Monday, April 14, 2014


STILL WATERS 6x6 oil on board

I reworked and renamed this one.  Not a huge difference, but wanted to add more texture with a palette knife.  Adding two size prints of STILL WATERS to my Etsy Shop in a 5x5 and 8x8.  

Since moving to the desert we have managed to kill numerous plants and flowers. I somehow anticipate the garden nurseries will plaster our faces on a warning poster stating THEY KILL FLOWERS.  I'm learning the hard way that containers work better than planting in the ground.  I just love having vases of flowers from my garden, but that is tough as it doesn't rain and the heat scorches my favorites.  So last year I tried a pot of succulents and when they didn't die I added another and then another.  So far so good. So a couple months ago we added more containers and filled them with more succulents. Still don't really know what I'm doing, but hoping I won't end up with a bunch of empty pots. Advise anyone?

Every chance I get I pick up a few beach stones to add to my courtyard. Adds a bit of interest I think..looks better than dirt, yes?

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Sorry for the obnoxious title, but seriously; take away the earthquakes, wildfires, cost of living and some crazy people/things and there you have it…PARADISE. I didn't want to rub it in that we never had a winter, well, nor did we have rain. Oh well…..sunshine and roses EVERY DAY. Spring is my absolute favorite season. We recently attended a beautiful outdoor wedding and I made a trip with a friend to the Japanese Friendship Gardens. Looking for some inspiration to paint.

Many more beautiful shots, but I will refrain, as it's probably still snowing somewhere.

The Etsy shop has been doing surprisingly well. I just added my Love Boats. This painting of two sailboats nestled together in the Santa Barbara Harbor is available as fine art prints and available in two sizes; 5x7 and 8x10. Click the link or go to the Etsy Mini in the sidebar to check out all the art and fabrics I've added to the shop.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Well, last time we spoke I was working on building a new website.  But just to be an overachiever I was also building a shop on Etsy to offer art prints and my out of print stash of fabrics.  The plan was to finish the website first, but while my MacGyver husband was helping me with a problem he hit the OPEN SHOP button.  I thought no one would notice I was there yet and quietly kept plugging away.  Wrong.  A gal from Australia found me and Facebooked her Aussie friends.  BAM!  Love those Aussies.  So I just officially added my Etsy shop in the sidebar to the right and invite you come on over.  I'm still listing items, so if you have a particular art print or fabric you don't see, please ask.

In other breaking news, Tim and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary; it rained once here in San Diego and we ran around trying to save the rain water in buckets and trash cans; AND I broke my own record of 6 hours straight in the dentist chair!  

Oh, and I finally broke away for lunch at Cafe Merlot with an awesome friend and it was so much fun to play hookie from the routine.  Sure beats pita chips, garlic hummus and talking to myself in front of the computer.  Must try this again sometime.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Okay, that's the teaser.  That's all I've got today, but my head is filling with dancing images now.  I'm liking it, so what do you think?  

Awhile back I decided I was way overdue for a major facelift….of my logo, that is.  I closed my website in 2010 after some personal tragedies knocked the wind out of me.  Then we moved across the country and had to dissolve the home decor products line we were manufacturing.  It has taken some time, but I have convinced myself that I am capable of redesigning my own website and online store.  I'm making progress, but as you know one thing leads to another, to another, to another.  The learning curves and hiccups keeps me out of the studio, which is where I'd much rather be these days.  Okay, back at it but I am promising myself that I will also work on a few of those dancing images before my head implodes.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014




Not quite sure what got into me, but I just painted a cow and a pig.  And the pig turned out a bit cartoonish which makes me scratch my own head.  A far cry from the abstract I was working on and ready to throw out the window.  Oh well, it's done and I rather like imagining the pig curiously leaning in, hoping to be included in whatever might be going on.  So he stays, or is it she?

Each one of these creatures stared at me while I was working on the next, cheering me on, or at least that's what I felt.  Working alone in a small studio can do that to you.  Here's the whole menagerie now staring at you with those melt your heart eyes,

There will be prints coming soon.  Working on all the details involved with opening a shop and website is time quite time consuming.  Takes me away from what I'd rather be doing these days….hang out with these guys. 

