New Home

Hello All!  I’ve moved!

My new site is

Go to it so see this lovely piece…..

Skyler McGee 3

This, and many other current pieces are now available to view at my new site.

For those of you who have followed my blog, it is undoubtedly obvious that I have not been posting as of late. It turns out I enjoy being in front of my canvas a little too much to be in front of my computer. The new website is intended to be a resource for what I love doing the most–making the work and letting it speak for itself.

Thank you to all of you, who read and commented on this blog. It has been such an honor to have a little shared space in this world, and I will greatly miss our interactions. Charcoalandsaffron will remain live, just in case you want to stop on by for a little bit of pretty, or for the day I hope to have more time to paint and to write. I would still love to hear from you, so feel free to drop me an email at skylermcgee{at}gmail{dot}com.

In the meantime, go see all the work I’ve been making this year at, and breathe in a little space for this beautiful world to still surprise you.

All my love


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New Work

Hello There.

There are things brewing. Oh yes.

And brand new digs for 2014. (Ooh! Yes, mystery! I’m working away! )

In the meantime, take a look at my newest baby.

"Digging for the Seedling" Encaustic, horse hair and collage on composted and rusted muslin on panel, 20" x 20", 2013

“Digging for the Seedling” Encaustic, horse hair and collage on composted and rusted muslin on panel, 20″ x 20″, 2013

I had the honor of taking a workshop from the incredibly talented Lorraine Glessner.

Not only is she a singularly gifted artist, but a dynamic and committed teacher. This latest piece is some of the gleaning I took from her class. I left the workshop, head and heart spinning, completely inspired and challenged.

February is a good month.

Me and encaustic, well, we’re in love.

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This is Happy.

It’s late October and the Texas air has finally turned crisp and cool. The leaves are crunching beneath my feet and in my studio, I have even turned my space heater on.

With this season, I have some lovely art news to share. My piece, “Clay Garden” is featured in a remarkable publication called “Taproot.”

IMG_3031I have been reading Taproot for a long time now. It’s a quarterly publication—ad free- devoted to the noble simplicity of

“Living Fully, Digging Deeper.”

Yes, and yes.


The pages are full of depth. Each of them carefully curated to produce a work that is beautiful, authentic, and inspiring. The subject matter moves effortlessly through examining our relationship with the land and each other, fine art, craft, history, family, community, sustainability and hope.

IMG_3037Taproot’s editor is Amanda Blake Soule. Author of multiple books, she lives a life of simplicity and connection. I have been following her lovely blog “SouleMama” for many years now, where she shares moments of her family and homestead life. These moments are beautiful and honest, full of refreshing vulnerability and quiet leadership. Taproot is like a piece of Amanda and her wisdom being dropped on my doorstep, to hold in my hands.



As a quarterly magazine, each issue of Taproot has a theme. Gorgeous themes like soil, water, and paths, are woven together through images and essays, recipes, tutorials and memoir. This Fall, Taproot’s theme is entitled “Gather.”

IMG_3032You may remember that my recent watercolor series is entitled “Gathering.”

This body of work echoes the act of gathering resources as well as people. It’s about the beautiful, fragile, and resilient pieces of our lives that we build, layer upon tentative layer.

IMG_3033I am humbled and honored for my work to be included in Taproot’s inside cover. Not only is it a great honor for my work to be seen by a new audience, the contributors at Taproot are people for whom I have great respect. They are a part of a mindful movement which values the earth, the food from which it comes, and the communities it strengthens. There is not a hint of consumerism or trend in these pages–but calls to intentional living,  reflection, commitment and even joy.

IMG_3038You can find issues of Taproot in certain locations (it varies, according to city) and from their website. Be sure to check out their blog and the wonderful gatherings that they have annually. I want to attend one someday!

This specific issue comes with a gorgeous poster (which I framed!) of the cover art. It’s full of so much goodness, from front to back. I read it multiple times, with a strong cup of coffee, letting the words sink into me like rain.

IMG_3030Mostly, I just want to say thank you.

Thank you to Taproot.

And thank you to all the people who live lives of quiet beauty.





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To Live with Beauty

This world is brutal.

It’s gritty and exhausting and can rip your heart out everyday.

It’s also exhilarating, mysterious, resilient, and deeply good.

We, each of us, live in the tension of these truths everyday.

IMG_2635Part of my work in this world is to notice,

to simply attend to beauty.

To tend it, and with some measure of grace, to make it.

My friend and fellow artist Julia Brucker is very, very good at this.

