Sunday, July 25, 2010

Step by Step

Thought I'd break this one down into stages.

This is a 12x36 on birch luan. I gessoed it with a roller and was extremely pleased with the surface. Good thing, too, since I have a bunch of it.

Toned the board with a wash of burnt sienna, cad red medium, and a tiny bit of ochre. Wiped off the excess, then proceeded ro draw and block in shapes. Put the datk shapes in first.

Blocked in lightest shapes next.Not too exciting yet! The very light shape on the right looks too light but I am going to defer judgement until later.

My main focus here is to a) get paint on the whole surface and b)establish the correct values so that the foreground drops away and the mountain is the star.

Working in all of the details, putting structure to the foreground yet keeping it vague. This painting breaks the 'rules' of conventional landscape painting. The warmer notes, greatests contrast and most chroma is in the distance while cooler, less defined shapes are in the foreground.  I'd say it's about 90% done. I'm beat, but it feels good to have done 2 larger paintings in a weekend.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paint paint paint!

Well, it's to the cave for me all weekend, working on a Septenber exhibit. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have six plein air paintings I am using as reference to make six larger pieces.

This is my first one.The study is in the prior post. Contrary to my original plan, it is not high key. I preferred to painting a local tone approach, since it was an overcast day and lent itself to it already. I think the drawing is there now and I like it much better than the small one. But it seems dreary or lacking something. Any ideas?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lost in Translation

I'm in the process of taking small plein air paintings and translating them into larger paintings. My plan is to work as much as possible from the original  and not rely too much on photos. I'm not so concerned with making an accurate reproduction of either the original or what was really there, but rather just want to create a strong painting, Easy enough, eh?

Can you say Oh no?!  No one I know wants to paint the same painting twice. But I've committed to this project and just hope that I haven't gotten myself into a pickle.

But as I see it, I have a lot of options, and will be able to stay clear of painting the same piece as before. Take this little 8x8, soon to be a 24x24. It's a simple high key little piece that works as a miniature. When translated to 3 times its original size, the drawing must be stronger to support the composition. I'd also rather push it to a much closer, high value structure. While the building will remain the center of interest compositionally, I want it to draw the eye to it by the use of color and line rather than put a lot more detail in the house itself.

I'll post the results and we'll see if the plan changes as the painting emerges.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Some things you just cannot anticipate.

While painting at Cherry Creek Reservoir last Friday with Victoria Ekelund, I got this far with my little painting when I was suddenly overcome with motion sickness. Apparently, standing on the rocking dock and focusing on the little details of the painting was a lot like reading while in a car. How embarrassing!  The sun, heat and lack of breakfast didn't help (I told myself). So this 5.5x12 sketch has yet to be completed.

I had better luck the weekend before when I painted with Sara Winters. This second painting was done at that time.

 So I think sea-sickness, even though not technically on or even near a sea, can be added to the list of hazards we plein air painters face.

I'm such a lightweight. But I refuse to be deterred! I'll take another stab at it soon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In the Moment

Working outdoors has its challenges, not the least of which is the changing light. I tend to paint rather slowly and often, after working on a piece for a few hours, I pull everything together at the end.

Sunsets are a different matter altogether. You have to be fast and spontaneous, make decisions and stick with them, right or wrong. Because, if you delay, all is lost because the sun goes down. I can't say I was entirely successful with this little piece, but it was an excellent exercise in making decisions. I'm anxious to do it again.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

PAAC's 14th Annual Members Juried Exhibition

This year's exhibit will be at Saks Gallery on 2nd Ave in Cherry Creek. My painting "Spring's First Colors" is 14x18 and was painted in Arroyo Hondo on our way back from the Bob Dunn Bridge. The spring water was running high in the creek and this scene felt so "Taos". I'm glad we pulled over for one last painting of the day.

The opening reception is this Friday, June 25th from 5 to 9 at Saks. I'll be there. Please stop by and say Hi.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Location, Location, Location

Here's Jeanne Hougen and I in front of our booth at this year's Summer Art Market. It poured all morning so this was taken during a brief dry period.

What I noticed right away when looking at these pictures was just how lucky we were to get this corner booth. Wow! I joked that we must've bribed the right people to score this location!

