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Sunday, December 30, 2012

#160: "Persimmons in a Jar", oil 6" x 6"

The last posting of 2012. Even with all the Holiday festivities I managed to make one last little painting. Did you know that persimmons are really delicious when they are ripe? We had lots of them around the studio, so we got a chance to find out. I love the word "persimmons". The challenge in this painting was to paint glass. Again, if I had thought too much about glass it would not have been so successful. I thought about shape, color, value. Faye said "paint the persimmons and then put the jar around them". I did something like that. I love my color choices here. I painted the background several times before I came up with this. I'm happy with it. Happy New Year everyone. The Ray for the Day is "Persimmons in a Jar".

Sunday, December 2, 2012

#159: "Cup 'o Cherries", 6"x6", oil

This one makes even my mouth water. Not just those luscious red orbs, but the thick juicy paint. Again, there was color bouncing all over the place especially on that white cup. Notice the Holiday color theme? Yep, red and green. Can't get away from it right now. This one and the last posting both sold at Art Walk last night. Yay! I really enjoyed piling the paint onto this little 6"x6" square. This blog may go quiet for a little while as I go off to all kinds of parties and gatherings and family events. Today I'll put up our tree. Happy Holidays everyone. The Ray for the Day is "Cup 'o Cherries." SOLD

Saturday, December 1, 2012

#158: "It's All About the Cherries", 6" x 6" oil

It's interesting how the environment, season, mood effects my work. I somehow can't quit painting things that are red and green. Right now I am drawn to anything red. I reach for the red sweater, put on my red coat, eat the red pear, and can't seem to stay away from these gorgeous red cherries!! Studio 106 is filled with round, red fruits. We paint 'em and then we eat 'em! Happy Holiday Season everyone. Studio 106 is open tonight for Art Walk in case any of you are near enough to drop by. The Ray for the Day is "It's All About the Cherries."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#157 "Poppy and Persimmon", 6"x6", oil

One of my studio mates, Faye, is positively coo coo for painting persimmons lately. She brings them in by the bagful. And when they get ripe we eat them. They are delicious and I never knew that before. So how could I resist painting one as well. They are such a wonderful shape and color and those little green leaves are almost turquoise but not quite. I thought the persimmon and the poppy made quite good companions. It's another one hour wonder that took longer. Studio 106 will be open for Art Walk this coming Saturday and we are featuring Small Wonders. I now have 5. Hopefully I'll be able to complete 6 or 7 before the weekend. The Ray for the Day is "Poppy and Persimmon."

Monday, November 26, 2012

#156 "Tete a tete", oil 6"x6"

Much of the fun in painting this little one hour wonder was not only the shapes (all that volume), but the colors were bouncing around like crazy. We've all been able to spend some time in the studio lately so the place is full of stuff for still lifes, and many of them start with the letter p. We have pomegranates, pears, persimmons, poppies, and you will see them all in the next few days. I am really partial to those cherries though. They are so much fun to paint, and it is always a challenge to decide just which way I want their stems to point to lead your eye through the painting. Don't the Pear and the pomegranate look like they are having a private conversation? The Ray for the Day is "Tete a tete".

Saturday, November 17, 2012

#155 "Pumpkin Wonder", 6"x6", oil

Now for a change of pace. Life has been hectic lately (isn't it always?) and I've had very little time in my studio. So I've decided a little time is better than no time at all. I've come up with the idea of One Hour Wonders. The idea is to complete a 6" x 6" oil painting in one hour. Of course they end up taking more than one hour, but somehow it works to get me to the studio when I don't have much time. Today, however, I got to spend the whole day at Studio 106 with both of my partners, Faye and Barb. The music was playing, the place was a creative mess and we were all happily painting away. My favorite kind of day. We ended the day going out for pizza and wine. I felt I was somehow back into my "real life". This is one of two One Hour Wonders I completed today. The Ray for the Day is "Pumpkin Wonder".

