Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fly 1 - The Poynder

Well, we're off and running with the January 30in30 Challenge!

The theme I chose is an artist's nod to the men in my life who love to fish...which is the case for almost all of them I think.  From my dad (who died in a fishing boat accident on the Mississippi) to my brothers, husband, son-in-laws and grandsons the love of fishing has been in my life since day one and is alive and well today. 

I'm sure throughout this month I'm going to learn a whole lot more about fishing...specifically about fly fishing...and more specifically about flies.  I'm planning on painting 30 flies and I've already learned that there are hundreds...no, probably thousands of various fly patterns!  

I chose this first fly solely because it's so darn beautiful!  I don't believe it's a fly that would be used here in the Pacific Northwest because it's an Atlantic salmon fly...a "wet" fly which means it goes under water...as opposed to a "dry" fly which is designed to sit on top of the water.  

A shout out and special thanks to Monte Smith who has graciously allowed me to use his flies as my inspiration.  If you'd like to learn more about flies, check out Monte's blog at http://www.nwflytyer.com it's loaded with lots of fly tying instructions, images and other fishing resources.  Monte is a master at tying flies!  Who knows, by the end of the month, I may be typing my own flies!

                                                            The Poynder
                                                          5x7, soft pastel

Monday, December 28, 2015

Oh God...What have I done?

I said I wouldn't do it.  I promised myself and my husband I wouldn't do it again.  I'm always tapped out....exhausted after doing it... so I said I was done with that nonsense!  After all, I think I'm getting to old to push myself so much!!!!  Too tired to start such a project again!  Not sure it's even beneficial.... and besides which, I'm just toooooo busy!

But then..........

The call to artists came a couple weeks ago...."sign up for the January 30in30 Challenge" Leslie says.  Ha!  (I was solid in my decision)...."sorry, but no.....absolutely not this time'".   I've moved on.

And now, here it is December 28th and I just pulled the trigger and signed up again.  Oh sweet Jesus, what have I done?  Will I never learn??

Maybe this time it will be easier....stay tuned to find out.

Ok...This is an update as of January 5th for the above post....Please forgive my drama queen comments above...the Challenge isn't that bad.  Really it isn't.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Today I had two paintings to wrap up...one, is an acrylic on canvas (24x30 inch) of Scooter "A Warm Place By The Window".  This is a painting you may be familiar with that I thought I'd attempt to paint much larger...and in acrylic no less (a medium which I seldom use and am not proficient at).  It turned out well enough to put up in my studio at least until I decide if it's actually finished.


The second painting is a gift....(I'm hoping I'm not giving it away)...after all, Christmas is a day away but I'm betting this recipient isn't subscribing to my blog.

Atlantic Salmon Fly
5x7, soft pastel


Monday, December 21, 2015

Frozen Dog Day

This is Boone.  He's a very special dog because he's my grand-dog.  I had the pleasure of playing with the litter of pups (he is a Pudelpointer)...and helping to pick him out three years ago.  Before he was ready to leave his mom, I visited him and his litter mates several times.  Early on I could tell that he was going to be a good family dog.  More importantly though, the breeder said he was going to be a great bird dog for my son-in-law Jason and grandson Jake.  And that he is!

Boone goes to work on the family farm each day with Jason.  They share many many long days together working the farm.  But on this particular winter's day, it was time for some fun! 

Pudelpoiinters are breed to retrieve birds...a job Boone does well.  So well in fact I think he was completely oblivious to that fact that he was covered in icicles as he posed for his picture at the end of the day.

Frozen Dog Day
11x14, soft pastel     


Friday, December 18, 2015

Boldbrush Win - An Unexpected Honor


Art competitions...haven't been my thing. I guess I'm as competitive as the next person but I really feel that I'm just beginning my journey as an artist (especially a pastelist). That said, I do understand the value of feedback. Especially when the feedback comes from an independent third party. 

I meekly entered a painting in FASO's BoldBrush Competition in October. There were many many excellent entries. Many talented artists out there producing stunning work. So, once I entered I promptly put it out of my mind. Then one day in November, I received an email from a collector who congratulated me on my win. WIN? What win was he talking about? I quickly checked online and sure enough my painting of Scooter received recognition as one of two Outstanding Pastels for that month.  The article below is one of the benefits of that recognition. 

I liken the experience to being hit by lightening. I don't expect it to happen again...but I was very pleasantly surprised and very humbled. Ok, I guess being hit by lightening isn't a pleasant surprise...but you get the idea.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Darby

Darby left this world a few days ago and is greatly missed by his human.  The first week is especially tough.  So, I thought I'd try to cheer her up today and remind her of happier times.

