Friday, March 17, 2017

Dockside Sunrise

Dockside Sunrise
12x16, soft pastel

Back to my boat theme.  With this piece, I had to do quite a bit by memory.  Two years ago I painted a smaller version of this scene en plein air.   But, I made a rooky plein air mistake and didn't take a photograph of the scene before leaving the lake.  So, I had to recall some of the details that I had missed when I painted the first piece.   I was drawn to this particular scene because I loved how the sunlight from the early morning sunrise lit the tips of the kayaks casting jagged sunlight onto the waters below.  It was a gorgeous September morning at Redfish Lake.  One I will always remember.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A few attempts at plein air with oils

Since the Jan. 30in30 Challenge finished, I've been busy framing and attempting a few plein air pieces in oils.  It's almost like starting over again when you start with another least it is for me.  Frustrating at times because I'm not nearly where I hope to one day be with oils...but I guess I love the challenge.  Below are a few of my first attempts...hope you enjoy.

Warm Springs Rd., 8x10, oil

Joplin Rd., 8x6, oil

Before The Rain, 6x8, oil

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why Am I An Artist?

In the back of my mind I know I'm trying to out-race dementia.  I want to be a REAL artist before I start to forget how to paint!  That's the journey I'm on.  I don't have it now, or even any symptoms but I know it runs in my family. Watching my mom struggle with it for the past 10-15 years has been a sobering reminder.  Alzheimer's or dementia...whatever you want to call stinks!  So, I'm assuming over time I will progress and get better at painting only to decline in later years.  I don't dwell on it because after all...I may not be here tomorrow!  (lol)

If you've ever struggled to achieve a dream that seemed so far out of reach it would be almost impossible to achieve...or, you've felt like that " little engine that could"...chugging, chugging, chugging uphill always thinking..."I think I can, I think I can..."  Then you know a bit about how the past three years have been for me.

Diving headlong into creating art three years ago (at 58), I've been an obsessed woman!  I've had so much to learn and fortunately because of the Internet and workshop teachers there have been mountains of information to absorb.  I felt I was starting out so many years behind everyone else and to top it all off I began with the most brutal self doubt imaginable.  My inner voice was so so critical of every painting I produced I didn't think I would ever feel confident.  And, because of it, I thought about giving up from time to time too.  I'm glad I didn't.   

My tombstone should have one word on it.... "Persevere" because throughout life that's what I told myself to do when things got tough.  It's SO very easy to stroll through life when things are going ok...but challenges call for perseverance.  So, I've hung in there.

For the remainder of my years I know I will love the artist life and continue to be in hot pursuit of that perfect masterpiece.  Personally, I doubt I will produce an actual masterpiece but every once in awhile a painting does magically "paints itself" (if your an artist, you know what I mean).  

In three years (and over 390 paintings) it's happened exactly twice.  Today I'm happy to report that the second of those two paintings (Along The Shoreline, above) was awarded Best Of Show in the Pastel Society of the West Coast's (PSWC) general members online competition as well as one of the Top 15% FAV on FASO's Boldbrush competition.  I don't enter competitions very often so this is a big deal for me especially because I've taken a look at the wonderful work submitted by all the other artists.  

I was dumbfounded when I got the call from PSWC and humbled to have my work acknowledged in this way.  I also know to "keep it real"...judging is subjective and another judge or panel of judges would most likely come up with a different winner altogether.  But today, I will enjoy the news because I know tomorrow, I will be in hot pursuit of that masterpiece all over again!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Camel's Back Park

Camel's Back Park
12x12, soft pastel

I've been working on framing some pieces for the April show at the Initial Point Gallery in Meridian's City Hall (fyi, reception to be held April 4th 4:30-7:00pm).  But still trying to make time to paint!

This is a view that many people in the Boise area have enjoyed as they hike, bike, run or walk along the foothill trails.  On this particular evening the sky was awash with glorious sunset colors complimenting the golden grasses and sage brush below.  Thank you Michelle Santos for the gorgeous photo!! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Studio

I absolutely love seeing the work areas and studios of other artists!  We learn from each other what works well and what doesn't.  

If an artist works from a home studio, sometimes it starts in a corner of the room or dining room table (in my youth, it was always at the coffee table).  Sometimes an artist's home studio is in the garage, attic, or in a separate building altogether.  Sometimes it's in a spare room, often a spare bedroom.  I would venture to say every artist has modified or moved his or her studio from area to area to achieve just the right fit for them.

I started in a small spare bedroom in this house (which was a luxury).  Then, once I started doing the 30in30 Challenges and my experience grew and materials multiplied, my husband came up with the idea of converting the master bedroom into a studio (he rationalized it was easier and less expensive than moving or adding onto the house, ha!).   

At first it seemed odd to take a large master bedroom and convert it into a studio.  But, in our case it was the perfect solution!  The biggest surprise was how much we liked sleeping in a smaller bedroom's actually much more cozy and romantic.  And, because we never fully utilized the master with it's beautiful fireplace, we didn't miss it at all.  But as a studio, the room is now a sanctuary!  It's right off the kitchen and utility room...making food accessible, cleanup easier and has it's own on-suite bathroom.

Recently, we updated the floors and got rid of the carpeting.  We also painted the ceiling and walls to a more neutral palette and I "decluttered" the room as much as I could.   Below is the "after" image.  It's a bit darker than usual because I took the photo in the early morning favorite time of day!
The After:

 The Before:

At the other end of my studio is a lounging area with sofa, TV and fireplace.  A perfect place to start the day, read, reflect and be inspired!  

So that's my studio.  It doesn't always stay this neat and clean but I'm so very thankful for the space to create!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Jan 2017 30 in 30 Challenge

It's always a bit "challenging" just remembering how to get all the images for the 30in30 into a collage.  PicMonkey is a website that allows a free trial to do such a thing.  I'm grateful for a program that does the heavy lifting for me!  Even though it's tough to get the actual images laid out so a person can see the entire painting...this one above is close enough.  I thought it turned out nicely (all things considered).  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lavender Sky - Pastel

Lavender Sky - Pastel
12x12, soft pastel

Day 30 of 30....Lavender Sky is befitting of a final farewell to the 2017 Jan. 30in30!  Whew, I made it!  I'm ready for a short break. I hope you enjoyed them all, the good, the bad and the ugly.  Breaking into oil painting this past month was a lot of fun.  I certainly learned a lot and look forward to doing more of both oils and pastels after I get caught up on everything else that took a backseat these past few weeks (like laundry).   See you soon!