my life source and sustainer is Jesus Christ

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


There is a great exhibit at the Virginia Fine Arts Museum in Richmond of Rodin’s work.  It's all about the thumb print on the clay, the soft give when pressed.  Like Michaelangelo’s genius but softer, a malleable exquisite modeling of the human form.  Every muscle is correct, proportions and weighting are perfect.  Right in a way you can feel.  The exhibit walked us through his work and his methods and ended with three of the Burghers of Calais, the city leaders who offered themselves as sacrifices to save the town.  Each person went resolute to their expected death but the feelings of fear, apprehension, determination powered through each uniquely.  They loomed above us and we gaze up at their purposed, noble faces in awe as intended. 

Here are some sketches from my visit:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

these days

We have had some really beautiful days here in Fredericksburg.  For about a week at the end of October there were these trees that were like candles ablaze with light that fell all over the sidewalk and lawns.  Here is a little poem for you:

Remember finding four leaf clover
along the driveway?
Bent down, fingering through the green
round leaves.

Those were days of sitting while
you played in the sandbox
and chased fireflies in the semi-dark. 

I want to sift through and lift them out
to comb the half forgotten,
flattened out picture show
tangled maze of memory.

Pull them out and dust them off
the miracles.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015



Sometimes I feel like each canvas
is a piece of the puzzle.
And if I could paint enough
it would all make sense.
Where the Artist paints in the perfect medium
completeness in motion,
I paint in finite, stop and go
with brief brushes of transcendence
as momentary as a leaf fall in November.  

Monday, November 2, 2015


Gari Melchers was an impressionist artist living in Stafford, Virginia.  He had several outbuildings constructed around his grounds that are very picturesque.  Perfect for painting pictures of!  The main house and gardens are beautifully maintained- it's a great place to go sketching! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fredericksburg, Virginia

 Living Here

The Muleshoe Salient is still imprinted on the land in the fields and woods
of Spotslyvania Courthouse.  The mounds of dirt they dug
in haste for cover
are low now and covered with moss, twigs,
grasses nibbled on by the deer and rabbits.

Longstreet Drive, Jackson Street, Ewell Lane,
new roads with token names, a nod to what?  Restless dreams
and flags. 

Layer after layer of fall leaves laid in now cover the dead.
Curried golf courses and battlefields mowed every fall. 

Chancellorsville, First Day, preserved.

The scrub woods that was the horror
of Wilderness has grown up.
It veils new subdivisions hidden back in the woods. 
Stories float among us of misty dawn ghost soldiers in the road
I half believe them.

In the fall the shadows get longer,
the sky bluer.   Visitors come here to remember a few days in May.
Like the deer and moss and new trees,
living on mostly we forget. 

photo by Susan Krieg

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

small poem

       Grinding exactitudes
       parsing ever finer
       flowering outward with smaller
       and smaller branches
       until meaning
       is lost.

pastel sketch for the next painting    
sketching on Washington Avenue in Fredericksburg, VA

Friday, October 2, 2015


Driving the highway home
at night from Washington, DC
to Fredericksburg,
the heavy traffic snakes in the dark
along on unseen paths.
Northbound, a diamond necklace of headlights,
and southbound poured out like rubies
on a blanket of black velvet.

Day time around town
I see the cars like pooh sticks
flowing under the overpasses. 

In my bedroom
when its really quiet,
two am, awake,
staring at the clock I can hear it,
trucks grinding, the low constant hum,
a river with insomnia. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

beach sketches

While I sometimes pine for a southern beach, in say South Carolina, with warm water and palm trees, I do love Cape May, New Jersey where our family gathers every year.  We have layered memories of beach vacations from over thirty years of visits.  The year we stayed in a dilapidated Victorian house with mushrooms sprouting in the bathroom was especially memorable.  That house was later transformed into a pink confection called Angel by the Sea with paint and a massive amount of gingerbread.  Now we find ourselves sitting on at the table after dinner reminiscing about which year  the hurricane blew over us and which year various friends and family came.  And we spend hours at the beach.  The water there is icy cold, but on hot days like we had last week it is refreshing.  And we reminded ourselves, sharks don't like cold water. 

