Category Archives: artwork

What Is On My Mind Today? Cabin Fever, Perfect Hashbrowns and Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Good morning!  It is beautiful this morning with all of the white snow, blue skies, sunshine and the promise of forty degree temperatures this afternoon. The only thing more beautiful, would be anything to do with spring!

In the interest of that, this is a day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice, be happy and not waste it, I will be going outside later.

Going outside this time of year, not freezing and actually seeing the sun shine is a great gift.  Between the flu epidemic and all of the winter slipperiness, except for an occasional rare trip to the store for groceries and doctor appointments, I have not left the house since Christmas.  For a woman who loves being with people and outdoors, winters can become very long.

So, what do I do everyday?

Well, I set aside time to read from the Bible.  I have read the whole Bible and have just started re-reading the New Testament. I keep on tackling reading books from my “unread” pile.  I have read several historical slave diaries, women’s diaries and works written by former President Theodore Roosevelt.  He is a great author.  I have read biographies of the Rothschild and Medici. I just finished reading a book on western historical figure fallacies and am currently reading a book written in 1859 that was the actual handbook pioneers used to plan their prairie expeditions.  “The Best-Selling Handbook for America’s Pioneers,  The Prairie Traveler”, was written by Randolph B. Marcy, Captain, U.S. Army.

All I can say about the handbook is,  wow!  Who would have thought that for trip in a covered wagon, that would take months, all you need to pack is two pairs of woolen socks and a change of woolen underwear.  And, I am now well versed in the care, control and feeding of mules.  Information that would have been greatly helpful during my many years of working in politics.

In addition to reading, I work on my artwork.  I have completed several paintings this winter.  I have shown paintings in several art shows and even though, my paintings are like my children and I really hate the idea of them not being in my home,  it is time to let them go.  I need to start selling some artwork.

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I blog.

When I physically have to rest my much damaged spine to relieve pain, which means lying down.  I watch YouTube videos.

Tornado Chasing 
Pecos Hank Channel.  Hank has great storm chasing videos and plays in a band.  Great storms and music.


Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ
Madeira Canyon, Tucson, AZ
Glacier Park, MT

Beach Foraging, 

Coastal Foraging With Craig Evans Channel. Craig’s knowledge of tide pool editable’s and outdoor cooking is amazing.

Abandoned Mine Exploration,
Exploring Abandoned Mines Channel. Frank is good-natured, happy, real piece of work.  He is Canadian. This guy knows absolutely no fear, rarely seems well-washed, and has no common sense whatsoever.  He had a dog for a while, but let’s just say that he didn’t believe in leashes and the dog got the shaft.  In his last video he was exploring mines in Mexico with two young Mexican boys who spoke no English, and Frank, of course, speaks no Spanish.  Oh, the boys brought along their three-legged dog.  I can’t make this stuff up.

Urban Exploration
Hell On Earth Channel. These boys, well they just remind me of cousins.  These lads hail from England and have some unique adventures.

Bros of Decay Channel.  Leslie and his brother Jordy are…adorable, very polite and from Belgium. They explore really neat abandoned places.

Travel Troll Channel with Deep Digger Dan.  Deep Digger Dan is traveling through every county in Great Britain.  You get to see the out of the way places with a creative perspective.

Metal Detecting
Aquachigger Channel. Beau metal detects on land and under water for historical artifacts.  Lots of Civil War artifacts.  He doesn’t like poison ivy.

Nuggetnoggin Channel.  Nuggetnoggin is a young man that knows Jesus and his historical artifacts.  I love the bible verses he posts. He gold mines, metal detects, and magnet fishes.

Gigmaster Channel.  The Gig is a former Navy Seal.  He metal detects, skin dives and pans for gold.

Chill Bill Channel.  Chill Bill metal detects and mud-larks mostly in Europe.  The coins he finds are very old…very old indeed!

Oh, I know that some of these things I watch on Youtube, I will never do or do again, but at least for a short time I can escape winter, the house and my cancer battle.

I play a lot with my dogs, because I love them and they love me.

The same applies to my husband.

And, I have spent a considerable amount of time experimenting with new recipes.

