Category Archives: commission

Twenty Years ago…

Our wedding day, June 10, 1997

Our wedding day, June 10, 1997

I married the love of my life! This Saturday is our 20th anniversary. It has flown by, I still cannot believe all the life we have lived together. I am so grateful to have found my soulmate during this lifetime! June is a crazy month for us, yesterday was Aaron’s birthday (Father’s day coming up soon!), so we took it somewhat easy and spent some time with our grandson in the afternoon. He was in a happy mood, so it was a blast. It’s so much fun being a grandparent! What is it they say? If I had known it would be this much fun, I would have done this part first! lol. Aaron and Ben took a little nap together yesterday and I was able to snap my new favorite photo of the two of them.

Aaron and Benny napping

Aaron and Benny napping

I started on the mural last Friday and have had a few days to work on it so far. Of course the weather decided to be nice and HOT this week! Luckily for me, the homeowners have an Ez-up canopy they put up for shade and lots of ice cold lemonade. Sandy and Jeff have been really great during the whole process, thanks guys! This photo was taken this morning before I started painting again. The green sections have been started since I took this one. I’m filming a time lapse of the whole process, I will share it once it’s complete. I’m so excited about getting this finished up! It’s coming out even better than I had hoped. The texture of the stucco adds a cool dimension to the painting, though it does make it MUCH more difficult to paint. Lots of drip spots to touch up once I’m done. It’s been so freeing to paint this big, I think I’m hooked, murals only from now on! Just kidding of course, but I wouldn’t mind it so much. 😉

Progress on the mural!

Progress on the mural!

Memorial Day, Murals and Guitars

I hope everyone had a good Holiday weekend. I’m working through it so we can go camping this week. We always go camping the week AFTER Memorial day. We are the kind of campers that want to get away from everyone! Even in New Mexico, that is impossible to do Memorial Day weekend, so we wait until Tuesday when everyone else is back at work.

I’m writing this blog ON Memorial Day and remembering all the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I was in the military during Desert Storm and personally knew a few of those people. I will never forget them, their sacrifice or the families they left behind.

Painted guitar in progress, Strat body.

Painted guitar in progress, Strat body.

Over the weekend, I started my guitar painting for the Sierra Club show in August. I’ve had this Strat body sitting in my studio for literally YEARS! It has been patiently waiting for me to make it beautiful. It is still in progress and I’m hoping to make this one my first playable guitar painting. I’m counting on my husband to help me with building the guitar from the empty solid body it is now. I’m showing only recycled art at the Sierra Club, because what better place to promote recycling, right?

Mural design, 12 x 12" oil on canvas, this will be painted at 10 times the size of this painting!

Mural design, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, this will be painted at 10 times the size of this painting!

On Friday, I will be getting started on the mural project I’ve been writing about for the last couple months. I have created the design and have approval to get started! I’m really excited about painting LARGE! 10 x 10 feet large! I plan on making a time lapse video of the whole process so stay tuned. I may share bits and pieces of it during the process.


Getting started on Mural Projects!

I recently posted on facebook that I would like to start doing more mural projects. In response, I have two murals lined up!

mural sketches

The mural process begins with sketches…

The first one will be on the back patio wall of a personal residence. Today, I started working on sketching some ideas. I’m thrilled that I have free reign with the designs, because I really want to work on my own style in mural form. I have more freedom with the first mural. The woman I am painting it for is a collector of art in general and my art in particular. I was excited when I made my first site visit to see her tastes are colorful and eclectic. We have very similar taste!

The second mural is at a local high school. My sketches will have to be approved by the Principal. The high school art teacher (a friend of mine) has a general idea that I will be working with. This mural will be a project to create a sanctuary spot on campus for the large population of immigrant and refugee students to feel safe and welcome. The basic idea there is a spiral with different colored hands around it. I am thinking I will turn the spiral into a giant sunflower with the hands in the middle section around the spiral.

Last week, I visited both sites, made some measurements and spoke with the clients about what they wanted. This week I will make several sketches so there are choices to pick from. Once I have approval, I will gather my supplies and get started! I’m unsure if the High School mural will happen this school year or even in the Summer. It may have to wait until school starts back up in the Fall. We are going to include kids in the process which will be fun! I will have a group of young artists to help with the painting once the design has been drawn.

