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Friday, June 28, 2019


Insect experts say it's been the worst spring gnat season in 22 years.  Just when the weather is delightful and there's a new season to explore, these pesky bugs make it difficult to work outdoors.
Closer to Lake Michigan we've had fewer problems with gnats compared to what I recently experienced in SW Wisconsin.  The Gnat-pocalypse is real!
Recent springtime Plein Air pieces
Started this painting last week near Blanchardville and was immediately divebombed by the gnats.  Worked on it for a few hours before my bug spray ran out and I ran out of patience as the gnats won the battle.  The painting will be finished in the studio and I will pick all the dead gnats out of my painting and palette.  Besides, my models kept "moo-ving" on me anyway. 
Until the gnats go away and anticipating a bumper crop of mosquitos this year, I'll bring out my trusted head net and other bug battling gear for the months ahead. 
Happy Painting everyone!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Aromatherapy Plein Air

It's that time of the year when the beloved Lilac is in full bloom and I'm attempting to catch its splendor on canvas.  As most of you know, I spend a lot of my time in pastures and barnyards with beautiful animals, so this opportunity to nestle myself amongst the blossoms is a real aromatherapy treat!  Now if only we could figure out a "lilac" scratch and sniff feature for the paintings to keep that experience alive for a lifetime.
I set up shop surrounded by purple glory!

Still work in progress

Painted earlier in the week wearing mittens to paint as it was overcast and chilly.

Happy Happy to be outside in awe of God's creation. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Knitting Needles, Mashed Potatoes and Searching for Lost Sheep

A few weeks ago, I participated in my first workshop in over 15 years.  It was no ordinary workshop, but a winter painting "Snow Camp."  Yes, designed for us crazy artists who actually love painting outside in the winter.  Despite the blizzard, it was a dreamy experience.

First Night:  The three Wisconsin painters....a long journey with lots of gear, but we made it!
The workshop was held in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, near Franconia.  Led by Stapleton Kearns, a fabulous New England artist full of talent and wit. 
Our fearless leader....artist Stapleton Kearns
A great environment for learning from a master

We met for breakfast as a group, followed by a demo from Stapleton, afternoon painting on site, then evening dinner/lecture.  Three full days of adventure which were slightly interrupted by fierce winds (record setting actually) and blizzard conditions.  Day one painting conditions were picture perfect, but things went downhill from there. 
My first day painting

During the evening hours, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Inn, followed by a lecture about artists including Seago, Gruppe and Hibbard.  The inn was such a perfect location for a small workshop as we were able to store our painting gear in the lower level.  Quaint, friendly and very New England. 
Evening Lectures
The resident furry friend
Old New England, slanted floors and all

Day two demo....notice we are just a little colder

The winds picked up overnight and conditions kept deteriorating throughout day two.  But that didn't stop us.  We ventured outside to another full afternoon of painting.  There were many easels that were swept away by the wind gusts, some cursing and lots of laughter that ended the day.   And maybe just a few cocktails.

Here's a photo of Michel's easel (yes he paints HUGE) and how he has weighted down his set up with a cinder block.  Even that didn't prevent his easel from tumbling.

Day three went from bad to worse - in terms of weather.  Most of us stayed inside to do indoor painting exercises, but a few ventured out in the blizzard conditions including my crazy Wisconsin friends Lynn and Lori. 
The three WI girls, Lynn, Lori & Pam
Our sweet Inn
So I was asked by a fellow artist ...what was my take away?  Let me bring you back to Knitting Needles, Mashed Potatoes and Lost Sheep.  Stapleton will hopefully write a book someday, he is full of colorful stories and experience.  The knitting needles refer to those areas of a painting (think winter shadows) that can look like long horizontal daggers, or too many trees all upright (same size).  Mashed potatoes are those areas of paintings that are simply overworked and looking all mushy.  Lost sheep are sweet creatures...but also refer to areas of paintings that don't connect with the overall harmony or are wandering off the painting, you need to find them and bring them back to the canvas.  At least these are my interpretations of his fun filled workshop. 
A windchill of -8 our last morning before we caught our flight, but the sun was out!
Our group that final morning....minus a few who had to leave because of the blizzard.  Our instructor Stapleton has coffee in hand.
At the Manchester NH airport, ready to head home and apply what we have learned. 
A parting note:  It was such a pleasure to connect with the other artists in the workshop during these three days.  We all became friends, shared ideas, concerns and dreams.  No matter where we live and work, the goal is common:  to create art that touches the soul.  That's our common language.



Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Winter has arrived!

As an enthusiastic winter plein air painter, I'm happy to say we finally have a beautiful blanket of white covering our landscape.  If you are in the Milwaukee area, we have an exhibit at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (2nd floor) through Jan. 29th where you can see more than 70 paintings, most are plein air works in all seasons. 

First day of 2019.  A little tired from a festive night on New Year's Eve, but the cold weather was a good wake up!

During this paint out, I kept humming "My Little Red Wagon" by Miranda Lambert.  Even though this appears to be an old manure spreader!

"My Little Red Wagon" sold to a new collector in Alabama, 12 x 10, oil

Friday, April 28, 2017

Milwaukee PBS Great TV Auction

It's has been a great honor to be selected as the Wisconsin Collection Artist for the 2017 PBS Great TV Auction.  The auction begins today, April 28 and continues through May 6 on Channel 36. 

To learn more about my paintings and inspiration, take a couple of minutes to view the segment that appeared on the Arts Page.  Here is the link:

My painting of "Buttercup" was inspired by my childhood on the family farm in rural Blanchardville located in Southwest Wisconsin.  The original oil painting and 100 prints, including 10 remarques will be offered for bidding. 
The original oil painting "Buttercup" 14 x 11

An example of one of the 10 remarques that will be available during the auction

Signing prints at Milwaukee Public TV
Please support our wonderful PBS programming - watch and bid!  The auction runs April 28-May 6 from 3 pm - 11 pm.  THANKS!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Get outside and play!

You've heard this before from parents and teachers....get outside and play!  That's how winter plein air painters feel about the snow.  We are excited about the many creative opportunities with the winter landscape. 

All are invited to see more than 55 winter plein air paintings at the "Painting the Winter Muse" exhibit.  My painting buddy Lynn Rix and I have been tucking away winter paintings for five seasons to share our enthusiasm for Wisconsin's winter wonderland. 

From the Cedarburg Art Museum:  "Two Wisconsin artists embrace the coldest season of the year.  Enticed by the beauty of shapes, colors and atmosphere of the frozen landscape, Lynn Rix and Pamela Ruschman paint Wisconsin en plein air.  All of these paintings have been created outdoors with the artists' boots planted firmly in the snow." 

Please join us at the opening reception on Saturday, January 28th from 2-4 pm, Cedarburg Art Museum.
It was an honor to be featured in Outdoor Painter, a national online publication for the plein air enthusiast.  Read about our passion here:
As always, thank you for taking the time to browse my blog.  Happy Winter! 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Our Everyday Life at Cedarburg Art Museum

First of all, thanks to everyone who stopped in during my October studio tour.  We had wonderful weather and lots of visitors.

I was very honored to receive second place in the statewide, juried exhibit at the Cedarburg Art Museum "Our Everyday Life."  You can find three of my paintings at this exhibit, focusing on the aspect of technology in our life.  My winning painting was inspired by a little girl sitting in a quiet corner in a Madison coffee shop. 
Second Place, "Head in the Notebook"
I've been out plein air painting, enjoying this amazing fall weather.  And preparing for our big winter plein air exhibition at the Cedarburg Art Museum in January. 
Waiting for the Super Moon at Virmond Park

Finding a friendly farm cat

Work in progress at Creekside Valley Farm, Mequon