That's the funny thing about Facebook...or any other social media site.  You can communicate with like minded people and support one another through all the trials and tribulations this crazy life throws at you.  It was fun painting Darby with his gorgeous pink ears..even the grass was reflecting off the fur on his chin! I imagined him running and playing (wherever it is we all go)...maybe with Scooter and Tubby!

Darby
8x6, soft pastel




Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hollyhocks 2

For some reason I failed to share this second Hollyhocks painting (the first one was completed last May).  I love this scene...it was captured on an early morning walk in Door County, Wi.  I just had to try it again.  It hangs in my house and I love it...must be the vibrant colors!


Hollyhocks 2
12x9 soft pastel

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Amaryllis

This past week was crazy busy but I managed to find time to paint at the greenhouse along with a few of my plein air buddies.  Although it was a bit cold, I was able to persevere long enough to paint a flower (red of course).

Amaryllis
10x8, soft pastel



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Poinsettia

Poinsettia
10x8, pastel
Yesterday was a trip to Edward's Greenhouse for a plein air session. I arrived late from an appointment so I tried to keep the subject matter simple...and loose. As I searched for a subject I entered a section of the greenhouse filled to the brim with varying sizes of poinsettias.  They were really starting to bloom...just in time of course for the holidays.  

I was a bit nervous painting with pastels in a room with so many overhead sprinklers threatening to let loose on me...but it all worked out, that is, until I was leaving and a rather large drop of water splashed onto the terra cotta pot in the painting.  Oh, the hazards of plein air!  A quick fix in the studio and it was good as new, maybe even better.  

In a time of such world turmoil, I pray that you have happy holidays filled with love and peace!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

There's A Squirrel In My Tree!

                     
                                                      There's A Squirrel In My Tree!
                                                                      8x6, pastel
This is a common pose for a West Highland Terrier (aka Westie).  These spitfire dogs have attitude plus and are always on the lookout for varment encroaching on their territory.  They like to sit up as high as possible...which means the back cushion of a couch or chair is fair game (they prefer you position their selected piece of furniture next to a window of course).  Once a squirrel is spotted, my two male Westies would tear out of the room and sail through the doggie door clambering into the backyard to address the situation.  Tubby (the youngest) would actually sit under a tree for several hours at a time waiting for the squirrel to make his move.  The squirrel meantime would whip his tail and make menacing noises at both dogs hoping to scare them off.  This didn't phase them in the least. Fortunately no squirrel was ever harmed during these encounters...but they were sure fun to watch! 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weeds For Sale...Pick Your Own

                                                     Weeds For Sale...Pick Your Own
                                                                   9x9, soft pastel
During the cold winter months a few people from the plein air group I recently joined meet on Wednesdays to paint in a local greenhouse (Edwards Greenhouse in Boise).  This painting was from our first week.  I painted the scene because the sign made me smile.  There were lots of colorful flowers and grasses surrounding the bench...but not a weed in site! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Rainbow Bee-Eaters

       
                                                                    Rainbow Bee-Eaters
                                                                       8x10, soft pastel
The photo is a bit blurry (sorry) but I did this one a couple days ago and thought I'd share. These two birds are called Austrailian Rainbow Bee-Eaters.  They do actually reside in Austrailia and eat bees, wasps and beetles.  Hmmm, you learn something every day don't you? 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunset Glow

                                                                        Sunset Glow
                                                                      8x10, soft pastel

This small group of (mostly) cows were catching a late evening snack as the sun was setting.  They seemed to be actually glowing from the backlighting.  Because it was harvest time the air was filled with dust particles causing the sunset to become even more peachy orange (much to the dismay of my allergies).  It was a sight to see nonetheless...and a painting to attempt.

P.S. It was tough getting an accurate photo of this painting...the colors are a bit better in real life.   

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stray Daisy


Stray Daisy
14x11, soft pastel
Some paintings stay within my control...and some take on a life of their own.  This one insisted on being bright and vibrant.  I haven't really decided if I like it or not but it does look better to me in a mat (picture below).  I don't know, I think I'll have to life with this one for awhile before I know if it should be changed.







