This is My Iowa

Recreating childhood memories for my family, 


When I was a kid, mom and dad used to take us fishing almost every weekend. Lake Odessa is one of the places we would go. I remember very little about how we got there or how far away we were from home.

All I remember is, getting rolled out of bed at 4am, when it was still pitch dark out. Magically, I would wake up, in a foreign land that seemed so far from home; in reality, it was less than 45 minutes away..

The Drive to the Lake

Check out the video below...

OUR day at Lake Odessa

Kayaking, Relaxing

The water was only about 2 feet deep everywhere, making it easy for kayaking.


Pelicans, Beautiful

We were in awe of how many pelicans were at the lake.  The sights and sounds, OMG!


Rock Skipping, fun

Calm waters and plenty of flat rocks made for great conditions to skip rocks.


About the American White Pelican

Did You Know?

🍃American White Pelicans can live in groups of up to 5000 pairs. 

🍃American White Pelicans like to fish in groups. 

🍃American White Pelicans form circles, flap their wings on the water, and drive fish to shallow areas where they can scoop them up with their giant beaks.

🍃American White Pelicans do not dive for fish like Brown Coastal Pelicans do.

🍃American White Pelican populations are making a comeback after their sharp decline in the mid 1900’s, which was caused by chemicals like DDT that entered their food chain.

I can say with certainty, that I don’t recall ever seeing so many pelicans, if any, when my parents took us fishing here as kids, or on the Mississippi River either. I hope this means things are looking up for the American White Pelicans!

Artful Activity

New scenery, family, and fresh air were my muses for the day.


Painting in a Kayak, 

I love these little plastic containers for my paint.

They fit perfectly in my travel crate and make it easy to find the right colors 



portable easel

My small paintings are stuck to the clipboard with masking tape so they won't slide off. 

All of my supplies must fit in a small crate.

finishing touches 

These quick studies were started either in our bumpy 4x4 truck, or in a rocking kayak.  Stable, dry land was a much needed respite from all that motion!

About the technique

  • Bumpy rides make dynamic, heavily textured studies.  
  • Each painting is completed in about 45 minutes.
  • This work is more about capturing the colors as I see them in the moment.
  • For example, in the painting to the left, I was attempting to capture the colors of the sunrise as we drove to the lake. The sky was very hazy and tinted by the smoke from the wildfires out west.
  • Paint is applied by tapping the tube directly onto the canvas.
  • Colors are mixed here with a long needle once used for baking clay beads.

3 Paintings in One day

  •  I like to review my work out in the natural light of my front porch when we get back home
  • It's so much easier to see my colors in that light, rather than artificial studio light, especially in the evening!
  • I made 3 studies
  • One on the drive there (bottom right)
  • One out on the water, (the big one)
  • One on the drive home (bottom left)

The Finished Paintings

Morning, 4x4 in.

Painted in the back of the truck on the way to the lake in the  peachy, August morning light. Oil on canvas with palette brush, knife, and needle


Noon, 5x5 in.

Started out on the water while my husband paddled me around in our tandem kayak. Oil on canvas with palette knife, brush, and needle.


Afternoon, 5x5 In.

Started in the back seat of the truck while my son drove us home.  Oil on canvas with palette knife, brush, and needle.