Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Giant Panda Wildlife Art Print

Giant Panda
Art Print 10 x 10

I love his happy face, his roly-poly body, his soft black and white outfit, his cute little ears.  I really can't think of anything about him not to like.  For the most part he is what you would call laid back, not aggressive, noncompetitive and non demanding. All he asks is a nice quiet rain forest and some bamboo to munch. Admittedly he isn't much of a "go-getter." He has not invented the wheel,  high speed computers or a cure for the common cold, though in his defense, he has no need for any of those things.  On the other hand, neither did he invent the atomic bomb, network TV or high heel shoes.  So at least his lack of ambition has done no harm.  It is true, I have read that pandas have been known to attack humans, but only when they are irritated by them.  Yes, well, I don't hold that against them, as I myself have had similar feelings.  All in all, this is one I would like to claim as a friend.

To introduce you to my new print shop page, I am offering "Giant Panda" and other requested reproductions at a special  price.  These reproductions are printed on fine, acid free art paper and are subjected to scrupulous inspection by the artist herself -  (that would be me!)   During this difficult economy, it is a perfect opportunity to own artwork, without paying the price of an original.  And they make great gifts.

Visit  Della's Print Shop page.

If you don't find what you want, more prints will be added often.  Or email me with special requests.

Email Della

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wildlife Art African Lion Print

The King
8 x 10
art print from my original pastel painting

I love cats - those who live in houses and those who live in the jungle or forest.  Even with all their differences, it is obvious that they belong to the same family.  If you look closely, you can see the lion in the kitten, and the kitten in the lion.  They purr, they pounce, they play, they stalk.  I read somewhere that God created the cat so that man might enjoy the pleasure of petting a lion.  But of all the majestic cats, large and small, there is only one called "King." 

Despite its ferocity,  the lion seems to be a favorite character in stories and songs.  Usually he is softened a bit in order to help us cope with him.  I loved the Narnia series, the books and the movies, in which the lion Aslan was a character both loved and feared, who many believe was meant to represent Jesus. It was a wonderful adventure as well as a sort of parable.  Near the end of the movie, as Aslan walks off into the sunset,  Tumnus the faun tells young Lucy,  "He isn't a tame lion, you know."   May that be said of all of us...

My favorite lion song is of course, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, also known as Wimoweh.  This particular version from the movie, the Lion King is just for fun, although that story could also be called a parable about coming of age and accepting responsibility...

To introduce you to my new print shop page, I am offering "The King," and other requested reproductions at a special  price.  These reproductions are printed on fine, acid free art paper and are subjected to scrupulous instruction - the artist herself (that would be me!)   During this difficult economy, it is a perfect opportunity to own artwork, without paying the price of an original.  And they make great gifts.

Visit  Della's Print Shop page.

If you don't find what you want, more prints will be added often.  Or email me with special requests.

Email Della

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Kitty Cat Sleeping Kitten Art Print

Sweet Dreams
Art Print
7 x 9
Anyone who has ever shared their life with a cat will attest to the notion that kittens are a study in extremes.   During any ten-minute period, they can be seen racing through the house with paws barely touching the floor,  climbing the walls and curtains, stalking some dangerous but completely invisible prey,  purring quietly on a lap and sleeping like an angel on whatever bedding may be available.  Then the cycle begins all over again.  And they are alternately described as "angelic" and "little devils," sometimes in the same breath.  Life with a kitten is never boring. They can be great companions but they are not dogs, (who by the way I also love) they do not think the way dogs think and they will never behave as dogs. Their unpredictability is part of their charm, and one of the reasons that we cat-lovers find them so absolutely irresistible.  And,  like all of God's creatures, they are beautiful and our respect and care as they fill their own special place in creation.

To introduce you to my new print shop page, I am offering this, and other requested reproductions at a special  price.  These reproductions are printed on fine, acid free art paper and are subjected to scrupulous instruction - the artist herself (that would be me!)   During this difficult economy, it is a perfect opportunity to own artwork, without paying the price of an original.  And they make great gifts.

Visit  Della's Print Shop page.

If you don't find what you want, more prints will be added often.  Or email me with special requests.

Email Della

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Equine Art Black Friesian Horse Art Print

Friesian Horse Print

I have renamed this painting Freedom in its print form because that is the emotion it expresses.  If you have ever watched horses galloping across the distant hills,  you know what I mean.  For just  a moment, you know the wild and free and free feeling of the freedom of running, stirring up the wind, filling your heart with the joy of life, of movement, of being. 

To introduce you to my new print shop page, I am offering this, and other requested reproductions at a special  price.  These reproductions are printed on fine, acid free art paper and are subjected to scrupulous instruction - the artist herself (that would be me!)   During this difficult economy, it is a perfect opportunity to own artwork, without paying the price of an original.  And they make great gifts. 

Visit  Della's Print Shop page.

If you don't find what you want, more prints will be added daily.  Or email me.

Email Della

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Art on the Prairie

A big thanks to everyone who supported the artists at the Art on the Prairie show this weekend, and a special thank you to those who made the effort to find Larry and me on the second floor of Town Craft.   You went the extra mile, hunting us up,  climbing stairs or waiting for a very slow elevator and I really do appreciate it.  We had a great time, met some lovely new friends and became reacquainted with others we haven't seen for a long time.

Here are a some shots of our exhibit.  It was a great but exhausting experience.


We are thinking that perhaps this may be the beginning of a new phase of our lives,  as family and work obligations begin to dwindle, we would like to do more of this kind of show.  It was our dream when we were younger to travel the country in an RV and paint,  but things that sound good to you when you are young, don't always work out when you "mature." The Internet has changed the art world considerably, as has the economy.  So, while we don't really know what the future holds, we know that we will always keep painting.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Art on the Prairie Preview

Art on the Prairie 2011 
November 12th 10am-6pm
November 13th 10am-4pm

Art on the Prairie 2011 will showcase artists' work of a variety of media in 5 buildings in Perry: Hotel Pattee, Town Craft, Carnegie Library Museum, Security Bank Building and the new DMACC at Perry VanKirk Career Academy.