Monday, October 26, 2015

Small Bouquet

Small Bouquet 
8x8, pastel

So many times a larger bouquet of flowers turns into a much smaller bouquet.  Smaller, but beautiful nonetheless.   Thanks for the photo Danielle!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween
7x5, soft pastel

I don't know...it just seemed like a good idea to do a Halloween themed piece.  Better yet, I thought if I made a caramel apple from my favorite apple of all time...the red, juicy and delicious Fuji apple, then I could eat it after finishing the painting. 

YES!  That's it!!! What a great idea, huh? I have absolutely no will power and I mean AT ALL...zip...zero...nada (and my husband has even less will power than I do)!  So, unfortunately, I only made one caramel apple in a crazy attempt as self control.  

Oozing with sugary goodness...it lasted approximately 1 hour before I split it in half and shared it with my husband (of course only after we added a heavy dose of crushed almonds to the outside caramel). OOHHH, was it ever good! My mouth waters now just remembering it!  The painting then had to be finished based on memory...which might be a good way of practicing my painting skills anyway.

So now I'm thinking I just might paint a whole series of decadent desserts...(one at a time of course)!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stare Down

Stare Down
8x8, pastel

This guy seems to be communicating something.  What, I don't know.  Probably something like "what are you looking at?".  I've never painted a sheep before...especially a "black" one.  He has a lot of dark colors in him...but black isn't used much.  There's actually a lot of dark purple and eggplant.  He was a lot of fun to paint.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cooling Off

                              
                                                                        Cooling Off
                                                                         10x8, pastel

A sheep herder's dog is one of the hardest working dogs around.  They spend hours on end watching over the herd and seem to love moving them from one location to another, dodging here and there, watching for strays and bringing them back into the fold.  After a long day on the range, this guy is cooling off in a nearby stream. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sheep Herder's Wagon

                                                    Sheep Herder's Wagon
                                                                     8x10,  pastel

This painting is in preparation for the annual Trailing of the Sheep festival in the Hailey/Sun Valley area.  I'm looking forward to painting outside (plein air) with friends.  I'm also looking forward to learning more about the custom of bringing herds of sheep down from the hillsides through the center of the town (presumably for auctions and/or slaughter but we won't think about that!). 

We'll go out Friday morning to locate the herd...hoping for good weather and beautiful scenes to paint....or at least to take reference photos.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Aloha!

                                                                        Aloha!
                                                                      6x8, pastel

Day 30 of 30
The final day!  This 30 in 30 challenge has in fact been challenging (as they all are).  It's not easy to commit a full month to produce a painting each day especially when life events and household chores are calling your name.  But, it was well worth it.  The past month has been a blast.  I've painted in my studio, at Ste. Chapelle Winery, Redfish Lake and at Thousand Springs State Park.  It was all good.

For my final 30in30 painting I just had to paint this little RV.  I spotted it while we were driving down the interstate in Montana this summer.  It just says it all!!!   Thanks for reading my blog and taking this journey with me!   Until next time.....Aloha!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bygone Days

                                                                         Bygone Days
                                                                           6x8, pastel
Day 29 of 30
Today's painting is a nod to the past.  The vintage RVs we see on the road, in RV parks or parked along the way remind me of simpler times.  Plus...they're just so darn cute!!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Little Buddy Too


Little Buddy Too
8x8, pastel
Day 28 of 30
It seemed only fitting to do another dog from the terrier family...which is often chosen as a companion to (or at least confused with) a West Highland Terrier.....the Scottish Terrier (aka Scottie).   Together, the Westie and Scottie were mascots for the Black and White Scotch Whisky Company.  I'm not sure this company is still in existence but I did come across a cool little pitcher in an antique store years ago.  Of course I had to purchase it since it had a Westie on it.  In any event, here's today's painting....number 28 of 30.  Only two more days in the challenge.  HURRAY!!!


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Studio In The Trees


                                                                Studio In The Trees
                                                                      8x10, pastel

Day 27 of 30
Today was the last day of the Thousand Springs Festival and it was absolutely beautiful!  The weather couldn't have been better and the music and food were fantastic.  I was able to spend a little time strolling through a few of the booths today.  The warm sunny day was tempered with light cool breezes.   This particular vendor's tent stood out from some of the others because there were lots of multicolored scarves blowing in the breeze.  I really enjoyed visiting with fair goers as I painted this little scene.  It will always remind me of a perfect autumn day in Idaho.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Little Buddy


                                           Little Buddy      
                                            8x8, pastel

Day 26 of 30
A relatively simple painting...but from the heart.  Sure miss my two little guys.   

