"CAVU"
Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited
"CAVU" is Navy Airman's' acronym revealed to us during George HW Bush's eulogy given by the former Prime Minister of Canada.

I am inspired by the point of view represented in these four little letters and how, if applied to art from preliminary sketch to clients' home it is like a refreshing breeze on a still, sweltering summer day, or a warm coat on a winter day. (Molly and Jim at Lake McDonald on a cold winter day in warm coats!)

When I begin with a blank canvas the view is certainly CAVU! Anything is possible and my optimism soars. (Maybe this is why there are so many "starts" in my studio!) To get past the whiteout (blank canvas), the first step I take is called a "Doodle" always done in bright colors and with as much texture and innovation as I can muster. As the painting progresses I come across new vistas and keep what I like and paint over passages that are not as pleasing to me. Michelangelo said he "chipped away what wasn't David", for me, it is a process of addition and subtraction until the painting takes shape.

Inevitably the cloud banks form and a canvas reaches the "gawky gangly ugly duckling" stage. Does one climb to a higher elevation to get past this stage? Ideally yes, but staying engaged rather than running for a new start is not easy. Like untangling one's skis, poles, and body after falling in deep snow it can seem impossible to get up and get moving again. Many a painting languishes in the studio or a closet for a long time waiting, steeping, for just the right moment. How about a nap? Sometimes that is just the ticket to get past this stage. But ultimately the paint and brushes or gloss medium and mixed media, lines, and experiments on the canvas can lead past the juvenile point and onto the Yahoo of CAVU.  

Zooming down the home stretch picking and solving the last obstacles feels so good. When am I finished? I don't want this last stage to end, I finally know what I am doing and am thoroughly enjoying laying down the color. Soon, the painting says "that's it, no more" you have looked at me upside down, backward and forwards from across the room and I am not saying "fix me" anymore. Done, not exactly; isolation coat, UV varnish, wire, photography and maybe a frame. All that before I am revealed to the world in the form of a gallery or show, website, and social media.

Will the fledgling painting inspire CAVU in the viewer? Is there something about the image which triggers a memory, hope, a feeling of soaring. Will the masterpiece elicit a smile, a feeling of happiness? Will the story which accompanies the painting ring true in the heart of the viewer?  

Below: "Catching Rainbows" Tryptic 20"X16", 20" X 20", 20" X 16" mixed media
While hiking a couple of summers ago we came across a sow with three cubs feeding on a kill. Even though the distance was great, the fascination and fear I felt being on the same mountain was real. I was struck by how the sow tore off the meat to give to the cubs. I've seen lots of photos of grizzly bears feeding on salmon and other fish. This mixed media painting is a combination of those impressions along with the idea of the mountain streams fed by glacial waters and the rainbow trout they could capture for dinner. What is the most interesting wild animal you have had the privilege to watch? Did the experience spur you to paint or react in another creative way ?
"Slider Home"
12" X 36" mixed media
These three paintings may be purchased individually or as a tryptic...but I dare you to pick just one. These red eared sliders are a delight to come across and often can be found sunning on a log. The map mixed media and the crazy line work makes for interesting texture. Available through Framecraft of Warrenton.
"Fresh Air "
11" X 16"
Framed, these violets always represent spring in the woods to me! Mixed media painting is available through Framecraft of Warrenton.
"Curly the Llama" is back. The second publication via Westwood Books is easier to obtain than ever. Just click on the image below to go to "Curly the Lama" by Joe Motheral on Amazon and it could be on your doorstep shortly!
"Tree Hugger" 30" X 24"

Inspired by winters on Big Mountain in Whitefish Montana. One winter morning as we started skiing down the mountain on the freshly groomed corduroy of the cat tracks, we saw CAT tracks. I don't know if it was a mountain lion or a lynx but would guess the former. About that time a friends' son was working on a lynx study and I am intrigued by these beautiful creatures. Fabric, cross word puzzles and snow flakes make this surface draw you closer. Available through Hockaday Museum at the Mark Makers Show
"Yogi" 20" X 16"

Rescued, loved and recently crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. You will be missed sweet boy!

Order your pet's portrait! Click here to send me an email to get the brush moving!


Mark Makers Show
The Hockaday Museum coming February 28, -- May 2019

Opening Reception Thursday February 28, 2019 5:00-7:00 pm



"Cherry Picker" 30" x 48"
The Mark Makers!
Sheri Trepina, Linda Hendrickson and Shelle Lindholm in Shelle's Studio.