Primary Senses

The year is 1989, and I was getting into every show! My work was hot and it was showing. I was back in Arizona and looking to experiment. Collages have always been a winner with jurors, so I decided to try it. I had watched several watercolor ideas on pouring watercolors onto the paper and let the pigments move around. I did a few colors with a lot of pigment in squeeze bottles on wet and dry paper to get the feel of what was happening. I started with the base painting being poured watercolor pigment. I added cutout colored paper to make the designs on top. I used glue to put it all together to stick. My theme was: what was it like here in Arizona before any humans were here? I wanted to represent the basic senses of hearing, seeing, and feeling with the elements fire, earth, air, and water. I combined these into three parts of morning, noon, and night. It was so much fun and successful that I did a whole series of these collages. I named the collage after the primary senses and colors.

The first show “Primary” was exhibited was “The Arizona Aqueous IV ’89,” at the Tubac Center For The Arts, Tubac, Arizona, March 18-April 16, 1989, Juror of Selection, Christopher Schink; Juror of Awards, Edward Reep.

Next was “The Arizona Watercolor Association Spring Show,” held at the Sedona Arts Center, Sedona, Arizona, May 1-20, 1990, Juror, Jeanne Dobie.

“Watercolor USA, 1990,” The Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri, June 2-July 22, 1990, Juror, Miles G. Batt.

“The 71st Annual Exhibition of the National Watercolor Society,” at the Brea Civic Cultural Center Gallery, Brea, California, November 13-December 14, 1991, Jury of Selection, Bonese Collins Turner, Arthur L. Kaye, Rolland Golden: Juror of Awards, Phillip White. Received Signature Membership on October 31, 1991.

“Scottsdale Celebration of Fine Art,” Arizona Artists Guild participating, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 15-April 12, 1992.Jury of Selection by Juried Members of AAG.

Delta Dawn

In early 1983, I was experimenting with the popular use of plastic wrap placed on top of a watercolor wash. Also during this time, I was flying to South Texas to visit a friend. The two events collided together when I pulled the plastic off the full sheet of watercolor paper. I saw what looked like the aerial view of the Texas river deltas emptying in to the Gulf of Mexico.

I went back into the areas with opaque white and various earth tones with different hash stroke patterns to represent the delta earth and sand. It was the only painting I made using plastic wrap. The warm tones with white lines are still very interesting. I own this painting and will continue to do experimental art.

The first show was “The Arizona Artists’ Guild, Horizon Show 1983,” at the Valley National Bank, Phoenix, Arizona, March 3, 1993, Juror, Darlene Goto. Second Place Watercolor, Merchant Award.

“Women Creating Tomorrow Fine Art Competition,” Sedona Art Center, Sdeona, Arizona, May 7-8, 1983, Juror, Edna Fuerth Lemle, artist and owner of The Glad Mirror Gallery, New York City, New York.

“Scottsdale Artists League Show, The Salamander ’84,” Camelview Plaza, Scottsdale, Arizona, March 4-10, 1984, Jury, Jacqueline B. Schultz, James Ballenger, Raleigh Kinney.

“The Edmond Art Association Juried Expo ’85,” Kresge Fine Art Center, Oklahoma Christian College, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, June 27-July 11, 1985, Juror, Katy Scales.

Ruthless Reds, Rogue Oranges, and Virgin Whites


After being painted, nothing is better for a painting than a great title. Feeling like the owner of the amazing horse Secretariat, I felt this painting would be a real blockbuster. I needed a real shocker of a title, something real hardcore. Whenever I title a painting, I give it great thought. Since this painting was a breakaway from the previous beautiful brushed washes of the “Pots and Jars Series,” I needed to be a different “me,” to take a chance on trying to paint looser. In the real world, this was very hard for me to do.

My approach in the series is always the same: start in the upper left hand corner, work right across the top, back over to the left and across, and so on down. This time I painted with less blending.

As I painted throughout the composition, I did enjoy the looser approach with a racy, almost careless, feeling. I finished it quickly. Looking back, I do not know why I have not done this approach more often. I can only guess that letting loose means less control. I might do more painting like this in the future, maybe…

The first exhibition “Ruthless” was shown was the “Arizona Watercolor Association’s Fall Membership Exhibition”, at the Kessel-Long Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, October 11-18, 1990, Juror, Polly Hammett. The painting was given the “Award of Excellence.”

The next spring, the painting was shown at the “Panama City Art Association’s 17th Annual Transparent Watercolor Show,” at The Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida, Panama City, Florida, March 10-30, 1991, Juror, Bill Carter.

The next show was “The 16th Annual Exhibition of the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies,” at the Art Center of Corpus Christi, Texas, June 1-30, 1991, Juror of Selection and Awards, Virginia Cobb.

Later that year it was in “The 17th Exhibition of National Watercolor Oklahoma,” at the Kirkpatrick Center Museum Complex West Gallery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, August 31-October 6, 1991, Juror, Katherine Chang Liu.

