Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Frozen Creek

Frozen Creek
Oil on canvas, 7x5
purchase here
Today, I am painting before most of the company comes over.  It is likely to be very late by the time the party winds down - since it is New Year's Eve!  This painting is of a creek close to home, the view from the bridge.  This landscape is facing north, but it is equally beautiful facing south.  This day is overcast, and only 6 degrees this morning, so I paint from photo reference, using the color I see out the windows.  Another small one at 7x5 - although I really wanted to paint this one larger.  I'll save that for another day.  Painting number 732 in 732 days - have a fun and safe New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter Creek

Winter Creek
Oil on panel, 7x5
purchase here
Another day filled with family, cooking, cleaning and visiting - and very little time for a painting at the end of the day.  I am embracing the grays today, keeping in the moody colors.  I am painting this on canvas with the oils, using rather thick paint.  I will have to make posting this short and sweet - because I am now needed in the living room.  It is a miracle that I was even able to get a painting done today!  Painting number 731 in 731 days.

Monday, December 29, 2014

December Morning

December Morning
Oil on canvas, 7x5
purchase here
I set up a large show this morning with 48 paintings at the Church of the Nativity on Mission and 119th Street.  It feels good to have it hung and all of the work behind me.  It consists of two paintings from each month I have been daily painting - two years in January.  With a house full of company - and more coming shortly, I have painted during my only open window of the day.  This is a small one, something I am thinking about for a larger painting.  It is always nice to work out the details in the small size, before moving to the large.  This painting makes 730 in 730 days.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Historic Courthouse

Historic Courthouse
Oil on panel, 11x14
Independence Paint Out
On location
The Independence Paint Out was a quick paint celebrating the one year anniversary of the Truman Courthouse restoration.  It was fun to walk through the halls, one room is full of Harry S Truman memorabilia  while another has a gift shop.  There was a youth division paint out as well for ages 14-18, and Michaela and her friend Clint participated.  Michaela's charcoal drawing was awesome - and Clint had a good start on his painting, but two hours was just not enough time.  Even the seasoned artists agree with the time issue!  It was dark when this photo was taken, and the glare from the flood lights reflects off the surface.  It is always so fun to paint with fellow artists - and extra special to have Michaela and Clint there too!  This is painting number 729 in as many days!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Winter Light

Winter Light
Oil on canvas, 7x5
Wow!  What a day!  All of my mom's side of the family came out for our annual Christmas gathering today - and what fun we had!  It is so good to get together and talk about our childhood memories - and those of our parents when they were children, too!  The new baby was a real treat - and all of the little ones were a delight!  On such a busy, busy day, I am only now finding time for a quick painting before going back down for a board game.  Painting number 728 in 728 days :)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Winter Dusk

Winter Dusk
Acrylic on canvas, 4x4
Trying another landscape today on this funky black canvas.  With little paint time, I am working fast and loose.  This is a small gallery wrapped canvas - only 4x4 inches.  I wanted to buy several white canvases, but all that was left were two  of the black in this size - so I got them!  What I really like about starting with the dark surface is that I work to the light, bringing all forward to the key I want.  Working this way also allows me to stay darker, moodier with the landscape.  Since I am using acrylics on this, there is a definite translucency to the colors.  Only when I mixed the molding paste into the white, did the paint become opaque in the snowy areas.  There are so many ways I could use this to my advantage!  Painting number in 727 in as many days.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Winter's Peace - miniature

Winter's Peace
Acrylic on panel, 3.5x2.5
Merry Christmas to all!  On this very busy day full of family, cooking, cleaning and board games - I am taking a quick break.  Most of my company have left, and I have enough time for a quick painting the size of a business card.  Reaching out for peace and stillness - I find it with my brushes in this winter scene. Using some watercolor techniques with thinned down acrylics, it has me wondering  what other methods I can use.  The best part of acrylics is how quickly they dry, and I use this to my advantage.  Almost immediately, I can bulk up the paint with a little molding paste in the snowy areas.  Painting number 726 in 726 days.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Golden Winter's Light