We will also be having student exhibits, storytelling and children's art activities at the Perry Public Library. As in 2010, music will fill each building both days. This year musicians will be invited to jam at Hiawatha Station when not scheduled during the day. A new addition this year is our Poets Corner. It will be an exciting year.

Anyone from the Central Iowa area, or if you happen to find yourself here for whatever reason. please visit Larry and me at our booth at the Town Craft Center.  We will be on the second floor. 
Here is a small sampling of the work we will be bringing.

We will have original artwork for sale as well as prints. note cards and some Christmas cards.  Set up is on Thursday night, so I will try to have more photos to share on Friday.

Friday, October 07, 2011

A Flower Called "Glad"

Acrylic on gesso board
11 x 14

My mom called them "Glads," and they were one of her favorite flowers.  Their scientific name is gladiolus, from the Latin, gladius, "a sword,"  and it is sometimes known as a  "sword-lily."  Somewhere back in history, someone must have decided those long, slender stalks look like swords, but I sure don't see it. They do make me feel happy, however,  so the nickname "Glads" seems much more appropriate.  Flowers may not seem important but think how much they enhance our lives.  They cheer us when we are sad, add to our joy when we celebrate.  They are an expression of love, of sympathy, of friendship and their language is universal.  They are the art from the hand of God Himself and I can do nothing except stand and applaud.  "Bravissimo!"  (that is for the flower, not the painting)
 This painting has been listed on Daily Painters, Art Helping Animals, and Chisholm Trail Art, and is available through my Etsy Shop.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Monarch Butterflies - the Road Not Taken

It was a beautiful sight, but not exactly the one I had hoped to see.  A handful of Monarchs made their way to the Zinnia patch in the garden on September 19.  They were late, and much fewer in numbers than last year, when they covered all the trees and bushes in our yard and gardens.  I waited for the others to follow but they never appeared. Their times and routes do vary from year to year and as the temperatures began to lower, it became obvious we would not see the same spectacular show as last year.  I read on one of the Monarch websites (yes, they have several) that some people in Nebraska had seen the roosts as early as September 8, while others in northern states thought they were later than usual.  Frost and cold can affect their migration patterns, as can drought and flooding.

Glad to know they are still alive and well, though we won't see them in such great numbers as last summer when it looked like this:

"Butterfly Tree" photo taken on Sept. 6, 2010

Still, we enjoyed a quiet beauty, and that can be the best kind...

Photo taken on Sept. 19, 2011
Sometimes I can be so focused on finding the spectacular that I miss the beautiful.....

Have a great week end. Hope to see you next week with a new painting.   Hot air balloons - a completely new direction for me!   If it turns out, you will see it here,  and if not we will quietly move on and forget I ever mentioned it...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ebenezer, a Tornado, Philistines, and a Badly Painted Rock

This is not one of my more artistic efforts, and it wasn't designed to impress.  As a matter of fact I did it in a hurry with no intention of ever showing to anyone.  I remember the day very well, even though it was spent in the same way as so many that came before and after - in the studio and frame shop. I don't even remember what I was working on, but I do remember the date: November 11, 2005.  That morning I had been reading in 1 Samuel about the Israelites and the Philistines.  The Israelites had gathered in a place called Mizpah for a time of repentance and worship and when their enemies, the Philistines, heard of it they gathered their forces to attack. The people cried out to the Lord and He answered them, thundering from Heaven and throwing the enemy into confusion so that they were defeated by Israel.   Then Samuel,  Israel's priest, set up a stone at Mizpah and called its name "Ebenezer," because he said "the Lord has brought us this far."

For some reason, I could not get that story out of my mind.  Though I hadn't battled any actual Philistines at that time,  there were some formidable enemies that threatened me - things like health concerns, family worries, financial problems.  And I realized that, yes, "God had brought us this far," and that I needed a tangible reminder of that, something I could see every day.  Of course!  I needed an Ebenezer stone of my own. At the end of the day, when I finally decided it was no longer possible to put off this nagging feeling, I found a rock in the garden,  brought it in, and painted on it the words from the book of 1Samuel.   I set it on the filing cabinet in our studio where I could see it every day, but didn't dream how soon I would need its message.

The following day, a rare November  tornado hit our town.  Usually here in Iowa they reserve their terror for the summer months.  Because of modern technology, we were given just enough warning to get everyone into the basement, although it had been difficult to convince my then 95 year-old father that he couldn't stay and watch it through the big picture window in his room. Larry had gone back to get Barney the border collie who refused to go down the stairs by himself, so he had heard the "freight train" sound before I did.  He looked at me and said, "We are going to lose the house." It was at that moment that I remembered the rock sitting in our studio. and a feeling of peace came over me.  I thought, well we would have to start over. People do,  Or if the house came crashing in on us, as they sometimes do, well, then we would be in Heaven and none of this would matter.   Of, course. God had brought us this far, we could trust Him with the rest. 

The storm had come up our street but then veered off into a nearby field, wrecking  havoc where it traveled, and causing devastation in a couple of different areas of town.  But there were no deaths and, as far as I knew,  no really serious injuries.  We ended up with lots of debris and the loss of a couple of pine trees at our place.  Some people lost so much more, and their lives were changed forever, but at least they still had their lives, In the light of recent events in many parts of the country, it was not that significant, but at the time it was the end of the world.

Ebenezer Stone still sits on the filing cabinet but over the years it has become one of those things that is there, but I just don't actually see it, like background music or a seldom used piece of furniture. Until one day last week when suddenly its message jumped up at me and I remembered.  Once again, in the middle of different kind of "storm," I am reminded that God has brought us this far and he will not let us down now.  If you haven't already discovered this, there will always be storms of one kind or another, debris to dodge or Philistines to defeat.  If you aren't "going through" something right now, you will be soon. It is a fact of life  But for me at least, there is comfort in knowing that He is right there with me and He will always bring me through.  Til the next storm.

