Friday, February 28, 2014

Melanie

Melanie
Oil on panel, 11x14
This was the final day of the five day portrait and figure workshop.  Today's focus was color, and how to lay in the most intense color right after the lightest light and darkest dark when first starting the block in.  This allows you to easily work all values within this range, keeping the most intense color in it's place.  Melanie was a wonderful model, and this was my first time to paint her this week.  We have had two models each day, each in a different room, with the artists choosing one room or the other to set up in.  Sometimes it is just a matter of where there is room left for an easel!  With each day, I find the lights and darks easier to place.  The warm and cool areas emerge naturally when looking at the model.  The models under cool light have warm shadows.  This week has truly been eye opening.  I didn't think I could do this kind of work, and I had never tried painting people from life.  I love the whole experience- it is challenging and invigorating at the same time!  It really makes me wonder what else is out there, that I truly love to do, that I have never even tried.  Life is plum full of open doors.  Painting number 424 in as many days.  With this workshop now behind me, what will I paint tomorrow?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Martice

Martice
Oil on panel, 11x14
This young lady was simply a delight to paint today!  She is just as sweet as can be, and was so patient as we constantly tried to talk her into ignoring her breaks.  Today's focus was temperature, so I kept this in mind as I worked.  Her hair was amazing - with cool light and cooler light reflecting from two separate sources, one more blue, the other pushing lavender.  The skin was truly a challenge.  I found myself seeing one color, looking more intently to see the others.  So much of the life of the painting is accurately seeing all the colors.  With each day, I am seeing more color temperature variations.  Just as with plein air painting outdoors, I can see many more colors when painting from life than I could from a photo.  It never ceases to amaze me.  I am really having fun with this workshop, really trying to push myself to explore the figure and portrait work, and paint more sensitively.  I brought this one home and worked on it a bit more, wanting to capture her sweet, gentle spirit with the oils.  The color is a bit off due to the nighttime lighting, so I'll try to take a better photo tomorrow. Painting number 423 in as many days :)

I can hardly believe that I have been selected as a featured artist in an article by the Missouri Arts Council titled Snapshots of the Missouri Arts Blogosphere!  This is SO exciting!  What an honor it is to mentioned with such amazing artists across the state!  Please go check out the article - there are some wonderful artists and their blogs mentioned.  You just might find a new favorite blog to follow!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jason

Jason
Oil on panel, 11x14
On this third day of the Adam Clague figure and portrait workshop, I have completed this painting of Jason, our model.  My "firsts" for today are - first man painted from life and first 3/4 figure painted from life!  The focus for today was edges, and I was mindful of varying them from soft to hard to lost altogether.  My goal for today was to lay in the darks of the skin - and leave their values alone!  By simply paying attention, I was able to accomplish this without strife.  The 3/4 figure was a bit challenging....I loved the angle of the head, but would have rather had the legs go out to the right. But alas, this is part of the game.  With 7 or 8 artists all vying for the best painting position, this is certainly a give and take situation.  I had good light on my palette and panel (unlike Monday's virtual painting in the dark), but had to give a little on premo figure position.  To make the most of this, I chose my composition carefully.  I was really drawn to a straight profile angle, but didn't want to paint looking directly into the spotlight.  I may just try it one of these days, as it is the second day I've been drawn to the profile only to talk myself out of it!  This is painting number 422 in as many days.  


Upon arriving home tonight, I found this wonderful news in my inbox!  I have been selected as a featured artist in an article by the Missouri Arts Council titled Snapshots of the Missouri Arts Blogosphere!  I am SO excited, I can't hardly see straight!  What an honor it is to mentioned with such amazing artists across the state!  One never knows what a day will bring - this one certainly was a gift!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kaleigh

Kaleigh
Oil on panel, 11x14
This is my second workshop day and my first figure painting from life!  I liked the angles of the full pose, so I jumped right into painting the whole figure.  I thought to myself, "This is going to be a piece of cake.  By painting the whole figure, I will be putting less detail into all of the masses - so this will go quickly!"  Silly me!  What was I thinking?  By doing the whole shabang, I opened myself up to ALL those masses - and all those values within each mass.  The focus of the day was values, so I worked more diligently at marking the darkest darks and lightest lights.  I felt I was much stronger at the values in all masses except the skin, and I had to push myself when it came to the darks!  So, tomorrow, I am going to consciously lay in the darks of the skin much more effectively from the get-go!  Another challenge for today was the actual mapping of the figure.  There is so much more measuring with a whole figure than a head and shoulder.  I normally just start at the top and draw down from there.  But today, I marked the top, bottom and right edges where I wanted the composition to sit, and worked all measurements out from there.  I love being challenged, and feel like I really learned something today!  This is painting number 421 in as many days.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Andrea

