"Los Tulipanes"

"Los Tulipanes"
48 X 48, oil on panel

Monday, September 12, 2011


"Poppies", oil on panel, 24X36

I actually painted this a while ago, but I have been thinking about it lately, so I thought I would post it. I have a friend from Israel and one day we were talking and I told her I wanted to paint a big painting of a field full of white lilies and that I would call it "Lilies of the Field", and she told me that in Israel, when someone says lilies of the field, they are referring to poppies, I had no idea. I still want to paint the white lily painting, but I am even more interested in poppies than I was before, and I want to explore them even more, especially in this new context.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I haven't blogged for a while, I have been so busy with this little one. She has been having a tough time and was hospitalized for a week at Primary Children's Hospital. I am so grateful for the great doctors we have been working with and for all the prayers and love and support from family and friends. This has been a difficult time, but I am confidant that we have the best possible care and that we are learning everything we can to help my sweet daughter.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Roses for Ruby

"Roses for Ruby"
15 X 15, oil on panel

This is a painting commission I just finished. I loved getting to paint it. The story of this painting actually started a long time ago, when I was a little girl.

Our next door neighbor was Ruby, and she had the most beautiful rose garden. All I have to do is think of her to remember the fragrant smell of her garden. I remember watching her tend her roses, she would invite me to smell each different rose and compare their scent, oftentimes, she would cut a rose for me to take home. She would trim the thorns so I wouldn't get hurt. I would carefully take it home and put it in a vase, or cup or jar and smell it over and over and touch the velvety petals and sing, "whenever I touch a velvet rose". When I think of roses, I think of Ruby.

I feel honored that more than 30 years later, for Ruby's birthday, her daughters commissioned me to paint roses for her. I have been so excited and happy today, on her birthday, wondering if she got the painting yet, and I imagine in my mind, her face, surprised and happy. I hope they remind her of that garden. I hope she knows that her kindness to a little girl was and still is so meaningful. I hope she knows that she taught me to see beauty and to appreciate the nuances of shape and color and smell. She helped my to really examine and enjoy flowers, and I am so grateful for that. Some of my greatest joy that I experience is because I learned to see like that. That is a big reason why I paint.

Thank you Ruby, and Happy Birthday.

Here is a photo of the painting in it's frame made by Rick Shorten. I think it is the perfect frame for this painting. I actually used a lot of gold paint in this painting- the sky has gold coming through the blue and there is also gold in the foliage. So, the photos look good, but seeing the original is even better.

Be nice to little kids. Let them see you love, and teach them to love.
The rewards only multiply.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Keys to Drawing

One of my favorite books ever is Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. It is so universal, I reccomend it for all ages and stages of development as an artist. In fact, when I taught at U.V.U. I was constantly using it and when I taught at Kid's Village, I used it all the time too. It really is a great book.
I think it is full of great exercises that are explained very well and can be done at any age, parents with no art background can learn as they do the exercises with their children. Professional artists can use it to brush up on skills or just have fun and fill up sketchbooks. I love this book.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

8 ply

Pink Roses, watercolor on paper (hot pressed)
When I frame my watercolors, I always use 8 ply mat board. I love it. It is twice as thick as typical mat board. I prefer a single white 8 ply mat about 4 inches wide and slightly weighted on the bottom. It is hard to find people who can cut it properly so I stick with Lee R Cowan (has his own shop) or Todd (at the BYU Bookstore). Lee cut this one for me. He is super fast, reasonable and has a great sense of aesthetic.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

another favorite quote

“I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.”
-John Adams

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What to do with your tulips now

The late tulips are still in bloom, I love having tulips in bloom for as much time as possible. So we have a great variety to ensure this, and we add to them every year. Late tulips that are planted in spots that don't get a lot of full sun are in their prime here right now. If you want to get some good late tulips, go to The Thanksgiving Point Garden Path Greenhouse right now and get some bulbs ($3.oo a dozen) and pick out the ones that are still attached to leaves and even still have a colorful bloom- if they are really fresh- you can even plant them right now)

Now that many of the tulips are no longer in bloom, there are some things you ought to be doing to get them ready for next year.

I was looking through my blog to see if I had addressed this already... and I had. I did last year. I had started "Be Still", but I only liked one part of the painting back then. Anyway, check out these tips to help you with your tulips.