I once read something that was attributed to Mother Theresa.  She said, "I know that God promises not to give you any more than you can handle. I just wish sometimes He wouldn't trust me so much."
Be of good cheer, He will always bring us through.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wildlife Art Arctic White Wolf

White Wolf
Pastel, 9 x 12

Of course, I did not make a trip to the North Pole to see this guy.   Well, yes, I know they don't actually live at the North Pole but in Canada and Alaska and whatever other country is up there.  This one was in a zoo,  and I imagined the snow as a fitting background for him.  Somehow a white wolf surrounded by trees and green grass just doesn't do it for me.  I hope this hasn't taken away from the mystery of the piece.  He does look at home in a snowbank, doesn't he?   Actually there was a dog living next door to us for a while whose people called him a wolf but I was never quite sure.  He might have been a mixture.  But, oh my, what an amazing howl he had! And he was gorgeous!  Anyway,  though at this point I wouldn't be prepared to encounter one in the wild, I  appreciate their beauty and enjoy them from afar.  Very far.

This is a pastel painting on board.  The image size is 9 x 12 and it is matted to a standard frame size.
It is available through Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters.  And it will also be listed on Chisholm Trail Art, though I am almost certain none of the cowboys saw one of them while driving their cattle along the trail. 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Floral Art Dinner Plate Hibiscus

Exotic Beauty
"Dinner Plate" Hibiscus
Acrylic, 12 x 12

The huge, lush blooms of the hibiscus plants would seem to belong in a lush tropical setting rather than an ordinary Iowa garden, yet this beauty is growing right outside my door.  A few years ago we discovered that a hardy variety was available that could withstand the harsh Iowa winters.  It is one of those bushes that catch you by surprise. The first year we planted it - nothing. The second year there were a few small blooms.  leading us to decide we must have been mistaken about it being of the "dinner plate" variety.   Then, this summer, we were blessed with this unbelievable sight.  The flowers are a good 10 to 12 inches in diameter and we have been treated to a new one every day for several days now.  I am thinking that "dinner plate" may be an understatement, this may be the size of a frying pan, or maybe even a hub cap. But the idea of eating off a giant flower is a rather romantic one, so I won't mess with the name.

This flower just had to be painted and I had a wonderful time with it.  The contrast in colors, the crepe paper texture and the abstract patterns all appealed to me.  Think of it as reminder to look closely at things, everything - or you will miss something wonderful and unexpected! To me it is also a tribute to the Master Artist, the only original creator - all the rest of us either copy or respond to what He has done.  Every day I thank Him for His inspiration.
"...they toil not, neither do they spin, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

This acrylic painting has been listed online on Daily Painters, Art Helping Animals and Chisholm Trail Art.  For more information contact me:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Portrait of a Baseball Fan

My latest commission,  a portrait of a young fan, in pastel from photographs.  At this point I have not had the pleasure of meeting this handsome young man.  I have painted all three grandchildren in this particular family, each of them wearing a St. Louis Cardinal's shirt. The red color is eye catching, a little tough to do in pastel.  Cardinal fans are very, very loyal, and they start quite young.

Painting this picture brought back memories and a little nostalgia for me. My Dad was also  Cardinal's fan and spent many happy hours watching the games on television.  He lived with us for the last seven years of his life, and we knew when the Cardinals were playing because he would start to sing, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."  What a great day for him, when his beloved team won the World Series!  He won the bragging rights over his sister who lives in Chicago. Funny how it is the little things that you miss...

My roots are in portraiture, and for many years I considered myself a portrait artist. Capturing faces on canvas or paper is still a great adventure for me. It is a little more challenging than other types of art, but what a great feeling when you know that you finally "got 'em!" 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Landscape Meadow Oil Painting by Della Burgus

In Green Pastures
Oil on Canvas
18 x 24

A large oil painting of the peaceful meadow Larry and I see when we drive to his parents' home in southern Iowa. We have been working on the house for more than three years now and we are hoping to sell it soon.   I will miss the lovely scenery but not the long trips, the hard work, nor the drain on our bank account that results from paying two sets of utility bills and property taxes.  We like to think that our "burden" will someday become another person's blessing.

The title is, of course, from Psalm 23:2, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures."  At least that is the way I learned it as a child.  The passage has always had a special meaning for me, because there was a pasture on the farm where I grew up.  I spent hours there "alone," dreaming, imagining, and talking with Jesus. That is how I learned to pray.  These days it seems there are many times when He has to "maketh me to lie down in green pastures."   When deadlines, disappointments and demands overwhelm me,  He says,  "Come away for a while, rest your mind and spirit."  Then I reluctantly put down my work and my worries to spend time with Him in a quiet place. Soon the troubles of the world begin to melt away and all those things that seemed terribly important just don't matter so much any more. But there are other times when He doesn't have to "maketh" me to lie down- when I am so weary of the world and its harshness, when even those closest to me don't understand or seem to care. That's when I run to the green pasture in search of Him and His peace,  and He wraps His arms around me and assures me that everything is in His hands.  

This is the first new painting I have posted in a while and the first landscape in a long, long time.  It was painted on  a large stretched canvas and will need a frame.  I am offering it both framed and unframed. It will be posted on Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters as well as Chisholm Trail Art.
For more info, email me.

Now, go find yourself some green pastures and lie down!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Pink Iris and an Episode of the Twighlight Zone

Prissy Miss
Pink Iris
Pastel,  9 x 12

The days of blooming iris have come and gone here in Iowa,  but the painting lives on.  I used a dark background for this because it really makes the flower and buds"pop" and shows off the stately leaves of the plant.  I can never get enough of iris and love painting them from every different angle - close ups like this one, even closer-ups after the style of Georgia O'Keefe, and fields of them like Van Gogh.  They are a fascinating study and I can't imagine that I will ever tire of them.  There is always a new way of looking at them.