Andrea
Oil on panel, 9x12
This is my very first portrait painting from life!  Oh my gosh - it was exhilarating!  Just like the first time I completed a graphite portrait, joy and excitement welled up inside of me - I LOVED it!  Who knew?  I could so easily become addicted to this life drawing/painting work!  I am taking a figure and portrait painting workshop all this week, so each day there will be a live model or two to paint.  On working on this one, I realize my panels are not toned right for portrait work.  So, I must re-prime a few tonight for the next few days with a cooler, lighter shade.  Several are using white panels, but I just can't make myself do it, so we'll see how tomorrow goes.  I may just come home and prime in a different shade yet!  With all of my drawing background, actually getting a likeness is the easy part.  Now, I will concentrate on getting the right color temperatures to breathe life into each piece.  I am so excited for tomorrow!!  How will I ever get to sleep tonight?  I know this must sound crazy to those non-artists, but this is truly what art does to me - stirs my soul with a burning desire to create!  Painting number 420 in as many days - and my dad continues to improve with each day :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Clouds Over San Juan

Clouds Over San Juan
Oil on panel, 10x7
This is just a quick painting of some really wonderful clouds that were rushing over the San Juan Mountains on my last Colorado trip.  I have been busy preparing for a workshop today, which didn't allow much of a painting window.  I have yet to clean my palette (which I rarely do) - and I should have gotten a few more brushes.  I literally wear my bristles down to nubs before I think to grab some more!  This is painting number 419 in as many days.  Good news - my dad is improving and was released from the hospital today!  Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Joy

Joy
Graphite on bristol, 8x10
Just a quick post for tonight - as I am ready to drop!  Such a busy few days with the engineering expo at KU and the robotics tournament today - with a basketball game thrown in for good measure!  Michaela's team won an award for excellence and will be headed to California for the World Competition, in addition to winning 2 silver medals at the KU Expo.  Michael had a fabulous game with many buckets and so many rebounds that we lost count at 20 in the second quarter.  His robotics team also made it to the semi-finals - and it was their first time at a tournament!  Big weekend for our household.  This little darling is drawn in a sepia graphite on bristol - my favorite paper for drawing.  This is a good study for blending out soft baby skin and the shadow detail of the hands.  I used a wonderful water soluable tinted graphite for this one.  I have a set of 24 different tints, each one lending a specific tone and mood to a drawing.  With just a bit of water on a brush, the darks can be deepened for that extra pop.  This is artwork number 418 in as many days.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes
Graphite on bristol, 12x9
Today, I am counting my blessings.  Dad is making baby steps in the right direction - more lucid today, and he has been moved out of ICU and into the step down unit.  I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  My dad is SO good at beating the odds - I just hope that will always be the case!  This drawing is high key - lots of light with just a bit of dark to delineate the face.  What shows more promise for the future than the bright eyes of a babe?  This is the 417th artwork in as many days :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

In Your Arms

In Your Arms
Graphite on bristol, 4x6
This has been a super long day, so tonight's post will be short and sweet.  Here is a small rendering of arms tangled in a hug.  A great subject to study for hand work, I again get into the graphite tonight.  The vellum texture of the bristol can easily be seen in the darkly shaded areas.  Today finds my dad the same as yesterday, and at least he's not backsliding.  The confusion continues, which is truly the hardest part of it all.  It is very hard to see such a brilliant man in such confusion.  This has all cleared before, and I am praying for healing with each coming day.  This is artwork number 416 in as many days.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Exploring Fingers

