Friday, December 17, 2010
So it's the Holidays and I've been having a cold so I decided to paint some very small paintings. To conserve energy, I guess. I decided to do a series on cafe scenes. Guess what? It takes just as much energy to paint a small painting as a large one. All the paintings in this series will be 8" x 8". On Tuesday Barb Barry and I spent the day in Studio 106 in Langley. We had such a delightful day. We painted, and walked around the sweet shops doing a little Christmas shopping, and painted some more, and wound up having a delightful dinner at Prima Bistro above the Star Store. I finished this painting while we were there. I need to give a small nod to Wayne Thiebold for some of the inspiration. To all who may be reading this blog, I wish you a very Happy Holiday Season. The Ray for the Day is "Double Tall Decaf Extra Dry...."
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
This is one of those times of the year when painting slows down. Two blissful weeks in Mexico in November, then Thanksgiving, then my open studio for Langley December Art Walk, and now I am getting ready for Christmas. However, I did manage to finish this painting, and am quite pleased with it. This view is from a parking lot behind Second Street. Sometimes the backs of buildings intrigue me more than their fronts. This very popular coffee house cafe has quite a big garden in the back from which they make some of their very delicious foods. I pass by here on my walk from our condo to Studio 106. A lovely 2 block walk. I'm working on some small panels (8"x8") of coffee cups and kitchen scenes. Lots to do before I can attend to them. The December Art Walk was quite delightful. I will post some scenes from that event tomorrow or the next day. In the meantime, I'm just very happy to have completed this piece. The Ray for the Day is "Behind Useless Bay Cafe".
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Over the weekend I finished two paintings and started another. This is the second painting I completed. Since I am headed for Mexico for a couple of weeks the one I started will be awhile before completion. These jolly little scooters were sitting in the sun outside the rental store just hoping someone would come along and rent them. Their shiny colors somehow remind me of jelly beans. It's hard to know which one I like the best. Hasta la vista for awhile. The Ray for the day is: "Pick me! Pick me!"
Monday, November 1, 2010
While on my birthday paint-a-thon at Studio 106 I finished this painting of the barber shop. Of course it is in Langley. 5 of us spent the weekend painting, talking, walking, eating, drinking. It was a paint-a-thon slumber party! What a great time we had. The weather was gorgeous and we were all blissed out. Joanne led us in a Shrinky Dink project. (You had to have been there). I will post the results when they are in. It also turned out that the garden around the studio was being planted while we were there, so it was being created around us as we painted. Being Halloween we saw many ghosts and goblins lurking around the streets. It was quite magical. The Ray for the Day is "The Barber Shop".
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
It appears I have been a bit remiss in my postings. Life is just so busy. All good. I made this little painting last week and have just not had time to post. This Soap Store is directly in front of my Studio 106 in Langley. Again it was a sunny, sunny morning and I was entranced with the shadows and that wonderful orange door. I am delighted that I was able to indicate products in the store and in the window with just little strokes of the brush. Thanks to all the people who commented on #105 "Sun Garden". It was wonderful to open my blog and see so many positive comments. It is gratifying to know people are reading my blog. Thank you so much. I started another painting today that I did not finish. You will be the first to know when I do. I am planning a "Soft Opening" for Studio 106 in Langley for the First Saturday Art Walk in November. If you are in the area I would love to meet you! The Ray for the Day is "The Soap Store".
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Oil painting is so much fun! It has been another fabulous day of painting. Jacqui and Joanne joined me in my studio today. We each went into our own worlds, broke occasionally for critiques and certainly for lunch and art talk and chocolate. I'm continuing my love affair with Langley. The streets of Langley are graced with extraordinary gardens. This one is just outside The Braeburn Cafe. The morning sun on that turquoise wall nearly makes we want to lick it. It makes a great background for this delicious, sunny garden. I guess I am starting a series. A Sweet Langley Suite of paintings. The Ray for the Day is "Sun Garden".
