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8x6 Graphite on Drawing Paper 2015

Graphite on Drawing Paper

Just A Champagne Glass.

Greetings!  This champagne glass is the last one remaining in a set that was given my husband and I some years ago.  Maybe I ought to have named the drawing “Last One Standing”.

Then A Dog.

I started drawing the glass just to get the knowledge and experience of drawing it.  Then, I added the little dog.  The model is a porcelain dog that was given to me about 20 years ago.

Adding the dog changed the meaning of the drawing.  It seems to ask “Where is the Champagne?”

Souvenirs And Stories.

It could also be drawing in a series of drawings about souvenirs.  It seems much of the things that I draw are artifacts of my life’s adventures.  Everything has a story.

I think the champagne glasses were given to me by my parents.  I’ve enjoyed the graceful shape of the glass.  More important, I think of my parents when we use the glass or when I draw it.

The dog has a special meaning to me.  It was given to me by a child as a going away gift.  The child was so excited to have a gift for me.  I’ve cherished it for 20 years.  I was moved by the child’s delight in giving.

Thanksgiving Toast.

I could also the meaning is wrapped up in Thanksgiving.  I did the drawing during Thanksgiving week.  I have much to be thankful for:  family, friends and all the adventures I’ve had in my life.

Along with my champagne glass and porcelain dog, I say “here’s a toast to you!”


Hmmm, now what should I draw…


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Taking Advantage of Opportunity

Opportunity to Show Art

Opportunity Knocked.

I had a short notice opportunity to hang paintings in a new venue and I was able to respond in a timely manner.  It has taken me time and effort to get myself to the point where I can respond quickly.  I’m thrilled; I’m taking a moment to share my success!

Art Show.

Before I get carried away with my story, my husband and I just hung 17 paintings at the Linda Vista Care Center, 135 Maple St. Ashland, OR.  If you happen to be in the area, I would like to invite you to take a look.  The paintings are in the front hall.

Getting to “Yes”.

To set the stage, so to speak, I’d like to relate a story I heard  this past year.  My husband and I were watching a documentary about the Wrecking Crew, some session musicians in Los Angeles during the 1960s.  At one point during the interview, the musicians were talking about being asked to play with various groups.  One musician remarked that his rule was to always say “yes”.  His biggest fear was not being asked to play.  He wanted to be the type of musician that people could rely on.

This particular musician’s attitude stuck in my head.  When someone asks me to show my work, I want to be able to say “yes”.

Easy to say, but I had to be prepared to execute my “yes” and show my work in a professional manner.

Prepare for opportunity

Sample Document Checklist

The Test.

This past week, my abilities were tested.  As the week began, I already had over half my framed paintings out showing in local venues.  I received two requests for artwork within hours of each other.  Both venues were new to me.  I quickly did a calculation of available paintings in my head, plus timing of shows, then replied “I’m interested; I need to see the venue please”.

Recon & Plan.

Seeing the venue before giving an unqualified “yes” is important to me.  I needed to see the actual number of paintings required.  My husband and I quickly drove out to the venues.  Upon return, I was able to give a solid “yes I’ll hang and these are the dates”.

My next course of action is to prepare the inventory listing and title cards for each venue.  I planned which paintings would go where and on what date.  I need to synchronize new venue hanging dates with end dates of venues where paintings are already hanging.  Its an out of one venue and into another sort of situation.  But I had a solid plan.

Quick Change!

Then, Monday, one of the venues had a problem.  They needed paintings a week early – or as soon as possible.  My solid plan needed to shift and quickly!  Wanting to keep to my “yes” attitude, I re-calculated my painting plan.  My personal priorities shifted and preparing the inventory documentation went to the top of my “A” list.

Monday was gathering paintings day.  I had paintings in two places and needed to consolidate.  Tuesday became preparing inventory documentation and title cards.  This morning we hung paintings.  Success!

Hanging Day Equipment Checklist -

Equipment Checklist

Prepare for Opportunity.

I have some things prepared that helped ensure I was successful.  They include a tool box with all my picture hanging equipment; a checklist of things to take on hanging day; and a master inventory I can work from to create documentation.  It still time consuming to create professional looking title cards tailored to the venue.  However, its much easier if you already have a database prepared.

The Point.

Oh, the point.  It has taken me time and experience to get to this point.  Last year, I might have said “no, I need more time to prepare”.  This year, it was “yes, I can do this!”.

So, yes, I’m savoring the step forward and a bit of success!

