I've been studying the masters recently. Primarily focusing on the styles of John F. Carlson, Edgar Payne and Vincent VanGogh. This one is Vincent Van Gogh's "Landscape At Twilight" aka "Landscape With The Chateau of Auvers at Sunset", 1890. This piece has lighter more vibrant colors than his original...but it is his style that I was most interested in trying out. He painted this near the time of his death in July, 1890.
Tomorrow commences the Straeda 31 Day Challenge which I plan on attempting. I hope to focus mostly on plein air landscapes...maybe with an interior or still life thrown in. Wish me luck.
This is a study of Edgar Payne's Canyon De Chelly Sunset. I turned it into a square format not realizing the original was rectangular. So, I made a few changes while studying his "brushwork" with my soft pastels. It was quite fun for me to add more vibrant colors than his...something I still have a hard time taming. Ha! Maybe I'll just stop trying to tame it.
Sophie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge recently...so this is a piece for her "mom" to help ease the huge loss she's surely feeling. All I really know about Sophie is that she was constantly getting into the trees and shrubs in the yard (something our little Benny is very talented at doing too). This is a favorite image of her mom's because she had that look that all little "kids" have when they know they may be in trouble...but they just couldn't help themselves. A beautiful sweet Goldendoodle! Of course this means I will need to paint Bennington...maybe some day soon.
I doubt that I'll ever be on a sail boat. While it always looks quite thrilling, I imagine all the tilting and swaying wouldn't be up my alley...but who know's, maybe someday. For now, I'm content studying them from the shoreline with my feet firmly rooted to the ground. Or, better yet, laying in a hammock on the beach sipping something cold.
I'm always tempted to paint realistically but for this one I really tried to paint in a "Edgar Payne Impressionistic" style to help depict the feeling of a very windy day on the water.
A little tribute to my mother-in-law who left us far too soon. I have fond memories of her picking out this little ceramic bird. She displayed three of them in her kitchen window for many years...a great reminder to me of the time we spent together. The sunflowers certainly take center stage in this painting with the drama of the late evening sun highlighting their petals...but the tiny bird is there as my muse. A sweet reminder of a wonderful lady.
Another boat/kayak piece that "missed the blogging boat" last spring. This scene is a familiar one (in Cascade, Idaho) where there's always several kayakers to watch as they teach or compete at the Kelly Whitewater Park. If you're ever driving up Hwy. 55 be sure and stop by to watch...it's mesmerizing!
A second oil painting that somehow missed the Blog last spring....too many art shows and not enough time, ha!
This piece is one of a handful of oil paintings I've done this year. I'm really enjoying oil painting...but the cleanup, drying time and varnishing adds much more precious time to the process. I will plan on doing more pieces though because I love the challenge of a new (to me) medium...oh, to be young again! I wish I had a whole life ahead of me to explore...but then none of us know just how long we have here on earth, so I'm content to fit it into my life now while I have the passion to do so.
John F. Carlson was one of the leading landscape and snowscape painters in America in the early 20th century. He also authored a book "Carlson's guide to Landscape Painting" which is extremely popular with landscape artists...a must read that's currently still on my "must read" list. I'm sure I'll get to it someday.
For this piece, I took a bit of liberty with the colors I chose compared to those in his exceptional piece. However, my purpose with this painting was to practice a snowy landscape and not actually copy his piece. I'm happy to put my own little spin on it. It's actually a scene very similar to one I see often while walking the dog in Cascade.
Edgar Payne was born in Washburn, Missouri in 1882 and lived and worked as an artist until his death in 1947. He is considered one of America's leading Impressionistic landscape artists painting in the plein air fashion (painting outdoors).
Because I have such a challenge in controlling color, I was drawn to his colorful marine scenes packed full of vibrant colors and a very loose style...so, here is a small marine scene, not a copy but inspired by one of his pieces. I just love painting boats and water...is it because I grew up along the Mississippi River? I don't know. I would have to say though, my current passion is centered around boats, water and fishing flies. Can't get enough!
This little vignette is from my mini-retreat to Cascade. While there I found an interesting You Tube art video on Pierre Bonnard. Mr. Bonnard was a French painter and a founding member of the Post-Impressionsits group of avant-garde painters Les Nabis. His scenes were often colorful intimate scenes of interiors where empty spaces played a big part in his composition and the items appear to be randomly paced, yet work together.
After so much time off this summer to train a new puppy (someday I'll paint him), I went to Cascade for a couple days to just paint. Being an a fine art artist is like being a performing artist, if you don't use it...you lose it. With that thought in mind and knowing I only painted a handful of pieces this past summer, I had low expectations. It was simply to practice..but I must say, I had a blast. On this particular morning I simply painted what I would soon devour. These two pears were super ripe...and super sweet. The memory of their sweetness remains. Yum!
