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At a Crossroads

Standing at a crossroads.  It’s not unlike writers block except that I’m hoping I can ask you to help me decide which path to take.  My goal is to take my work forward, kick it up a notch or ten, reach higher, so to speak.  My challenge is that I am not sure which road to take.  I work in multiple media and differing styles.  Really just two styles, but radically different.  What I’ve sold over the years is predominantly what I call “interpreted realism”. In other words, there is no doubt what you’re looking at, but it is exaggerated in some way, such as in value contrasts, color, intensity and boldness.  On the other hand is the highly realistic work, which I tend to do in pastel or watercolor.  Some samples are below.  I’d love to know what you think.  Pursue more detailed realism or focus on how I interpret realism.  The first four are more traditional realism, the last four are more interpreted realism, but you can see, there is a difference.  It’s not that I would never do one or the other again, but that I want to focus on  developing one style or the other. I’d love your feedback, and thank you.


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New Work Added

It was a startling discovery.  I had been painting alot since I closed the physical gallery (Angel Fire ArtSpace), but until I made the decision to make this site my “studio” plus Music From Angel Fire, and the occasional estate art sale, I really didn’t realize that I spent all my time updating the pages of every other artist…and not my own!  So, after the monster task of taking off most of what I spent a year putting on, I spent much of today adding in what I’ve been up to, and there is more to go!  It’s funny, I didn’t really realize that I’ve been on a tear with pastel!  I do love doing pastel, there is something that links back to the charcoal stick in my hand when I was 10.  I only posted one pastel, but there will be’s a matter of getting them framed.  It’s very dicey to sell and or ship unframed soft pastel, so I prefer to frame them before I put them here.  As  I look around my studio, I see at least 6 that are awaiting frames!  Egad!  All the more reason to get all the other works in acrylic online now, since they mostly don’t need framing since most of them are on cradled panel with painted edges.  Good to go, hung on the wall or set on a shelf, to brighten your room and and your smile!

Anyhoo…that’s it for today.  Eyes are tired and so am I.  More soon, so check back!

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Tech Savy and Art: An awkward combination?

So, after a year or so, okay, emphasis on the “so”, I moved my old blogspot blog to this site, en toto.  I did the first steps all by my not so big self, though it did require an hour and some minor cursing from my tech guru husband.  At any rate, it’s done! Wahoos are in order for me, as I left the old blog unattended while I was working on this website. So, for those of you who were following the old blog via RSS, the links in RSS will now bring you right here, and you can even look at the old posts and photos contained in them.

Now, with a few more tweaks, I can return to painting.  Yes, being an artist is hard work. While skill and passion is a known requirement, these days, so is discipline and marketing savy.  Ouch.  It’s a work in process.  Of course.

There will be some notable changes coming here.  While the emphasis of being a gallery has lingered, it will be changing soon, to my personal work. However, there may be “popUP” times when I’m promoting someone else.  We’ll just have to see how it goes. I get it, you follow me for me. For who I am and what I do, and from here, I’m beginning again, starting anew. I hope you’ll come along.  And let me know what you’d like to see?  I’d love that!  Thank you!


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Old blog, new blog


It’s taken awhile, and this is a test. I moved my old blog ( to my new online home here.  I’m testing the RSS feed, to ensure it updates, so please let me know if you get this.  Thanks!


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Just some thoughts about Collecting Art

I was tossing around thoughts about art collection. I’ve been working with a local customer to bring his collection more to his taste, which included hanging work that had been sitting in a closet, recommending new acquisitions to fit the new “theme”, moving work around the various rooms and doing repairs and re-framing on work that had been damaged one way or another.  It made me aware that some who buy the art they love (the right thing to do, by the way) may have no idea how to take care of it, how to light it and how to find the perfect spot in which to hang it.  So, that brings me to this post.  Let’s tackle them one at a time.

Imagine you’re browsing a gallery, or an art show, or even better, an artist’s studio, and you see something that just grabs you.  You force yourself to look around, keenly aware that the artist or gallery director has caught your gazing and is eager to help you make a purchase.   Maybe you even leave, but once you’re home you find yourself scouring your walls, looking for an available space and calculating if the piece you can’t get out of your head, would fit.  Are the colors right?  Does the style work?  Do I need to call an interior decorator?

