Featured Art: Alive!

Alive art by Susan Dolan
“Alive!” — watercolor/oil pastel on Arches paper (17×20)
By Susan Dolan, Columbus Branch, Georgia 

About the artist

For Susan Dolan, becoming a Pen Woman at the Columbus Branch, Georgia, in 2016 had seemed like a natural progression in her art journey. She has had an active life in the arts all her life.

Her journey began when she studied figure drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago in high school and then to earn her bachelor of fine arts degree at Drake University with studies in studio work as well as graphic design. Since then, she has traveled extensively and had many opportunities to participate in all of the arts, including stage work.

Dolan is now at a point in her life where she can fully immerse herself in the visual arts, which is her first love. She primarily works in oil, especially enjoying plein air painting around the beautiful Chattahoochee Valley. 

She also enjoys a new approach of combining watercolors with oil pastels, creating images that are vibrant in color, organic and naturally lush. This technique allows her to return to the fundamentals of drawing while layering paint and pigment to create new kinds of paintings. 

Dolan is active in the arts community of Columbus. She continues to attend figure drawing studios as well as workshops in watercolor and plein air.  She is represented in three galleries in the area.

Being a member of NLAPW in Columbus, as well as being active in this very lively art community, has sparked her drive to keep learning and growing.


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Dear Pen Women blog readers,


We’ve noticed we haven’t see your lovely comments to poems and art in a few weeks. We missed you!


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Featured Art: Uninvited Guests


“Uninvited Guests,” 13×15 watercolor by Tammy Seymour
Fort Lauderdale Branch, Florida


Featured Art: Dancing Girl in Africa


“Dancing Girl in Africa,” 16×20 watercolor by Pam E. Webb
Cape Canaveral Branch, Florida

Artist’s statement

This watercolor was created from a photograph that Pam Farley, a member of our branch, took on her trip to Africa. She was in Uganda with the organization Solar Light for Africa installing solar light and power to orphan homes, schools, hospitals, and clinics. She was kind enough to loan the photo to me when I was inspired to paint the young orphan girl in her beautiful, intricate costume.


Featured Art: Bette Miller at the Keyboard

Bette Miller painting by Patricia Lipe

“Bette Miller at the Keyboard” by Patricia Lipe, Jacksonville Branch (Florida)

Oil (20×16)


From the artist:

“We lost Bette Miller last January. She was a beloved and talented member of the La Jolla Branch. An avid pianist and composer, Bette participated in many NLAPW activities. I painted her portrait and gave it to her as a tribute to her participation and in respect for her accomplishments.”

Read Bette Miller’s in-memoriam here.

Featured art: Plum Blossom



“Plum Blossom” by Marcy Von Kohorn, Vero Beach Branch (Florida)
Watercolor on rice paper (22×30)


Artist’s Statement

Because I have to stay at home to avoid the coronavirus, I spend every day painting. I do Chinese watercolor, which makes the days pass quickly and happily. When I paint, I am lifted to another planet!

My art embodies traditional Eastern with contemporary styles of the Western world. I never use a pencil or plan my work. I work on a flat surface and warm up by doing Chinese calligraphy in ink. There is a discipline in Chinese brushwork. The brush is held like chopsticks and the artist stands while painting. The varying pressure on the brush gives the strokes the value and form. I paint on rice paper, silk, and gold leaf.

I have been a member of Pen Women for over 40 years and will be 95 years old this September.


Featured Art: Seeding




“Seeding” by Debra Collins, Diablo-Alameda Branch (California)
Cut charcoal paper, 16 x 20


“Seeding” is a piece that was shown on the Sierra Club’s national website early in 2020 for the organization’s online art show “Green New Deal.”

“I hope the piece conveys that the simple act of planting a tree seed has a great effect on our climate crisis,” artist Debra Collins says. “One seed becomes a tree that reproduces again and again to create a forest. A single tree is a habitat to so many creatures and cleans the air as well. Maybe my piece will encourage our Pen Women to plant a tree.”


Featured Art: Pansies

Pansies photo

“Pansies,” photograph by Shirley Franklin; Minneapolis Branch


Featured Art: Mediterranean Mermaids




“Mediterranean Mermaids” by Dianne Lynn Benanti, Palm Springs Branch (California); oil on canvas, 71×51; image embellished with digital art


Artist’s Statement

I am a self-taught artist. I started out with traditional portraiture, which lead to large-scale oils in contemporary form.

In January 2020, I was asked to be an art contributor to the the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences for my artwork in the tribute to Elton John at the Oscars. The portrait image and inquiry can be found in the portfolio section of my website, Benanti.com.

I am very honored to be a part of the National League of American Pen Woman. I have a page on my website dedicated to this wonderful organization.


Featured Art: Three’s a Crowd


Three's a Crowd by Susie Monzingo
“Three’s a Crowd,” 24×24 mixed media by Susie Monzingo, Fort Worth Branch (Texas)

From the artist:

I gather inspiration from the outdoors and all God’s beautiful creatures. I love to paint birds, animals and flowers. Oil painting is my medium, and often I add gold or silver leaf accents to the backgrounds. I want my paintings to recapture beautiful memories of life, and feelings of inspiration and joy for those who view and collect my work.