Upholstery Project


My latest project is to learn how to upholster. I found this used Room and Board sofa, which had been clawed and shredded by a cat. I’ve always wanted to learn how to upholster. And this sofa feels like the perfect project right now.

Amanda Brown’s book Sprucewas my initial inspiration for this project. I also have a padded bench I will warm up my skills on. Stay tune for updates!

upholstery book

Fabric swatches:


Oil Painting Classes and Other News


It was so nice to meet many of you at the One of a Kind Show in Chicago the first week of December. I really enjoyed interacting and meeting so many wonderful people.

I will be teaching oil painting classes at Elmhurst Art Museum in Elmhurst, IL starting January 6. The schedule and registration page is here. This is a new endeavor for me which I am excited about.

In other news, SaatchiArt has featured me in a gallery page today here and here. Thank you, Saatchiart.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and happy new year!

One of Kind Show Chicago 2014


I feel so excited about my upcoming show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago December 4 – 7th. I have a limited number of complimentary tickets available for anyone who may be interested. I will be exhibiting in both 7-4043 this year. The show is called One of a Kind Show Chicago 2014. It’s a large holiday-centered show of only handmade items including art, furnishings, fashion, accessories, and much more.

Here are a couple pics from last year’s show.


Waiting in line to unload at the loading dock at Merchandise Mart Chicago.


Part of a display wall from my exhibit 2013.

I look forward to seeing some of my buyers and hope to meet many more!

The Pivot and Its Inspiration

the pivot 2 painting

After a lot of soul-searching, I’ve come to realize I should do more landscape paintings. (Just kidding about the soul-searching.) But the though has crossed my mind, “Angela, why don’t you do more landscape paintings?” The answer is simple. I don’t want to paint outside. I like my stuff a particular way and I don’t want to deal with wind, dust, cold, and heat.

But one thing I know, is I am open to change.

I know that because I have been known to change my mind. When I got married, I wanted a silver ring (platinum gold it was called). My husband wanted gold. But now I want a gold ring and gold jewelry all around. This is just one example of many. I’m set in something, and then I change my mind down the road.

On another note, I want to tell you about pivots. After growing up in Chicago and working in the city, it took awhile for me to figure out the ranching. One thing I learned about is irrigating. All the fields (We don’t grow crops. We grow hay and alfalfa to feed the cows.) need to be watered. The climate on our ranch is considered “high desert”. That means we have sage brush, cactus, and rattle snakes. But we also get snow – especially and mostly up in the mountains. We don’t get nearly as much down in the valleys. But we depend on that snow in the mountains for irrigation.

Luckily, the geography of the ranch is such that it all flows downhill. Our ranch actually sits at the edge of the Continental Divide. We are the first property on the Western Side to get runoff. Besides that fact being totally amazing, we also don’t have pumping costs. Many ranchers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to pump water to irrigate their fields. We use gravity. We also practice conservation techniques to use most efficiently and provide waterways for wildlife, including and especially fish. Did you know fish come all the way from the Pacific ocean (steelhead and salmon) and spawn in places like land-locked Idaho? It’s true and totally cool.

Back to my story. Types of irrigation you will find on our ranch. Flooding. This is easy to do. One just makes dams like this orange tarp on the water.

flood irrigating dam

The way this works, one just dams up the water and lets it flood the field. Below is a pasture with cows that is being flood irrigated.

flood irrigation on cattle ranch

The next easiest form of irrigation we use is handlines. They are often used in places we can’t have pivots and other mechanical devices. But a long time ago, they were all that were used. They require a lot of manual labor moving them. Here is my painting of two of our boys moving the hand line in the fields.


And here is a video of the process (not mine but found on Youtube).

Next, we have wheel lines. As you can see in the picture below, they are large aluminum wheels that roll slowly across the field. They have a mechanical motor but need to have the hoses moved occasionally.


Then there is the pivot. The pivot rotates around its axis and could be long or short. You have have seen the tracks it leaves from an airplane. Those circles on the ground. Those are where pivots have irrigated. The first image is a painting of a pivot. They don’t require daily maintenance like some other forms of irrigating. And also are very efficient at distributing water over fields. Most of ours are powered by hydraulics and don’t even use electricity.

And lastly, there is always the occasional rain. Farmers and ranchers love this form of water (unless its time to put up hay.)

rainbow on the ranch

My Introduction to Adobe Kuler

Theme 1

Hi there. Introducing Adobe Kuler with the catchphrase, “Color is Kuler”. I downloaded this app on my iPhone and also use on my computer. It’s a fun way to come up with color schemes and palettes for various purposes.

For instance, I took the photo of the fall ornamental kale, mums, and amaranth the other day. By selecting one of the palettes, I come up with a bright rainbow hued palette. This could be used for art, decorating, or many other purposes.

For this photo, I just chose it from my existing photo album. But one can also take a picture and instantly create a color scheme from the photo. Or you can upload from the cloud, dropbox, or anywhere else you store photos.

Also, one can experiment with the different palette types. For example, a list of palette types on kuler are analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades, and custom.

roses with kuler

In the above photo, I am working with a photo of some roses in front of my house. You can see here the palette I have created from this photo. I actually used this palette to create several paintings of roses.