Golden Winter's Light
Oil on canvas on board, 9.5x13.5
What a busy Christmas Eve this has been!!  I started with a couple of classes at the gym, some last minute shopping and errand running, and an afternoon of organizing my artwork for Monday's delivery.  Then it was prepping for tonight's gathering of family - and the house is now full!  I am taking a few minutes to post this, so I won't be up at midnight to do the deed.  I painted this earlier, wanting a warm winter scene for the kitchen.  I have a couple of fabulous frames in very odd sizes, so I cut panels specific for them.  I spread canvas over the board, so I could skip the priming which takes a while to dry.  I even skipped the washing on of color first - which I always do!  So, on this one, I painted on white canvas!!  The unprimed canvas sure did soak up the paint - so unlike the primed wood surfaces I normally use.  Embracing the differences, I enjoyed the process of moving the paint, and the different way it pulled from the brush onto the high spots of the weave.  This painting is already hanging in the kitchen - though it will be wet for days.  I did spray it with quick-drying medium before framing, so hopefully that will speed the process along!  Painting number 725 in 725 days :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Winter Church by Stream - miniature

Winter Church by Stream
Acrylic on canvas, 3.5x2.5
sold
I love to paint small town churches!  This painting is a miniature - only the size of a business card!  I first start with an acrylic wash, sketching in the composition.  The layers are built up with acrylic paint, and then molding paste is mixed into the white for snow, and applied with a palette knife.  The molding paste dries to a cloudy clear, so if no color is added, it will not look like snow!  I have made so much progress on my upcoming show today, that I feel like I will actually be ready on time.  It is no easy task getting 48 paintings together, framed, and bagged for delivery!  Painting number 724 in 724 days on this eve of Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Santa by the Fence

Santa by the Fence
Acrylic, molding paste on canvas, 5x5
As I paint this Santa, other Santa images keep popping into my head - just like visions of sugarplums!  So many paintings just float around up there - far more than I can actually get onto a surface.  This has been another day of crossing things off my list - but so much still remains!  Getting ready to hang a show of 48 pieces next Monday is the biggest job on my list - and I have only made a dent!  This painting is also painted with acrylics and molding paste on primed canvas.  It is interesting how the wet acrylic spreads over this canvas - it can easily be seen by enlarging the image.  I'm having fun using the old medium in a new way - and with a bit of whimsy instead of my natural traditionalism.  Painting number 723 in 723 days - now back to work on that show (while watching Christmas shows and visiting with my parents) :)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Santa and His Bag - miniature

Santa and his Bag
Acrylic on canvas, 5x5
Today was a day filled with family, a big pot of chili, and visiting.  It is wonderful to have my dad here - and healthy!!  What a gift this is!!  Now, most of the company is gone - and I return to the easel, painting a vintage Santa surveying his pack!  I started this painting by washing the canvas with a warm yellow acrylic.  Once dry, I then sketched out the scene with a pastel stick.  Using layers of color, I started thin in the sky and dropped in the blue from the top.  You can see the irregular spreading as the paint moved at will.  I'm enjoying the different color palette, and the whimsical nature of these "santas". I still have so much to do - and the time is simply vaporizing!  I'd better get back to work!  Painting number 722 in 722 days :)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Old World Santa - miniature

Old World Santa
Acrylic on canvas, 5x5
I started this vintage Santa painting with a watercolor wash - only with thinned down acrylic instead f watercolor.  You can see the movement of the paint over the canvas in the sky and hills.  Building up layers on the focal areas, I then mixed up the titanium white acrylic with the molding paste for the drifts of snow, beard, and fur trim of Santa's outfit.  When mixing these two mediums together, the texture is grainy, and the application with the knife feels different than the paste alone. What I like is that the paste already has the color I want, and I don't have to paint over it, often times missing the low areas with my brush.  Perhaps I'll change up the mix a bit next time....just to see what happens!  This painting makes 721 in 721 days in this busy Christmas season!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Walking Santa - miniature

Walking Santa - miniature
Acrylic on canvas, 5x5 gallery wrapped
Some new paints arrived in the mail today - and I simply could not wait to use them!  So, I sketched out a few Santas, and thought I would just start with acrylics and top off with the new oils.  As I worked, I like the feel and mood I was achieving with a very limited palette.  I actually grabbed the first yellow, red, blue and green that I put my hands on - and started painting!  The result is something out of my ordinary!  Instead of topping with oil, I mixed a little molding paste with white acrylic paint - and applied with my palette knife.  I painted four of these - all for my new oils - and I will not be using the oils on top of any of them!  Guess I'll have to start on a winter landscape to try out those paints!  Painting number 720 in 720 days :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Schoolhouse - miniature