Speaking of a new way of looking at things, the other evening I walked into the dining room and found this creature leaning against my buffet...

 Maybe I have been watching too much science fiction on TV - I am a closet Stargate fan - and it does look different in daylight, but this gave me a bit of a start.  For just a micro-second, I thought that some other-worldly creature had come in and unpacked his bag.   OK, I knew better, I didn't call 911 or anything, but that was the thought that entered my mind.   It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I have been "blessed" or perhaps "cursed" with a vivid imagination ever since childhood - depending on your point of view.  Maybe I was struck by a stray meteorite or something.  While it merely caused people to shake their heads in amazement when I was growing up,  these days it would probably land me in therapy...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dog Art Cavalier King Charles Spaniel PLUS A Work in Progress!

All Played Out
Pastel on Sennelier Pastel Card
Image size 7 x 9

Animals have the most expressive faces. While they don't express themselves with words as we humans do,  it is not often difficult to know what they are thinking or what they want to tell you.  This little pup, like most babies, had played very, very hard,  and suddenly realized he was past due for a nap.  When they are puppies, they simply drop wherever they are and take a snooze.  Later on, they have their own special blanket, pillow, or space on the couch, and they absolutely must turn around three times before they lie down.  I have read that is a throwback to when they lived in the wild and had to make sure the area was secure before they slept. Don't know if I buy that, but it does make an interesting story.  This little one, though tired out, looked very content and happy. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels always look happy to me. They are one of my favorite breeds to paint, and if I had room for one more dog in my house,  I would like one of these.

For more information on this or any other painting, email me


It isn't often that I share anything on this blog except finished works,  and there is good reason for that.  My process is not the usual step by step kind that is taught in art schools, work shops and DVD's,  with each step following the previous one in perfect succession, beautiful harmony, the end evident in the beginning well diagrammed layout.  I work intuitively, though some have unkindly referred to my process  as "convoluted." Some days I make great strides forward - step one, step two, etc. - but there are times when it all falls apart.  I see a passage that maybe needs just a  little adjustment, a tweak. Three hours later I am still "tweaking"  and somehow I know that it will take three more days of work just to bring it back to where it was before.   And don't let anybody fool you - you can't pick up a house painting brush and expect to create a masterpiece in twenty minutes.  It only works that way on TV.

Having said all that, I would like to share with you the painting that is currently on my easel, a landscape of the rolling hills of southern Iowa, my husband's home base.  It has been a while since I have tried a landscape of this size, because so much of my time is taken up with commissioned portraits and my work with Art Helping Animals - plus various family obligations - so it is really exciting for me.  For me painting a landscape is like meeting an old friend that I haven't seen for a while.  It will take us a while to get re-acquainted, but eventually it will be just like old times again.  In anticipation of a show we will be doing this fall,  Art of the Prairie,  I will title this one Prairie Song.

I know that many artists periodically show  works in progress on their blogs - many even include videos of themselves actually doing the painting.  I applaud them for their organizational skills and their courage but have no fear, you will not see anything like that here.   This may be a work in progress or it may be a work in regress, I am not sure.  If it is ever finished, I will share the completed painting with you, but there is no guarantee that you will recognize it.   It is early days yet, so all that remains to be seen.  Or not.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Bernese Mountain Dog and a Favorite Author, T.L. Higley

Art: Bernese Mountain Dog in Pastel
The Look of Love
Bernese Mountain Dog
Pastel on Sennelier Pastel Card
I saw this fellow at a dog show and took a photo. This breed of dog is often described as a "gentle giant," and his person told me that description fit him perfectly.  I love his quiet, honest gaze, his soft fur, his joyful spirit.

Sometimes paintings have to be worked and re-worked.  Sometimes there are problems in composition or color. Usually I struggle over the background at least.  But every now and then I come across a subject who is so simple and direct that there is no other way to paint it.  This one more or less painted itself. I just held the pastel sticks.  Paintings like this are a joy to do. And dogs are always a joy.

Email me for more information about this painting.

The Artist's Journey:  T. L. Higley, a Favorite Author

As most of my blogging friends know,  reading is one of my favorite pastimes and there are times when life gets so crazy and the people in my life become unreasonable and demanding and I must escape.  Fiction is the best way for me to get away.  My favorite authors are those whose stories take me to exotic places and provide me with adventures beyond my craziest dreams.  T.L. Higley is my newest "discovery."   Nothing she writes is ordinary and as an added bonus, every story is a learning experience. Her books are filled with mystery, intrigue, and romance, and even an extra  dimension or two - like the supernatural or sometimes even time travel.  Her extensive research results in a tale that is so authentic it gives me the feeling of "being there," and keeps me reading long into the night.  The beginning of my addiction was a book entitled Fallen From Babel,  the story of a professor of religious studies who does not believe in God.  One evening he handles a blue glazed terra-cotta Neo-Babylonian vase and is transported 3,000 years back in time to Old Testament Babylon.  Now that is a real escape!  I felt as if I had been transported also,  as I have with every one of her books.

Check out her site:
T.L. Higley

Friday, June 03, 2011

Equine Art Horses Friesian Black Horse by Della Burgus

Freedom Run
Pastel, 11 x 14 inches

Something about running horses has always said "freedom" to me.  Just looking at them running on a hill or across a meadow awakens  a sense of joy and freedom within my spirit.  They are doing what they were born to do, what God created them to do.  They aren't rocket scientists or chemists, they will never bring about world peace or discover a cure for any of the terrible diseases that befall mankind. They aren't meant to.  They are meant to run, to feel the freedom of the wind blowing their manes and the joy of the moment. If any human being is blessed with the friendship of one of these magnificent creatures, he may share in the joy and taste the freedom.  A person may reach an understanding with a horse,  they may come to a relationship that is mutually beneficial, the human may even think he or she has "trained," the horse, but that is as far as it goes.  Inside, where it really counts, the horse is still a horse, its spirit is its own.  That is as it was meant to be. 