Would you like me to paint a mural for you? Contact me and let’s talk!

People Who Inspire Me: Scott White

Scott White is a phenomenal furniture maker based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I first met Scott when we represented Scott’s work in our gallery. I had seen his work around town for at least a couple years before we opened Chroma Gallery and when I started filling our huge 4,500 square foot space, I knew Scott’s furniture would complement the art perfectly.

Once I met Scott, what struck me immediately was his positive outlook on life. Like Aaron and I, he had experiences similar to ours with serendipity, and he knew he was following his heart by making things with his hands. This is what first struck me and still inspires me about Scott. He is living his soul purpose.

Scott uses recycled metal and wood in his craft, as well as plywood and other woods. His chairs are just plain gorgeous and comfortable to sit in. Though he doesn’t like to consider himself an artist, his furniture is sculpture and therefore, Art with a capital A!

Scott’s Statement about his Craft:

In the current environment where ‘disposable’ is practically shoved down people’s throats, my longing is to make objects that will outlive the owner. This culture needs to revive the art of craft wherein the pieces that reside in your space will effect you even when you aren’t physically there. They possess the energy of the maker where the hand touches everything and they think about every line. My technique has evolved predominantly, to that of sculpture, where the object appears to come out of a single piece of wood. I collaborate with the material and rarely make sketches, paying attention and sensing how the form will resolve. The process is conscious and deliberate.

Paula: If you had the power to change one thing in this world, what would it be and how would you change it?

Scott: I have the power to change many things in this world simply by opening my mouth…..or opening a door. Many have said “you’ll never make a difference,” but to those I say, “wait”. One never knows what a kind word or even gesture will do for someone else. I think we are all here to plant seeds…

Plywood chair by Scott White

Plywood chair

Paula: What or who inspires you?

Scott: People who are passionately authentic inspire me. Those who are willing to be vulnerable….anomalies in a culture that stresses uniformity.

Paula: Who has had the biggest influence on your craft?

Scott: In the realm of furniture, George Nakashima and Sam Maloof are my go-to people. I lean towards George’s aesthetic…….. “luscious utility”. I came across Sam years ago before I started building furniture and he was etched in my mind from day 1. He once told a story about the mailman being all worried that his mail contained some bills, knowing Sam and Freda, Sam’s wife, were struggling. Others include Rebecca Solnit, a force of nature who eloquently talks about real change. The natural world is huge for me….not that I get out a lot but to see the genius everywhere is invigorating.

Paula: What do you want your art legacy to be?

Scott:  I don’t use the word ‘artist’ to describe myself. That’s such an ethereal word and employed by a lot of people (on the outside) who deem what is or isn’t ‘art’. I make objects yet wouldn’t even go as far as to call myself ‘maker’. That said, I hope my ‘legacy’ is that I helped more than I hindered, and that I’m remembered occasionally.

Three Tiered Round Table, Mahogany by Scott White

Three Tiered Round Table, Mahogany.

Creativity: Throwback Thursday


We have a friend visiting from out of town today, so I haven’t had any time for creating. What better time to share a #TBT post?! A couple of weeks ago I posted about my 25 years as an Artist.

Clarksville Methodist Church, pencil drawing

Clarksville Methodist Church, pencil drawing. Not the greatest photo, it was sent to me by a fan. I honestly don’t think I have a photo/copy of this drawing anymore.

In that post I talked about my first drawings being of historical buildings in Tennessee. For today’s Throwback Thursday post, I decided I would share some of my pencil/charcoal drawings and portraits. The church was done when I was 21 years old, just a baby as an artist. All I knew was drawing with pencil, I hadn’t had any experience with painting or selling my art.

"Nate sticking out his tongue", pencil drawing of my youngest son at around 2 years old, 2003

“Nate sticking out his tongue”, charcoal drawing of my youngest son at around 2 years old, 2003.

I surely didn’t know anything about computers back then. The World Wide Web barely existed then, at least the way we know it now. I was still 6 years away from owning my own first computer. At the time, I still had dreams of becoming an architect someday. I’ve always loved drawing buildings. I love architecture, especially older buildings. It fascinates me how much detail and work was put into buildings before the turn of the 20th century. Nothing was rushed, it was art. It’s sad to me that in today’s rushed world, buildings are put up in record time, with little to no architectural details. Little boxes everywhere you look. Big box stores, little box suburban sprawl. Boxes everywhere. I could go on forever about the loss of beautiful architectural pieces.