Monday, October 4, 2010
Can't seem to stay away from painting Langley. Today was like opening day of school for me. My on going Monday painting group began today with our generous and most helpful leader, Liana Bennett. I had already drawn this composition before I went. I feel so at home in a room full of painters with music playing and occasional conversations (but not too many, and always about what we are doing). The afternoon flew by and I had a wonderful time painting another Langley corner. No cars on this corner on this day. I started by massing in the lights and the shadows and after that it just sort of fell together. The Ray for the Day is "Morning in Langley".
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This was a very complex painting to make, and that made it very fun to do. I concentrated on shapes and values and tried to ignore subject matter. I also tried to be really loose and let just a stroke tell the story. Not say too much. I think I still said more than I needed to, but the result is, I think, a lively cheery, portrait of the town of Langley. I am falling more and more in love with Langley. Studio 106 is just a few feet from this view of First St. I have done some work on the studio and moved in some studio furniture and brought some paintings in. It is slowly becoming mine. I also talked with a very talented gardener who will be installing the gardens around my space. (I'm responsible for caring for the gardens around Studio 106). I'm so excited to see them take shape. The gardens in Langley simply bring me to tears. I want to add my little corner of that community to the garden treasures of the city. The Ray for the Day is "Saturday on First Street".
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Yesterday Joanne and Chris came to my studio and we all painted for a couple of hours, had a lunch break and talk, and more painting. Afterwards Chris and I went for a nice walk along the lake. Painting, time with women friends, and some exercise! A great day. This painting makes a nice companion for #101. Again, I really like the color combination, the yellow, green and peach against the lavendar and the deep blue against the pale yellow. These two paintings were inspired by the table setting Chris made for Joanne's birthday garden party last Spring, so it was fitting that I painted them with the two of them here. The Ray for the Day is "On the Edge".
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Guess what? No painting is easy. I thought I would just do an easy little painting after struggling with the complexities of portraits. This simple seeming composition went through some very interesting stages along the way. The background color has been difficult to photograph. In reality it is a very lime green. I like the lime against the purple and the purple against the peach. I find the various circles and their placement quite interesting. This little coffee cup turned out to be quite an abstract painting. The Ray for the Day is "Blaaack Cawfee....".
Thursday, September 2, 2010
These are the last four stages of the painting of Rachel. Even though I checked, rechecked, and thought I had everything in the right place.....her left eye migrated from it's appropriate place. I really treasure this painting because it is a great learning. I got so mesmerized painting that left eye that I didn't pay attention to where I was putting it. Hopefully I will be more and more mindful and alert with my paintings. Perhaps I should name it Rachel With the Wandering Eye? What a great 4 days that was! I do know, also, that should I get really serious about painting portraits of people I will want to paint much more expressionistically than these paintings. However, now matter how or what I paint....I want things to be in the right place. I just got the keys to my new Studio 106 and am going to Langley tomorrow morning, so I will spend some time there planning, measuring, thinking about how I will be using it. So that's it for portrait workshops for awhile. The Ray for the Day is The Final Four.
The last day of the workshop Liana did a masterful 4 hour demo in the morning. For the last 4 hours we had one model for one pose. I took photos of my piece every 20 minutes so I could look back and see the steps and the development. I have chosen 8 of those photos, and will post 4 today and the final 4 tomorrow. During this process the task was to check and re check the position of each facial feature in relation to all other parts of the face shape, and to keep in mind the shape of the negative spaces as well. I did not know how to get these images in the right order....they are exactly backwards, so read from the bottom to the top. These four stages took her to "the guy in drag" stage. She is, in fact, a very feminine woman with a very square jaw, big wideset eyes and a wide mouth. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to figure out how to get the images in the right order. The Ray for the Day is Day Four of Portrait Workshop (or the beginning of Rachel).
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
By Day Three our heads are full of what to do, what not to do, and a complex mix of eagerness and frustration and some mental fatigue and excitement all rolled into one. It's a great group of painters and the comraderie, support and encouragement is high. This day we had two models, and had two hours with each model. There was a sigh of relief to know we had two hours to stare, correct, paint, stare and correct again. We are all beginning to see the subtleties of skin tone, shape, etc. a bit better. Most everyone in the group is an accomplished painter in their own right, yet we confessed we had totally forgotten anything we knew before and are concentrating only on the principles Liana is truly trying to transmit to us. In my opinion this is the best way to be at a workshop....with an empty and open mind. This day turned out to be really fun. I enjoyed the process immensely. What a woderful way to spend a day! The Ray for the day is Day Three of Portrait Workshop (or Jess and Garrett).
