Starlight Finches

For the year 2021 I am making two paintings a month. You can see them all in the paintings section of my website, and you can read about them here.


One morning at the beginning of the month, I went for a walk knowing that a storm was forecasted. In the past five years I have lived in places where it rains frequently, but storms with thunder and lightning are very rare. I've forgotten the way that storms change the energy of the air. On this morning in particular, the clouds started to darken and twist together, creating a marbling effect over the sky. The sun was still managing to peak through like a little glowing pearl, and the glow of the morning still hovered over the horizon. Suddenly, wind began rustling branches and all the birds started to fly away at the same time. I took some pictures and almost immediately went home to try to paint the scene, abandoning the sharp pastel palette I was excited about from the previous month. Planning on getting back to that soon :)

This moment uses a similar palette to the stormy sky painting above. Firewheels are some of my favorite wildflowers (they are all my favorite when I am looking at them). I love them when they are in bloom, and also when they've dried out towards the end of the summer. The lines of the stems tell a story about how each flower needed to grow in order to bloom. It reminds me of the lines and scars that form on our bodies, and the dried creek beds that held the moving water from the earlier part of the year. The end of summer is a kind of winter in many ways.

July and August

My wonderful dog ,Leia (like the princess), frequently causes me to notice beautiful moments that I would have overlooked on my own. This painting came from one of these observations. Leia is part hound and becomes completely obsessed by smells. I noticed these uniquely colored leaves one morning while I was waiting for her to finish sniffing this patch of grass by the creek. I actually changed the palette quite a bit when I was making this painting and am so excited to use these sharp pastels in the future.

More little insect paintings while I keep chipping away at the larger commission. I really do think Junebugs are cute, despite being annoying. I may add more black outline to the grasshopper. Not sure what I will do with these yet. I had a lot  going on in these two months, so took awhile to post. Hopefully things will be settling down soon.

An interesting flower filled with light green blossoms with purples centers, against a dark background with grasses and leaves.

June 2021

This is the first year that I've ever noticed 'Antelope Horn' or green milkweed. It's one of the flowers favored by the Monarch butterflies that make their way through the country down to central Mexico in the fall. I don't know how I missed this gorgeous, minty-lime green flower cluster with it's purple stars and thick petals blooming in the tall dry grass of North Texas. Maybe because it only blooms for a short time until the flowers turn into fuzzy brownish pods. Maybe also because I've spent so much time this past strange year walking outside. I loved making this painting. When I was mixing the light green and purple paint, I kept having flashbacks to my first bike, a dreamy sea foam green 80sHuffy with white and lavender streamers.

A graphic painting of a little firefly surrounded by aqua, lilac, copper and navy rings of light, with a pattern of dark leaf shadows  surrounding

I'm just beginning a large commissioned painting that will probably take me at least two months to finish. I want to keep my promise to myself to make two small paintings a month for this year, so I've decided for the next few months to make some even smaller paintings like this. This one was a lot of fun to make and only took a day or two to finish. They will most likely all be colorful, cartoony little paintings of insects. The originals will be available, all for under 50 dollars, and I will probably use the images to make  greeting cards and smaller things. This is the first one! A festive little firefly :)

May 2021

Landscape scene with lots of clouds, pinkish grey mountains, gray rocks, trees, and a pool with a reflection of trees and sky.  Lots of gold highlights and green grass

This painting was inspired by a visit to Medicine Bow National Forest in Laramie, Wyoming a few years ago. I love the connection between the clouds and the little pond. I still have a lot to learn about landscape painting, but this was really fun to make.

A dark pink peony flower with a yellow center surrounded by leaves and a little katydid.  In front of a grey fence

This painting was inspired by a beautiful peony blooming in a friend's garden this Spring. The rain on this day, made the grain on the gray fence look extra saturated, and I wanted to play it up even more when I was painting the background. I added a katydid because I love their leafy camouflage and their long faces. I also love their names.

April 2021

Two flowers in an ochre field in front of foggy mountains.  The flowers are white and have three petals each with a colorful center.

8x11 inch watercolor & gouache
Mariposa Lilies discovered on a trail through meadows and mountains near Boulder, Colorado. I had never heard of them before I found them on that day. It was enchanting to see the striking colors at the base of their petals, especially contrasted against a grey and ochre overcast landscape. It reminded me of the hypnotic quality of the patterns on moth wings, birch bark and woodgrain... like there are eyes staring back at you.

A red and white cluster of roses blooming from green leaves.  The sky is a strange mixture of blues.

9x12 inches watercolor and gouache
Based on a wild rose hybrid from Peninsula Park Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. Roses are the most dramatic flower. Their blooms are explosions of petals, scent and hues so saturated that it's almost surreal. It is not a peaceful kind of beauty. I couldn't quite capture the colors, but tried to recreate the drama with other elements in the composition. I did my best :)

March 2021

11x15 in watercolor & gouache
Hono Hono orchids growing over stones near my old house in Manoa Valley in O'ahu. They grow from long woody vines, and cascade like a lilac and lime waterfall for three or four feet. I used to see people holding them like homecoming mums at the lei shops near the airport. They smell wonderful.

A path curves over a maize/ochre field.  There are trees with no leaves on either side.  The trees on the left stand straight up and follow the curve of the path, and the tree on the right is bent over sideways.  There is a small bench towards the end of the path.  Most of the painting is little white clouds over a bright blue sky.  The sun is shining.

12 x 8 inch watercolor
Painted from a picture of a trail I walk with my dog, Leia several times a week. I'm always surprised by how much it changes from one day to the next. I have no idea why this tree has grown sideways, but it makes for great movement.

February 2021

18x24 inch watercolor & gouache
Cloudy sky over Emery and Montie's house in Goodnight, which sits on the edge of the Palo Duro Canyon.

A honey bee, painted in the center of the page, surrounded by an elliptical chain of clovers and small flowers, mostly red and purple with some small blue daisies.

8 x 12 inch watercolor and gouache
Inspired by a little February bee I saw in the grass, as well as the little clovers that some how survived the Texas freeze.

January 2021

A little crawfish painted with many colors crawling through shallow water on a grey daya green succulent with round leaves and tiny pink blossoms reaching towards the sunlight.

9x12 watercolor
Kalanchoe reaching towards the sunlight  during the gray winter time.

9x12 inch watercolor
A crawfish washed away from the lake after a stormy night. She had such a long way to go when I found her. That same morning, I had scooped up a few fish that were flopping in the puddles and thrown them back in the lake. When I crouched down to consider if I should move this creature to deeper water, she curled her back tail under her body and lifted her cephalothorax and claws towards me. It was impressively intimidating and the clearest kind communication between animals. I knew she would be fine on her own. When I looped back, she was nowhere to be found on the land.

December 2020

Two bright red geraniums against a dark blue background with diamond shaped starsa prickly pear cactus with magenta cylindrical fruits blooming on a sunny day

Geraniums from a backyard in Amarillo, Texas, that is always ringing from the sound of windchimes. Geraniums were my favorite flower when I was young, and I still think they are the most cheerful flower you can plant. The way that they bloom reminds me of bursting fireworks.

Prickly Pear blooming from a cactus at Oak Point Nature Reserve. Painted as a gift from a photo taken two months earlier. January is warm here, but not that warm.