As an artist myself, gallery owner past and online gallery owner present, I would say first..if you love it, don’t let it go.  Art is subjective and when you find something you can’t take your eyes off of, I would suggest you find a way to buy it.  Most any artist or gallery owner will work with you take that baby home.  There is little more motivating to an artist than seeing his or her work go out the door with a happy customer.

So, now you have it ….what next?  Look around and don’t match it to the furniture.  Match it to what you want to look at.  Personally, my favorite piece is hanging on the wall above my television.  Right where I can gaze at it when I want to, and I do, often.  It is soothing to me. I don’t care if the wall behind is red and the dominant colors in it are yellow.  In fact, it works very well.  Its funny how that happens.  Put the art where you can smile at it, and I’m convinced, it will smile back at you.  It’s an energy thing.  So now it’s on the wall, you look around and say, ” It was so much brighter in the gallery”. Likely so, It’s all in the lighting.  Some stores sell “Painting lights” that hang above the piece.  They can be okay, but it’s not ideal.  First, lighting it from above lights the top 1/3 or less, plus the design of the frame may cast a shadow.  Not to mention how to deal the cord that now hangs behind the painting and dangles below it and how do you deal with that?  The better way is via the use of a short track or single can unit that will allow you direct light from in front of the work, from the ceiling, angled down and toward the center of the work.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, but the better it’s lit, the more it will stand out, unless the room it is in is already bright and light.

Finaly, there are the care issues.  Today, many works on canvas are not framed, and that’s ok if they are “gallery wrap”, which means the canvas wraps around a stretcher that is at least 1 1/2 inches deep, and those edges are painted. Ideally, the painting goes around all edges of the canvas.  Thinner canvases should be framed, and all works on paper, such as watercolor or pastel should be framed and behind glass or acrylic.  The new acrylic is in some ways preferable, as it is so much lighter, and large works puts way less stress on the wire and the hook it’s hanging on.  However, know the difference.  Never use glass cleaner, like Windex on acrylic…it will scratch it.  Instead opt for an acrylic or plastic cleaner which can be purchased at most any retailer, even Walmart.  Next, don’t hang a painting on or near the chimney of a fireplace.  Heat and soot rise…and you’ll soon find clouding on the glass, or worse, ash on the canvas.  Also be careful with excess moisture.  Excess moisture, such as in a bathroom, can get behind glass which is dangerous for pastel or watercolor, though both are permanent pigments.  Most watercolor today is as durable as acrylic, but there can be damage depending on the paper used and the amount of moisture it is exposed to.  Traditional papers, such as Arches Watercolor Paper are very durable and light fast, but too much water can still make a mess.  Best practice says don’t hang watercolor in the bathroom.  Further, contemporary papers that are fun to paint on, such as Yupo paper must not be exposed to moisture.  The painting can literally wash away!  If you buy a watercolor or pastel unframed, take it to a frame shop for proper preservation and don’t simply pick up a ready made frame/glass kit at Hobby Lobby.  Suitable for a poster, yes, but not an original work on paper.

Once your new treasure is safely on the wall, you will want to occasionally clean the glass or acrylic.  If it is an unframed oil or acrylic look at it closely to ensure dust is not collecting on any “textured” areas.  They can be gently wiped with a soft brush.  If ash is present, take it to your frame shop for cleaning.

The best idea is to ask when you’re buying…How do I take care of this?  Anyone who knows the business of art, should be easily able to tell you.  I used to sell some wood sculpture that came with a 10 page manual for care and cleaning.  The work artists create comes straight from the core of their being.  We love to send it to happy homes, and we love even more, that those customers love it for the rest of their life.  I hope this is helpful. Feel free to ask questions.



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A Gallery Owner’s Guide to Framing: Why it’s framed…or Why not?

I wrote this for my newsletter and it got alot of attention…so it is for you: (PS, wrote this a few years ago, but i guess i never hit “publish” because it was still in my drafts…oops)

We’ve all been there. We find a great little piece and think “I love it, but I don’t love the frame.” The Gallery owner may say, “No Problem..I’ll take it out” or…No Can Do.” Why? What’s the difference and what can you do about it? (This custom frame job would make me reluctant to unframe!)