Friday, November 16, 2012

#154 "Entry Courtyard", watercolor and ink

Okay, so here's one more. Not technically an interior sketch. This is the little entry courtyard to Dar Louisa. Many, many  Moroccans use bikes for transportation in the narrow streets and alleyways of the towns. I spent a pleasant time in the courtyard listening to birds sing and sketching these familiar sights. There was just one bike when I began the sketch, but then Abdelilah returned from an errand and added the second. It created an extra challenge to the sketching process, but by no means interrupted the fun. The Ray for the Day is "Entry Courtyard".

Monday, November 12, 2012

#153, "More Morocco", watercolor and ink

This is the last interior sketch I will post from Dar Louisa in Taroudant Morocco. This little area was a covered patio on one end of the pool. Again, I was captivated by the variety of fabrics, colors, and textures. These fabrics and the wall hanging are traditional African textiles. I made this sketch very quickly one day while I was waiting for the rest of the gang to get ready to go on one of our daily excursions. I believe this is the day we went into the Atlas mountains to where saffron is harvested. We also went to a rug shop. I was determined not to buy a Moroccan rug......but I did, and I love it. We went to many rug shops while in Morocco, and were usually engaged with mint tea, conversation, displays of many rugs, "just hold it madame, no obligation". Where I bought my rug the shop simply had many beautiful rugs for very good prices and no pressure. I plain and simply fell in love. I walk on that rug many times a day and it never fails to bring a smile and a quick memory of a beautiful day in Morocco. My life is all the richer for it. The Ray for the Day is "More Morocco".

Sunday, November 11, 2012

#152 "More of Dar Louisa", watercolor and ink

Sketching in Morocco. It's beginning to seem like a dream, but what a dream! This sitting room was just outside Dar Louisa's private hammam (steam bath bathing room). On this day Abdelilah and Fatima spent the day feeding the fire underneath the room adjacent to this one. The hammam was heating up and building up steam that came from basins of water that were set in the floor. Fatima bathed the 4 of us women 2 at a time. She lathered us with special soaps and muds and oils and scrubbing mitts, alternating with rinses of bowls of warm water splashed over our bodies. The room was dim and steam filled and everything was dreamy and soft and delicious and very, very pleasurable. We emerged all pink and shiny with brand new skin all over. Looking at this sketch puts me back in that room with Barb and Fatima and the memory of the unexpected pleasure of being bathed by another person. We were told that most Moroccans are bathed this way once a week either in the public hammams or private ones like this one. The fabrics on this sofa and pillows were either woven by the girls at the local orphanage, or are old African fabrics. The red painting on the right was done by Abelilah of his sister. The Ray for the Day is "More of Dar Louisa".

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

#151 "Courtyard at Dar Louisa", watercolor and ink

As I have said again and again, sketching on location is so much better than photos for me. This sketch takes me right back to Dar Louisa. It was a peaceful, hot afternoon. Everyone was in their rooms having personal time, and I was alone in the courtyard. Dinner was being prepared in the kitchen to the right of the pool. Soon everyone will come down for appetizers and wine by the pool. But for this moment it all belonged to me. I can think of nothing so relaxing as sketching. I just get lost in what I am seeing and hoping my hand will follow my eyes. In this sketch I was blown away that the water looks like water. What fun! All sketches stay in my sketch books. I don't sell them. Occasionally I will make a copy for someone and give it to them. It's a personal and private practice that has no pressure or expectation attached to it. If a sketch turns out badly I just turn the page, but the not so good sketch remains in the book and usually has a mark or two that brings back a moment for me. The Ray for the Day is "Courtyard at Dar Louisa".