During October I took an online course from the ever talented Dennis Perin. Dennis is so very talented at capturing the light in oil and is an excellent instructor (check it out at www.theperrinmethod.com).
One thing I really enjoy is to paint a piece in oil and then soft pastel or vice versa. Above is my oil piece and below you'll find my soft pastel piece. Do you have a favorite? I'm just not sure which one I like over the other. That's the funny thing about being the artist...it's tough to be objective. Also, we're typically super critical of our work. After three and a half years of painting, I'm getting better at quieting down that critical voice in my head and just letting things be. That said, I'm still very much in pursuit of my masterpiece. Will it ever materialize?
A lighter view of a poinsettia bloom than the previous "Holiday Reds". This one reminds me of springtime for some reason...I think it's the variety of greens. The paper I'm using for both poinsettia paintings is Pastel Premier. It's not the paper I typically use and I'm not sure how I feel about it...it doesn't alway want to grab onto the pastel which then requires stronger mark making...so, I went with it and just shot for a little more punch to my strokes. I'm tempted to try this one again on a different paper.
Our local plein air group usually paints throughout the winter months at Edward's Greenhouse in Boise. The temperature is just right for painting and we typically have a plethora of subjects to paint...especially during the holidays when the poinsettias are in bloom.
This is a piece I did last spring that sold before I got a chance to blog about it. It's a very familiar scene to those living in the Boise area who often trek into the foothills and beyond to Cascade or McCall for a little camping, fishing and/or boating. Often, the ride is during the early morning hours when sunlight is just peaking over the tops of the mountain peaks. Always a beautiful site.
Every autumn there is a heritage festival in Odessa, Washington call Deutschesfest. In addition to great food and music there are a number of events planned for children and adults. My favorite are the children's chalk drawing contest (no surprise there) and the tricycle races. This painting was based on a photo I took ten years ago of my granddaughter and a classmate at the starting line as they take out down Main Street. The funny part of this piece is how her classmate Pilot is "Watching Over Her"...seeming to be more concerned for her, than winning the race. We now realize that every photo we have of these two is the same...side by side throughout the years. So it's no surprise that they are now high school sweethearts. And yes, he's still "Watching Over Her".
The past couple months have been crazy busy for me. I've been involved with five local shows starting with The City of Meridian's Initial Point Gallery, then on to Meadow Lake Village in Meridian, Zions Bank in Boise, Finer Frames Gallery in Eagle and wrapping up for the month of June at Meraki Greek Street Food Restaurant in downtown Boise. While most of these shows were well worth the effort...alas, each one takes a lot of preparation and takes away from my painting time. The few pieces I did complete over the past two months aren't necessarily worthy of sharing...with the exception of these two.
Violet is a goldendoodle who is the mama of our new pup Bennington. Bennington is old enough to come home this coming week...so life is about to get VERY interesting around here (I've been consuming massive You Tube videos on how to train a pup). I love Violet...she is an amazing mama to her pups.
6x6, soft pastel
The second finished piece is Einstein. He had a nice long life and passed away recently. I'm sure his family misses him terribly. This piece is for our neighbors who are Einstein's grand pup-parents.
A little plein air painting in our neighborhood. This time of year the flowering trees provide an explosion of color and a gorgeous canopy to walk under as we stroll the pathways that run throughout our neighborhood. I couldn't resist!
I'm so glad spring is here! My peonies are going like gangbusters. Even though they haven't bloomed yet, they're going to be abundant this year. As soon as they appear, I'm sure I'll be setting up more still lifes to capture their brilliance. This little still life is in anticipation of that moment. Another stab at oil painting.
I'm finding that I love painting with either oils or soft pastels...the challenge (for me) is in deciding which one to choose when planning a painting. With oils...I have to wait for the painting to dry...then, varnish. The big payoff with oils is that I can put them directly into an open frame...whereas, pastels require glass. When I do paint with pastels, I've been trying to frame them with non-glare glass. This makes a big difference in presentation...especially for art shows but drives up the cost of framing. With oils, I'm still learning the finesse of applying varnish. Ah, the challenges of each medium! Still......I'm having a blast!
It only took 43 yrs. to finally get around to putting a coat of varnish on this little guy. This painting holds a special place in my heart. It's not particularly well done but it was my first attempt at painting during a semester of art classes as a senior in high school....some, 43 years ago. Holy cow, where did the time go??
