Thursday, October 30, 2008

Steps in My Boat Painting in Oil

Yesterday, I started a more involved painting than usual. My friend in Denver, lets me use his photos for painting ideas. He had a great photo of these longboats in Mystic, CT. I am going to share with you the way I attacked it. It's not finished...I have a lot more to do. Getting ready for a show in mid November. Stay tuned for the finished piece...

I began this one on a 16" x 20" tinted canvas. I used cadmium red and red oxide acrylic paint. Next I roughly sketched in the objects with a white charcoal pencil. Next, I began to find the areas that were the darkest darks in large shapes.
I am excited about this one, as I have never done a water scene in oil paint. I added the outline of the boats and worked on the rock wall in the back of the painting, and added the lightest colors, to help me see where I was going. I couldn't wait to get going on the water. What fun!Filling in some more water reflection colors, noticing I had the waterline a little skewed.
Almost to a stopping point today, as I add more midtones to the boat insides and decide to take out some of the detail on the dock.

Every part of the painting is filled in with oil paint now. I will begin to refine and revisit area of dark and light in an effort to "pop" them out. I love the way it's going, a really fun subject! Just so you know, every painting I do, goes a little differently. There are no rules that I follow, except working dark, then midtones or local color and add the lights when I need to see where I am going. I do try to follow a little lesson I learned about darks, midtones and lights. Check back for that!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Plein Air Painting for Today

" Old Elm" - 4" x 6" oil on Ampersand Claybord

Today was such a beautiful, calm day, that I thought I would catch a little afternoon painting "plein air". I have always wanted to paint the mighty elm tree that stands in our driveway. It has been through hell, most of it's life. We almost lost it two years ago in the hail and wind storm. There is even a chain from a child's swing growing in the trunk. We are lucky it's still standing. We love that old tree.

When the fields around us get planted or harvested, this time of year, a zillion ladybugs are on the fly. They must have a big job to do in the fields. We have been inundated with millipedes, then "cluster" flies and now ladybugs - and this afternoon, they are all out there!

I had them all over my back, says hubster, as I was painting.

When I came in to post and stir the spaghetti sauce, I had to make sure none flew into the crockpot. LOL.

ON top of my pochade box and all around the backdoor, waiting to come in!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Once Upon a Cow...

"Cow" - 11" x 14" frame size, pastel on dark burgundy Canson paper
"Different Strokes from Different Folks" challenge this week is a cow.
See the original photo here, clear at the bottom of all the submissions.

For Sale
unframed in a 11" x 14" mat
shipping in US and Canada is included in price

Where I Stand Sunday

Apples - the last of the pick.
Flies, wasps and ladybugs
not to mention a few deer in the night,
have delighted in the few that are left.
Flavorably sweet and crisp,
ready for the last choosing.
These are the last apples from our most fruitful apple tree this year. We tried them earlier this season - too tart, so because it isn't in our view every day, we kind of forgot about it, until recently. These are the best apples we have ever had. Other sights today were the sandhill cranes flying back overhead, headed for the south. A definite sign of season's change. Here is a photo of some flocks of blackbirds, circling over to the south of the studio. What a swarm! They obliterated the sun at one point.

Mom and I have a standing joke. Before my granddaughter was born over a year ago, we both started a baby blanket. I gave mine up and started a new one. She is still on the first one. Our joke is that they will be finished for her high school graduation. LOL! Well, mom, I finished mine while I watched OSU just barely lose today to Texas - good game, go Cowboys! Had to get this blanket done, I have more crocheting and knitting I want to do this winter. I like the way it came out, I designed a little ruffle around the edge. It's much better than my first attempt this past year. Karin's challenge for this week is done. I will post it tomorrow. I like the way it turned out.

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. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Rude Awakening

This was part of our property during some flooding last June.

This is the same view today, usually dry land here, a lot more water, we live near a creek. You can look back to my late June blogs to see photos of that flood. There was a thunderstorm all night long, complete with thunder and lightning and today they are predicting snow, 40 mph winds...which are already going on.

The water is OVER the bridge , after receding a bit. This is our well head's little island. Yesterday we had an electrical fire in the wiring at that site. We were going to go back today and make it a better and cleaner connection, but can't get to it. Pump is OK for now.

