When our friend lost both legs, we decided to make her a lap quilt, and Susan Smith, my oil painting friend, asked me to paint bluebonnets on my little block because she & Ethel Garrett really loved my bluebonnets. Amazingly, my first bluebonnet bloomed that week in my flower bed, so I knelt out there and sketched its form. Then I drew it off on a scrap of pale blue satin fabric, took it out to the garden with a stool, and painted the colors and shadows in front of the real plant before I painted it on the chambray quilt block . I liked the original so well that I matted & framed it for my living room wall. It reminds me of my dear friends with whom I participated in church activities & Bible classes, and with whom I had visited art shows and galleries.

I will be making prints of this acrylic painting, too, for Rockette and Jordon in Jakarta so that they can see the palmate shape of the leaves and the colors of the first bluebonnet of spring.

[Canvas Size: 18″ x 38″]

I love the beauty found in some deteriorating natural objects, their final gift to those who chance to see them. I discovered this old Saguaro Cactus, and my mom gave me a photo of the Barrel Cactus in full bloom.  I placed them together, thinking that the viewer will see the lovely creamy beauty of the blooms, then notice the little Screech Owl snug in his parents’ garden apartment. To my surprise, everyone sees the cute baby owl first. This painting is one of my earlier attempts at painting large canvases, and it is one of my favorites.  It was judged with oil paintings in an art show although I had it moved to the acrylics section. Some authority at the gallery did not believe one could paint so realistically with tubes of acrylic paint. So it won second place in the oils category! Maybe that is part of the reason I love the painting so much.

As I painted the saguaro, Roy found one of the broken thorns made a pattern like a skull which I had not noticed. He believed that an artist will always place secret images into a painting. Actually, the thorn cluster did look like a skull, and my realistic rendition was true to its form. I did not deliberately do that, but Roy always found one or two special images in each of my paintings.

The real art of discovery is not in finding new lands,
but in seeing with new eyes.”
—Patricia Clifford

[Total Canvas Size: 30″ x 47-1/2″–
This is a partial photo.]

Nature presents absolutely marvellous colors and textures where one least expects to find them, the most beautiful one will ever experience.  I found a photo of this snag, the victim of a lightning strike, split from the main trunk of the tree. The colors and textures and patterns fascinated my artistic sense, and this acrylic painting is the result.

Roy used to love finding shapes of natural things in this painting, and this one is no exception. Do you see any? However, I did not intend to paint any into the scene; I just love the rich colors and shapes that create an abstract painting. I also love the idea that a REAL object can look to be totally ABSTRACT.  No one ever guesses what the actual image is.  Because I love the beauty of quiet, perhaps small, things in nature, I tend to  enlarge slightly and to enhance the colors a bit–a style called Expressionism by some critics. But this enlarging of small or unnoticed objects causes others to see the details that I see that they might never see as they pass by.


Desiring to learn to paint stained glass, I devised a design, but when Neil Wilson, painting instructor at SWT, saw the design, he suggested that I strengthen some 3-D elements in the design.  That night I worked far into the night and by early the next morning came up with this design– far different from the original idea.  I love the way the shapes and designs change and move as the viewer walks across the room. Starting with the large shapes in the center, I worked the colors to allow the light to shine from one direction. This creates a “realistic” lighting that allows the “buildings” in the painting to be formed of different colors.  I learned much more about mixing and placing colors to create the 3-dimensional effects I want to recreate in my usual paintings. I have started a black-and-white wall hanging in patchwork and 3-D; this is one my mother loved thought was a lovely idea. I packed it away about the time she died and haven’t returned to it yet. It is both fun and instructional to try to create a 3-D physical work from a 2-D painting, and I shall return to the fabric wall hanging as soon as I have space to leave it in place to work on at odd moments.  I believe I have used almost every color in the spectrum in this painting, which was a several-week work of love.

(Image: Approx. 9″ x 12″ Orig on Jerzee Tee Shirt)

In the early days of our state, Bluebonnets were called Buffalo Clover because the buffalo trampled through them on the prairies of Texas. The sturdy bushes just sprang back up in their usual beauty.  This is one of my favorite “Fun and Pun” paintings.  I like the irony of the new Bluebonnets of Spring springing up alongside the skull of the long-dead buffalo for which it was named.  This was designed and painted in a series of clothing designs I created for some classes I taught in craft stores, but I have kept the pattern and intend to paint it, perhaps larger, onto canvas soon. The bluebonnets were painted from real live bluebonnets in my yard in a good bluebonnet year.