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
On Day Two Liana talked to us about bone structure, planes, shadow patterns and skin tones. Furthermore she talked about composition, lighting, warm and cool tones and value. Of course this is not new information. It is just that It will take a lifetime for it all to really sink in. And that still won't be enough time. That is part of what makes painting so fascinating. I never expect to master it. I only expect to keep learning. In the afternoon we had two models and we moved around the room so we got different views. We did 20 minute drawings and then added color and shadow patterns. Our task is to see the shapes and paint what we see. The task is not to paint a nose, but to paint the shapes, values and temperatures on the face and if we get those right the nose will appear. And the lips. And the eyes. And......the same works for landscapes or architecture or even old trucks. (These women were both actually very attractive.....my concentration on all of these elements seems to have translated into these quickly painted images). Remember...you are looking at "process", not "product". The Ray for the Day is Day Two of Portrait Class.
Monday, August 30, 2010
For Four days we listened, watched, and painted for 6 hours each day. Hear, see, do. I came home totally exhausted each evening. Liana Bennett is a wonderful, generous teacher. She really wants her students to get the information and improve their painting skills. This workshop was about portraits in oil. I keep saying I am not interested in painting portraits....but all painting is painting. If you get the shapes right and put them in the right place it doesn't matter what you are painting. Faces are the hardest thing there is to paint. Liana told us to quit saying we don't paint portraits. If we are painters....we are painters. If we can see, really see, we can paint anything. Intense seeing was a major part of the weekend. We worked on seeing the face and putting the shapes where they belong. We made a lot of drawings and paintings. I selected a few to show here. The first day we drew from photos, first with vine charcoal and then with paint. I have included three of those drawings. In the next few days I will record the steps we took throughout the 4 days. The Ray for the Day is "Day One in Portrait Class".
Friday, August 27, 2010
I know, I know, it's been a long time since I've posted a painting. I must confess it is hard for me to paint in the Summer. So much going on. And this Summer I am preparing our home in Kirkland to put it on the market. Slowly we are inching our way toward making Langley our home. It may be a bit premature, but I found the perfect studio space for me in downtown Langley. Though I don't imagine I'll be working there much during these next few months, I will begin to move my studio there and start establishing myself. It is right downtown Langley and is also a commercial space. I'm imagining something like "If the artist is in the studio is open". At least for starters. When I saw the space (peering through the window) I just knew it was meant for me. On Wednesday I signed a two year lease beginning this September. The address is 106 McLeod Alley (I just love alleys) and when asked to produce a name for my business the words "Studio 106" popped into my mind. So Studio 106 it is. It is 400 square feet with 12' ceilings and an entrance on the alley. Meanwhile I am attending a portrait painting class with teacher Liana Bennett. Yesterday was so much fun. I feel so completely in my element in studio settings with easels, paint, brushes and other artists around. We arent' supposed to be working toward a product.....just learning. I will, however, post a few of my "learning experiences" when all is said and done.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Today was so much fun. The weather was perfect and I went to the Snoqualmie Railroad Station with the Eastside Association of Fine Arts. During the Summer they post a plein air painting location for each Tuesday. This location was right up my alley. I had a great time painting this train. There was a guy sitting on a picnic bench nearby playing guitar and harmonica and it gave a haunting atmosphere to that old train yard. The Ray for the Day is "Number 201".
Monday, July 19, 2010
Last Saturday I spent a blissful day standing on a street corner in Langley on Whidbey Island painting this street scene. The Dog House Tavern, a beloved hang out, has been painted many times. This is my take on that corner. I'm sure I will paint it again. Lots of people stopped to look, chat, watch, and comment. The weather was perfect and I couldn't have had a better time. I look forward to many more such days in that sweet, sweet town. When I started the painting the shadows were in entirely different places from when I finished. The photo at the top of the page is the street when the original shadows were gone. I noted all the darks and lights when I began the painting and tried to hold that in my mind as I completed....and as the sun did it's moving thing throughout the day. The Ray for the Day is "The Dog House Tav".