"Bryan and his big wheel", pencil drawing of my eldest son at around 2 years old. Circa 1997

“Bryan and his big wheel”, charcoal drawing of my eldest son at around 2 years old. Circa 2002

At the same time I was drawing historical buildings, I was always working on a portrait. Whether it was one of my own kids or commissions of other people’s kids, I used to really enjoy portraits. After drawing who knows how many portraits, I took a portrait painting class and did several watercolor and then oil portraits. Then one day, I was tired of painting portraits. I was good at it, not to toot my own horn, but faces are really not all that different. I knew I needed something more.

"Can I Hold the Baby?", watercolor portrait of my middle son holding his newborn cousin, 1997.

“Can I Hold the Baby?”, watercolor portrait of my middle son holding his newborn cousin, 1997.

For years after that, I drew and painted landscapes. Actually, all of these phases overlapped each other. I was unsure for many years which direction my art was headed. Portraits were always the best way to make a living as an artist, but also the most nerve wracking process. It was stressful doing commissions and never knowing if the person paying for the commission would be happy with the end result.They usually were, but that stress of self-doubt was hard for me to deal with.

"Martinez grandkids", commissioned portrait painted in oils, circa 2004

“The Grandkids”, commissioned portrait painted in oils, circa 2004

What it eventually came down to was I was searching for something deep down inside me that was MINE. My truest form of expressing my creativity. Not something I saw and wanted to copy, but something that came from my soul. I finally found that expression with my peace paintings and my spiral abstract series.

I will share my landscapes and Peace works in another post. Stay tuned for my next #TBT Creativity post! 🙂 Thank you for reading my blog! If you like what you see here, please subscribe to my blog in the upper right hand corner of this page. 🙂

Follow up….

I guess it’s time for a follow up to my “If They Could See Me Now” blog post from last week. It seems I had a bit of clearing to do. I am always amazed at how the Divine/God (insert whatever you call your higher power) sends me messages, signs if you will. Last Thursday, the day after I posted the previously mentioned blog post, I decided to take the day for meditation, journaling and “clearing”. Or at the very least, taking it easy on myself. No more beating myself up and treating myself badly. Why do I do that anyway? So, I started out the day with a nice meditation, with the question in my mind; what do I still have left to clear so I can feel good about myself? I still had a deep sense of unworthiness, a feeling that I was no good. Almost as quickly as I closed my eyes with this question in my mind, the answer popped in to my head. Oh yes, now I get it! Now I understand why I feel like a scared 14 year old every time I beat myself up.

I’m not going to get into specifics on the story (not sure about the statute of limitations!), but there is something I did when I was 14 that I am incredibly ashamed of. It’s the one, big, bad thing I did in my life. Or at least, that was what I had built it into in my mind. I had let the guilt get to me and let it fester into this horrible, unforgivable act. At the time, I got away with it, probably the biggest lie I ever told, or at least I THOUGHT I had gotten away with it. I probably suffered more by holding on to it than I would have if I had fessed up and taken my punishment. Big lesson learned there! 🙂

It felt so good just to KNOW what my problem was! However, I still had to CLEAR it and to clear it completely I was going to have to tell my best friend, the one I had wronged at the time. She has been my best friend for most of my life and she has always been there for me. No wonder I felt so much guilt, I did this terrible thing to her and she was still there for me. Some time that morning, this friend commented on my facebook status. This is not usually a big thing, but this day it was as if the Divine were shouting at me “YOU MUST TELL HER!” This friend RARELY gets on facebook! It was a direct sign as far as I see it.

I started out by telling my husband, my other best friend. It took me forever just to get the words out. When I finally did, he laughed. He thought there was no way she would still hold this against me after all these years. He said he could even hear her laughter as I told her the sad truth. I have held on to this confession all these years because I was afraid she would disown me as a friend. OK, so Aaron thought it would be OK. Still, I was pretty frightened to tell her what I had done.

