Friday, December 14, 2007

Petits Livres

I made a few little sketchbooks for my girls. With mini-packs of colorful pens, they will make perfect stocking stuffers. They are only eight pages each (16 if you count each side), so I had to make a bunch. I'm afraid they'll fill them up by noon on Christmas morning. They really are so easy to make - I'll just make more! I used heavy card stock for the covers, four pieces of paper cut to size and folded in half for the middle, and one stitch on my sewing machine straight down the center. Easy cheesy, as delia says. So, ten days left on the countdown, and going strong! I'm in craft heaven. (BTW, sometimes I speak french to bug gavin, it really irritates him.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I finally finished this Julia painting. It's my favorite thing I've done in a while.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Signing Prints

I love signing prints! I feel... professional. The other day my entry was inundated with large boxes. Some had artist proofs, a couple had prints to sign, then there were some fancy, empty boxes for me to ship finished paintings. There was something nostalgic and comforting about it. I had to call my mom and tell her that my house looked like hers. We often had boxes and boxes (similar in shape and size to my boxes) in the entry when I was growing up. That's when it hit me, I am an artist. I mean as a career. That's pretty cool. I should go paint. OK, when Christmas is over I'll really get to work and produce something worthy of my declaration.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I love making stuff! I love Christmas!! I have so many projects going this year - that I can't tell you about! I don't want to give away any surprises. These are bracelets with photos that I am making for my girls. Quick stocking stuffers. (Don't tell!) Cloe's has beautiful pictures of her dressed up as a fairy. For Delia's, I did our family so she won't miss us too much when she is at school. I think I'll do a drawing for Ezzie's and use a ribbon with a little clasp. So many projects, never enough time. Little sketchbooks sewn on my sewing machine are next... I'm getting revitalized by all this creativity. I love projects!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


This is a quick snap shot of one of the paintings I just finished (sorry about the flash!). I wanted the viewer to feel majesty. I set the figures in a grove of redwoods so the main figure could echo their height and grandure while countering their solidity with a greenish, transparent hue to her skin. The baby, on the other hand, is much more solid and real. It is to celebrate the honor and sacredness of her role. She has a very youthful face. I like that aspect, she is put in the role from the start. Youthful, but strong and set on gaining the wisdom she needs to do the job well. She knows she doesn't have all the knowledge and tools she is going to need, but she will get them by tapping into her instincts, attuning herself to universal truths, and imitating the character and wisdom of the great women she has known.
"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string." -R.W.Emerson

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Flight 3898

I just returned from Utah, a.k.a Winter Wonderland!!! It snowed like crazy on Saturday and stayed through Sunday. I got my fix for the winter and am happy to return to the AZ! I took the short trip to Utah for my fifth art show/print signing with my dad and my sister, Cass. The shows are really fun. As if I am not lucky enough to paint, to express my thoughts and feelings and create beautiful images, but I get to share my paintings and ideas... and lots of people like them, too! The best part is hanging out with Cass and my dad. We get around to all sorts of interesting topics, and we laugh a lot. We have a great time. I love my family! Sometimes we get a little silly. Cass and I wore matching dresses to church today. I had a wonderful trip (did I mention no kids? That's right, I slept till nine and read till noon... sigh). It was super fun to hang out with mom, Sari, Pete (thanks for the fudge), Jenn, Clementine (she could have fit in my suitcase and I seriously considered it), Dan ( great, he makes us chocolate cake), Sunshine, Fiona, and Talulla sweethearts!!! Can't wait to come at Christmas time!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I've been tagged. Which means I must write six little know facts about myself. This concept made my head swim and I thought I might do better if I had a theme. So, my six facts are not only little known, but are facts that make Gavin look at me like I'm crazy. After ten years of knowing me, I can still surprise him, and I revel in that.

1. I sort my laundry into four piles: whites, warm mediums, cool mediums, and really darks. The girls are really good at it. When Gavin was helping me last week, he tried to challenge me with grays - nice try.
2. Only boring people get bored, so I told my kids that "bored" is a bad word. Watch what you say around them, they'll call you on it.
3. I can listen to an album, mix, or even a song, over and over and over.... I only change the six CDs in my car when I want to avoid his derision.
4. I can hock a loogie like nobody's business. (When I'm sick.)
5. There is a placenta in my freezer... still.
6. I often forget to put on deodorant.