Exploring Fingers
Graphite on Bristol, 9x12
Picking up my pencils again is like returning to an old friend.  Each stroke soothing and comforting.  Smudging out the skin tones, and using the rolled tortillions to blend, acts like a balm to my spirit.  I can remember the small cardboard box of old wooden pencils waiting for me at my Grandma'a house.  Sitting at a child's desk in the kitchen by a north facing window, the space seemed set up just for me.  I never failed to sift through the little box, choosing my tools carefully.  Inside the desk, there was always paper and a Big Chief tablet at my disposal.  It didn't matter what I drew, Grandma loved it all!  I still remember the absolute joy I felt whenever I created.  When I pick up a pencil now, all those memories return.  Even the smell of the old paper and the wood from the pencils.  This is a good place to go for a little art therapy.  I can control my pencils when I cannot control the circumstances around me.  Today was not so good for my dad, he has been confused the whole day.  Still in the ICU, I am praying for improvement with the coming day.  This makes artwork number 415 in as many days.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fairy Flight

Fairy Flight
Oil on panel, 6x5
This little flight of fancy is painted on a textured wood panel in an odd, small size.  It has been one of those days that I would love to "fly away" myself, with nothing but the wind in my face and my cares on the ground.  Even though my dad is improving, my mind is rather cluttered right now- and it makes the composing difficult.  I feel like I need some background down below, but can't decide quite what. So, if in doubt - don't!  One of the painting rules - so I have left it out. I had a heavy acrylic undercoating on this, which made the paint really slip around.  Maybe, I'll change things up tomorrow.  Painting number 414 in as many days.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fishing by the Bank

Fishing by the Bank
Acrylic on canvas, 8x10
This is an acrylic painting that I did while in Augusta.  Jim had taken me on a canoe ride around the lake, and I was able to get some amazing photos to work from.  I am thinking of adding some oils on top of this.  My strokes now are looser, more impressionistic, and I apply the paint heavier now, too.  I like the "bones" of this, and when I get it worked over, I'll post the revision.  My dad was taken by ambulance this morning to the hospital, and admitted to the ICU.  I will be waiting for word, and back in "worry mode" for the time being, which makes it very hard for me to paint.  This is painting number 413 in as many days.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Two Pears

Two Pears
Oil on gallery wrapped canvas, 4x4
Fruit is a wonderful subject when I am feeling like pushing the bold paint.  The contrast with a dark background adds to the drama, allowing the colors to pop.  I am working in a small format tonight, only 4 inches squared.  I blocked in all the areas with a brush, and then pulled out my palette knife for topping off.  I much prefer the way a palette knife works on a hard surface, like the wood panels I normally use.  I used the cad yellow light on this one, a color I don't normally use.  My "go to" yellow is normally cad yellow lemon, but it's hue was just not right for these pears.  This is a three day weekend with the kids off from school, and Mike home from work for President's Day tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to some "family fun"!  Painting number 412 in 412 days :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Goldfinches in the Redbud

Goldfinches in the Redbud
Oil on panel, 12x6
Every day, when I finally get to my easel, I need to decide what to paint.  Sometimes, I already have ideas floating around in my head.  Other days, I really have no idea.  I feel like I should be painting snow, while we have snow.........but my heart is not in it.  As I was scanning though my reference work, I found some wonderful redbud photos - and the goldfinches are right outside my window, so today, I combine the two for a spring painting!  This has been such a cold winter, it has me really longing for warmer days.  I had to dig out my permanent rose tube for this one - I think I only bring it out for spring and summer florals!  Painting number 411 in as many days :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pansies on Parade

Pansies on Parade
Oil over acrylic on panel, 10x8
Happy Valentine's Day to you all!  Today finds me revisiting a painting that I first began in acrylic.  Started en plein air in Augusta, I already had so much information down on the panel.  The painting called out for oils - to add depth and pop to the colors already blocked in.  It is surreal how revisiting a painting can take me right back to the spot.  I remember the warm sun and gentle breezes constantly blowing my hair across my eyes.  I even remember the other artists on the street in town, waving and calling out as they passed.  I am looking forward to this year's event in April - it is always a wonderful reunion!  Painting number 410 in as many days :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Augusta Redbuds

Augusta Redbuds
Oil on panel, 10x8
This is one of my favorite places to paint - Augusta, in the rolling hills of Missouri wine country.  This spot is right in town, looking from one of the historic streets, south towards the Missouri River.  Once every few years, the redbuds are in full bloom when I attend an annual plein air event.  I have grown up with such trees and their bright pink burst of color each spring!  I will never tire of painting them!  Painting number 409 in as many days :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Roses in White