It was hours until I was able to talk to her on the phone, perhaps it was my final punishment for keeping this secret for so long. When I finally finished skirting around the issue, she tells me “just spit it out, I already know what it is and I love you anyway!” So, I spilled the beans and she laughed, and I laughed and we reminisced about how silly we were as teenagers. She had known at the time that I was guilty, but she didn’t push the issue, she never did. What an awesome blessing to have such an amazing friend! AND I feel totally CLEAR! I have been floating around on a cloud ever since!

This is not the end of the story however. All these years I have been beating myself up, telling myself I’m unworthy. Because of something stupid I did when I was 14 years old. As if putting an exclamation point at the end of the sentence, the Universe decided to send me one more sign. On Monday morning I received an email with notification that I had been chosen to create a painting for the Healing Words Project. I signed up for this project at least a year ago and had completely forgotten about it. For this project, someone donates money and they pick an artist to make a painting based on an inspirational word or quote. This painting will be hung in the New Day Youth & Family services building to help encourage teens. Can you guess what my word is? OK……wait for it……


WORTHY! Yes! What a knock over the head THAT was! I will paint this one for myself as much as for the teens that will see it hanging. Thank you Divine, for showing me the way!

Commissioned Portraits

Painting portraits is my specialty. I have been painting commissioned portraits for almost 25 years! Nothing I paint is more challenging and rewarding. Below you can see some examples of portraits I’ve been commissioned to paint over the past few years.

I can work from life or photo, preferably photo for kids and pets. You may provide the photo or I can take photos for you for an extra $25.

My prices are moderate for my experience and are based on size, medium, and number of people/pets. Starting at $150 for a pencil 8 x10″ with one person/pet and going up to $1,400 for an oil 20 x 24″ with four people/pets. Email me for an exact quote for your commission.

Prices include basic professional framing. A 50% deposit is required to begin and the balance is due on approval of the portrait. You may also order prints or notecards to share your portrait with family and friends.

Final Portrait

Here it is, the final portrait! The client has seen it, approved it, picked the frame and I am almost done getting it ready to go! Everyone was right, btw, he loved it!

Today I’m working on cutting mats and cleaning house. My brother and his wife are coming up from Las Cruces to visit, so everyone will be at our house for dinner tonight. I’m making beef stew in the crock pot, so I can still get my work done during the day.

I’m really excited about finishing the portrait and mats because that means I can get back to working on MY art! I am going to get back to my flower spiral abstract series, as I have a gallery show in December to get ready for. I will let you know more about that as I know. What I know so far is the gallery is in Gallup, New Mexico and it is a new gallery for me. The owner saw my work at the state fair in September and invited me to show in his grand reopening in December. They are moving into a new building at the moment. Once I get more info I will post more.

Not much else exciting happening. Holiday season is upon us and I am in a rush to get everything together. I have lots of new things to post in my etsy shop, hopefully they have worked out all the bugs for the new V2 by the time I get around to listing everything.

Anyway, I’d better get back to work, hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

Last progress photo

This is yesterday’s progress photo of the portrait commission I’m working on. I finished this morning! Waiting for my camera batteries to recharge so I can take the final photo. There were only a few last touches to be made after this photo, so I figured I’d post it while I wait for the batteries. I don’t think I said before, but this is an oil painting on canvas, 16 x 20″.

I’m so nervous about showing it to the customer. That’s always the hardest part with doing commissions. Will they love it? Will they think it was worth the money they paid?

Personally, I love it and think it came out beautifully!

Now it’s back to cutting mats!

Portrait progress

Latest progress photo, taken before I worked on it for a couple hours today. I seriously have to be done with this by Friday! I am getting close. I ran out of light to take a photo of today’s progress, but I want to work on it another day before I post another one.

Today I went to the doctor, she prescribed physical therapy for my back problem. Hopefully, that works. I may just have to get a massage too, oh darn!
Once I get the portrait done, I have tons of mats to cut! For any of you who don’t know this already, I also do matting and framing jobs on the side, to help support my art. I have worked as a manager and even owned a frame shop in the past, now I work out of my studio. So, if you have any matting or framing that you need done, I have great wholesale prices, just email me. You can also find some of my mat listings in my ebay store. One of these days, when I have time, I also plan to put up some ready made standard size wood frames. Since I make them all myself, I have also considered putting them up on Etsy. All I need is a few 40 hour days to get it all done! Or possibly a little patience in the knowledge that I can’t do it all at once. 😉