Sunday, March 31, 2013

Misty Missouri Morning

Misty Missouri Morning
Oil on panel, 20x16
A beautiful sky reflecting over water is one of my favorite landscapes to paint.  This place is tranquil and the water is barely moving, showing just a little movement near the bank.  Our low rainfall over the last year has the water level down, which reveals the interesting way the bank has been cut into over time.  I have been drawn to peaceful subjects these last few days, as my real life kicks into overdrive.  Perhaps that is my own kind of art therapy, preparing me for the weeks ahead! This painting makes 87 paintings in 87 days, and now I must get to work on Easter dinner!  Happy Easter to all!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Autumn Aspens

Autumn Aspens
Oil over acrylic on canvas, 18x24
I seldom paint on canvas.  The the way the woven texture grabs the paint is so different than wood.  The canvas soaks up the paint far more than a birch panel does, even when primed.  I love the way I can push the paint around a wood panel.  I had started this one on canvas, so today I return to working on canvas.  I had the underpainting done in acrylic, leaving me free to apply the oils at will - making changes as the painting progressed.  Any reference or sketch is only a template for the painting, a jumping off point.  As the painting grows, it often takes on a life of it's own - leading me to where it wants to go.  The hue and key of this painting is far different than where it began, softer and more peaceful than it's underpainting.  Oils are king for this kind of change, the transparency of acrylics make it very hard to come back from bold.  I have been working rather large the last few days, and I just got some beautiful new larger frames.  There is nothing more motivating than gorgeous frames awaiting their paintings!  This one makes 86 paintings in 86 days.

Friday, March 29, 2013

King of the Prairie

King of the Prairie
20x16, Oil over acrylic on panel
There is a wonderful buffalo farm not far from my home.  I try to go get reference photos whenever the lighting is especially cool.  Sometimes the buffalo are close enough to really see, and other times they are way back from the road.  I started this by completely underpainting in acrylic, and then going over that base with my oils.  I used quite a bit of palette knife work in the grasses for texture as well as interest.  I am going to let this one rest tonight, to look again with fresh eyes in the morning.  This painting makes 85 paintings in 85 days.  I never thought a 30 day painting challenge would lead me here :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Coffeepot Peonies

Coffeepot Peonies
Oil on panel, 9x12
Today was such a beautiful day to be outside!  I opened all the windows - letting the warm spring air flow through.  After the big snow just days ago, this is certainly a welcome change!  It is spring break, and the house was full of kids, their friends, and grandchildren - so no plein air painting for me today.  I wouldn't dare leave them to run amuck while working out in the pasture.  So, here I brought in this antique enamelware pot and set up a still life.  Good thing, too, as I started and stopped this painting about a million times today!  I have yet to take friends home, and drop off children - so I must hurry with this post.  This is painting number 84 in 84 days, and I think the next few will need to be quite small to get them done in the busy week ahead :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rainy Day at Big Cedar

Rainy Day at Big Cedar
Oil on panel, 10x8
This painting was started in the rain at the Big Cedar Plein Air Event event.  It was a one hour quick paint, and I set my easel up as close to the building as I could get - to shield myself from the rain.  It was so cold - and I had on several layers to fight the elements!  My red rain slicker kept the rain running off of me while I quickly painted.  Today, I finished this piece by cleaning up the edges and defining the shapes a little better.  I dared not change the colors, as I couldn't find my photo reference.  Things can get a little crazy during a quick paint!  This is painting number 83 in 83 days, now back to getting my panels primed.........