Oh, now, that’s enough…on to get the next show ready!


This is an Art 2 Business (A2B) venue.  Thank you A2B and Linda Vista for the opportunity.





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December Invitational Opens

RCC December Invitational

Opening Day – November 24th.

Hi!  Just a quick update!   The Rogue Community College’s December Invitational opens tomorrow, November 24th, at the FireHouse Gallery in Grants Pass, OR.  Gallery hours are 11:30 am to 4:30 am, Tuesday through Friday.  The gallery is located at the corner of Fourth and H Streets, in the Historic City Hall.

Reception – December 4th.

The “First Friday” Exhibition Reception will be on December 4th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

Dates for the exhibition are November 24th through December 10th.

About the Invitational

“All of the artists selected for the show have the common quality of a kind of fantasy/whimsy befitting the season” according to Mr. Karl Brake, Art Director.

My work was selected because of my  “combination of realism and magical color”, (per Mr. Brake).

Peggy’s People

I’m thrilled to be included in the December Invitational!  I have five watercolor paintings in the exhibition from my “People Collection”.  One of the paintings, “I Can’t Hear You”, is shown in the exhibition post card’s right hand corner (see above).

I’m including a banner with the five paintings in the Invitational below.  The paintings are not to scale.  But, you can get an idea what I’m showing!

I can hardly wait to see the exhibition.  If you’re in the area, please stop by!  Thanks!

Peggy's People Collection - RCC December Invitational


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Framing – Lessons Learned

Metal Framing Hangers

Snap in hanger on left; screw in “Euro” hanger on right
Wire ends wrapped

Framing Question.

When it comes to frames and you don’t know what to do, ask your local framer!   Obvious, no?  I would say not-so-obvious to me.  I’d like to share this last week’s framing lesson in the hope that it might save another “do-your-own” framer some frustration.


I have been framing my artwork for the past 13 years, give or take.  I started out using wood frames that I painted myself to match the art.  After ten years, I was pretty good at my own process.  The paintings looked good and I received compliments on the framing.


Things in the art world change and framing is no exception.  In the past few years, I’ve been submitting to exhibitions that require metal framing.  Consequently, I’ve had to learn how to put together metal frames. How hard can it be?  There are step-by-step instructions that come with the frame; easy as can be.


The metal frames are fairly easy to put together and yet there was a problem.  The hanging hardware that comes with the frames is the “snap in” kind.  They are not easy to snap in.  If you get the hardware to “snap in” without bending the frame or hardware, you’re lucky.  If you get the hardware snapped into the track without raising your blood pressure, you’re also lucky.


Naturally, when I first had trouble with the hanging hardware, I did a search on the internet.  I found an article on Cheap Joes Art Supplies’ Blog about sliding the “snap in” hardware, rather than snapping it in.  Its a good article and I found it helpful.

However, they hint at the next problem with the snap in hardware.  It doesn’t stay where it’s supposed to; snap in becomes slide in and keep on sliding in.  I knew there had to be a better way.

This week, I finally had a pivotal moment.  As my frustration level started to rise I thought there has to be a better way.  After all, framers do this everyday.  Then, AHA!  Why don’t I ask the art supply store where I bought the frame for recommendations?  They have on-site framers.  They have to know a better solution.


I called our local art store, Central Art Supply in Medford, OR where I buy my frames.  I talked to their framer and asked how they get the snap-in hangers to work.  She told me they don’t use the snap-ins; they use screw in types like “Euro-hangers”.  I was so excited, I forgot to ask her if they had any in stock.  Another phone call and a trip to the store and I was set.  (I found examples of screw-in type hanging hardware at United Mfrs, Supply Inc).


For less than $2.00, I had six Euro-hangers.  It took me just a few painless minutes to slide the hangers down the frame track.  Screw in place and voila!  A secure hanger for my frame!  Sometimes the simplest things make me so happy.


The other thing the framer told me was how to deal with the ends of the hanging wire.  She suggested wrapping them with masking tape.  I had been trying different tapes like black electrician’s tape, but the tape wasn’t holding.  Good old masking tape does the trick!  The ends are neat and tidy.  I don’t have to worry about wire gouging anyone.  The framer said that they have gone to the plastic encased wire so the ends are not a problem.

Bottom  Line.

Support your local art supply store and framer.  The internet can not beat a live person to talk to about a problem.

Bottom Line #2.

I can learn new tricks!  The challenge – asking, and knowing who to ask!