We are hunkering down in the house getting ready for the impending weather.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More of Sunday

It was time for some new photos while the weather was still good.
My meeting on Sunday was in Beloit, Kansas at Joyce and Ken's house in the country. They own a landscape and greenhouse business in town.
We took some walks around the acreage to see the sights.

This is their pond, complete with Koi. They are getting this area ready for a wedding in June. To the right is a free standing screened in porch area and in the back is their garage which is an old schoolhouse moved onsite long ago. It still has chalkboards in it. So cute!

Many properties have these old pieces of farm equipment and machinery.
This one is a really neat old combine.

Down by the creek, the shadows were long. Time for a self-portrait.

On the drive home, I stopped by to see the harvest work going on where hubster was working and driving from there, saw this large flock of wild turkey crossing the road, there were probably triple that amount, but by the time the camera was out, this was the tailend of the group. This is out the windshield and a little impromptu and hurried, but you get the idea. I stopped and listened to them trickle on through the woods doing their little turkey calls.

And from the section road just a mile from my house, this great Kansas sunset! Ahhh, the perfect end to a perfect day!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

Around these parts, everyone is talking 'harvest'. With eminent cold and wet weather coming later this week, harvest has become a priority. Today, hubster will help harvest the corn...and that decision was made earlier today, however, since he is kinda 'on call', we just found out. You just never know. It's all about the moisture content of certain crops. There is worry that if there's ice next week, it will take down the milo crop. We hope not.

BTW - I took this photo this morning as I stood next to the combine, as it reminds me of my dad and my grandfather. I would spend a few weeks a summer when I was little at Grandma and Grandpa's and experience 'harvest' and learn what my dad grew up with -
the stuff that goes on around where I now live.

Full circle? Just about. It's kinda 'my roots' that are showing their impressive head today.

Today is Dad's 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad, with love, your daughter.

P.S. I am on my way to our quarterly NCKAA (North Central Kansas Artists Association) meeting this afternoon.
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. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Touching Lives, Out of Touch and the Andy Rooney of It All

As a retired teacher, I sometimes sit and try to put a numerical figure to the young lives I encountered throughout the years of being a paraprofessional and then teaching. I lose sight of the number, but chalk it up to about 27 years times 20 - 30 each year, not to mention how many other kids you know in other teacher's classes for one reason or another.
It is phenomenal to imagine the time each year (about 180 days) from first bell in the morning until dismissal bell in the afternoon was spent with well-known children. I taught in grades K - 2 most of my career. These children become like your own. You know them well, their habits, their idiosyncrasies, their siblings, their parents, even their pets and if you let them, they know you and all that stuff too. Teachers have unforgettable acquaintances and encounters with the parents, as well. Then they all move on. You think about them often. They enriched your life by virtue of watching them grow, you (hopefully) improved theirs by offering up some unforgettable learning experiences and support. You wish them all the best that life has to offer.

The first school I taught at was in the Columbine High School articulation area. One of my first graders lost his life, a freshman, on that horrible day April 20, 1999. It drew me closer to the tragedy, as one of the gunmen also attended that elementary school while I was there. I have a lot of opinions about what happened on that day, and why. But I try to not think about it.

I am not a big football fan. If the Denver Broncos play, I will watch it intermittently. Pro football and it's hype gets to me after awhile. Last year I discovered something interesting and exciting though and it was by virtue of just passing by the TV while an OSU game was being watched and going "What? What did they say the name of that quarterback was?" One student which I taught in that same school, is the quarterback for Oklahoma State University.

So lately, on Saturday, I look for the OSU game to be on TV and watch Zac Robinson try to pull his team to victory. It's funny, looking at his face, he is the same little Zac, that I taught way back when. Today the game against Baylor isn't on here. Watched them beat Mizzou last week though (sorry cousins). Go OSU! Best wishes to you Zac!!
If you have kids, think about their teachers, and I know I am speaking for so many of us. They remember your child, long after you leave them. They hope the best for your child, no matter what they do. Some would even welcome a return visit once in awhile, just to say 'hi' - and have that exchange about 'how you are doing'. We don't forget you, you just go away - and in some cases, we do too.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Charcoal Sketch for Today

