Friday, December 30, 2016


     Here is how you set up for Christmas dinner in Florida. Clean up the lanai, put up an extra table and we are ready for 9 people at our house. We were lucky to have our sister-in-law, our daughter and her family plus our daughter's in laws with us. We truly enjoy the company of all these people in our lives.  Also it was  our son-in-law's birthday on December 25th which explains the birthday balloons and streamers in our table set up. Poor fellow gets swallowed up by all the Christmas festivities each year. 

     Our ham was great and all the dishes brought by company was superb with a cake and ice cream to polish off the dinner. After dinner we went out on the front lawn to shoot off string in a can for each of the kids. That was the end of the grandma surprises.

     As everyone picked up their presents and food dishes we said good bye and thank you for another good memory. OK, I did have some really burnt on pans to deal with the next day but soaking helped and I pulled out the old white vinegar on a slow simmer to get the petrified chards off of the cookware.

Hoping your holiday was a joy for you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


      The festive part of Christmas season is truly for children. In the past I have decorated and undecorated trees until the thrill was gone from holiday embellishment. Later when we moved to Florida we bought a nice artificial tree but the effort of retrieving and putting it back in the attic became more of a chore. We ended up giving the tree to our son and his family to brighten their holidays.

     So this is what I have resorted to; decorating the chandelier! String a few beads, hang a few ornaments and magically we are ready for Christmas.   Nothing says Christmas like beads and bulbs over the honey ham. This year the whole family living in Florida are coming to our house, that should be fun.

#1 call the cleaning ladies
#2 shop for the food
#3 keep it simple and ask others to help
#4 cook, serve and enjoy
#5 everyone goes home, we are tired (in a good way) so feet go up and the TV & PJ's go on:)

I may not be setting the art world on fire but I have a good life full of family, activities and friends.
I am blessed.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Invitation to look at my web site.

     It has been  six months since I had my web site designed and put on line. My friends love it but that is like your mom saying; " good job!", so I wanted to ask your opinion of the web site design and which painting  you like best and hopefully why.

     Please vote for the painting you like best.

I will send a small daily painting as a thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts to the first person who responds.
A contest where you have nothing to lose. :)

If you don't care to share your name/ address etc., just send your opinion so I can keep on making progress on my artistic adventure.

Saturday, December 10, 2016


I am so proud to work with these two ladies on the Development Committee helping the Cultural Council create our very own Arts Village within downtown historic Vero Beach.

 The Concept:
Local community people with ideas, energy and commitment are working together on a plan to revitalize the Downtown Vero Beach Arts District by creating a Cultural Arts Village.  Between the railroad tracks and 20th Avenues, the Edgewood neighborhood, together with the businesses in the Arts District between SR60 East and West and 18th Street, will offer complementary creative environments:  one for living, working, and selling, the other for cafes, restaurants, and small businesses.
We envision an inviting shaded street scape that supports a diversity of complementary economic events and activities:  residents, small businesses, arts, art galleries, health and wellness, restaurants, and related events.  The neighborhood will reflect principles of retrofitting rather than redevelopment by maintaining a view to preserving structures, street layouts and motifs that are important parts of this area’s heritage and sense of place.  
This village arts concept integrates a variety of activities for walking, biking, meeting, gathering, working, selling and living.  The abundant green space will host gatherings such as book festivals, food festivals, music festivals, art and craft festivals. An amphitheater will provide home to music events, film, lectures, plays, book and poetry readings, and more.
The Village concept will pull more activities back to the downtown district, contributing to a comfortable, appealing, walkable environment, where people can spend time meeting, shopping, eating and working.  A cultural arts center will include an arts and culture information center together with meeting and gathering space for small events.

Friday, December 2, 2016


       Finally I am beginning to recognize that "feeling" when I am painting just to paint and not to create. It is a "I don't really want to do this or just one more layer of paint will make it gorgeous or I'm going to finish this even if it kills me" feeling.

     The above still life morphed into:

                                                   Then morphed into:

Lesson  learned; I am not a flower still life artist, more is not always better 
and give up on this one!