Roses in White
Oil on panel. 8x6
I think roses are so hard to paint!  I had a different painting already sketched out from yesterday, and this morning, it simply did not call to me.  In fact, I shunned it - completely turning my back on it.  And in it's place, I choose something difficult?  What was I thinking?  Why do I allow my heart to lead me so?  I can only hope to capture the beauty of roses on canvas.  Their form, petals and shades evade me - but I will not let them win.  Competitive to the end, I am going to keep working on the rose until I master it - be it tomorrow or next year!  Painting number 408 in as many days.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Little Chickadees

Little Chickadees
Acrylic on panel, 8x10
sold
I have been gone all day, and am nearly ready to drop - so I will make this a quick post!  Playing a bit with acrylics today, this is painted on a relatively smooth surface.  Where I used to prefer acrylics for these birds, I now prefer the buttery oils.  Giving the winter gray more of a plum shading, this is a study of our little chickadees.  I sure wish there were more hours in every day - I never feel like I have enough time!  Painting number 407 in as many days :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

February Snow

February Snow
Oil on panel, 5x7
This has been a very busy winter day.  After being snowed in all last week, I had to catch up on all those things I was unable to do.  After a Zumba class and a Yoga class, and some shopping, I returned home - finally able to think about painting.  Normally, I already have an idea in my head of what I want to paint.  Today, I only knew I wanted to paint the snow.  It was another gray day, so here I have pushed the subtle grays of winter with brush and palette knife.  I have a gamblin gray that I have never used, called Torret gray.  I think I'll pull it out on one of these snowy, gray days - and see what it has to lend the palette.  I was saving it for a grisaille, but perhaps if I actually squeeze it out on my palette, I'll use it.  My artist friends know how I do not like to clean my palette!  I only scrape when I have to, and I keep it in the freezer to make my set-up and clean up faster.  After all, when I paint a painting everyday, I must use every short-cut I can think of!  Painting number 406 in as many days :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wine and Wedding Cake

Wine and Wedding Cake
Oil on panel, 8x10
Back in December, we attended my cousin's wedding down in Springfield.  We had such a good time, with so much of the family together to celebrate.  During the reception, my youngest daughter took this photo with my phone, posting to facebook a clever little phrase about my empty wine glass!  I've looked back at the photo several times, really loving the pink and red light radiating from the dance floor - capturing the mood.  My parents and I had all stepped away from our places - maybe we were on the dance floor or getting some cousin photos in.  So, today, I paint something different from my "normal" style.  I don't know if I've ever painted wine glasses before, so these may be the first.  I started with a midnight blue underpainting, sketching in with hard stick pastels (as usual).  I next moved to placing the reds, pinks and whites, pulling some of this color into the darks.  I'm going to let this one rest for now, and revisit it in the morning with fresh eyes.  I feel like I may need to break up some of those hard lines and add a little more white.  Painting number 405 in as many days, and it is snowing again!  Maybe I'll go back to painting snow tomorrow.......

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Old Fashioned Poppies

Old Fashioned Poppies
Oil on canvas on panel, 8x10
I truly despise cold weather.  In fact, I simply could not live north of Missouri!  I don't know how my "mountain" friends do it.  I grow weary of the dark and dismal snow cover, so today - I choose something from my summer garden!  Poppies are one kind of flower that my grandmother did not have.  I had tried many times to get a start that would survive the harsh winter, to no avail.  One year, I noticed the wonderful bed of poppies in a friend's yard just down the road, and she offered me a start.  her grandmother had planted them on the spot perhaps 40 years earlier.  My grandmother very likely admired them from the road as she drove by.  Once planted, that variety has thrived in my front bed, and I've even moved some out along the fence.  For ten years now - their vibrant colors absolutely sing from the garden each May!  I'm so glad I finally found the perfect poppy for my garden.  I have squeezed this painting in between an amazing basketball game with Michael the scoring king, and a robotics tournament for Michaela, which Michael is helping with.  Almost time to pick them up - I am no longer snowed in!  Painting number 404 in as many days.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Late in the Winter Woods

Late in the Winter Woods
Oil on panel, 10x8
Back in the woods is a winding creek, very shallow, and sometimes it even runs dry.  My grandma always called this the "wash".  They used to dump all kinds of things in various locations of it, trying to stop the erosion of the banks.  She told me of brass beds, old furniture, discarded farm items of all sorts - all hidden somewhere along it's expanse.  We used to go "hunting for treasure" back there, and once in a while, I'd bring something back to the house.  I would tell my children about it, and we would go exploring when they were very young.  So many good memories.  Painting number 403 in 403 days, and yes, I'm still snowed in :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Old Pump