Friday, May 27, 2011


My friend came over the other night and was looking through some of my watercolors and fell in love with this one... which worked out perfectly because he happens to be an excellent framer, and he cuts my favorite mat board- 8-ply, so a trade was orchestrated.

I love a good trade!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Last Thursday, Zion's Bank hosted an Art Reception, it was really fun, there were at least 30 different artists and about 4,500 people came to check it out. Many people told me they really liked this painting, I really like it too, so I thought I would post it here on my blog.
I painted this last September at The Spring City Plein Air Festival. Sanpete County is so beautiful, and there are so many places I wanted to paint, but I just had to paint this clothesline. I started out with a little acrylic, then drew on my panel with vine charcoal, then quickly moved into oil paint.
On this painting, I left a fair amount of the charcoal still exposed. I really enjoyed getting to be in Spring City and paint and for all the good company I had while I painted.
Here I am finishing it up with a palette knife.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One of favorite quotes about art

John Hafen is one of my favorite early Utah artists. He made many contributions to our State that we still enjoy today. It was the art donated by Hafen and Cyrus Dallin (sculptor of the Angel Moroni atop the Salt Lake Temple that started the Springville Art Museum. (which even has my art in it's permanent collection) John Hafen also painted murals in Temples for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was also one of his paintings that started the art collection at The B.Y.U. Museum of Art. He focused mainly on landscape painting and there are many great examples of his work throughout the state.
Hollyhocks by John Hafen

One of my favorite quotes regarding art also comes from John Hafen:

The influence of art is so powerful in shaping our lives for a higher appreciation of the creations of our God that we cannot afford to neglect an acquaintance with it. We should be as eager for it's companionship in our homes as we are eager for chairs to sit upon, or for food to sustain our lives; for it has as important a mission in shaping our character and conducing to our happiness as anything we term necessities. Life is incomplete without Art.
A religious life is not an ideal religious life without it."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Created For Greater Things" display at Deseret Book

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has a new book this spring, Created for Greater Things, it has been featured at Deseret Book during General Conference through Mother's Day. The Deseret Book Flagship store in downtown Salt Lake decided to feature my artwork along with Elder Holland's new book in a beautiful display. They had fresh flowers all month long, huge posters of Elder Holland's Book and hung some of my originals and some giclée prints, as well as a special deal on some small framed prints. They got it all set up in March and when Sheri Dew came in to see it, she bought the piece in the upper left corner herself (you can see it in the photo below. After she bought it, they got another just like it to replace it, then we sold it while I was there last week, so it is gone in the photo above)
I actually ended up having a baby the very day that this display was set up- so I didn't get to see it all done until last week- it is even more impressive than I thought. I feel really honored to have been included in such a beautiful display.
It was a really good day to be at Deseret Book, I met a lot of great people and signed a bunch of prints. I brought paint along to paint the fresh flowers- but I didn't get the chance, but I hope to still paint something from my photos and from the experience.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Free passes to The Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival

This week would be the perfect time to go!
The tulips are all blooming, the weather is warm, and you can even go for free!

My good friends at Thanksgiving Point gave me 2 passes to give away! To enter the giveaway just leave a comment here or on facebook, you can also add a link on your blog, share this post, follow my blog, blog about my blog... just leave a comment so I can enter you in the drawing for each thing you do.
The contest ends Thursday at midnight.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

caring for cut tulips

I love having fresh tulips inside to enjoy. I love watching them bloom and grow (yes, tulips continue to grow even after they are cut- an inch or so is typical). I love to photograph them and paint them. This is a photo I took of a tulip I have been enjoying that I recently cut from our yard.

I often hear complaints about tulips just not lasting very long, especially cut tulips.
Tulip paintings and prints last super long... but so can your cut tulips, I have some great tips to help:

1. Select tulips that have a tight or nearly closed bloom.
2. Remove any green leaves that would be submerged in the water. The stems will also die back first- remove them as soon as they begin to wilt.
3. Trim the stem at an angle with sharp scissors or a knife (do this while the stem is wet and do not allow it to dry out before being put in the vase) Trim the stems a little more each day.
4. Change the water in your vase at least once a day. I like to use cold water, I even add ice chips sometimes. (tulips like to be cold- that is why they thrive in colder climates and early spring)
6. Display your tulips in a cool place free from direct sunlight or draft from the heater vent.
5. Put your tulips in the fridge at night (this will give them the same cold treatment they would get outside in the ground and it prolongs the life of the bloom) I know it sounds silly, but it will really make them last a lot longer.

