Sunday, May 16, 2010

Eccentric Blood Orange


I once took a bunch of cut up blood oranges to a local potluck. I thought folks would be overjoyed to have or try a rare treat in our part of the country.

What an error! Not a single person other than myself tried any. I know that these oranges really look different and even more so when cut open. But they are tasty.

Judging books by their cover, I guess.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Heart Made of Glass

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I was struck by the idea of a glass heart next to a piece of stone. If my heart is glass it could not just break, but shatter. The strawberry is also heart shaped, but not going to shatter. It will only dry up and shrivel if left here. So, since there are risks in both directions, why not go for it? As an artist, I know that I must take risks every time I start a painting or show a finished work to someone. Better the risk of shattering than the risk of shriveling I say!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tiny Daffodil a Harbinger of Spring

6.5"x4.5" oil
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I was charmed when I was handed this tiny pot with a blooming daffodil in it as a gift. Everything about it was just right. The bulb fit the pot just so and one flower was open with a few more buds showing. So of course, I needed to paint it.

It has taken a while to finish this painting as I have been very distracted lately by the weeds in the garden and the distress of the Mason bees who used up all the holes in their new nest boxes and were going strong. Thank goodness, a friend brought her bee nest over to have some tenants. They have been loving the newly paper-lined holes and have plastered shut 4 holes when I last looked.

They pollinate our fruit as we have fruit trees, berries and a grape vine which all produce when they are adequately pollinated. Since we have lost so many of the native pollinators, these hard workers are very welcome in our garden. Too bad they don't make honey.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bartlett Pear in the style of Meléndez

6.5"x4.5" Oil on Gessobord
SoldI keep studying the way Meléndez painted fruit. I have used some ancient stipple techniques which I learned from a teacher in Paris. I stroke paint on, then stipple it with a short sort of brush, very similar to a stencil brush. It works particularly well on on the slightly textured Gessobord. I like the look, but it takes patience and several drying sessions to finish a painting in this manner. I would not recommend it for doing a painting a day. It is just too slow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

View from Glacier Peak Trail

Oil on Mounted Canvas 12"x12"

There are so many places that I have been that I want to paint. Every time I look around I see even more. I used to always carry sketchbook and watercolors everywhere along with a camera. So when I don't know what to do next, I just pull out some slides or a sketchbook and take another trip down memory lane. The small paintings I posted last were a warm up for big. I just finished a large larch painting from the references I gathered during a week I spent in Little Yoho, Canada a while ago. At least I think it is finished. I have to spend a little more time studying it for itchy places. That is how I know when a painting is finished. No more itching. Trouble is, as I relieve one itch after another, new ones suddenly pop up.

I get obsessed with mountains and seeing the Brothers and Constance with fresh snow makes me want to paint more mountains. Seeing the tulips in full blossom makes me want to paint tulips. Seeing the interesting people around town makes me want to paint people. Too many options! So I started another pear painting in the style of Meléndez. But as it is still in process, I am posting this painting for your pleasure this week.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hi tech, Hi touch, Virtual Reality Studio Visit

A recent adventure led to a way for you to experience a 360 degree 3 dimensional view of me and my studio. You can mouse side-to-side, up and down and see it all. It takes a little while to load, depending on your connection.

Click Here to Visit my Studio.

No preview, I am sad to say, but I think you will enjoy it. The paintings sitting around on easels are drying. You know, it takes a year for an oil painting to dry thoroughly and they must be exposed to the air to dry. The oil reacts with the oxygen in the air, creating a tough polymer, that expands as the reaction progresses. Most of these were finished in the last few months and a few were recently repaired after some rough handling took off a tiny patch of paint on several works.

Repairs are so much easier if you use a set palette for all the work. It is much easier to match the patch when you know what pigments went into it.

I just wish that the new lights that had been installed the following week had been in place when the Virtual Reality Photos had been taken. I have so much more light now.

I have 2 other paintings in progress, so I have a lot of paint to watch drying. I use this time to scrutinize my compositions for little itchy places. If it feels like it needs scratched, I know that there is something bothering me about one or more of the painters' tools used in creating composition. Color, value, edges and design are the most frequent culprits. So I sit with the newbie and wait for it to tell me what it needs or ask someone to look at it and tell me what bothers them. Fresh eyes see so clearly.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Little Yoho Golden Larches #1 and #2

One of the most wonderful places on earth at the best time of the year. I spent a week there in September in the Canadian Alpine Club Hut, painting watercolors and taking photos. One of my fondest memories. I had also spent two weeks in this park in another summer and remember the mosquitoes. Otherwise, a very beautiful and spiritual location for any artist.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gros Ventre Camp View


I sat in the campground and painted some plein air landscapes. This winter, while looking through my old photos, I thought the big cottonwoods would make a good subject for a little painting on copper. I have a very warm spot in my heart for cottonwoods. They were prominent several places I have lived and they perfume the air when in bud or shedding leaves.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mushrooms for the Meal


I love little bowls to leave a tea bag in or to organize the ingredients for a dish that I am cooking. The way the dish hangs over the column says mushroom to me, so I put mushrooms in it. They turned out to be a bit harder to paint than expected. That just made them more fun. Had to hurry though, as they wanted to dry and shrivel on me. These became part of a beef cannelloni mushroom stew that was even better than I expected. Twice the fun!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alla Prima Plein Air at Walter's Part 1

Yes, I have been busy getting this little show ready for our neighborhood hangout. It will be up March 1-30, 2010 and exhibits landscapes painted rapidly on location.

The Scoop at Walter's
6408 32nd Avenue NW
Seattle, WA 98107
Open 6:00am-7:00pm daily except Fri and Sat open until 8:00pm

Alla Prima Plein Air at Walter's Part 2

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pepper Pair

These peppers are really just too perfect, but they sure tasted good. It is hard to find organic peppers and they usually don't look very different from the regular peppers. The apples and pears almost always look different.