Winter Schoolhouse - miniature
Acrylic on canvas, 3.5x2.5
sold
These old schoolhouses are certainly icons from days gone by.  Once, they dotted the landscape of our rural areas.  Now, they are seldom seen, often falling into disrepair, only to be torn down.  Today, I am painting this on a very small scale - only 3.5 x 2.5 inches.  I have floated the thin acrylic over the surface, and dropped in more color, as with watercolors.  To top off the snow in the landscape, I mixed molding paste with titanium white acrylic, and spread it on with a palette knife - a little tricky on a painting the size of a business card!  Painting number 719 in 719 days :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Santa in his Sleigh - miniature

Santa in his Sleigh
Oil on canvas, 4x4 - gallery wrapped
This nostalgic Christmas scene is one more in my "12 Santas of Christmas"!  I find that I am migrating to stronger color in these little paintings.  I am still using the square canvases, and the big plus is that they fit nicely on the tiny easels.  The painting continues off all four sides, so it is rather dimensional as it sits on display.  I did underestimate how long it would take the oils to dry, though!  The first one painted on Saturday is STILL wet!  Every day is now filled with SO many activities - I don't know how I will get them all done!  I am rising earlier and staying up later.......there will be time for sleeping after the first of the year!  Painting number 718 in 718 days :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter's Night - miniature

Winter's Night
Acrylic on canvas, 4x4 - gallery wrapped
purchase here
What a wonderful and productive day this has been!  I painted four paintings, wrapped presents and cooked for tonight's "rowdy girl" Christmas party, as well as all the other preparations needed - with only 15 minutes to spare!  It never truly feels like Christmas until I've hosted my first event of the holidays!  With so much family - and more coming in, I normally have 5 big dinners in the two weeks around Christmas and New Year's Day.  I'm quickly chipping away at that "to do" list - but there is still so much to do!!!  This painting is a little bit of crazy town in the midst of my whirlwind day.  I painted on a black canvas - which I have never done before!  I like it! It adds such a depth and mood to the painting!  With all of my recent watercolor explorations - I used my acrylics very much like watercolors, loosely painting and dropping in other colors while still wet.  It was so much fun!  I used acrylics for many years, without ever using them like this!  I additionally, used a palette knife to apply thick molding paste (mixed with white acrylic paint) to lay on the thickest snow to the landscape - leaving a texture you just want touch! I am going to buy more of these black canvases - already the countless compositions are swimming around my head!  Painting number 717 in 717 days :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Feeding Blitzen - miniature

Feeding Blitzen
Oil on canvas, 4x4
purchase here
I am planning on painting 12 different Santas for the Twelve Days of Christmas - and this is number 3!  Here, Old Saint Nick is feeding his beloved Blitzen.  Although I prefer the predictable surface of the wood panel, I am getting accustomed to the woven canvas.  I first prime them with a little gesso, acrylic paint to tint, combined with some water-based sealer.  Once this layer is dry, I can start the sketch, filling in with the oils.  For these minis, I have chosen an unusual tint - warm, bold yellow!  Wanting a color that all others would "pop" against led me to this choice.  I like it!  It is a crazy choice, but I think it gives the whole painting a warm glow where it peaks through the other layers.  This reindeer was particularly fun to paint!  Love laying on that thick fur! Painting number 716 in 716 days - and Christmas is just around the corner!  Yikes!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shhhhh! - miniature

Shhhhh!
Oil on canvas, 4x4
purchase here
Caught with his bag of goodies - Santa doesn't want us to spoil his surprise!  Painting first in oils, today - I was able to finish two more "Santa" pieces.  I've been in such a productive mood, that I even went on to finish a commission - I think!  I'll give it a look with fresh eyes in the morning, just to be sure!  My parents will be here on Saturday, so I am chipping away at my long "to do" list every day until then.  The Christmas season has me wanting to paint all things Christmas each day until then, and this year, the "Santas" have really grabbed my focus!  These paintings are small - only 4x4 inches, so it is pretty challenging to get that detail in, while still using fresh and loose brushwork.  Since I am burning the midnight oil tonight, I guess I had better move on to the next item on my list!  Painting number 715 in as many days :)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Father Christmas - miniature