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sunset Fireworks

                    Sunset Fireworks
                              8x10, pastel

Day 25 of 30...
Ok....it was about time to have a real dud during this 30 in 30 challenge..and here it is!  Piddled away on this for an hour.  The sun was down and there was no light left.   There was really no saving this one so I'll chalk it up to too little sunlight too little time. 

Autumn At Thousand Springs

           Autumn At Thousand Springs
                           5x7, pastel
Day 25 of 30
It was a gorgeous morning to paint at a Thousand Springs near Hagerman Idaho.  The day was still cool (not like the 94 degree temperatures we had later in the afternoon).   Vendors were just beginning to arrive and set up their wares.  The festival this weekend should be fun...now we're off to paint the sunset. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bessie

                                 
                                                                   BESSIE
                                                                 7x5, pastel

Day 24 of 30
Yes....alas I am behind a day.  This is painting number 23.  It isn't that I've been sluffing off or anything...just the contrary.  The past couple days Tina and I have been preparing for another plein air paint out in Hagerman Idaho...at Thousand Springs State Park.  It should be a fun filled three days of painting outdoors.  I expect to be all caught up on my 30in30 challenge and maybe even ahead of the game by Sunday.  We drove the RV over to Hagerman and after setting up, decided to paint...so here is Bessie.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Waiting for Snow

Waiting for Snow
9x6, pastel
Day 21 of 30
This is a quick practice piece based on a similar painting by Barbara Jaenicke who's work I so admire.  I thought I'd practice a "light touch" and limited palette.  This was the result.  I'm still wrestling with landscapes...and whether I should do them or leave it to the pros...but it was fun practice in any event.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Seattle Sunshine




Seattle Sunshine
10x8, pastel
Day 20 of 30
Only ten more days in the challenge...and I couldn't resist a little cityscape!  

I saw this scene as I was walking in downtown Seattle recently.  Actually, I was across a busy street and couldn't help but notice the vibrant sunlight hitting this little courtyard which was beyond the building's entry gates.  It was such an intimate little scene and was isolated from the noisy, hectic city life that was only steps away.  I crossed the street to get a better look and snap a few photos.  I'd love to live in downtown Seattle!  It's my favorite big city.  If I lived there I'd go to Pikes Place Market each morning and buy fresh flowers, Marketspice tea and food for the day then rush back to my little apartment (which of course would have an art studio in it)...and probably paint the rest of the day. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Beached

                             
                                                                            Beached
                                                                          9x6, pastel
Day19 of 30
Today's painting is from an early morning trip around the lake.  This little catamaran was tucked into a small cove just waiting for someone to come along and take her out.   I was so tempted!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Roughing It

                                                                       Roughing It
                                                                        6x8, pastel
Day 18 of 30
I love these small sized Airstream RVs.  They look like a huge soap bubble...reflecting absolutely everything around them.  I often snap a photo of them with a painting in mind.  Today was the day to try one out.  If I owned one of these puppies I'd turn it into my art-mobile and travel the country "roughing it" and painting wherever life took me.  Hmm, food for thought! 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Shallow Waters


                                                                   Shallow Waters
                                                                       6x8, pastel
Day 17 of 30
Today's painting was a bit of a disappointment...I'm always wanting it to be more than it turns out to be.  Oh well...it's a peaceful little scene in any event.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Scars Can Be Beautiful

Scars Can Be Beautiful
9x12, pastel
Day 16 of 30
Painting number 17 is another landscape.  This one is from the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho. Several years ago there was a devastating forest fire in this area. Forest fires are a common occurrence in the West and unfortunately this year is no exception. It's been a very sobering summer with fires all around us. Smoke filled the valley air in Boise for weeks on end.

I felt so lucky while attending the plein air paint-out at Redfish Lake last week.  There was no smell of smoke...no troubling fires nearby.  But driving home I was reminded of fires past, where we still see the ravaged hillsides struggling to recover. Burned tree trunks stand atop the landscape like a week's stubble on a man's face.  Unfortunately we can't shave the hillside and expect new growth.  We have to be patient and wait for Mother Nature to take her time.  

I saw this section of the mountains aglow from the sunrise and pulled over to admire the early autumn colors of the new red/orange undergrowth.  Scarred deeply yes, but oh so very beautiful.  A sign that fall is coming and these beautiful hillsides are on the mend.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

MidWest Morning


Mid-West Morning
12x9, pastel
Day 15 of 30
Ah, half way through the 30 day challenge!  I'm happy to be ahead by one painting...this one marks my 16th painting this month.  

