Spring is Here!

Welcome to my site. This is a great time of the year. Ephemerals busting out, flowers blooming, and crazy skies are expected and showers almost every day. Outdoor hiking and painting!

I’ve discovered plein air painting and sketching outside, with a small collective of artists friends. We meet at many sites in our county for a different view. We find we have one thing in common which is – the pleasure of sketching and painting in the fresh air. Our styles might vary broadly we but enjoy sharing information. Our diciplines are oil, watercolour, graphite drawing, watercolour pencils, acrylic or whatever. Very worthwhile days, plus it’s terrific exercise walking to a good spot!

Above are some working studio pieces I’ve finished and some still under construction!

I have a few jobs that must get finished and some new ones mulling in my head to start working on for the Fall Art tour . I highly recommend doing it outside whatever you do; painting, gardening or just having a picnic or merely taking a hike. You won’t regret it.

Gardening also requires work in the morning an evening when it’s cooler. The product of my labours seem little, but I keep saying ‘next year it will really pay off!’ Just keep on slashing through the underbrush. Bulbs for next fall to get in and transplants before the heat arrives. Here’s some photos . I love using close up lenses on my iPhone (there are some mighty fine gadgets out there for phone cameras)

More plein air and botanical drawings soon!

February is Present

As much as I’d like more snow, it’s almost predictable that we shan’t be seeing any.

Here I am digging holes, yanking weeds, getting ready for spring in the frigid weather with the early dutchmen and snowdrop barely sticking up, keeping me company. A fairly reliable benchmark is spring’s unruly temperature and burly storms with beautiful skies. My new front image, from a larger oil painting, looks like many of the clouds we’ll expect to see.

Speaking of pictures and other illustrations – Photographer Carl Zitzman has invited me to the Middle Street Gallery’s Friends and Members show. It’s from Feb. 9 until March 17. Opening reception will be Feb .10th ( 11-5pm.) Four Intaglio drypoint prints of mine, along with Carl’s work and many other wonderful artists, photographers, and sculptors will be on display. Please stop by to see us. It’s warm inside!

Pulled out my colored pencils and casein paint. Did a few on Clayboard which can be tricky. And some pastel with casein on 400lb test watercolor. I am planning on producing more cloud studies in oil and casein as they free you up from any definition . We’ll see how that works out. . . maybe THIS year I’ll even be early for the RAAC Fall Art Tour!

This month hope to make stab at engraving after two years. New nibs were purchased and clamps, so my copper blanks don’t fly off the table. But I have almost 100 I could ink up and pull that are interesting. They were engraved a few years ago, but still good.


The remainder of February will be anybody’s guess about the weather. I’ll be hiking favorite segments of the AT, excercising the right hand with some piano, roasting coffee with Jesse and getting it out to you folks,.

OOH… those cloud studies!

BRRRRR! January is beautifully cold!

A great time to be outside cutting dead weeds according to Old Farmers Almanac. Wrap up!

There have have been several almost 50 degree days. These are the next five best days to destroy pests and weeds, based on the Moon’s sign in 2024. January 16, January 17 February 12, February 13 ,and March 11.

I got a little chilly, so I found something fun to do inside with this chalk, graphite and watercolor pencil piece. I took the photo in 1999 winter at Revercomb’s Corner, Rappahannock Co. A pleasant surprise!

Turning the Coin!

Wishing you a Happy New Year that will bring great successes and happiness and hopes!

The belief that carrying a penny in your pocket on New Year’s Eve will bring good luck is indeed an old wives’ tale! However my cockney mum and Liverpudlian aunt kept a couple of English crown, three shilling and several tuppence for just for this purpose, along with some old American pennies. Every new year’s eve they stepped onto our front porch and turned these coins over in their pocket leaving the door open behind them, blowing in the fresh year’s luck with a full throated howl! It was quite a remarkable thing to watch when my sister and I were kids! Dad did not join the howling….but he would pour a glass of Sandeman port while mum mixed some brandy alexanders. The two of us us got small glasses of port too. All of us toasted the brand new year. Dad would set a small bowl and spoon on the table to remember all the past centuries of Moran’s that were before us! I realized in time, they all enjoyed their traditions, both from England and Ireland. This year I’ll be doing the same thing and be hoping all who read this have a healthy beginning for 2024!