I can keep tulips going inside for around 2 weeks using all of these tulip tips.

Oh, and one more tip: Because tulips grow after they are cut- they tend to conform to the shape of the vase and the stems become curvy. If you want to straighten them, you can wrap a few layers of damp newspaper around them for a few hours (keep them in the vase while you do this)

Enjoy your cut tulips!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Tulip Festival Poster

This is the poster for The 2011 Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. (available in the garden gift shop)

I painted it last year in the children's garden.
I brought it back into my studio recently and made a couple of changes. I added the rainbow.

I think I'm calling it "Symbols of Promise" or " Symbols of Hope"

For the past several I have spent my spring days in the gardens at Thanksgiving Point enveloped in the beauty of the tulip festival painting and talking with the others who have also come to enjoy the beauty. Thousands upon thousands are drawn to the gardens to see the tulips.

Just as the rainbow is a symbol of promise, a symbol of hope, so are the tulips. People come because the hope and happiness that the tulips symbolize. The tulips awaken and bloom and beckon the rest of nature to dawn her colors. They symbolize hope and rebirth, an end of cold and beginning of warmth, an invitation to grow.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When will the tulips bloom?

There are many factors that contribute to when tulips bloom, like the weather, how much sun they get, how deep they are planted and what type of tulips they are.
There are actually thousands of different types of tulips, and they are broken down into 15 specific classifications. I am focusing on 3 basic variations for this post: early, middle, and late.

Early tulips generally bloom in late March to early April. They tend to be about 8 to 15 inches in height. Early tulips begin blooming while daffodils and crocus are still in bloom.

Middle tulips bloom 5 to 10 days after the early tulips and tend to be a little taller than the early ones, and a little hardier and more suited to cutting and bringing inside to enjoy.

Late tulips are truly elegant, they tend to have long sturdy stems and large blooms and include the parrot varieties. Many tulip festival patrons miss out on these beauties because they bloom so much later- 5 to 10 days more after the middle tulips, often blooming well into June and the crowds at the gardens tend to dramatically taper after the advertised days of the Tulip Festival have passed. The tulips are still there, just not the venders live music and such.

I hope this information is helpful in getting the most enjoyment out of tulip season this year, I still think a membership to the gardens is a great way to go and then go a few times so you get to see more varieties of tulips.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

how to know when to go to the tulip festival

I am frequently asked when is the best time to go to the tulip festival.
I think the best thing to do is go as many days as you can, but I realize that I may be a bit more fanatic about tulips than the average person, so here are some more practical tips:

First of all, I think you should plant some tulips in your own yard, then you will see them growing and have an idea of what to expect (and if you don't have any tulips in your yard, check out the tulips in your neighborhood and around town, and that will give you some idea) This photo is of tulips in our yard tonight. Things are looking good- lots of green, some tulips are in bloom, but the majority are not there yet.

Another great way to know what to expect at the gardens is to use this link and go to the live web cam at The Thanksgiving Point Gardens. Look at each of the individual gardens, and you will begin to see more and more color. This is also a great way to check the weather before you go.

By the way, I will be on the KUTV channel 2 news on Monday morning (April 18th) around 6:30 a.m. for a live broadcast at The Tulip Festival.

a bitter sweet realization

Yesterday, my 3 year old wanted this little paint set as a reward for some good behavior. She was so excited about it... until she tried to use it.
She is accustomed to higher quality paint.

