2009-2012 PNW

After moving in the Fall of 2009 to an island just west of Seattle,
it took awhile for me to get my painterly bearings back.

I applied to a cooperative gallery called Front Street in Poulsbo, WA, in March of 2010,
but didn’t hear back from them for six months.

I’d forgotten my application by the time they called me, but I was thrilled to be invited
to join them. Within a week I was meant to hang a show. That was a scramble to be sure,
since I didn’t have a large inventory remaining from Montana.
This image is one of them, though, and I thought you might like to see how I changed it.
With my new multi-media skills, I added metal leaf, and redid the background with
oil pastel. Though I love the new version,
it still remains in my possession
if you’re interested!

24 x 30 / $775

Forest Child – Being closer to the domain of the Spirit Bear in BC motivated me to begin painting
them again.
Something about the fertility and vibrancy of the Pacific Northwest made me feel
more experimental.
I covered a masonite board with several layers of White Absorbent Ground,
WAG, and
went to town with my watercolors. Thrilled with the ability to lift color in a way not
possible on paper, I knew I’d found a new way of using my old favorite medium.


If, Then – A haunting photograph of a white forest bear standing against an almost
black bank of boulders had been
calling me to paint it since 2004. Now was the time.
The image taken by Wayne McCrory, the bear biologist primarily responsible for

publicizing the bear’s plight, became this mythical image.
The more you look the more creatures you’ll see embedded in the water/ground.
Again the ease of lifting watercolor from a WAG surface
made it possible.
To learn more about the bears contact Valhalla Wilderness Society.
This painting is SOLD.

Poppy Seeds – Spring came quickly and I hung a show themed on flowers.
This new painting of a poppy was based on a photo
from a wild poppy
growing near my Montana home.
Its brilliance charms me still. SOLD

Waiting for the Future – My experimental watercolors continued pouring forth.
This one on board painted with WAG and includes collage of Japanese papers.


Waiting for the Sun – This image is based on the NW coastal peoples’ mythology
about how the last ice age finally melted,

how raven retrieved the sun from where it was kept prisoner in a box.

I don’t remember how Claybord, manufactured by Ampersand, attracted me.
I haven’t been the same since!
It’s not meant for juicy watercolor but I hadn’t read the label before

I began painting. This is my first image and its brilliance thrills me.
No frame needed either
because the Claybord has a two inch cradle
which I decorate with acrylic and stamps.

Some stamps are my own design.
This combination is so stunning that I’m now teaching others
how to paint watercolors on Claybord.


Bringing Up the Pearl –

Salmon, so important to our planet, is found in mythologies from Europe
as well as the Pacific Northwest.

I’m devoted to this remarkable fish so essential to the fertility of our planet.
I painted this one rising from the well of wisdom with acorns floating on the surface

and oak leaves suspended above.
I experimented with crackle paste to represent the sides of the well.

This, too, is watercolor on Claybord but this one is framed
in a wonderful celtic entwined pattern of carved wood.

Available: 18″ x 24″, wood carved frame in Celtic style, 21′ x 27″ / $695

Crack in the Cosmic Egg – Watercolor on Claybord.
Years ago I did a series called the Gold Box series

when I was first experimenting with metal leaf.
The imagery came from some deep place in my psyche
and I was a little embarrassed

by what I thought was awkward drawing and odd compositions.
Yet all eight of them sold, bing, bing, bing.

With Claybord now in my repertoire, I suddenly wanted to do more.

This is a small, cradled Claybord. Only 5″ x 5″ and I did it as a study
for a big Claybord piece I had in mind which you’ll see right below this one.
I adore it and so did my daughter who purchased it before it was off my studio table.
The fish is a stamp I designed. I often use it for the decorative cradles that serve as frames on these pieces.

Who’s Dreaming Whom – My first large Claybord watercolor. 24″ x 36″.
Inspired by the movie, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and the poem below which I wrote nearly twenty years ago
to accompany another watercolor. It’s SOLD.

Who’s Dreaming Whom?

 In my dreams, the bear comes, a mother with cubs
inviting me to see:
frolicking, suckling, guiding, protecting
I wish for a mother to be that for me.

 In my dreams, the bear comes, reaching for berries,
startled by me:
Standing, he squints, weaves, sniffs the breeze.
Fur rippling over muscles, he chooses to flee.

 In my dreams, the bears come, seeking garbage,
ribs easy to see.
Anxious and collared, they’re chased by dogs, darted from trees.
Bears struggle to live, no longer free.

 Do the bears have nightmares, dreaming of me?

Another cradled Claybord piece, this one is called Roots,
a reference to the intertwining
of our human ancestry.
We all come from the clay of the earth, our DNA similar to that of the plant kingdom.

