Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I was trying to do some bighorn sheep paintings but this just didn't turn out. The ram was itching his shoulder with his horn but it doesn't seem to come across in the painting. The twisty design element looks like a tapeworm and there is no corelation between the sheep and the background. I'm thinking paint-over.

You learn something every time you paint. Sometimes you learn that your'e not the hot stuff you think you are!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Clock of the Wind

This beautiful poem was published in the VictoriaTimes Colonist last Christmas season. I tried to track down the author but had no luck. It makes me feel such a sense of place. Although it appears to have been written about Vancouver Island, I feel the same way as I walk through the Columbia Valley winter landscape.

Clock of the Wind

I follow the path to the winter stream,
past the confetti of huckleberry leaves
to pick maple leaves caught in the sword ferns,
to keep the David Austin roses warm.

It's nearly Solstice.
I follow the water's sound,
the tree branch sound,
listen to the clock of the wind
winding through the hemlocks.

I'm bound to this place
like the small dark birds
I can't name
who have found their home
in the crowned branches of the salmonberries.
I listen for their heatbeats. Their wingbeats.

And these dark days,
when the sun stands still,
I want to hang broken mirrors, small clocks
and castanets from the apple trees.
Bring back the light.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Flip Side

This is my portrait as painted by Annelein Beukenkamp! Check out her blog at:

And check out all the portraits at different strokes from different folks.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Different Strokes Portrait

Karin Jurick is sponsoring a terrific portrait exchange on Different Strokes from Different Folks.

This is my attempt. Please check out the others. And look for yours truly!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cuddling Cougars

I took this shot at the Kamloops Wildlife Park in October. They look so sweet and innocent, not like predators that will stalk you and snap your neck.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Red Dress

I literally cannot paint a straight line! But I kinda like the wonks. This is based on a series of photos that I took in Victoria using my daughter as a model. It is not a portrait.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice 2008

A Solstice Prayer

Goddess, you create day and night,
Rolling away light before darkness,
Darkness before light,
Thank you for the darkness,
Without it we could not appreciate the light.
By the darkness we can measure blessing-
Health by sickness,
Laughter by tears,
Riches by poverty,
Freedom by oppression.

In memory of ancient light after darkness, let us light a candle.
A candle is small,
Nor far from where it brightly flames the darkness closes in.
But candles light other candles,
And light draws strength from light.
Each night of life let us add candles;
The candle of hope.
The candle of faith.
The candle of brave deeds.
The candle of freedom.
Thank you for the darkness.
Thank you for the light.

a thank you to the author of this prayer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This is one of my artist trading cards.

Faye Phillips tagged me!
(Bad Faye, bad artist).

I have been dithering ever since about what to put down, harassing people to help me think about what is unusual about me... So here goes:

Five unusual things about me:

I love the smell of crude oil, it’s so chunky, oily, rich that I want to eat it. I grew up in the oilfields, my Dad worked for Pure Oil company.

I was a mail-order bride (sort-of). I married a man I met through the “Mother Earth News”.

I do everything with my right hand except use scissors.

I have a Crazy Ravens hat that I have worn to art openings.

The area I grew up in is famous for its’ white squirrels.

I would recommend people to view the following blogs:


Nancy Standlee

Deb Schmit

Kay Cox

Deb Trotter

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm a scanner!

I've always been troubled by the fact that I have never found my great passion in life (although being an artist is filling it pretty well). I have now discovered there is a name for people like me...we are scanners. I am reading the book "Refuse to Choose" by Barbara Sher. Eureka! It is liberating and encouraging to think that there is nothing "wrong" with me..I am just wired differently. After looking at the book, Bruce has confirmed the diagnosis, so it must be true.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Holly and the Ivy

The holly and the ivy
Now both are full well grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

Holly and ivy both grow in abundance in Victoria. I wish I could have brought a bushel of beautiful holly home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The dead horse's beautiful eyelashes

The hoar frost may even be longer today. I am a bone collector. The forest holds all kinds of remnants.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hoar frost and whitetail

There is amazing hoar frost outside this morning. Everything is still and mild. Kirra and I went for a short walk to record the beauty before the cold front sweeps in. Predicted lows of -20C by the weekend.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Solo Pear

I'm back from Victoria and I have to get busy painting and signing up for art shows! Morgan has a great apartment right down town!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Devil's Ride

I saw this car parked in a driveway in Banff. I thought it had a sinister smirk.

I am off to Victoria B.C. tomorrow to visit my eldest daughter. I hope to take lots of photographs for painting later. I also have several competitions, etc. to prepare for. January will start me off busily! I hope 2009 is a very good year.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back Then

This is a photo of me when I was a college student. I was taking a photography course and we had to develop our own film. I had a friend take the shot while I was sitting in my dorm room window. It is still one of my favorite photos of myself. I especially like how it captured my freckles.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lazy Pears

We had a wonderful American thanksgiving complete with turkey dinner and Bruce's brother and sister-in-law. Afterwards we drank Bailey's and played Tabu. It was mint!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Another messy, quick little floral. I do like the looseness of these, but I keep going back and tweaking them. Now that I see this one up on the screen, I see little areas that I would go back and doctor.
One of my aims this winter is to concentrate on composition. I keep falling prey to subject matter without thinking out the design really well. This is how painting wraps around you like a boa constrictor. It's quite merciless really.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On guard

I ran off a bunch of these in the last day or two and will keep posting them until I get something more serious done.