Thursday, July 15, 2010
After spending most of June in Mexico, and returning to multiple crises with my 92 year old Dad, I finally painted yesterday for the first time in nearly two months. Joanne called and suggested we paint in my backyard. It was a struggle. My palette was all dry and crusty. I had to scrape all the old paint away and squirt out new. I had to remember where to begin. I made many trips back to my studio to get stuff. And it felt good to stand in the shade with Joanne across the yard, painting away. At one point I was ready to wipe it off and call it a good try, but I just hate to get skunked. I persevered. It is not a perfect painting. I may have to fix some parts of it after it is dry, but at least it is not a "wipe off". I feel I captured the feeling of the mid day sun spilling across the yard and illuminating the red umbrella, and the cool shade. That's good enough for my first plein air oil painting of the season. My Dad's okay, by the way.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The two day portrait painting workshop with Michelle Usibelli was fun and productive. The first day we had a model and the second day we worked from photos. I promised I would publish the good, the bad and the ugly (not being a portrait painter), but the painting from the first day was both bad and ugly. I may work on it and publish it later. However, I am pleased with this portrait I did of my Dad who is 92 and proud of his Irish blood. (I think I may give it to him for Father's Day). The two days simply flew by. Painting is definitely my flow time. We had lunches in the sun in Michelle's fabulous garden, feeding our senses and our soul. A delightful two days. The Ray for the Day is "Proud to be Irish".
Monday, May 17, 2010
At first glance this may look like the last posting I made, #89 "Study for Truck". This is, in fact, the enlarged and, hopefully, improved version of this subject. I meant to post the underpainting, but ran out of time. So here she is. It was very helpful to make a small, quick study in which I worked out some of the problems. I know this is a time-honored way of going about things....but I rarely do it. I was somewhat intimidated by the forest in the back ground. All that green!!! I did my best to vary the temperature, hue and value of the greens and indicate some trunks and stems. The Ray for the Day is: "Good Old Gal".
Monday, May 3, 2010
After a very busy and fun weekend out of town, arriving home late last night, I arrived in painting class this morning tired and without a clue about what I wanted to paint. As I left my studio I grabbed a couple of interesting photos I took last Summer of this wonderful old truck. I have done a couple of watercolors of it and knew I would oil paint it sometime. Liana saw the photo and said "make a small study of that, and prepare to make a major painting from it". What a great idea! I thoroughly enjoyed designing and painting this little study. It will be interesting to use this study to help me paint a larger (20" x 16"0 painting. The Ray for the Day is "Study of Truck".
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Today I am beginning to seriously clean out my studio to prepare it for the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour in which takes place in just over a week, May 8 and 9. While cleaning I noticed this little painting up on my easel which I have forgotten to post. I enjoy painting everyday objects. I found this little boss bucket in the back room of Liana's teaching space. As soon as I saw it I knew I would paint it. I'm finished with the food subject for now, and am thinking of every day items like tools and tape dispensers, all those little things we really need and take for granted. We'll see what else I find lying about the studio that will become paintings. I don't imagine I'll be posting many painting for awhile as the KAST is rather all consuming. The Ray for the Day is "Boss Bucket".
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
On day 3 of the workshop we had just 3 hours to paint this pose, so I consider this a study rather than a finished painting. Since the workshop leader would not allow us to take photos I have nothing to work from other than my imagination. I have worked on it some pumping up the colors. I love the face, the skin color, and the glasses in this painting. I also really like my color mixes and choices. One of the most important things I left the workshop with was the importance of paint mixing. I am now mixing many of the colors I anticipate using before I start to paint. I mix warm and cool versions of the hues I choose. Painting is decision making every moment. The tricky part is engaging the decision making brain as well as the intuitive brain at the same time. Or at least in rapid succession. Painting is definitely good brain exercise. The Ray for the Day is "Study of Momo".