The Old Pump
Oil on panel, 10x8
This old pump has been out in the pasture since the mid 1800's, and it still works.  It never freezes, no matter the temperature, it will always draw water from the old well.  I can remember pumping water out if this when I was little, splashing and playing in it with my brother - but only if the cows were out in another pasture!  There is a lot of palette knife work on this one - lots of thick, juicy strokes.  Since we have such a cold, overcast day, I have played a bit with the grays - pushing them warm and cool.  This painting makes 402 in 402 days.  I wonder if I'll be able to make it down the lane tomorrow, the snow is still to deep for my car!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Frozen Creek

Frozen Creek
Oil on panel, 10x8
This wintry landscape is close to home, and a place I have visited many times.  I have never attempted a completely frozen body of water, and this was my chance!  Using my brushes first, I blocked in all the values, finally finishing with my palette knife.  I forget how much I like the knife, until I pick it back up!  I also went back to prussian blue for this one, lending a moodiness to the cold.  I rarely paint over a previous painting, but I did on this one.  Under this frozen creek is a lackluster spring lake scene from years ago.  Since I am running out of panels - and snowed in - I thought, why not?  Painting number 401 in as many days :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Blue Jay Play

Blue Jay Play
Oil on panel, 12x6
On this snowy day, these beauties await a turn at the feeders right outside my kitchen windows.  This family of blue jays has tamed the Bully Mockingbird who had been chasing all birds from the feeders!  There are five of them, all very sweet, getting along with the other birds just fine - except for the one who came chasing after them.  That little mockingbird would race around the house, nipping at birds much larger than herself, until finally she had bullied them all into submission.  The blue jays would not have it.  They simply chased right back, refusing to submit.  Now, she is well behaved and stays in her own part of the yard, allowing all birds to enjoy our little slice of heaven.  We have a good 6 inches of snow already, and another 1 to 4 is expected tonight.  Hope you are all staying warm and dry!  Painting number 400 in 400 days!  Time for a glass of wine and a heated blanket :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Nautical Reflections

Nautical Reflections
Oil on panel, 10x6
sold
Still denying the winter weather that is one the way, I am dreaming of a warm summer's day where the only painting spot was in the shade.  Painting by the water is so relaxing, the sound of the waves lapping at the beach like a soothing melody.  Time slows, and I could paint all day surrounded by such beauty.  This one is painted on a rough primed panel, and the waves have been pulled back and forth with the brushstrokes through the oils.  I wish I were there right now, painting this one en plein air.  At least I can remember the day so vividly, bringing those summer breezes to the landscape today......as I wait for the 5 - 9 inch snow!  Painting number 399 in 399 days.  Tomorrow will make 400!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sweet Chickadees

Sweet Chickadees
Oil on panel, 12x6
The little chickadees line up on these branches, awaiting their turn at the feeders.  They are very social, flitting back and forth from feeder to branch and sharing the latest gossip.  The ice today barely started to melt, and our road is still a sheet of ice.  We just have to wait for enough sunshine to melt it off before we can make it to town!  No salt out here, ever.  If we really do get 4 - 8 inches of snow on Tuesday, I hope to take the kids out to Mad Dog Hill for sledding.  Then I will have some super fun new sledding photos to paint from!  I won't be painting en plein air, because I will be on the slopes!  I'm letting this one rest for now.  I haven't decided what it needs, but "my inner voice" is not telling me it is finished.  So, I will post for now, and revisit it later.  Sometimes all a painting needs is fresh eyes on another day.  Painting number 398 in as many days :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Robin's Nest

The Robin's Nest
Oil on panel, 14x11
sold
Last summer, while pruning back a stubborn mulberry bush, I found this little nest tucked deep within the branches.  Much to my surprise - there were three tiny blue eggs inside!  I had not seen any robins nearby as I worked, and I couldn't believe the nest was in such close proximity to where the cats had frolicked daily.  When I decided to paint this, I thought it would be easy subject matter - knocked out quickly.  Wrong!  That sweet little nest of sticks was certainly a challenge!  Getting enough paint on was key - and then the pulling  strokes hither and yon, completed the nest.  I am channeling my inner spring with this 397th painting in as many days :)