Don't push a painting, either it flows and you know what your next moves should be or put it away until you understand/ see/feel what the painting needs to complete it. 

Friday, November 25, 2016


Meme and Laurel

Wayne and I were fortunate enough to be invited over to  St. Cloud, Fl. to share Thanksgiving dinner at our daughters in law's home. The weather was perfect so we ate out on their wrap around porch with all the traditional foods. My green bean casserole had beans that did not cook completely but tasted good and Amy’s sweet potato dish was runny but delicious. Who cares.

The two grand kids ran from pillar to post; wish I could harness their energy and infuse it 
into me. Ahh, I had my time so let them have theirs. 

Even better we get to host the gang for Christmas at our house. First book the house cleaner, shop for food and then cook my happy little heart out. 

I do hope you all had a warm Thanksgiving with whom ever brings smiles to your life.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


     Please, please join me at Gallery 14  for a reception of all the artists that have entered the Gallery's "Our Beautiful Waters" exhibit.

                                               Reception- December 2, 2016, 5:00-8:00pm
                                               Gallery 14 on 14th Ave.,Vero Beach, Florida
                                               Show runs December 1-30, 2016

     The paintings have to reflect the waters of Florida and the tropics or the life or environment found therein. Well I think my Sea Gull fits the bill. It is a beautifully framed watercolor with rice paper over lays.

Hope that gives you a sneak peeked of what is in store:)

Friday, November 11, 2016


 I ordered a DVD thinking I was getting a tutorial on using mixed media in art to create a quilt like painting. It is just like me to read then see what I want to hear and see. Think I was drawn in by the pretty picture on the cover of the DVD.

 Pay attention Mary Ellen!

I watched it twice and thought the idea could be translated into mixed media paper art. Why waste a good DVD so I sent it along to my daughter's mother in law because she is an avid quilter. The other good thing was taking my stash of scrapbooking papers to experiment using Beryl Taylor techniques.


I like #1 the best, #3  seems disjointed and #2 is down right blah.
Now what do I do with these samples? It will have to be a collage of some sort but I will have to wait until the idea goddess shines down on me.

Friday, November 4, 2016


     Ten years ago my husband and I moved to Florida for the warmth and sunshine. I've never regretted the move but a piece of my heart is still in Glen Arbor and Traverse City, Michigan.  I became the office manager for the Glen Arbor Art Association and showed my art work in a small local gallery. Those years cemented my determination to pursue an artistic future.

     After five years of absence I flew back to see friends and to see the beauty of the Sleeping Bear Dunes area. The forests and hills spoke to me in a deep way, they reminded me of Pennsylvania where I was raised. Another great reason to fly back is our son who lives and works in Traverse City.

     We scheduled  our visit the exact day that Hurricane Matthew (Cat. 4) struck near Vero Beach. That plan did not work for obvious reasons so we rebooked for the end of October. I took the one winter coat that I still have left and have not worn in ten years, socks, no sandals please, long pants with layers of tops. Again I saw my dear friend Barb and we took a sentimental drive to see the my former house and few of the places that were dear to me. Barb and I ate at Art's Tavern where the hamburgers are fantastic. Funny how much of what I remembered was the same; thank you Michigan for not changing everything in my absence.

     OK, now to the art work I have pictured above. Barb and I ran with two other red hat ladies with whom we frequently went out for lunch.  One of our favorite spots was Amacal Restaurant on Front Street. It is upscale cuisine with the old world brick wall charm. Wayne and I ate at Amaval on our last night in Michigan, I even had a glass of wine. Every time I  go to Amacal  I look for this piece of art work hanging on their wall. It was still there!!!! It took so many years for me to recognize that this is my style and to begin painting in the expressionistic manner that I have always admired.

What took me so long?


Friday, October 21, 2016


Many years ago during a  creative block
 I started  some off the wall fun mixed media projects. For my Cinderella slipper I took a Royal Crown cloth bag to create the stool.  The deep purple color with the gold trim was elegant enough for any princess.  I embellished  the stool with large wooden beads and a necklace of yellow beads for the trim. The shoe was made from Viva towels that I had painted with watercolors. Then the ribbon and buttons were added to give  you  a 
version of Cinderella's slipper. 