Sunday, April 25, 2010
For her afternoon poses Rachel took off her top, donned a long skirt, and gave us her lovely back to paint. Again, this was two sittings of 3 hours each over two days. Trying to paint what I see. See clearly. And still keep looking at the painting so that I give the painting what it needs. These are my tasks. Among others. I tried to keep telling myself painting Rachel's back was no different than painting a tea pot or an old rusty truck. It's a matter of painting the shapes. Just the shapes. Not a back. Not a skirt. Just shapes. No wonder making art can keep a person occupied and obsessed for an entire lifetime. The Ray for the Day is "Rachel's Back".
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Figures have not been my thing, but I heard that Henry Stinson was teaching a week long class in Langley and I wanted to learn from him. I was undecided about whether or not to go when Barb told me she was going and I decided to join her. We stayed at our Tree House condo in Langley and had a wonderful time painting from 10:00 to 5:00 each day and enjoying the pleasures of Langley in the evening. This portrait was done in two 3 hour sessions over 2 days. Lovely Rachel. Henry's words ring in my head "Cool light-warm shadows, warm light-cool shadows", "Squint to see value, eyes wide open to see color". I know these things, but practicing them is another matter. One of my challenges is to learn to really see the color in flesh. The Ray for the Day is "Rachel".
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Barb's home is old and full of character, beautiful things, and interesting crannies. Yesterday Joanne and I painted interiors at Barb's house. Happily it was sunny all day so we got these wonderful splashes of sunlight spilling on the walls and surfaces. We painted all day, Joanne in the living room and Barb in the bathroom painting a claw footed tub. I chose this nook in the master bedroom, and so did Pablo the cat. Miraculously he stayed all day as well. He did change his position every hour or so, but I captured the pose I liked the most. My favorite part of this painting is the sunlight coming through Pablo's ears. The Ray for the Day is "Cat Nap".
Monday, April 12, 2010
Wayne Thiebaud, along with Richard Diebenkorn, have always been favorite painters of mine. They were friends, and their work informed one another. Today in class, while I was painting these doughnuts, Liana came around and said "Theibaud it!". I looked at a book she had and discovered some of the ways he treats edges that give life and sparkle to a painting. I feel I have found the beginning of a way to borrow from Thiebaud that will also become part of my own voice in oils. I'm thrilled!! The Ray for the Day is "Hats Off to the Ladies".
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Today was a typical Seattle Spring day.....sun, cold, warm, hail and sun again. But the tulips are up! A sure sign of Spring. They are always fun to paint. We were in Joanne's studio. We painted, we listened to music, we had a lovely lunch and then a break for awesome lemon cake. All the while painting these harbingers of Spring. For me the glass vase is the diva. I enjoyed painting the colors and shapes I saw without thinking "vase"........and voila! a glass vase appeared. Such fun. The Ray for the Day is "Spring!"
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Barbara was the hostess today. She brought this bountiful bowl of fruit, a bottle of wine, lunch and chocolate! Talk about bountiful! She is still working on her painting as I post this. It was another joyful day of painting. Joanne, Barb and I gave each other feedback, talked about the basic principles of painting, and about what each of us brings to our work on any given day. We might be tired, rested, getting a cold, totally well, have personal issues on our mind. Somehow it all goes into the painting. It just can't be helped. You can't hide in your painting. The Ray for the Day is "Bountiful".
Saturday, March 20, 2010
When I walked into Joanne's studio and saw the set up she had made, a weathered adirondack chair with some items on the arm, my heart sank. It looked so plain. So gray. So, well, uninspiring to me. I had been so excited to paint, and now felt a little less so. However, once I got into the painting I was nearly swooning at all the glorious grays and neutrals I was mixing. The challenge for me, as always lately, was to keep the paint interesting by varying the strokes , temperature and value. I know that if I keep the value the same in any given passage I can use any color I want, varying the temperature and will get a much more painterly and interesting painting. Yet the rapture of the brush stroking away on the support gets me. I want to smooth everything out and do what we call "house painting". These are the kinds of challenges that keep me wanting to paint these days. When I think about it I do it perfectly! When I get the brush in my hand something comes over me. I understand this is quite common. The Ray for the Day is "She'll Be Right Back".
