Wednesday, December 30, 2009
When I entered Joanne's house I was greeted with the fragrance of warm bread. My mouth watered. However, this loaf was not for lunch. It was part of our still life for the day. I didn't particularly like this set up when I began. It seemed so plain and so monochromatic. As I worked along I really got into both of those qualities. I feel the result to be quite warm and comforting. Perhaps that aroma of baking bread crept into the painting. This is my last painting for the year of 2009, and is my New Years painting. While making this painting I decided I would like to make paintings of food for awhile. I think this is the beginning of a new series. May the New Year sustain you like this warm loaf of bread, and may there also be sweetness in your life. The Ray for the Day is "The Staff of Life".
Three weeks ago, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my friend Joanne Shellan and I decided to start a weekly painting date. We are taking turns going to one another's studios to do oil paintings. For the time being we are focusing on still life paintings. I made this set up of Fall leaves and fruit and we each went into our personal painting zones. While I'm painting I am in the non- verbal part of my brain and it is a delicious place to be. It is not always comfortable, or blissful as some people think. At least not for me. A painting is a series of problems to solve and each stage of the painting presents a different set of problems. Along with the regular decisions to make regarding composition, color, line, and all the rest, I am learning to use the tools of oil painting. Though there are times of frustration and even anger it is, all in all, a very satisfying experience. The Ray for the Day is "Fall Leaves and Fruit".
Saturday, September 5, 2009
During the afternoon of the second day we moved all of our gear to the pier at the end of Tayor St. in downtown Port Townsend. It was hard to find parking and it was hot. We finally all arrived there and watched Ken do a demo. By the time I got my gear all set up again I was, quite frankly, ready to be done. There wasn't much time left but I wanted to get whatever I could get from the workshop. In this painting I learned that if you don't get your darks in right away in oil painting it is very hard to establish them later. Therefore I don't have as much value contrast in this study as I would like. Now I know better. On the third day of the workshop we watched Ken show us how he uses his plein air study and some photo references to create a larger more finished work. In the afternoon he critiqued paintings. Those who oil paint a lot and live in Port Townsend (most of them) brought lots of paintings. Watching the critique was also a good learning. The Ray for the Day is "Taylor Street".
Thursday, September 3, 2009
On the morning of the second day of the workshop we met at Port Hudson. Ken did a demo using the Commodore's House B&B as his subject. I liked the subject and felt I could learn a lot by following Ken's lead. Also there was a picnic table to put my stuff on and it was in the shade of a wonderful large tree. Finding comfort while plein aire oil painting seems to be a theme here, eh?So this is not an original composition. I enjoyed making the painting and had plenty of decisions to make on my own. By this time I am getting a bit more comfortable with the way the paint and the brushes behave. The shadow on the doorway moved fast, and I worked hard to capture it when it was at a pleasing angle. The Ray for the Day is "The Commodore's Doorway".
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Still day one of the oil painting workshop with Ken Spencer. Our assignment was to make at least two oil studies during the day. It was hot and the thought of packing up all my equipment and moving to a new location seemed onerous to me. Since I am new to this medium my equipment is not yet streamlined. What I have is heavy and awkward. If I stick with this I will be getting more manageable gear. I love buying new art supplies. All of that being said, I decided to stay right where I was a do a different take on the same subject. BTW besides learning things about oil painting itself I also learned a great deal about gear and supplies. And so the Ray for Day is "Ajax Again".
Monday, August 31, 2009
Last week I spent 3 days in Port Townsend taking an oil painting class from Ken Spencer, a terrific painter and really good teacher. He paints all prima, meaning the first strokes are still wet when he puts on the last. My kind of painting. This was my first class in oil painting and I learned a great deal. The medium, of course, feels foreign to me. The feel of the paint is delicious, the brushes seem a bit like blunt instruments. I feel certain, with time, I will learn the properties of the paint and how to use the brushes. We painted outdoors for all three days. The weather was delicious. This is the Ajax Cafe in Port Hudson, a charming cafe with delicious food. It was hard being a beginner. I'm sure it was very good for me. I worked hard. The Ray for the Day is "Ajax Doorway".
