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.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Here's the next in my series of cloud studies called Distant Rain.  I like the reflections on the wet shoreline and the transparent cloud in front of the sun.  I actually had a tougher time with the waves so I reworked them.  My goal is to go simpler and less fussy but it takes me twice as long to achieve.  

I've been thinking long and hard about what to do with the art I'm creating.  I want to have enough pieces and then come up with a plan.  Some of you have asked if I will be selling my art and I do intend to, I just want to make some decisions on how to do that.  

I have more finished pieces, so let me go photograph those for another post.

Friday, August 16, 2013


SKIES PROCLAIM 6x6 oil on board by PAULA PRASS

Finally was able to paint today and so very glad I did.  Can you believe after all these years of having a long distance love affair with the ocean I have been transplanted near my life-long obsession?   This is where I get lost for hours absorbing the glory of each wave and cloud.  While I moved here under duress; the ocean has been such a calming and welcoming friend, for which I am eternally grateful.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Our efforts these days have been focused on our back patio and I'd hoped to be be further along by now.  Between us only working nights and weekends (extra careful not to do noisy construction "after hours") and now Mini MyGyver is sick in bed and I'm just way too excited to wait one minute longer.  Quicky shot.  I'll do another post later showing the painful Before part.  It's coming together and can't wait to have it filled with friends and family.  

This sectional is from Eurolux Patio right here in the San Diego area.  Picky Paula couldn't be more pleased with the construction, options, price, in stock pieces and customer service.  Believe me, I did the research!  We can easily move these pieces around for different seating options.  Sorry, I'm in my interior design mode again. 
Doesn't my Patchwork Landscape look awesome out there?   It's not technically an outdoor piece, but can't say it won't appear for a special occasion. 

Patchwork Landscape by Paula Prass
I spent the last couple days studying how to keep up with the latest gadgets on the web.  One long day just to add Pin It buttons to my images.  I'm a huge Pinterest gal but have yet to link to my boards.  I also over studied Google+ and after too many hours of uncertainty I blindly made the leap.  Hope against hope, I pray there was a benefit to that time wasted, er; spent.   

Any info or advise on how to make Google+ work best for an artist/designer I'd surely be interested.  Might not sound like a big day to you, but my brain is about to explore in HTML jargon.  Gotta love blogs with step-by-steps though.  I read all 237 of them.  Gotta go recover on the patio right now!  

Thursday, August 8, 2013


STANDING TALL 8x10 oil on canvas by PAULA PRASS
I am really, really pleased with this painting.  I painted these beauties in the Spring and just realized I never posted the finished piece.  I love the contrast and the shapes of the shadows.   Have an awesome weekend.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


SOLITUDE 6x6 oil on board by PAULA PRASS
Hot off the easel.  I did this in one sitting.  I've decided to do a series of clouds, so here's my first.   I might do a couple tweaks on this as usual, but I wanted to take a photo before I head off to the dentist.   I feel so accomplished today!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013



You might have seen this painting hanging in the built-in bookcases here.   Here's a proper image for your viewing pleasure.  

Monday, July 29, 2013


I had some paint left on my palette from finishing up my vineyard painting so I finished up this one I started a few months ago of Hanalei Bay on Kauai.  I stood right there and the colors were really that brilliant.  It really helps me to photograph whatever I'm working on.  Don't exactly know why, but I usually see something I'd change.  A couple tweaks this morning and then DONE! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Now that the kiddos are gone I dragged my easel out to finish up some paintings.  If you have followed me for the duration of my rantings you know this won't be the first time I pondered if my art piece or a decorated room or any design project gets the DONE stamp.  We have decided my tombstone will declare; "I wasn't finished yet".  This has been my ongoing mantra for so long that I am concerned others will beat me to it.  It helps to step back to "see the whole picture".  I believe I see some minor changes and then a title and my signature will be the DONE stamp.  This one is 30x30 oil on canvas.      

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Well, the grandkids are gone.  Just like that!  For two weeks we took turns wearing each other out and packing in the memories.  We did planned things and things that didn't turn out as planned.  