Friday, April 8, 2011

We all come with the ability to draw

Frequently when I meet people and they learn that I am an artist, they tell me they can't draw, or they only draw "stick people". It's probably the same way I look at nurses and I tell them I can't imagine doing what they do.
Think about it though, think of yourself when you were 3 or 4 or 5, or any kid you know at that age, if you ask them to draw themselves or their families or really anything, they will. They quickly begin, without hesitation or any regard for how anyone else will perceive what they draw. Little children are not inhibited, and not only do they come with the ability to visually express themselves, but the desire, and they enjoy it.
So, what happens?
My 3 year old was asked to draw something that begins with the letter B, so she drew her cousin Berkley. (and a tulip beside her, she is my daughter after all). She is 100% confident that this is an accurate rendering of her cousin, she had fun drawing it and is proud of her results. I love it, I think it is wonderful and I want to nurture that confidence, it is so valuable to her and her success, not only as an artist, but in life in general.
Most children want to please their parents and teachers, so when these adults either do not show any confidence or regard for art, children will mirror them. By the time many children are 7 or 8, they have quit drawing their own cute people, and they start drawing the bathroom sign style stick people that the adults around them draw. It breaks my heart to see their people gone replaced by generic "stick people." Ask the same group of people that eagerly drew at age 4 to draw the same thing as an adult, and many will draw "stick people", decline or say they can't draw altogether.
My advice:
If you are a parent or teacher, don't draw stick people. You may be thinking "that's all I can draw." I say you can do better! A great solution is to draw the people your children draw, copy them, they are much better to copy than to have them copy you. Keep your drawing fresh, don't draw the same thing the same way every time- so that your child doesn't think there is only one way to draw one thing- a symbol, instead look at something real and observe it together.
Try to be like a child instead of the child trying to be like you. You'll both start producing better art.
(These are my daughter's drawings before, during and post pregnancy)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Conference weekend special

This weekend Deseret Book has a great price on some of my artwork- each of these are $25.00 (framed- in a small size- other sizes are also available)
What a great deal!
They also have a whole wall filled with my paintings at the downtown Salt Lake store.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Be Still

Be Still

White and Pure
Humbly Reaching Upward to Heaven
Seeking God to Please
Patiently Growing
Nurtured by His Love
Firmly planted

This is a painting that I started a while ago, I liked it, but it did not feel quite finished. I had some difficult times in my pregnancy, and I kept thinking about this painting, I really wanted to get it all resolved. My health got even worse, and I wasn't able to paint, so I had the painting hung by my bed. In my mind. I finished the painting over and over and when I was finally able- I finished it. I call it "Be Still" because that was all I could do. My little one came a little early and spent some time in the NICU and once again, all I could do was "be still".
I made it into a bookmark and gave it to everyone who helped and served us in the hospital. I feel so grateful. This painting has been a great source of peace and comfort to me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What is better than tulips?

This beautiful little girl is.
She was supposed to wait until the tulips were in full bloom, but she decided to come first.

Monday, March 21, 2011

All of a sudden, I need a usb hub

Ever since I saw this, I can't quit thinking that it would such a useful thing to have... it's not that I don't have enough space to keep everything plugged in... it is just that these are tulips, red tulips.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Invest in better quality art supplies

I think one of the most important things you can do to encourage your artist is to invest in better quality for their art supplies. I don't think you need to spend a lot, but at least get them supplies that can encourage better results.
These are my tips for getting your artist set up properly with watercolors. (the photo is of my 3 year old daughter's set up)
Honestly, I think anyone would be frustrated and loose interest if the color they dip their brush into a color that is only capable of giving an anemic version of what it looks like. I think that you should spend about $10 on a watercolor set (or get one of those 40% off coupons and get an even nicer one). Brand doesn't necessarily matter as much as when you start spending that much, you will be getting more pigment in the paint, hence better results, and the set is going to last a lot longer. I also think it is important to get a variety of brushes so that your artist has choices. There are typically variety packs of synthetic brushes available at most art and craft stores for 5 or 6 dollars. And finally, paper- if you give your artist printer paper to paint on, it warps and tears- it is not made to accept water. I recommend buying a ream of card stock (stores like xpedex have great prices and selection) You can get something with a little texture, or if you want smooth- I suggest "bristol" card stock.
Better quality supplies=better art. Your artists deserves it!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Only one month away from this!

This is what I love.
I love getting to be surrounded by tulips, painting tulips. I love getting to meet and talk to so many people who have come to see the tulips. Most encounters are brief, we talk about tulips (I know a thing or two about tulips), we talk about the gardens at Thanksgiving Point (I can point out things you won't want to miss- for example: I can tell you where the owl nest is-- and by the way-the owl is back in her nest again-, or where the most tulips are currently in bloom, or I can tell you about the benefits of having a membership), and then we almost always talk about art.
People ask what kind of paint I am using, how long did it take to paint (this depends on how much I talk while I paint- but I love getting to talk to people while I paint), how did I learn to paint, where did I study, and then they often tell me about a family member or friend that is also artistic and ask for any advice for nurturing their artist. I have lots of ideas and suggestions about that, so I am going to start a series here on my blog that will include my advice, so check back. (I will also label these posts so you will be able to access all these posts at once on the sidebar.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My niece's art made it on the cover of the Friend!