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#150 "Dar Louisa, View from my Bed", watercolor and ink

One of the very delicious parts of this journey is that I had plenty of time to sketch and to write. Both of the homes we stayed in in Morocco came with staff to feed us and guide us and clean for us. The two people who took care of us at Dar Louisa were Abdelilah and Fatima. These two young people shopped and cooked and cleaned and made it seem easy and as though it was a pleasure for them. We enjoyed their company immensly and felt free to ask them questions about the area, the culture, women, cooking, traditions, religion, and felt very enlightened by their answers. This is a view of the terrace just outside my bedroom. This terrace is overlooking the pool and the inner courtyard of this most beautiful home situated in the 900 year old walled city of Taroudant. When I look at this sketch I can feel the warmth of the day, hear the birds in the trees, the burble of the fountain, and smell wonderful fragrances coming from the kitchen.I made many sketches of the interiors of this house. They will follow in the next few days. The Ray for the Day is "Dar Louisa, View from my Bed"

Monday, November 5, 2012

#149 "Fouzia in Marrakesh", watercolor and ink

While staying at Dar Alliamoun in Marrakesh we had a cook and housekeeper named Fouzia. We were greeted each morning with freshly squeezed orange juice, yogurt, freshly baked bread, fruit, and often crepes and other Moroccan delights. Fouzia was also very happy to make other meals for us as well. We had her make two dinners for us and they were aromatic and delicious. One memorable meal was chicken with lemons and vegetables made in the ever present tagine. Fouzia was very interested in our sketches and one day asked shyly if we would sketch her. I don't consider myself to be a portrait artist, but I was delighted to sketch our sweet Fouzia and glad to give this sketch to her as a small thank you for her kind attention. I think I captured her essence, if not exactly her likeness, quite well. The Ray for the Day is "Fouzia in Marrakesh".

Friday, November 2, 2012

#148 "Morocco Sketches #5 and #6", watercolor and ink

This particular day in Marrakesh Barb and I looked a long time for just the right place to sit down out of the crowds of people where we could see the square. Finally we settled on a sidewalk cafe. I wish I could describe to you how fast things were moving, how many people were in the square, and horses and donkeys and motorcycles. Lots of people trying to sell us things. All were whizzing by. I did not capture that was just going too fast. On a page I'm not publishing I tried to capture some acrobats, a guy pushing a cart, 3 or 4 people on a motorcycle at a time. I could not. There were fresh orange juice stands everywhere and it was so delicious. I think a big glass of orange juice was about 40 cents. At night this square became multitudes of little restaurants. The food was delicious and dinner cost about $3.00. It was crowded and colorful and hot and fun and the waiters in every food stall tried to convince us to eat with them. In case you haven't figured it out by now I really loved Morocco. The Ray's for today are "Morocco Sketches 5 and 6".

Thursday, November 1, 2012

#147 "Morocco Sketches #3 and #4", watercolor and ink

My art blog seems to be turning into a travel blog. But. Then. There's an art to travel too, yeah? Anyway these are scenes from the inner-open-to-the-sky courtyard at Dar Alliamoun in Marrakesh. Everywhere we went we were served mint tea from tea kettles such as the one here, always poured from a great height. The little tagines on the table are very Moroccan. Much of the food is cooked, served, and stored in pottery shaped like these. This courtyard was dripping with jasmine and other plants. Every night the birds made a great racket as they settled into the jasmine after negotiating for their spot. In the early morning they once again made bird music before they flew away for the day to do who knows what. The day I made these sketches may have been the day we went to the public hammam (like Turkish baths) where we were washed, steamed, scrubbed with exfoliating mitts, oiled with Argon oil, washed, rinsed, issued a thick robe and served the ever present mint tea in a big relaxing room with tufted pillows, and satin drapes, and many mirrors and tassels. It was a delicious experience to say the least. This trip's memories feel indelible like memories from childhood. Maybe because it was all so different and every moment was brand new, and maybe it was partly because of the sketching. I always feel that when you sketch something you kind of own it. The Rays for the Day are "Morocco Sketches 3 and 4" or Courtyard at Dar Alliamoun.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#146: Morocco Sketch #2, watercolor and ink