First and foremost, a great big Thank You to all my friends who ventured out in this miserable weather to come by and say hi. You're amazing. :-)

I was also so very pleased to talk with several collectors who made a point to come by and tell me about a piece they'd bought from me previously. Thank you, my new friends.  I love to hear where you have hung the painting (kitchen, bathroom?) and that you are enjoying it. That makes my day.

Lastly, I want to thank my booth mate, Jeanne, and her husband Glen. Putting up that whole exhibit is a ton of work and we could not have done it without Glen. And Jeanne, what can I say? You are a wonderful artist and a beautiful person. We had so much fun. Let's do it again!

Thankfully, we now get a 362 day break.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Doing Business

Lately I have been focusing a fair amount on the business side of things. I'm trying to keep balance between my day job, my painting, marketing and some personal life. As my friend Lee Ann would say, I'm a very busy woman!

So in preparation of the Summer Art Market, I have designed a postcard around this image. VistaPrint is a life saver.

I am also busy painting and framing 20 small 6x6 paintings so there will be a variety of price points available.

It's kind of fun to think that there are probably 200 other artists in this city, in the same mad rush to prepare for SAM. It will be a relief when it's here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Art of Schlepping

On a recent trip to Mexico, I decided against bringing all of my oil painting paraphenalia. All that schlepping and dealing with customs and all seemed counter to the idea of a relaxing vacatiion. The work I had intended on doing was mainly limited to gathering material for future paintings.

But I still wanted to paint, so I packed a small watercolor kit, a block of paper, 3 soft brush pens and 2 brushes. If I didn't even pull them out, I wouldn't have felt guilty about having brought it all along.

So I took my gear along with my sunscreen, to the pool. It was something fun and light and different for me, so when I finally pulled it all out, it just flowed. And since these were sketches, I allowed myself to just let go. And I loved it.

I have to thank Mary Byrom for inspiring me with her sketchbooks full of fresh and wonderful paintings.

Here are a few more from that trip.

The old town part of Cabo.

Along the Pacific

And Cabo Harbor.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yes I Can Can(vas)

Cabo San Lucas, usually sunny and dry, was rainy and cool for most of my trip. So when the clouds finally parted, we were rewarded with this beautiful sunset.

Back to the canvas discussion...Just as soon as I pronouned canvas as my lesser preferred painting surface, I found myself with these nice little canvas boards for small sketches. So off I went. The painting came along nicely, but when it came time for the photo, I was reminded of why I don't like it. Light jumps and reflects in unpredictable ways when in any direct light. It took me several attempts to get this little guy's picture.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Surface Matters

I'm always curious about the types of surfaces people prefer. Some painters are purely canvas folks.I like canvas just fine, preferably with just a little tooth, and even better if it's mounted on something hard.But my very favorite is painting on board. For years, masonite has been my favorite thing to paint on. I like the way it feels..solid, not slick and slippery like that some of those prepared boards.And then more recently, several people I know have been painting on birch plywood. Hey, I'm game!

So off to Home Depot. BTW, I LOVE to go there, or any hardware store for that matter.So much great stuff, it's mind boggling. But back to my plywood. It comes in a 4'x8' piece and is the most fine grained of all the plywoods. The really great thing is that Home Depot will cut it up for you, and for free if you're nice. So I came home with 8 boards of various sizes. I am very excited to paint on it. But first I have to sand down those rough edges created by the cuts. Painting takes a lot of prep work before laying down that first brush stroke.

I just love the whole messy process.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cold Feet

For me, getting out to paint in the cold is 99% a head game. I went out in the middle of a snow squall, convinced I would end up home with nothing to show for the trip. But there was a break in the clouds and I went for it. This little sketch was done along Lake Creek in Edwards. A little fine tuning and I'll call it good.

How do the rest of you get motivated when you know you'll be dealing with your least favorite conditions?  What helped me stay out there was setting a time limit, and cranking up the car radio to sing along to the oldies.

oh yes, and the other 1% -...warm boots.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Getting out in the winter

As much as I love all of the seasons, I'm not a big fan of painting out in the cold. My solution was to go someplace warm, so I spent a week in Palm Desert, painting palm trees and poolside scenes. The light was fading fast when I decided to grab my easel and dash out to the front porch and do this little piece.
As for my complaints about the cold, it's been a wonderfully warm March so far in Denver, but nature has her sense of humor and is suppose to drop a foot of heavy wet snow on us tomorrow. May be my last chance to paint snow this season, so I'm going to bundle up and get out there. brrr!