Friday, December 15, 2017

Payne's Boats

Payne's Boats
6x6, soft pastel
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!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Daybreak Dining


Daybreak Dining
10x8, soft pastel

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.  





Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pears On The Block

Pears On The Block
6x6, soft pastel
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!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

English Roses

English Roses
8x6, oil on linen board

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?

English Roses
8x6, soft pastel


Monday, December 11, 2017

Fresh Bloom

Fresh Bloom
8x6, soft pastel
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.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Holiday Reds

Holiday Reds
8x6, soft pastel
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.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Road Trip To McCall

Road Trip To McCall
6x6, oil on board

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.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Watching Over Her

Watching Over Her
12x12, soft pastel

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".

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Violet and Einstein

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.
Violet
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. 
Einstein
10x8, soft pastel

Hope you enjoy! 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring Canopy

Spring Canopy
6x8, oil on linen

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!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Jar of Peonies

Jar of Peonies
10x8, oil on panel

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!

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Torn Hat...43 yrs. later

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.  


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 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.

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 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!!!

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 ...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!
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!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Love At First Sight

Love At First Sight
6x6, oil on board

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!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Along The Shoreline

Along The Shoreline
12x16, soft pastel

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!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Riffles

Riffles
10x8, oil on board

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!





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dog Days Of Summer

Dog Days Of Summer
5x7, oil on panel



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!!!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lavender Sky

Lavender Sky - Oil
6x6, oil on board


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.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fresh Bouquet

Fresh Bouquet
6x6, oil on board

Fresh Bouquet reminds me of springtime walks in the mountains.  There are an abundance and variety of wildflowers here...always a beautiful site.   I'm soooo looking forward to springtime!


Ok, I couldn't take it any longer...just one bite a day...that couldn't possible hurt could it?


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunflower Bouquet

   
Sunflower Bouquet
6x6, soft pastel 

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.









Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sweets For My Sweet

Sweets For My Sweet
6x6, soft pastel
 
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! 

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Time To Reflect


A Time To Reflect
12x16, soft pastel

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. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Partly Cloudy With A Chance Of Rain

Partly Cloudy With A Chance Of Rain
6x6, oil on board
Oh my..."Partly Cloudy" is....what?   To me, a total mess.  Today's painting is my least favorite so far...oh well.  I just don't necessarily have the stomach to be as loose as I need to be to pull off a good landscape especially with oils.  I should stick with a genre that I don't get bored with...maybe that's my problem.   I also find it tedious to mix colors...it impedes the process (for me anyway).   I guess I need to practice mixing so it's easier to come up with the color I'm looking for a lot faster.


WIP: Untitled, 12x16
On the heels of the above painting...I thought I'd better return to my beloved soft pastels.  In fact, the last two paintings in oil were so disappointing that I've started two larger boat scenes.  One, a familiar kayak scene and the other a small wooden boat.  I don't have titles for them yet.  But here's the progress on the kayak scene.  I love to kayak while my husband is fishing.  This scene reminds me of so many places but especially Horsethief Reservoir near Cascade, ID.   Given the winter we've had, I'm sure looking forward to warm summer months!





Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise
8x10, oil on board
I took an early morning walk the week our temperatures were below zero...so, it was fairly short lived.  But, I did get a few pictures of the colorful early morning sunrise which was just beginning to wake the neighborhood (only a few hours before another snowstorm moved in).  The warm sunlight was a welcomed sight against the frigid cold snow. This one started out much better than it ended up...I must still try to remember not to overwork things! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Piece of Cake

A Piece of Cake
6x6, oil on board


Despite the title...this little piece wasn't necessarily "a piece of cake"...but on some level it was fun to paint.  I did it a couple years ago from an early morning still life on my kitchen table in soft pastels.  I liked it so I tried painting it in oils.  I still prefer the pastel version below.  Eventually I'll know how to mix (and apply) colors better...assuming I stick to experimenting with oils.


Monday, January 16, 2017

White Bouquet

White Bouquet
6x6, oil on board

Painting 17 of 30...one thing I love to paint is glass...especially a vase or jar.  The variation of colors and highlights and reflections are a blast to paint. Of course, a little tougher with oils...but I'm getting there. I think.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Walk To Work

A Walk to Work
9x9, soft pastel

Day 16 of 30 is a study piece from a trip to downtown Boise last spring.  I took many photos in March anticipating a few cityscapes that somehow were pushed to the back burner in 2016.  I still have hopes of completing them someday...so, I pulled one out to practice Desmond O'Hagan's techniques.   I may have to abandon my "painterly" technique!




Saturday, January 14, 2017

Little Red

Little Red
12x16, soft pastel

Painting 15 of 30:  Little Red is finished.  It's always a toss up to be detailed vs. painterly....my style is somewhere in between.   I like definition...but too much detail and too much precision leads to stiff unnatural paintings with less expression.  If I was painting photorealistic then I'd put much more detail in.  So it's a fine balance every artist has to decide for him or herself when to stop and "let it be".   

This particular scene reminds me of myself.  I'm pretty darn petite...ok, I'm downright SHORT at a whopping 5'0".  Pretty much everyone seems to tower over me.  So I can identify wih this little dingy sitting side by side tied to a manmouth ship.  We may both be small...but we're so dang cute...lol.  Of course the older we get, we get a little rough around the edges.