First, “why can’t I buy that without the frame?”. I’ve heard the question enough, I know a good percentage of you ask. Most of the time, the answer is simple. In many cases, shipping or packing a piece of work without framing may significantly increase the likelihood of damage to the piece. Take a pastel, oil pastel, or traditional watercolor, and taking the piece out of the frame, and in this case, the glass, put’s the piece at risk. Pastel is loosely affixed to it’s media, usually an archival “sanded” paper. It is framed substantianlly away from the glass and the mat. This is done to prevent static electricity from pulling pastel from the paper and sticking it to the mat and glass. Taking it out of its frame requires great care in packing and shipping (read: $$). Not that it can’t be done….just that it takes much more care in packing. Similarly, oil pastel works on paper require framing behind glass, because they never really dry. Shipping without adequate protection increases the likelihood of smudging. Traditional watercolor (on paper) is susceptible to damage from moisture and scratching.

That said, there are still ways to avoid the dangers and get the frame job you love. The first possibility is to take the whole piece to your favorite framer and have it unframed, and reframed by a professional. Why go to that expense? If your piece is not a “stock” size, then cutting mats, mounting, spacing and framing can make the most prolific artist shudder. I seldom frame my own work. I’m the professional at painting. Let the framing professional do the framing. I tend to wind up with bloody fingers and great stress. If, on the other hand, your piece is a “standard” or “stock” size, it may be as simple as picking up a precut mat and frame from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. So, what is a stock size? 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 9 x 12, 11 x 14, 12 x 16, 16 x 20, 18 x 24 (all in inches) are standard stock sizes for most pre-made frames, many premade mats and many pre-packaged paks of glass and foamcore.

If your original is 15 1/2 x 22 (a standard 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper) or other non-stock size, you may find it difficult to do it yourself. The warehouse stores (like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s) are often a less expensive option, though they won’t offer as wide a range of high quality framing options as most professional frame shops. Personally, I use the services of Jim and Lisa Cox, (yes, Jim is an excellent artist) at Taos Do It Yourself Picture Framing, in Taos. No, you don’t have to do it yourself…but they’ll help you if you’re so inclined.

What about those new watercolors on canvas? Those oils and acrylics on canvas…all with painted edges, unframed? They are actually suitable as they are..and often hang that way in galleries and homes, and museums. Unframed canvases don’t work in your decor? Ask your frame shop about “floating Canvas frames”. These frames, are as high quality as any other wood moulding, will “float” the canvas in the frame, allowing those painted edges to be seen while giving a more traditional look to the piece. More and more artists are moving to the canvas, with new canvas being “watercolor ready”. I love it. I love that the canvas can take layers and layers of watercolor, that I can finish it with protective, invisible, non yellowing varnish, and that there is no glass or frame necessarily reguired, saving me and my customer LOTS OF MONEY! If I can save $200-$400 in framing, just think what you save when you buy it! Plus, remember those standard sizes above? Most stock canvases are in those sizes as well. It’s not until you get into large, custom stretched canvas that you get outside those sizes.

So…next time you feel prompted to ask about that frame, consider this article..What is the medium? Are you shipping it? Can you get it safely home? But by all means, ask. I’ll answer your questions and help you choose the best course.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Intentions are not enough

Clearly, intentions are not enough.  Look at the last post, written in January.  Now we are at the end of July, and this is the first time since then that I even opened a Blogger window.  Despite my intention to post every Sunday, I didn’t even manage once a month!  Egad! 

Honestly, I’ve been trying to figure out how to make this connect to my regular wordpress site,  where I do seem more regular at posting, than I have here.  That technology seems to elude and confuse me, but I’ll keep looking, so that writing in one place would be enough! 

