Friday, September 30, 2016

Trouble Is Brewing

Trouble Is Brewing
7x5, soft pastel

I had my "zenful" music playing.  Peace and calm abounded in my studio this morning.  I had a great peaceful scene in mind with a lazy stream of clouds in the sky over fields of wheat...

and then... my husband started having printer problems.  

After three or four interruptions and an hour or so of collaboration, we resolved the problem.  However, the peaceful moment was lost along with what I had in mind.  Once I returned to the studio for the last time to continue my painting, "zen" was no where in sight!  I think it had something to do with employing the "other side of my brain"....or was it the level of frustration we had in simply connecting the printer to our wifi?   Hmmmm, I have to think about that.  Anyway,  having listened earlier in the morning to Stan Sperlak speaking about being honest and authentic in one's work (and I suppose in life too)...I let loose on my painting.  All my frustrations came spilling out (I even dropped and broke a couple of my Terry Ludwigs).  Oh well, the resulting painting and title were appropriate for the moment and completely honest.  

Migraine Morning

Migraine Morning
6x6, soft pastel
I wasn't really going to paint...for the third morning in a row I woke up with a migraine (the weather is about to change drastically).  Then I thought what the heck, I'll try to power through it while I waited for the meds to kick in. 

The toughest part of painting with a migraine is not having any kind of control over the pastel stroke on the page.  The sharp pains can interrupt the most focused of thought making it tough to even see the easel.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Happy Little Clouds

Happy Little Clouds
6x6, soft pastel
Thought I'd end this 30in30 with a little scene of peace and tranquility.  And, a few of Bob Ross's "happy little clouds".  Autumn is here and it's time for Mother Nature to begin displaying her beautiful colors!  Peace to you...thanks for following me this past month!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Harvest Sunset

Harvest Sunset
6x6, soft pastel

During the fall and especially during harvest, sunsets are often spectacular.  The atmosphere is filled with pollen and dust particles while the angle of sunlight hitting the earth's surface changes, further enhancing the drama playing out in the skies.  It's just a glorious time of year!

This painting is particularly delightful to me.  The photograph doesn't adequately depict the gorgeous oranges and copper colors dancing across the sky in the original.  However, I had fun playing with the Photos editing tool.  When sliding the lightness tool from it's lightest setting to the darkest setting it looks as though the sun is actually setting in the painting. Awesome!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Screaming Eagles

Screaming Eagles
6x6, soft pastel
There's no real reason for the title...other than this skyscape reminds me of a couple of eagles swooping down to snatch up fish from the waters below.  Recently while kayaking on a small lake a hawk did just that...diving into the water several feet from me to catch his dinner.  Startled the begeebeez out of me! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Arizona Sky

Arizona Sky
6x6, soft pastel

On our way to Phoenix we were delighted to view this gorgeous sunset near Kingman, Az.   I especially loved seeing the stars twinkling in the deep dark blue of the early evening.  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Lakeside Sunset

Lakeside Sunset
6x6, soft pastel

Lakeside Sunset is another in a series of sunrises and sunsets I'm working on...practice, practice, paractice!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sunrise On The Farm

Sunrise On The Farm
6x6, soft pastel

Everytime I visit my daughter, son-in-law, and wonderful grandkids I take sunrise photos.  Why?  Because the land is wide open with few buildings between huge wheatfield farms and the sunrises and sunsets are almost always spectacular!  I have mostly sunrise photos since I'm an early riser...for me, that's the most magical time of day.  That, and I almost always get a chance to visit with my very hardworking son-in-law before his long day begins.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Evening Sky

Evening Sky
6x6, soft pastel


I hope to dig through all my sunset and sunrise pictures to do a few more sky pieces.  I absolutely love this time of year when we seem to get the best sunrises and sunsets.  In the Boise area, we seldom have rain during the summer months so clouds are at a premium...but soon, we'll see more clouds and hopefully a few rain drops too.  Until then, I'll resort to digging up old photos.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Interrogation

Interrogation
6x6, soft pastel


Hmmmm, this painting made me crazy.  I abandoned it...then decided it post it anyway.  I like the subject matter and the composition but I was sooooo distracted doing other things as I painted that the little bugger completely got away from me!  