This view of this sitting room shows some of one of the many Moroccan carpets throughout the house. By the time I did this sketch we had spent hours on the streets, learning to bargain for prices, fend off "guides" and vendors who would follow us through the myriads of winding streets, alleyways and souks. We also needed to keep our wits about us to avoid being run down by fast moving horses, donkey carts, bicycles, and especially motorbikes. Marrakesh was a feast for the senses. The visuals were rich with color, pattern and texture. I especially loved the color and pattern of the fabrics on the jalabas (the traditional street wear of Moroccan men and women.....long garments with long sleeves and hoods) and of course the gorgeous scarves and colorful shoes. The sounds were the clop clops of animals, voices of vendors, laughter, and of course the call to prayer 5 times a day. The fragrance of spices and cooking were mouth watering. And then of course the food was delicious, plentiful, and healthy. While in Marrakesh we ate on the streets, in restaurants, and at home. Fouzia, our housekeeper and cook kept us well fed with beautiful breakfasts of fresh juice, yogurt, fruits of all kinds, and always freshly baked breads, and often crepes. Again, sketching at the end of the day was relaxing, centering,, and helped me assimilate the sights, sounds, flavors of the day. The Ray for the Day is "Morocco Sketch #2", or more specifically "Second Floor Sitting Room at Dar Alliamoun".

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

#145: Morocco Sketch #1, watercolor and pen

Sketching is something I do for the pure pleasure of doing it. I don't usually post my sketches because I think of them as a kind of personal journaling rather than as "my art". While on a two week trip to Morocco I did at least a sketch a day and when showing the sketches to friends they have encouraged me to post them. And so I will. I have a busy next few days so it may take few days to get them all up, but I will. I did this sketch the first day I was in Marrakesh at Dar Alliamoun, a riad (translated as "little bit of paradise"). I had the pleasure of staying in this 800 year old house in the Medina district because my very creative partners (I have part ownership in Casa Amanecer in Mexico) spent months arranging house trades in Morocco, Spain and France. I joined them for two weeks and two riads. This one in Marrakesh and another in Taroudant. This is one of several sitting rooms in the house. I was captivated by the amazing color and texture of the house. I was talking with my friend, Suzie, while sketching so she got in the picture. There were beautiful tiles, rugs, stonework, hangings and artwork wherever we looked. At the time of this sketch I had only been in Marrakesh for a few hours, and except for getting from the airport to the house had not seen any of the city or souks as yet. It was hot, exotic, exciting, new, and amazing. I'm so glad I captured this moment in my sketchbook. Sketches bring back experiences so much more vividly for me than photos. I can walk right into this room when I look at the sketch.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#144 "David's Main Squeeze", oil, 16" x 20"

Djangofest is coming to Langley, and there will be an art show as well. The call went out for music related paintings. Coincidentally, the man who bought the condo below us is a musician. Along with organ and piano, he plays accordian. He practices sometimes in the yard below us and our evening meals are accompanied by music floating up to our deck. I asked if he would pose for a painting.....and he happily obliged. Of course he played as I snapped photos. All the neighbors came out to enjoy the concert. It is customary for accordian players to wear striped shirts. I love the stripes with the keys, and of course the red beret set it all off. I like the joyful feeling in this painting. The Ray for the Day (or is it Month?) is "David's Main Squeeze".

Sunday, July 8, 2012

#143, "Barb's Eye View", oil, 18" x 24"

This view of Langley Village is from the window of my friend's apartment. I really enjoy this different perspective, the bright sunlight, and the shadows. I changed the colors on the buildings to make a more interesting painting. One of the fun things about being an artist is that you can make a more pleasing reality to suit your own sensibilities! The Ray for the Day is "Barb's Eye View".

Friday, June 22, 2012

#142 "Before the Rush", oil, 24" x 18"

I knew it had been a while since I posted, but it was shocking to see it has been over 3 months. I have been drawing and painting during this time, just not posting. I have also been overseeing the end of my Dad's life, remodeling a condo, and moving us permanently to wonderful Whidbey Island. As I write that I find it amazing that I have also been painting, and most certainly sketching. This painting is a study in value and monochromatic color scheme (yellows and golds) with a touch of the complement to give it a little punch. I love the tone and mood of this painting. It is a peaceful painting that I painted while in the middle of a storm of conflicting and difficult emotions. It was nice to have a place to go for some peace. The Ray for the Day is "Before the Rush".