Father Christmas - miniature
Oil on canvas, 4x4
sold
With a very long list of things to accomplish within the week, I am now buckling down and working like a machine!  Starting with this vintage style Father Christmas, I sketched three of these today.  I am painting on little canvases, and have the easels to match.  Laying the paint on with Gamblin's solvent free gel - hoping this will increase the drying time for Christmas!  I will also spray these with fast drying oil medium, which will also help.  I know that I should have used acrylics with the time crunch, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it!  I have also finished the second, and am moving onto a third - with a Christmas party to attend when Mike gets home!  I think I'll get ready now, and paint right up until the last minute!  Painting number 714 in 714 days.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sweet Baby

Sweet Baby
Graphite on bristol, 14x11
sold
This time of year finds me very busy finishing up those projects for everyone else!  I think my favorite subject matter for graphite is babies - or mother/father/grandparent with babies!  Their skin is so soft - and beautifully rendered with the graphite on the vellum surface of the bristol.  To work in this very traditional medium is a joy indeed! I start with an overall light line drawing, and then move right to the eyes.  I will finish them completely before touching another feature - and I will work out from there.  The hair and clothing come last, as the real importance lies in the lifelike portrayal of the face.  Artwork number 713 in 713 days.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Skates

Holiday Skates
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
I simply love ice skating!  When I was young, my mom took me to King Louie for ice skating lessons. I remember the cool air as it hit my face, and the feel of the cold icy surface on my hands when I fell.  I also remember how my ankles would ache after a lesson!  The rink at Crown Center is a beautiful place to skate - I hope we can all go sometime this season!  My mom's ice skates are still hanging from a nail in the milk barn - maybe I'll have to go down their and paint them, too.  Painting number 712 in 712 days :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Sax

The Sax
Graphite on bristol, 11x14
purchase here
Well, this is really getting back to my roots!  This traditional drawing in graphite is in the very exact style that comes so natural to me.  With all of the highlights and shadows on the shiny brass - there is an abundance of detail work on this instrument!  I love music of all kinds, playing the piano from early grade school on.  My children have all played something - guitar, clarinets, electric guitar, violin, and I have probably left something out!  Drawing and painting musical instruments is also very appealing to me.  It is the very act of looking so closely to an object, then transferring that to paper or panel.  This is completely done with the softest of pencils - the 8B, which is also water-soluable.  This piece makes 711 in 711 days!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sunset Fishing

Sunset Fishing
Oil on wood panel, 18x24
There is something magical about being on the water.  The gentle lulling of the waves is hypnotic - with or without a fishing pole in hand.  The fabulous sunset reference for this painting is from a dear friend of her very special place at Lake Minnie Bell.  When I first approached this composition, my first instinct was to crop off the dock area.  But, upon further study, I truly felt it should be left in.  The dock helps weigh down the painting - giving it more balance.  Additionally, it marks this sunset painting specifically as Julie's place - no other would have this exact composition.  This painting will remain on my easel for a few more days.   Laying my brushes down way after dark, I don't have natural light to get a good image here.  The colors always appear warmer and more yellow in such light.  In the full light of day, I will check this over again, just to make sure I am happy with every stroke.  It is such a beautiful place, I want to make sure I do it justice.  Painting number 710 in 710 days :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Splash of Poinsettia

Splash of Poinsettia
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
On this very busy day, I am choosing my favorite flower of the season to paint!  These babies are gorgeous - and a bit complicated with their foliage!  Sipping eggnog tea as I paint, this is truly a little getaway in my hectic schedule.  I am slapping that paint on thick and loose, and using straight pigment for the most part.  Love the way the greens and reds pop against each other - I may just have to paint a few more of these!  Painting number 709 in 709 days :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

We Three Kings

We Three Kings
Oil on wood panel, 6x4
purchase here
I attended the Christmas Pageant at the First Baptist of Raytown with a few friends on Friday night.  The show was SO moving!  It has been on my mind ever since, and so it has inspired my daily painting.  My panel is small - and this would have been much easier in a larger size!  My painting window was cut very short when family started rolling in - so this is little more than a study in oils.  If you have never been to that show, and are in the Kansas City area - you must go see it!  This is their 35th year, and it is amazing.  Painting number 708 in 708 days.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sunset at Winter's Creek

Sunset at Winter's Creek
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
I am really drawn to a fiery red in the sky - which is such a challenge to paint!  On this winter landscape, I am pushing the color to the warm and cool, departing a bit from the gray.  Liberally using the cad orange through the trees and grasses adds pop against those cool violets and blues.  Painting in this tiny size can also be challenging when I want to capture the whole feel of a landscape with an economy of strokes.  The trees have been negatively painted by cutting in all around them - leaving what remains.  Painting number 707 in 707 days - now back to the laundry!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Winter Path to the Barn