While painting, I was dialing (and redialed 156 times no less) to make hotel reservations for the International Association of Pastel Society's 2017 convention next year.  I was persistent and redialed repeatedly because the rooms are snatched up really really fast for that particular convention.  I feel very lucky to have gotten one of the last rooms available.  

In addition to that, I was listening to the Senate Banking Committee members grill Mr. John Stumpf (Wells Fargo) for well over 2 hours regarding the recent banking "scandal" at Wells.  I won't even go into my feelings about that....but given the intensity of their interrogation, my painting took on an intense life of it's own.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Maddie's Bowl of Lemons

Maddie's Bowl of Lemons
6x6, soft pastel

I've owned this bowl of lemons for years (yes, they are fake lemons).   Over the years, setting "fake fruit" out in a bowl as part of a savvy decor item became passé.   So of course, I eventually quarantined my beautiful fake fruit to the pantry where they've sat gathering dust for many years.  I've discarded or "donated" most of the fruit except the lemons.   

These three lemons are actually priceless to me.  Not because they are realistic (which they are).  But they're priceless because one day, when my adorable grand-daughter Maddie was quite small (probably 1 1/2 yrs. old), she climbed up onto the breakfast table when I wasn't looking and decided she'd help herself to a lemon...or two.  I imagine she was quite surprised when she tried to bite into a couple of them without success.  If you look closely you can actually see the teeth marks she left behind.  Oh, Maddie...you still make me smile!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Winged Royal Coachman

Winged Royal Coachman
5x7, soft pastel

This is another popular Western fly, the Royal Coachman winged version.  He almost got away from me because my initial sketch wasn't the best in regards to proportions.  My husband kindly reminded me though that it's a common problem even with fly fishermen/women who tie their own flies.  The materials they use can be cumbersome to handle making proper proportions a bugger to achieve.



Monday, September 19, 2016

The Clearing -2

The Clearing - 2
9x12, soft pastel




A second take on The Clearing.  This time with a bit more sunlight coming from beneath the clouds. 

Honey and Sugar

Honey and Sugar
6x6, soft pastel
This is a fun little piece to go with some of the other food related paintings I've done lately for the Sept. 30in30 Challenge. I didn't have a specific theme this time,  just painting whatever comes to mind.  Honey and sugar...what could be sweeter? 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Callibaetis Nymph

Callibaetis Nymph
5x7, soft pastel



Callibaetis are adaptable to extremes and can be found throughout the West in desert ponds, roadside ditches, rivers, streams, lakes and even tidal marshes 365 days a year. They thrive best in waters where trout are also found making them a favorite for trout and fishermen/women alike.   This nymph is all decked out with extra "flashabou" (love the name of those sparkly strands). 



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Yellow Sally

Yellow Sally
5x7, soft pastel 

This fly is another very popular one used in the Northwest....and probably elsewhere.  It gets its name from the yellow body of the fly.  This pattern represents the Western Yellow Stonefly and is a very effective fly for catching trout.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bead Head Nymph

Bead Head Nymph
5x7, soft pastel

I do love the little nymphs...and this one is as colorful as they come.  While I'm not sure the specific species it might be representing...its colors surely will attract the fish!  Nymphs are extremely small...many measuring  approximately 1/2 inch.  When I paint one from life, I typically have to use a magnifying glass to see it.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Clearing

The Clearing
6x6, soft pastel

I haven't painted skies before...so this is my first attempt.  This is a shot taken by my grand-daughter recently who requested a sky painting for her birthday.  This is just a little study...I'm hoping to improve on skies and do a bigger one for her soon.   Skies are a foreign subject matter for me...much more to learn! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tan Caddis Emerger

Tan Caddis Emerger
5x7, soft pastel

After hatching, a nymph lives on a stream or river bottom up to a year (depending on species) and then begins the process of transforming into an adult fly.  The nymph rises ("emerging") to the top of the water where it will continue to develop, molting into an adult fly ("dun" stage).  Once mature (spinner stage), it will take flight and mate.  The females will return to the water to drop their eggs before falling to the water's surface as a "spent spinner".   Sad...but true.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Very Woolly Bugger