Wow, that was more personal then I have ever been in blogland. It was refreshing, maybe I'm turning over a new leaf. Now I am supposed to tag six people in return. I could do that, but I would rather tag Hun six times. She is absolutely capable of coming up with thirty-six crazy facts. Tag, sister, your it.

Friday, November 2, 2007


I love secrets. Not mean ones! I just like knowing stuff. We had a fabulous trip to New York last week, and great shows in Ohio and Connecticut. When I finally sat down to paint, it had been a while. I often start off a little awkward after a break, and didn't want the getting-into-my-groove-ness to ruin one of the beautiful paintings I am working on. So, I painted this little piece to get me going. It's not quite finished, but not bad for a day's work.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Knowledge of Good and Evil

Oh, she knows. She knows what is good and what is not, and exactly which she is going to choose. I think Eve knew what she was doing. She knew the plan and what needed to happen to progress. We have to make so many choices! It feels good to have confidence that the choices you are making are good and will be for the best. I don't always have it, sometimes I second guess myself and sometimes I don't choose what I know is better. Laziness can get the best of us. But, conviction and righteousness is something I strive for.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Reason for Being

This piece describes my earthly purpose. I have come to earth to gain a body, to learn, and to serve as a vessle. It will have a neat arched frame that will add to the composition.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Babel's Bees

I keep going back to the delicious dichotomy of the bee. It makes honey, but it stings. It pollinates the plants and flowers in my imaginary garden, but invokes fear. Life is full of dichotomies as we attempt to find balance in all things.

I feel a little like batman. Why bats? Because he was mortally afraid of them. I had no traumatic childhood experience where I was repeatedly stung by a swarm of bees and went into anaphylactic shock, narrowly escaping death. Actually, I've never even been stung. But I was sure I was allergic, like my dad, and one sting could be fatal. To be intrepid, fearless and calm come face to face with a noisome bumble bee, or worse a wasp! This is a supreme conquering of a fear, leave the nebbish behind and become a stronger woman.

Brigham Young used the term "Deseret," meaning honeybee in the language of the Jaredites. He used it to describe the Saints in Utah. He thought they should be productive and self-sufficient, like honeybees. I like that. Busy as a bee, hard at work, with fruitful results.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

One of my favorite scenes in life: my sweet girls next to me, all in a row at church, quietly and busily sketching in our sketchbooks. (I cropped out Gavin on the end, wrestling Ezra, cheerios a-flyin'.) They love their sketchbooks, and I love to see what they come up with.
Cloe, who will be four next month, drew this picture of me and a snowman. Oh, and that's her at the top. I have rosy cheeks, a standard in her drawings of people, and some serious eyelashes.
This is my delia's. She is six. She drew her sisters, me, and herself. We are princesses with high heels. I love the clouds and flowers in vases. They both want me to have long hair, so they included that in their drawings. Too cute!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Up from Moil and Toil

Today was one of those days. I just needed to get away from it, to climb up to the top of my ladder and breath for a minute. Above and away from the duties, chaos, responsibilities, and the constant need to uplift, encourage, and nurture others. These are all wonderful things, but sometimes... it's hard. The animal crackers crushed into the carpet can wait, as well as the disciplinary action of the crusher, while I climb to the very top of my ladder, perhaps under the guise of changing a light bulb, and have an unreachable moment to myself.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


"In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love." Marc Chagall
When I read this quote I thought of the colors in this painting. I called it Pick Yourself up. When rough spots and unpleasant things come along, pick yourself up, over, and carry on. I like how gingerly she is lifting herself, with confidence and a bit of style. This painting managed to incorporate my favorite colors. The blue in particular, is my very favorite. If Bella's blood sings to Edward, this shade of blue sings to me. It is in a really nice, black frame with an arched insert... and is long gone. Sigh.
This is one of my favorites. Another sigh. It sold a couple years ago. I called it Serene - even though she has a rather large, potentially harmful bumble bee on her shoulder, she has found peace. This blue is serenity and peace to me. I would like to paint love, to express meaning and love with color. I will ever strive to do it. If it happens, you will let me know, won't you?