Winter Path to the Barn
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
Well, I thought  would be able to get two paintings done today.  Then, extra errands popped up, using valuable painting time.  Before I knew it, my painting window had closed and I had only completed this one small painting.  Not only that, but I need to hurry and post it - as I will be leaving for a Christmas show with friends in 15 minutes.  So, the dishes will be left unloaded, the laundry unfinished, and no time for cooking dinner.  I guess it will leftovers for the family tonight, but.... by gosh, I got my daily painting done!  Painting number 706 in 706 days :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

On the Open Water

On the Open Water
Oil on panel, 14x11
sold
I have been working on this tall ship painting, and now I think it is finished.  I will leave it on the easel, and check it again in the natural light.  It is past dark tonight, and with the darker colors, it is hard to get a good image where hue is concerned.  There is more ultramarine and prussian in the dark water and skies than shows here.  So, once again, I will have to wait until midday to get a good image. If only I could finish all paintings when the light is still good - ah, but that is not my life!  Leaving it on the easel also allows me to view it in all kinds of light, making sure all is as I want it to be.  This painting is a moody one - and number 705 in 705 days :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Golden Winter Stream

Golden Winter Stream
Oil on panel, 4x6
purchase here
This is the second winter study I have done for my own living room wall.  The size will be 22x28 for the actual piece, and I am trying themes out on a much smaller scale.  Yesterday's composition was much cooler, where this one is infused with golden light.  I do so love this warm, cozy light in sky and water.  I know that I want water in the landscape, I'm drawn to it in the landscape.  I think I am leaning towards this one of the two, but I still would like to paint at least one more.  I'm sure I will work in oils for my own wall - the rich, creamy texture in the strokes is irresistible.  Adding the cad orange and red oxide for added pop in the landscape, has me wondering if maybe I should have dropped in a little more green..........there would be so much I could do on a large scale that would hardly be noticed at first glance. Those color nuances would be eye candy for the viewer who came close to the face of the painting.  I like the whole mood of this one, perhaps this will be gracing my wall before Christmas!  This painting makes 704 in 704 days.  Now, I'm off to a couple of basketball games :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winter at the Pond

Winter at the Pond
Oil on panel, 4x6
purchase here
I want to paint a new winter scene for my living room before the holidays.  So, in quest of the perfect composition, I am painting a few small studies - just to see what I like the most.  This is the first of those.  it is late enough, that I have lost the good light for photographing, so the color here is not true.  The blues are much more gray, and there is quite a glare coming in from the right side and reflecting off the oils.  I will try to get a better image tomorrow - if I can find the time!  this is the season where each day is even busier than the last! I have two other landscapes sketched out as possibilities, and maybe I will even be able to start on one of those tonight.  With my commission work on the front burner, I don't have much time for this little project, but I always like something fresh on the walls before company comes!  This painting makes 703 in 703 days.  Now, I'm off to support our Belton Robotics Team at the local Chipotle!  Michaela and Michael will benefit from the proceeds - so I hope we have a great turn-out tonight!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Light in the Valley

Light in the Valley
Acrylic on panel, 20x16
purchase here
This has been a non-stop day since my feet hit the floor at 5:30 this morning.  Kinesis class, errands, Christmas shopping, picking up my grandson to watch for awhile, baking bread and dessert for a party tonight, wrapping gifts for tonight, writing all the Christmas cards for tonight's friends, two basketball games and I finished off with our sorority party.  After all that, I am so thankful that I have a couple of paintings in reserve!  I am only ahead by two, so I will need to get busy and work ahead for this crazy holiday season!  This painting makes 702 in 702 days - and oh - how my bed is calling me!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Owl in Tree