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Colorado Reflections

Colorado Reflections
Oil on panel, 14x11
I keep a stack of paintings set aside that I have started, but have not finished.  Most are plein air pieces where I simply ran out of time, and a few are paintings I just did not return to.  I think I started this one years ago in a Phil Starke workshop, awaiting my return with the reference photo I had used.  It has been so long, I don't remember what mountain range this is!  I know it is Colorado, and I wish I had written on the back of it.  I seldom paint mountains, so this was fun to get the colors and shapes accurate.  I loved putting down such strong pigment for the sky and water - they truly are that blue!  Painting 82 in 82 days - now I have about a million panels to prime to prepare for next month!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Old Barn at Red Oak

Old Barn at Red Oak
Oil on panel, 10x8
I must be on a barn painting theme!  I had started this en plein air at Red Oak II, close to Carthage, MO - A truly magical place to visit!  I had only glazed in the colors before I moved to the next piece.  This is a day I need something where all the big decisions have been made - so this is my piece!  I could mindlessly paint this while playing song after song - looking for the right mother-son dance tune.  I must post this quickly, because I still haven't decided - but I have narrowed it down to three.  Maybe I should have all three on the list, and I'll have a few more days to decide for sure!  Painting number 81 in 81 days - and surely my "art therapy" for this day :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Defiance Barn in Autumn

Defiance Barn in Autumn
Oil on panel, 16x12
sold
I spent the entire day combing through photo albums and scanning pictures for my son's upcoming wedding.  By 10:00, I was finished, so I started to paint pretty late.  After painting 79 paintings in a row, I am SO resistant to let a day slip by without meeting that goal! I know it makes perfect sense, but I just can't make myself do it!  So, I chose a scene I have painted before, but changed to a darkening sky and autumn landscape (instead of the sunny, spring one that I had sold).  I have painted very few skies like this, and I like the change!  There is just something moody about a storm approaching. This one makes 80 in 80 days - just under the wire!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Winding River

The Winding River
Oil on panel, 8x10
I began this painting en plein air on the banks of the Bennett Spring.  The area is so beautiful, with the spring winding like a snake  through the woods.  It would have been easier to just paint the first bend or two, but the full length of it called to me.  The waters were so green, almost an unnatural dark green, in the deep shade of the trees.  Painting in a location like this seems almost timeless.  This could have been painted 100 years ago, the spring would not have changed.  Every so often, a fish would jump, splashing in the water.  Each morning, a horn would sound, signaling to the fisherman it was time to begin their sport.  I would love to go back when I have more time to explore the state park and surrounding area.  This place is just full of paintings waiting to be painted.  The snow is falling very heavy outside my window as I paint this 79th painting in a row!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Longview Mansion Hydrangeas

Longview Mansion Hydrangeas
Oil on panel, 12x9
One October evening, several years ago, Mike and I attended the Black & White Ball along with other Summit Artists and art supporters.  In partnership with David Gale, this event was hosted at the Longview Mansion in Lee's Summit, Missouri.  Steeped in history, this place is a magnificent step back in time.  I have been fortunate enough to paint on the property many times.  On this night, the most glorious hydrangeas adorned either side of the large mantle in the main room straight back from the front door.  It was a wonderful evening of great food and entertainment, celebrated with artist friends and family.  This makes painting 78 in 78 days :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rose Garden Sanctuary

Rose Garden Sanctuary
Oil on panel, 10x8
Today, I am painting the beautiful roses at Unity Village in Lee's Summit, MO.  I can remember walking through the rose gardens on warm Sundays as a child.  I would hold my Mom's hand, and then go to my Grandma's hand, smelling the roses along the way.  My younger brother explored the side paths along the way.  I can remember the feel of my Grandma's yellow dress on the back of my hand as we walked.  She was always so well dressed.  Still and quiet now, these roses have seen many weddings, and witnessed many celebrations.  This place is truly a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life.  This painting makes 77 in 77 days :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Redbuds of Augusta