The painting that I'm working on right now has a beautiful pattern for the background. After six combinations of cool colors, my intent was to offset the warm figures, I was incredibly frustrated. The only thing to do in such a situation is to turn it upside down and do the opposite. I went for hot! And I love it, I think it will be stunning. (Note: this painting is very unfinished.)
I have my struggles with color. Ron Ranson (I have no idea who he is) said, "My personal theory is that being frugal with the number of colours, one gets to know them intimately and to understand how each reacts with the others." In a way I have done this. I have kept to a rather limited palette, honing in on some odd colors that really work together. Perhaps I'll do it with conscious effort now. Or maybe I'll just paint everything off-sky-blue and swim in it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Three Muses

My sweet angels are my muses. I feel so privileged and blessed to be their mother. There are so many virtues that I hope to instill in them. Most of all, realizing the vastness of their potential and their individual strength. They are continual inspiration to me, and movtivation to push for greatness.

"A wonderful realization will be the day you realized that you are unique in all the world. The world is an incredible unfulfilled tapestry, and only you can fill that tiny space that is yours." Leo Buscaglia

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mother Cake

Did you know that the word for Placenta in many languages is literally translated as Mother Cake? Just some food for thought... I painted this for my sister, Cass. We decided to do a straight across trade for Christmas, 2003. This is a subtle reminder that, though it would be hard to part with this piece after it has hung in my living room for four and a half years, I would do it if she would finish her piece for me!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tea Party

"I dreamed I was having a tea party with a monster. It was a nice monster,... but kinda scary." It was too delicious I had to paint it. In fact I did a whole series based on Delia's dreams. She was two and a half when she started telling me about her dreams. Children have the most wonderful imaginations. I wish they could elaborate so much more on what is going on in their heads. I tried to imitate her imagination. I didn't succeed. I couldn't, I know too much. When all was said and done, it was my voice coming through. Nice, but kinda scary. Life is like that.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Purpose in Progress

I am often asked about my painting process. I will take you through one example of how I work. Of course, every painting develops in it's own way, but this is a typical series of events in the studio life of emilyc. So, let's get technical...
I usually start with a sketch. These are drawings from my sketchbooks. I have a couple, one for church, the other I carry around in my diaper bag. You never know when inspiration might hit... or when things might get a little boring ( I inherited, from my father, the inability to listen without busy hands). For this piece I did a drawing in each sketchbook, and some notes, as I worked out the idea. When I'm ready to go for it, I gather some "scrap". In this example, I set up the objects and took some pictures. Then I make a drawing, combining my scrap, fidgeting and fussing on tracing paper till I have it just right. I then transfer the drawing onto my gessoed, masonite panel. And paint!Voila!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I have explained the symbolism of the bird and the baby in my art in a previous post. To simplify, both are symbolic of the inbetweeness of heaven and earth. This is a piece I did years ago, I think early 2004. I like how she's hanging onto the baby/bird as if to say, "Don't go yet! Just let me hold and contain you a little longer before you become your own person." It's a little awkward, as if we are not supposed to do this.
I just found this watercolor which is the drawing I used for the painting. The watercolor was the first time I combined the baby and the bird.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


This is a watercolor I did on our trip last week. My dad, sister Cass, and I are doing a show called Trio in Connecticut this October. We are supposed to have at least one piece that goes along with the trio theme. I think this is what I will do, something about budding wings. Stay tuned to see what becomes of it...

Monday, August 20, 2007


My husband and I returned from the most relaxing, wonderful anniversary trip on Saturday. We were so excited to see our babies! About an hour after we got home, I was ready to go back. What was supposed to make me rejuvenated and really appreciate my role as a mother actually served to exaggerate how much dang work goes into the job. I was thinking, if every day I could prepare meals for five, for example, considering all the varying tastes, willingness, and nutritional needs - and acutally enjoy it! Even the clean up afterwards. Then, my life would reach perfection! I happened read an article called 'Strengthening Future Mothers" by Susan W. Tanner last night, and it gave me inspiration:

"My best and most consistent example in learning the joys of homemaking and mothering was my own mother. She told me many times every day how much she treasured being a mother and homemaker, and then she lived those words in every action. She sang as she folded laundry; she exulted over the clean smell in a freshly scrubbed bathroom; she taught me how to read and write, sew and cook, love and serve. Because she emanated the Spirit and the fruits of love, joy, peace, meekness, longsuffering, and temperance, I felt it, and I knew I wanted the same things in my life."