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
On the afternoon of day 2 I was sitting in the shade close to the ranch house talking painting with one of my painter friends. I kept looking at these trees, the golden hills behind them that roll on and on, the clear sky and the wonderful varieties of texture in the grass between me and the trees. Once again, the contrast of the hot hills and the cool shade and the colors of that landscape were working their way into my bones. The Ray for the Day is "Sweet Spot in the Shade".
Thursday, July 9, 2009
When I had finished The Rusted Relic there was still one hour left before lunch. I had energy for painting and decided to do a "quickie" of the red door slightly ajar. Again I was captured by the stark contrasts. It was nearly noon and the yard was hot and the light was flat. The neutral grays of the barn boards were washed out in the sunlight. The red door popped out, and the cool, dark interior seen through the slight opening in the door seemed very inviting to me. It was, in fact, very cool inside that barn. I went in there to the sink to get water and to wet my paper. I started this painting with the red door and went out from there. Using a two inch wide brush (I lay in all the local color with that brush) to splash on that rectangle of red was quite thrilling. The Ray for the Day is "Red Door to the Barn".
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
On the morning of day two I could not resist this wonderful rusting relic. I was grateful that it was situated in a shady grove. It was hard to find a flat spot to set up on, though my easel has adjustable legs, so I could get that set up securely. I prefer to stand when I am painting. It gives me more freedom of movement. I always carry a folding back pack chair though, so I can sit back, view the painting and rest my back for a bit. This subject was a no brainer for me, as I am so attracted to old rusting stuff. I was especially attracted to the seat on this piece of machinery. I loved the holes with the light coming through. The bugs were out en force on this morning. Fortunately a fellow painter and friend, Barb, had heard that Avon's Skin So Soft was a good bug repellant. It also makes your skin so soft. It smells good and it really worked. So I was able to paint in relative comfort. The bugs stayed away and I smelled good. One of the challenges of painting in hot weather is that the paint dries very rapidly. I generally paint wet paint on wet paper. I had a squirt bottle handy, and regularly squirted the paper, my palette and myself! We all had to adapt to the circumstances and found ways to accomodate to the quickly drying paint, and to the heat. Some were wearing wet head rags and wet t-shirts to keep themselves comfortable. The Ray for the Day is "Rusted Relic".
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Over the 4th of July weekend 20 of us (most of us watercolorists, some spouses) convened at the Ranch of a friend's family in Golendale, WA. Some of us were in the large comfortable ranch house, some were in tents on the lawn under oak trees. We hired a cook (the food was divine and plentiful), rented a portapotty, and had a phenomenally good time. We spread out over the 240 acres, some on foot, some in the wonderful all terrain Gator vehicle, some stayed close to the house. Mostly we sought shade. It was well into the 90's every day. All of the views were fabulous and fun to paint. We gathered for lunch and dinner and evening critiques of the work done during the day. Other than that we were on our own to explore, paint, nap, read, visit. It was a heavenly 4 days. I painted 8 paintings during our stay. 1 I gave to our hostess and 1 is not worth posting. The rest will be posted here over the next few days in the order in which I painted them. Of course each has a story. The posting for today is the one I did the first morning. The sun was coming up and back lighting this outbuilding known as The Hay Barn or The Goat Barn. I was especially entranced with the sunlight coming through the hay bales, and the the contrast between the very bright morning sun and the deep cool shadows in the barn. The Ray for the Day is "Early Morning at the Hay Barn".
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Saturday night I returned from 2 weeks in Mexico. When the Wednesday night painters met I was still mostly in Mexico and could only paint a Mexican scene. While I was in Mexico I sold all the paintings I had painted there during my last trip. Once again I paid for my trip in paintings! It must be that I am meant to be going there. I didn't have time to paint while there this time though. We were busy doing business about our house and hanging paintings, masks and other artwork. Our casa looks more cozy with each visit. The Ray for this Day is "Mexican Street Scene".
