From Sketch to Stitch

My Aurifil thread color palette for my latest series "Field Notes"

Field Notes was born out of several loves, passions of mine:

The love of the prairie.
The love of crops as they rise out of the ground each year.
The love of the symmetry and simplicity of how the fields themselves are arranged in the countryside.

Field Notes in progress on my table.

Some color studies.

Watercolor crayons, water soluble oil pastels, and water soluble graphite on sketchbook paper.

It's Been Awhile

So begins a new series I've titled "Fields". So far the goal is 18 large pieces and 12 small pieces. I'm using earth pigments, charcoal, conte, and mixed media pm cotton and silk fabrics this time around with machine stitching as the finishing touch.

I've been dragging my feet to start on this series, as it is the first series where I won't be using natural dyes. Fabric painting begins tonight. Photos coming soon.

Artist Interview with Denice Peters

Meet Denice Peters!

Denice Peters is an Iowa native and was born and raised in LeMars, IA.  Life pulled her in other directions for a time, but came to realize life is too short not to follow her dreams. So, she took the plunge to be a full time artist.  Mostly a self taught artist, she has taken the time to hone her own vision and technique.  Her vision is clear in her vivid realistic depictions of our rural scenes and landscape.  She exhibits nationally and her work has won many awards.

Denice says, “I’ve found that pastels give me that “hands on” aspect of painting that I love so much!  I love to “get right in there” and I become part of each painting in many ways. I love pastels so much that they are all I use now.  We overlook the things we see every day. God gave us many beautiful things. The beauty that surrounds us here in the Midwest is what I strive to capture before it disappears.”

She’s a member of the Pastel Society of America, Iowa Artist association and Iowa Pastel Society.  Her work can be seen at Clear Lake Art Center, Clear Lake, IA; Corning Center for Art, Corning, IA; and Xanadu Online Gallery, Scottsbluff, AZ.  She offers workshops and classes, and her website address is    
I have been an artist my whole life.  Drawing and painting has always been a huge part of me.  Life tries to pull you away from your dreams at times.  But I took the plunge to be a full time professional artist about 4 years ago.  It was a bad year for me, I lost both parents 7 months apart and in between them I lost my job.  I just came to realize that life is too short NOT to follow your dreams.  
I am currently working on rural landscapes in pastel.  For almost 20 Years, pastels are all I that I use.  I had a happy incident at an oil painting workshop back then.  The artist asked if anyone had another day, he'd show us pastels.  I said "Why not?"  Well, I was hooked!  I fell in love with the rich creamy vibrant colors of pastel.  I also gave me that tactile sensation of feeling the colors and strokes as I work.  No other medium but graphite or charcoal ever came close.  I work and blend with my hands and fingers.  Nothing separates me from my work, like a brush or something.  It's just me and my painting.  

When I start a painting, I work out the composition in my head and on a screen and sometimes paper.  I do everything by hand.  I freehand sketch my large shapes and composition on my surface.  On occasion, I will apply some dark pastel and then do an alcohol wash to block in the darkest areas and shapes.  Mostly though, I just start in painting!  I always start on the top of the painting working from dark to light and background to foreground.  

I find that I need to paint, so I try to do art related things every day.  If I can't for a few days, I feel down, so I'm either painting every day or working on the computer promoting my work.  I have been blessed with many opportunities so far.  And I have so many ideas yet to paint!

WIP- Bins

Charcoal on gesso on baltic birch plywood.

This is the second time I've tried painting over charcoal, ok I'm using a brush to paint with, and I have to admit I absolutely loathe it!  First off I find myself wanting to paint 'inside' the lines like a coloring book, mistake number one, and secondly I keep expecting my brush to respond like my palette knife and well we all know that's not going to happen, mistake number two.  So when the first coat of paint is done drying I'm planning to go at it again with my palette knife and this time ignore those line!

Acrylic on baltic birch plywood.

Iowa - Inspiration at 55 mph!

Iowa - Inspiration at 55 mph!  Whenever I'm not driving I like to take advantage of the situation by snapping tons of photos, photos that are in motion.  Every once in awhile I make a squealing noise indicating I really want to stop and take more photos of whatever that has captured my attention at that moment, but by and large images taken at 55mph intrigue me!