So, that's the ticket, sing as you fold the laundry! And talk about how much you love it, all the time. Which leads us to aprons, how you ask? Let me see if I can explain. I want to do a series on the subject. Beautiful aprons symbolizing joy in the tasks. I have some lovely images in my mind. And some exquisite apron designs to work from. My sister Cass, who not only attends to her tasks in funky aprons but heels as well, gave me a neat apron last spring. I'll try and get a picture of it on this post. It will make a good leaping off point. This might be a good one, expecially for you closet bloggers, to comment on. I need to know that I am not the only one thinking these things!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Joyous Crackle Moment

Ahh, the magic of crackle. What a treat! Of course, the photos don't do it justice, but these wacky paintings just went from drab to fab, ode to the joys of crackle!

Monday, August 13, 2007


Just before I took this piece up to my gallery (Terzian Galleries in Park City), I showed it to my dad. He looked at it for a good half a minute then said, "I don't get it." And on to the next. A day or two later we were in his studio. I was holding my baby and had a little girl hanging on each leg. He wanted to show me a piece he was working on, so we headed around to the far side of his drafting table. As I tried to move with clingy one two and three, dragging them across the floor, I exclaimed, "This. This is what that piece is about. They are always there!" It also has a tender side, they are a part of me. Even when they are not physically next to me, they are still with me. The sweetness has a titch of exasperation, but mostly love.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sheep Farm/Des Moines

I've posted a blog on this piece before - giving my take on it. A bit later, I got an email from the gal who bought the piece. Here is what she wrote about her painting:

Its nickname is “Des Moines” because whenever I get weary of the shenanigans of southern California (the crowds, nice but “plastic fantastic” people who carry mini doggies in their purses that cost more than my college education, surf culture, etc.) I tell my husband, “That’s it! We’re moving to Des Moines to a farm where we will home school, start a family band and a modern dance troupe, and I’ll write books while animals and kids run amuck. Des Moines!!!” I threaten this bi-monthly. The girl in the painting even looks like me—crazy huge hair and blue eyes that look focused, determined, or peeved depending on what’s immediately happening in my vicinity. When I look at it, I imagine the frame enlarging to show what is happening below and next to her (Disneyland Haunted Mansion style—you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been on the ride); children tugging on her skirt, chaos in general but she is standing firm, in control, dreaming of Des Moines. Who else could have loved this painting as much as me?!?

Of course, I gave her full permission to change the title to Des Moines. I also told her that this is why I sell the paintings I paint. The magic of putting art out there. I send out a piece of my soul and someone identifies with it and makes it their own. I love it!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Thinking of a Snail's Pace

This piece is about kids growing up so dang fast. Sometimes I wish I could just slow them down for a minute. Especially my baby who cuddles and plays with the back of my hair when she gets sleepy. I don't know how long that will last, but I can't get enough.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

School Days

My sweet little girl is off to school again. (We start pretty early, something to do with Arizona heat). I did this little painting after her first day of kindergarten. It's so hard to let them go! She is so stinkin' cute, I about cry watching her walk away from the car every morning. On the flip side, the structure and getting some of those kids out of the house is helping me get to work! It was hard to let this painting go as well. I couldn't sell it, so I gave it to my mother-in-law for Christmas.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Sweetness of Motherhood

This is one of my favorite paintings. I like textiles representing creation and the rearing and raising of children. The softness of the colors and the texture of the yarn and the tiny, newborn baby makes me feel the sweet and tender emotions of a mother. I'll be honest, sometimes I need to be reminded of the sweetness of motherhood. Her hands are busy, and though she has been at it a while, she is patient and peacful. Her productivity and focus are harmonious with the softness.

This entry is a tribute to my sister-in-law who had her first baby three weeks ago and is wondering if she will ever be able to get anything done again. There is a certain amount of submitting yourself, your life and your purpose to your children. You don't lose anything, you only gain and grow. Perspective is key: This life is a blip in eternity, our children as babies is a blip in this life, and we grow exponetially from the experience. And that is why we are here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Serena and the Lion

My fourth canvas print! It will come out this autumn. I'm glad Greenwich chose this because it's one of my favorites. I called it Lion, they want to add Serena. I like it, it means peace. This piece, and many others I've done with animals, becomes an analogy on life. This is a lion she is tethered to and it could bite her head off. Yet, she is at peace.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Art, Life, Etc.