Owl in Tree
Oil on panel, 4x6
purchase here
In the midst of decking the halls for Christmas, I have stopped briefly to paint this little owl!  For the last several years, we have had an owl family that nests at the very top of one of the old trees in the pasture.  When the baby owls are young - they sound exactly like little kittens trapped at the top of that tree!  I don't know how long it took me to realize they were owls - not kittens in need of my help (which would have been impossible at 100 feet in the air)!  I love hearing the gentle sounds they make to one another during the night.  Sometimes, they stand atop the telephone poles in hunt for those pesky field mice.  At other times, I see them pluck their prey right out of the pasture - dive bombing so quickly it will make your head spin!  So today, I am capturing one in oil.  I think this may only be the second owl I have ever painted.  Once again, I am painting small at 4x6 inches, since it is another day of decorating, and time is very short on this holiday weekend.  This painting makes 701 in 701 days, and now I must return to my Christmas preparations!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
Today is my 700th painting in 700 days!  Wowza!  It is hard to believe that a simple challenge to me in an email turned into a life changing event!  The way I think about painting is different than it was before "daily painting".  I get up knowing that sometime during that day, I will complete a painting.  I have already looked for my best painting window, and have probably already thought of an idea or two to paint.  Like brushing my teeth and washing my face, it has become automatic.  Sure, there are some days when I don't feel like painting - as with housework, cleaning, etc - but I do it anyway.  And, the simple act is therapeutic.  I have learned to paint through family crisis, often drawing in the hospital while I waited bedside for news - and the motion consoled me as I waited.  Before "daily painting", I was only a happy painter - not wanting near the brushes when life started throwing wrenches my way.  Not anymore, I paint everyday regardless - and have learned so much through the process.  Every day is a lesson - and it is my artistic "fix" that keeps me moving forward.  Now, it is time to start getting the Christmas stuff out of the attic - and hanging the lights on the house!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cardinal on the Cedar

Cardinal on the Cedar
Oil on panel, 6x4 - sold
Continuing on the bird theme of the last couple of days - I am painting another!  First cats, then birds, what next?  Once again, I am painting to fit my time window - small at 6x4 inches.  This is such a comfortable size to get done quickly.  This little guy was flying from feeder to cedar this afternoon - making him the subject du jour.  Tomorrow will be full - I will be getting the Christmas stuff down from the attic - and then the real fun begins!  I just hope we can get it all done over the weekend!  This cardinal makes painting number 699 in 699 days!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Autumn Blue Jay

Autumn Blue Jay
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  After a full day of family, food, and visiting, the house has settled down and most of our company have headed for home.  As the dishwasher runs, I come to my easel rather late tonight.  I needed my "artistic fix" - something to help me unwind from the very busy day.  Pulling the brush through the paint is soothing for me, therapy in action with every stroke.  Once I finish, I can sigh with relief.  A day well spent with family - and this - the icing on the cake!  Painting number 698 in 698 days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Little Goldfinch

Little Goldfinch
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
With so much cooking for Thanksgiving to do, I'm in a bit of a rush today.  Therefore, I am painting small - and painting this sweet little bird out the window.  The winds are blowing in a cold front, and he is looking for his feeder - which has been moved by our giant puppy!  In my hurry, I dropped this little guy on the carpet - face down - and he now wears a few dog hairs!  I will have to pick them out when the paint is a bit drier!  This painting makes 697 in 697 days - now back to the kitchen I go!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sleeping Kitten

Sleeping Kitten
Graphite on bristol, 6.5x10
purchase here
Yesterday,  I mentioned how I thought smooth bristol paper was not worthy of graphite - or medium I have yet found.  Today, I found myself out of bristol vellum - and I had to use the smooth finish bristol.  Well, it worked out all right.  I like the texture of the vellum, as it lends a bit of tooth and interest to the paper itself.  There is no texture to the smooth, so the strokes carry the weight of all interest.  While the vellum is my favorite still, this smooth bristol will do in a pinch.  I have used three pencils on this rendering - 8B watersoluable, mechanical, and Derwent black inktense pencil (also watersoluable).  Most of the work is done with my trusty 8B - which is super soft for those of you who don't know this.  I pull out the mechanical when I want superfine lines - like the whiskers or fine hair detail.  The mechanical pencil is harder, and therefore grayer in shade.  The black inktense pencil is a special jewel which I bring out only where I want the blackest black.  I can deepen that black with a damp brush, but this is an ink pencil, so once it is dampened, it becomes ink that can not be removed.  As with all drawing, I reserve the whites, only using a pink eraser sparingly - if at all.  Once finished, I squint to make sure the masses all make sense, and the flow of the work is harmonious.  It is so easy to get caught up in the lines and lose track of the big picture.  This kitten piece is my 696th in 696 days.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Little Captain

