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Lolly's Inspiration

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Map for Self-Guided Snoqualmie River Arts Tour

Here is the beautiful map for the Snoqualmie River Arts Tour.  I hope you can come out to the Valley on June 21-22 for an exciting self-guided tour of artist studios.  The website for more information is  June 21-22, 10am – 6pm.  You can visit me in my studio and have a look at my work in a gallery on my front porch!  All artwork for sale.








On the Easel

Happy winter, I’m so happy it’s winter.  The silvery Northwest light is a perfect light to see color in the landscape.  We are seeing deep greens of the evergreens, yellows in the tall grassy fields and subtle oranges, reds and burgundy’s forming in branch tips, bringing a blush and a hint of Spring.  I have been working on small studies for the past several weeks, developing compositional and color studies.  Each painting is about a particular time of day during the year.  I try to capture the kind of light I see in the sky because that sets the key for the painting.  It’s a real challenge to learn about how the light effects change with all the many variables, such as time of day, weather, season, etc.  As I construct a painting I think about a certain place, what the sky looked like, how the big shapes work together and what I want the painting to look like.  The one I like the best is shown here with the underpainting phase and the color study.  This 8×12 study will give me a road map for a larger painting.   I think I’ll make it 16 x 24.  I’ll make posts as I proceed.  I’m excited to proceed!  Lots of planning goes into it from here.  I need to decide on the surface.  Linen? (my typical choice)  Diebond?  Haven’t explored that yet but I”m taking the Natural Pigments workshop, Painting Best Practices,  in Portland, OR next weekend and hopefully I’ll learn a little more about it.  I’ll keep you posted.


creek in field, winter day, grey sky, silver light, evergreen trees, landscape, color study

Patterson Creek, 8 x 12


Lolly’s Treehouse Studio

Treehouse in the snow built by Pete Nelson


Here’s a picture of my Fall City studio in the winter.   I walk out here every day to work, drawing and painting fifteen feet off the ground.  During a windstorm it feels like I’m in a boat that’s moored, rocking and swaying against the dock.  When it’s not breezy it’s only noticeable that I’m in a tree if I’m conscious of how special it is – which is pretty much all of the time.

What I’m struggling with is the light inside.  I designed it after a fire lookout, with wrap around windows.  The light comes inside from three directions, the east, north and west –  and that’s not necessarily good.  For painting, northern light is best, so I’m designing window coverings that help me control the high degree of reflective light going on.   Each window covering is a panel that attaches to the interior of the window pane with a spring-loaded curtain rod.  With rods at the top and the bottom of each panel to hold them in place, I can adjust from the top or the bottom, depending on where I want the light entering.  The question of the week is which fabric to use?  I’d love to find a thick linen-colored fabric that blocks the light but is still aesthetically pleasing.  Another option is using black-out fabric – not great to look and kind of plastic-like, but it does the trick.

By the way, if I haven’t mentioned this, my treehouse was built by Pete Nelson, Treehouse Master (as seen on the second season of “Treehouse Master”, the  TV show on Animal Planet).  Pete built this structure as his first Treehouse Workshop in 2002.   His students came from all over the world to take his class; together, they built the platform, the walls, the roof, etc., all in less than a week!  Look in Pete’s book, “Treehouses of the World”, for “Lolly’s Treehouse”, p. 42.   It’s pretty great to make fine art paintings in a rustic tree house!


Tree Tattoo Follow – up

A lot of you have asked me to post a picture of the real tattoo.  If you’re reading this for the first time you can catch up by reading the post called Tree Tattoo.  Believe me, this is not MY tattoo, it’s my daughter’s!  She said the tattoo artist scanned the original drawing and shrunk it down to size.  Then he transferred it to her rib cage and inked it in.   I’d love to know how he transferred it  – he probably rubbed something on the back of the paper, stuck it on her skin and traced over the top of the drawing.


I have posted the original drawing and the tattoo so you can compare.  What do you think?


noble fir, evergreen, drawing, graphite

Noble Fir, 8 x 6


tattoo, skin, landscape, transfer,

Leah’s Tattoo


Tree Tattoo

Recently my daughter asked me to draw her a picture of a tree.  Sure, I said, what for?  Well, I want to use it for a tattoo!   Hmmm, I thought, not sure how I feel about this…  Was I pleased that she asked me?  Well, possibly.  It was nice that she likes my drawings.  And its nice she wants something made specifically for her, especially since she’s putting it on her body – PERMANENTLY!!!!   But, on the other hand, I hesitated, because tattoos aren’t really my thing.  Nothing against them, just that I missed the generational window, I guess.  It took several weeks of me not doing anything at all about it until she finally said, MOM!!!! Can you please make that drawing??????  So then and there I decided to give it a go.  No judging others, it’s her body,  I told myself!! Just do it!  But what kind of tree?  There are seventeen thousand kinds of trees I could draw…had to think about it.  What would she like – a palm tree?  no.  a willow?  no.  an evergreen?  maybe, but what kind?  She’s a mountain girl – that’s it!  I’ll draw a noble fir!  So last week when we had a break in the weather I finally got down to business.  It was a sunny day at Fall City Farms and I parked my chair with the sun to my back and drew this noble fir.   The drawing is graphite, 8×6.   Thankfully, she likes it!


