The creative journey of an artist inspired by animals and life by the sea

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shifting Brain Gears

This Christmas I was so pleased with myself to have gotten all my commissions completed ahead of time.  Then I got a last minute call asking if I would have time to paint a Boykin Spaniel.  Sure!  I had some great shots to work from that the client sent from his phone and was able to complete the painting in time for his trip home to South Carolina.  Phew...another Christmas painting done "just under the wire"!  I try to balance my artwork with a part time job that is the polar opposite of being an "artist".  Sometimes it can be difficult when I have a painting deadline to meet.  My part time job in a bank requires the side of my brain that I prefer not to use when happily painting away as "Artsy Gail".  Shifting brain gears this year was a mental challenge, but I did it!  The completed painting of this Boykin Spaniel was a watercolor on Arches Watercolor Board with an 8 ply rag matting.  On to the next mental challenge!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stuffed Horse

I will be turning 54 next week and I still love stuffed animals.  My favorite stuffed horse has been with me since before I can remember.  He is a 9" tall Steiff stuffed horse, which at the time he was new was quite a toy for a young horse crazy girl.  He has been through all my life experiences and struggles as an artist including numerous jobs, moves, divorce, remarriage,  family loss and birth.  He managed to survive an attack from a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy that took his ears, tail and mane and also left him without a chin.  I love him and the memories he holds inside.  The other day I was in a local gallery where I have work displayed and saw this little stuffed alpaca horse for sale.  I fell in love again...I think my older horse could use a young companion to help him through the upcoming adventures in his life.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Funny Fish

My art career has been built upon my realistic portraits of animals and pets.  For the past 30 years I have developed a following and worked at perfecting my art in all media.  I was surprised when my cartoon "doodles" at my part time job in a bank, were suddenly noticed.  I recently received a few commissions and am really having fun with them!  These fish are so completely opposite what I usually do and I am really having fun and feel a sense of freedom when creating these.  I am toying around with doing one for an upcoming art show along with my usual work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A White Cat

It took me forever and a day to finally complete this long awaited acrylic commission for a customer.  This is the third painting I have done for this client, but for some reason it was the most difficult.  This cat was so special to her that I was afraid I wouldn't do him justice.  "Cosmos" was a Persian rescue cat who only had less than a year with his new owner before sickness took him from her.  He deserved a much longer life, but spent the majority of it not cared for properly by his previous owners, which led to his illness.  She cherished the short time she spent with him, as I'm sure he did in return.  Sometimes the brief time we have them are the most cherished.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our "Wild World"

I recently entered a painting in a show sponsored by the Carolina Artist Studio Gallery in Morehead City, NC for the month of July.  The theme of the show is "Earth & Sky, Sea and Stone".  The artwork was required to be 16" x 20" and on canvas.  I completed this piece with animals that I thought represented the theme in my mind.  The Horse for the Earth, the Osprey for the Sky, the Dolphin for the Sea and finally the Sea Turtle for Stone.  I tried something new with a pearlescent paint combined with traditional acrylics.  As always, I had a great time working on this one!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not Enough Bluebirds

Just yesterday, a friend asked me if I had a painting of Bluebirds.  She recently lost her Mom and she told me she loved Bluebirds.  She was very close to her Mom and I couldn't wait to show her the painting I had in a local gallery.  When I got home, I had a message waiting from a little gallery in Swansboro about a watercolor painting that sold.  The gallery owner's exact words were...I have bad news for you...your painting of the Bluebirds sold!  How strange that she used those words and also that this was what I wanted to show my friend!  You just wonder sometimes how things happen.  I think she used those words because artist's often suffer a loss when a painting is sold.  But, it made me think of the many people in our lives that we lose that are so dear to us.  We must go on to paint more Bluebirds.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I finished my Mockingbird painting "Look Who's Watching" in time for the 15th Annual Homes Tour and Art Show.  I remember playing with my best friend Cynthia as a young girl and searching for their low level nests in the bushes.  We loved to look at the eggs and the birds would dive bomb us to protect their nests.  Their beautiful songs are a constant in my backyard and I couldn't resist putting these two on one of my camellia bushes.  I added a Green Anole Lizard hiding in the leaves, another one of my favorite creatures.  This painting is an acrylic on aquabord 22" x 26 and is for sale.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Wild Horse Weekend

