Sunday, November 30, 2008

Head in the Clouds

I awoke this morning to sumptuously thick fog. It has persisted way past noon, unlike a typical autumnal fog. This must be a low-lying cloud. So all morning, I have been walking around with my head in the clouds. I feel like I am on a mountain top and all the surfaces are spangled with dewdrops. The smoke tree is particularly resplendent.

I sit at my window and marvel how clear, rich and saturated the colors are for the first 10 feet or so, then rapidly become less and less saturated until about 200 feet away there is only gray. I love fog and foggy days, though I am glad I do not have to be out driving in this. But as an artist, there is so much to learn about color and perception on days like this.

Now, I can just see the disk of the sun enough to locate where it is. This is the kind of day I love to paint. So as I work at my chores for the day, I keep taking time to sit or stand in front of a window and memorize the moment. My head is in the clouds, but my feet are still firmly planted on the earth.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Moon Glow Daily Oil Painting a Day on Copper

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm
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Memories of evenings on the beach. The grill is going and the kids are asleep on a blanket. All is quiet and there is just enough breeze off the water to chase away the mosquitoes. It just doesn't get any better than this.

Friday, November 28, 2008


What does coasting mean to you? How about traveling by a small boat along a shore to get somewhere? I have done a lot of that in Alaska and enjoyed seeing all the sights. But today I am writing about the other meaning of coasting, moving along on stored up kinetic energy. That is what I am doing with the daily painting as the holidaze is interfering with my painting discipline. There are only so many hours in the day and I am working on some larger works in my studio now. So there is less time to paint the little ones. (Besides, someone had to bake the pumpkin pie!)

Someday I am going find one of those materializer machines that I can smack my forehead against and whatever is visualized in my mind will be created instantly and come out a big chute. Until that happens, I am limited by what my hands can produce. And that means that not all my visualizations are created. Some fall by the wayside and others are postponed. Those that are the tastiest to me usually go to the head of the line and are created next.

Paintings can be luscious as pie. Thick, rich, vibrant colors and varied textures are good enough to eat. Meditative landscapes are as refreshing to me as a cup of Spring Dragon green tea, which I consider the perfect accompaniment to a sweet dessert. So I invite you to get your cup of tea and coast through some of my earlier posts and enjoy them.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sunset Daily Oil Painting a Day on Copper

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm
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As you may have noticed, I am painting a lot of dawn, twilight and nocturne paintings lately. I have always wanted to explore the subtle colors of these times and the copper lends itself so well to the colors. The warm skies are the result of a thin layer of a pale, neutral blue-violet stroked very thinly over the reflective copper, so that depending on the viewing angle, the color varies.

I love blue violet, the color of the wild violets I found in the woods as a child. It is almost gray, almost blue or almost violet, depending on the lighting. This color is even more beautiful when seen against the orange pink of pure copper. Combined with the greens of vegetation, I am using a triad of the secondary colors, orange, purple and green.

If you have visited my website, you know that I love orange, my favorite color. It is strange, but my favorite color used to be green, but after living in areas of gray skies for years, I found myself drawn more to orange, especially the rich red-orange or burnt orange as it is sometimes called. This is a color that throbs with vitality. It is the color the sun takes on as I watch it sink behind the screen of the winter twigs of the nearby birch trees in winter. It is the color of free range egg yolks or pyracantha berries in the winter yards.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day's End Daily Oil Painting a Day on Copper

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm
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In the northern latitudes, night comes very slowly and late and doesn't last long. Wonderful days for camping and exploring. I expect this, and am dismayed when I visit areas closer to the equator and the sun sets suddenly, with little time for twilight. It gets dark way too fast and conversely there is little warning for sunrise either. Dark one moment and sunrise the next. I prefer the hour long transition from first gray light to the full sunlight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beach Logs Daily Oil Painting a Day on Copper

Oil on Copper sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm
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Logs never stay on local beaches too long. They get cut up for firewood either for fires on the beach or at home. Most of the logs show signs of a saw now. Many have escaped from rafts or barges in storms. They have two sawn ends. The battered remains of whole trees are those who have fallen into the water from shore either on the salt water or in a river that drains to the sea. They have roots and/or broken ends.

I love the wood and the textures that result from the grinding on rocks and sand in the surf. It is fun to look for interesting small sized pieces of driftwood for the garden or crafts.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rain Shower

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm

It was a blustery day as I stood in the fields painting the tulips. My easel was blown over several times. I watched huge clouds sail into the mountains and dump their loads of rain. I was so glad that the rain was over there instead of right here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cormorant Cove

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6"

These diving birds are very common all over Puget Sound. They are a lot of fun to watch as they fish for their meal. When not fishing, they sit around and wait for inspiration to do something else. I would rather paint them than the seagulls who are always around the shore.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Excuses, Excuses!

There is no photo today because I couldn't photograph my latest work while the sun was shining. I just am not happy with the photos made under artificial light of the copper. I don't get as much glow.

The sun was shining brightly on Saturday. However, I was at the Toastmasters International Conference, learning to be a better public speaker. It was a wonderful event and the educational sessions were especially informative.

Sadly, it was the first day in some time that was actually sunny here. Maybe the sun will shine tomorrow?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beach Stump

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm

There are so many beautiful islands in Puget Sound. It seems that there is a painting waiting in every direction. How to choose when surrounded by such beauty is the real challenge. Whether you travel by boat or by car, this land is full of the peaceful beauty that makes me want to sit a while and contemplate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ancient Tree

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm

I am drawn to trees with character. Those who seem to have weathered the storms of life and have stories to tell. I found this one when I was out plein air painting in the Arboretum. I think children have swung from the branches and adults have wished they could. It seems so welcoming with its wide open arms.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm

That period of the day when the sun has set but the sky still has a pink glow is my favorite. The colors are muted and shifted to the red. Often the breezes have died down and the birds either set up a chorus of chatter or grow silent. Dark slides across the land and gradually the lights appear as signposts of humanity. The moon rises and may even be bright enough to see by in a rural area with few other sources of light to affect our eyes. At such times, the moon holds my gaze.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mt. Baker

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm

The San Juan Islands offer many views of our mountains. I especially love the contrast of flat water with vertical peaks. It seems the epitome of our terrain in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm

Watching a sunrise through a fence line of trees, I was struck by how the tree branches formed spaces like the windows of a Gothic cathedral. Beauty is everywhere and inspires us all. Celebrate every sunrise.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Poplar Windbreak

Oil on Copper Sheet 6" x 6" or 15cm x 15cm

After much more experimentation, I have settled on a system to produce panels to paint on. It has been another large learning experience, but I now have a system.

Now I must get back into the groove of producing the paintings. The weather is gloomy now with heavy black clouds prevailing. I miss the sun, especially when photographing the paintings. I prefer daylight to photograph by and it has been so dim lately that I must do my photos at noon for enough light. It is the famous Seattle weather pattern.