Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sometimes Life Requires a 4-inch brush

Yes, sometimes life requires a 4-inch brush. Literally.

After I painted a barn quilt for our shed in the summer of 2019, I knew that I wanted one for the studio. My studio is above a 3-car garage and gives me approximately 760 square feet to work. Overlooking a ravine with a year-round creek, its cathedral ceiling and skylights are an artist's dream.

My husband and I designed it and he built it. The studio came out even better than I envisioned.

And, after 19 years, it was time for an exterior paint job and new stairs. AND, a barn quilt.

my barn quilt on the shed July 2019

For the new barn quilt, I am using the same materials. Pressure-treated plywood, 4' X 4'

The studio barn quilt is the other half of the original 4' x 8' sheet of pressure-treated plywood. To create consistency, I decided to use some of the same colors from the shed quilt for the studio quilt.

Step one: Two coats of quality exterior paint on the plywood. I like to use the building's color. Some of my design uses the building's color giving the design a more airy look. You can fill in the imperfections of the board before painting, but I like the rough look. Feels more like barn wood to me.

Step two: Layout the design. For drawing lines at an angle across a 4' section, I use a 6' level's edge as a guide.


Step three: Start in the center and paint all of one color. All the colors are premium exterior paint.

Now that the barn quilt was done, the studio had to get painted. 

Sometimes life requires a 4-inch brush and a 45' lift. My husband rented a lift so he was not moving a ladder three feet at a time.

Step four: Install the barn quilt. We used 2.5" and 1.25" exterior grade cabinet screws rated for pressure-treated products.

View from our kitchen deck


And there are times when life requires a 4-inch brush, figuratively. Times when we should be looking at the broader picture and not be mired in details which will not matter next week, or even tomorrow. When life seems to be filled with crevasses, maybe a four-inch brush can smooth our path.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020



Spooked     Original Oil     24" X 36"


Friday, September 11, 2020

Zebra painting cont'd

Back to the zebra painting.

 The reflection is complete. Now it is time to "make moonlight." This will take numerous layers of glazing. With a little bit of paint mixed with Liquin, I am starting with a more teal base for the zebra and will move into a softer blue.

Below you can see the background being glazed with a mixture of ultramarine blue and paynes gray. This is about the 4th layer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020


There are times when the world and life seem beyond our control.

And then there is the other kind.

This past Monday, Labor Day, a strong north wind blew through Spokane, knocking down trees, power lines, and sparking fires. At one point more than 60,000 customers in the Inland Northwest had lost electricity.

We lost ours Monday at 10am. We were power-less.

Fortunately, the temperatures outside were neither scorching hot, nor really cold (though it did get down in to the 40's Monday night.) Our biggest inconvenience was that we had no water. Without electricity, our well pump cannot function. 

Our power company kept us well-informed. With power poles down all over the county and consistently high winds, they explained their linemen could not safely begin repairs. By Tuesday midday, they had assessed the damage in our area and determined we would have our power back by 6 pm Wednesday.

You start to think about your frig, your freezers, your hair you wanted to shampoo, the lights for the painting sitting on your easel. All the little things.

Then I stopped and looked at one of our faucets. When was the last time I was thankful for the water which comes out of it every time I turn the lever? Or, when was the last time I was grateful that the lights come on when I flick a little switch on the wall? Or, hot water? When was the last time I was thankful for hot water coming out of my shower head?

Or, the linemen who fix the power lines? I can't begin to imagine if I had to go and find a broken line and fix it myself.  Thanks to the good work from the power company, we had our electricity restored 23 hours earlier than they had promised. 

This short interval without electricity was good for us in several ways. We found that our existing compressor either needs repairs or replacement because we couldn't get it to work. Finding this out now is important in case we lose power for a longer duration, especially during the colder months.

We know we have an adequate supply of backup drinking water. The Coleman stove works.

But, maybe the best part for me is that, for a while, I might appreciate the power of turning a lever and having water come out of a faucet and therefore, how truly fortunate we are.


My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes this fire season. There are thousands of us thinking of you right now.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Splish, Splash

 For splashing muddy water, I started with the coolest and darkest colors first.


The brightest part of the splash is phthalocyanine blue lake with titanium white.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020


 Here I am just starting to play around with what is causing all the commotion.