Night Blooming Cactus

August 30, 2009

Night blooming Cereus

Night Blooming Cereus

  • Oil on Canvas
  • In the Paley collection

Memory fails me when I try to recall who gave me this plant (a cereus type, perhaps lemaireocereus thurberi?). No other plant gives me cause to throw a sunrise party.  When there’s a bloom, the party starts about 6am with donuts and coffee. By 9am, the flower begins to wither. Twenty-plus years ago my neighbor, Julia, Laura and I stayed up all night taking time-lapse photos of the flower opening.

This painting sets the cactus above the Missouri River with the full moon setting.


August 24, 2009



  • Oil on Canvas
  • 12″ x 9″
  • In a private collection

A fruit, unique for it’s color, taste and texture, is also a reminder to live with open and non-judging spirit towards others. The following story, shared by one of my teachers, is an example of that.

As a young girl my teacher, Eve, loved playing alone. When her parents were busy with duties at the church they ministered, the upstairs neighbor was around if Eve needed anything, but she was allowed to play alone. Her father officiated many weddings and Eve’s mother played the organ. Before leaving for a wedding one Saturday, Eve’s mom explained wedding rituals, including how brides dressed. It sounded lovely to young Eve. Before departing, Eve’s parents handed her a pomegranate to enjoy while they were gone.

Deciding to dress herself as a bride, Eve pulled the lace curtains off the living room windows and wrapped them around herself, sat down on the floor and enjoyed her juicy pomegranate. Returning from the wedding, Eve’s mother found her in the living room, sitting amidst pomegranate stained curtains. Her mother paused, studied her daughter and said without anger and without shaming her daughter; “My goodness, and who are you suppose to be?”

Chocolate Turtle and Truffles
Chocolate Turtle and Truffles

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 5″ x 5″
  • In a private collection

Today Rob sent me information on  “The Top 5 Brain Health Foods.” The 5 are Wild Salmon, Cacao Beans, Gyokuru Green Tea Powder, Acai berries and Blueberries (tied) and Coffee Beans. The cacao and coffee figure prominently in my diet and in my paintings. Occasionally blueberries too, but now perhaps I need to give salmon, acai berries and green tea powder some attention.

Raven on Red Bowl
Raven, Blueberries and Cherries

  • Mixed Media
  • 5″ x 7″
  • In the collection of CM, Topeka, KS

The media for “Raven, Blueberries and Cherriesl” include watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, and acrylic on Ampersand’s Aquabord.

Ravens are a favorite bird, intelligent and resourceful. I keep a copy of Bernd Heinrich‘s book “Mind of the Raven” around.

Favorite Raven Story: I know I’ve written this story somewhere else in my blog, but as my grandfather told my father when he had repeated one of his stories and been reminded of it, “I like telling this story.”
Standing in line at a local grocer I asked the checkout clerk if she had any bird stories as I was collecting them. The fellow behind me said he had one. While living in Alaska the previous winter he’d watched the ravens take turns covering the solar cells for the town’s street lights with a wing, thus keeping the lights turned on and providing a source of warmth for the flock.

Mike Brewer with Deer Rack and Bluebirds

Mike Brewer with "Deer Rack and Bluebirds"

  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • 20″ x 14″ approx
  • In the collection of MB

Mike and my husband, Rob, spend a lot of time on the farm cutting, seeding and mowing trails and building treehouses among other things. Last winter they came upon a deer carcass and Mike really wanted the rack. So the next time they were out, they cut the rack from the deer skull which was no easy task. A few weeks later, generous soul that he is, Mike showed up with the mounted rack as a gift. This is a painting of the mounted rack along with a flock of bluebirds who also like to  gather on the farm. The strip frame was made in woodworking from Tresa’s mahogany and the turkey feathers hanging from the bottom can regularly be found along the trails or on the prairie.

Sister Cities

August 19, 2009


  • Oil on Canvas
  • 24″ x 30″ approx
  • In a private collection

Lawrence, KS, my hometown, currently has two sister cities; Eutin, Germany, and Hiratsuka, Japan. “Sisters” was commissioned for a fundraiser held by the organization that supports the program. The painting is a still life of symbols of  the three cities. Behind the still life is the Kansas River’s Bowersock Dam and the grain elevator in North Lawrence. Stan Herd‘s rock mural is the table’s centerpiece . The tablecloth is the earth as seen from space. A right to left sweep of the sky shows night’s shadow following the light of day from east to west.  The moon is a uniting symbol because all of us see it no matter where we’re standing on our planet. Because the fundraising event was held at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, I chose Native American symbols to represent the US. Besides  corn on the cob and popcorn, sushi for Japan and pretzels for Germany, there is beer, which sits on coasters representing some aspect of each culture, i.e. for the USA there is the 20 friends basket weaving pattern found in the Southwest US.

Garden Tomato

August 6, 2009


  • Oil on Canvas
  • 7″ x 5″
  • In the collection of GR/DC

It’s August and my garden is bountiful with tomatoes. Fruits and vegetables are not only delicious, they’re sensual. Look for a female figure in the tomato’s reflection.

Billboard Illustration

August 5, 2009

Demo drawing for billboard illustration

Demo drawing for billboard illustration

A pen and ink drawing was needed for a billboard advertising a racetrack. This is the demo drawing I sent to the ad agency to show that I could do a pen and ink illustration. I got the job.

Later, while driving down the freeway, I see my drawing on a billboard. That was fun. to the races. to the races.

Jude and Jeremiah

August 4, 2009

Jude and Jeremiah Final Drawing Web Size
Jude and Jeremiah with their Final Drawing 09 005

  • “Jude and Jeremiah”
  • Pencil on Clayboard
  • 36″ x 12″
  • In the collection of JS/S

Jude and Jeremiah are brothers and playmates of my grandchildren. In the drawing, Jude and Jeremiah stand among their favorite things; trucks, cars, things that go, aardvark, skunk and Marley, the dog, to name a few. The drawing goes underground showing plant roots, beetle larva, earthworms and an antlion. Above ground are praire grasses and flowers, a cricket, a grasshopper under a magnifying glass, monarch butterfly, ants
(one about to become the antlion’s dinner), a caterpillar,
a bird of prey soaring in the clouds
which billow towards outer space, where you’ll
find a spaceship and planets galore.

Thinking Pink

August 2, 2009

Gladiolus, pomegranate and kiwi on silk

Gladiolus, pomegranate and kiwi on silk

Pink moire silk, gladiolus, pomegranate and kiwis combine in this still life. I was admiring the gladioli in my daughter in law’s garden this morning. The blooms, all facing one way, are born one on top of another up the stem making a glorious show. The pomegranate red adds some color kick and the kiwis echo the glad stems’ green.