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Lolly's Inspiration

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“Snow Day”-A Painting Story

snow, winter, landscape, oil painting, representational art, snow, shed, evergreen tree, contemporary realism,
Snow Day, 12 x 12

This is my backyard, viewed from the studio. I feel deeply connected to our land and I love the giant cedar trees that give us green all year long. There is a spirit in this place. I remember one day, years ago, when my kids were young and I was teaching first grade at their elementary school. We woke up to a blanket of snow and school was cancelled! Everyone shouted at once, “Snow Day”! I remember that moment; of looking outside at the fresh, untracked snow, and feeling a rush of excitement! Have you ever had a Snow Day? I am grateful that Gallery Mack recently found a home for this painting!

The landscape listens and we hear it call our own name.

-Emily Dickenson

Inspiration for the painting, Forest Glow at Treehouse Point, WA

One night at yoga class at Treehouse Point, I watched the sun set behind the tall evergreen trees.  As the sun lowered in the sky the forest began to glow a golden, orange color and I felt the image of this painting come into my mind’s eye.   Painting for me is a personal expression of my connection with Nature. It is about holding on to a fleeting moment in time and making that the main focus or idea of my painting.  Here is the painting, Forest Glow.

Forest Glow, 40×24, SOLD


Find these paintings at Fountainhead Gallery!

Please contact Fountainhead Gallery at

sea, ocean, seaside, oil painting, landscape painting, oil, art, tonalist art, tonalist painting, tonalism, classical realism, fine art, contemporary landscape

Seaside, 18×24

This painting was inspired by a trip to the Pacific Ocean.  As the evening hours approached the clouds rolled in, creating a luminous sky juxtaposed by a darkened ground lane.  I remember the distinctive glow of gold light at the tree line and the hidden dark stream flowing into the sea.  The smell of salt water is fresh in my mind as I look at this piece.  I love the movement in the clouds as they echo the shape of the stream below.

winter, trees, pond, fog, representational art, nocturne, oil painting, landscape painting

Winter Moon, 20 x 16

I love to paint nocturnes because the  night time is full of mystery in the absence of light.  The reflected light of the moon illuminates the sky and water, bringing the viewer to an intimate spot on the shoreline.  I try to create a peaceful respite for the viewer, where they can call bring a bit of their own experience to a painting.  Maybe they will remember a time like this and finish the story from their own experience.

skagit valley tulips, tulip fields, representational art, fine art, contemporary landscape painting, oil painting, landscape painting, spring tulips

Skagit Valley Tulips, 7 x 14

The Skagit Valley is one of my favorite spots in Washington!  The expansive sky is one of the reasons I made this composition a wide, flat horizontal.  I chose a color harmony of yellow, blue and a bit of green for this piece, which is very Pacific Northwest!  If anyone has visited the tulip fields in spring time they will instantly recognize the major elements of trees, fields, flowers, distant mountains and sky as the iconic Skagit Valley. Our memories tend to sift out extraneous detail and this painting reflects my experience and the mood on a beautiful spring day.

barn painting, oil painting, landscape painting, impressionist art, classical realist, contemporary art, fine art, representational art, landscape painting, dusk, seascape painting, ocean, art

Barn By the Sea, 20 x 24

Another Skagit Valley painting, reflecting the early evening hours in late October, with a moonrise peeking through the clouds.  I love the subtle color shifts in the grasses in Autumn and how they are reflected in the clouds above.  The distant San Juan Islands create a finishing backdrop for the land to meet the sky.

Pacific Ocean, beach, figures on beach, dog on beach, sand, sunset, tree trunks in sunset, seascape, oil painting, ocean, seascape painting, contemporary art, contemporary landscape, contemporary painting, representational art, landscape painting, classical realism, tonalist landscape, classical painting, pacific ocean,

Beach Walk, 12 x 16

I saw this couple and their dog on the beach near Kalaloch, WA on the Pacific Coast and it reminded me of my own experience, walking with someone I love, stopping, picking up rocks and drift wood, and possibly finding a sand dollar at low tide.  I can hear the waves and whoosing behind me as I take in the salt water air.  This is a memory piece (I do not use photographs as reference material) for all those times at the beach.  I am looking through the trees from high up on the bank to the people and dog below.  I am looking at my memory, and maybe a memory of the viewer.