Steppin’ into 2024!


Grit, patience, humility are my most constant comrades since experiencing an ischemic stroke on January 20, 2022. My three sons and husband are my anchor. Friends and acquaintances number many. Grateful for all.

This new year approaching presents a third year of painting, drawing and writing my name left-handed (I’m not!) and working on Intaglio and Engraving. Gardening is greatly improved from last year and music therapy is fun thus far. Brand new will be river kayaking on the Rappahanock and heading up to the lesser known and somewhat harder AT trails. This will another challenging year.

I’ve engraved so many plates over the years I’ve decided making some of them into 2nd and 3rd states.( adding artwork)) Pencil and pen are still my staple means of designing . Liking the discovery of casein several years ago. It’s very much like gouache, but a milk based mixture with pigment. With its opacity and matte finish I’ve found it reliably stable instead of watercolor. Oil paints, Gamblin and Classico Italian, are always my favorites with undercoat of casein. I love ampersand clayboard and Bristol paper heavy for finished work.

Gardening in the Wildlife Habitat at Central is harder than it was before but much more rewarding. There will be more additions and a concentration on a dozen or more native grasses, shade species and bulbs. I came across a new method of growing in sand and biochar in my GARDENS Illustrated. A pioneer of this technique is Swedish gardener, nurseryman and designer Peter Korn, from Southern Sweden. There was some mulching and organic soil too. All extremely thought provoking and less maintenance in the mix. Absolutely this February!

Making baby waves will be exhilarating this spring on my wonderful kayak, between gardening. I would love to put in at Fones Cliffs on the lower Rappahannock River, or the Pamunky River through the Cumberland Marsh Preserve They’re magical places. Birds galore, otters, slow moving reptiles, the land and water! More water!

Old friends; violin and viola. My dad made them, and I played in the HS Orchestra years ago. He was an electrical engineer with the military and made computers which led him to making violins. Though both instruments have mellowed, been repaired and been played lovingly and roughly, they sound even better each year. Some musical therapy with those two and my electric full piano have slowly provided finger strength, and definitely improved my hand and arm movement. Thanks dad, for making me learn. It’s not how I play now- but that I can!

picture-Cat Point Creek , Menokin , home of Francis Lightfoot Lee , 12/20/21

I’ll try to keep you updated with snippets of new works, the wildlife habitat, and my first put in on the river. This computer keyboard has been a super tool too, and provided one valuable element for me- Speed!

This year Fall Art Tour!

Looking forward to 2023 and the art festival. It is a great time for all the artists in the county, to show off their talents, and all their work and the previous year.

my last year and a half has been a roller coaster of events. But it has culminated in another event where I too, showcase my work.

illustration has been my main stay, and will remain so. Different projects throughout the year have brought me back to the drawing board. Design has always been more fun anyway.!
I hope you’ll stop by to look at some botanical illustrations as well as my old faithful intaglio prints.

I look forward to seeing my old friends and new ones too . Mark your calendars for the first week of November. It will be beautiful weather I hope. See you then.!

Brand New!

Time for changes and new directions… I’ve been very busy doing pastel and illustrating some of my books along with trying out my hand at oil paints and of course the regular favorites of mono types and mono prints and regular old intaglio.

The 2022 Fall Art show in Rappahannock County is wide open for all artists who live there, and I will be displaying my work for people to look at and to purchase. I hope you’ll stop by and see some of my work. Plus I’ll give you a little tour on how I do things around here. Being situated along the Thorton there’s plenty of wildlife and nature surrounding and it is very easy to find subjects!
Follow my links and check out the artists

See ya soon!

Musings and Method




My knuckle settles on the copper plate, carefully, not to disturb the wax crayon sketch on the polished surface. A sharp drypoint stylus is held firmly in place. Work begins by dragging that stylus across the copper raising the burr, which looks ragged and irregular. There will be fewer printed editions due to the fragility of that burr. The beauty of the drypoint print is the appealing softness in the picture.

This type of etching is closest to drawing, in spite of its shortcomings. No Nitric acid dips or chemical grounds to work with, so in that respect it is also healthier for you.
Traditional engraving with gravers and metal tipped pens, is clean, precise, sure to pull a print without too many issues and the burr is wiped away.