First Redbuds of Augusta
Oil on panel, 16x12
Eight years ago, a dear friend of mine talked me into attending my first plein air event.  Actually, Teddy Jackson had to twist my arm to get me to go for the weekend.  It was so hard to abandon my family and all of my obligations for something so frivolous.  The very first time, we parked high on a hill (where now a fire station resides) to paint the beautiful overlook of hills and farms and vineyards.  It was cold, windy and drizzling - we had to back up under the hatchback of her SUV just to keep our panels dry!  I loved it.  Cold, wet, and shivering, I still loved it.  I was hooked.  I remember Teddy telling me, "If you can paint here, you can paint anywhere!"  She was right!  From 20 degrees to 106, I am out in it - and loving it.  I don't even feel the temperatures while I am painting.  Once finished, I often realize my hands are very cold - and they don't work right!  But, it just doesn't matter while I am in the zone!  I found the photo reference for this work while pouring over old photos.  The very first painting I did on location, I painted in acrylics - and did not get a good image of it.  It was my very first sale in Augusta, to a sweet couple from Indiana - just in town for the weekend.  That very first year, all of the trees were blooming - a perfect spring paradise!  I remember seeing these redbuds in town - and I set up my easel on the street a block to the north, and started painting.  While I worked, a young girl with long, curly hair came over to the center redbud - and started climbing the tree, even hanging upside down from it's branches!  A special place, with special memories........and it was only the beginning.  This painting makes 76 in 76 days :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Early Light on the Hillside

Early Light on the Hillside
Oil on panel, 6x12
I first painted a color study of this in plein air at my parent's house in Ohio.  Sitting on top of the hill, I looked to the right, with the river in the distance.  With early morning light and haze over the river, this view offered plenty of depth.  I only took the bare minimum for supplies, my palette, small panels, brushes and safflower oil.  I used a little foldable footstool to sit on, while my palette and oil were on the ground beside me.  I held the panel in the place an easel would keep it.  I didn't know if I would even have time to paint, but I was hopeful.  Each morning, I would come out to enjoy the early morning quiet before the day took me to hospital waiting rooms, cafeterias, and long hours away.  Just painting this today from my study, brought back the feeling of peace and tranquility on that hillside.  It is a visual journal for me that brings back the moment, the feelings, the prayers.  This place will forever be a place of peace and reflection for me.  This painting is the 75th painting in 75 days.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Through the Garden

Through the Garden
Oil on panel, 20x16
Last August, in the heat of summer, we vacationed up by Lake Erie.  On a day trip to the Henry Ford Museum, we went through the beautiful homes in Greenfield Village.  This magnificent garden is  between the Cotswold Cottage and it's barn.  The garden was absolutely busting with blooms!  I LOVE to be surrounded by these flowers, and to paint them is second nature.  Today was very full, and as time was short - I painted this one fast and loose, using my palette knife where needed.  I used the sides of various brushes for the many flowers - making them much faster to paint than they may look.  Painting 74 in as many days :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Pat's Brownies

St. Pat's Brownies
Oil on panel, 9x12
For St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to paint something light and fun!  I picked these super delicious brownie bites up at our local shop - Butterfly Kisses Bakery.  The little brownies are iced with "leaves" complete with the most delicious candy flowers popping out the tops!  ALMOST too beautiful to eat!  I didn't want to actually paint every detail of the marble top table - so I tried applying the colors with a palette knife, just skimming the surface to give the illusion.  I wanted to play in the paints a bit - being a little impressionistic with the surfaces.  I like the way the colors "married" in this way.  I just found this frosted glass cake stand at a local antique shop - the top is shaped like a giant leaf!  It is the perfect surface to display sweet treats!  I am trying to finish my painting early today - I wish I could get it done in the morning, but that never seems to work out.  This is painting number 73 in 73 days :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Letter

The Letter
Oil on panel, 9x12
This morning, I couldn't decide whether to paint my daughter, or cupcakes.  I decided on Michaela!  After my fairy tale like landscape of yesterday, I felt like something way more realistic was in order.  The overcast day let in a soft light, shedding a special glow from the windows.  It amazes me how different the light is from day to day on these interiors.  Same house, many of the same windows, and yet each one's lighting is so very different.  I started with a detailed sketch, before laying in the basic color masses.  Starting with her face, hair, near curtain and shadow areas, and then working out from there,  I always want to be sure the main focus is right.  Then. I work out into the surrounding areas.  The diffused lighting had me graying down all colors quite a bit.  This painting makes 72 in 72 days, and I just found out that Leslie Saeta will be hosting another 30 day painting challenge in the future - and that is what started me on this ritual of painting every single day!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sundown in the Woods