Friday, January 31, 2014


After another disappointing attempt at an abstract painting I decided to paint something distinguishable. See if you can figure out what these are:

Much happier, in fact, I think I'm in love.  Just look at those eyes.  Me thinks these are keepers.

On another note I had an amazing short visit with my daughter.  We packed in shopping, hosted a Stella & Dot Trunk Show, and lots of food.  She came from the Midwest vortex thingy so the weather here was yet another treat.  I was secretly hoping she might get stranded here; oh well.

Happy and safe weekend!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I have absolutely fallen in love with Burano, Italy.  The houses, shutters and doors are all brightly painted.  I already have a longtime love of windows and doors.  Flowers on the sill or a flower boxes make hearts float out of my eyes.  Yup, it's true.  I get on Google Maps sometimes just to "walk the streets" and tour cities around the world. Burano is one of my all time favorite stops.  

I decided to paint a window for my home and place it in my hanging easel.  I bought two easels years ago at market to use in a Decorator Show House.  I wish I had purchased dozens of these easels because the room I designed ended up on the front cover of Better Homes and Gardens Window and Walls and a book (here's a Before and After post about that cottage dining room here). I had way too many calls and emails wanting those easels.  Problem is they were no longer for sale and I sold the other one to a client.  

Speaking of chandeliers (huh?) I sure wish I had the chandelier I used in that Cottage Dining Room.  It was a bazillion dollars back then and sure it would be two bazillion now.

Before the holidays we invited four couples to dinner and our small dining room got swallowed up when we put the extensions in the table. We would have to walk outside and around the house to come in another door to get to the other side of the table. We tried moving the table into the much larger, unused living room.  As soon as we did, it was such a Eureka moment.  We thought, "Why not keep it this way, we're the boss of us?"  So we did.  We lit lots of candles for that dinner, but we are planning another event this week and decided we need a chandelier.  Went about researching something large enough to light a large room and cheap enough to take back down if we ever sell the house and have to turn it into a living room again.  I was not happy with the prices or the timeframe to order one.  So two weekends ago we set out to find something local, cheap and in stock.  I prayed beforehand for a great find, as God knows I can be a tad bit, how should I say, PICKY.  After hitting all the big box stores we decided to check out Urban Barn, a huge flea market shop/antique, um...barn in Escondido.  That can take about two+ hours so I went in hopeful.  Tim and I split up to divide and conquer.  We met up a couple times and Tim mentioned he saw a chandelier way in the back area but too much stuff barricaded him from getting a good look.  He tried to take me to this back area but were told it was off bounds.  Not finding much, we purchased a birdcage and wine holder and as we were checking out the owner asked if we found what we came for.  Ha, next thing we knew we were the proud owners of this big baby.  Cost?  $35.  Yes way!!!

It's not the one from the show house, but looks and feels very Restoration Hardwareish and works just fine for $35, don't ya think?  Oh, and here's our newly converted "sitting room".  It's my favorite place to sit in the morning and plan my day.  Okay, that scary striped thing is a coverlet and I'm usually under it. 

Friday, January 17, 2014


Due to lack of sleep I sold my first painting! It's very normal for me to lay awake and stare up at the ceiling all night long.  One night I finally gave up and decided to clean out my inbox.  I know, I know.  In doing so I saw an email about an upcoming art gallery exhibition.  The receiving for the artwork submissions was the very next day.  I have never submitted artwork before, but the longer I thought about it I decided it was about time to get off my art stool. The next day I delivered my pieces and later got word they were accepted. Tim and I attended the reception, then moved on to all the holiday travels and festivities.  Then I got this call from the gallery saying one of my pieces, NEW YORK, NEW YORK sold.  AND the gallery's Chairman for the Board is the one who purchased it.  That's pretty cool for a rookie, right?   

While I have sold numerous pieces, they were always made for giclee's or reproductions and I own the originals.  This is a new experience for me and I must admit I have conflicting emotions.  I really liked that painting.  Makes me wonder; do artists hold a personal attachment to each piece?   I guess I better get over it, because I currently have seven paintings in various stages of completion.  I have poured hours over each one and they kinda grow on me.  Guess it's better to give them a new home than to enjoy all of them and be a starving artist, right?

