Monday, February 25, 2013

Autumn Wine...

"Autumn Wine"

 I live just fifteen minutes from the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley. The rolling vineyards cover the foothills, creating wonderful colors and shapes and textures. There is something elegant and rich about this growing industry.  Something that exudes wealth and tradition. The vines are carefully chosen and nurtured. They are hand pruned. Nothing is left to chance ~ they are given every opportunity to produce the most optimum fruit. The result is a wonderful variety of fine local wines.

This watercolor "Autumn Wine" is the first in a new series of paintings depicting the wine country. I naturally gravitate to autumn colors. Rich reds and vibrant golds are easily found in September and October here. I like the way the vines created shadows in the back-lit focal leaves. I loved adding the poultry wire with my pens!

....creating excitement with color!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


"Fiddletown ~ Chinese General Store"

One of my good gallery friends and I were talking last Saturday.  He told me that my painting has changed.  He said that since I painted this General Store painting, my work has been improved. I've been considering this comment.  Sometimes an artist can be too close to their own work to really see what is happening with it. I have been painting long enough that I am past that stage where it is a struggle to know how to paint something. I am past the stage where I don't choose the right pigments or brush. Now, I am struggling to find enough time to paint all the subjects that inspire me! I love sunlight through snow-covered branches, and the way the shadows lay darker near the trunk of an oak tree. I am enthralled by the contrasts of back-lit blossoms against an old wooden fence. I want to paint the reflective cerulean blue on the wings of ravens. I want to paint the way John Muir writes. Inspiration is not always visual. It can be deeply spiritual. I feel it inside ~ it bubbles up from my core. 
How do you paint hope? By adding prayers to every brushstroke. is true that you can see an Artist's soul through her work.... 

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Smilin' Sal"

Here is the little painting that I finished this Saturday at the Sutter Creek Gallery. I was inspired to paint it as a thank you gift for one of my favorite authors, Jenna Woginrich. This young woman has inspired so many to try their hand at living a simple, back to the farm lifestyle.  I first "met" her while searching the web for info about homesteading.  I found her blog about Cold Antler Farm.  At that time she had just moved from Idaho to Vermont (if I remember correctly) and I loved her words so much that I went back and read everything I could. THEN I searched for her on Amazon, and I have been a Jenna Addict ever since. 
So ~ the painting.  
It is small ~ just 8" x 10" and is from a photo that she took of one of her sheep, Sal. It is painted in watercolor and embellished with pen and ink and Prismacolor pencils. I will scan it, then ship the original to her address in New York state. 

It is a humble and sincere repayment for all the times she made all her readers laugh and cry and long for the simple pleasures that she experiences. 

...FiddleSong Farm is thriving...

Sunday, February 17, 2013 favorite day...

Today, it got into the high 60's here at FiddleSong Farm.  Not a cloud in the sky, no wind. 
I decided it was a good day to work in the I dug out my oldest, most comfy jeans, a gray T-shirt and my Giants sweatshirt, scooped my ratty hair up in a clip and went out to work.  I took my little CD player and cranked up the music.  I like it loud. 
First I cleaned out the hen house. It was raked and shoveled, cobwebs swept away, and freshened up with a good load of fresh straw.
Eulah (pronounced YOU-la ;) is my constant companion. Her cheerful humming could be heard an inch from my boots wherever I stepped.  She watched carefully for any scratched up seeds or unearthed worms...


...and yes, there is a Rooster Cogburn to go with Eulah.

"Rooster Cogburn"

While I worked, raking up pine needles, pruning, digging out the ever pervasive mint, I became aware that my strength is returning. My energy levels are up. I am happier and feel better about myself than I have in a long time. My knees are covered in dirt, my face is naked, my hair is a serious problem, my nails are crescents of black ~but I love to garden...and I can't WAIT until spring!    

...I have a clean garden, and happy chickens.  All is well....

Monday, February 11, 2013

FiddleSong Sunset....

 Jack greeted me at the gate with dog kisses and hugs. (Yes, he gives GREAT dog hugs.) The sunset was a soft lavender tonight. It was quiet and calm as I arrived, the house was dark. As I fed the animals and gathered eggs, I reflected on my lifestyle here. The rhythm is steady and calm. Peace giving. Nurturing. I feel anchored here, it is my safe harbor. 

I chose not to breed any of my does in the fall, thinking that I needed a break from the work all that entails.  But now I am sorely missing my delicious goat's milk, and there are no soft kid sounds in the barn. That is also part of the rhythm of this farm. 

For now, I am simply waiting for spring, and to see what happens next. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013 buddy Jack...

Boomerang Jack Rogers

Today, I am hanging out with my old buddy Jack. He is going on nine this year and he can still run with the big dogs. He still has coyote patrol duty every morning ~ he can still get up the hill as fast as a speeding goat ~ he still has that desire to play ball until he passes out.  But.  He's nine. His eyes are beginning to cloud. He never has had good hips, and now he has difficulty getting up. I think it hurts me as much as it does him. This is a loyal and trustworthy dog. He is great with the grandchildren, and loves to herd the chickens. This is a dog that would fight to the death for me, and I see the end approaching.

So today, while Rick is watching the Superbowl with his dad, I am sharing my good loaf of kalamata olive bread from Andre's, my sheep's milk cheese, and my portobello ravioli.  
I will paint and listen to my music, and he will lay by my feet and just enjoy being together. is good at FiddleSong Farm... :)