Tuesday, December 30, 2008


As usual going into a New Year, I plan my goals for the following year. This year it's much harder for some reason, maybe the general apathy I feel after my Dad's death this year has made me less driven. Anyway, I have decided to paint animals this year, Herefords in honor of my Dad. He loved his Herefords and he picked them for their "conformation", something I never quite got the feeling of. So, this year I am going to study our cattle from old photos and paint some of them grazing and at their winter feeding station.
Feeding them in Southwestern North Dakota in the winter was a challenge that most people will never know. Lucky them! Sometimes it took us as long to get dressed to go out to feed the cattle as it did to feed them. I can remember my Mom and I getting dressed up in our "storm coats" as she called them. My arms would barely bend with all the layers. The scarf around your mouth would immediately freeze at 30 to 38 below zero. It was a real scary time, the water in the tank had to be heated and broken through for the cows and the calves. We had to haul out the bales, some of which were pretty tightly frozen and packed together. The great life of a farmer/rancher in North Dakota! Wow.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year

It's very cold here in Colorado, but the sun is peeking out. I am working on reorganizing my studio. Today my friend Nancy helped me out putting pastels in a new cabinet I bought at the flea market for $95.00. It has eleven drawers in it and they are lined with red velvet! It is a new cabinet made by a local handyman for jewelery but it works great for pastels. It is extremely heavy and now it is probably close to 80 pounds with my pastels in it. Pastels are so expensive I wanted a case for them where they would get so dusty and messed up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

North Dakota grandparents house in winter.

Photo taken by Rev. Roger of my
grandparents house, built in 1914, a
Sears and Roebuck house. Now
owned by Doug Tarpo.


Rolling into the holidays, as usual I am trying to do a thousand things at once and lately that has given me some black and blue marks as well as pain! Hopefully, once Christmas craziness wanes we will be able to attain some serenity in our lives. Having spent the last few days in Minnesota, I have become much more excited about Christmas. Minnesota has to be one of the most Christmasy of all the states in the Union. Everyone seems to collect everything to do with Christmas!! My eight Santas pale in significance to everyone's "villages, snowmen, American dolls, ornaments, etc". Anyway, now I am digging out all our stuff to see if I can make a statement celebrating a Colorado Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feeding the Kitties

Last fall after my Dad passed on I painted this from a photo I had taken several years ago. My Dad loved his cats and wanted to keep them around to keep the rodents down around the farm. In order to do that it was important to keep them fed, also. So every morning he would fill up a little ice cream pail with table scraps and some cat food and take it down to the barn.
Here you can see the little black kitties rushing out to greet him. He would call "kitty, kitty, kitty" and they would come in a blur. They were all wild, feral cats and you couldn't get very close to them. Now I guess they are all at someone else's farm because there's no one left to feed them at Flagstaff Farms! Time and life move on somehow!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Small Paintings Show

Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone!

We are having a new Small Paintings Show in Fort Collins at the Readers Cove, a nice bookstore on Harmony Road and Lemay. Our opening is Friday, Nov. 21 at 6 pm so be sure and come.

I am putting in the corn stalk one below as well as this painting I did of bales in a fall field. One of my favorites...I love those round bales and due to their size never had to haul them anywhere, unlike those little rectangular nasty ones!

We are off to Texas for Thanksgiving. I'm sure the weather down there will be just ideal, the one time of the year that it is almost perfect in Austin. Have a great one!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Painting at Grant's Farm in Loveland.