Sundown in the Woods
Oil over acrylic on panel, 16x20
The mood on this piece is different than most of my work.  I wanted to capture that really vivid sunset color, and it is harder for me than I thought!  I ignored the voice in my head telling me to "gray down" & "calm down those colors, girl"!  So, here I am breaking "rules" and blazing a new trail for me.  I like the moody feel of this.  I may look at it in the morning light - and think I am crazy!  I underpainted most of this in acrylic, then came over that with oils.  I glazed in the hillside, cabin and background trees with my oils - they were not even in the underpainting.  The effect is just what I was after.  I could simply wipe away anything that didn't feel just right.  Oils very easily wipe off of the open acrylics I had used.  When using the Golden Opens, I must allow LOTS of drying time - because it takes them ages to dry if you don't add in a bit of regular acrylic to the mix.  I may just use this technique again, it seems to add to the depth to the landscape.  This is painting number 71 in 71 days :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On Lora's Lawn

On Lora's Lawn
Oil on panel, 12x9
On this warm, beautiful day in the 70's, I am thinking of Augusta and a day last April of plein air painting.  On this lawn I painted two paintings, and only had time to sketch this one out.  Today, I work from that sketch and my photo reference to paint the morning light streaming in from the east.  The Lindsey's were gracious hosts, allowing me to paint in their secluded location.  This little slice of heaven is right out the front door.  I will adjust a few details tomorrow, but for now I am letting this one rest.  This painting makes 70 in 70 days :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Orange Impression

Orange Impression
Oil on panel, 10x8
Today, I am painting my breakfast - and  getting impressionistic with the fracturing technique I just learned!  I modified my methods a little, and perhaps the edges are not as broken as on Tuesday's painting.  It is fun to apply such bold color, as this is not my norm.  This experimentation is such a great way to keep inspired and fresh - even if it takes me to some crazy places!  At one point, I set down a brush and went to pick up a slice and eat it!  Big no-no!  No eating while oil painting!  I don't want to ingest heavy metals - and there are a LOT of cads in this painting.  This is the 69th in 69 days.  I hope to work on a large painting next :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Light through the Arches

Light through the Arches
Oil on panel, 11x14
Last September, a dear painting friend and I went out to Unity Village in Lee's Summit to do a little plein air painting.  This is one of the reference shots from that day.  I love the architecture out there - it is like traveling to another country to paint!  The morning sun streaming in through these arches instantly caught my attention.  I love the angles and the curves - all working together with the light and shadow, to tell an inviting and peaceful story.  I used to attend this church as a young girl with my grandma, mom, and brother.  I first sketched this scene on the panel, then applied a detailed underpainting.  Once my values were established, I had some fun with the palette knife.  Not nearly as crazy as yesterday, but enough to add to the texture throughout.  I did have thoughts of trying the fracturing technique on this, but the complexity of the composition persuaded me not to!  I think I will try that technique again tomorrow - on something simple, so I don't get in over my head!  Well, this makes 68 paintings in as many days.  Can't believe I am maintaining this pace.  That, in itself, is a miracle.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fractured Pears - from Julie's Art Byte

Fractured Pears
8x6, NFS
Well, this is a little bit of crazy town for me.  I love Julie Ford Oliver's work, so I painted this while viewing her Art Byte on her fracturing technique.  I feel like a fish out of water on this one!  Using a palette knife, squeegee tool, and a brush - you push and lift paint, fracturing edges all the while.  This is very impressionistic, and I am only posting this because I will not have time to finish anything else today.  Julie makes this look so easy - and I just can't do the technique justice....yet!  Always fun to experiment - this is the 67th painting in as many days.  Totally crazy painting today :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Of Grapes and Crystal