Story of making the painting, “Valley Light”

Oil paining, mountain, tonalist painting, tonalism, representational art, mountains, trees, panoramic view, valley, shadow line, clouds, realism, classical painting, rosemary brushes, contemporary realism, contemporary art

Presence, 24 x 38

Late one fall afternoon I was working in my studio – and I felt a hunch that I ought to go to my special view spot in the mountains.  It was faster to ride my bike than walk, as it was nearing the end of the day- so I grabbed a backpack and threw in my sketchbook and a packet of charcoal. The weather had been variable all day with patchy clouds and sun breaks.  As I headed up the trail I could see faint light glimmering through the trees.  Higher and higher I rode, as fast as my lungs would allow.  Once I reached the clearing, the sight before me stopped me in my tracks. Reflecting off the cliffs of Mt. Si was this orange-gold light – a spectacular vision that I had never seen before; orange light with a dark shadow line rising up the flanks of the entire mountain range.  The image of this beautiful valley light burned instantly into my mind’s eye.  I knew I had to create this scene into a painting.  But wouldn’t the time please stop and let me soak in the experience a little longer?  I knew it wouldn’t – moments don’t stand still do they?  They just keep unfolding, one after another.  I felt myself accepting the orange light as it sank into my bones and I stood there, silently observing.   No drawing needed.   Luckily I had been there before to draw, so, I had, at least, a record of the important elements.  If you have ever looked at a painting for a long time maybe you’ve experienced a moment through an artist’s rendering.  Back in the studio I had the opportunity to re-experience that moment many times over – from memory.   That’s why I called this painting, Valley Light.  It’s about the Here and Now.  I like Being. Here. Now.

Drawings! Drawings! Drawings!

One of my favorite things to do is draw from nature. Whether it’s a human figure, a still life set up or a scene outside, I love to push and pull my pencil (or charcoal stick) across the page.  At Gage Academy of Art and Georgetown Atelier I spent countless hours on a single drawing.  The charcoal drawing of this bust took months to complete.  It’s a zen experience to sit down for a three hour stretch to work; looking, seeing, understanding, and meditating.

charcoal and white chalk on toned paper, cast study, graisille, female profile with arms crossed, head and torso

La Madre, 24 x 18, vine charcoal and white chalk on paper

I set up this still life in my old treehouse studio.  Got a bunch of white plastic flowers and found some interesting dark colored objects lying around the house. I love how dark the darks are against the white flowers.

Charcoal on paper, still life, white flowers, Mexican horse, silver cream pitcher, shell, black rock

East Meets West, 24 x 18, charcoal and white chalk on paper

The bark of this tree was just outside the treehouse studio window (trunk coming up through the deck).  It was early spring and too cold to draw outdoors, so I found a place to work where it was cozy and warm inside.

graphite on paper, tree drawing, landscape, tonal study

Western Red Cedar Bark, 6 x 8, graphite on paper

My landscape drawings are always a little less finished looking and that is because the light changes so quickly.  I worked on this field study for only about 2 hours max before the sun moved across the sky.

charcoal drawing of mt rainier, cloudy day with pond reflections

Mt. Rainier from Cayuse Pass, 10 x 10.5, charcoal on paper

You could think about it like a poem vs. a novel.  The landscape drawings are about the feeling and the impression of the moment.  As I work in the field, drawing the landscape, I try to make marks that help me capture and imprint in my memory the entire experience; the sounds, the weather; the temperature of “that” day.   Interestingly, I can recall much of it when I revisit the drawing back in the studio.

The still life drawings also capture the overall feeling, or mood, but it is captured over a much longer period of time.  It is clear in the finished piece that I have revisited the scene over and over and over again and developed the nuances that couldn’t be possible in a short drawing session.  I like both methods, the sketch, or poem, if you will, as well as the longer, full length studio drawing or painting.  It’s becoming apparent to me that I need both types of work to keep me balanced in what I do.

I enjoyed sharing some of my thoughts on drawing with you!  If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at

Lolly’s Solo Show at Fountainhead Gallery – May 7th, 5-7pm

Please join me at Fountainhead Gallery, Seattle, WA, on May 7th, 5-7pm, for the opening reception of my Solo Show, titled, “A Sense of Place.”

Shera front

Shera back

Clymer Museum & Gallery Solo Exhibition – March 4, 2016

I feel so honored for the opportunity to exhibit at the Clymer Museum & Gallery next month! The title for the show is “From the Headwaters to the Sea.”   The public reception is scheduled for Friday, March 4, 2016, from 5pm-7pm, and  the works will hang for two months, from March 4, 2016 – April 30, 2016.

