Memories of California

I am somewhat jet lagged after just returning home from almost three weeks in magical California.  Seriously with all the flight delays my head hit the pillow at 4:30am! Other than trying to get home, it was truly an amazing experience.  Although it was seriously chillier than I expected it would be.  But the sun was shining almost every day and the sky was so blue.

Never had the chance to share the experience while I was travelling.  Happiness is being that kind of busy.

PACE 2017 San DIego

PACE 2017 - This is a lot of what it was about

The opportunity to paint along side of plein air artists, watch what other are doing and learn from almost everyone.  And one of my personal favourite sports - checking out everyone's gear!  I was on the hunt for lighter gear to take when I am flying.  I had a chance to talk with lots of people to see if and why they love their stuff.  And to see what they would recommend.  Wonderful opportunity. 

The presentations were informative. I took many notes and also sketched some of the people sitting in front of me.  I have a travel sketchbook that I have taken away with me the past four years.  It reads like a journal with good detailed information from the sessions. I get to relive the the experience each time I open it up.  Really happy I have been doing this.

PACE 2017


This year I met up with Jane Freeman and Marilyn Wear once again.  We have managed to meet up once a year for the past four years - and plan to do it again in Santa Fe in 2018.  

We have so much fun attending the sessions, painting at new locations,  offering advice and opinions on art products and of course the conversations at meal time.  And checking out what each of us may have purchased at the Expo

We met up with so many people and had the opportunity to bond in art.  I would not even know where to start.  Just really grateful for the experience.

Spin to win and nervousness

Part of the excitement was the opportunity to spin to win. Every morning the 1000 attendees sat with anticipation to see if their name would be drawn.  On the last day, anticipation turned to nervousness as I heard my name being called out. I think I may have said crap!  We had to go up on the stage and do a happy dance. I hid behind the wheel but got caught and had to go out on the stage.  I was quite surprised at my reaction - I was trembling inside.  I really do not like attention.  

Wheel spin

New tricks

After PACE wrapped up, Gary came down to San Diego and we toured around, did the tourist thing and travelled up the coast to San Francisco. Coronado Island. Carmel-by-the-Sea. Monterey. Santa Monica. Santa Barbara. Napa. San Francisco. Alcatraz.  Names of places that conjure up so many romantic images in my mind. Fabulous trip.  Wonderful company.  Sigh!

And Gary managed to convince me that selfies are a good thing.  Ha Ha. I really do not like to be photographed.  Have to admit that selfies make fun memories.  Actually it was Marilyn that started the selfie thing.

SKB Workshop in Dubois WY 2014

It is so had to believe another year has come and went.  Attending the SKB workshop in Dubois again this year was almost a completely different experience from last year.  Last year I spent most of the week in complete awe!  Getting to meet my Art Colony friends in person and hang out with them f2014 me and Mortor over a week.  Amazing.  So many memories.  The guest artists last year included Robert Bateman!  That was a once in a life time experience. This year, not to be overshadowed from last year, was also pretty remarkable with James Gurney as the featured artist.  The returning  instructors and guest artists were pretty much the same very impressive group as the previous year.  Only this year I felt I "knew" them a bit.   Their faces were familiar and it was easier deciding what to do.  The week is so busy and has so much opportunity it is truly overwhelming - only in a good way.  Two of my Art Colony friends were there - Ellie Sethman and Marilyn Wear.   So good to see them again. We participated in the annual Small Works show for SKB participants. And my husband joined me as well.  This was very special. Gary and I arrived in Colorado the week prior to explore the area. And explore we did! Pikes Peak, Estes Mountain Park, Colorado Springs, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, The Garden of the Gods, the season opener of the Denver Broncos football game, Yellowstone. Oh my. We drove through a snow storm and had temps of -10 degrees C in Yellowstone.   Everyday was an adventure.

Guy 2014 Andrew

Some of the hi lights include having my photo taken with Guy Combes, Andrew Denman and attending Morten Solberg's workshop.  Can you tell how excited I was to be there?




Heading on Back - SKB Workshop

Press Release - For Immediate Release  Contact: Pam Dean Cable   Ph: 719-748-7778; email:

Executive Director, Susan Kathleen Black Foundation

Headwaters Arts & Conference Center 

20 Stalnaker, Dubois, Wy

Thursday, September 18 

Instructor Quick Draw 9:30 a.m., Ballroom

Featuring James Gurney, John A. Ruthven, Mort Solberg, Matthew Hillier, Greg Beecham, Jeanne Mackenzie, Mark Kelso, Guy Combes, Christine Knapp, John & Suzie Seerey-Lester,  Lee Cable, Andrew Denman, Nancy Foureman, Janene Grende, Heiner Hertling, John Hulsey, Wanda Mumm, John Phelps, David Rankin & Connie Spurgeon

Silent Auction 5-8pm

Quick Draws, Original Artwork, Africa photo safaris and much more open for bidding

Miniature Art Show open to the public Sep 15-19, 2014

One-hundred seventy-five career artists and art industry professionals will attend from around the country.  The SKB Foundation has assembled some of the nation's top nature artists.  (landscape/scenic, floral, western, figurative, still-life, domestic and wild animals) whose work you may bid on.

The silent auction representing work and other donations by the artists and instructors will be available to bid on Thursday, September 18, 5-8 p.m.  100% of the auction proceeds go to benefit the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation’s art education programs.  Join us for this important cultural event.