I have perfected how to make crisp fluffy hash browns from real potatoes.  The secret is rinsing all the starch off of the grated potatoes with very cold water.  This usually takes about four rinses. Drain after each rinse.  When the water in the bowl remains clear, drain again. Then dry them thoroughly with a cheese cloth towel or paper towels.  Fry in hot oil with two tablespoons of butter on medium high heat covered for 5 minutes, or until browned.  Uncover, turn and fry other side until browned.  Do not put the cover on again.  Having them covered at first, steams the potatoes so that they cook through while remaining fluffy in the middle. Putting it back on will soften your crust.  Nobody want that.

My greatest culinary discovery so far this winter is a baked cake donut.  My husband loves donuts.  I hate deep frying.  So, I have been trying to find a baked recipe for cake donuts that would meet my husband’s high standards. It has taken me awhile, but this recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donut Muffins meets and beats all expectations.

I will warn you that they are easy to make, delicious, addicting and definitely a waistline expansion threat.  However, they freeze perfectly and when reheated in the microwave taste like they are fresh out of the oven or from a bakery.

The recipe only yields about nine regularly-sized muffins.  So, if you have a large family, tall husband or are taking them to share at the office, I would recommend making more than one batch.

Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donut Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Thoroughly, grease muffin tins with soft butter.  Do not use paper muffin cups. 

In a large bowl combine:

1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

With a mixing spoon, stir the dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add:

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir until just combined. Do not over beat.

Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full and bake for 20 minutes.  The muffins will be very slightly browned.  Do not over bake.  A toothpick inserted in middle of the muffin will come out clean when they are done.

Remove from oven.  Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.

In a small bowl.  Melt five tablespoons of butter.  Lightly coat muffins with the butter.  I just roll them in the bowl.

Place butter coated muffins, three at a time, into a gallon-sized zip lock plastic bag that contains:  1/3 cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Seal bag and shake until muffins are coated with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Remove and repeat with remaining muffins.  Serve immediately.







Artwork: Bloom, Bee and Badlands Bull

I just finished two floral paintings that will be Christmas gifts for someone special.  They were done in oil on canvas and are 5 X 7 inches.  They look big for being so small.

Pansey Bloom 5 X 7


Cone Flower and Bee 5 X 7

My husband framed my Bull in the Badlands painting yesterday.   Paintings always look so grown up in a frame.


Badlands Bull, oil on canvas, 24 X 36 

Artwork: Guarding His Herd

I have finally finished the oil painting that I have been working on for the past six months.  It is a large canvas…24 X 30.

The vision for this work began as a challenge to myself.  I wanted to paint a thunderstorm over the Badlands.  My goals were to create distance; capture the back glow of light in a storm and the roughness of the Badlands terrain; and to improve my drawing skills by including animals….Hereford cattle.

The biggest challenge of this painting was the sky.  I just could not get it right.  Then, I realized I was painting a Minnesota sky.  The clouds were too close.  Once, I got that right, the painting started to work.

IMG_2849 Copy

My goal with the cattle was to paint a very strong bull lovingly guarding his family.


That is how I think of God.



What Is On My Mind Today? Power Without the Destruction.

st g painting
2016 Painting of St. Genevieve Church in Centerville, MN. 

For weeks and weeks I have painted and repainted the sky on the same canvas.

Whenever I start a painting I have the exact image in my mind.  I can actually see it on the white canvas. As an artist, my job is to make the image appear for others to see.

I like painting landscapes especially ones with vivid skies.  I have always had a fascination with clouds.  I remember spending many hours as a small child, resting on the lawn just watching them change shapes.  Quietly watching clouds on a calm summer’s day is a very peaceful and relaxing activity, which I highly recommend.

For me the peace of clouds disappeared in an instant when I was about eleven-years-old. Cloud watching changed forever on a stormy day while traveling in a car on Highway 12 just east of Litchfield, Minnesota.  At the precise moment we were along side a huge metal factory, a tornado dropped out of the sky and shredded the big building.  Huge pieces of metal ripped through the air and rained down all around our car.   The destructive power of that small tornado was horrible, yet so very awesome.  From that moment on, I had a very healthy appreciation for power, especially power that originates in the heavens.

After experiencing that tornado up close, instead of looking for the peace in the clouds I looked to find evidence of their power. It is exhilarating to stand in an great empty field and watch a thunderstorm explode on the western horizon and come barreling at you.

It was even more exciting to stare down a menacing mesocyclone astride my Arabian mare.  Animals are naturally much better forecaster’s of weather that humans. My mare could sense stormy weather hours before it developed.  Her restlessness and whinnying told me it was time to saddle up.  Down to the edge of farm we’d gallop and wait for nature’s big show.