One of the many Victorian bed and breakfast  hotels in Cape May, NJ

 This is the Mainstay Hotel, possibly my favorite house in Cape May, however it's very hard to choose.  It was built in 1872 as a gambling club.  While I was sketching the man who purchased it in 1977 walked by and introduced himself.  He and his wife transformed it with countless hours of hard work into a beautiful building inside and out.  At his suggestion I knocked on the door and they let me look around the living room, parlor and dining room.
I liked this white haired gentleman in a button down shirt enjoying his book at the beach
All the rental umbrellas on our section of beach were yellow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

the beach

The place where sea
meets shore,
ocean plays land
like a bow and violin,
sawing back and forth.
The tune that it makes
is hushed
over and over
by the waves
and the sand.  

No more dreaming about the beach- I'm here!  Our family likes to go to Cape May, NJ, a great family beach and epicenter for Victorian resort houses and hotels... an awesome place to sketch when I'm not in the water!   

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

harewood house

We didn't visit an art gallery on our trip to England in May.  But we visited Harewood House, a huge confectionary cake of a house set down among an array of gardens, lakes, fields.  Overhead red kites wheel and soar.  Like our bald eagle these hawks have come back from the brink and are now an ordinary sight in the UK.  But they are extraordinary!  Beautiful birds with forked tails.  

Inside each room is like a canvas with every element tuned to each other.  Robert Adam designed rugs that echo the color and pattern of the molded ceilings.  Silk wallpaper and furniture by Chippendale was commissioned for each room to complement the floor and ceiling.  Enormous gilt mirrors were also designed by Chippendale.  And the chandeliers!  The yellow drawing room was for me the most beautiful room so I asked permission to sit and sketch.  I was even allowed to use watercolor.   The volunteer docent chatted with me while I worked, so I learned all kinds of things.  Between the fireplace and the table is a discreet little device used for calling the lady in waiting.  The ceramic dish in my sketch was smuggled out of France during the French Revolution and was supposedly originally designed to serve a sauce to go with a fish dish that celebrated a victory at Marne.  The sauce was the ancestor of our mayonnaise.  I had to draw the dish. 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

sketching Fredericksburg

I'm taking a break from the studio for a few weeks this summer and hitting the streets of Fredericksburg!  My goal is to sketch as many buildings as I can and experiment with technique and tools along the way.  Here are some recent ones:

This is Sunken Well Tavern, a Fredericksburg institution.  It has delicious food.   I sat in the shade across the street to sketch.  I used a micron pen and watercolor.  I also used an ink brush pen for the really dark areas.  
I used a micron pen and the ink brush pen which has water soluble ink- handy for washing over with water to get the gray tones.  

This is Caroline Street.

Monday, July 6, 2015

six weeks later

So much changes in the garden in six weeks!  The salvia may night has been cut back and is reblooming but in a flea bitten sort of way.  The penstemon quietly shrinks back to a ground cover after I shear the spent blossoms.  The rose after it's spring bloom loses nearly all it's leaves to mildew.  But now as the day lilies finish the phlox, black eyed susans, annuals and grasses take center stage.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

its July now...

Summer for me is marked by the wheel of perennial flowers in my garden.  We are precisely at the point where there are only three days of day lily blooms left and the black eyed susans are just  beginning to uncurl their first gold petals.  I noticed this year that it's not until the end of June when the locusts  really tune up that monotonous drone that I always associate with lying outside trying to get a tan as a teenage.  It's a really hot and boring thing to do anywhere but the beach.  And not very smart!  In the backyard the tomatoes are still green and the sunflowers are blooming.  Some time ago I wrote a poem for the passage of summer that comes just before this.  

Ode to June, the most beautiful month,

full of roses, beginnings, soft breezes, swinging in hammocks.
Those cottony, white clouds shot through with blue heaven are June,
singing soundlessly above us, June, June, June,
crickets, screen doors, porch lights, lilacs, moonlight, blue sky,
cows moving slowly through waist high grass.
We’re on the upswing now in balmy, breezy, blowy June,
June bug June, lilac June, rose petals and showers June.

My garden- this is actually late May

Thursday, June 25, 2015

the beach

Here in Virginia the daily ninety plus temperatures have me longing for the beach or at the very least a pool.  Since neither are accessible just yet I decided to reminisce and write a poem.  

Jersey Beach

A hot day at the beach
scours the brain clean 
of everything 
but the anticipation
of the icy, cold ocean.
Entering the water
is like a game of double dutch,
catching a break between the waves
to rush in.