She makes achingly beautiful abstractions, which are drenched in science and nature. They are lit from within her own experience of this heartbreaking, stunning world we’re all apart of.

She also keeps a blog about living with beauty. Julia has an ability to scrape the surface of this world and find gold. Her work, her life does this.

I am honored to have my work featured on her blog this week.

Read it. Every page Julia has curated is an open palm with grace inside.


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New Work

Hi there, you lovely people.

I’d like you to meet someone.


This, dear friends, is Cedar Jane McGee.

All 7 lbs 6 oz of magic. She came into this world after just five hours of labor, to her tired and exhilarated parents and one elated big sister. We have been soaking her up for sixth months. This has been my very best new work.


It’s been a fabulous six months.

It’s been a time of grounding and togetherness that is so rare, and must be captured when offered. I have loved every minute of it.

There has been some big sibling love…..
























And an incredible month spend in the Colorado mountains, where my heart still resides…..

IMG_0783Complete with mountain rainstorms and a deep, settled quiet.

IMG_2653There were moments that needed no words. Just breathing in the reality that everywhere, all around us, this world is teeming with life.



We also made some pretty great woodland creatures of our own. They drink tea, naturally.

I even managed some time in my studio. Splashing and dripping about and taking in the newness all around me. I love making work from new places.


Oh, it has been a great six months indeed.

And now, the rhythms of school have started, and cooler weather promises its return.

My studio is expectant and even has a few new things in it, just waiting to be shared.

IMG_0656Thank you for your patience, as I dug deep into life these last months.

I am so happy to be back in this space, sharing my small world with your small world. Letting the beautiful things all around me have a place to sing.

Yes. Let’s sing.

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What I Have Been Making….

Hi there.

It’s been awhile. A long while.

Rest assured that life is continuing in lovely ways. And that art is happening—MUCH more slowly than normal, but it is happening. So is this:

And so without explanation I have been quiet on my end. Making art in small pockets and catching many more naps in those pockets than normal. And believe it or not, during those naps scheming many more creative endeavors than any one person will be able to execute. Knowing too that the time will come and the studio will be ready and I will be oh-so-happy to have a paintbrush in my hand again.

Our due date it two days away, so soon my hands will be full of tiny little fingers clutching mine, instead of art supplies. To that I smile and say, “Art can definitely wait.”

I’ll be back, full of vigor and and some photos of the few pieces I have made over this long pregnancy. And a few of the little person too. But for awhile, I’m just going to hold little fingers and breathe in the newness around me. Take care of yourselves and hold your loved ones tight, like I’ll be holding mine.




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We take it slow. Sit in our pajamas.

Watch cream disperse beautifully into coffee.

Watch butter melt into blueberry pancakes.  Read many (many) Berenstain Bears books.

We are weekending.

Happy weekend to you and yours.

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New Watercolors, Part II

This body of work has been an unfolding.

Working with watercolor is so often that way for me. It’s such a lovely medium that requires a light hand. As an oil painter, this light hand is something I have had to work to develop. Oil paint loves to be piled up, layer upon heavy layer. But if you over work watercolor, it dies. It needs room to breath, blank paper, white. It needs to unfold and not be forced.

“Resolute”, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 19″ x15″, 2011

So it would often begin with a splash or a spill, or sorts. Enough to keep it loose and remind me to follow what the paint was naturally doing.

This was also my chance to try my hand at some simple printmaking. I began to make linocut prints and use them as a way to create organic structure, and also harmony between the pieces. I love working in new mediums, pushing my work beyond where it has been before. This offered a place to explore.

“Distill”, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 8×10″, 2011

I also loved the simplicity of the process. Looking at what was naturally there, and building on it. This too, reminded me much of the work’s original concept. That of building a new life as a family. Making art is a daily process. Most works of art don’t happen in an hour—and certainly no artist is made in a day. Nor is a family. The work of showing up in the studio every day to add a layer is similar to showing up every day for those we love—giving them what we’ve got.

“A Certain Place,” Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 8×10″, 2012

And so it happened for me that in the unfolding of these pieces, I was also unfolding for myself what it meant to be a parent and an artist at the same time. These pieces happened sandwiched in between nap times and feedings, and the sheer exhaustion that is every new parent’s. But they happened. And I learned that it is indeed possible to carry one’s deep passions into the next phase of life—deepening, rather than diluting it.

“A Certain Place,” Detail, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 8×10″, 2012

The body of work is entitled “Gathering.”

A gathering can be a process of collecting resources, or a moment of bringing people together. This work catalogs the process of both.

