2015 flutters to a landing


White-tailed, a.k.a. black-shouldered kite, preening at Moss Landing. It crossed its wingtips in front of its tail, politely.  Pencil-drawn through a scope in a Lana sketchbook.

It was a year when plein air painting got a lot more fun, which I think is worth noting, and when I found new beauty in old and familiar places.


Chaparral uplands just above the quiet tidal estuary of Elkhorn Slough. The old stomping grounds were just as nice as ever, if not more so. Pastel on Colourfix sanded paper, 10″ x 9 3/4″.

I had a decent year of painting, exhibiting, teaching, drawing, writing, and learning how to breathe underwater (first step in learning how to draw underwater- a longtime desire). I returned to South Carolina, painted around New Mexico and California, did a pile of drawings of a wonderful Brazilian model, almost enough to call it a collection.

There was less blogging, but a little more tweeting (@DaMotmot). 

Resolutions? More pastel painting. More bird sketching. A book. Learn to dance.

3 Parakeets

Best thing in 2015: Shadowplay, my painting of crimson fronted parakeets, was accepted into Birds in Art, and then acquired for the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s permanent collection. An amazing honor and career high note.  Oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″ If you’d like to hear me talk about this painting (and why the jungle is like a big plate of scrambled eggs), please go here.

Hope you had an outstanding 2015, too.

Wishing you a prosperous, peaceful, and above all, happy new year.

And meet you back here in 2016.





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Pastel Gallery is up and running

plein air pastel 9.75 x 9.75

China Cove, Point Lobos, with three snowy egrets fishing in the kelp beds. Plein air pastel 9.75 x 9.75

For anyone who’d like to see more of the Fall Pastel Collection from last week’s California run, the page is up and running. I was generously hosted by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, who let me settle into their cute and comfy researcher’s studio for most of a week. I enjoyed every minute.

Please enjoy the paintings!

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Seriously, Happy Friday

A good haul from California. Got home to Oklahoma very late last night, couldn’t sleep, pulled out the 14 pastels for review and was fairly pleased. Want to go back and get some more, soon. You can go home again. Seriously. 


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Fall Color Underfoot 

  Today I set the easel at the edge of a pickleweed marsh in full sun. I’d no sooner gotten the first color strokes roughed in when suddenly the marsh was swaddled in cool gray tones. Not a shadow in sight. Fog moves fast.

It started to drizzle an hour later so I packed it in. I’d been painting from my initial thumbnail sketch while grabbing  – and pushing- color clues from the landscape. 

The pickle weed marshes along the coast turn brilliant colors in the fall. New England has leaf peeping. Could California’s version be pickle peeping? Send for the tour bus.
(The painting is pastel on sanded paper, and sorry I don’t know the exact size but it’s under 9×12)

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Surf Scoters

At Moss Landing State Beach sketching a fine raft of scoters in the gray-green sea. Lovely Pacific. 


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View from the Slough

At Elkhorn Slough, taking it from rough sketch to pastel painting:


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Pelicans and power plants

On the jetty at Moss Landing, drawing brown pelicans and California gulls, hearing sea lions bark and inhaling aromatic sea salt  mixed with giant kelp. Almost edible.

Harbor seals snore on the beach and sea otters lay on their backs in the swell, their front paws pressed together. The fog is coming in, and the tide is going out. 

Happy Friday.


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