Clymer Museum & Gallery, 416 North Pearl Street, Ellensburg, WA



Headwaters, 48 x 36

Headwaters, 48 x 36

It’s been a busy last couple of weeks getting the works photographed and framed.  Some people have been asking if the works are for sale – and the answer is yes, all works are for sale, with the exception of two paintings that were borrowed from private collections because they fit the theme of the show.

There are over 30 works in the collection, varying in size from large to small.  I included three field drawings, because, as many of you know, I like to share the process of how I create the final paintings.

painting of krummholz tree by the ocean, beach, sunset, fence, rocks in foreground

Illume, 40 x 30

An excerpt from the Artist Statement for the show –

“…Water represents birth and life, and a river is water’s journey through time. These paintings represent the passage that I took from the headwaters, a place where small streams join and a river is born, to the sea. I visited many mountains and many rivers to capture the essence of the forms that water takes as it flows, pulled by gravity from above. I have roots on both sides of the Cascades, on the dry side and the wet, as the rivers flow westward to the mighty Pacific Ocean…”

Hope to see you there!




Treehouse Masters – Reality TV Show, Here I Come!

My husband and I are soon to claim our 15 minutes of TV fame, tomorrow, Friday, August 7th at 10 pm when we aire on the Animal Planet’s show called Treehouse Masters!  We built one of Pete Nelson’s (star of the show) treehouses back in 2002, and I used it exclusively as my art studio.  After many years of “hanging in the trees” it needed some repairs.  Pete called us and asked us if we’d like to be part of the show while they do the repairs (and a little upgrade).  Of course, we said “YES!” and here we are!  My art work will be featured on the show, as Pete is one of my collectors.  Here are a couple of the paintings that were hanging in the treehouse when they filmed.  Watch the show tomorrow night and you might see them!

female with white hat, red scarf, pearl earring, brown hair, representational

Rachel, 17 x 12

Mt Rainier, dawn, pink sky, reflection, pond, evergreens, alpine trees

Mt. Rainier II, 24 x 24

Drawings – Field Drawings v. Studio Drawings

graphite drawing, desert plants, sage

Sage Garden, 7 x 10, SOLD

Snoqualmie Falls Drawing, 17 x 13

Snoqualmie Falls Drawing, 17 x 13

Many of you know that I create my paintings from studies – drawings done on location AND in the studio.  It’s funny why artists use the term “study,” but it really makes sense.  While we are working on a drawing we ARE actually studying the subject, whether it’s a figure, still life, or landscape – observing as much as possible in a limited amount of time in order to understand how everything holds together.

When I am in the field I will begin with a few quick thumbnail sketches before I launch into a drawing.  Then I will jot down a few notes that help me remember important pieces of information for later on.  I always include the date, the time of day, weather conditions, lightest light and darkest dark, color harmonies, and, most important, the reason for doing the drawing in the first place.  Why is it an attractive scene?  Why does it compel me?  What am I feeling at the time?  Landscapes are mirrors of our souls and I always try to figure out what it is that compels me to this location.  The top drawing, Sage Garden, was done outside on a very hot day in eastern Oregon.  I love the desert and the great variety of  plants that grow there!

The bottom drawing of Snoqualmie Falls was done in the studio.  I came back from the field with a 9 x 12 plein air painting of Snoqualmie Falls and worked from that to create this larger study.  I knew that I wanted to make a larger painting so it made sense to go into more detail in the drawing stage before I launched into the painting.  It’s amazing what we can remember from being in the field.  I work on my memory through drawing exercises and it has helped immensely.

I am trying to photograph more of my drawings (there are TONS) and I will post them in the drawing section of my website periodically.  If you ever want more information please let me know.    Thanks for visiting!

Snoqualmie Falls

This is a new painting of Snoqualmie Falls.  I’ve always wanted to paint the Falls as I live only a quick raven’s flight down the Valley.   I knew of a hike on the south side of the river that would get me this view so late one afternoon in November I grabbed my paints and hiked to the base of the thundering, roaring waterfall.  I spent about one and a half hours painting and by the time I packed up my supplies it was almost dark!  I turned on my headlamp and set back along the trail, fumbling and stumbling across the roots all the way to the car.  How exhilarating it was to have painted the Falls!

plein air, oil painting, waterfall, landscape, snoqualmie falls, river

Snoqualmie Falls Study, 12 x 9

waterfall, oil painting, landscape, Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls, 24 x 17