Monday, March 15, 2010
Even though I have a terrible cold and feel quite awful today, I could not resist going to my oil painting class to finish this painting. I was so curious to see what I would do, and to hear what Liana thought I should do. We were both on the same beam. I thought the cup, roll, and flower all looked somehow unrelated. (Refer to # 77 to compare) The solution was to punch up some of the color, make sure that some color from each item is reflected somehow in each of the other items as well as the background and warm things up in general. Also, I need to practice leaving color notes alone after I have put them down. There is such a desire to smooth everything out. I paid special attention to warms and cools, attempting to have warms and cools throughout the painting. Also, my original intention was to include the crossword puzzle, but chickened out the first time around. This time I decided I would like to try to include it. I like it. I do a crossword puzzle every morning. The Ray for the Day is "Sunflower and Cinnamon Roll 2".
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Yesterday I had a choice to make. I could go to a Women Painters of WA meeting, which I always enjoy, or I could paint with Barb and Joanne. I chose to paint and had a wonderful time. I had that feeling I haven't had for awhile....the pure joy of painting! It was a wonderful day. My turn to make the still life, I had no idea of what to paint other than it should include food. When I saw these peppers at the grocery store I simply could not resist them. The color! The sheen! The fabulously lumpy shapes! I assembled things from my kitchen and came up with the Ray for the Day: "In a Stew".
Monday, March 8, 2010
This morning I went to my first oil painting class taught by Liana Bennett. I am thrilled. I think I have found my oil painting community. I know a number of people in the group, and there are many very good painters. Liana is a knowledgeable, tough, and kind teacher. I look forward to working with her. I am continuing my food paintings, so bought a cinnamon roll from the shop next door and made this set up. The class is just 3 hours long, so making the set up, getting my stuff out, and painting this little painting felt like a big rush. Today Liana and I were getting to know one another she needed to see how I go about making a painting. I needed to know how she teaches. She made some great suggestions. This painting is not really finished. I will take it back next monday and learn how she goes about finishing a painting that has gotten to this point. To me it looks like 3 separate objects. I look forward to making them work together better, and to seeing how Liana would go about teaching me how to do that. Stay tuned for the finished product. The Ray for the Day is "Sunflowers and Cinnamon Rolls".
Friday, March 5, 2010
Today Barb brought the lunch and the still life to Joanne's studio. She was going to bake a lemon meringue pie, but ran out of time so she bought this beauty. What are these things called anyway? I don't think it's a torte. The oranges, grapes, strawberries and blueberries made for a delightful subject. And of course the tulips remind us that Spring is near. We enjoyed painting together and had a lovely visit late in the afternoon while we ate the cake. It was a great reward after a day of painting. The Ray for the Day is: "Paint Your Cake and Eat it Too".
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Barb gave me these amazing amaryllis bulbs for Christmas. It has been total joy watching the green stalks grow and grow, then the buds begin to bulge, finally these amazing sensual velvety blossoms bursting forth. They sit on our dining room table, and I have watched them day by day since Christmas! When I went to Mexico for 3 weeks I hated to leave the amaryllis. Amazingly it was in full glorious blossom when I returned. Barb came to paint with me. When I told her we were going to paint the amaryllis she stopped at Starbuck's and got us coffee and also this lovely little red velvet cupcake, a perfect complement to the still life. We spent a delightful day together in my studio painting. The Ray for the Day is "Cupcake".
Friday, January 29, 2010
We painted at Joanne's studio yesterday. She had made this luscious cherry-licious set up. We had a very short time to paint (about 3 1/2 hours including setting up, cleaning up and a lunch break) and since it is in my nature to paint all prima (all in one go, wet into wet), I put this cherry pie on the canvas board very quickly. It tells me that I am gaining some confidence with oil paints. In a couple of days I will leave for Mexico for 3 weeks. Since I am in a bit of a flow with these oil paintings I sort of hate to break my stride. But. Hey. Sunshine, sea breezes, swimming pool. I think it will be okay. I won't be taking oil paints with me, but will take watercolors. If I do any painting I will stay with my food theme and.....I'll post it. The Ray for the Day is "Can She Bake a Cherry Pie.....".