Tim rented a sailboat.  Kids were not impressed.  They wanted a speed boat.  Papa doesn't do speed boats.  Not a windy day.  We slowly meandered around Mission Bay.  After awhile we noticed we weren't moving and it took Captain Papa some time before he admitted we were stuck in muck.  A coastguard boat came kinda near and asked if we were okay.  Captain Tim says yup, we're okay.  What!!!???  Is that the same as we're not lost in the middle of nowhere?  They left and we sat and sat.  Tim has this idea that we should all lean way over one side of the boat.  No one else liked that idea At All.  And it didn't work.  Thank God for cell phones, right?  Unless the rental people take their phone off the hook!   So the highlight (for me) was watching Papa strip down to his skivvies, jump in and basically dig and pull us out.  In his defense, Tim had no idea things were so shallow and there were no warning signs.  When we returned to the dock the guy said he was told by the coastguards we were stuck but was too busy rescuing others.  He says, "Oh people get stuck in that area a lot" and showed us a map hanging on their door.  So, being the caring person that I am, I made a few helpful suggestions.  Stuff like if you're going to have the phone off the hook maybe show people this handy dandy map as you are taking their deposit and you might have less rescues...just a thought.  We had a few laughs with the guy and all is well.  Not sure the grandkids are any fonder of sailing though.

Wyatt and Tim spent much time off doing guy things while Amelia and I hung together.  On one of the last nights together we switched things up and did something we did with our own kids when they were growing up. DATE NIGHT.  We love the opportunity to show them what might soon be a lost art.  Amelia was all in; picked out the perfect outfit and felt like a pampered princess.  Wyatt quickly stepped up and remembered that Papa always holds the car door for me (even if I'm the chauffeur).  He tried to imulate everything he remembered Papa doing at a restaurant and handled himself like a real gentleman and engaging date.  It gave Wyatt and I  time to talk uninterrupted: really Talk and Listen about hopes and dreams; past and future; whats funny-or not.  I will cherish this time as much as I did with Jonathan.  Priceless.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I folded up my studio for two weeks of fun in the sun with my grandkids.  Our dining room table is covered with plastic and Art with Mimi is in full swing.   I found these little scrapbooks at Target many moons ago in the $1.00 section.  Now wish I'd bought the entire stock as they are ideal for so many projects.  The kids are recording their vacation with photos, paint, stamps, markers, glitter; you name it, if it sticks, won't rot later (lizards) and the book will close, it's fair game.  They are having so much fun.  I think in several years they will get a kick out of their scrapbooks filled with movie tickets, photos, miss-spelled words and lots of first's and happy memories.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


It all started with this lampshade.  We were in Target and Tim walked up to me holding this lampshade, knowing I would love it.  I stopped dead in my tracks and when he told me it was marked down to $5.98 I instantly had to design a space to put this.  I stood right there in the isle and redid the guest bedroom in my head.  We snatched up another matching shade and two bases.  Total for each lamp- $26.00!  I picked out a paint color (Sherwin Williams 6702 Lively Yellow) and found multi-striped sheets on a sales rack for $12.99.  I almost hate revealing my cheap sheets, but these were so absolutely perfect and they feel as good as the expensive ones.  I don't want to sound like I'm going all cheap on my guests so let's just keep this between us, okay?   I got the wicker table for $25 and sprayed it white.  The green pillows are Jonathan Adler for JCP and I framed one of my own paintings.  I will do more as time allows, especially with fabrics.  I am so thrilled with how effortlessly and inexpensively the makeover was falling into place.  Normally I hold High Mass over any and all creative decisions so this was a nice surprise.      

I remembered we had two chairs in storage that came from Tim's family.  I decided to paint one and I must admit, it was a bigger task than I wanted to tackle.  First I scrubbed it clean, then de-glossed it thoroughly before painting.  

It has been in the 100+ temperatures here, so I tried working indoors but paint splattered to and fro, so outside I went.  It took five coats in some areas.  I chose to not spray paint because there was just too much blank space.  I destroyed several brushes.  This one took on a personality of it's own.  I named him Guy.

The chair is finished and I made a new seat cushion and pillow from some of my Botanika fabrics.  Just in time for my daughter who arrives tonight with the kiddos.  It has been way too long since we've been together and I'm kinda giddy.  Hope it's comfy cozy for her.  

Have a wonderful holiday weekend filled with friends and family and thankful hearts for the freedom and independence we so richly enjoy.   


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