One thing I really like about this program is the way it helps train my eyes and brain. As an artist, I’ve already noticed my increased capabilities in many visual contexts compared with non-artistic people. But one can always gain new skills. Using this program, I am often surprised by the colors that pop out of seemingly nowhere (because I had not noticed them.). A fun exercise is to aim the camera at one’s face or foot, or other seeming colorless object and discover the colors the app picks up. I’ve felt tickled pink at the colors and beautiful palettes I have made from common objects on my office desk, someone’s face, a kitchen appliance.

Then, you can save palettes you like. You can also browse other palettes. Adobe has categorized them as popular and so forth.

So if you are curious, give it a try.

Richard Koppe Exhibit

Richard Koppe Exhibit EAM

There is a new exhibit this month at Elmhurst Art Museum. The artist is Richard Koppe. A former professor at UIC and IIT, his work is influenced by New Bauhaus and Cubism. How nice to be exhibited in the EAM, which was designed by architect Mies Van Der Rohe – one of Richard’s associates and peers.

My favorite paintings in the exhibit were the ones produced on large linen woven canvas in bright colors in a south-facing gallery. No photographs were allowed in the exhibit so I find it hard to explain. I’ll just say they were large canvases and supported a lot of color. Abstract yet I forget what forms were in the painting. I only remember the feel. Solid lines separated areas of saturated color. The paintings made me feel alive and vibrant. Find out more about Richard Koppe (1916 – 1973) here.

Summer Eats 2014

cherry lattice pie

Just a quick post to share some pictures I took over the summer. I did not do a whole lot of cooking and baking this summer. We ate a lot of deconstructed meals. A little of this. A little of that. Whatever I could throw together from the farmer’s market usually was a success.

chicken and wild rice casserole

The most recent dish I took a photo of is from last week. I made a chicken and wild rice casserole. The salad is arugula with roasted beets and purple cauliflower with a store-purchased raspberry lime vinaigrette.

Italian Ice

Raspberry Italian Ice from Annette’s Italian Ice.

Smoked fish Nicoise

The smoked fish Nicoise is a perfect example of a typical summer meal.

Fresh Basil

I don’t remember what I used this bunch of fresh basil for. But this is a typical weekday summer prep.

Drying onionsFrozen Michigan Blueberries

Frozen Michigan blueberries.

fried perch and green beans

Another typical easy summer meal. Panfried perch and green beans.

fresh figs

I felt so happy when the fresh figs arrived!

large heirloom tomato

A tomato so big it fills my lap.

grilled tomato and cheese sandwich

What to do with a giant tomato? Make a grilled tomato and cheese sandwich. No bread required.

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Some of Jeni’s Ice Cream summer flavors. Sweet corn and black raspberry and Chocolate. Mmmm.

german apple pancake

A fresh from the over German apple pancake.

Hope you enjoyed the pics. THe weather is starting to get cool. I’ve already pulled out the crockpot. Stay tuned for more daily life inspiration in the near future.

From my Work Table

art work table

Here’s a view of my work table. This is a long folding table where I put packages together for shipping. This particular painting has a birch panel backing, which I also sell in my etsy shop. WIth the birch backing, no frame is needed.

I will be making a video soon showing the process, if you want to add one to a painting you already have. I can add them if you purchase them with your painting.

birch panel for art

Paper I Use for Oil Painting


If you are curious what paper I use while oil painting, I will share that with you.
I use a special sized paper made by Italian Paper Company, Fabriano.

tela blog

The paper comes in glued blocks that have to be split apart. The paper has internal and external sizing that supports the oil paints.

fabriano tela paper

A few years ago, my art supplier discontinued selling this product. So I bought up the last of the supply. I also looked for other suppliers in the US. From what I can tell, this product is only available now outside the US (mainly Europe).

My plan is to use it for my little tiny oil paintings until I run out. Then I will discontinue this size painting. I feel happy to be able to provide these paintings because they bring a lot of joy to clients. I will feel a bit sad when I run out of paper. There are a few other brands available. But as an artist, I must keep exploring and growing and trying new things. Again, I have enough paper to last a couple more years.

Thank you for your support of my little paintings!

The Figs are In and so are the Rabbit Paintings

three figs no. 3 painting

Hi Folks! The California figs are in the studio! I’ve started painting and eating them. This week look for paintings of figs and paintings of bunnies. We’ll call them Figs 2014 and Cuddly Rabbits Series.

Growing up in the Midwest US, my first experience with figs was Fig Newton bars. Oh, did I love them! They were one of my favorite cookies as a child. Comfort food. Sweet and soft.

I didn’t try fresh figs until I was a teenager. The main difference I noticed between the dried figs I was used to and the fresh was first, their plump shape, then their moistness, and finally, the colors! Jewel-like colors inside and out.

Some of the rabbit painting will be from a ranch neighbor’s pet rabbits. They were cuddly and soft rabbits. I don’t have rabbits, but I enjoy there sweet disposition and furry style.

fresh figs