Of Grapes and Crystal
Oil on panel, 9x12
Once again, I did not get to start painting until late.  With daylight savings time beginning only last night, it seems doubly late to me!  I had to play catch-up with the housework (never fun!), attend Michael's last basketball game of the season (a real nail biter - still tied after overtime!), and family time filled the rest of the day.  Once I did get started, the going was slow.  I have never painted grapes before - and I had to look at EACH grape to see just where all of the colors landed.  Same thing with those crystal prisms and the cut crystal bowl - it is all painting those reflections to create the objects.  This painting is a collection of favorite things around the house.  The bowl was a "trophy" my oldest son won in a golf tournament, the lamp from a dear friend, the green cabbage dish was a special find while antiquing.  The whole reason I chose this to paint - when I took out the grapes to wash and eat for breakfast, this glorious clump was in the bag!  Instantly, I set up the still life with a sign in front boldly marked, "DO NOT EAT!"  This is the only way to save food to paint around here!  This the painting 66 in 66 days.  I should have painted Route 66 today!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Day of Shopping

A Day of Shopping
Oil on panel, 12x9
After an early basketball game, my daughters and I set out to find dresses for my son's upcoming wedding.  The last stop of the day, we barely made it to Anthropology before they closed.  Hours and hours of hard work sit on this table, making a very colorful arrangement for painting!  In true "artist's journal" fashion, I have recorded this day in paint.  I now have three dresses for the wedding and I'm leaving the final decision for another day.  This is the 65th painting in as many days.  I still need shoes..........I wonder if the girls will ever shop with me again.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Picking Winter Wildflowers

Picking Winter Wildflowers
Oil on panel, 12x9
Today started with taking my daughter's green cheek conure to the bird doctor, followed by some shopping.  After picking my youngest daughter up for more shopping (still looking for a dress for my son's wedding) - it was a very full day.  Not the sort of day you jump right into a portrait at a late hour.  I looked at some of the things I have lined up to paint, but this was still the one calling to me.  The cloudy, winter landscape is one of the hardest for me when it comes to colors.  Everything is so subdued.  The wildflowers had dried on the stems - making for some good winter interest.  My cousin had taken this picture for me to work from.  A good thing, too!  I couldn't get Michaela to pose in the dark in the back pasture with rain threatening!  And even if I could, it is pitch dark out tonight - absolutely no light to paint with.  I am going to let this one rest tonight.  I will look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow.  This is my 64th painting in 64 days.  I wonder what I will feel like painting tomorrow............

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Snowed In

Snowed In
Oil on panel, 12x9
This old John Deer 1010 tractor has been in my family as far back as I can remember.  I used to climb up the tires when I was little - they seemed so tall!  My Grandpa Frank used it for every farm need, and my Grandma Frank taught me to drive it -  it was SO cool to ride so high up in the air!  We have a blade for it, but it is not currently running - hence, the title!  I have been snowed in longer this year than ever.  The snow was so deep and it blew in under the pole barn, drifting completely over the front tires. I have wanted to paint this old tractor for years - and thought the snow would really set it off!  This is my 63rd painting in 63 days :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

April in Mount Pleasant

April in Mount Pleasant
Augusta, Missouri
Oil on panel, 12x9
For the last few years, the Augusta Plein Air Art Show and Sale has been held at the beautiful Mount Pleasant Winery on the Saturday at event's end.  Last year, they repainted all of their buildings to the charming yellow with lime green accents you see here.  After an absolutely wonderful event, I snapped a photo of this as I was packing up to leave.  I love the old buildings and the 1859 charm that abounds here.  I enjoyed a very special dinner the night before, and this painting brings back the fond memories of my Augusta family and artist friends.  I am experimenting with the palette knife on painting 62 (in 62 days :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Corral in Winter

