Datura Study #3

Datura Study #3 is part of a ten year retrospective at Monroe Street Dental The show will be up through December. The show was one of the venues on Gallery Night in Madison, WI, in October.

I’ve painted datura several times and still find them magical. The pure white blooms are 4-inches wide and only last a day. The seed pods are very imposing with their many sharp spines. When it cracks open, you’ll find four chambers filled with seeds. I was pleasantly surprised to find more plants popping up in different garden beds year after year.

Water the Thorns will be offered for sale for $400 at the Artful Women show November 2 through December 7, 2019 in the surgical waiting room at the UW Hospital, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI.

I had been looking for an image of roses to paint for quite a while. My father grew them around a bird bath and a man named Ross, down the street from us dedicated his back yard to roses. These white roses sitting in a bird bath presented themselves and finally I had my subject already posed and ready to paint.

Seeing Double Phragmipedium

While walking through Olbrich Gardens Bolz Conservatory, I fell in love with this exotic orchid (left). It’s delicate lining and blend of pale greens and burgundies, the unusual curly petals and of course, it’s ruby slipper. The two blooms tucked together at first deterred me from painting it, but then I decided to paint it that way to see if you would look twice.

One morning, while walking in the Pheasant Branch Conservancy, I looked down to see this velvet mullein with dew on the leaves and wonderful shadows, sticks and leaves weaved through it. I was about to attend a watercolor workshop with Bjorn Bernstrom in Whitewater, who would teach us about blooms and mistakes being left in the paintings, so I tried to imagine what that might mean in this piece and let the blooms become an active participant.


watercolor of two tomatoes and foliage against a pale blue sky

Michael’s Mortgage Lifters 








I was inspired to paint Michael’s Mortgage Lifters after receiving some luscious home-grown tomatoes from my friends Mike and Linda. I had also seen Lian Zhen’s watercolor work on tomatoes, grapes and other subjects through his watercolor workshop in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

The image I took of the two tomatoes I used for this painting were unripe, so I struggled with getting the color red right. I had to imagine what they would look like fully ripe. Chris Beck was teaching a workshop around this time and we were taught to paint a still life of hers with a ceramic tomato dish and cut tomatoes on a plate that gave me a solution for increasing the intensity and warmth of the red in my tomato painting.