The advantage of painting food is that you get to eat it later. Sweet, crunchy and fresh, hard to beat these peppers for taste appeal as well as eye appeal.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Apple Realist Original Antel Daily Oil Painting Day


Okay, okay, I confess. I went out and bought a 6 hair brush after I painted this apple and could not make any brushes that I owned make the little tiny dots I wanted on the apple. I have always thought such tiny brushes ridiculous, but I now I know they are essential for tiny paintings with tiny details.

Have I succumbed to the disease of "The only thing keeping me from painting like ________ is that my brush is not as good as his?" Perry Acker disabused me of this idea years ago when he said that a really good watercolorist could make a good painting using a piece of rope for the brush, and then proceeded to show us the worst brush we had ever seen and proceeded to paint superbly with it. But I am a firm believer in good equipment and materials making life easier.

What is really bad is the price of a 6 hair brush is about the same as a 50 hair brush. You really don't get much for your money! But then maybe it takes special skill to make such a tiny brush.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Really Seeing an Organic Pear


Another lesson from the Spanish Master is that organic fruit is more interesting. Fruit in his paintings show blemishes from surviving insect attacks. Why is this more interesting?

Imagine this same pear cast from plastic of a uniform color. The only variances in color and texture would be those created by the lighting. Then imagine that the pear was sitting on a highly polished block of metal, which in turn is posed in a setting of mechanical uniformity, such as machine made paper.

A painting of such uniformly featureless objects would need interesting reflections of the surrounding room to enliven their surfaces. The painting would become a very different statement, eliciting very different emotions from the viewer. It is all a matter of the artist's intent.

However, I regret that I did not include something highly polished in this painting, just for contrast. The wood is somewhat shiny, yet distressed, so I guess it will have to serve as the shiny element.

What do you think? I believe that a painting is completed in the viewer's mind, so I can never know exactly what this painting communicated to you. I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lemons, Still Learning After All These Years


I just finished reading Luis Meléndez, Master of the Spanish Still Life, and it really excited me to see ordinary items painted in such a manner that were more real than a photo image appears. This is the catalog for a traveling exhibition that will be at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston January 31-May 9, 2010, if you should happen to be in the vicinity. I wish I could see it.

Making realist art is all about seeing, and this catalog has a wealth of high quality reproductions as well as photo macrographs and micrographs along with x-ray and IR images. It is very scholarly and informative covering the artist's life and methods of working. I learned that this artist specifically chose items for his still life subjects that were of varied and contrasting textures. So I chose a lemon, a tiny dish and a block of rock for a range of textures. I set them up on an old piece of wood with a fabric background.

This 6.5" x 4.5" work was an even more challenging subject as I had just finished a 30" x 40" painting of a fisherman in a river. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sheep and Olive Trees in Portugal - Oil on Copper

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I remember the sheep on the farm in the summer baaing to each other on the hillsides as the sun went down. I loved the sound. Those sheep had cropped tails, though. The sheep in Portugal had long tails.

I think my fondness for sheep came from being chief bottle feeder of orphan lambs that didn't get adopted. That was fun too. I must confess that I am very fond of sheep cheese, especially with membrillo. Although I have never milked a sheep and think it hard enough to milk a cow,I have made membrillo paste as a young girl on the East coast where we had quince trees. There is nothing that smells as wonderful as ripe quince. Memories...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Azure Streak and Bainbridge Island Gets the Sun

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How strange to see this intense azure streak on the Bainbridge Island side of the sound. It seems to be a reflection of blue sky that we can only just glimpse a bit of, at least that is my guess. I was intrigued enough to want to paint it. The water was pretty flat, no sailboats out, but a dark cloud had just sailed over us here in Seattle. When you live near water, all sorts of weather happens, often fleetingly.

I feel this work is more abstract than representational, hence, a more abstract stand. In fact, this is my favorite meditation piece as it seems so calm. What do you think? Have you seen this kind of light on the water before?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Puddle Original Oil Painting on Copper Sheet

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I love dirt roads, but not when they are dusty. They are at their best when damp but not muddy. I have spent a lot of time walking and driving these roads in many places. They intrigue my interest and make me wonder what would I find at the end of the road?

I have found many treasures to paint along or at the ends of dirt roads. Growing up in the mountains, I was more at home with these roads than the interstates. Now I live in the midst of pavement and must drive a while to find an interesting road. So perhaps they are better in memory than in actuality.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hilltop House Original Oil Painting on Copper

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It is the quality of light and the shapes that move me to paint something. I love the light on houses that have a simple shape.There is just something so solid about the shapes revealed in this way. The trees of winter are a different proposition. Without their leaves, they are less solid and more of a challenge to paint without getting into painting every single branch. There are some artists that will paint every detail, but I am not one of them. I only wish to paint enough to let the viewer complete the idea for themselves.

Once again, I have shown the painting in two very different lighting situations so that you can get more of an idea how the copper gleaming through the semi-transparent oil paint changes with the light.

This particular stand is my very favorite as it looks like a rocky outcropping on the hillside.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dawn in the Spring Fields Original Oil on Copper

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Can a painting look this different under different light? Yes! If you view this painting on copper by morning sun, the copper gleams pink from under the pale blue gray oil paint. When viewed by lamplight, the colors are more muted. I love this effect of mutability in a painting. It captures more of the reality of the light on the land. In the early spring, the air is cold, but the light is so warm as the sun rises. When the sun is higher in the sky, the light grows colder as the earth warms. I think that is magical.

These Skagit fields often have tulips or daffodils in them. Sometimes they are left fallow, other times they have a vegetable crop in rotation. Every year is different.