my High Noon

my High Noon

Following up. Earlier this month, I wrote about Imitation being the sincerest form of a compliment, you can read that article here.

I really wanted to share a painting I did awhile back, a copy of Teresa Elliott’s “High Noon“. Chosen as the official image for the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale. But I didn’t feel it was right to show without her permission. I mustered the courage and asked for it. She graciously granted,( big smiles here!) She is in my Top Five list of current artists I aspire to emulate.

Longhorn copy of Teresa Elliott's High Noon.

My compliment to Teresa Elliott’s High Noon

“It’s not a competition, it’s a doorway.”  ― Mary Oliver

“It’s not a competition, it’s a doorway.” ― Mary Oliver

Since painting 4 birds for the Arte de Avian juried show at TCA, in Tubac, I’ve sold all of the paintings and have three more requests for birds. This is an under painting of a cactus wren, I am currently working on, loosely commissioned as a result of the show. I was so very honored to have one of my pieces chosen for the show. I was even more stoked when I saw the caliber of work that was juried in along with mine. When I submitted my pieces I assumed it was a local artist’s exhibition. I was mistaken, it was a national show with artists from 17 states represented.

I hoped it would get my name out there in the community. It did, many of our neighbors and friends had no idea I painted. Not only that, since then I’ve had people come to my studio and out of state visitors reaching out to contact me about my work.  I didn’t win a prize or an honorable mention but the show opened up opportunity I never expected. My piece sold to a local art collector,as did three other bird paintings. If you’ve been hesitant to submit your art in a juried show for fear of rejection, “Feel the Fear and do it anyway!” You never know what opportunities it will open for you.

Cactus wren

Cactus wren


“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” – Charles Caleb Colton

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” – Charles Caleb Colton

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” – Charles Caleb Colton

I have been reading, OIL PAINTING with the MASTERS Essential Techniques from Today’s Top Artists by Cindy Salaski. The concept is to learn by emulating other successful artists and each chapter is devoted to the different principals and elements of design and a tutorial by a different painter. Essentially multiple mini workshops in book form.

Recently a collaborative 9 week e-course hosted by Jeanne Oliver and Christy Tomlinson, Katie Kendrick, Stephanie Lee, Kate Thompson, Junelle Jacobsen, Danielle Donaldson, Teresa Sheeley, Jenny Wentworth. Studying under the Masters { Becoming an Apprentice} explored the idea of the artistic pro

my imitation of Teresa Elliot

my imitation of Teresa Elliott- “High Noon”

cess was to “copy” the master artist until the apprentice could confidently integrate pieces of it into their own creative process. In this course, you will watch as these artists “copy” the works of another artist. You will then learn as they create art in their own style incorporating the techniques and/or medium of their chosen artist.

My mentor Lou Maestas encourages new artists to copy brushstroke for brushstroke the works of artists we admire. To learn techniques, brushwork and process. training ourselves to work out problems in construction and composition that emulate art we are drawn toward.

Artists I have admire and have imitated include, James Reynolds, Teresa Elliott, Maggie Siner, Dawn Emerson, Rebecca Haines and Will Kemp.


imitation of James Reynolds Navajo Ponies oil rubout

imitation of James Reynolds Navajo Ponies by Leslie Miller-oil rubout on gessoed panel

A Transformative Workshop with Dawn Emerson

A Transformative Workshop with Dawn Emerson


One Word: Transformative

transform |transˈfôrmverb with obj. ] make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of: 

I mentioned to someone that I would be attending a pastel workshop led by Dawn Emerson she said she had heard great things about her and her workshops in fact one person had told her it was “transformative to her own art”. After two days of incredible instruction and motivation, I would agree, wholeheartedly!

The title of the workshop “Dance with Pastels” was a literal description of her style of instruction. With progressive steps she led us in a dance with our artwork both figuratively and literally. “Lead with your belly button”, “feel the form and lightly describe with the charcoal”” find the rhythm and locate *******repetition in your composition

Like a party whisperer she had the energy and personality to take the wallflowers away from the edges and onto the dance floor, so to speak.

She shared the ups and downs of her career, She encourages trying various mediums and mixing multiple media, exploring and releasing creativity by letting go of pressures we put on ourselves about cost and perfection. working in series to explore all of the elements of a subject or composition.

I wish I had written this idea down verbatim she shared about painting the same thing many times. but it went something like this… if I were to paint you, the first couple times it would resemble you in appearance, then a couple more times, I would begin to pick up on your personal characteristics and your personality would begin to shine through, then after multiple sessions my feelings about you would be apparent. This idea has stuck with me and comes to mind often.

If you were to ask me one reason to take a workshop from Dawn, it would be very hard for me to narrow down. I think it would be, although there were 13 students in a two day workshop, she quickly picked up on each persons strengths, weaknesses and temperament. Then towards the end of the workshop took the time to guide each of us in ways to improve our work and enrich our artistic experiences.

I am embarrassed to say this post has been in my “drafts” folder since October 2014. I wanted to do it justice. Elaborate more, gush more over Dawns work and teaching skills and share some big plans that developed as a result of this workshop… Best laid plans.

Most of the time my ideas are bigger and more involved than I have the time to implement. Since that time I have lost a good bit of my photos and a whole lot of my recall!

Just take it from me if the opportunity arises to take a class from Dawn Emerson, jump at the chance! I promise it will be transformative,_MG_5622

Striving for Excellence

Striving for Excellence

fox with moxie WIP

fox with moxie WIP

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”
― Vince Lombardi

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”
― John Wooden

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
― Booker T. Washington

My art mentor had charged me to “Strive for Excellence”. I’ve been thinking about what that means to me and to my art.