The Corral in Winter
Oil on panel, 12x9
I have so many childhood memories of exploring this corral with my brother, and sometimes the extended cousins.  First, we had to make sure the cattle were in another field - and we'd scurry over to climb the fences!  I loved to walk the top rail like a tightrope!  Today, I wanted to approach this barn with a free and loose wielding of the paint.  Using a new technique,  I used the  "palette" knife (credit card) to work up everything from the barn to the trees and snow.  I have to thank Julie Ford Oliver for talking about it in her blog - she inspired me to try it!  SUPER fun!  Painting 61 in 61 days....I think I'll start another...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Morning Snow

Morning Snow
Oil on panel, 10x8
With a VERY busy schedule today, I painted early.  The sun was out and casting the most beautiful shadows on the still heavy snow.  A welcome sight after so many gray days!  My panel was heavily textured, and I painted loose and free on this landscape - partly because I had to hurry to complete it before leaving the house!  I love this color scheme for a winter painting - there is something so fresh about the warm pinks, cool blues and soft violets.  We had some melting today, so tomorrow may just be my last snow painting until the next snow.  I think I'll paint the corral tomorrow, the north side is still snow packed.  This is painting 60 in 60 days.  I have officially doubled my goal :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sugar Creek Vineyard

Sugar Creek Vineyard
Oil on panel, 12x6
In September, I had the sheer pleasure of attending the Winemaker's Social at the Sugar Creek Winery in Augusta, Missouri.  We took this path to the top of the hill to an amazing view of the surrounding vineyards.  The clouds opened up, with a gorgeous sunset bathing the hill with an orange glow just in time for the opening toasts.  The pairings of each individual winery's appetizers with select wines were unbelievably delicious!  After this, we were taken down to a magnificent dinner, complete with several other wine selections with the different courses.  It was a chilly night, and as we took our seats and warmed blankets were brought to us - to lay over our laps!  The tables were beautifully set, reminding me of an upscale wedding reception.  The food just could not have been any better and the crowning jewel - Bananas Foster!  I loved being able to taste all the different wines paired perfectly food.  This was truly a treat - one I will never forget.  If this is to be a part of their Harvest Festival next year, I hope to again attend and highly recommend it to anyone who savors wine!  I painted this from the cell phones pictures I took on that night, and it sure does bring back delicious memories!  This is my 59th painting in 59 days!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Flamingo Tango

Flamingo Tango
Oil on panel, 12x9
After days of being snowed in - and painting snow, tonight I am painting tropical!  I had every intention of trying a new technique on this, but after a VERY full day and a late start on this one - I didn't dare!  Besides that, a sane person would choose a MUCH simpler composition to practice something new (not that I am normally sane)!  I have wanted to paint this scene for almost a year.  So, using some wonderful summer reference from the KC Zoo, I put the paint to panel.  The reflections are as big a part of this painting as the lovely flamingoes!  This makes the 58th painting in 58 days :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Precious Bundle

Precious Bundle
Graphite on bristol, 16x20
sold
Graphite on vellum bristol is one of my very favorite mediums.  The first medium I can ever remember using was little old pencils kept in a waxy old cardboard box about the size of a double card deck.  My Grandma Frank had these and a large tablet of Big Chief writing paper - red with a black line drawing of the profile of a chief - majestic with his feather headdress.  There was a small child size desk and chair in the northwest corner of the kitchen, my own personal cubbie for drawing and creating anything I could imagine.  I could look right out of the big window as I worked, listening to the cheerful voices of my mom and grandma talking.  So many happy memories of childhood. With the little art supplies always at the ready, my family was fostering a love of creating for me that has lasted a lifetime.  Life is all about the ties of family and I absolutely love capturing these moments in graphite.  This portrait of mother and baby is my 57th artwork in 57 days (although I have worked on this for several days and have only finished today) :)