Plein Air Painting Video

I participated in a paint out event in Roseburg, Oregon and while there, Michael Sullivan, photojournalist at the News Review created this little video profile.

Thanks Mike and check out his work at

My Trip to Paris — Part Two: The Paintings

I had an amazing time painting in Paris. Getting out and painting in this old city, known for centuries of great art, connected me to so many of my heroes and gave me a chance to meet lots of tourists and locals. I cannot wait to go back – there are paintings there I still really want to make!!

They are displayed in the order I made them.

Oil Painting
Hyacinths – on a Rainy Holiday in Paris

It was rainy and a national holiday, so all the museums were closed, so I bought some hyacinths from the nearby flower market and made a still life in the little apartment I was staying in with my aunt.

Oil Painting
The Louvre, as seen from the Tuileries

I love the Louvre so much, I must go back someday and paint the iconic entrance with the pyramid. When I first arrived, I shied away from making a painting that would be so direct, but after spending two weeks in Paris, where they really embrace beauty directly, I realized it’s just as affected to avoid beauty as it is to seek it exclusively.  Best bet is always just paint what moves you. Be real, even if it lands you in a cliche.

Oil Painting
From Pont Neuf, The Seine

Mid Morning looking sort of toward the east.

Oil Painting
Cincannatus in the Tuileries

With a view of the Musee D’Orsay in the background 9 to the left of the statue is  the tip of the museum, with it’s massive clock face peeking out a tiny bit behind the trees).  I finally had a day where Paris had those impressionist clouds you see in paintings.

Oil Painting
Sculpture in the Petit Palais Garden

My local friend showed me this wonderful little park.  Many paintings could be made here.

Oil Painting
Looking out of the Louvre Courtyard

Here I am, nearing the end of my trip, embracing the obvious beauty and being happy about it. Archway to a view with a grand building? The more the merrier.

Notre Dame, oil painting by Sarah F Burns
Notre Dame

My last day painting in Paris, I was under the influence of the Corots I’d seen in the Louvre. I was also recreating the point of view of some impressionist paintings I’d seen.

Preview Piece Two

I promised a preview of my show that opens Friday and here is part two.

Whaleshead Beach, Brookings, OR
Whaleshead Beach II

  We had some brutal smoke from wildfires this year (we get it every summer but this year was the worst since 1987 apparently) and many of us cut out and head for the coast when it gets bad. The valley I live in is surrounded by amazing wild lands, when they burn, the smoke gets trapped and we choke til the wind changes or it rains – which can take weeks.  Anyway, this lovely day at the beach was made especially blissful because it was an escape.  Sunny, breezy, warm and cool at the same time.  ahhh.  So nice.  Painted on site en plein air, the breeze blew bits of sand that are stuck in the paint.  I love this.  It could never be faked and I’d never want to take it out.  It’s an important part of the painting.  Part of the experience. This piece measures 16″ x 20″.

White City, Oregon – the Most Beautiful Place on Earth

There is no shortage of great scenery to paint in White City.  I’ve painted here a number of times – and have discovered another fan  – Julian Bell. He creates drawings onsite and paints in his studio.  We’ve gone out together a few times – here is the fruit of my labor:

White City Work Yard Oil on Panel 8" x 10"
White City Work Yard Oil on Panel 8″ x 10″
Oil on Panel, 8" x 10" $160
Oil on Panel, 8″ x 10″
Oil on Panel, 5" x 14". $160
Oil on Panel, 5″ x 14″
White City Sketch Graphite on Paper 7" x 11" $60
White City Sketch Graphite on Paper 7″ x 11″

And here is one of the Julian’s White City Pieces:

Black and White City by Julian Bell
Black and White City by Julian Bell

He doesn’t have a web site, but look out for his work, it’s cool and graphic, he also shows at the Ashland Painters Union.


I just got back from a visit to San Francisco where I went to the De Young museum to see the  Girl with a Pearl Earring show, along with Etching from Rembrandt and his contemporaries.  I found it very inspiring, especially all the etchings, they are so intricate and invite you to spend several minutes with each piece, I was surprised to find them even more engaging than many paintings.  The etching pieces varied in technical ability, some being astonishing in their technical prowess and some (the Rembrandts) were stunning in their communication of humanity and emotion.  There were goofy ones, ones that glorified the state, religious scenes that were moving (Rembrandt), religious scenes that were like crazy pageants, simple home scenes, landscapes and on and on.  Then came the paintings – wonderful banquet tables with meats and lemons and cloth, the flowers that I so love and the stunning Vermeer.  That Vermeer is absolutely wonderful.  (Side note:  Like the Mona Lisa, she has no eyebrows.!? Curious.)



cornelis visscher the large cat

Dutch Fools Etching

I Just Got Featured on the Etsy Blog!