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Watercolor Study: Two Coffee Cups

Watercolor Study: Two Coffee Cups

Watercolor and ink
Arches 140lb CP Watercolor paper


Greetings.  I thought I’d share one of my recent watercolor and ink studies.  I thoroughly enjoy working with watercolor; its almost surprising when a painting emerges.  With this particular study, I was working on seeing the still life as a simple light and dark pattern.

Over the last few months I’ve been following the blog by artist James Gurney.  I have been impressed by his commitment to posting work daily.  Sometimes its a simple study; other times its a more involved discussion.  I have been inspired to share some of my daily work and hope you enjoy it.  Thanks!


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Firehouse Gallery, Rogue Community College

Firehouse Gallery December Invitational

December Invitational

I am honored and thrilled to say that I have been invited to show in the Rogue Community College’s December Invitational at the Firehouse Art Gallery, Grants Pass, OR.

The exhibition dates are November 24th through December 10th, 2015.  First Friday Artist Reception is on December 4th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

The gallery is located at the corner of H and Fourth Streets in the Historic City Hall, Grants Pass, Oregon.   Business hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11:30am to 4:30pm, or tours by appointment.  For more information, I invite you to visit the Firehouse Gallery’s website.

Exhibition Statement

About the show, the curators say:

“An exhibit of work by Anne Baxter, Shoshana Dubiner, Denise Kester, Rio Montero, Micah Ofstedahl and Margaret Stermer-Cox. Fire Mountain Gems will exhibit their annual art show in the Community Exhibits Room.”

The invited artists work in several media and a variety of styles.  I was told by the art director that the artists selected have a common quality of a fantasy or whimsical approach to their work.  On a personal note, I can hardly wait to see the exhibition!  It should be fun and fascinating!

Peggy’s People

I will be showing five watercolor paintings from my “Peggy’s People” collection.  I’d like to share with you my thoughts on the collection:

“People have been one of my favorite subjects for drawing and painting since childhood. It seems natural for me to create images inspired by family, friends and strangers. I work from life, memory and imagination. I like to draw designs that suggest that something is happening or a story.   My goal is to go beyond the surface and show the joy and beauty of life.”

Personal Invitation

If you are in the area, I would like to invite you to please drop by and see the exhibition at the Firehouse Gallery in Grants Pass.






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Go-Go, A Story


Watercolor over graphite

Meet Go-Go.

I created this small painting of Go-Go the poodle as a thank you for special friends Betty Jo, Vic, and naturally, Go-Go.  The three helped my husband Robert and me when our truck was in for unexpected maintenance in Boise, ID, during our recent big trip.  We had a hole in our radiator; ouch!

We met Betty Jo and Vic about 20 years ago when we were in Madrid, Spain.  We were staying in the same hotel and would meet for afternoon drinks after siesta.  Vic and Betty Jo were teachers.  Robert and I were living in Germany at the time; I was in the Army and Robert an Army spouse.

Over the years we maintained the friendship through annual Christmas cards, always intending to meet again.  And, then our truck broke down in their home town.

We called them up and explained our situation.  We were treated to three wonderful days of camaraderie. We enjoyed their town.  We talked and caught up on 20 years of travel and adventure.  Such generosity!

It was amazing; thank  you Betty Jo, Vic and, naturally, Go-Go the poodle.  Go-Go was politeness through out the visit.


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Hanging Paintings at GoodBean Coffee

Paintings at GoodBean Coffee

Hanging Day at GoodBean Coffee
Me with my paintings.


I would like to invite you to stop by and see my paintings at GoodBean Coffee in historic Jacksonville, OR.  The paintings will be showing through the month of November.  The address is 165 S Oregon St; winter hours are 6am to 6pm daily.  And, they make wonderful coffee!

Hannah, Thomas & Joel

This past weekend, my husband Robert and I hung paintings from my MsKitty and Toy Pony collections at  GoodBean Coffee.  I am pleased with the show; its a treat to see my paintings at the coffee shop.

I’d like to thank Hannah of Hannah West Designs and GoodBean Coffee for the opportunity to show.  Hannah is the exhibition curator for GoodBean Coffee.

Hanging Day at GoodBean Coffee

Thank you Thomas and Joel!

Thomas and Joel (Hannah West Designs) generously helped us hang the paintings.  As you can see from the photos, we had to hang the paintings on a ledge.  This is because GoodBean Coffee is in an historic building and there are limits on the number of nails that can be put in the wall.  Thomas, Joel and Robert are tall enough to reach the ledge; I am not without the aid of a ladder.