Little Captain
Graphite on bristol, 6x9
purchase here
I have drawn on many types of paper, but I keep returning to bristol in a vellum finish.  I don't like the smooth bristol at all - I simply will not use it for graphite, and I haven't found a medium I would use on it - yet.  The vellum texture grabs the graphite in a special, predictable way that I love.  My favorite pencils are 8B watersoluables.  I first draw in the shading and color as with normal pencils.  The paper stubs in various sizes are a "must have" for blending and giving the shading that life-like appearance.  Next, to the very darkest areas, I can pull a damp brush across - and the color gets darker.  This is the magic of the watersoluable graphites!  I apply this water very lightly, as this is not watercolor paper, and too much water will cause the paper to buckle in an unattractive way.  Once water has been added, the marks will no longer be easy to remove, if required.  So, be sure there will be no lifting before taking a brush to it.  I   My subject du jour is our youngest cat, Captain.  He gets a lot of extra attention, and is spoiled shamelessly by my daughter!  This little darling is my 695th artwork in 695 days.  It feels good to be in the graphites again :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Charlie in Graphite

Charlie in Graphite
Graphite on bristol, 9x6
purchase here
Graphite and paper are, perhaps, my first artistic love.  I remember picking out pencils from a small cardboard box on the little child's desk at my grandma's house.  It was right beside the large antique white stove in the kitchen, looking out of one of the windows.  There was always a Big Chief pad of paper inside that desk - waiting for me to create my childish masterpieces.  Grandma loved everything I drew, from little "Snoopy" cartoons to the old barn in the side yard.  When I pick up a pencil, it is as if my mind disengages, and the drawing materializes without thought.  I love the very act of drawing, it is so personal, so intimate......like my very soul is pouring out onto the paper.  Reveling in my roots today, this is artwork number 694 in as many days.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bridge in Autumn

Bridge in Autumn
Oil on panel, 6x6
purchase here
Some days it is just hard to focus.  I took a kinesis class Wednesday morning, and all seven classes since then have been SO much harder!  Piyo class this morning just about did me in!  With muscles so sore, I have persevered through the housework, and the countless chores of every day.  I am pretty obsessive about all things being done before I paint - since painting is a reward!  So, finally getting to my easel, I was at a loss of what to paint.  Several big projects are waiting in the wings, but I needed something smaller for my little painting window.  This is what I decided on - and it was hard to stay on task.  Perhaps tomorrow I should get back to drawing - where I don't even have to think!  Graphite truly is the best therapy - and maybe ditching the housework!  Painting number 693 in 693 days :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Song of the Waves

Song of the Waves
Oil on panel, 14x11
purchase here
Sometimes, the feel of the brush laying paint on the panel just feels SO good.....like coming home, like having all the time in the world.  This is one of those days.  After a busy morning, I actually had several uninterrupted hours of just me and the easel.  No starting and stopping.  No appointments to rush off to.  I'm not even cooking dinner tonight.  Just a little time to get in the zone and stay there.  I may paint all night - after picking up my son from basketball practice.  Ok, so I do have one more place to be - and I had better get there.  We'll get dinner out and then back to painting I go.  Painting number 692 in 692 days.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Single Poinsettia

Single Poinsettia
Mixed media, 9x6
purchase here
With a few fancy lace type rice papers, I am using the technique from our program yesterday.  The fancy papers add detail and texture to the painting.  I am using 140lb cold pressed paper for the substrate, which is thinner and shifts more than my 300 lb favorite.  It is strange to be painting on actual watercolor paper, instead of the super thin rice papers I have been using of late.  While fun to play with something new, I have other work to get back to.  This is painting number 691 in as many days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gourds and Pumpkins


Gourds and Pumpkins
Watercolor batik on masa, 8x5
purchase here
Another day spent basking in the glory of the harvest!  I just love painting the rich colors of fall - and there is so much variety in the squash and gourds!  I have followed the same techniques as in the Harvest Basket, as I painted through the steps of these two at the same time.  When working on watercolor batiks, I almost always work on two, three or four at a time.  The main reason is that I like to start and finish with no down time.  In watercolor, I have to wait for the paint to dry between layers, so I simply move to the next painting instead of wasting my time just waiting.  I feel like I am unlocking the secrets of the masa paper with each painting I finish - the smallest little changes in method yield different results.  Experimenting really helps keep all things fresh - no chance if slipping into hum-drum when mixing it up daily!  Painting number 690 in as many days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Party Poinsettias