Today's painting is from a photo reference.  I took this photo in the early morning hours in Sister Bay, WI while visiting Door County.  It was a quiet peaceful morning.  This scene captured my attention because of the sunlight on the garage and of course the shadows across the driveway.  It reminded me of so many similar garages in the small Iowa town where I grew up.  When I was young, I loved sneaking out of the house in the early morning hours to walk around town.  I'm not sure what I was thinking...but then it was pretty safe to be out walking in the early hours.  It's my favorite time of day!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Evening Shadows

                
                                                                   Evening Shadows
                                                                        10x8, pastel

Day 14 of 30
While on Bainbridge Island earlier this summer I found this little terra cotta pot spilling over with geraniums.  The sun was just setting casting lacy shadows onto the pot.  A beautiful site!  I spent quite a bit of time today fiddling with the flowers struggling to get them right...then I reminded myself of the importance of the shadows...not necessarily the flowers.  The flowers were there for color...but the real story is told in the shadows. I was finally able to step back, relax and just let the painting dictate what it needed.  While it's not exactly how I imaged it would turn out...the more I look at it the more I like it.  The story of my life! 
    

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Redfish Lake Boat Dock 2


                                                      Redfish Lake Boat Dock 2
                                                          6x8, soft pastel
Day 13 of 30
I was asked to paint another boat dock painting...so here it is.   A tidbit of trivia, the boat dock was so severely damaged last winter that it had to be removed and rebuilt this spring.  I'm sure glad it was since it plays an integral role in summertime activities.  There is a gas pump station on the dock and daily shuttles back and forth across the lake carrying daytime and overnight hikers to trailheads on the other side...not to mention the kayak, paddle boat and marina sections of the dock.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Second Place!

My painting buddy Tina and I attended the Redfish Lake paint-out this week in hopes of creating  something worth displaying in the art show and perhaps sell a piece or two.  So we signed up, packed our bags, built up our courage, and headed to Redfish Lake near Stanley, Idaho.

We put together a small display area but didn't have anything to display right away.  Many of the other artists were much more experienced than we were so it was a little intimidating.  But hey, we were there to have fun! And fun we did have!

Then, little by little we painted and displayed each piece.  In the end we filled our display racks (despite Tina coming down with a cold) and sold half of what we produced.  We are thrilled to death!  And, best of all, we continued to build our confidence in painting in public.  This isn't always an easy thing to do.  Sometimes an artist isn't painting well....or sometimes he/she needs total concentration to work on or complete a painting. But, by the end of the week we both felt much more confident in mastering the art of simultaneous conversation while painting.

An added benefit was being awarded second place for "Six O'Clock Shadows".  I was thrilled by the unexpected honor.  Believe it or not it's my very first prize ribbon...and I mean EVER!  I feel like a kid who came in second place in a spelling bee.  Is that silly or what?

Oh, the mouse!  We tried everything to get rid of our little visitor.  We screamed and jumped on the bed (ok, that was me), Tina threw stuff at him, I stuffed the cracks in the door jam with foil and left the lights on all night, nothing worked!   He was determined to visit us night after night and make noise as he roamed around the two room cabin.  So, we eventually gave up...and just named him Herman.


The Point

The Point
10x8, pastel

Day 10 of 30
This is an early morning scene at Redfish Lake when the waters were very calm.  The Point is located near the lodge making it a convenient location to paint.  

The second painting of the day was on the beach where I found a willing model.  She had so much color going on I couldn't resist painting the scene!

Seize The Day
6x8, pastel

In fact,  I painted three paintings today which is a record for me.  The third isn't quite presentable yet.  All in all it was a good but exhausting day!

Six O'Clock Shadows



Six O'Clock Shadows
8x10, pastel

Day 11 of 30
I knew before the break of dawn that I wanted to get out on the boat docks early and paint the shadows of a group of kayaks.  I've seen them each day during this paint-out and because I like vibrant colors they've been calling to me.  There are many very good artists here and most are proficient at landscape painting.  Me???  I love landscapes...but you can only paint so many trees!

The second painting I squeezed in was finished just in time to submit in the show...it's called Parking Zone.

Parking Zone
7x5, pastel

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Little Redfish Lake

Little Redfish Lake
8x10, soft pastel

Day 9 of 30
Well, after my sleepless night in the cabin with a mouse I managed to live to paint again.   This is a partial view of the mountains bordering Little Redfish Lake near Stanley, ID.  I had planned to paint something else but instead went with my painting buddy Tina to this location.  It was a beautiful morning and the weather was perfect!