My Mom will be Thrilled

The Bevo Mill is a landmark building in St Louis Missouri.  My great grandfather on my mom’s side built it.  It was her father’s father.  His name was Louis Henry Grone.  He came over from Germany.  He also owned a small beer brewery in an underground

Bevo Mill, 16″ x 20″, oil on canvas panel

cavern in St Louis as well.

As the store goes, my great grandpa built this for Auggie Busch, the man who founded Anheuser Busch as a stopping place to eat, drink, and rest while he was on his way to his farm in the country. (Grant’s farm)  Every week, Mr. Grone went to Mr. Busch’s home on Pestalozzi Street, and placed his business card on a silver platter, which the butler then took in to Mr. Busch.  The butler would return with the check for Mr. Grone.

At any rate, I painted the Bevo Mill as a mother’s day gift for my mom.  Luckily she doesn’t have a computer, and I doubt any of my relatives on here will spill the beans between now and Sunday.

I painted this in the studio from a photo I took as I was driving by it on Morganford Road.  I love how the sun is right behind the mill, and makes the sky really bright around the top of the mill.  This adds drama, and makes it interesting.  This was my first time painting in 3 point perspective.  My husband made a beautiful professional looking frame for it from red oak.

Spinning Plates

I’ve been thrilled by the fact that in the past few weeks I’ve become much more regular in my painting.  However, as we all know, the holiday Christmas season is upon us, which means major disruptions in my routine, which I tend to resent.  My older son is home from college, and my younger one is off school.  One of the stress factors of Christmas is that I have tended to get swept away by it, and have sacrificed my art during this time.  This is exacerbated by the extra expectations from a dysfunctional family of origin.  This year, I’m not going to stop doing art just because it’s a holiday season.



It is a real challenge to balance family needs with my need to create.  Today, I thought I would bake some pumpkin bread.  It took me a lot longer than I thought it would, mainly due to baking time, because  I made a double batch.  I finally got that done, and my sons said something to me about taking them to the new Star Wars movie today.  I told them they could go together, and I would stay home.  I really dislike going out on cold, dark winter nights, and I’m not a big fan of sci-fi movies anyway.  There just seem to be a million small tasks that go along with family, pet, and home ownership, which seems to usurp so much of my time.  I have gotten my sons to help with a lot of this stuff, including cooking, cleaning house, and doing dishes, but the lion’s share still falls on me.  Take out the trash, clean the cats’ litter box, sweep the excess salt off the back deck so it doesn’t all get tracked in the house, wash dishes, prepare a meal – these are just a small subset of all the tasks I do.  Finally, I grab a fast meal at a local Chinese takout and deal with my son texting me demanding to know when I will be home so he can use the car.


However, I also feel blessed by the fact that I’m available to my kids, and hence able to enjoy the impromptu conversation I had with my college son Jonathan before lunch, enjoy the savor of baking pumpkin bread wafting through the house, and walk out of the house and enjoy the sunshine for a little bit.

The good news is, I’ve finally gotten done with all these chores, and am now about to sit down and refine some pastel paintings that I started en plein air.

The secret for me, is not completely giving away all of my time and myself.  I give a lot to my family, but I also say “no” to them sometimes, so I can have some space for myself and my art.  That way, I’m a happier and less uptight and less resentful person, which makes me happier, and is healthier for them.

Now I’m off to go do some art!  (My son’s just called up to me to let me know I received a package…… it can wait!)

I think it’s time to let some of the spinning plates fall to the ground.

Yes, I’ve neglected my blog…

… because of a veritable storm of family issues.  There have been 3 significant injuries over the past 2 weeks – 2 dislocated shoulders, and a dislocated toe.  My older son Jonathan got his car totaled on a 3 week road trip all over the western USA, then got stranded in Colorado (we live in Missouri) because a freak hailstorm with tennis ball sized hail ruined all the rental cars.  My husband and I were spending the week dealing with the various health issues and auto insurance claim stuff.  Many other things have gone on too, which I don’t want to bore people with.  I’m extremely thankful that he and his girlfriend came out of this unharmed.  Thank you Jesus!  I had been praying for him every day, and the Lord was with him.

Fortunately, I have been able to still squeeze in some time for painting.

I like to walk every day if I can.  I go around my neighborhood.  I’m fortunate to live in south St Louis, where there is quite a lot of old and beautiful architecture, and tree lined boulevards with shady parkways in the middle.  One day, I walked past an alleyway, and saw a charming wooden fence.  Someone must have planted some meadow mix along the base of it. There were some colorful wildflowers growing along the base of it.

There is a subtle complementary color scheme going on here.  It is yellow and violet.  The fence is based on yellow orange, and the alley and some of the flowers are blue violet.  I went impressionist on this by using broken color on the fence and pavement.  I also have an interesting contrast between the urban elements of street, power line shadows, dumpsters, and fence, with the organic plants, tree, and flowers.  The rather austere appearance of background dumpsters and garages emphasizes the beauty and grace of the blooming things.  Here is the listing in my online store.

Alley Rhythm.jpg
Alley Rhythm, oil on canvas panel, 24″ x 18″

Old Coffee Roaster

My husband has been off work the past 2 days, and Andrew, my 13 year old, has been on his 8th grade trip to Chicago.  It’s been wonderful.  My husband and I have been out taking walks at the Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park, having lunch out, and relaxing and having coffee at local cafes.  One such cafe is Shaw Coffee Company, in “the hill” section in St. Louis.  I love the interior of this place.  It is spacious with high ceilings, being as how it is an older building.  There is an old fashioned coffee roaster that they still use.  Today, it was not in use.  I enjoyed sketching this in pencil first, then in charcoal.  After I got home, I added some hilights with off white pastel pencil.  I started to use a stump to blend it out all the texture, but decided to just leave it be.

By the way, Shaw Coffee Company makes some darn good coffee!

Old Fashioned Coffee Roaster, charcoal, 12 x 9

Mother’s Day

Today, I took my younger son Andrew to visit my mom.  We gave her a very nice lavender scented candle, and a bright yellow kalachoe plant.  She decided to buy my paintings called “Six Canoes”.  It is an oil painting I did at Creve Coeur Lake in north St. Louis county.  This is where our family sails, and they also have a rental place for stand up paddle boards, canoes, and paddle boats.  One day, as I was sitting by the rental place, I noticed this lady in a fuschia bathing suit on a SUP.  I really liked how you could see the canoes and stacks of chairs along the shore.  I pumped up the light and warmth in the sky.  I also like how the canoes are all from a different perspective from left to right.  One of the canoes is hard to locate, but it is there.  Can you find it?

Six Canoes
Six Canoes, oil on canvas panel, 16″ x 20″, SOLD