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#141, "The Proverbial Square Peg", oil, 6" x 6"

The assignment for this painting was to paint the major part of the painting using one color or analagous colors and a smidge of it's complement. Orange, yellow and red are my main colors, obviously. Someone in the class had this little turquoise cube and I could not resist setting it on top of that red bottle. Zing! What fun to paint! Again, painting the values and the shapes resulted in a clear bottle. Pure magic. Someone suggested that I must have been getting ready for my Mexico trip when I chose this color combo. I find it quite invigorating. The Ray for the Day is quite a long title for such a small painting: "The Proverbial Square Peg".

Friday, February 24, 2012

#140, "Eggs-etera", oil, 6" x 6"

Guess what? I discovered I can post ahead. So while I'm in Mexico you will be getting this post and the next one. I adore painting raw eggs and shells. What I learned while painting this one is that the yolks are actually a yellow shade of gray. The making of gray is the use of all 3 primaries plus white. Grays are getting very exciting for me and I will be using them more and more. It thrills me that if I just paint shapes and values (and don't think about eggs) that I end up with a painting with eggs and broken shells. This painting really tickles me. The Ray for the Day is "Eggs-etera".

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#139, "Lemon with Your Tea?", oil, 6" x 6"

Okay. One more posting before I head for Mexico for 2 weeks.  I did this one on day 3 of the class. I am practicing seeing subtle transitions. The trick is in the paint mixing. I can see the values, but mixing the painting and matching the values is the tough part. Not only getting the value right, but getting the color right. Also I am practicing mixing each stroke separately from the last. This little teapot was harder to paint than it might seem. Especially with it's top askew.  The Ray for the Day is "Lemon with Your Tea?"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

#138 "Day Two Exercises", oils, 6" x 6" squares

On Day Two Carol did another stunning demo and then talked about value. We toned our panels with burnt umber, choosing to tone it a dark, light or medium value. Then using a set up of our own choosing we used a paper towel to wipe the surface to reveal the values. We chose a dominant, secondary and "smidge" value. In the afternoon we divided our little 6" x 6" surfaces into 4 squares, chose an object, and had 10 minutes to paint the object in one of the squares. After each 10 minute period we wiped our palettes clean and started again. Seeing the value and mixing the color the right value is the challenge. Sounds easy? Easier for some than others. These exercises were fun and training us to see the nuances, transitions and then reproduce what we see. We were using only 3 primary colors (cad yellow light, cad red medium and ultramarine blue....all colors can be mixed with these. Well...occasionally using phalo blue and alizarin crimson) and white. The Ray for the Day is "Day Two Exercises".

Friday, February 17, 2012

#137 "Where's Larry?", oil, 6" x 6"

The past 5 days I have been in an intense oil painting workshop with Carol Marine . She is generous, lovely, talented, hard working, entrepreneurial, a gifted artist and a gifted teacher. Her lessons were clear. Her demos were breathtaking. There were 18 good painters in the class. We worked hard and I, for one, feel I got a great deal from the demos, the handouts, the lectures and the practice. This posting is the painting I did the first afternoon, after a morning of demo and lecture. We painted on 6" x 6" gessoed Ampersand hardboards. I have never liked painting small, but I truly enjoyed these. The Ray for the Day is "Where's Larry?".