Party Poinsettias
Mixed media - watercolor, textured rice paper applique, 9x6
purchase here
I am experimenting again!  As an artist, I think it is invaluable to be involved in as many local art leagues as possible.  In today's meeting at Tri-County Art League, we had a program on applying textured rice paper to a floral watercolor painting.  I painted this in the morning before my work-out, so it would be dry before going to the meeting.  I then chose a few kinds of textured rice papers to tear little pieces off of.  I set them onto my painting, where I thought they would look best.  These little pieces are then applied with thinned down Elmer's school glue and an old paint brush.  This is a bit messy, as rice paper tends to get starchy when wet.  Only apply glue lightly to the back side of the rice paper, so the front side will still accept watercolor.  It will not, if the glue is too heavy.  When the glue dries, this paper can also be painted.  These special rice papers are super thin and delicate - available at cheapjoes.com.  Our local art stores no longer carry it.  This extra layer adds so much depth to the painting, and these can be layered as well.  I just can't wait to play with these papers!  So much can be learned from fellow artists - just one more reason to be involved in local leagues!  Painting number 689 in 689 days :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Autumn at Neuschwanstein

Autumn at Neuschwanstein
Oil on panel, 9x12
purchase here
Today, I had a large block of time with which I could have painted non-stop.  So, what did I do with this time?  Housework!  I went through drawers, bagged clothes, dusted and washed down three shelves, and cleaned the yard before coming to my easel.  Crazy.  So, now, I am painting from a fairy tale today, a different view of the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.  My son and his wife just returned with so many beautiful photos - and I am really enjoying them!  I painted this castle from a side view a couple of days ago.  This end of the castle was just a very small note on the right side of that painting.  Picturesque in it's detail and elegance, it has been a challenge to paint!  Wouldn't it be fabulous to live a day in this castle - wandering from room to room, turret to turret, exploring every inch?  With my love of historic buildings, castles rate right there at the top on my "must see" list!  This is set so high on the bluff, it makes one wonder how many people have fallen right off through the centuries.  The leaves were just donning their autumn shades, soon to give way to the cold days to come.  And we are supposed to go down to 8 degrees tonight - yuk!  This painting makes 688 in 688 days.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Deep Sea Sailing

Deep Sea Sailing
Oil on panel, 14x11
I have only just begun to research these beautiful vessels.  These tall ships are striking on any body of water - and the reflections rippling off the surface are magical.  The long, lean lines of this ship are gorgeous, and the mystery of the sea is timeless.  Learning the sails and lines are very much like learning the architecture of a building.  I simply start with the largest mass, in this case the body of the ship, and then moved to the masts.  I started at the front with the first line, then the first sail, second, and so forth in a methodical way.  This was an adventure to paint - and I can't wait to paint the next!  Painting number 687 in 687 days.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle
Oil on panel, 12x9
Bavaria, Germany - sold
What better muse for a painting than a romantic castle?  My son and his wife just returned from Germany, and I finished this painting today from his photos.  Who knew Germany was so beautiful?  This stunning castle is in Bavaria, and Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle was inspired by this one.  Perhaps that is why I chose to paint it first - Sleeping Beauty is my all time favorite Disney classic from my childhood!  There is such an aura of romance in this landscape - it has been a joy to capture it in oils.  I am already looking forward to the next one!  Painting number 686 in 686 days.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dance of the Pumpkins

Dance of the Pumpkins
Watercolor batik on rice paper, 8x5
purchase here
We have a 2 - 4 inch snow predicted tomorrow!  The first one of the season - and it should be in the 50's this time of year!  When the cold air moves in, I want to get to the warm studio to paint.  It will take me just a bit to acclimate to the new cold and take my gear outside again.  I am just not a cold weather girl - I'll take the 100 degree heat any day over the freezing cold!  It has taken me all day to get to the easel.  Feeling the need for a little whimsey, this painting is loosely painted from a street scene still life in Fairfield, Illinois.  Painting number 685 in 685 days, and I hope I will be able to paint all day tomorrow while it snows!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Turning Leaves

Turning Leaves
Oil on panel, 14x11
Fairfield Paint Out - purchase here
The leaves were just turning when I was in Fairfield for the annual paint out.  The Leo French Park was such a popular place for the locals and artists alike.  I painted this one in the rain - seeking the shelter of a dense, but small tree to set my easel under.  Some plein air days are cold and wet, and this was such a day.  Those days only prove to make me more thankful for the warm and wonderful ones!  This painting makes 684 in as many days.  Looking forward to those little gifts of sunshine in the cooler days ahead!