Monday, January 31, 2011

A Painterly Landscape Oil Painting

"Tall Grass Prairie Trail"
18" x 14"
oil on gessoed Arches watercolor paper

Last year, DH and I took an RV trip to the Flint Hills region of Kansas.  Among the many places we stopped to visit was this lovely place where the Tall Grass Prairie Museum is located.  We hiked the long trail -I never believed there could be such scenic spots in Kansas, but here you see one. 

This painting was an experiment for me. I had read that oil painters use gessoed watercolor paper. It was suggested that the paper receive 3 coats of gesso.  I patiently did so last Friday and have been ardently studying my notes from classes and books as I have on painting the landscape.  I also did something I never do when I paint and that was premix the main colors, which involved using Adobe Kuler, uploading the photo, making palettes of colors, including some interesting versions of complementary colors to use.  There was an unbelievable amount of shades and hues of green in my photo.  I had to simplify the color.  I keep trying to improve myself in this genre...as it appeals to me. There are so many places I want to paint. 

At this stage, it had to be photographed (I think it is finished, but not sure)...I used a very vivid undertone on the large paper of red and blue.  The painting surface was all strung out across the edges that I would sooner or later crop down to.  Needed to see what it would look like at the finished cropped size.  You are seeing it too!  The only thing I don't like, is maybe it has to be matted and put behind glass. I tried to adhere it to board before starting but in my anxiousness to get started, I don't think it attached too well, and when I remove the tape that is helping to hold it to a stiff board on the easel, I will have a paper that is painted with oil. 
 More research or maybe a reader here has the answer or suggestion?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where I Stand Sunday


"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you .....
In spring, summer and fall people sort of have
an open season on each other; only in the winter,
in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when
you can savor belonging to yourself."
- Ruth Stout

Just to ease the minds of those living in the eastern US, we are in the line-up for more snow early this week and we are already 'back in the freezer'.  There is something interesting about winter and this big elm.  You can see all the houses that were set up this past year.  Didn't think I would say it, but I am anxious for the homes to fill up and some to be added - someday soon!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Oil Painting of an American Deer

"White-Tailed Afternoon"
6" x 8"
oil on Raymar canvasboard
While we were at Fremont Lake in Wyoming late this summer and looking for a camping spot, you could have seen me leaning across to the driver's window capturing this quiet moment in the woods near our campsite.  That late afternoon sunlight was just edging her ever so slightly, otherwise she blended into the woods.  I love sneaking a peek when they think you aren't looking.  Got to take more peeks while walking the dogs.  Painted from my own photo.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Announcing a (New) Studio Tour

Some of you have been waiting and waiting for the NEW and improved studio photos.  Well, they are here and in a very special new way. The tabs at the top have been added as static content pages.  I have more that I will be working on, but for now, I wanted to release what I have been working on for such a long time.  I finally figured out how to use these tabs, thanks for the encouragement, Diane!  It was easy!  Just select "Studio TOUR" and off you will go.  Let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Where I Stand (or where my feet are planted) Sunday

I have been looking for a drumset for many years, one that was in good shape and at an affordable price...DH finally ran across a great deal, right here in almost our backyard.  It was a home practice set for the HS band drummer.  He no longer plays in the band, in fact he is one of those seniors 'soon to fly the nest' for college. 

It is a 5 piece set, bass, snare, 3 tom-toms (I love the toms!), a hi-hat, a crash cymbal and a ride cymbal.  One owner...I am able to slam around on it along with music, which is what I wanted to do.  It is set-up in the studio...our neighbors are fairly far away - anyway they aren't next door.   PERRRR...FECT!! 

I play the guitar, the keyboards..now it's time to learn the drums. I imagine I will be self-taught at best - and not real serious. DH will use them as well.  No..we won't have the fingerless gloves, the sweaty locks with the skull and crossbones bandana, the sleeveless T...ha ~ but I will be certain to improve over time!  I am not a natural percussionist but I am determined. 

There are lots of You Tube videos that teach all kinds of "drum" stuff.  I can see myself now, needing a break from painting, turning up the toons and just keepin' a steady beat.  Look out Ginger Baker!
P.S. Weimaraners and drums aren't a good mix...he goes crazy and wants out of the studio immediately.
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Painting of Pets

In the movie "Ghostbusters",  Bill Murray's character Dr. Peter Venkman adds that if they don't get rid of the ghosts there will be "human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria!"  Well, that is the title of this painting ~ because off and on during the time I painted it, that line kept running through my head. 
"Dogs and Cats Living Together"
9" x 12"
oil on Raymar canvasboard
offered for sale in many print formats at REDBUBBLE here!
Original SOLD
Done from a photo borrowed FB photo, I loved the intense light streaming in from the front window onto the stairs where these two were enjoying the warm sunshine.  I bet I painted that cat 6 to 7 times...and I am still not sure it is right...but if you don't compare it to the photo, that cat is just fine!  It isn't a commission.