I was so happy when I opened our March 2011 Friend Magazine to see my niece's art on the front cover. Hers is the beautiful Temple painting in the upper left corner with the turquoise sky and flag pole. Good job Avery!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

red tulips

I love tulips.
I especially love red tulips.
(this painting was part of that show,"red tulips", oil on panel, 24" X24")
I never get tired of them.
I can't wait for them to bloom again this year.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting excited for spring

I am getting so excited for the spring, for the tulips to bloom, for the tulip festival, for the new life and hope the spring brings.
I got this painting out that I had been painting last spring in the Children's Garden... I think I want to put a rainbow in on the left side.
This year, The Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival is April 15-30th. I really believe the best way to enjoy the Tulip Festival is to get a membership and come a few times. Many people do not realize there are early, middle and late tulips, so the gardens are constantly changing. Many people also do not realize that they can come before and after the Tulip Festival and still enjoy the tulips. The gardens open on March 26th, and there are always many of the late tulips that do not get seen by many visitors and they are so beautiful- many of the late tulips grow so tall- up to your waist and the colors are really quite elegant. The late ones also have some sophisticated colors. The very earliest ones are so pretty too, they are typically very bright orange-red and yellow. And the darling crocus make early visits so pleasant.
Mother Nature is definitely in charge, there will be rainy days, probably even some snow, but if you have a membership you can bundle up and enjoy these beautifully serene days as well. The colors seem more intense, and it is so quiet, you can almost hear the tulips growing.
Anyway, I am excited.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

painting at the Deseret Book Flagship Store

I had a great time painting at the Deseret Book Flagship Store downtown. It was so fun to get to visit with friends who came to see me, and to meet new friends too. I loved how happy people were to think that spring is on it's way, the weather doesn't feel like it, but my paintings seemed to get people excited to think about it.
I'll be painting there again on Friday, March 11th.
By the way, do you see that big stack of books behind me? President Monson signed each and every one, each signature is unique, and they are only available at the Flagship location.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Deseret Book "Lunch and Learn"/Tulips to match some of my favorite earrings

Here is a little glimpse of a painting I just started. I never get tired of painting tulips. My inspiration this time is a pair of earrings that I love. The earrings are turquoise and red swarovski crystal with a green patina on the gold (Liz Palacios). I love the color combination.

I will be working on this painting this Friday, January 28th at the Deseret Book Flagship store across from Temple Square as part of the "Lunch and Learn" series. I will be there from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. painting, signing prints and answering any questions. I am excited.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pleasantly surprised

When we went to the opening of the children's exhibit, we were pleasantly surprised to find the art of 2 more nieces and a nephew were also in the show. (not that they didn't deserve to be, just that none of us had been notified beforehand) I am so proud of my nieces and nephew to have their artwork in this great exhibit. Great job!
To see the whole exhibit online, click here.
Avery, age 5

Talmage, age 7

London, age 6

A wonderful interactive children's exhibit opened the same night. It has fun activities that kept us all entertained, from dolls to life-size building blocks, to dancing costumes and video of dancers to follow, it was all really fun and well done. I highly recommend it, it is great for all ages, we can't wait to go back!

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Noah's Ark" by Eliza

Eliza, age 7

I am so excited for my niece Eliza, she had this painting of hers selected as part of an international art exhibit. When she found out she made it, and that it would be hanging until July, she said, " Why can't they just keep mine hanging up all the time?" I told her that is actually quite a long time for an exhibit to hang, and they will have other art to exhibit. She said, "Well, why can't they just find a different place to hang the other stuff and keep mine there?" I sure love Eliza. I love her painting too.

"The Gospel Blesses My Life" is an exhibit featuring art by children, ages 5-12, from 42 countries around the world. Using the theme "How the Gospel of Jesus Christ has Blessed My Life," the young artists used various media to create artwork about different gospel subjects.

Of more than 1,700 entries submitted from around the world, 250 were selected for display. Most of the remaining entries can be viewed on digital screens in rotation as part of the exhibit. This artwork will also be featured on the Friend magazine's website at www.friend.lds.org and in the "Our Creative Friends" section of the March 2011 issue of the Friend.

"The Gospel Blesses My Life" will continue through July 4.