A few weeks ago some of my friends and I went out to a farm near Loveland where they grow pumpkins and painted the area and buildings. There were bunches of little kids there with their Moms picking out pumpkins and gourds for Halloween. Cute.
I really liked this doorway and the huge stalks of the corn nearby. It was very, very cold. Probably 40 degrees with a wind about the same speed. Not the easiest kind of atmosphere to paint outdoors! I would have to say that painting outdoors is just the greatest thing that an artist can do, however. You just seem to see articles, atmosphere, color and distance in entirely different ways once you start painting outdoors.
I started my love affair with painting out when I was in college and I trundled my junior high, high school and college students out all my teaching career. They actually liked it the best of all drawing projects that they ever did. It is just so invigorating to experience all the outdoors has to offer. The more you do it, the more your painting improves.
I painted some great views of Long's Peak from this property also, it's a wonderful farm with a great barn and a lake.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Art on Mountain Gallery, Fort Collins, CO

This is our Art on Mountain Gallery at 102 West Mountain Ave in downtown beautiful Fort Collins, CO. I am the gallery director and have been for several years. We moved this gallery from the center of the Opera Galleria where it was the Benson Gallery to Mountain Avenue in
beautiful downtown Fort Collins. We have a wonderful location right between two great restaurants, Austins and Enzios and across the street from the Rio Grande Restaurant which is probably the most popular restaurant in Fort Collins.

This space had been a French Antique store called "The Nest", and it was. It was painted in splashes of bright red, yellow green and kind of messes of nest like stuff stuck here and there. The gallery artists looked a little pale when they first saw it, but I had a vision of what it could become and, with the help of all the artists and especially our carpenter, photographer James Steele, we created a beautiful little gallery. Everyone works hard to keep it beautiful and fresh.
Stop in whenever you are in town and see my work and that of 30 other award winning area artists. Beautiful art work, great prices!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Liesl and Lilli

Our daughter and granddaughter enjoying the summer sun. Lilli is now walking and talking a little. At least she has finally said "Nana".
Yesterday I spent the morning out painting the Old Town Square in Fort Collins. It was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed it. There were lots and lots of people walking around and watching us paint.
Fort Collins is just this beautiful city full of young people pushing baby carriages, lots of them dads!
I painted the buildings on Linden that were copied by Disney World in their small town USA in Floriday. All the leaves were golden, it was a wonderful day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Contessa Stairway, Vallala, Italy

I did this painting for my beautiful niece, Kristi,
to hang in her new house in California.
I painted a study of this while in Italy. It was
one of those perfect days, standing out in the
sunshine, on the side of a hill overlooking
Sienna, almost surreal in its beauty. I was standing nearby a beautiful area of umbrella
pines on a small gravel road. On the other side
of the road was a drop off into acres of olive
groves with poppies blooming on the side.
Could it possibly get any better than that?
I painted this in oil on a heavy linen canvas, it
is a wrap around canvas and I had my framer, Mike Otteman, do a beautiful heavy black frame that floats the painting.
This painting is 24 x 20 and has the essence of
Italy. The Contessa is 94 and she came out to
see the paintings we were doing. She always had her dog Prince with her. Price was a very scary Germany Shepherd, we kept our distance! But she was very friendly and spoke great English. Her second husband, Hugh, was
Scots and she had met him when they occupied the Villa and her lands during the Second World
War. I'll bet she was a beauty, she was still pretty at 94. The lands and her 13 houses had come down from her line of the family. So, when she met Hugh, she just put her husband and her son in a different house! Guess that worked fine.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


This week the Colorado Coalition of Artists or COCOA has sponsored an art show called WOW Fort Collins. Everything in this art show had to use the initials wow, so I created a very abstract painting, which I used as a reference Michelle Vice's photo of a water and woodland scene. This painting I called War Over Water, mainly due to the problems we are having here to avoid the ruin of one of our most beautiful assets in Northern Colorado, the Cache La Poudre River. There is a plan afoot to build a reservoir on the Poudre north of Fort Collins which will really affect the flow of the river going through town. This painting is a reflection on the water of the battle we must fight to avoid losing our beautiful Poudre.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Capture the County, Winter Shadows

This is a painting close by to the last painting that I called Winter at the Ponds. This painting is of the late afternoon shadows close by the Cache la Poudre River north of Fort Collins. This is an oil, quite large, 24 inches high and 36 inches long. It received a Second Place for Oil Painting at the Cheyenne National Show and I am not putting it in Capture the County show which will be in the Art on Mountain Gallery.