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#136 "Toot Your Own Horn!", acrylic, 24" x 18"

These intuitive paintings are becoming more and more intriguing to me. The symbols keep repeating themselves. The cat as guardian of the hearth and home, the eye representing knowing, and always the little rabbit. This figure is marching forward, seemingly knowing where she going, and has many guardians lurking about. Her bag is filled with homes, hearts, ideas. She's tooting her horn all over the place. Make of it what you will. I can tell you that I have been overseeing the remodel of our condo in Langley WA and am anticipating this last move within the next few months. During the last First Saturday Art Walk I featured this series of paintings and Toot Your Own Horn sold immediately. It's been a good month for sales. The Ray for the Day is "Toot Your Own Horn!" SOLD

Sunday, February 12, 2012

#135 "Pumpkin P Cat (and Bob)", oil, 16" x 20"

Usually I really dislike commissions (trying to manifest someone else's vision is very difficult), but for some reason this one was really fun. The buyer's wishes were that the colors be bright, that the painting not be realistic, that the cat be the center of interest and that the husband be in the background. Apparently perching on Bob's shoulders is Pumpkin P's favorite place to be. As a cat lover myself it was easy for me to get into this mood. I had several photos of the cat, and it really does smile like that. The buyer and her husband came to Studio 106 for First Saturday Art Walk. The painting was a surprise for him for Valentine's Day. It was great fun to unveil the painting for them while there were a lot of other people milling about. I could tell immediately from the looks on their faces that they were pleased. This was really a fun one all the way around. The Ray for the Day is "Pumpkin P Cat (and Bob)". The Ray for the Day is "Pumpkin P Cat (and Bob)". SOLD

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#134 "Run With Me", acrylic, 16" x 24"

Today is a snow day in Bellevue. Such fun to sleep in, look out at the snow over a cuppa, know I won't go anywhere in my car today, have time to catch up on things like blogging. So here is something from another side of my psyche. It might be finished. It might not. It has been through several incarnations already...and maybe there will be more. (I was stuck for awhile, and realized the working title was wrong. I changed the title and was able to go forward). But for right now, this is it. When I do this kind of painting I feel strong urges to include some things and eliminate others. Among other attributes this cat is carrying 3 homes, a sign for transformation (the butterfly) and the bird that I have come to see as my guide. All of these are meaningful to me. I do not yet know what the bunny going backwards means. It shows up often. This time he seems to be just taking a ride. There are icons here for beauty, ideas, and growth. The painting as a whole feels cohesive to me. The Ray for the Day is "Run With Me".

Monday, January 16, 2012

#133 "Love Affair With Langley" calendar for 2012

Somehow I managed to forget to mention that I published a calendar for 2012 featuring 12 of the Langley oil paintings. Vista Prints did the work and they made a really lovely calendar for me. I am proud of this body of work. It is a great year when I make 12 paintings that I am pleased with. 2011 was one of those years. Think of it....that is one really successful painting a month (considering there are some months I don't's a better hit rate than that). The calendar was a big success. The two stores in Langley that carried it had to re-order and told me how much people loved it. The Ray for all the Days of 2012 is "Love Affair with Langley" calendar.

#132 "Waiting for the Bee Keeper to Return", oil, 16" x 24"

It has been 3 whole months since I last posted. The thing is...I love posting on this blog, so you know I have been otherwise occupied. The Holidays happened (I'm really glad to see them gone, even though I had a ton of fun with family and friends), and I masterminded a fairly major remodel for our Langley condo, prepping it for our final move there sometime this Spring. I also spent a couple of weeks in Mexico in October. So those are all my excuses. Now I hope to settle down to some kind of orderly painting life. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I am a seasonal painter. For years I have told myself I should be in the studio most days of the week. My muse awaits me daily, and so forth. The truth is I rarely paint from Thanksgiving to the New Year. I also don't paint much in the Summer. I can continue to beat myself up over it, or I can accept it as my natural rhythm. The latter seems the more sane approach to me. So this painting marks the beginning of Winter Painting Season for me. The challenge in this painting was that there was not a strong light source. It was an overcast day and the light was more diffuse. My task was to convey the feeling of a cool, overcast day. And, of course, this vehicle has quite a Iot of personality. I wanted to convey the feeling of a vehicle past it's prime and still beautiful. You've seen it before and will no doubt see it again."Waiting for the Bee Keeper to Return" is the Ray for the Day.