Over the holidays we hand-delivered those pieces (here and here) for our grandson.  Here's what the whole group looks like hanging over his bed. 

He was genuinely excited, but Tim practically had him sign a Right of First Refusal in case Wyatt ever wanted to move on to another theme.  

So I started RUNNING this week using the Couch to 5k app!!!!!  Please, hold the applause.  Save it for when I actually finish.  What helps is there's a Brit that talks to you and I'm a tad bit embarrassed that she's talking when I'm within earshot of others.  I try to time it to get past people before or have even turned around to run in the other direction when I couldn't avoid passing people in time.  Now I can truly say, "gotta run".  xo


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


While 2013 certainly wasn't one of my best or worst years, I was still kinda mumbling "Good Riddins" under my breath as we were all welcoming in 2014.  However, as much as I dislike the underlying feeling that in January I'm supposed to make promises resolutions (so I can break them in February, then beat myself up for the rest of the year), I'm surprisingly much more upbeat about starting off the year with a clean slate.  The thing is, not setting any goals definitely didn't work for me!  So this year I'm in a good place and actually WANTING to achieve some goals.  There.  I said it.  Don't judge me. 

So the first thing I did was get a daily planner that was so stinkin "me" that I would actually want to use it.  I chose Whitney English's Day Designer.  I love it!  And, btw, if anyone ever doubted my long time affair with black and white stripes, here's the proof.

Speaking of love, my other long time love is all things Kate Spade.  Jennifer just got me this Things We Love book for Christmas and I hate to say I may have drooled on it a little.  These two books and my bible are what's getting me pumped to take on this New Year with a bit of vim and vigor!  My desire is to be able to add the word NEW to my vocabulary and use it frequently; as in NEW ARTWORK, NEW WEBSITE, NEW FRIENDS, NEW NUMBERS (as in dress size, cholesterol levels, income, you got it…)  This year I want to accept all those Happy New Year's wishes as blessings so that by the end of the year I can finally say, this was a happy year.  With that said, may you all have an amazingly HAPPY NEW YEAR.  I mean it!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


REFLECTION by PAULA PRASS  6x6 oil on board
I've been on a bit of a painting roll this week, haven't I?  I think I'm done until after the holidays.  I rather like how this one turned out more than most though.  What do you think?  

Speaking of REFLECTION, I sure have been doing that quite a bit lately.  This has been another roller coaster year, wrought with many ups and downs, losses and tremendous blessings.  The holidays provide a break from the daily grind and time to ponder this crazy 2013 and anticipate what we can do to improve, conquer, and how to add more color and laughter to 2014.   Do I have an amen???

Friday, December 20, 2013


Awhile back I was kicking around (or procrastinating; whatever) on the web and found a couple cool sites that offer painting lessons, some for free.  One guy that I loved listening to is Will Kemp from the UK.  He kinda reminds me of Hugh Grant.  Anyway, I found a photo and free video tutorial that screamed paint me!  I couldn't resist and whilst (thats what Will says) I did my own thing and painted in oils instead of acrylics, I did enjoy listening to his British accent and how he calls paper towels kitchen rolls.  Anyway, go check Will out here and maybe try your hand at painting one of these!  

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


This photo is a tad bit blurry.  Don't feel like setting up and retaking the photo, sorry about that.  Pretend you are on a brisk walk on the beach and then it will look fine.  I sure haven't been painting as much as I'd like, but have a few "almost" done.  I often let things ruminate on the easel and most likely add or subtract a tad before giving the nod.