This has been a better week for me, painting-wise. I just finished a real abstracty painting that is 24 x 24 on a wrap around canvas. I will post it when I get it photographed. Tomorrow I am going to finish a couple of paintings that I did plein air to also put in the Capture the County Show. The weather here in Colorado couldn't be better, one of the greatest things about living in the state of Colorado is the long beautiful fall. In the evening it gets down into the 40's but each day it hits the high 70's or 80's. The Chamisa that blooms so prolifically here is in full glory. I have a back-lit chamisa painting that I did for the Lines Into Shapes Show in Estes Park. It reminds me of the warmth and fragrance of the Colorado fall days.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Winter at the Ponds, New Mexico Choice 2008

I was really excited to get the notification that my piece, "Winter At The Ponds" was selected for the New Mexico National Pastel Show in Albuquerque this fall.

I really like this painting which is of the area right
north of Taft Hill Road, off the Poudre River
in North Fort Collins, close to where we live.
Being from North Dakota, I enjoy painting snow
and winter! This was a nice winter day, the
snow and water smelled clean and earthy the way I always remember from North Dakota when
we had one of those "warmer" days. The pond was not frozen, so it reflected the soft blue sky
that we had that day.
This is the first time I have gotten into this show, so I am very excited about it. I am going to go
down to Albuquerque anyway to participate in a Scandinavian Butikk which is held on Nov. 1st, this is a good excuse to spend a few days with all my friends down there!
I am also taking a class from Sheila Rieman who paints beautiful colorful animals in pastel. She is
actually from North Dakota, Sentinel Buttee, which is close to where I grew up. It should be fun
to take her class in Albuquerque and to see this wonderful exhibit. The exhibit is on the fair grounds of the New Mexico State Fair, it is beautiful in November, smells like apples, pinon smoke in the air and the gentle warmth of fall...usually about 65 degrees, my favorite temperature!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is one of my favorite fall scenes, the Cache La Poudre River at Martinez Park right in
downtown Fort Collins. This scene is only three blocks from our Gallery, Art on Mountain where I show my work and where this painting is hanging.

This painting is 36" high and 24" long. I have painted this scene three or four times, this time of the year the Poudre River is so beautiful reflecting the clear blue skies of our wonderful state.

This has been a difficult fall, my father died two weeks ago, he was 95 but was one of the best right up until the end. He must be looking down on me right now making sure that I keep on painting! He was a great supporter of my painting and I have done several of him and the North Dakota scenes that he loved so well.

My family always has been really supportive of my crazy painting career, even though sometimes they probably wonder why I don't get a "real job". It's too late now, I have retired from "real work" and will just keep painting!

Hopefully there are still people out there who want to see painterly scenes of the wild and scenic Poudre River, plains, mountains and contented cattle...my favorite subjects!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Diane's Doodles Blog, September 6

Hi, if you haven't heard of me before I'll fill you in a little on my history. I was born in North Dakota and raised on a farm/ranch with four sister siblings. We had a lot of freedom to ride our horses and play all over our farm. When I was seven I knew I wanted to be an artist and so I have worked at that all my life.

Lately I have been trying to work some new things into my art. Since I am a Signature Pastelist with the Pastel Society of Colorado and also paint in oils, I decided to break away a little from my usual work of realistic landscapes and start to abstract them a little. I don't know if I will ever really change my style but I want to stretch the reality of it a little.
This painting is of a waterway on our land in North Dakota that was homesteaded by a man named Fisher. The WPA built a dam on it in the thirties. We now have a couple of wild horses who live here and enjoy the water and the green grass. This painting is a pastel, size 9 x 12 and it was painted a couple of weeks ago.
I want to paint a really large painting of this, so this is kind of a study even though it is a complete work of art by itself.
I am also working on a series about trees, which you can see there aren't any here, so I guess I deviated a little from that plan! However, I will post my tree paintings as I start to get them finished.