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Okay, so yesterday I had a watercolor student here for a session. I made this little painting to demonstrate some of the techniques I was teaching her. I find this little painting quite enchanting. We all know how much I love old stuff, especially trucks. Sometimes when I'm not trying too hard I like what I get. The Ray for the Day is "Sweet Green Machine".
Monday, June 1, 2009
Not much painting going on around here lately. Traveling has been using my time lately. And I'm off to Mexico for another couple of weeks leaving Saturday. However, I did make it to Wednesday Night Group. We met at the Wooden Boat Center on Lake Union. It was sunny and fine for the first hour, and then started getting windy and cold. We were so eager to get outside to paint that we sort of jumped the gun. I threw this painting together so I could get back to where it was warm. I like the slap-dash of it and that it is kind of wacky-woo and fanciful. It was fun flinging paint. The Ray for the Day is "Big Red Ship" (on a cold Spring evening).
Saturday, May 16, 2009
A few weeks ago a woman contacted me who had seen my work a couple of years ago and felt I might be able to help her further her painting goals. Yesterday we met to paint together, and I was gratified to realize how much I have learned and discovered during my 9 years doing watercolor painting. It was fun to pass it on. We talked about composition and how to use a view finder and a camera as tools for composing a painting. I also showed her how to use a grid to assist with drawing and composition. We painted wet on wet and talked about using warms and cools, varieties of brush strokes and other methods to enliven a painting. As I think of it now, we covered quite a bit in our 4 hours together. She had particularly liked a small painting I did of a pile of rolls of tape, so we decided to stack up some tape for a still life for our paintings. The Ray for the Day is "Stack o' Tape".
Thursday, May 14, 2009
For the past couple of weeks I have been spending my time cleaning my studio, preparing my work, cleaning the yard, in preparation for the annual Artist Studio Tour. The last few days have been for recovery. No time for painting. The tour was a good success, many people turned out, lots of compliments on my work, and good enough sales (considering the state of the economy). Last night I went to the Wednesday Night Watercolor Group and, once again, used the Mike Svob method of laying in the darks with acrylic, throwing in the middle values and then re-finding the lights using thick white paint. I don't know how long I will use this method. for now it is a fun new way to approach a painting. The Ray for Today is "Wagon Tale".
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday evening, at the NW Watercolor Society meeting, I saw Mike Svob demonstrate his method for acrylic painting. He laid in all his darks with black gesso. Then he threw on a riot of color in what seemed like a random way. In so doing he had established his darks and his mid-tones. Then we went into the painting with paint mixed with white to introduce the lights and high lights. It looked like fun, and seemed logical. He said he does this also with watercolor by laying in the darks with acrylics and then proceeding with watercolor. So last night I decided to use his method with watercolor. It was a really enjoyable process, and I am happy with the result. I think I will do some more paintings in this way. The Ray for the Day is "Can Cart".
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
So here's the famous sink, all hooked up. I really am so pleased. It is not only useful for cleaning up art tools, it is also useful for cleaning and preparing my studio for the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour which is happening 1 1/2 short weeks from now. And because I think a photo of a sink can't be too entertaining here is my Wednesday Night Watercolor, the Ray for the Day is "All Geared Up". (in more ways than one, I guess)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Closet as it was
No painting going on in my studio this past week because I am doing a little remodeling. I've needed a utility sink in here for 3 years. At last it is here. Now that I am oil painting I really need an "art sink" for clean up. Just doesn't seem right to clean oil brushes in the kitchen sink. But to put in the sink I had to figure out where to put my desk. I had an "aha" about an under utilized closet, and decided to build my desk into the closet to make way for the sink. I am pleased with results. Since the Kirkland Art Studio Tour is just two weeks away, I am also in my annual clean up the studio frenzy. The Ray for the Day is the before and after of the studio reconstruction.