On the other hand, we have completed the collages for our grandson and here are the rest of the pieces:

I can't wait to see our grandson's reaction and have them all finally hanging above his new bed (as opposed to on our family room floor).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Oh, you know how I've been telling you about all the old photos and ephemera of Tim's family?  Well, our grandson has been into vintage airplanes.  He saw my blog post and photo of Tim's dad with his fighter plane called Queen Jack and thought it was so cool.  So we are surprising him this Christmas with a grouping/collage of images from his great grandpa's flying days.  Here's what we've completed so far.  Lots of staining, sanding, printing, glueing and sealing.     Some grandma's knit sweaters, what can I say?  Just hope he likes it and I remember to get a good photo of the whole shebang once it's hung.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Between the normal busy of life and the unexpected things that fall in my lap I am always a few steps behind, usually by a month or so.  All to say, I went to a week long plein air workshop with Robert Burridge back in October on Maui.  It was crazy awesome and tough at the same time, as Tim's mom passed away.  

The workshop focused on painting abstract, fast and free.  Just between you and me I was stretched until it hurt my brain, but that's what I wanted.  I came back home with several pieces I planned to paint over, some I'm still pondering  and out of about a dozen or so, this one above was my favorite.  Not exactly "abstract" as it was nearly impossible for me to stand in front of the incredible views and not paint that what I see and love so much.  I aptly named it Show Off.   

Here's another piece I was pretty happy with.  I thought at the time I'd race back to crank out more like these.  Has yet to happen. 

One hallelujah is that after several months and $4500 later all the "lost" files from the studio flood have been retrieved.  Yeah, OUCH is right.  What a relief to be reunited with the bazillion folders of images, artwork and photos.  I was starting to doubt I'd ever see them again.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Tim's mom has lost her long battle with Alzheimer's.  We were so thankful to be able to visit her one last time in Michigan recently.  I chose this photo of her back when she was Charlotte Jackson, the Snow Queen in college.

And here is a photo of her then "future" husband, Paul Prass, who named his P-38 QUEEN JACK.  Not that I want a fighter plane named after me, but that is so cool, don't you think?

I have been swept away as I sort through, organize and scan the boxes of family photos, albums and letters that Tim has inherited.  The wealth of his family history compared to the half filled manila folder that contains my entire past leaves me breathless. 

So I got this idea to turn some of these photos into collage artwork.  I started with Char, but was not pleased with my initial experiments.  So I changed gears and played with a photo from Paul's childhood that really makes me smile, especially knowing him as an adult. That rifle has to be twice as tall as Paul.  I'm guessing he's only about three years old here, living on a farm in Texas.  No siblings, his friends are the animals.  He had two cows Pete and Repeat.  So I made copies and applied the notes from the backs of photos, maps, paper rifle targets, pages from his children's books and any ephemera relating to his life on the farm in the 1920's to a 12"x30" canvas as the foundation.

Then I began painting over top of the foundation, letting some of the background peek through.  I'm still painting and adding layers to this piece that portrays my father-in-laws early years but something really hit me about the process.  I began thinking about the ephemera of our lives; those things that were meant to have no lasting significance, but in fact, became the foundation of who we have become.  It's those words scribbled on the back of a childhood photo that instantly transport us to that time or place.  Or how about the invisible cruel words that still impact us years later; they all become part of our underlayment, our foundation.  We can't choose the background, but we have the ability to design what our self-portrait will look like.  So it's true when someone says, "You are a piece of work".


things that are important or useful for only a short time  : items that were not meant to have lasting value

1  : something of no lasting significance

2  : ephmera plural : paper items (such as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles.

On a side note: I took this into my abstract class to work on (it's as close as I have been able to get to abstract) and one lady told me she found it disturbing on several levels.  Tried to explain this was Texas in the early 1920's, no other kids around, etc.  Then she said, "You're not going to try and sell this, are you?"  This is the same class that encourages creating what pleases you and not others.  I'll just add that comment to my self-portrait background.  Sigh.  

Friday, October 4, 2013


REFLECTIONS by PAULA PRASS  6x6 oil on board
I haven't been able to paint as much lately because life keeps getting in the way.  It started when the air conditioner quit draining outdoors and decided to drain into my studio instead.  We had to pull everything out, throw some furniture, fabrics and books out, deal with mold, etc.  That happened at the same time we were stripping and resealing the saltillo tile on our back patio so the whole house was turned upside down.  When we put things back together in the studio Tim unplugged our modem and router to move them and when he plugged them back in the router was dead!!!!!!!   I mean DEAD.  I store almost everything on the "share drive" so I can work from different computers.  I have been crippled.  I had been working on a new website and business cards.  All my photos, artwork are locked up and even my MacGuyver can't fix it.  On top of that it seems other things decided to kick the bucket.  Let's see; both cars have been in the shop.  I was ironing brand new curtains for the back patio and as I walked over to the sink I thought I heard a popping sound.  I came back and the moment I placed the iron on the curtain it instantly melted a hole through my outdoor curtain.  What's even funnier is Tim hung the curtain anyway. 