The effect was achieved with the sunlight and shadows that I wanted to convey.  At first, I took out the sliding glass door that you see through the background..but in doing so it left the painting unbalanced...so I simplified it, taking out the extraneous stuff that could be seen out the window and making it just a plain backyard.  I love artistic license!  This one kept me awake last night.  I really enjoyed painting it!  I am committed to taking a better photo of it, the wetness of the paint is showing in spots.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dog Portrait in Oil


"Karli"
6" x 6"
oil on Raymar canvasboard (which I love)

This dog belongs to a friend that I work with in the summer.  The dog was hanging around the warehouse as a young pup and because the people at this warehouse care very much for strays, they took her in.  She stays pretty much in the warehouse/offices during worktime and my friend adopted her.  This is a birthday present for my friend -  a little late, but heartfelt all the same. 

Karli (I hope I am spelling her name right) doesn't care for me much.  She barks and growls at me, as well as other new people.  Over the time I work there, she doesn't warm up to me much.  We figured it's because she smells my dogs on my shoes, my purse and ME with my dog's smell on me. 
Amazing how dogs can do that!  How do I know this?  Well, one day I walked in with new shoes and the treatment she gave me was decidedly different. 
She is a sweet dog.  Most of the employees love her ~ me included!  I couldn't get a good photo of the painting, as the paint was shiny and wet.  As always - paintings look much better in real life.
Oh - oh - 2 posts in one day...(big smile...)

Where I Stand Sunday

Actually this post should be titled "Where I Sit Sunday". There are a few NFL football teams I root for.  For the most part, they didn't make it to the play-offs.  One of the teams made it to today..and they aren't doing too well.  I was in between times in the studio, think I will head back..
Things are more exciting in the studio.
I am working on a dog painting.
(And how does a big dog like that fit into a little chair like that? 
You wouldn't know he has a titanium plate down his front leg
because he can get into a REAL ball even in smaller spaces than this one.)

Oh, and just to give equal time...a red dachshund burrowed into his blanket on the couch beside me.

In the sidebar, I am posting a different attempt every few days of what I am learning over at Strathmore Visual Journal Workshop.  If you click on my picture there, you will go to the page where you can sign up...and even though they are in the third week, you can catch up - if you have some of the supplies and are resourceful.  I have learned that many things can be substituted - cause you sure can't get them around here.   

It's free, a whole different group of people to interact with...it gives me a different outlet to creativity and DO I have materials I can use, yes I do - and it let's me use my art in a recycled/humorous/lighthearted sense.  I have taken a side interest in journals, bookbinding and mixed media collaging.  It's quite fun, refreshing, a change and I like the results.  This is an invitation, see you there!!
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meerkats in Pastel

"Kalahari Assembly"
8" x 10"
pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes
Meerkats aren't the prettiest creatures, but you could say they are 'darned cute'.  If you have ever watched "Meerkat Manor" on Animal Planet - you most likely agree to this cuteness. Their 'family units' are so tight knit and no-nonsense..remind me of many human families I have known.   

One can't help but love these creatures! This one was painted on a request.
It is available on RedBubble.  A new shop for me!

Sometimes people want to know how long something like this takes.  I have been working on it "studio time" for about 3 days.  Studio time right now is between 2 - 4 hours per day.  Hope to make more hours happen as I softly slide into this new studio clean-up - which is on hold - while I get some time at the drawing table or easel.  Photos will come eventually.  If you can imagine, I have gotten to the point of little dribs and drabs left to take care of
that aren't worth dealing with MORE time away from the need to create.

I am following a desire to do some different kind of art right now, as well. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More From Yesterday's Art

"Sweater Vest"
20" x 24"
pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes
I found this piece of art - photo on a CD.  I was looking for Herman photos to make a CD - just of Herman.  I think I posted this one LONG ago.  It is my favorite of all time, except for cutting off the hand - I used to be afraid to do hands.  Plus, I remember the hands were as they are in the painting, not really in the photo I used.  This is from another knitting magazine.  I like the colors used in the face.  I am working on a pastel right now, same paper.  Seeing this reminds me how it's really the best colored Canson for portraits. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where I Stand Sunday

This is a photo I have used before..still reorganizing the studio but getting to the good parts where I can spread my art magazines and source photos out and sort through them. An artist always needs inspiration.  I hope to get all the way through the sorting before I am tempted to sit down with a paper or canvas because one of my photos caught my eye...that would be a welcome activity at this point - especially when it's so gray and dreary on the landscape.  We were supposed to get some major snow, but it hasn't arrived yet. It's very cold so making chili today, watching a little football..from time to time.  Today would have been Hasty Herman's 10th birthday.
Miss you little (BIG) dog!!
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Retro Portrait