Very Woolly Bugger
5x7, soft pastel

This little guy just about got away from me.   I love this fly because of it's "jewelry", the flashing on the tail, metal bead head and wire wrap.  I imagine the black feathery material could prove to be a challenge to control when tying this fly...as it was for me in painting it.  I am back into painting flies for a week or so for a couple reasons.   One, it's time to go fishing (so I can continue with the 30in30 by painting these little guys in the boat) and two,  I just absolutely love painting fishing flies!  

Monday, September 12, 2016

You Going To Eat That?

You Going To Eat That?
6x6, Soft Pastel

I love to eat out, especially breakfast.  While traveling in Oregon recently, we had breakfast in a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The sunlight streaming through the windows turned our ordinary brown tabletop dark blue with beautiful light blue highlights.  Even more gorgeous was the sunlight saturating the single slice of orange left on my husband's plate.   It looked irresistible from my vantage point...thus, the title.   Yum!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Newport Coastline

Newport Coastline
5x7, Soft Pastel



One last Oregon scene before heading home.  The Newport coastline is gorgeous, with its lighthouse in the distance and sand dune beachfront.   I highly recommend driving along the Oregon Coast there's so much to see! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Morning Calm

Morning Calm
6x8, Soft Pastel
Morning Calm was painted in my hotel room while visiting the Oregon Coast.  I particularly like the ocean and all things nautical...especially in the early morning or late evening hours.  Everything seems just a little more sleepy and peaceful. While painting it, I just wanted to climb up in this little dingy and take a nap.  I may paint a larger version of this one since I didn't have my best pastels with me and struggled a bit with getting just the right colors. "We'll see" (that's my new mantra).


Friday, September 9, 2016

Pear-fect!

Pear-fect!
6x6, Soft Pastel

Pear-fect!  While not actually "perfect" (it had quite a few bruises by the time I got to it),  it was sweet little pear that sat snuggly, nestled in the table cloth waiting to be painted.  Then of course I ate it.  At this point, I'm thinking I should take up painting desserts!  How fun would that be?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I Love Stella...Whoever She Is

I Love Stella...Whoever She Is
12 x 3.5, Soft Pastel
Well, I confess the painting above isn't precise...nor my best work.  At all.  But, there's a really good reason why. I made a very big mistake on this one...that is, I started it AFTER I had opened and started drinking it.  BIG mistake for someone who was really looking forward to a "cold one" after a long day of painting. 

If you know me, you know I don't drink much, at most maybe one a day (sorta like a vitamin) but I do love an ice cold Stella!  So, I was forced to paint it exceptionally fast (didn't want it to get cold you know). 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sweet Treat

Sweet Treat
6x6, soft pastel
Most artists paint fruit.  I suppose it's because we typically have fruit in the house and they provide great color for a still life piece.  With just the right lighting, a piece (or pieces) of fruit can glow.  These seedless green grapes were doing just that...glowing from the sunlight.  I'm not particularly proficient at painting fruit...but they sure are fun to try. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Top Shelf

Top Shelf
6x6, Soft Pastel
This is a painting I've been wanting to do for quite awhile...and I'm not sure it turned out as well as I'd like...but, that's the way it goes sometimes.  Painting it larger might help...or giving myself more time than I did (this one was done on the same day as the green grapes...so I was a bit pooped by the end of the day).  I continue to paint things halfway between Impressionism and Realism (not really sure what to call that...Cindyism I guess). 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Plump and Juicy

Plump and Juicy
6x6, soft pastel

What is it about a simple little peeled orange that seems so irresistible?  I set this still life up just like a photo I saw a couple years ago with dramatic lighting to emphasize the translucent qualities of the orange.  I knew while painting this little guy that I would eat it for breakfast...but since it was my first attempt at painting an orange, breakfast time turned into lunchtime.  It took several hours so I was very hungry the whole time. But, I knew I was finally on the right track when the painting began to be as mouthwatering as the real orange.  