The other wonderful thing about having the assistance of Thomas and Joel was that we could get the paintings up efficiently and quickly.  We were hanging during regular business hours.  We completed the hanging in under an hour.

GoodBean Coffee Show

MsKitty & Toy Pony at GoodBean Coffee

MsKitty & Toy Pony

I would like to share some background information about the MsKitty and Toy Pony collections.  Initially, I started drawing the MsKitty and Toy Pony designs as an exercise on creativity.   The idea is to explore a theme through coming up with at least 20 variations on the particular theme.  What happens is that one is forced to go beyond the obvious solutions to design problem.

It works; I did seek creative solutions, and sometimes bizarrely creative!  And, then I became intimately involved with subjects.  I came up with stories, and those stories became the genesis of more stories.

GoodBean Coffee

Paintings by Lamplight

In the meantime, I took my favorite designs and started painting them with watercolor.

The result is three series of paintings: one about a cat; a second about still life with a toy pony; and then a third with MsKitty and Toy Pony going on adventures.

The MsKitty and Toy Pony collections are about joy. I use color and shape to tell stories about my subjects; my intention is to delight.

I do hope you will stop by GoodBean Coffee if you are in southern Oregon during the month of November.  If you would like, I invite you to take a look at the collections from my gallery pages:  MsKitty and Toy Pony collections.

GoodBean Coffee

Groovy Kitty and Other Paintings







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Kevin Smith, Wildlife Photographer

Camper, Kevin Smith Wildlife Photographer

Camper, Page Springs Campground, Steens Mt, OR (SE near French Glen)

Hi!  I’d like to tell you about a chance encounter with a wonderful wildlife photographer from Oregon, Mr. Kevin Smith.

My husband Robert and I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Smith while camping in the Steens Mountains of southeastern Oregon recently.  He and his wife were parked in the spot next to us at the Page Springs Campground near French Glen. We chatted as camping neighbors do after a day of wondering around.

Kevin Smith had interesting life stories.  Among other things, he was in the Army, he was a photographer assigned to the White House under the Johnson administration.  Yes, some of the black and white photos of President Johnson were Kevin’s.  I was in awe; what an experience that must have been.

These days Kevin focuses on wildlife photography and birds in particular.  Indeed, nearby Malheur Wildlife Refuge uses some of Kevin’s photos on their post cards.

We had the privilege of being invited to go with him for a photo shoot of some Virginia rails.  The birds lived just upstream from the campground.  Kevin and his wife had flushed the rails the night before.  Naturally, Robert and I were delighted to go.  We followed along, trying our best to be quiet observers.    On this occasion, he had camera in hand and smart phone.  Yes, smart phones are good to have if you are a bird photographer.

As we came to the area where the Mr. Smith had seen the rails, we sat quietly on the bank.  Kevin took out his smart phone and called up an app that had the Virginia rail’s bird calls.  Pressing “play”, Kevin called out the rails.  After a couple of times, the rails called back.  A few more calls later and a cautious Virginia rail walked out of the rushes.  What a delight!  Kevin had his photos; Robert and I had a fun, memorable experience.  Thank you, Kevin, for the treat!

The image above is an ink and watercolor sketch of Kevin’s camper, without the truck.  If you’d like to see Mr. Smith’s photography, I invite you to go to his website:  To see Virginia rails, I did a search:  

Thank you!

PS.  No, I did not sketch the Virginia rail.  I was trying too hard to be still!  :)





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Exciting News! Demonstration – Watercolor and Ink

Watercolor and Ink

Ridgeline Junipers
Watercolor & Ink 4×6

I have exciting news.  I have been invited to do a demonstration of watercolor and ink painting techniques for the Southern Oregon Society of Artists of Medford, OR in August 2016.  Naturally, I accepted!  I feel honored and humbled!  There are many fine, experienced artists in the area.  To be invited is amazing!

I have long admired works in watercolor and ink.  Over the past couple of years I have used this combination of media for my on sight paintings.   Now, I get to “ramp it up”.  Fun!

I thought I’d post two samples of my work.  The top piece is from our recent camping trip in September.  My husband and I had our campsite facing a rocky ridge with junipers.  I drew and painted this piece in late afternoon.

The bottom piece is from my “Drawing Talent” series.  It is of one of the local houses that happens to be a dental office.

Watercolor and Ink

Thank you for sharing my good news with me.


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