A lovely horse from a horse show. I liked the back lighting,  and imagined him running across a meadow with his mane flying.  To me, black horses are the most difficult to paint, especially in pastel, but this one just had to be painted. I loved his gentle eyes.

This is an 11 x 14 pastel on Richeson Pastel Board, and is matted, ready to frame. It was listed on Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals on Tuesday. Sorry it has taken me so long to get it on the blog. What can I say?  It has been a busy week.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Floral Flowers Red Tulip

An Unexpected Joy
Image size: 7.5 x 9.5
Matted, ready to frame

Somewhere, nestled deep inside our most difficult struggles, when problems have piled up so high that they become mountains of stress, despair, and hopelessness, God plants a surprise, a little gift that says,"Cheer up, I'm here, I love you and I am still in charge.No big, mountain moving miracle, just a little gem of reassurance that God is still in His Heaven - and His earth - and that everything is under control.  Not my control, of course, but when I really analyze it, things are better off with God doing His thing than with me doing mine.

Last week, I was "enjoying" a solitary lunch of canned chicken soup - Healthy Choice Chicken with Rice, if it matters - because I had developed a rather nasty spring cold had no appetite for real food.  Besides the cold, I was facing a mountain of worries, responsibilities and forks in the road that seemed too much for me to handle. In the middle of my "meal," though, I looked up and found myself staring at a bouquet of tulips that my husband had brought in from the garden earlier in the week.  Most of them were pretty well spent, but there was this one lovely bloom,  beautifully colored,  perfectly shaped, smiling gently at me.  Of course, I did what any red-blooded American artist would do when faced with a subject like that.  I planned a painting, a series of paintings, a lifetime of paintings! It would be my Red Tulip Period.  Of course, I could not expect one little flower to last through so many paintings,  so I did what every red blooded American artist of the 21st century would do - I reached for my digital camera!  Don't you just love digitals?  I shot close-ups, closer-ups, macro close-ups, not-so-close-ups, in this light and that.  Some were good, some awful, but that is the beauty of modern technology.  Take as many shots as  you like and throw away the duds.  No money wasted on the film.

Of course this one had to be in pastel,  nothing else could have captured the joy of that moment.  The joy I had in creating this painting is drawing me back to pastel, which has always been my first love, even though other mediums may be more impressive and easier to ship. Oils and acrylics are fun and have their own special qualities, but I had been really missing the expressiveness and directness of pastel.  It is time to return to my first love in art, at least for a while. It is amazing how a chance encounter with one humble little flower has restored my vision, my passion and my joy.  Of course, that mountain of worry still looms, but I can trust the Creator of my red tulip to take care of that too. 

This pastel has been painted on Wallis Professional Pastel Paper, it comes mounted on foam core board and matted to a standard size so that it can be framed easily, but the frame is not included. It will be listed on Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters, and Chisholm Trail Art next week, Contact me for more information:

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mother's Day

 Love in Any Language
 Oil on canvas, 12" x 12" x 1.5"

The following has been "reposted" from Mother's Day last year.  I received many lovely comments and personal emails in response to this message, and I would like to share it again. 

For many years now, Mother's Day has been a day of mixed feelings for me. My mom passed away when I was 26 - that was a long time ago.  I still miss her.  I missed her when I married, and when I was raising a family. She loved kids and would have enjoyed being a grandmother. And I would have appreciated her encouragement and advice. But God had other plans, and His plans are always for the best, even when we don't understand them.  Mom had a firm, sometimes even fierce faith in God, and I don't remember her ever arguing with Him about anything.  And we all know that Heaven is a much better place than earth. 

I inherited a love of children from my mother and always planned, or at least hoped, to have a large family. But God had other ideas about that, also.  A few years after Mom died, He brought a young widower into my life and I became the instant mother of his two little boys.  I loved them as if they were my own, even though there were plenty of people on all sides reminding me that they were not really mine, and that it wasn't really "the same."  But I plugged on, and though my mother was no longer with me, God had given me a best friend, named Shary who I could always depend on for moral support.  I hadn't been married long when we went out for lunch together and she asked me how I was doing.  I chatted on and on about the kids, their activities, the house, Larry's work, and she said, "Della, how are you?"  It made me tear up then, as it does now. She never let me forget that, yes, I was a wife, a mother, a housekeeper, but I was also still her friend, a person, an individual. She once told me that I should stop thinking of myself as a second string replacement, a substitute for someone else, but to always remember that I am the one and only "me" and I wasn't a second-best anything. Thank you, Shary, for being there. Best friends are a wonderful gift from God. Right next to mothers.

So, the question is who is the real mother - is it the person who carried the children for nine months and spent hours in labor bringing them into the world, or the one who spent years feeding them, doing mountains of laundry and cleaning, spending sleepless nights worrying and  praying, praying, praying that someday when they went out into the world, they would be safe and happy, and that the world would become a better place because of them?  The answer can only be BOTH of them!  It takes all those things, and more to make a "real" mother. And for some reason, God in His wisdom decided that my boys needed two different women to share this responsibility, instead of just one. That was His decision.  Twice as much love, two times the prayers. And, like my mom, I don't have the audacity to argue with God about anything.

I painted this rose last summer.  The bush was a Mother's Day gift from my wonderful husband, who never stops reminding me that I am the mother of his children.  A husband is also a wonderful gift from God!  And I am blessed...

So to all you ladies, those of you who are or have been mothers or daughters and those who have been nurturing, caring people who perhaps don't fit the traditional "mother" mold, to all my friends and mentors, and especially to you, Mom - Happy Mother's Day!!

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Art Show

High Trestle Trail Artists

 Last Saturday we were invited to participate as guests in an art show  celebrating the opening of the new bike bridge in this area.  It was a lot of fun, we sold some paintings and prints, met some wonderful fun people and reconnected with some long time friends.