The next year it was in “The Watercolor U.S.A. 1992, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri, June 7-July 26, 1992, Juror, Harold Gregor.

Later that year is was shown at “The Western Colorado Watercolor Society Annual National Exhibition,” at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Grand Junction, Colorado, October 1-29, 1992, Juror of Selection and Awards, Nita Leland. It was awarded, “The Past President’s Award.”

The final exhibition was “The Salmagundi Club 19th Annual Non-Members Exhibition,” New York, New York, June 3-21, 1996, Jury of Selection, Sigmund Abeles, Page Moore, Rae Smith, Brenda Tribush; Jury of Awards, M. Stephen Doherty, Everett R. Kinstler, Constance Pratt.

Fire Pots


“Fire Pots” is the third painting in the “Pots and Jars Series.” It is the only painting in the series that is a quarter sheet of watercolor paper, 11” high by 15” wide. The first painting in the series, “Pots and Jars,” was a serious study in natural, earthy browns with great attention to brush details and muted colors. The second in the series is “Hot Pots,” my first foray into high color. As an artist who is forever exploring, I wanted to try a smaller size to reduce the time it takes to paint it. Since all of the “Pots and Jars Series” took much time to complete, I needed to somehow speed up the process. The painting was easy to complete, but the bright colors were much more muted. My friends, Allin and Donna Phister now own the painting. I very much appreciate that they let me borrow the painting to archive it.

The first show “Fire Pots” was exhibited was “The Watercolor West Annual Exhibition 12,” at the Brea Civic and Cultural Center Gallery, Brea, California, March 3-April13, 1990, Juror, Virginia Cobb.

Later that year, it was shown at “The Pennsylvania 12th Annual Juried Exhibition, 1990,” at the Sharadin Art Gallery, Kutztown University, Kutztown, Pennsylvania, September 30-November 4, 1990, Juror of Selection, William D. Gorman; Juror of Awards, Howard N. Watson.

The painting’s last show was ”The Watercolor U.S.A. 1991,” Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri, June 1-July21, 1991, Juror, Brian Paulson.


The Great Gold Squaw

During 1982, I had my own adult watercolor classes. It met every Thursday morning at 9:00am to 12:00 noon. There were six to seven women ranging in ages, who were very enthusiastic and eager to learn each week.

Each week I started class with a special demo that I felt the students would enjoy and learn from. One particular day in the spring, we did a paint out to Squaw Peak Park. After I did the lead off talk and demo, I turned everyone loose to do their own work. I had already prepared my own watercolor paper on the board to do the initial drawing and lay in the washes. I encouraged everyone to take photos for reference material. We all brought sack lunches and drinks. At lunch break we all sat around to see each other’s work and critique. I did not much painting on these kind of outings, as I am watching my students and giving them suggestions.

Some stayed to paint and some left after lunch. I stayed later with everyone to get my ideas clear in my mind.

Originally, I thought it looked like the San Francisco Peaks, in Flagstaff, Arizona. I painted it and it looked awful! I had received various gold guilding powders from a framer who was going out of business in Sedalia, Missouri. I soon found I could make gold paint out of it by mixing the powder with gum arabic! I had the idea to go over the painting in a stipple technique which looks like hash marks in pen and ink. I went over the whole painting with this new technique, using the gold powder. It was stunning, and I loved the gold effect. I renamed the painting, “The Great Gold Squaw.” I still own the painting and enjoy its transformation.

The first show was small, “The Arizona State Fair,” Phoenix, Arizona, October 1982, Jury, James Ballenger, Director of the Phoenix Art Museum, Thomas J. Holder, Director of the Heard Museum.

“Glendale22nd Annual Festival of the Arts,” Glendale, Arizona, October 22-November5, 1983, Honorable Mention.

Although the painting was only in two shows, the experiment with gold powder helped me to understand more about experimental techniques.

HaHa Tonka Ski Stop

We love living at the Lake of the Ozarks. When we lived in Oklahoma, we drove there as often as we could. One of our favorite places to visit on the lake is Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Just Google it! It is up the Big Niangua River that feeds the lake river system. One day our family was on our way to Ha Ha Tonka for a swim and picnic. Our son and daughter wanted to try out the new ‘Jet Skis’ at the Highway 54, Camdenton Bridge. The really old resort there had cabins with sandstone facings. The big dock was old and rusted run down, but they rented jet skis! Now, these watercraft were first generation personal watercraft or now known as PWC’s. They were difficult to try to get on them without sliding off, and even more treacherous to try to stay upright to ride the beast! We only rented one jet ski, so everyone had to take turns for their ride. During a time out, I asked my daughter to pose for me on the dock. I moved around, and repositioned her and a chair left there. I took several photos, and chose one to paint. The composition is soft and flat, and not quite right. I love the memory.