"Leann and Leslyn" - charcoal on print paper
I have had this photo, ever since it was posted on my friend Leann's blog. I loved the crispness and the light on their faces in the black and white photo. You can see the original here. Wanting to get to it today, I picked up my sketchboard, which had lots of padding that I put on it when I am using pastel paper. This piece of paper was on top, I think I bought it to use with woodblocks and rubberblocks to print on. It was an interesting surface. I like how it turned out. Leann's arm is around Leslyn in the photo, however, I didn't want to do that part because the whole drawing came out too close to the edge of the paper to include it. P.S. I realize I gave Leann a little more lift in her hair on top after looking at this more closely.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New York Stock Exchange 'Challenge'

..and a challenge it was. This (2) week's Different Strokes from Different Folks photo was one of Karin's shots from inside the NYSE. I used acrylic paints on a 6" x 12" stretched canvas, and painted it really quickly. I don't like the final outcome, although as always - I learned something from doing it. Karin reminded us, it's just a 'glimpse' in time. I got sort of hung up on the background, and not so much on the foreground...which it's really supposed to be the reverse. I also know you shouldn't really rely so heavily on a photo, unless of course you using one for an extreme portrait likeness. The source photo itself was hard to enlarge. It went pixelated, so I couldn't see any detail. Knowing her a little, I guess that's the way she wanted it..."always remember to squint", well squint it was - once you tried to see details.
Click on "Different Strokes from Different Folks" site on the sidebar, although Karin is out of town right now, or supposed to be.
Just an FYI - I have painted or drawn the last 8 days in a row. It feels so good, just the way it should (ha ha)!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pastel Sketch for Today

Rainy day today. Sometimes I bring my pastel pencils in the house and sketch at the kitchen table and watch (nare I say) T.V. I brought with me some scraps of matboard. This one was really "toothy", meaning it had lots of little dimples or weave, harder to fill in. This one was more toothy than most pastel paper. I had a great photo of a labrador taken this summer, so I gave it a shot.
Experimenting with surfaces causes note to self, don't use this one (surface) again..

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Gift of Art

Recently our second grandchild was born. She has a very nice big bedroom but is lacking any decoration on the wall as they just moved into this house from a small apartment. Well, we can't have that...not in a family that has an artist who loves to I have been working on an idea of 6 little (6' x 6") paintings that will all go side by side onto a wooden base, surrounded by a frame.
Hmmm, what to paint for a little girl's room? I decided on a small series of stylized cupcakes in different compositions and colors, as her mother and I talked about ideas beforehand. Thanks to 'Martha Stewart's Cupcake Challenge' a while back, I got many of the cupcake ideas there.
After several days of painting, the 'art part' is done, although after it was done and I was satisfied with all of them, I lay awake almost half the night, planning in my head how I wanted to frame them. Does that ever happen to you?
The frame will need to be constructed (thanks Grandpa), painted and varnished before complete. I don't know if they will be left in this configuration or if it will change before the framing. Check back for the finished piece. I apologize for the little bit of glare on the photo, maybe there will be a better one when I get it in a frame.
And since I totally support reading to children, even at a very early age, I got "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake" by Laura Numeroff to go with this artpiece.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tomato Pie

I am not the world's best cook. I try hard, but I hardly ever have something turn out like it should. Tonight I made "Tomato Pie", a recipe recommended by a blog friend who has a blog friend...well, you know how it goes. Anyway see the recipe here. My photo is just what I got, and it was delicious!! I loaded up on the Tums afterwards, because my non-iron stomach shouldn't imbibe on all those tomatoes and onions, but it sure was tasty! We could keep each other up tonight? Nah!!!!

Where I Stand Sunday

Lamentably so...flip flops are soon NOT to be the 'going' footwear.
A timid reflection in the water that covers the sidewalk,
Toes are pulled in tightly so as not to get wet.
The cool wind blows. There is no lightning associated with this rain.
It's the rain of change.