Hmmm, first the Chisholm Trail and now the High Trestle Trail, wonder if there is a pattern here.  I am not that much of a trail person myself, but maybe all this is a sign. If it happens I find myself on a trail at all, though, it will be for walking, not biking.  Or maybe just to follow the yellow brick road.

 Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more....

As you can see from the photos, the patrons were not dressed in the standard art show attire.  Most of them had ridden in on their bicycles, some had taken a shuttle bus from the town nearby. In any event, "biking" was the theme of the day.   It was  beautiful, though somewhat windy and we had a great time.

We hadn't done a show for years and learned a lot this time out.  We learned we should have brought more cards and prints, we learned that cat people love cat art, even when it doesn't look like their own cat, but dog people want the spots to match their pets exactly. We learned that the corner spot has both advantages and disadvantages.  You don't have to worry about your panels falling over if they are standing against a wall, but people sometimes walk right by without seeing your booth if it is tucked away in a corner. And always leave room for a chair so you can sit down and rest your feet!!!  It was fun and a whole lot less stressful than I expected it to be.  My thanks to the High Trestle Trail Artists for making us feel so welcome.  Hope we can do it again some time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Floral Flowers Deep Purple Black Iris Superstition by Della Burgus

Deep Purple

  All winter long I look forward to the first signs of life - crocus, daffodils, tulips - and I rush outside to snap the photos that will take me through the next unbearable winter.  This lovely lady appears a bit later in the season, toward mid-May, at least, and she is the absolute proof to me that spring has sprung at last. She has the unlikely name of "Superstition,"  not what I would chose for such a beauty, but then, since she lives in my garden I can call her anything I like.  Her color is described as "black," and when she is in shadow, she does appear black, but when the sun shines on her directly you can see all sorts of wonderful hues - deep purples, reds, blues, even a little rose pink.  She is a showy one and she sings all those sultry summer melodies. So I will call her "Deep Purple," like the song.

Just as there are different seasons in the year, there are seasons in our lives: spring seasons when everything seems new and exciting, warm seasons of long, lazy summer days, autumn seasons when things are changing much too fast, and even those frigid winters when the winds are bitter  and the world seems lifeless and cold.  In times like those, it helps to remember that even on the coldest day, when the snow is measured in feet instead of inches, when the sun has been hidden so long that we have forgotten how it feels, when everything has turned the dullest shade of gray,  SPRING ALWAYS COMES.  Somewhere, buried in that hard, frozen ground, new life is sleeping.  It isn't dead, it is just asleep and if you wait long enough and have enough faith, you will begin to watch it grow and bloom and you will once again enjoy its fragrance.

 King Solomon said it this way:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Some seasons are more pleasant than others, but all are a part of life, a part of the human experience, what makes us who we are.

This is a pastel on Richeson Pastel Board, 9 x 12. It comes matted and ready to frame.  Look for it on Daily Painters, Art Helping Animals and the Chisholm Trail this week.  At this time I am working on incorporating a new "page" on this blog dedicated to selling original artwork and prints, so I will no longer be cluttering up my weekly blog with buttons.  In the meantime, if you would like more information on this or any artwork,  please email me at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cat Art Kitten with Computer Mouse by Della Burgus

The Name of the Game...

 is, of course,  Cat and Mouse.  A cliche, perhaps, but a harmless one.

Wikipedia defines "Cat and Mouse" as
an English-language idiom dating back to 1675 that means "a contrived action involving constant pursuit, near captures, and repeated escapes." The "cat" is unable to secure a definitive victory over the "mouse", who despite not being able to defeat the cat, is able to avoid capture. In extreme cases, the idiom may imply that the contest is never-ending.
In colloquial usage it has often been generalized (or corrupted) to mean simply that the advantage constantly shifts between the contestants, leading to an impasse or de facto stalemate.

I have heard the term applied to various wars (as recently as the current "involvement" in Libya), as well as athletic events, relationships and office politics.  I am a person who prefers my encounters to be straightforward and transparent without the added stress of game playing. 

This little kitten,  however, is just having some innocent  fun with something that looks like a toy to her.  And, for the moment, it is.

This painting is acrylic on stretched, wrapped canvas, standard depth,  All the edges are free of staples or fasteners and they are all painted, so that the canvas may be displayed without a frame.

Cat and Mouse
Acrylic on stretched, wrapped canvas, 8 x 10
$85 plus $8 shipping within the United States
Please email me with any questions or info on International shipping

Please join me in praying for the people of  New Zealand and Japan. I can not even begin to image what they are going through.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feline Art Cats Cute Calico Kitten by Della Burgus

Cute Calico Kitten
Pastel on Canson Pastel Paper
7 x 9.5

What is a kitten?  A innocently wicked, curiously playful, quietly hyperactive, cuddly little fireball that purrs...  All that and more. I can't imagine a world without kitties, I surely wouldn't want to live in one. 

This pastel is mounted on foam core board, matted to a standard frame size, and ready to frame. The frame is not included. It has been listed on Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chisholm Trail Exhibit in Duncan, Oklahoma Part 2

The above photo and article below by Vernita Bridges Hoyt have been published in the Chisholm Trail Art Blog.  There is a link to this blog on the sidebar or just click here.

Iowa Artist Della Burgus at The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center

Della Burgus' beautiful white stallion painting was selected to be published with the exhibition announcement news story in the local Duncan newspaper.  I will scan the newspaper article and post it here for download. The above image shows Della's four paintings on exhibit at The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. My camera didn't pick up the painting on the right, but if you click on the above image for greater detail you may be able to see it better.