"Pigtails"
16" x 20"
pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes
Another one of those slides I found.  I think I am about at the end of what I can make look like it's supposed to. Some can't possibly be saved.  That's the nature of photos you take of your work.  You sell the piece or it goes to your deep dark archives and the only reference you have is a crummy slide or negative.  So, that said, always try to take the best true photo you can of your work and archive it correctly...on a CD or drive that is backed up regularly.  These are things you learn the hard way at times.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some More Retro Art

"Striped Sweater"
16" x 20"
pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes
Back in the day (again, mid-80's) I had a very nice 35 MM Minolta camera.  I just didn't know how to take very good photos with it, unless it was motocross :-).  This is the only photo reference I have of this one.  The skintone isn't as pale as this photo shows - photoshopping didn't help it much either.  It's also blurry.  I remember using a black oval cut matboard for the inside (or closest surface) mat and then taking the same Canson paper on the outside and tearing the edge for the further away from the artwork mat. Some of my favorite subjects back then were sweater models from knitting and crocheting magazines.  They were a little less frivolously dressed than the super high fashion mags. 

When I think back, I was so carefree in those days. I spent a lot more time 'doing' my art - for hours and hours..now it seems I have this need to be prolific.  It's more difficult to leave something unfinished over time than I did in the old days.  Could it be that I am much older?  or I have a different style?  Am I looking at things in a different way? or I am more adept at getting the results I want in lesser time because of experience? 
I'd like to think experience shortens your workload. 
What do you think when you look back at your early artwork? 

Monday, January 3, 2011

More Gems

"Calming the Waters"
20" x 24"
pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes
This is another one of those slides I found in the studio - mid 1980's painting.  I tried photoshopping it - the white ducks came out very bright. Couldn't get them to calm down.  There is some nice subtleties in the white, although it doesn't show here. 

This one hangs in my parent's office.  I love the grey Canson paper.  It lends itself so well to animals. 

I remember having a discussion with a well-known artist in Denver during a time I was taking it with me to shows.  He stated that it was an unbelievable scene.  He felt that the waters surrounding the Canadian goose would be more disturbed with the other ducks who are scurrying away.  Stated in my 'artist's defense' - I felt that the gliding goose body was big enough to block the disturbance in the water's surface and also that since the other ducks had JUST scurried, the ripples hadn't reached around the front side of the goose. (I put two photos together to paint this one.)
I recall being somewhat perturbed by this discussion at the time.

I paint for myself, although I have been known to paint what I think people will like. 
 I think any artist gravitates back and forth on that one.

I feel fortunate that I live in a place where
I am free to paint anyway I want and whatever I want, and that rocks my soul
(and BTW, this painting won an award that summer)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where I Stand Sunday and Finding a Gem


"Lake Tealwood Decoy"
20" x 24"
pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes
While cleaning the studio, I came across some OLD photos of my artwork of yesteryear. We are talking mid - 80's. Since I have a nifty slide/negative reader/converter I thought I would show you what I used to do, many moons ago...while I am still busy organizing all my STUFF.
This artpiece was done for my Aunt and Uncle. They traded me for a handmade quilt. I still have the quilt and this pastel still hangs over their fireplace in the main house.
For weeks, we have been in awe of the weather around the U.S., especially on the western coast and the upper midwest/eastern coast.  It seemed to be all around us.  During this time would have chilly days and nice warmer days. That jet stream would be right over us that was creating all the 'ills' for the other parts of the country.  We finally got some much needed moisture.  And the earth is finally in it's deep freeze - frozen good and hard.  Blowing snow and very cold temps have arrived.  Nice sun though.  We have been without sun for a long time - but it's shining big and bright now.  My feet have been traveling overtime between house and studio. 
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge

Every year - for several, I start out the New Year with the idea of sketching more. It doesn't stay a focus for very long. This year I am happy that there is a sketchbook challenge on the internet. See sidebar.

I NEED to and simply must sketch more. I find that when I sketch more, I have less difficulty 'seeing' and 'composing'. Being out of practice can be a little frustrating. I find it really helps me tune into JUST what something should render like in my finished paintings. So - my sketchbook for this challenge has begun on this paper. It is heavy and really accepts charcoal/pastel.

The first sketch for January is a subject that is "Highly Prized".  That wasn't too hard to sketch.
Hasty Herman is a good subject - any way I look at him.  Life without him hasn't gotten much easier, over time.  He was one very special dog.
I had to take a break from reorganizing the studio today. It is taking way longer than I thought.  Most of the big items have been moved.  DH has helped me alot with making it just right. 

I feel that I have kick started my "art" year with this challenge.
Please excuse, those of you that got an email of a new post, I had the date incorrect, added too many '1's.