I have company arriving, my brother and sister-in-law. That means I need to do some housecleaning...ugh. We will be celebrating American Thanksgiving. I have lived in the north 30 years now and Thanksgiving in October still feels, wrong, wrong, wrong!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bird Goddess

I found Nancy Standlee's blog and I am appreciating many things from it. One, I found the link to so now I can listen to tunes while I blog. Currently listening to " Have a beer with Duncan" on the Aussie bush band channel. Now a little dijeridu solo.
Two, Nancy has taken workshops with all my fav's, people I want to take workshops with...Robert Burridge, Stephen Quiller and Carla O'Connor.
Three she has all kinds of good links. Oh heck, it's just a good blog.

Here is my attempt at Burridge-like freestyle painting

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm a Star!

I was invited to do an interview with our local Shaw cable. Shadow Mountain, a local developer donated money to Shaw to do a 13 episode series on local artists. I think this is a terrific idea. It is so hard to get recognition in the valley, every little bit helps and this is big. Thank you, Shadow Mountain, very much. I now have three minutes of fame. I look forward to seeing the other episodes.
I like the fact that the painting based on my brother is peeking over my shoulder.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's Good to be Mayor!

Bruce won his election and is thrilled that he has a supportive council. He is already making plans for what he wants to accomplish. Please note the royal wave.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The photo shows my grim reality. It is miserable out. You should be able to see mountains behind the trees. Bruce just informed me that a slushy snow is beginning to come down. It is dark until 8 am. It gets dark at 5 pm and it will get worse before it gets better. I can hardly wait to become a snowbird.

Jinx was overseeing my typing and bugging me, so he gets to be on todays blog too.

One hour later:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Running for Mayor

Yes, it's true. Bruce is running for mayor in our municipal elections being held this Saturday. After stepping down from his municipal administration job, I never thought he would ever darken the door of a council meeting again (2 council meetings a week for 24 years!). But, he has been so dismayed at the direction the village has taken that he has thrown his hat in the ring.

When we were driving in the southwest this spring we saw this big campaign poster for one of the delegates there. Of course, we had to stop and take a picture. I especially like the fellow's eye just over Bruce's shoulder.

I look forward to pestering him about dog control, unsightly vehicles (we have collectors in town), green alternatives bylaws ( I hope to visit the forward thinking Okotoks, Alberta and bring back ideas for consideration) and Smartgrowth (sustainable) development.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget

Young B. Cravens, Union Army, American Civil War

Charles Cox, grandfather, WW1

Paul Cravens, father, WW2

Michael Cravens, brother, Vietnam War

Ray Woodbury, stepson, Canadian Peacekeeper, Bosnia
Ben Woodbury, stepson, Civilian support, Afghanistan

Thanks for serving and thanks for surviving.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The problem with green!

I had to go back and revisit this painting. It just wasn't working in the original colors. Green just never seems sucessful for me. I'm still not sure that it works that well as a painting. There are two lessons here. One, don't get rapped up in your resource photo. It is just there to get you started. Two, watch out for emotional attachments. I love this painting because it is a silly moment in the lives of my daughters more so than it is a good painting. But, I can live with that!

Friday, November 7, 2008


I have been watching Karin Jurick's new site "Different Strokes from different Folks" for the last couple of weeks. I have wanted to make a painting to contribute to the site. This week, the photo was inspiring for me and I have submitted.

I was struggling with painter's block. I hadn't painted for a month and I was having a terrible time overcoming the inertia and all the little screaming demons in my head that tell me there is no use in painting. I forced myself to just sit down, ignore the little voices and paint. Today, I feel better.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I am finding that after taking a month off from painting, it is hard to get started again. I had all kinds of wonderful excuses; having to enjoy the last of the beautiful weather, putting my garden to sleep, enjoying my birthday and Halloween, etc. But now, like having to start excercises again, I am pretty creaky.

I decided to try a text on texture painting just to get the brush moving and because I actually like these paintings. I chose to incorporate the names of the nine muses. I was shocked to discover that all the muses control written arts or music.... there is no muse for visual art! I'm not sure this is finished yet so I will just hang it for inspiration.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I am very proud to be an American and from Illinois this morning. I realize that Obama cannot possibly achieve all the things that are expected from him but I am so encouraged by the thought that the American people are open to a new approach.
Listening to his acceptance speech last night reminded me of the hope and eagerness of the Kennedy era.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Please Vote. I did! Thank goodness ex-pats have absentee ballots!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Birthday Moon

What could be better than a frosty Hunter's Moon on one's birthday morning. If the weather holds, I will have bonfire tonight and listen for the elk bugling and the coyote choir. There are simple pleasures in the Columbias.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Stage Goats

I saw this team at the Draft Horse and Mule show in Sandpoint Idaho. I think they are terrific!

I'm struggling with finding show and galleries to show my work, deciphering submission forms, collecting marketing information and attending little government get togethers to promote the arts. There is so much more to art than just making the artwork. Does anyone have any stories they care to share regarding this topic?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cool Dude

This painting was based on a photo of my brother Mike in his early days. He is 63 today (old!) He had a black Bel-air in his late teens-early 20's that I envied him for. The speedometer didn't work but he knew when he hit 60 mph because all the windows would start to rattle. I always remember him smelling of cigarettes and jujubes. The red car(local) is standing in for the Bel-air. Happy Birthday Bro!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Twin Beam

My wonderful daughter Haley came down from the great white north to spend some time with me and soak up some sunshine. We had a great time on our trip to Idaho and Banff. Now we are going to go hike the Hoodoos. I find old trucks everywhere!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mule Show

We went to the International Draft horse and mule show in Sandpoint Idaho on Friday. The dapple grey mules are just the prettiest things! Now I want a mule to ride around the village. The driving skills of some of the teamsters is quite phenomenal

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Boogers! I messed up the date yesterday. Just imagine if I had people all over the place swaggering and talking like a pirate on the wrong day! Shiver me timbers!! In 2006, Pynelogs invited all pirates to attend the September art reception. That was my pirate garb.