A big "THANK YOU!"  Vernita !!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Chisholm Trail Exhibit in Duncan, Oklahoma

I want to invite all of you in the Duncan, Oklahoma area to visit the "Artists on the Chisholm Trail" exhibit, March 7 through April 30,  featuring the work of seven artists living in states along or bordering the Old Chisholm Trail.  As the Trail went through both Kansas and Missouri, Iowa is considered a border state.   If you haven't visited the "Chisholm Trail Art" site, there is a link on the sidebar of this blog, or simply click here:  Chisholm Trail Art

I have four paintings in the exhibit. You may have seen them before, as all were posted previously,  but two have been reworked and all were rephotographed, so I thought I would share them again.


Kicking Up Dust
Acrylic, 14 x 18

This is a painting of a spirited horse kicking up a little dust along the trail. According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition of “kicking up dust,” is  “to be, or to be about to be, causing chaos and/or trouble.”  I have known horses like that and a few people,as well. They tend to be those of an independent spirit, who don’t willingly comply,  and don’t always run with the crowd. They tend to color outside the lines and they are the ones who make life interesting.


Eye of the Beholder
Acrylic, 10 x 8

A close up portrait of a horse. Look into his eyes and you will see the faithfulness of his spirit, his joy, pain, fear, and perhaps a just touch of resignation. This painting is meant as a tribute to horses, in gratitude for all their contributions. Throughout history the human race has depended upon their strength, loyalty, intelligence and spirit. Our country and our world would not be the same without them. This painting was originally named  Into the Light.


Morning Has Broken
Oil, 11 x 14

Snow is a challenging subject for an artist, but it can also be one of the most rewarding.  Though it is white, it is never really just white, rather it reflects the colors of a changing sky and atmosphere . In this painting, I wanted to capture the stillness, serenity and sanctity of  the gentle dawn.  The painting was inspired by the words of the song.


Who Has Seen the Wind?
Oil, 12 x 16

 Life along the Chisholm Trail was not easy for the horses; days were long, the work hard and the weather could be extreme. Yet, within even the best trained, hardest working horse is a wild, free spirit that can not be tamed by man. This painting is about the spirit and movement that is so typical of horses, and a tribute to their contribution to our lives.

Who Has Seen the Wind?
By Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

White Bunnies and Kitties

 This cute little bunny is a snowshoe hare, a wild rabbit that turns white to match the snow in the winter and brown so it can hide in the bushes in the summer.  Isn't that amazing?  A very dear friend told me last week that she was so overwhelmed to discover the number of animal species there are in the world that she went around asking everyone how many animals they could name.  Most of us know only a few hundred, but the actual number is somewhere in the millions, I think.  I can't remember the exact number, but it is mind blowing.  It makes me a little sad to realize that I will never know most of them, will probably see only a few in my lifetime.  God put all these wonders on the earth for us to enjoy and we completely fail to appreciate so much of  His wonderful work.

This painting is in pastel, 6 x 8.5 inches, and may be purchased through Art Helping Animals.

         This acrylic painting of a white Persian Cat has already found a new home.  I love painting cats, and Persians are an especially fascinating and popular breed. I love their soft, silky fur, sweet gentle dispositions and elegant grace.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Floral Flowers Lavender Iris by Della Burgus

Spring Fever
Acrylic, 8 x 10

The snow is beautiful when it first begins falling in November or December. I love its fluffy softness, the quiet that it brings to the earth. I can't imagine going through an entire Christmas season without at least one snow fall,  it adds to the excitement and mystery of it all, even for the child within this aging body.  But by February it gets a little old and not so magical.  It means slippery roads and cold, cold temperatures and boots and heavy coats, and feeling chilled all the way through to your bones.  It means the dogs don't even like playing outside so they just give me that reproachful look all day, as if I should do something, ANYTHING, to make it all go away.  On days like that, I am thankful that God gave someone the inspiration to invent the digital camera.   I spend days at a time sifting through old memories on my iPhoto reliving better days and looking for spots of color.  And suddenly there they are, in all their glory - tulips, iris, day lilies and even roses, just as fresh and perfect as they were last summer!  Today, I am sharing one of my favorites, a lavender-blue iris in full bloom.  After all, it is February, can spring be far behind? 

This painting is no longer available. It was listed on Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals this week and snatched up almost immediately by one of my collectors in Los Angeles.  I can't imagine that she is having the same sort of winter that I am, but perhaps it brings back memories of another sort.  Most likely there will be more of these, as this one gave me great satisfaction and not just a little comfort to paint.  

I have been falling down on the job here in "blogland," not keeping up either with posting my own or commenting on my blog friend's posts.  I am sorry, and I will try to catch up with it all very soon. Sometimes things just pile up and there just aren't enough hours in the day.  I can relate to the white queen- or was it the king? - in Alice and the Looking Glass"Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that! "  Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Equine Art Close Up Black Horse by Della Burgus


A beautiful black horse in close-close up. Like many of my paintings, this was done from a photo I took at a horse show, but for this one the horse created the composition himself.  I took a regular, basic portrait shot,  and planned to use it to paint a standard horse portrait,  showing the fine head and neck, his beautiful mane and the elegant way he presented himself.  But when playing with the composition,  I found something incredible in his eyes - an expression that I couldn't quite identify, but absolutely had to capture, or at least try to capture.  Everything else became extraneous, maybe even distracting,  all that mattered was the eyes - those beautiful, deep, expressive, eyes, full of wonder and mystery, compassion, and perhaps a bit of resignation, as if he would rather be someplace else.  And yes, I have done similar close up portraits before, but they were all planned, part of a series called, "When I Look In Your Eyes."  This one was not planned, it just happened and I went along for the ride.

We are having a brief reprieve from winter here, but I am not holding my breath. Spring may be around the corner, but that corner is still a mile or two away. Still, I am enjoying the warm temperatures and lack of snow for as long as they last.

To quote James Whitcomb Riley:

It ain't no use to grumble and complain;
It's jest as cheap and easy to rejoice;
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain, 
Why, rain's my choice.

For "rain" read "snow" and that kind of describes my advice for this winter.  But anyway, if you are having the weather I am here right now, enjoy and be thankful because there is no indication it will last. This is only February.