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. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

Friday, October 10, 2008

There's One in Every Crowd

"One in Every Crowd" - 6" x 12" oil on stretched canvas
Yesterday, I picked a ton of peppers, which are still thriving in the vegetable garden. Finally got a large bell pepper. Thought I would throw it into the mix under the light in the shadow box.
For Sale
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Please note computer monitors can be different in color display.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Pastel for Today

"Taking Inventory" - 3" x 5" pastel pencil on velour - NFS
So...this is how that little boy I drew a few days ago, looks today.
Amazing how art transgresses generations.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Charcoal Sketch on Velour

"Mom in Santa Cruz" - 1946" - 4" x 6" charcoal sketch on gray velour - NFS
Once again I am using some old black and white photos that I just find so fascinating, borrowed from 'the family albums'. Mom looks so refreshing in her little midriff top and white skort. Looks like she is shining her sunglasses in her hand. Those were really cool sunglasses! Ya gotta love all the hair! She was a midwest country girl who got married and moved to the West Coast. Note: if you want fine edgy detail, be aware it's harder to achieve on velour paper. I think I would like to do a more close-up study of this one on different paper. (Originally I had stated that mom was in Oakland, however, I now understand that they were on a little weekend in Santa Cruz.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pastel on Velour Paper

As I came across some velour paper on Sunday in my studio, I quickly got a piece, sat down and got back in tune with it's qualities. Talk about creating soft pastels that look like butter! Years ago, I did many animal pastels using it, as it really lends itself to 'fur'. I was reminded of how little 'dusting' occurred while working with your pastels. One thing you can't do is erase, blend, or over scumble an area, it ruins the surface. As far as it's archival quality, I recently acquired a "returned" velour surface artpiece I did probably 25 years ago. It was interesting to note that the pastel was still on the surface as if I had just finished it. Even though it had been out of it's frame and laid around in different spots, it was not smeared...the only thing I noticed was a tiny bit of yellowing to the reverse side of the paper, which means to me that it isn't completely 'acid-free', however, I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the piece. Nothing says enough to me about a paper, other than my own test of time. I have had a black and white 'kindergarten' photo of my husband, just crying to be drawn in color. He was just as cute then as he is now! LOL.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Drat Those Mice

As I was moving stuff around in the studio, trying to locate the odorifous and all too familiar stench of a dead varmint, I found this stuck in an old portfolio...I started it some time ago, and if I can find the source photo I am going to finish it. No carcass found...but I also ran into an oldie but goodie surface for pastel. Will write more about it tomorrow. Febreeze works wonders for now.

"Too Much Legislation" - WIP - pastel/conte on Strathmore paper

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where I Stand Sunday and Different Strokes

So many things our favorite friends rely on us for; shelter, play, love and food, although this one would have his meal from the garbage can if you'd let him. He eats and drinks water, to excess, so we have to dole his food out carefully in parts, or it comes right back up. Here he waits, I help to calm him...he would do anything for food. His name is Bailey and he is a Weimaraner.

"Nocturnal Cloud Gate" - 12" x 16" oil painting on stretched canvas

This week's challenge on "Different Strokes from Different Folks"... "Cloud Gate" (also called "the bean") is an awesome sculpture which resides in Millennium Park in Chicago. The daytime reference photo can be seen on Karin's site. I decided to translate my 'bean' into night viewing with lights abound on the night skyline. I have been craving to paint a nocturnal scene, so I made this one 'at night'. It was another surprisingly fun one to paint! Also, you can read Charley Parker's article about Karin's new blog here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

When the Sun Sets...

Awesome sunset last night, right over the studio. I LOVE MY STUDIO! I framed a lot of work yesterday. In November, I will be giving a presentation on my Guatemala painting trip (you can read about it on this blog) to a women's group in town and I wanted to have the artwork that I have done from that trip ready to 'show and tell'. Right now, they are hanging on my studio wall. I framed a few to hang in our new kitchen, also. I realized just how much I like oil painting on canvasboard, it is really easy to frame!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Painting for Today

"Geraniums, Too" 8" x 10" oil on canvasboard

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


"Paulina" - pastel on Canson paper - 4" x 6"

Paulina was one of our models at Lake Atitlan.
She is a backstrap weaver and manages a shop near Panajachel.
Here, she was telling us about her weaving.
For Sale
unframed in a mat
fits in a 9" x 12" frame
includes shipping
Please contact me if interested
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Don't Mess with the Animals

Well, now you have it. Sarah Palin will NEVER get any vote from me. Look here. If you don't want to view the killing of an animal, then don't look, but take my word for it, she is offering a 'bounty' of every severed left frontleg of a wolf and has proposed money for aerial hunting (ooo, that's "sport"?) of our precious wildlife.