This painting is a stab at replicating the American artist Thomas Sully's painting of his nine year old son and for me represents the love of a child and the innocence in us all. The original The Torn Hat (1820) resides in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Someday, I'll visit there and check it off my bucket list! I chose this painting because of the wonderful light streaming through the torn hat and the pinkish glow of his cheek. It is a painting that I may have to take another stab at sometime soon...just for fun.
My mother, bless her heart, always had this painting hanging somewhere in her house. I'm thankful she held onto it. Since her passing last Aug. I've often looked at this painting hanging in my studio and thought of her...and her solid devotion to her children. She spent her entire life caring for us. Even as we entered our own retirement years. She was spunky, set in her ways and hard working. She devoted her life to her children and never lost sight of the importance of each family member. In her honor, I felt I should care a bit more for this painting. So I carefully took it down, unframed it and varnished it for the first time. It's now back on the wall watching over the studio reminding me of my mother and the great love a parent has for his or her own child.
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.
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 medium...at 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.
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 it...it 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 painting...my 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!!!
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!!
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 ...it'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 hours...my favorite time of day!
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!
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).
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!
Day 29 of 30....Once again I found a really good reason to by a sweet treat at the grocery store. After all, finding just the right prop is critical for a good painting. It was all for the sake of art. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! This little guy was gone before the painting was even finished.
WIP: I started with a drawing of an earlier oil painting I did of this scene. Then I began washing the pastel underpainting down with alcohol when I noticed the initial drawing wasn't right....so, back to the proverbial drawing board for this one! I wasn't paying too much attention...just playing around. Oh well...live and learn, and learn, and learn!
Along The Shoreline is most likely my favorite painting during the January 30in30. Unfortunately the photo doesn't really pick up the true blue and green colors in the water...I'm assuming it may be because of the strong red dominating the center. Being much larger than the typical 6x6 paintings I often do for the Challenge, it took a week or so to paint. Painting larger is easier for me if I paint each day, not expecting to complete it all in one go. Of course, I like the variations of red...but I also like the water and all the trees reflecting in it that were along the shoreline....thus, the title. I will surely hate to part with this one!
I actually painted this on Jan. 21st during a workshop conducted by Mark Davis of Boise. Thanks for the reference photo Mark! The workshop was at Edward's Greenhouse which was a great environment for a mid-winter workshop. We focused on painting water. And, because I am new to oils, I thought I'd better get "my feet wet" with oils so to speak.
My husband (who is a fly fisherman) says these types of waters are called 'riffles"...thus, the title. It was great to get out and about after so much snow! Hope you enjoy it!
WIP: This little guy below is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I know, I say that all the time for the paintings I like...but really, this one has been absolutely painting itself!
Day 26 of 30 is a cute little scene. It reminds me of the Oregon Coast trips we took with our dogs when they were still with us. Running and playing on the beach was there very favorite thing to do! I sure miss them!!!
I really love the feel of this scene and will probably tackle it in pastel too. I've been having fun playing with texture by applying a primer on the board before I begin...but it backfired a bit in one area of the sky where the refracting light is a bit distracting....at least to me. Painting on 6x6 sizes for oils this month has been less intimidating...but I can see where it would actually be much easier painting larger sizes in oil. Sometimes I have to resort to tiny brushes and it becomes too tedious. I'll put that on my to-do list.
Sunflower Bouquet started out as a completely different bouquet of flowers...in fact, I scrubbed off two different attempts and had no expectations that anything would work. This one worked well enough to call it finished and get on with what was left of my day. Much of it came from imagination mixed with a bit of perseverance.
WIP: Untitled, 16x12
I remembered to take a picture of the sketch...so here it is. This particular little boat has got to be a classic wooden boat. I don't know the make or model or even year but I like the head-on view.
This paper (Wallis) is mounted on foam core. I had a small tear in the sanded paper so I re-adhered the seam and covered it with Art Spectrum's Colourfix Primer. I'll have to see if it's enough texture for the pastel to cover it. With the water reflections on that side of the boat, I think it's going to be fine (a little inside story on this one).
Once again, I'm drawn to the boat's strong colors and reflections in the water.
This is day 22 of 30 and I'm conflicted with this little still life. Not with the painting itself but what to do with the prop after I've finished. This tiny morsel is made of a mini-brownie so it's not too bad for me right? Or, do I stick to my New Year's resolution to cut back on sweets and give it to one of the neighbor kids? It's hardly big enough for one or two bites...so there's another dilemma...there are three kids next door. What to do....what to do!
Some evenings the softened sunlight gives everything a rosy glow. As it's doing in this painting. I love Idaho. We have some pretty wild waters (perfect for kayaking especially for the pros) but my preference is quietly paddling along the shoreline. There you can view all kinds of wildlife and just leisurely reflect on life and our many blessings.