noble fir, evergreen, drawing, graphite

Noble Fir, 8 x 6

Two Upcoming Shows!

I am pleased to announce two upcoming shows where I will be showing new landscape and portrait works.  Please join me at the openings!

Here are the flyers for the shows:















James Whistler and the Memory Color Sketch

James Whistler (1870’s) was famous for his memory work – particularly his nocturnes.  He used to have a friend row him in a boat out on the Thames and he would sit for hours looking and memorizing the scene.  It was too dark to draw or make notes so he would speak out loud to his companion and ask him to verify what he was seeing.  When he returned to the studio he would rush in and slap thin coats of paint on the canvas as fast as he could before the memory faded.

I’ve been working up at Rattlesnake Lake on a couple of motifs.  This one caught my eye right off the bat and I sat down to draw – immediately – before the light changed.  Instead of snapping a picture (which would be a whole heck of a lot faster and easier) I sat and drew the scene before me.  A couple of days later I sat down at the easel in my studio to do this color sketch.  Having drawn the image already I was familiar with it and it didn’t take much to conjure up the scene in my mind’s eye.  As I put down my impression on canvas the painting began to appear – looking much like the drawing, but in color.   Soon enough the painting began to make its own aesthetic demands.  There is an “alchemy” that takes place when I swing back and forth between the memory and the image on canvas.



Painting From Visual Memory and Imagination

Have you ever looked at something for a long time and then closed your eyes and tried to see the image in your mind’s eye?  That’s your visual memory.  It’s a muscle that can be developed to aide in the creation of paintings!

Athletes use it all the time when they try to “imagine” themselves performing a trick or move with precision.  If they can see themselves doing it in their imagination, chances are they can execute it when they try it for real.

I use my visual memory all the time when I create thumbnail sketches for future paintings and sometimes to create a whole new painting – like this one!

I haven’t named it yet.  It’s part of a series I’m doing of the Pacific Northwest.  It’s about 16″x12″

Moving studio to Fall City, WA! Out in the country!

Back from Texas, waiting for my paint supplies to arrive.  I shipped a box Fed Ex home from Clarksville – it should arrive tomorrow.  There are four paintings from that workshop that I plan to continue working on.  Deborah Paris taught a painting technique inspired by painters from the Renaissance which consists of applying thin glazes of oil paint, building up the layers and creating a luminosity like nothing I’ve seen before.  As I work my way through the painting process I’m learning how to plan ahead which areas will be transparent and which will be opaque.  Very challenging and it’s a lot of fun! I’ll post some of that work soon.  I’m still working it.

The real reason I’m writing is to announce that I will be moving back to my studio in Fall City, WA beginning May 1st.  On my property is a wonderful, small, intimate space in the trees.  I work in a treehouse studio.  It is designed after a fire lookout like the ones we have on mountaintops in the Cascades.  There are windows on all sides, so being in the trees it’s nice to have all the natural light.  I’m super excited to get moved and get working.

Here is a master copy I did of a drawing by Ashur B. Durand:

Deborah Paris Landscape Atelier

Down here in Clarksville, Texas, studying landscape painting with master tonalist painter, Deborah Paris! What a beautiful part of the country to be in this month as the trees turn green and frogs are croaking (It’s especially sweet to be outside in the sunshine when I hear it’s raining buckets back home in Washington).

Deborah Paris painting at easel

Here’s a picture of Deborah’s underpainting demo. I’ll post some pictures of my work from this week soon.

The B&BThis is the B&B where I’m staying – built in 1880! Lots of history around here.Went on the Ghost Walk last Saturday night. One of the members of the Historical Society took us on a walking tour of town to all the haunted houses! I was freaked out at the last house. People on the tour had ghost apps and their phones went wild! Have you ever heard of a ghost app?

By the way, they have red cardinals down here, which I love, because they’re cousins to the blue jay back home. Love the red! Well, it just so happens that I have acquired a recently deceased cardinal (that hit the house by accident) and I’m trying to figure out a way to bring it home so I can do a painting. Anybody have ideas on how to get this lovely creature home? Taxidermist?