I participated in a two day photography workshop this weekend with a terrific local photographer Bob Decker and survived!  We started out with a long morning at Shackleford Island searching out the wild horses through the salt marsh and tidal flats, which is very challenging terrain and at times I thought I was sinking in quicksand.  We found some great photo opportunities and also enjoyed a beautiful view of Cape Lookout Lighthouse.  After lunch, we returned to search the maritime forest on the other side of the island.  It is amazing to hike the environment these horses live and survive in.  I was exhausted on Saturday night, but ready to go again at 8:00 am this morning.  Today, we went to see the herd over on the Rachel Carson Preserve across from Beaufort.  We lucked out and found the wild horses at their watering hole and even some displays among the the young stallions and mares.  It was a wonderful weekend of horse "inspiration" for my artwork. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Getting out of the Box

I recently met a fellow artist at a show and had a chance to discuss my art and how I felt I needed to get "out of my box" and do some experimenting.  I tend to stick with what I am most comfortable with and love painting detail, but lately I have felt the need to try something a little different.  I have wanted to paint a pair of mockingbirds in my yard, yet have been struggling with various ideas and compositions in my head.  I decided to tackle a large 22" x 30" aquaboard that has been staring at me all week.  It is in the scary stage right now, but I am having fun with the colors.  Hopefully, the result of my "out of the box" will be a success!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Computer is Winning

Lately I feel like I spend much more time on the computer marketing and promoting my work instead of creating it!  I have an artist friend Kimberly Santini that I have never personally met, but am in awe of her internet marketing skills and use of technology to promote her work.  I came across her wonderful paintings from an online art group I joined called the Canine Art Guild, and she has developed quite a following and has no shortage of commission work.  She has become my "idol" and has kindly offered me her marketing advice.   I didn't own a computer or cell phone till 2003, now I have a MacBook Pro and an iPhone that I can't live without!  So I find myself in a constant battle between my art table and the computer, with the computer winning lately!  I now have a business facebook page, a website I created and maintain and a blog.  I also recently tried etsy and now fineartamerica for selling my originals and prints.  I also maintain a gallery on Zazzle.  I have spent endless hours teaching myself how to link, copy, add photos, design pages and basically figure all this stuff out!  I love graphic design and am so proud of myself when I see what I have accomplished, but in the new mockingbird painting is singing to me!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ready for a Nap

I feel like the golden puppy I just finished, ready for a nap.  After a long week at my "other" job, I have a renewed energy recently.  I am planning to enter more shows this year and just finished this little drawing for an upcoming show called "Art from the Heart", sponsored by the Arts Council of Carteret County.  The deadline crept up on me, but I like to enter something every year.  I am lucky to have commission work in this economy, but also love to take time to do new work for shows and contests.  This little girl is the same pup that I painted recently...I just can't resist her face!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I just received news that my recently completed acrylic painting "A Puppy Welcome" was chosen as the winner for the 15th Annual Homes Tour and Art Show Poster in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.  I am beyond thrilled and teary to have been chosen.  Along with the show poster, I will be featured at the upcoming Art Show on Saturday, April 21, 2012 along with many other talented artists from Carteret County.  This was the first painting in a while that was a departure from my commissioned portraits and I had so much fun painting it!  I have wanted to paint "Ruby" for years, ever since I met her and her other two siblings.  Two dear friends of mine in Pennsylvania decided to get another puppy to add to their crew of two older Goldens.  Fran's husband decided that three puppies would be better than one!  So, they ended up with a house full of five Golden Retrievers.  I have painted them for my friends, and now one for myself!