The designs on the larger clay pot represent different cultural motifs and if you squint
you can see different life forms coming from the dark mysterious steaming within.


Eairth Bound – Have you ever considered the fact that the air spins right
along with the planet
and that beyond our atmosphere lies the vacuum of deep space?
Have you considered that if we could drive
straight off the earth
and through the atmosphere, driving as if you were on an interstate,
it would only take ten minutes

to pop out into nothingness?
Doesn’t that blow your mind?

My daughter and I rode in hot air balloons just north of Seattle:
that experience blew my mind!


Around the Bend – This large watercolor took ten years to complete because the complexity of the cliffs
stymied me for a long time.

Suddenly, though, it all fell into place. I used oil pastels and colored pencils
for some of the finishing touches,

and it sold almost as soon as it got hung at the gallery.

You can read about the process of finishing this painting and
see it in its various stages by clicking here.

This is the accompanying poem:

Paddling for our lives, we rest briefly
between towering walls of water
and I wonder: Why am I doing this?

Resting on molten gold, I glance up at cliff walls.
Like photographs spilling from my grandmother’s album,
the planet’s life story pours over me.

She Sees It All – A small claybord study from an old
black and white photograph of my daughter
when she was two, more than forty years ago now.
Her eyes continue to rivet me.

Wolf Eyes – Another watercolor on Claybord piece.

Blue eyes gaze into yellow.
I see her wild soul
and wish her to be free.

Yellow eyes lock into blue.
I imagine she wishes
I had the key.
These both SOLD right away.


Yggdrasil – Watercolor and oil pastel on paper.

I didn’t intend to portray Norse mythology with this world tree image,
the eighth tree in my repertoire,
but that’s what happened. There’s the squirrel running back and forth
between the serpent in the well between the roots
and the raven in the branches
connecting all the cosmological worlds
so we all remember up and down and dark and light work in harmony.

Available: 14″ x 28″ image, celtic style carved wood frame, 23 x 36 / $1525.00

My friend didn’t want me to take her photo when she’d just emerged
from her tent and hadn’t yet had coffee. But, how I ask, could I
not snap a picture when the early morning sun
back lit her bedhead, brilliant, numinous halo of hair?

I didn’t even notice the webbed crescent sculpture
in the background.

Her goddess self had to be painted,
another watercolor on Claybord.

I was honored to have her purchase it!

Dreaming Bear – A friend’s pencil work captivates me; whimsical, delicious and “simple”
compared to my
complex watercolors.
Because I already play with white pencil on black paper for

luminous mandalas, I decided to try drawing that way using my imagination
not ordinary realism. I wanted to portray the security of a spirit bear
asleep in an old growth tree, the hollowed -out dens
that only an old growth tree can provide.
The bears depend on those trees for survival:
their claws are not long, strong enough to dig dirt dens.

This is my first attempt and it sold out of my hand, un-matted, un-framed, when I
shared it at show ‘n’ tell at my artists’ salon.

Bliss that is!

In order to give you an idea of how this luminous pencil technique works,
here is an example of a picture in process. Above, see how the tree
is just white pencil. The coloring comes after the
the entire drawing is finished in white.

This second serene and happy bear is more complex
than the first one
and features the salmon stamp I created. Note how the white
penciled rendering of the tree bark texture is now in glowing color.

     Called” Cave of the Dreaming Bear”, it SOLD/

2 thoughts on “2009-2012 PNW

  1. Deborah – Your paintings are some of my favorite pieces of spiritual art. I am so glad you are offering your gifts to the world in this way. I am interested both in Cave of the Dreaming Bear” and “Waiting for the Future.” Are they both still available? “Bone Thrower” is a beautiful piece, and I also really loved “Around the Bend” and “Crack in the Cosmic Egg”, among others. Love your cosmic colors.

    • Joan, How wonderful to know that you were perusing my website. Shaun P pointed out that I never added my contact information, so I’m glad you simply wrote a comment. Hurray for wordpress and blogs. I’m happy to report that Cave of the Dreaming Bear is still available as is Waiting for the Future. let me know if you’d like to purchase either. I use PayPal which makes it pretty easy. I’m thrilled to tell you that Bone Thrower has just been juried into a prestigious show out here. Now I have to find the money to get it framed so it will be even more impressive! That is my first piece that really felt like an initiation into my new era of painting. I have just now gotten my internet connection re-established and so I will make time soon to update this website because a month ago, as part of another online course called DEEP, with the same teacher who inspired me in BIG, I painted another break through painting. Lots of fond memories and love wing to you, dear old friend.

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