Back on the beach I lie
one ear to the ground and listen.
The depths of sand, grain on dark grain,
is a sound chamber vibrating
with every footstep above.

A seagull arcs overhead
a brief shadow across my eye.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

thermopolis, wyoming

No Rosetta Stone

In Wyoming 
honey color rock
softened and weathered
round and cracked,
in places has shattered loose
into a seam of dark umber.
Rock tools chip through
to the honey and
petroglyphs dance across the rock face 
as lively as a child's drawing;
animals, people, spirits  mingle.
We look for the code,
trying to read the pictures,
stepping carefully,
watching for snakes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

a poem

The Peony

bush rises from the bare ground with its shiny green leaves
and sends up long slender stems with small fists.
Too frail for their growing burden, they arch over,
bending and bending until they touch the ground.
I rescue a few to bring inside, caress the pale pink,
silky, soft petals, blow off the ants,
their dark attendants working tirelessly,
and put them in water.

In the garden the rain beats them down- a tragedy,
white swan feathers lie about muddied on the ground,
not like the sturdy daisies, not at all.  
Every spring, they arrive with no thorns, no defenses.
I hold one tenderly to my cheek.
Peonies don’t count their petals,
they are lavish and pure like love.
They are rich without regard to money.
They just need someone to hold their necks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

sketching fredericksburg

I'm trying to get out for a little sketching every day that I go into the studio in downtown Fredericksburg.  I have a folding chair in my trunk, I grab it and my sketching kit and go walking, looking for a shady spot with a good view.  There are so many great houses here, it is fun to sit and study them.  Many of them like this one just above have metal roofs with ridges and little gadgets to keep the snow from sliding off in big sheets.  I am still experimenting with my tools.  This one was done with a micron pen, a brush pen with water soluble ink and a water brush pen to create the shading. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

artist talk

Everyone is welcome! I am doing an artist talk for my show at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. There will also be a reception afterward.  The talk is at 4 pm, tomorrow, May 11th. 1600 Westbrook Ave., Richmond, VA 23227.  If you can't make the show come by and see it later- it will be up through the end of June.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

new work


another painting inspired by my trip a year ago to Skagit Valley, Washington State

Friday, April 24, 2015

my first sketchcrawl

After about a year of following several Urban Sketcher blogs, I finally got out the door and went on an official Urban Sketcher sketchcrawl in Richmond.  It was a perfect spring day.  We met at the Virginia Center for Architecture, were given maps of a route to follow and off we went.  It was immediately overwhelming- there are so many great things to draw in Richmond.  The selection was limited a bit by the need to sit in shade.  I brought a small folding chair which worked well.  

Inspired by some of the sketchers I talked to that seem to draw all the time- they are very fast and fluid, I am trying to draw more.  I carry a tiny sketchbook (2"x3") in my purse and sketch while running errands with my husband.  I did this today while waiting for him at the eye doctor.  I like all the glamour shots of people wearing glasses. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Each week clearly demarcates the passage of time.  Right now is very specific.  The crocus flowers have melted away.  Flowers that were such a surprise a month ago, coming so hard on the heels of snow here in Virginia.  The daffodils are starting to wither as we come into the hour for tulips, those cups of sheer color.  If there is an exact point of red on the color spectrum it lives in the tulip.  Flurries of white pink cherry blossom petals fly off trees, giving ground to the minty green leaves.  Lilac flowers are waiting in the wings, right now just dusty dark purple nubs.  

Yesterday it rained all day.  A slender wet slug felt its way across the window screen.  Bird song coming through the open window is innovative and plentiful now. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Trying to get back into a daily routine of writing/drawing in my journal.  It is a large hardbound journal with watercolor pages.  I used a micron pen and pencil.  I think it is kind of interesting to draw with the pen and then add shadows with a pencil.  The alligator was shaded with a brush pen.  I have a couple of the aqua brushes that I load with varying strengths of ink and water. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

elle decor

I love getting my Elle Decor magazine every month.  April's issue is about "stylish homes that embrace nature."  I have gotten this magazine for years.  I pour over it, tear out pages with my favorite rooms and put them in a file marked "decorating".  This month I loved the cover so much I decided just tearing it out was not enough, I had to paint it in my journal.