I have had unfinished projects stacking up all around my house. I finally realized that I haven't been finishing any house projects because of guilt. If I do a project it means I wasn't painting. Therefore, neglect means productivity. Well, that's stupid. So, I set out to finish a few things I have hangin' around. I purchased this light fixture in January, but couldn't decide if I liked it... for seven months. I really wanted some color in my living room and the fixture was brown, but I loved the shape and the sparkle. So, there it sat, making a mess of my living room. Then I had the brilliant idea to paint it! Better yet, I painted it turquoise and rubbed in a black glaze.
I liked the off-blue of the chandelier so much that I used the same-ish color to paint the lids of a bunch of jars I have been collecting - oh, I'm green alright. I couldn't stop there. I took an old fixture that we had replaced and spray-painted it mango to go in my lime sorbet studio. Love it. Now I just have to sew a few wacky dolls to tuck into the center... I'll get right on that. I finished a few other projects and chores and it turns out that I feel intense satisfaction - no guilt - every time I look at the fruits of my labors. Besides, I don't have deadlines till October, which means I have another month and a half till sheer panic sets in.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I made some progress on my Julia painting yesterday. I try to paint my first layer of flesh monochromatic. It's usually hard not to add in all sorts of colors, rosy cheeks and whatnot, but I stuck to it with this one. I think it gives the face more depth in the end. Hair, on the other hand, I try to nail on the first round, with the exception of a few highlights. The blue in the background is the color I started on, gesso tinted with acrylic - what a delicious color. I'll have a hard time painting over it, but I've left a gesso background before and it looked icky after liquining. I get a kick out of watching a painting progress, so I'll probably keep you up to date with this one.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

J'aime le craquelleur!

I frequently get asked (making it an official FAQ) how I do that exquisite crackly finish on my paintings. Alas, a magician never reveals her secrets. Just kidding. Crackling is putting the icing on the cake, it is a real treat - I would love to share.
My dad discovered this product and quickly addicted my sister and me when he gave us each a pair of bottles for Christmas. The product, by LeFranc & Bourgeous (very French), is a two step process. I usually finish the painting with a coat of Liquin which makes me sneeze (another topic for another day). The first step is to apply an even coat of the ageing varnish. You then wait two to three hours, depending on how fine you want your crackles. The drier the ageing varnish, the smaller the crackles, yum. You want tacky, but not sticky. I usually wait till the tack is almost gone, I like 'em fine. Here comes the mad skills. You only get one swipe to apply the cracking varnish. Thin, but not too thin, streak free, but don't fuss with it, fast, but keep it even. This layer is water soluble, so if you mess up you can wash it off with soap and water. But don't, it's a pain in the @%$. Wait a few hours, or a day, and then you can make the magic happen. Paint the whole thing over with an oil paint-asphaltum, sepia, and transparent oxide brown are my favorites. Then you rub with kleenex, q-tips, those cotton things the dentist packs your teeth with (thank dad for that one too!). It's so much fun, you can deepen shadows, pop highlights, bring down the tone of an area, leave the edges darker to make it look old, and on and on... It's so much fun. When that is dry, I spray with a gloss damar varnish... and voila!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Swarming Leitmotif

As her leitmotif buzzed and swarmed about her,
the rhythmic hum became harmonious and soothing,
and she found peace in the chaos.

leit·mo·tif [lahyt-moh-teef] –noun
a motif or theme associated throughout a music drama with
a particular person, situation, or idea.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Portrait of Julia

My sweet big-sister, Cass, wanted to know what I am working on. I have a lot of paintings in the works. This is a drawing for a piece I am really excited about. I can't wait to paint it!

The model is Julia Pugh. Her husband, Jeff, is a talented landscape artist. We are working on a trade and this will probably be the piece I offer him. Julia's dad, Gary Smith, and my dad studied art at BYU together. I thought it would be fun to trade Jeff with a portrait of Julia after I saw a portrait that Gary did of my mom, when they were probably about our age, hanging in my parents house.