“Silkweavers”, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 15″x19″, 2011

I hope that for you, you will not see in it solely my process, but yours too.

That it would give you courage to build, layer by layer, that which is yours to build.




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Watercolor, and New Work

It always starts small for me. An image, a faint idea.

And it grows until it becomes an entire body of work. A body of work drenched in long hours and weeks and months, and mulling it over and through and through.

Until finally it comes together, to be shared.

“Root”, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 19″ x15″, 2011

This is my new work. It’s a little like bringing a baby out in public for the first time–there is a fierce sense of pride and excitement, combined with the tender quality of that which is new.

“Root”, Detail, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 19″x15″, 2011

It is fitting that this work carries those mixed feelings of motherhood, because that is precisely where this work began.

In the winter of 2010, my husband and I visited home for Christmas carrying with us our four month old daughter. Here was her introduction to so much of our family, and our first foray into holidays as parents. We were still fatigued from middle of the night feedings, and felt so proud and simultaneously clumsy in our new roles.

While we were there, I happened across a National Geographic Magazine that captured my imagination and became the springboard for the work you see today.

National Geographic, Winter 2010, Photo credit to Jerome G. Rozen Jr. and John S. Ascher

Aren’t these incredible? As the article states, these are the nests built by bees living in the  Middle East. Rather than laying in a hive, these bees dig a hole in the earth. Then they gather flower petals from all their surrounding area, and one by one layers the petals to create this nest. When the bee is finished, the nest is sealed to be predator and water resistant, and its young can grow in safety.

“Exhale”, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 8×10″, 2011

This idea captivated me. I read and re-read the article, staring at these gorgeous vessels made by insects. I reflected on myself as a new mother–the brave and tremulous parts of me, and realized that like these nests, parenting is built layer by layer.

“Origin”, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 15″x19″, 2011

“Origin”, Detail, Linocut Print with Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 15″x19″, 2011

It is this act of layering that makes parenting so complex and ultimately, creative. Here I am, gathering from any source I have available to me. Cobbling together from all different places, a life for my daughter that is both beautiful and strong.

“When Crickets Sing”, Watercolor, Colored Pencil and Graphite on Paper, 8″x10″, 2011

“When Crickets Sing”, Detail, Watercolor, Colored Pencil and Graphite on Paper, 8″x10″, 2011

This post is the first half of the body of work. The rest is forthcoming.

This exploration has allowed me to put images to what has largely been a silent and intuitive process. They are subtle but sometimes bold—like much of what it means to parent.

And not only to parent. Certainly not only to parent. But to build anything worthwhile, layer by tentative layer.



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We Celebrate Big

This month my lovely, spunky daughter turned two.

If you ask her how old she is, sometimes she’ll say “two” and sometimes she’ll say “too old.” This I find hysterical.

When there are two whole candles on a cake, the cake had better be yummy.

In the midst of me still trying to un-pack boxes from our recent move (where are my cake pans? do I still have baking powder?) I was so excited to do a little baking. In fact, it’s only when I bake that I actually feel like I live there. (Truth be told, if you let me bake in your kitchen I may never leave.)

And so it was with great joy that I got to christen our kitchen with this tiny two-year old’s cake. Citrus cake with vanilla pastry cream and fresh strawberries, and dark chocolate gnache on top. It was tasty. And I don’t really want to talk about how my daughter wouldn’t eat the chocolate part at all. Nor do I want to talk about how my first attempt at this cake was such a dismal failure that both my husband and I were doubled over in laughter. Life is not always like it looks on a blog, folks.

And then there are these little guys.

I knew that our move would be close to our daughter’s birthday and I didn’t want to be scrambling. So a few months before we moved I started sewing these little forest animals for her. It was really relaxing actually, so simply sew toys for my baby. I love the all-encompassing work of making fine art, but this was a really fun little side project.

See all their little tails?

It was fun to individually wrap each one and let her open her little forest friends one by one.

Mr. Skunk

I got all of the fabric from a thrift store, and had fun mixing and matching it in no particular order. They each have a collar of some sort, either a ruffle or a bow tie, or (my favorite) the raccoon has a neck tie.

Miss Deer

While I did not personally use a pattern, I am greatly indebted to the Gingermelon shop on etsy for all my inspiration. Check out the shop, they sell lovely patterns for all sorts of toys which are delightful.

Miss Fox

Mr. Raccoon

And finally…

Mr. Owl

So now we have a little forest family living with us in our new home.

After all, when there are two whole candles on the cake, you’re never too old to celebrate big.




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