The painting was only in one show, “The Arizona Aqueous IV, ’90,” at the Tubac Center For The Arts, Tubac, Arizona, March 17-April 4, 1990, Juror of Selection, Fran Larson; Juror of Awards, Serge Hollerback. This painting was selected for the Traveling Show 1990-1991.

Jewels Of Fire


“Jewels” had a long and successful showing in exhibitions. It is the 8th painting in the “Pots and Jars Series,” and completed April 3, 1992 on a half sheet of watercolor paper, 15” by 22”. It was completed after the most successful “Breathless Reds.” Since it was a half sheet, it was easier to finish. Its theme was red, white, and blue, with the background being Winsor Blue. I kept with the delicate brush strokes in high color. I love the painting, and it shows. It never won an award, but it should have!

The list of “Jewels’” shows is longer than its story! The first show was “The Kentucky Watercolor Society 15th National Exhibition, Aqueous ’92,” at the Louisville Visual Art Center Association at Oxmoor Center, Louisville, Kentucky, September 4-13, 1992, Juror of Selection and Awards, Jim Cantrell.

The next show was “The Allied Artists of America, Inc. 79th Annual Exhibition,” at the National Arts Club, New York City, New York, December 3-13, 1992, Jury of Selection, Richard Pionk, Joseph Rossi, Rhonda Yanow; Jury of Awards, Serge Hollerbach, Joan Rothermel, Janet Jones.

Next year, “The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society14th Juried Exhibition,” at the Laurel Arts Philip Dressler Center For The Arts, Somerset, Pennsylvania, September 26-October 28, 1993, Juror of Acceptance, Janet Walsh; Juror of Awards, Don Getz.

Onward. “The Scottsdale Celebration of Fine Art,” Scottsdale, Arizona, February 10-15, 1994, the Arizona Artist Guild Invitational.

“The Watercolor Art Society-Houston, 18th International Exhibition,” Texaco Heritage Plaza, Houston, Texas, April 18-May 13, 1994, Juror of Selection and Awards, Linda A. Doll.

“The Arizona Watercolor Association, 1995 Fall Exhibition,” Glendale Municipal Gallery, Glendale, Arizona, November 5-17, 1995, Juror of Selection and Awards, Marilyn Hughey Phillis.

“The 2013 Missouri Watercolor International,” at the National Churchill Museum and Library, Fulton, Missouri, April7-May 17, 2013, Juror of Selection, Laurin McCrackin; Juror or Awards, Sandra Shaffer.


Red Hearts And White Lips

Living in Arizona, there are so many things to do. My husband and I love to hike and had friends who did too. Our friends had hiked the Chiricahua National Monument Mountains in the area called ’Heart Of Rocks.’ The good news, you park two cars, one at the start of the hike and another one at the end of the hike. So what does that have to do with the painting? We ended up being down on a Mexican boarder town. We walked around to see what was there. I saw a group of Mexican terra cotta pots and took a few photos. I thought it would be a great change from my pots and jars series. I loved the little hearts on one of the pots and conjured up the title. Hmmm, red hearts and white lips, kinda kinky!

The first show was “The Arizona Artists Guild Spring Membership Juried Exhibition,” Shemer Art Center, Phoenix, Arizona, May 28-June 22, 1991, Juror, Lila Harnett.

“Women Artists of the West, 2nd Annual Juried Competition,” Chinese Cultural Center, Visalia, California, July 20-28, 1991, Jurors, Vick Risseau and Neil Boyle.

“Scottsdale Celebration of the Fine Arts,” Arizona Artists Guild, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 11-16, 1993.

Shadow In The Rain

While I was teaching my private adult watercolor classes in 1984, I took many trips to visit the Scottsdale, Arizona art galleries. After one of these trips, I decided to “stage” a composition. I dressed my daughter, Nicole, in western cowboy boots, long skirt, shirt, my hat with a feather, while holding a big umbrella. I wanted a composition with just her and her shadow.

About this time it was popular among watercolorists to use kosher salt in the wash to make a speckled look. To do this, I had to paint Nicole and the umbrella on a separate sheet of paper. I cut it out, and would place it on another prepared full sheet of watercolor paper. I put a light gray wash down and sprinkled kosher salt all over on the new sheet of paper. It looked like rain drops coming down. I projected Nicole’s shadow onto the dry salt surface and painted it in. I glued the cut out figure and umbrella on top of the shadow. The idea originated with the idea of a shadow in the rain, with the play of the umbrella used to keep the rain/sunshine off her.

I used slide film to take several photos, then used a projector to sketch the image. The original image was taken with her facing to the right. Because I wanted a nice, clear image for the shadow, I had her stand on the sidewalk in front of our home. If she had faced left, then the shadow would not have been correct. Therefore, I just flipped the slide around for projection, to show her coming into the painting.

The painting was only in one show, as we were moving to Oklahoma.

“The Arizona Artists’ guild Fall Show,” Valley Bank Center, Phoenix, Arizona, October 21-27, 1984. Jury: Frank Fitzgerald, Richard Hillis, and Jackie Schultz.