The modum died last week, the grill went kapoot this week.  I'm telling myself, "This is a test.  This is only a test".   I know these are all just inconveniences in the scheme of life and this curtain is a reminder to not take things so seriously.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


It was almost a year ago in October that I was cleaning out emails and seriously had my finger on delete when my eye caught the words Art Director and Papyrus.  I read the email a couple times before I realized it wasn't spam.   One year later we walked into a Papyrus store over the weekend and there it all was.  The sales people were so excited to show it off which was fun.  Looks so much more glamorous in person than all those flat digital files I stared at for way too long (which, by the way, were so large they crashed my computer!)  I bought a gift bag and gift enclosure, then took Tim out to dinner to make up for us sitting at the computer last Thanksgiving all by ourselves; no turkey, no mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie.  In fact, on Thanksgiving night I literally laid my head down on the computer desk while Tim was trying to figure out CS6 and fell asleep without any dinner at all.  I'm sure other licensing artists find themselves under huge time crunches and just like takes about a year to know it was so worth it.  Here's a few proud shots:

 The collection is embellished with tags, ribbons, glitter, rhinestones, layers and includes 3 different size bags, a gift enclosure, thank you notes,  counter card and tissue paper.  Will you let me know if you see them and where?  

Friday, August 30, 2013


BE STILL by PAULA PRASS 6x6 on board
It's been a very busy week so I'm happy to be able to fit another study in.  BE STILL is something I don't do much;  when I try my mind revolts.   But lately after a tough workout we are asked to empty our minds and just be still.  Maybe it's that I'm thrilled that it's over and I can hardly move, but it's the one time it works for me.  It feels surprisingly good and freeing to stop and calm my mind even when everything around me is screaming for attention.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.  We will be be stripping and resealing saltillo tiles in the heat, just as we've been sentenced to for the last few weekends.  Keeping our eyes on the goal set before us...can't wait to reveal the before and after.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


IN THE STILLNESS 6x6 oil on board
I really enjoyed painting this one and would almost entertain painting this scene multiple times.  For some reason I found it easier than my cloud pieces.  I took some time away from the oils for about a week to work on an abstract using acrylics.  I like mixing it up and have so many ideas floating around up there that I find myself in overload.  

I am seriously considering building my own art website.  Anyone who knows me knows I will probably pull all my hair out in the process, but I will never pay again what I paid about 10 years ago and then couldn't even manage it by myself.  Things have changed drastically in the last couple years and I'm exploring the many possibilities of building my own site and managing it myself.  I think I can, I think I can.  So I might just become a bald but self-sufficient web designer!  Prayers and advise are greatly appreciated.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Yet another cloud study, this time it's a Safe Harbor.  Not sure how many more I'll complete in this Cloud Series as I have done a couple that don't meet my expectations.  Love, love doing these, but am also itching to paint things like, say for instance, marshes.  Makes me itchy just thinking of the potential mosquitos if I were painting air.  I just took several photos this weekend of a nearby marsh and so far I am still free of bug bites!!  I started the underpainting of my first marsh last eve as I was cleaning up my paint brushes and am really liking it...until I overpaint it, of course.  I might add clouds; maybe not.  Depends on my mood, the current paint on my palette, and whatever the painting says.  I hear paintings speak to the painter; I'm trying to listen, but afraid I'm still a bit bossy with the brush.

I haven't taken any classes for the last few months but I just signed up for two.  I do not mind painting alone, but there's an wonderful energy when you are with other creative types.  I'm going in opposite directions; one class in abstract acrylics and another in oil painting from Jeff Yeomans.  He's one of the artists in that awesome book California Light.  

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