Radiant white clouds billowing upwards with great speed and purpose announced that the guest we were waiting for so impatiently was on its way.  Just as the first gust of wind rushed up to make our acquaintance, I would pivot my  mare and give her, her head and we’d race the storm home.

It was all speed, wind, water and…..power. Intoxicating!

I like power.  I love the power of storms.

So, my goal for this canvas was to paint a beautiful powerful mesocyclone with all of its whirl and swirl.  No matter how many skies I painted none of them seemed to meet the vision of my mind’s eye.

Since, I don’t tend to give up, I had to just keep trying and trying to succeed.  Becoming more and more frustrated with a process that is usually as easy for me as falling off a wet horse.

Last week a very good friend of mine, who knows me extremely well, called to say hello. I told her about my canvas of perpetual repainting and how frustrated I was not being able to  produce the image I wanted.  I explained to her that my goal was to capture the winds and the beauty of a great storm, but I wanted it to be a friendly storm.

As always she listened to my concerns very carefully and then responded, “So, you want all of the power without any of the destruction.”

Yup, that would be it.



What Is On My Mind Today: My painting was awarded a cash prize at the Gallery 96 Art Center Spring Show!

I have two paintings exhibited in the Gallery 96 Art Center Spring show at the Shoreview Library.  The show lasts until June 17.

The big news is that my painting, “Anger” won a cash prize.

Wind in the pasture

Desert Blooms is the other painting of mine on display.

Blooming Cactus
“Dessert Blooms”

The sister painting to “Anger” which is not on display is “Peace”.   My cancer battle inspired both of these paintings.


Painting Done…Frame Ordered!



This is the painting that I have been working on since November. Since, I started this painting of Christ seeking the little lost lamb, both my three-year-old niece Laney (she would have been four-years-old today) and my Uncle Mrywin have died.  Laney died right after Thanksgiving and Myrwin passed away three days before Christmas.

Since they were both on hospice, I started this painting as my personal memorial.

I thought I had it done weeks ago, but then decided it just wasn’t right.  So I kept at it and at it.  Today,  I am finally done and am satisfied with the outcome.


After weeks of trying day after day to get the effects that I sought, when it all started to work  I was done in about an hour.  Can you tell the difference between the first picture and the final one?

It was the water…that was bugging me so much….its lighting and wave action was wrong. I wanted to paint a rising mist that forms in the morning when the warm sun hits the cold water. I wanted it to dance in the light, just little Laney is dancing in heaven.

I also wanted the rocks to look more like agates…I love agates!  I like finding, inspecting and painting them on canvas. I have always thought that Agate Bay in the Gooseberry Falls State Park  was something of a rip off because the cliffs are not solid agate. As Uncle Myrwin used to say, “Now, wouldn’t that be something!” 

There also needed to be a cave to explore.  A cliff without a cave is just a big rock.  Unless it has a waterfalls, then, without a cave, it becomes a big rock with a runny nose. Although my good friend Janis will take one look at the cave in this painting and know that I painted the empty tomb.

Christ’s face was facing straight ahead in the first painting. It was just easier to paint that way.  It needed to turn towards the lost lamb. There can be no mistaking that the Good Shepherd finds the little lost lamb. The lamb is looking up trustingly at Jesus for it knows it is completely loved and eternally safe. Christ’s hands too were changed. His hand is open, gently inviting the little lost lamb to come to him.

The addition of spring flowers were added just for me. Winter gets long here in Minnesota and I am already looking forward to the new flora and fauna of spring. Besides they always add more color, and I wanted color in this painting.  Pink for Laney and blue for Myrwin. The sunrise is pink, oh so very pink and quite riotous. Just like the brightness and havoc young children bring into our lives.Of course the painting needed to have a certain color blue in it.  In our family this shade of blue is known as “Myrwin Blue.”   This color has now been added.

Lastly,  I love it when at dawn the sky looks like it is rising right out of the water.  Early morning sunrise reflections sometimes make it almost impossible to tell where heaven begins and earth ends.  The separation is a very fine line only crossed by the warmth of the Son.

There are two islands in the brightest light one is for Laney and one for Uncle Myrwin.

My painting is done and the frame ordered.

Now, I can move on.