She wore a little strappy number.

Bee #1
Here is a bug of intense character. 

What do you create when you let your creative  hair down?

Bee #2

Friday, October 14, 2016



Helen Eaton 

OK, you are my only follower.
First of all thanks for reading my disjointed ramblings which are cathartic for me to share. I write as if no one is reading so I feel free to get as silly as I want.

It seems we should get acquainted so I went on line to see and enjoy your art work. Just for fun I compared our strawberries and you won.  The above photo is a little fuzzy, your strawberry looks much better on your web site.    

Guess I need to work on my fruit.
Happy Painting.

Mary Ellen Koser

Saturday, October 8, 2016


HURRICANE MATTHEW  October 6, 2016

     I have never experienced a hurricane, bad storms yes but not a Cat 4 with 120 miles an hour winds.Taking all the information we could garner we decided to stay and ride out the storm.

Evacuation supplies-check
Food supplies-check
Plenty of water-check
Batteries and lights-check
Dog food-check
Shutters up on all windows and doors-check
Generator-check but we had never actually hook the thing up to run it for the house! 
It was a tense hour or two trying to read the instruction book and get all the settings correct;
     ended up calling our handy man the next day to help us figure it out.

 I was anxious but not frightened. It did cross my mind that this may be the last day I live but I've had a good go at life so I was at peace. Once the decision was made to stay you have to take whatever comes your way.

Solution: take two sleeping pills and sleep through the whole thing! It worked for me. My kids and brother thought I was crazy.

     As it turned out we did just fine. I do realize that it was luck that spared Vero Beach from a really bad out come and I am thankful. Still no electricity but I think we will venture out for a ride to see how others faired and to see if Publix is open.

This time the force was with me and I live to paint another day.
I took pictures of the proper setting so we won't forget the lessons learned. Wisdom comes with age.

Add caption

Saturday, October 1, 2016



Saturday, September 24, 2016


     A few weeks ago my husband and I visited with our grandkids. That is always a joy but to make it even better we all went to see a Disney On Ice show in Orlando. Needless to say Disney puts on a wonderful extravaganza for the eyes and ears to behold.

      Getting a clear still shot was hard because the skaters were in perpetual motion.  The most important shot was of my grandkids watching the magic of Disney and eating pop corn.

     Sometimes it is good to get away from painting. I find I go through streaks of finding subjects that I can't wait to paint and then I go into a creative malaise. My therapy is to step back, organize something, clean something, read some fun books and spend time with people.

     What I know that the spark will return so just relax and let it happen.

     Refilling my artist's well as I write.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Finished Product: Time for Tea

      Somehow I thought painting should always be an enjoyable stress free career. Wrong!

I have come to the conclusion that it is hard frustrating work. It took me forever to define my style which is colorist/expressionist and now to ply my craft.  I pour over the books and DVDs of Anne Obrien-Gonzales, Lisa Daria, Carol Marine and Clair Harrigan. It is starting to sink in but there are many moments of; OK now what do I do and if I get any more layers on this painting it should be sold by the pound to get top dollar.

"Time for Tea" is not going well to say the least. Step one flowed nicely with the stencil tablecloth and stenciled background wall space. 

Then in step 2  I tried the dreaded flowers and I mess them up every time for so many reasons. Jazzed up the back "table" with red checked design. The red checks were distracting from the focal point so off with it's head. 

Getting creative I added a paisley print paper for the cup of tea, it helped but now the white vase is  just a big dominate blob. I painted it yellow, that helped but it was overwhelming the design so I added a whitish see through rice paper to tone it down a bit. The finished product is at the top of the page.

What did I learn:
* When a picture is not going well I get "artists anxiety". Before I figured out the cause I just thought I was a bit depressed. Note to myself; expect this feeling a lot in the future.
*Dead lines that run down to the wire stress me out a bit. I'm the type that has all in order with plenty of time to spare. Well, I just lost track of time and the dead line date. 
* Have faith in myself that if I don't give up I will figure out the solution of what is wrong with my wonky works of art.
* Never ever paint those big fat flower blobs. Notice how they changed into Trumpet Flowers.