Friday, April 17, 2009
So cherry pie has been on my brain lately. It could be that I have put myself on a weight loss program. More likely it is that some dear friends of mine are on a quest to find the best piece of cherry pie in New Jersey. This is a serious quest, and my friend is a serious writer. She has a blog called Jersey Pie and it is wonderful to read. www.jerseypie.blogspot.com, in case you are interested. My pie quest friend's mother is also a good friend of mine, and at a dinner party recently she read parts of Jersey Pie and then produced, for our enjoyment, a succulent and beautiful cherry pie. The crust was flaky and tender, the cherries plump and plentiful, the tang/sweetness ratio just right. I went off my diet. I also could not resist taking a picture of my slice, and I have been dying to paint it. The Ray for the Day is "The Slice."
Thursday, April 16, 2009
A couple of years ago my Dad took me to visit a friend of his who lived out in the country near Battleground WA. He wanted me to see his old farm equipment collection. And what a collection it was! These wonderful old, rusty, who knows what they were used for pieces of equipment were arranged nicely in his front yard. Each item was an art piece in and of itself, and the whole collection was quite awesome. The sun was out and the shadows were great and I had a wonderful time taking photos. For several years I have thought of painting these objects. Last night at my watercolor group I did the first one. The Ray for the Day is "Olde Wheelie Dealie".
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Earlier this week I attended a Women Painter's of WA meeting in Edmonds, a small town north of Seattle. After the meeting I was very hungry, and remembered a restaurant there that has really fabulous French onion soup. So, of course, I went there. After eating my delicious soup I was on my way to the rest room when I noticed the chef in the kitchen. He looked like a painting wanting to happen. I felt very nervous to ask him if I could take his photo, but asked a waitress who made a scared face and then pointed to another waitress and said "she is his daughter.....ask her." The daughter also made a little grimace, and I was about to leave when she said, "Wait! you could not take it while he was cooking, but there is a little lull right now. I'll ask him." I waited nervously, but then was summoned to the kitchen where the very interesting looking chef was most gracious. They all told me they want me to return and show them the painting when it is finished. So, the Ray for the Day is "Contented Chef".
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Several months ago a woman contacted me by email telling me she had seen my work and liked it very much. She wondered if I would make a watercolor painting of her son. You know by now that I find commissions very hard. How can I depict these people in a way that feels like them to them, and still make my own painting? I told this woman I could not promise a likeness, but would work for the feeling of the moment, this special place in their lives, the atmosphere of the day, and something about the relationship between the mother and son. I like my paintings to evoke emotion rather than to be factually correct. I hope this painting works for her. As in all my commissions she is under no obligation to purchase the painting. So it has been a dip back into watercolor. I'm now planning my next oil painting. The Ray for the Day is "Me and My Shadow."
Thursday, April 2, 2009
While waiting in a Seattle restaurant for a friend to show up for lunch the other day I (as usual) began to see painting compositions around me. Since I always have my camera with me, I took a few photos. Before going to the restaurant I had gone to Utrecht Art Supply Store to buy oil paints (Gamblin) and supports for oil painting. I bought both linen and canvas covered panels. This painting was done on a linen covered panel. So far (in my short history as an oil painter) I prefer the firmness of a panel to the "give" of stretched canvas. I absolutely love the feeling of the brush gliding the oil paint onto the panel, and the lushness of the pigments. The Ray for the Day is "Lunch Date".
Friday, March 27, 2009
And so...it is finished....at least for now. My first portrait in oil paint. I have never felt particularly interested in either portraits or oil paint! Never say never. So my friend and colleague, Joanne, and I have decided to set up some more sittings and keep practicing with oil paints. I find myself wondering what I really want to paint with oil. Trucks? Boats? Interiors? Chairs? All familiar subject matter for me. While I'm figuring that out I will learn more by reading, looking and doing more portraits. At least you won't have to see this one again for awhile. The Ray for the Day is "Church Lady."
Thursday, March 26, 2009
So today I worked on this portrait some more. Now I have gotten the hand, intensified the colors, and lost the face. Soon I will have it. Since I have not been a portrait painter, or an oil painter it's all learning curve. Oil paint is so much fun to use. I am having fun. Am obsessed. Can't wait to work on this some more. The Ray for the Day is .... not there yet, but close.