As I’m sure you know, life just keeps going, whether or not we are keeping up!  Keeping up with the rest of my life usually (apparently) takes most of my attention.  But this afternoon, I’m sitting in an apartment in New York City, the hum of the City, quieted by the headphones and music in my ears.  It’s our last day here.  We’ve been here a week.  Husband was teaching a class and I mostly played.  I did do 3 small scratchbord works, but only when it was hot or raining outside.  Otherwise I was walking and walking.  I discovered that many of my favorite stores are still closed for remodeling, or closed or moved, as a result of that terrible hurricane called Sandy. Sad.  On the other hand many got together and made new spaces in unconventional ways, like using box cars!  You know, the ones that go from rail road to semi truck for shipping?  Instead shipping they are now providing shopping!  Gotta respect the tenacity and commitment that demonstrates.

Anyhoo, I was sitting here thinking, “what should I do?  too hot to go out.  need to finish packing but husband is napping.  I could read, and I probably will.  I already packed my scratchbord stuff, so unless I dare to disturb the sleeping one, I guess I’ll wait on that.  Then I clicked through from Facebook to a friend’s blogpost and after reading that, thought…hmmm. blog.  I came through to mine and saw that January date and groaned.  ugh,  Really?  I haven’t written there since January?  Not that this post in meaningful by any means.  Stream of consciousness really.  Well, consciousness is the point, right? 

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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SALE! Studio/Gallery Clearance!

Time to Clear it out and make room for new.  Ask me.  Ask Deborah.  It’s Spring Cleaning time for us, which means GREAT deals for you.  Some discounts a full 50%.  I don’t know how long it will last, but it’s here now and the deals are hot.  If you don’t want to use the PayPal link with the add to cart, it’s still easy.  Just contact me and we’ll work it out otherwise.  Seriously…look for the SALE stickers and note the original price…yowzers.  Time to redecorate!

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What’s kept me busy since January? Writing!

Yes, writing.  But obviously, I wasn’t writing here!  OOPS!  I was busy writing and publishing my first book. Ok, so I already had a DVD by the same name, but I updated it and improved it.  First, it came out in e-course/e-book format.  And now, (as of this week) it is available in paperback.  All of the above are on and you can follow the links above, or just head to Amazon (when you’re done here, of course) and search for “How to Paint a Poppy that POPS!”.  That’s will show you all three. At any rate, that kept me busy for two months of writing/editing, cleaning up text and links etc.  Then it was time for the icky stuff (taxes) that had to be done. At any rate, I’m back to working here again, and will hope to post more new work within two weeks or so, so check back when you can.  In the mean time, Start hunting for places to hang new work on your walls, or surprise you’re sweetheart with some beautiful and unique jewelry…that’s coming next.  Jewelry.  Till then, follow us on Facebook to get short notice specials that are not  advertised elsewhere.  And, we’ll see you soon back here.  Be sure to call me if you’re headed to Angel Fire,,,set an appointment to view available works or to take a class…yup, still doing that too! 🙂  Happy Spring!   If you’re still buried in snow, take heart, Spring is just around the corner. At least, I HOPE it is! 🙂



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Music From Angel Fire Posters are HERE!

Well, I told you they were coming…and after some major image editing, and hours of upload, they are here.  Music From Angel Fire Festival Posters are here! We have posters from 1984 all the way through 2012, though we don’t have posters from EVERY year just yet.  A major inventory must be done by the organization before I’ll know if some years for which I have no posters are sold out, or if there are more hiding in the storage facilities.  I let you know if I add more though.  In the meantime, you can see in each poster product how many or how few are in stock right now.  And scroll to the bottom of the page for more info such as shipping and how i handle it.

Happily though, you’ll find posters by Amado Pena, Sherrie McGraw,  Albert Handel, Doug West, and a number of other artists of national and international repute.  Plus, posters by Angel Fire’s own Jennifer Cavan and Sylvia Avenius Ford.  The only pre-framed posters I have are by Sylvia.  All the rest are unframed and only a handful are signed.  The rest are not.

So, head to this page1984 Music From Angel Fire Festival Poster  2000 Music From Angel Fire Festival Poster 1986 Music From Angel Fire Festival Poster to see what we have and pay attention to how many we have of each.  If you love one and there is only one in stock, better add it to your cart pronto!  It will likely be summer before I know if there are any more. Unframed and unsigned posters are only $30.  Dimensions listed are all Height and then Width, or how Tall the poster is, first, then how wide.  The posters themselves are more than just the images shown.  They include the Season, the year and other similar pieces of information, as is typical of most any poster.