Black & Bruise

Oh my.  After my last post, I thought I would follow up right away with another post from Wyoming and share photos of some of the incredible animals we encountered - um actively hunted with our cameras. Well, sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes we fall down.  Yep, I slipped in the shower.  Pulled the hamstring muscle, smashed my behind, bruised my ego and am now on crutches.  My leg is a very colourful purple -ish, black & blue.  Literally blue! Weird!  People in their attempt to comfort me reminded me it could have been so much worse.  I know it could have been - but jeepers. And so with an injury like this I have been unable to get upstairs to get to the computer (until today) and share some of my prized photos of bison, sand hill cranes, trumpeter swans, otters, pronghorns and majestic elk! Until now!

The biggest thrill of all was encountering elk and bison in the wild.  Oh, and the young grizzly!  We had so much fun!  One of us would spot an animal and point.  Janet skillfully pulled the car over and we hopped out cameras, iPhones  iPads in hand and on the ready.  As soon as we pulled over, ten more SUVs would pull over and join us.  They rushed out of their vehicles carrying very impressive cameras with loooonnnng lens and tripods.  The long lens and tripods were often covered with camouflage material seriously outclassing us.  But, I can guarantee we had more fun thinking we were animal paparazzi.

We learned so much.  Serious photographers hang out in National Parks!

Feel I should add here that we were respectful of the animals’ boundaries and did not attempt to get too close


I Had a Total Blast

2013 SKB Workshop in Dubois WY

Wyoming was everything I had hoped it would be and more!  I so love meeting my friends from Art Colony Blog in person and getting to know them!  We had so much fun, created so many memories and have the photos to prove it!  We have photos with ourselves with an amazing group of famous artists..Robert Bateman, Morten Solberg, Greg Beecham, Sir John Seerey-Lester and his wife Suzy, Carl Purcell and so many more.

And a very special photo of me receiving a 2nd Place Ribbon in Water Color from Sir John Seerey-Lester (sigh)



Plannin' My Packin'

So I am excited beyond belief!

In less than two weeks I will be in Dubois, WY - painting to my heart's content in cowboy country at the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation workshop.  Real cowboy country with real ranches!  Oh and Yellow Stone National Park. This workshop is a big deal... forget that Robert Bateman and John and Suzy Seerey Lester will be there.  Ok, I tried - I simply cannot forget!  I am excited, remember!

DSC01065I bought a new easel - a travel easel far more lightweight than my um.... other easels (I shall not confess).  I did the research.  I searched the internet high and low.  I Facebooked artists who posted photos of themselves painting en plein air asking them about their equipment and what they would recommend!  And I am now the happy owner of the Sun Eden lightweight travel watercolor easel!  Love it.  Well, except for the backpack I ordered - does not hold all the equipment like they said it would!  The easels shelf is simply too big to fit.  The amount of searching I did to find a suitable backpack may be a blog post on its own at a later date!

Forget all that! Now I have to pack.  Have to make a list of what to bring and things I must not forget - suggestions and recommendations highly appreciated from those of you with this type of travel experience!

I will be meeting a number of my friends from ArtColony Blogspot.  Probably the real reason I am so excited... more to follow on this soon!



Shades of Maple

This was a piece I started as a demo painting for a workshop I led (shame) last fall.  I am only getting around to completing it because has a challenge for fall leaves for September!..  I am really glad they did this as I finally dusted it off and worked it through.  It was pretty basic until this morning... I worked all day and am happy with the finished word!  The hardest part was titling --once again

Garden Workshop and WIP Drama Queen Update 2

Such a wonderful weekend! We had a garden worksop scheduled for yesterday - only to have to reschedule until today because of potential thunderstorms.  And I am so glad we did!   Thunder raging overhead and torrential rain!  Today was somewhat calmer and with so much less humidity.  Had a somewhat smaller group thatn we expected and it was wonderful.  We got to laugh, share a pot luck lunch and get to know each other.  Good times!

We worked diligently, weighted our material and lunches down with rocks and painted the day away. Some worked in watercolors, some worked with acrylics as watercolor.

And we had a surprise visitor.  Took our breath away! We could not believe how close she came to us.





I have also been slowly picking away at Drama Queen, the Dizzy Lily.  I have discovered that at this time of year, I am not a fair weather painter.  In fact, the nicer the day the less likely I am to paint.  Round here summer is like a religion - if the sun is out then  so are we,  we devour every freaking sun ray!  Winters are long... spring is wet and foggy and well summer can be just as wet and foggy.


Workshops by Design - Custom Workshops

This past weekend, I hosted a small acrylic workshop in my studio.  I had been approached by four watercolor painters looking to broaden their base of acrylic knowledge and skills – focusing on skies and water. This is a fun approach to workshops, gather a few like-minded friends and reach out. So, for a fee per person ($75) for a full day (up to four) and the fifth person is free – materials may be included depending on the type of workshop (except for brushes).  This fee structure is a work in progress… still thinking it through, but you  get the idea.

This approach to workshops also works for themed events – gather you friends for a winter, Christmas, spring, bridal shower..Halloween etc., themed painting event.  Makes for a fun day of creativity and at the end of the session you have a completed seasonal painting. The paintings below are the two from each of the four participants this past weekend.  They started a third as well and are completing on their own.

I love workshops - seeing different people painting the same or similar subject and yet the end results are so different! They painted until they were tuckered out but  left with smiles are thinking of what may be next......