I met this wonderful old truck this past weekend up near Duvall. My husband and I were checking out a retreat center for our annual Summer family gathering. We found our place at Mosswood Hollow, and also this grand old girl. I couldn't wait to paint it. I'm sure I'll paint it again. I did this last evening in my Wednesday Night Watercolor Consortium, a group that has been meeting for nearly 20 years. Today I will work on the oil portrait that I started. The Ray for the Day is "Grand Old Girl".
Monday, March 23, 2009
So I'm obsessed with learning to oil paint. I went back to Joanne's today and worked awhile more on this portrait. Tonight I'm going to see Ned Mueller do an oil painting demonstration at Parklane Gallery. It will be interesting to see what this painting becomes. The Ray for today is that I am not done yet, but having fun.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Today I went to my friend, Joanne's, studio to try my hand at oil painting. I have painted in many media, and made monoprints and worked with photos, yet this is my very first time to paint with oil paint and brushes! It was so much fun. Oil paint is so creamy and delicious to work with. Joanne hired a beautiful friend to model, set up an easel for me and squeezed out these gorgeous oil colors and we worked side by side. Joanne made a really gorgeous painting. I made a pretty good start, but need to work more on this. I can hardly wait 'til I can go back and try to improve this painting. When I feel it's a better painting I will post it again.I have no idea how far I will go with oils, but I'm not ready to stop yet. Tomorrow night I will go to an oil painting demonstration and learn some more. The Ray for the day is another new beginning.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Remember last Friday when I started a small oil bar painting of a row boat as a demonstration for a 2 day oil bar workshop? Today was the last day of the workshop and I completed the painting. My student nearly completed hers, and was very happy with her painting and with what she learned. I'm thinking of offering further workshops in oil bar and watercolor. The Ray for the Day is "Adrift."
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Every once in awhile someone wants me to paint a picture of them or of their child. This is the most difficult sort of painting I ever do. I find myself dreading and being afraid of starting the painting. I feel it is a "can't win" situation. Especially since my favorite subject matter lately is close ups of stuff......preferably old worn out stuff. Anyhow, I could not turn down this woman who I have known since she was 4. She and her man are both very attractive people, inside and out, but one of the "dreaded" assignments. Somewhere along the line after I had written her that she should not expect a likeness and I don't do portraits and all the other caveats I could come up with, she wrote me an email saying "we know what we look like.....we just like the way you paint and would like you to paint it." How lovely is that? Her confidence in my work freed me to make this painting. I hope she will be happy with it. The Ray for the Day is "Jason's Birthday Present."
Sunday, March 15, 2009
On this snowy, cold day in March (yet) I desire to return to Mexico. Boquita Beach is the beach very near our casa where we walk and sit and nap and swim and order goodies from the palapa beach bars. You can rent an umbrella with table and chairs for 60 pesos (around $4.00 these days....or a little less) and spend the day surrounded by Mexican families. Many bring coolers full of food and drink, and maybe a boom box playing the ever present musica of Mexico. Many aunts and uncles and grandmas and kids and grandkids gather around to laugh and talk and play the day away. Lots of talking and laughing. Do we do that with our families? The Ray for the Day is "Back to Boquita Beach."
Saturday, March 14, 2009
It's been a couple of years since I have painted with oilbars, because I have been concentrating on watercolor. A woman who has seen my oilbar work has been asking me for some time if I would be willing to give her instruction in the use of them. Finally yesterday we got together for the morning and we each started a painting using this very interesting medium. At some point in the making of an oilbar painting the piece becomes too oily to continue to work on. At that point you need to leave it for a few days to allow the oil to form a skin, then you can begin to layer color on top of color. This little rowboat painting now has it's first layers of color. Next friday we will work on our paintings to begin to develop them further. Tune in next friday or saturday to see where this little rowboat painting is headed. The Ray for the Day is the beginning of an oilbar painting.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The artist reception at TPN last night was a wonderful success! Thanks to those of you who showed up (you were many), and if you couldn't make it but would still like to see the show you can view it on work days during work hours anytime until the end of May.