And by the way, if you missed last week's post, it is because I forgot to publish it. Actually, I even forgot to finish it. I just discovered the draft in my "edit posts" file.  So you have that to look forward to later this week - or whenever I get it finished.

Which reminds me of another saying, the lament the aging:

Of all the things I've lost - I miss my  mind the most.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dog Art Siberian Husky by Della Burgus

Ol' Blue Eyes
Pastel, 7.5 x 10

As I write this a major blizzard is raging across the United States. It sounds as if it will hit much of the West, Midwest, and Eastern parts of the country, as well as some of southern states.  Most of us complain about winter storms,  but Huskies and Malamutes seem to thrive in them. For that matter, so does my Border Collie, but only up to a point. We were blessed to live across the street from a family with a Husky a few years ago. She had learned her boundaries well and was trained not to step outside her own yard. And that was without a fence of any kind, not even one of those invisible ones. She loved the snow and was so much fun to watch.  The summer months were not so much fun for her, but she did make an amazing discovery about her neighbors across the street - we had a garden pond in our back yard. It was just too much of a temptation, even for such a self disciplined dog as this. This was during a time when we had no dogs of our own, so there were no fences to keep her from splashing around now and then.  Her family was a little embarrassed,  and the fish were probably a little annoyed, but we didn't mind. The coat that kept her so warm during an Iowa winter was probably very uncomfortable in the 80 to 90 degree temperatures we face here in the summertime.  She was a beautiful, sweet tempered dog and we missed her when her family moved.

This pastel has been listed on Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals. As with all my pastels, it is matted, mounted and ready to frame. The frame is not included.

It is becoming a busy winter for me, as I have been getting ready for two shows, one in March, another at the end of April.  One has to do with cattle drives, the other with bike rides. More information on them as the dates approach.  I have also been doing research on dinosaurs for some illustrations for a children' s book, so if you know any experts on that subject you might let me know. It is turning out to be a little more complicated than I originally thought...And my work has been selected for another art book to be published this year.  More about that as more information becomes available.

Wherever you are today, I hope you are keeping warm, that you don't have to go out in the storm, and that you are able to spend time with someone you love. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Maine Coon Cat Pastel by Della Burgus

Tiger Paws
Pastel on Wallis Paper
8.5 x 11

A Main Coon cat lounges on his favorite footstool. I receive a lot of requests for this breed of cat, and the tiger pattern in shades of brown/black/beige is among the most popular.  It is a delightful breed, the kind you would call "all cat" -  full of life and energy, independent, and extremely intelligent. They display the typical catlike disdain for anyone who attempts to exercise authority over them, while at the same time showing a sensitivity and tenderness when needed.  I have already told you the story of the cat named Tiger who came to live with my husband's parents, so I have experienced this all first hand.

I decided to paint this in pastels because they lend themselves so well to depicting the soft fur of a  kitty like this one.  Actually, if I had to chose, I would say pastels are my favorite medium, even though they are messy-messy to use and difficult to ship. But they are so direct and somehow very satisfying to use.  I don't believe I will ever limit myself to one medium, though, as they all have their own special feeling and character.  At the completion of each painting I almost always find myself wondering what it would have looked like in some other medium.

Recently I purchased a book by Richard McKinley, a plein-air pastel artist whose work I admire immensely.  The book, Pastel Pointers, begins as do most books of this kind with a chapter on materials. I knew I was out of my league when I saw his pastel set up.  It was not purchased as a set - he actually took all his pastels and arranged them by tone and color.  But first he tore off all the labels, so he had no way to identify the color by name. Oh, my. That would take me days, perhaps weeks. Then it would require me to put each piece back in its place each time it was used.  It boggles my mind.  But it is beautiful to look at...

Richard McKinley's Pastel palette

and the pastel could almost paint itself.  For right now, at least, I will not subject you to a photo of my own pastel set up - it is worse than you could possibly imagine.  However all this has inspired me to organize my own pastels. It would be lovely to open a box and find something like this. But why just pastels? Why not my whole life? If I could get my life in this kind of order, I will have really accomplished something!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Animal Wildlife Red Fox in the Snow by Della Burgus

A red fox stops for a drink of icy cold water.  This is one of my favorite wild animals to paint. They  are incredibly beautiful, especially in winter landscapes.  There is something about that gorgeous red fur that just stands out against the pure white snow.  Of course I know that they are not universally loved.  We have all heard the phrase, "a fox in the henhouse," and I am certain they deserve that somewhat less than stellar reputation, but when they are in the wild, where they were meant to be, they are amazingly wonderful creatures.  Like all of us, they tend to get into trouble when they wander too far from home and go places that they aren't supposed to go.

This painting is an acrylic on stretched, wrapped canvas 12 x 16, all edges have been painted and no staples show, so that it may be displayed with or without a frame. It is available on Art Helping Animals and has been shown on the Daily Painters website.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Equine Art Running Horse by Della Burgus

Who Has Seen the Wind?
Oil on Canvas
12 x 16

The title of this piece was inspired by a poem by Christina Rossetti, "Who Has Seen the Wind?"

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

There are so many layers to this poem and that is one of the reasons I love it.  I will leave it to  you to decide what it means to you.
This painting was done in a looser, freer style than you may be used to seeing in my other work.  I decided the Impressionistic style would be more appropriate for its subject matter and feeling and found I wanted to loosen up a little after the commissioned portraits and paintings that were done last month.  It was a lot of fun to do, not a lot of stress and worry and made me feel as free as the wind.  It was a good feeling and one I hope to have again, so you may be seeing more paintings like this in the coming  year.

"Who Has Seen the Wind?" is available through Art Helping Animals and is also listed on Daily Painters. and will be posted on Chisholm Trail Art.

I hope that your new year is getting off to a good start, and that all your most wonderful dreams are coming true.  Or, at least, you are taking steps to make them come true.