Friday, September 9, 2016


Acrylic Skin Flowers
Guess what? I have a guest artist spot for the month of September at MSVB. I am going to jump in with both feet to show my colorist expressionist style. This is who I am as a painter and it feels true to my artistic soul.

Summer of '42
The exhibit was held on September 2nd thought October 5th at the Main Street Vero Beach Gallery on 14th Avenue.

The day before my sister in law helped me hang the exhibit and it took longer and was more work than I expected. The next evening was the monthly Gallery Stroll in Vero Beach, Fl. which is always a lively evening.

Many of my friends came by to wish me well and see my paintings all in one place. I had not seen all my new work in one place either. Someone noted that I like the color orange.

I'm the one in the blue flowered top.

One wall of the exhibit. It was tiring but a delightful evening and yes my feet did hurt by the end of the show:)

Friday, September 2, 2016


I started out planning on a complementary red/green painting. These are only a few of the stages of evolution for Lilacs, it even ended up next to the trash can for a few days.

OK, try again. I have read that every painting goes through an ugly stage. From experience I know that to be true. This one almost did not survive.

Somehow the mixed media changed into a yellow, blue, green triad. In step two the black threw me off for a long time. My painting friends say I should throw the tube of black away.
This poor picture has had stripes of many different colors and sizes.

The flowers started out as stamped circles to look like lilac flowers but I over did the flowers  until it all looked like amateurish mud.

Step away from the painting for a few days.

Lace rice papers covered the horrible flowers with a variation in color and sizes. New printed paper had to be added to the front vase due to construction problems.

With the addition of just a little black we are calling this work of art
done. Be forewarned that I am going into a stenciling embellishment phase.

Not too bad for a trash bin candidate.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Once upon a time an artist had a large canvas which had been a Rothko like experiment. It never  went anywhere so consider it a canvas ground color to try my new expressionist style.

I am attracted to the 1930-1950 fashion so I research some photos on which share free photos for artists. 
Ground colors.

Here is a photo of my painting almost finished . Can you see the ground color peeking through the blue sky?
#2   Almost there.
Final painting.

To complete the lady reading I added a stylized sky and added some shadows. This was never meant to be a realistic painting merely a personal interpretation.

 I  discovered that I am happiest when painting with lots of color and the freedom to do just as I please. 
Expressionism is not tied to perfect perspective, perfect value or perfect local color. I like mixed media with stenciling and the addition of papers to my work and I like painting people.

So now what do I do with this enlightenment? 
Just paint and enjoy the journey.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Who says one needs more wardrobe storage? For me, clothes not so much, but art supplies and art business stuff.... oh yeah.

I have reorganized my 10x12 bedroom studio at least 50 times! My mind functions best in organization and all of it is labeled (so I can find it). My daughter gave me a labeler for a gift many years ago and it has been well used.

No clothes in the closet.
I have a wooden table that just fit into the closet space so that became computer headquarter, bill paying and canvas storage. A wooden shoe rack made a great canvas storage if they are turned on end. Next I went to Target for some wire closet organizers. These hang down from the  wire shelf rack that was in the closet; always looking for the use of vertical space.

Repurposed book shelves.
Once again I have stored things up to the ceiling, labeled them and reorganize when I see a more efficient way to do things. 

Drafting table by the window.

Did you notice the beads at the window? I got them at a flea market and just had to have them. In my studio anything goes; carpet has been trashed with splattered paint, I painted big polka dots on the walls for color and you did see the beads.  This is my fun spot.

Repurposed sewing table.
One of the best things I did was create a larger surface area to work on. It was always on a time consuming search and find while creating a new painting. My windmill easel is in the middle of the room which takes up the free space to move about easily but after numerous relocation tries that seems to be the best location. In a corner the light was bad, straight in front of the window there is a light glare and my body casts a shadow on the painting surface.

If you are thinking of buying a windmill easel please note that it needs a larger space than my small bedroom/studio. No regrets, it is great to be able to turn the painting 360 degrees and it will lay flat if you want to work on a mixed media piece.

Wishing you painting bliss.