While in Mexico we do much of our shopping and business in the small village of Santiago near our casa. The scenes on the street are always colorful and enjoyable for a visual person like myself. This motorciclete parked in front of a tienda selling rugs, serapes, hats and other things caught my eye. It is just the kind of subject I love to paint. Just looking at this painting reminds me of how wonderful it feels to be in hot weather! What is it about vehicles that turns my crank? Anyway, the Ray for the Day is "Hot Wheels."
Sunday, March 8, 2009
This coming Wednesday, from 5:30 til 7:30 there will be an artist's reception for this 4 person show at TPN Walls (The Production Network) at 1000 N. Northlake Way. I am proud to be in this show and think the venue is terrific. The best way I can tell you to get there is to go south on Stone Way as far as you can go and then turn right (west). You will be in Industrial Fremont, between the Burke-Gilman Trail and Lake Union. TPN is on the right and well marked. I have 14 paintings in the show, all inspired by my love of all things old, used and rusty and my 3 years of hitch-hiking on sailboats. My book, Sea Stories, will also be available at this reception. There will be snacks and libations. My posting for the day is my invitation to you to join me at TPN.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Bougainvillea grows verdantly and vibrantly around Casa Amanecer. The colors range from deep burgundy to soft salmon. One of my favorites is called Supresa (surprise!) and is a mix of white and pink. On my recent visit we went to the nursery and purchased even more bougainvillea for our yard, plus other beautiful tropical plants, some that will climb on our terrace arbor, some with leaves the size of elephant's ears. The plants in the nursery were so beautiful and exotic that we stayed a couple of hours just wandering and exclaiming even though it was very hot and very dusty. We left drenched with sweat and covered with dust and very happy. We always have sprigs of this vibrant flower around the house. This particular sprig of hot pink was in a little vase we bought in Tonola on our whirl-wind trip for finding furnishings. The posting for the day is "hot Pink".
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
This colorful fellow and his companion (later post) live on the kitchen walls at Casa Amanecer, along with the occasional live one. These little sculptures are common and can be purchased everywhere. Our critturs, however, were collected when we were on a whirlwind trip around Mexico collecting furniture and folk art to furnish our casa. We had a blast going from Guadalajara to Tonola to San Miguel de Allende to Dolores Hidalgo. We were visiting the furniture and folk art factories where we met the artisans, had great adventures, and made new friends. On the outskirts of Dolores Hidalgo we stopped at a roadside ceramic factory and, among other treasures, we found our kitchen pets. The posting for today is "Colorful Crittur #1".
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
So my heart still lingers in Manzanillo and basks in the sun. It's mornng here at my neighbor's house and we're about to sit down to share breakfast and some conversation. It is "Morning at Casa Maya".
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
It's been way too long since I have blogged. Since my last entry I have been to Mexico three times, overseen the remodel of a casa we own with a friend in Mexico, self published my book "Sea Stories", opened (and closed) a two person show at Parklane Gallery in Kirkland, moved my Dad to assisted living, and other life happenings that have pushed blogging to the bottom of the list. While spending the past month in our Casa Amanecer in Manzanillo Mexico I made several small paintings. I will be posting them over the next few days. These little paintings are all typical scenes in and around our casa. This potted plant sits on our front terrace, under a palapa roof, with a view of the Pacific Ocean and Juluapan Peninsula. "Lucky Potted Plant".
It is hard for me believe that I have neglected my blog for so very long. Since last I posted I've been to Mexico twice, moved my Dad to assisted living, self published my book "Sea Stories", opened (and closed) a 2 person art show at Parklane Gallery, overseen the complete remodel of a home in Mexico that we own with a friend, and several other major life happenings that have crowded blogging to the bottom of the list. During my recent month long visit to our Casa Amanecer in Manzanillo Mexico I painted several small paintings. Over the next few days I will post those paintings. This one is a view of a hillside near our casa entitled "Los Lomas Del Mar".