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sole Survivor

Sole Survivor
8x6, soft pastel
Sole Survivor was just that...the very last sunflower on my small little pot of sunflowers growing in the front yard.  I like these sunflowers since they stayed small and didn't overtake their space.  I also loved that the all the blooms lasted throughout the summer (I'm used to having to deadhead flowers but not these)...they didn't dry out even a little bit until September.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Frontyard Bouquet

Front Yard Bouquet 
12x9, soft pastel
Day 3 of the Challenge.  I had to resort to picking the few flowers left in the front yard to get the variety of flowers. The red-orange flowers are from a Canna plant and because of the long stalks with flowers along the entire stalk I actually had blooms fully submerged in the water casting all kinds of delicious colorful reflections.  At first I wasn't sure I liked the finished painting but looking over some of Van Gogh's florals, I decided what the heck, the blue background could stay. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Jumped Ship

Jumped Ship
6x6, soft pastel
Day 2 of the 30in30 Challenge is a still life with three of my garden tomatoes.  My tomatoes are typically imperfect in appearance but otherwise delicious.  The larger one kept falling out of the too small bowl I selected and dropped to the floor on more than one occasion.   So I left it on the tabletop (which proved to be a better composition anyway) and then thought "jumped ship" would be just the right title for this one.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Backyard Bouquet

Backyard Bouquet 
12x9, soft pastel

For the past couple years I focused on learning all I could about the use of soft pastels and (for the past twelve months) kept working at landscapes using a traditional realism style.  There are so many great artists (past and present) and I wanted to follow in their footsteps.  So, I tried like heck to temper my use of color over the past year...but I just couldn't achieve what was in my mind's eye.  

I often got bored painting trees, fields, mountains and lakes in realistic colors.  So for the next little while I'll try embracing my weakness for vibrant saturated color.  This style is reminiscent of Fauvism, the Colorists, and reminds me a bit of some of VanGogh's use of over simplification (as in his "Bedroom in Arles") and vibrant use of colors (such as "Starry Night" and "Cafe Terrace at Night"). 

Backyard Bouquet was a gorgeous vase of flowers from my yard sitting next to my favorite oval blue vase sometimes used to hold pens and pencils...all I had to do was add three oranges and I was all set with a colorful still life.  Yum!

Little Brown Eyed Girl

Little Brown Eyed Girl
8x6, soft pastel

Here we are, Sept. 1st once again and the 30in30 Challenge has begun.  The summer rushed by and I didn't accomplish half of what I thought I would.  As I told my oldest daughter recently, "The best laid plans of mice and men, often go astray."   You know how it is.  So many times in life we think we know what our immediate day/week/month will entail only to be cast off in another direction, reminding us that we are simply not in control of our lives.  

Less than a month ago my sweet mother passed away.  She had a full life and at 87 was ready to go.  Ironically, that's about what she weighed (87) when she fell and broke her hip.  With dementia in full control of her mind for the past several years and her body weakened, she sometimes had thoughts of heaven and asked just days before the fall, "When I get to heaven, do you think I'll get a new coat?".   "Oh yes mom!" I told her.  "You can pick out any color you want.  What color will you chose?".  "Oh my!" she exclaimed with sheer glee and a twinkle in her eyes.  "I always wanted a RED coat!".  As a child she lived an impoverished life during The Depression Era and was often hungry...and certainly never had a new coat.  So this thought of what heaven would be like for her simply delighted her.  

Since her passing, I told myself I would someday paint a picture of her with a new red coat and maybe someday I will. The painting above is my mother at the age of six years old wearing her very best clothes for her first grade picture.  Not a new red coat for this little brown eyed girl...but her very best clothes none-the-less.

I had resigned myself to passing on this month's 30in30 Challenge.  I have a lot of things I still want to paint but I just haven't had much inspiration lately.  We'll see.  I have no plans or expectations of how this month will unfold.  I'll take it a day at a time and see where it takes me.  After all, isn't that all we really have anyway?