine Arts gallery in Colonial Beach. These paintings have never been exhibited before (although readers of this blog have had a preview). More details to come...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Japanese Lanterns

I had a huge crop of Japanese Lanterns (Physalis alkekengi) in my garden this year. It's so much fun to use orange paint! Actually, I mixed it because there were several different shades. This watercolor is about 14" tall. I enjoyed working in my cool basement studio this weekend.
Japanese Lanterns are also called: Chinese Lanterns, Ground Cherry, Husk Tomato, Winter Cherry and Jerusalem Cherry. This perennial comes from southeastern Europe and Japan. It gets it's name from the distinctive color and shape of the papery husk, which resembles a Japanese Lantern.
The plant grows up to two feet tall, producing white, 5-petaled flowers in mid summer. The flowers give way to a light green, lantern-shaped husk with a berry inside. Dried, they are wonderful in arrangements. I currently have about a dozen stems in a glass vase and it's stunning. As it matures, the husk turns a bright orange-red color and turns papery. As it decays, it becomes brown and lacey, showing nothing but the veins and the single seed inside. In Virginia, it can be rather invasive in the garden.
IMPORTANT: The unripe berries and the leaves of Japanese Lantern plants are poisonous.
Tomatillos and Japanese Lanterns are both members of the deadly nightshade (Physalis) family, as are tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pastels Workshop with Lynn Goldstein

Lynn G. taught a workshop at Orkney Springs this summer and I was very impressed with her work. I offered to try to find a venue for her to hold a workshop in Fredericksburg and we managed to put one together for October. Here are the details from Lynn if you live in the area and are interested:

From Lynn: For those of you that have wanted a workshop that takes place during the weekend, I have just added a one-day workshop at LibertyTown Arts in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The workshop will take place on Saturday, October 20 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and the cost for the entire day of painting will be $125.00 per person. This will be a pastel workshop that will cover different ways to approach the pastel medium and also ways to improve upon paintings that students have already begun and feel can't be salvaged. The workshop is appropriate for all skill levels. We will be covering texture, composition, value and color theory in this class. If you have any questions, please contact me at: To register for the class, call LibertyTown Arts Workshop at: 540-371-7255. To look at the LibertyTown Arts website, go to:

You can see Lynn's work here:

Monday, July 16, 2012

New look

If you're a repeat visitor, you'll notice that my blog has a new look. I was getting quite tired of the black background. Let me know what you think of this one.

The Sketchbook Project

I just signed up for the 2013 Sketchbook Project. My sketchbook will travel with others to Toronto, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, and Portland, Or. then reside permanently at the Brooklyn (NY) Art Library where it can be checked out like a regular book! If you're interested, check out the project here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A dragonfly tale

This guy "cooked" in the backseat of my car in the heatwave we've been having in VA this week. I drove to the mountains Saturday to cool off and found him when I arrived and unpacked the car. A friend found the lichen-covered stick so I painting them together. He was a very willing subject.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I did this little sketch at the luncheon for the King George Art Show judge on Saturday. I couldn't resist the little red bistro set in the dappled shade of the big hickory trees. Can't you just feel that breeze?

I also just got my copy of The Art of Urban Sketching and I felt like someone had handed me a double-layer box of chocolates with no calories! I started devouring each page. This and all the other online sketching groups makes me feel like I'm part of something big/universal. Just about to a one, the artists talked about all the same things that I feel when I'm sketching--the way you lose yourself in the drawing, how therapeutic it is, how much fun it is to have people stop by to chat, and the way sketches can bring back so many more memories than just a photo does.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yesterday I went to Belmont, the home of American artist Gari Melchers and sketched one of my favorite subjects there, the spring house. I spent about 3 hours working on this ink drawing. The scan made the left side blue for some reason, but you get the idea. It was a beautiful day and there were a lot of tourists who wanted to talk. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Went to the National Zoo in D.C. last weekend and remembered why I don't like zoos. All the animals looked so bored and sad. It breaks my heart. Plus, we didn't really get to see many animals because about 1/2 of the exhibits were under construction. My sketch makes these lions look like they are on blocks of ice but it was man made "stone"--I just didn't draw it very well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A day in the country...

Spent the day with several sketchers at Tulip Hill Farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on Saturday. Lovely day, great company, fun sketches, new friends.

They raise miniature donkeys at Tulip Hill Farm. They were so cute!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

35th International Sketch Crawl

Here are the sketches I did yesterday at the University of Mary Washington where 5 of us gathered for the 35th International Sketch Crawl. If you would like to see what people from all around the world sketched yesterday be sure to go to the forum section at

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sugar Maples with sap buckets

Highland County VA Maple Sugar Festival

I spent a recent weekend with dear friends in West Virginia a couple of weeks ago. I had broken my little toe and was unable to wear regular shoes so, while my friends went hiking, I stayed at the farm and sketched. We went to the Highland County (VA) Maple Sugar Festival in Monterrey, about 12 miles from where we were staying and had a great time.The maple syrup farmers had a bad year because the winter was so mild and the maple trees need periods of freezing weather to make the sugar water flow. Some who produced 300 gallons in a normal year were able to make only 30! There was plenty for sale though, so I brought some home and have been enjoying it.

I've started a new sketchbook and I like it. It's a bit smaller than I'm used to but the paper is nice. It's a laid finish so I wasn't sure how it was going to work but the sketches above were done with water color pencils and it took the water well.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Here are some pages from my journal about an amazing bird-watching day I had recently.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More from Sketch Crawl #34

Here are some photos of the group.
 I love the light on Kathryne's head:
I sure look absorbed...

Sketch Crawl #34

Yesterday was the 34th International Sketch Crawl and 5 of us braved the icy conditions to spend the day in Gari Melchers' studio at Belmont. Below are the 2 pages I did. I did the page of hands from some of Melchers' paintings after I got home from photos I took.

 Here are the two sketches Jane did of 2 of Melchers' paintings. Jane always does great work and she's got the prettiest little sketch book with watercolor paper and a soft leather cover. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sketching at Chatham

Sketched with the new Fredericksburg sketching group at Chatham Manor on Saturday. It was very cold and I was trying to work with my fingerless gloves so I was sketching very quickly. This is one of several small statues in the garden.

I followed the sun to the west side of the house to sketch these two old Catawba trees. It's a rather gruesome story: THE WITNESS TREES  These gnarly old Catawba trees were alive during the Civil War. Chatham was used as a hospital and these two venerable old trees stood just outside the surgery. As limbs were amputated, they were tossed out the window to land at the base of these trees. Walt Whitman visited [during the war] and wrote that the pile of human limbs would fill an oxcart.  Leaning, and rotting, these trees are propped up by steel bars (which I didn't draw) and will probably disappear before too long. I felt compelled to bear witness to the Witness Trees.