Dictionary definition for drawing:
A picture or diagram made with a pencil, pen, or crayon rather than paint.
This is a very modest description. Hardly covers the vast domain of drawing.


Drawing and drypoint are obviously different but very alike. Both disciplines are executed carefully in order to lay a line with either a sharp metal stylus or mechanical or wooden pencil leads 9H to 9B, black and color.
 Crescent Rocks  and Horseradish

My favorite papers to use for drypoint, German etching  thick like a cotton sheet, whereas Illustration Bristol 400 weight with unforgiving tight weave surface is perfect.

Crescent Rocks

Each job may require different paper, pencil leads and specialty inks. The list is varied. With my eye on the natural world I am comfortably happy working in both mediums.

Boar Hunt

Note the   abstract-ish print called Boar Hunt which looks different, and happens to be a monotype etching, generally painted on the surface of the plate. I was using a rectangle of plexiglass for a palette and brush wiper, when  it started to show some promise, so I decided to make a print.

I attended Corcoran School of Art in 1968-1970, but it was not a fully accredited college status until the following year 1971. My classes were core design, drawing, caligraphy and history of art. Any day in any design class was spent building mixed media structures, pop-ups, 3-D companion perspective sketches.
My drawing classes were spent looking studying the model and closing our eyes after memorizing the shape and textures to be put into our sketch pads. Contour drawing, using our peripheral vision, was a warm up exercise we practiced regularly and I still sometimes use. These two years were my first foray in the Art Study environment. I will verifiably state that what you think you see is not actually how you meant to interpret it on your paper. For better or worse every exercise was valuable.

The last thing I’ll share with you is my deep abiding respect for the power of art, the art of creating art and practitioners of art, new and old.
Artists affect social changes. We document life in our world.
This belief makes my work relevant.

Artists perspective 2020

Gardening, new grandson, stepping up the fiddle tunes! So many things can tug at your strings. Actually, make that three grand children. But now it is four. This year of 2020 has landed upon us and ripped us apart and made families close at the same time. I need to dedicate a more time to the minutiae of pencil mechanics. Black on white and colored pencil means getting back to basics. Let me share some of the drawings and prints in progress and some finished.

The Hughes is within walking distance of my front door. Peaceful and t times roaring with a good two days rainfall.


Oh! and I am celebrating botany with my 5 and 9 year old as a resource to their homeschooling. Another change, probably for the better, this year. The pandemic has altered all of our lives.

Continue reading “Artists perspective 2020”

About those field trips. .

beachdawn7It’s been a while since I posted. Not a lot of field trips last year. Plenty of doing though. Gardening, hiking, working on the house and studio. The most recent is our trek to the Outer Banks North Carolina.. . WOW! with all the family and then IMG_6737some. There’s something rejuvenating about the ocean that you just can’t bottle. You have to swim the waves, smell the salt and taste it. Oh. . . . and swallow some briny , too

The latest thing happening is my up coming fiddle camp in Contoocook, New Hampshire. I’ll be taking the fiddle my dad fashioned for me years ago, and join other fiddlers at a string/jam camp. We’ll all play music, share stories and tips on playing and learn new songs and methods. I’m really looking forward to it. No visual art, but plenty of art for the ears.

fLUMEGORGEI’ll planning to head  to the White Mountain National Forest after camp is over. A little over 2 hour drive puts you there. Three days will probably be enough fiddlin’for me. Hoping to visit the Flume, a natural gorge of 800 feet in length, located at the foot of Lincoln Mt. The walls of the gorge rise 70-90 feet and it looks like a spectacular place one needs to experience first-hand. There are plenty trails for tourists to explore at the bottom and stairs that bring you back up. Lots of climbing and an abundance of ferns, mushrooms and critters to photo in the undergrowth. Hopefully collect a lot of photo material and some sketches to work from after the trip.
This printmaker will need to start pulling prints for the Fall Art Tour in Rappahannock County. I’ll be posting about that soon, too.

In the meantime I hope you get out and make some field trips of your own before the summer has slipped away. Ah… but then there is the Fall, and of course, my favorite is the Winter for more off site travels. Have Fun!
bug hunter