she held promise

She held promise in her song and hope in her wings
oil on canvas, 24×20 inches

I worked on this painting at the same time as I worked on the commissioned painting. You can tell as it’s the same palette. I remember the day so clearly when I first learned about the Red-Winged Blackbird. It was in late March 2007, Noah was only a few months old and it was our first “art expedition” out together. I pushed his stroller with one hand and held the camera in the other, soaking in the sights and sounds, wondering about how I was going to manage my new role and yet excited by the possibilities. I heard the most intriguing bird call and stopped to listen. A flash of black and a flash of red…. A woman nearby told me that it was the Red-Winged Blackbird and that when you hear its song you know that spring has arrived. I just loved that! And that feeling you get of spring’s arrival is where the words for the title came from- she held promise in her song and hope in her wings. {Although if you want to be technical, the female is brown and the male is black with the red marked wings}


Me in my studio yesterday. Sundays I pretty much get up, have breakfast with my family and then change. “Changing” consists of putting on old ratty jeans, an old ratty shirt, pulling my hair back and throwing my apron on. So, this is me, no makeup, no hairbrushing, but very cosy and just me. Behind me you can see images lined up on the walls, those are inspiration images. One of these days I will write up a list of links of the artists whose works line my walls.

Foggy, very at home lying between easels


  1. I loved this inside look at your studio-and both paintings(the commisioned and this one) are lovely. I love the titles. I live in the Chicago area and am finally believing that spring will arrive!

  2. Thanks Carol. I heard a rumor that it’s supposed to be 70 degrees tomorrow! I hope so. It’s about time! It’s nice to meet another chicagoan. 🙂

  3. I needed this. I have a very small, one night only (!!!!) show in early June, and dear Lord! A weekend I’d tucked away to begin more paintings evaporated into the car breaking down, walking home from the store, car repair attempts, etc., etc., and absolutely no quiet time or inspiration. Cancelled my massage tonight (no car!) & was feeling quite blue, quite pressured, and then this. So helpful.

    So . . . do you feel pressure when events are upcoming? Or do you always have enough work already finished?

    🙂 Debi

    !!! Wow! My word verification is aquest. a quest! I love that! I am feeling MUCH better!

  4. love the title of this painting and the memory behind it. I, too, remember the first time I heard the call of a red winged blackbird… great photos of you & your space…

  5. Thanks for the peak!!
    Your photo shows the size of the big one compared to you(and you are such a cutie in your work clothes!)and that ‘real’look, as Janette says, is so very different. I love to see the art any time, but in context, it is a much richer experience.
    So THANKS!!
    Is it encaustic(or will it be?) I am fascinated by encaustic, the layered depth takes my breath away – it’s one of those media I will learn before I die!!!!
    I am wearing my sandals today, and it’s supposed to be 80 later this week – west Texas – no water, hills, trees, etc., but lovely weather almost every day!!

  6. I recently discovered your blog reading Artful blogging and have enjoyed seeing your work. The painting are simplistic in nature, but speak volumes. Thank you for revealing your true self in the studio. Exactly how I morph into mine (minus the apron) 🙂

  7. Thank you all for your comments!

    Janette- “virtual” is an interesting concept. I share so much my art/my self here, but I leave so much out too. thought I’d put it all into context with a little photo of me at work.

    Artmom-this is actually an oil painting, not encaustic. But I did think to myself how I would love to add some wax! For this reason I think I’m going to start painting on large wood panels so that if I ever have that desire to add wax, I can. Encaustics is a great medium to explore. Have fun!

  8. miz katie- yes, I have a dog, his name is Foggy. I guess poor Foggy doesn’t get blogged about very much although he is often in the studio with me.

    Thank you Leanne for the award, i really appreciate it!

  9. B ~ I enjoyed seeing you in your studio. I love your work. I always want to reach out and touch, or better still dissolve into it…….

  10. That’s a great composition and your story about the red winged black bird, how it made you feel and how it inspired the painting makes it even more enjoyable. Love the soft effects you got with the oils.

  11. I love this (of course). I grew up with red-winged blackbirds in the plains of Illinois and love their calls and plumage.

    That flash of red is a delight to the eye – and their calls are so intriguing and unique. Even the female with her warm brown tones is lovely.

    Great painting.!! And I enjoyed very much what you wrote and your photo.

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