The day my dog became a TV star!


I got a very exciting call a few weeks ago.  My studio phone rang, and when I picked up, a very nice and well-spoken man introduced himself as Mark from Channel three.  Apparently, he was interested in my pet portrait business.  I happily chatted with him for about 5 minutes, thinking that he was in the process of ordering a pet portrait.  New clients often like to get a sense of what I’m about and how I work before pulling the trigger on an order.  But at some point, I realized that the two of us were having two entirely different conversations.  He wasn’t interested in putting in an order for a pet portrait.  He was an anchor, and wanted to feature my little business on the evening news!

This is the point at which I clammed up and became the most awkward and tongue-tied version of myself.  I somehow managed to get through the rest of the conversation without giving away how terribly shy I am in front of audiences, and we made a date for him to stop by my studio the following week with his camera crew.

Then, I did what any girl in my situation would do.  I called my bff so we could squeal together on the phone.  Then I creatively staged – I mean tidied up – my studio (what do you mean, I always organize my bookshelf by color.)  And then, of course, I took my dog to the groomer’s for a fresh haircut.  I usually let him look more or less like a dirty mop during the winter months, but I didn’t want everyone in the Wisconsin viewing area knowing about my lax canine beauty standards.

And then the big day was here.  Mark Koehn, the anchor who had contacted me, was the sweetest, most engaging person I’ve ever met.  Having a conversation with him felt totally natural, and I even forgot the cameras were there.  The piece aired earlier this month, and it was a blast to have friends from around the area tell me they had seen me (and my dog) on TV!

Just wanted to say a big ol’ THANK YOU to Mark Koehn and Channel 3 news – you guys are the best, and I couldn’t be more honored to be on your show!

You can watch the whole segment here.


Fresh from the easel

Hello friends!

I hope that you had a lovely holiday season. I painted my little heart out for the first half of December to get all of my holiday orders done, and then I took a much needed 3 week vacation from painting. Sometimes putting down the paint brush is just what an artist needs!

My favorite thing about January is that I can finally share pictures of all the holiday commissions I was working on. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s holiday surprise, so I’m very secretive about my work in November and December :)

I worked with a fantastic (and dog-obsessed) group of clients this year, and I’m so excited to finally share a few of the pieces that made their debut under the Christmas tree.

Here’s a taste of what I was working on in December…


A pair of plums

Plums and glass“Plums and Glass”  |  6″x6″  |  oil on gesso board  |  purchase here

After finishing over 300 paintings, I’ve covered a pretty wide range of subjects.  Poking through my archives, I can find pets, fruit and veggies, portraits, mountains, boats, figures, seagulls, trees, pastries, and even the occasional parrot. But even so, there a few subjects that I avoid at all costs.  Babies, for one.  Paintings of babies are always one misplaced brushstroke away from an offended parent.  And glass – oh, how I’ve avoided glass.

I finally tried painting some clear glass a couple of weeks ago at Carol Marine’s workshop.  While it wasn’t exactly easy, it turns out that it wasn’t too hard either.  Glass, like this small vase, is made up of shapes, values, and colors just like anything else you might care to paint.  And the only real challenge is being able to really see these shapes, values and colors without your brain getting in the way.

Summer Tomatoes

Summer Tomatoes

“Summer Tomatoes” | 6″x6″ | oil on gesso board | purchase here

Two weeks ago, I finally got the chance to fulfill one of my painting dreams…taking a workshop with daily painter Carol Marine!  It’s something that I’d wanted to do since I first stumbled upon her fresh, contemporary impressionist paintings sometime last year.  So when she announced that she was planning another workshop, my painter friend Sheila Arora and I jumped at the chance.

The workshop was everything I’d imagined and more.  We spent the week watching demos, asking questions, and practicing new techniques.  And I actually came home with two small paintings that I’m extremely proud of (which is definitely not a given when you’re learning some new techniques).  Carol also inspired me to incorporate more daily painting into my life, which is something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

I feel like I’ve been neglecting the painting part of my brain these past several months since I’ve been so overwhelmed with launching my ketubah and marriage certificate business, Ink with Intent.  But now that the wedding season is finally winding down (woo hoo!), I’m ready to dive headfirst back into painting.  It feels good to be back in front of my easel!

“Dog on a Walk” – The Complete Collection

Do you remember when I set off on a mission to create a series of paintings capturing the best part of any dog’s day? Tons of lovely people submitted their photos, and selecting the ones to use was a hard, hard task. But I finally narrowed it down to my 14 favorites, and began painting like there’s no tomorrow.

Now I’m excited to present my completed “Dog on a Walk” series!  Click on each picture to see more detail.

These small paintings will be selling for $100-$175 each depending on the size.  They’ll be available for purchase at Bad Dog Frida as part of Madison’s Gallery Night on May 2, 2014.  But after that event, I will make them available on my website for purchase.

I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who took the time to look through their photos and share snippets of their lives with me.  Whether or not I ended up using your picture, I was truly inspired by everything that came my way.

He was eying my lunch

On Saturday, I had the great fortune of attending a painting workshop by one of my favorite contemporary painters, Shelby Keefe.  To say I was star-struck is a bit of an understatement.  When I walked into her studio, I started acting like a 13-year old who had just scored back-stage passes to a N’Sync concert (did I just date myself?)


She started the day by demoing her signature painting technique.  I was fascinated to learn that she starts each piece with a wash of acrylic paint in bold, vibrant colors.  I’d used this technique in the past, but never with such a saturated under-painting.  The results are magical.  Her contemporary impressionist pieces take my breath away.  Here’s the painting that she whipped out in first hour and a half of class.   Jealous much?


In the second part of the workshop, we all took out our paints and tried to apply her techniques to our own work.  I had decided to work off a photo I snapped on a trip to San Francisco a few years back.  We had been sitting behind the Ferry Building enjoying a feast of french macaroons, local yogurt and house-made granola (we were going to do this California Cuisine thing right), when a seagull began pacing back and forth in front of our table eying our food.  The photo I took had some wonderful shapes with the bike, railing and shadows.



I spent the next four hours sketching out my composition, mixing colors, and trying to apply the lessons I’d learned from Shelby’s demo.  I’m actually really happy with how it came out!



Lunchtime Staredown


Thanks Shelby for a completely wonderful day of painting!


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