Get the Look  is a regular feature on Etsy that I always enjoy and I’m super stoked to have been included in today’s post!  It’s a sweet loft on Airbnb in Detroit (somewhere I dream of going to do landscape painting, maybe I could stay at this place…)  Check out the full post here.


Full Cup of Inspiration

Tom and I headed to Portland for a very quick little dose of urban life this past weekend.  We arrived in town just in time to get in on the free open late night at Portland Art Museum.  We had just over an hour to soak up some inspiration.  We LOVED the photo exhibit in the Gilkey Center – Ray Metzker – gorgeous value based abstracted urban photos.  Juicy yummy photos like drawings.  Delicious!!

Portland Art Museum 2011
Ray Metzker, Philadelphia 1980

Also noted were pieces from the permanent collection by Alden Mason (however, this is not the piece at PAM – I grabbed something similar from google):

Alden Mason

What I love about Mason is the intentional paint application, it’s beautiful transparency. Nearby was a Neo Rauch – sorry for the poor photo – I feel really weird taking photos in the museum, for one thing I have a hard time telling if it’s okay and it just feels goofy to take a photo of something that’s best appreciated in person.  But for the sake of internet conversation:

Neo Rauch

David Rosenak’s intense and photographic grissaille pieces in the NW Contemporary section were a feast for the eyes – again the piece pictured here is not in PAM but provides an example of his work.  The guard was really cute – he was just gushing over his work.

David Rosenak

Rosenak’s pieces were also refreshingly small.  It’s nice to have a pallette cleanser among all the huge contemporary works.

And finally as we were being swept from the building we felt sad by Jack McLarty’s The Bystander – a Portland painting

Jack McLarty - The Bystander

Next stop dinner and then we caught my favorite band Dengue Fever in concert – overheard at the show “there are so many old people here tonight”  and my husband spoke to a man he put in his 70’s who was apparently Cambodian – he told Tom how much he loved Cambodian music – super fun.  They posted their entire new album – Cannibal Courtship on this youtube video I’m attempting to attach to this post.  

It’s catchy, light, heavy danceable …  Uku – the third song is my fave. : )  Here’s a vid with that song only: 

The lyric translates:

“The windy season makes me think of my village

I think of the old people, young people, aunts and uncles

We used to run and play, hide and seek

But now we are far apart

Far Apart.”

So lovely and so sad.

Next day we toured the Chinese Garden in downtown Portland – which was surprisingly impressive – it is the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China – stunning actually and we hit it on the first warm spring day, we just lounged and absorbed the sun like a couple of cats.  We also had some fabulous tea in the tea house.

Chinese Garden Portland Oregon
Checkout the walk way - made up of lots of perfectly placed small rocks
Chinese Garden Portland Oregon
Chinese Garden - Portland, OregonWeird Panorama Chinese Garden - Portland, Oregon
Chinese Garden - Portland, Oregon
Weird Panorama Chinese Garden - Portland, Oregon

We hit the Museum of Contemporary Craft a couple blocks away – there was a weaving show – which is a process I don’t really understand so I wasn’t terrible excited until I saw the woman’s clothing which she somehow wove without sewing anything – gorgeous stuff – made me want want want such perfect clothing.  Laurie Merrick

museum of contemporary craft weaving
Laurie MerrickLaurie Merrick Museum of Contemporary Craft Portland
Laurie Merrick Museum of Contemporary Craft
Laurie Merrick Museum of Contemporary Craft Portland

She apparently made this for her main working outfit.  The pocket was for her cigarettes and handkerchiefs.

In the evening we spent time with Tom’s cousins and his childhood friends.  Next day we hit a couple vintage shops in St. Johns and the ever trendy N. Missisippi Historic neighborhood and hit I-5 in time to be home at a reasonable hour. And FYI – if you’re on the road in the northwest, stop at SeQuential – the best gas station around – you can get bio diesel, gluten free sandwiches – that are amazing!  Filtered water, dried mangoes, loose leaf teas …..  all the good hippy stuff..  It’s clean too – yay!  In the summerish time, there are blueberry bushes to snack on. …  The staff is super friendly and seem happy to be there.  Free Wi-Fi – plants growing on the roof…  etc.  Exit 189 if you’re heading North and it might be exit 190 if you’re heading South.  Take the South Eugene exit.  OH – and yeah the price of regular gas was .04 $ higher than their neighbor – which for an 18 gallon tank means you pay $.72 extra.  No big deal.

Friendly Staff at SeQuential

Okay – if you hung around for the end of this post, you are a real trooper.  : ) Home again to my newly spring cleaned studio.  Now that my cup of inspiration is full, tiime to get some creative work done!