Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Old Apple Barn

Old Apple Barn
Oil on masonite, 12x9
Unity Village, Lee's Summit, MO
on location
What a wonderful day!  Invited to lunch at a dear friend's house, we then went to Unity Village to see her paintings hanging in the gallery out there.  Next, we headed over to the old Apple Barn on the Unity Village property - and I set up my easel to paint.  The light was warm and inviting on the face of the barn. The views of this glorious old building were lovely from each angle - but this one drew me right in!  I have lived in this area all but 5 years of my life - and I never knew this barn was out here! What a treasure this place is - and what fabulous weather for plein air painting!  Knocking this one out quickly between the gym and picking up the grandsons - I hope to get the painting image taken before it gets dark tonight (and I did - while waiting for my daughter, I took this image in the trunk of my car)!  There's a bit of a glare on the wet paint, but otherwise it is pretty true.  Painting number 1003 in 1003 and Day 30 of the current 30 day painting challenge!  Woo-hoo! Another painting challenge met and conquered :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Remembering the Footbridge

Remembering the Footbridge
Oil on masonite, 10x8 - purchase here

By special request, I am painting the footbridge in the park in Fairfield, Illinois.  I will be returning in a week for the Fall Foliage Paint Out - and I am hoping for some turning leaves.  What I love about this bridge is that it is the way into the park from the neighborhood on the other side, so this bridge is much used and much loved.  I have always been drawn to these small bridges, they seem timeless and nostalgic.  On this particular day, it had been raining.  Once that rain had lifted a little, the sun peaked through and illuminated bits of foliage and the handrails of the bridge.  The freshly washed grass and leaves were left shiny and clean - and radiant.  This was a peaceful painting day, even though it had been cold and rainy all morning!  Painting number 1002 in 1002 days, and Day 29 of the current 30 day painting challenge :)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Clouds Over the Meadow

Clouds Over the Meadow
Oil on masonite, 10x8

For this afternoon's painting class, Donna suggested that we set up outside - and take advantage of the fabulous day.  What a great idea!  So, we had a little "plein air workshop" where I demonstrated this painting, beginning to end. There is just something magical about painting outside, with a gentle breeze blowing, light dancing through the clouds, and the experience of the day unfolding in the paint.  I really love plein air painting.  Painting number 1001 in 1001 days, and Day 28 in the 30 day painting challenge :)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Grazing at Green Dirt Farm

Grazing at Green Dirt Farm
Oil on wood, 14x11
Green Dirt Farm paint-out - Parkville in Art - purchase here
This is my 1000th painting in 1000 days - and what a fabulous painting day it was!  It was a special treat to travel north of Weston to the Green Dirt Farm, where sheep graze on the rolling hills.  I have never painted sheep before, but I have always loved them - and adore their pastoral beauty in paintings.  Hiking up to a high spot beyond the kitchen, I set up in full sun, since that was the most amazing view. I wanted to capture the whole scene, the experience of standing in such a magical place, with brushes and oils.  The sheep gently moved through the meadow, down to the crossing, and back up again in an endless circle.  They make a wonderful "munching" noise as they graze close, and they sneeze and occasionally cough just like people!  High on this hill, I could turn 360 degrees - and have painting in every direction, if only I had more time.  We made it back to the barn before the cheese tasting ended, and I came home with some fabulous cheese for the family, too.  Some days I really love this life.  Painting 1000 in 1000 days, and Day 27 in the 30 day painting challenge.
on location

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Afternoon in the Garden (at Kill Creek Farm)

In search of sunflowers at the Kill Creek Farm - I found a them in the private garden of the 1870's farmhouse.  The larger field of sunflowers had been eaten by deer and was being mowed to the ground as I arrived in the morning!  Yikes!  I had been excited to paint sunflowers -as they are SO beautiful in the field!  They are just as wonderful in the garden, and here they are sandwiched between zucchini and zinnias, with the Kill Creek Barn in the background.  There were bee hives down in the pasture - and the bees LOVED the natural bug repellant I had sprayed my arms and legs with!  The honey bees kept landing on me and licking the essential oils from my skin - no kidding!  I found that if I didn't react, they just walked around my skin for a while - and flew off!  I couldn't keep shooing them off - I was too busy painting - unless they landed on my face!  That is a "no bee" zone! Just another plein air experience!  This painting is my 999th in 999 days - and Day 26 in the 30 day painting challenge!!
on location

Friday, September 25, 2015

Goats in the Pasture at Kill Creek Farm

In the Pasture at Kill Creek Farm
Oil on wood, 14x11
In the early morning, it looked as though rain would be my painting companion.  But, it turned out to be a beautiful painting day - even warm at 88 degrees by the time I finished this one!  I have been to this historic farm several times through the years to paint, but I have never actually painted near the farmhouse and old barns!  The goats were very interested in me at first, but soon grazed on to a greener field, ending up back in the woods!  Whenever I paint animals en plein air, I get their shapes in as fast as I can - you never know when they will dart out of sight!  It was so quiet where I painted, I could even hear a rat chewing on the old dead log behind me!  My daughters used to have pet hamsters, rats and mice - so I know that noise!  Painting number 998 in 998 days and Day 25 in the 30 day painting challenge.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Garden Glory at the Clubhouse

Garden Glory at the Clubhouse
Oil on masonite, 12x9
purchase here
This year's date to paint out at Lake Quivira was in the summer - and the hydrangea were in full bloom!  What a treat it was to see the gardens around the clubhouse in full bloom!  There was even a wedding scheduled at this venue, as I painted right outside.  The day was warm and humid after morning rain, so I picked a spot in the shade to paint in.  I am playing with the brushwork here, letting the mood of the place ooze into my paints and the colors I choose. I really like how my feelings of the day sing in this painting! Day 24 of the 30 day painting challenge and my 997th painting in 997 days!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sitting About Town

Sitting About Town
Oil on masonite, 11x14
purchase here
Carmel on Canvas finishes their event with an hour and a half quick paint.  I have only been to two different hour an a half quick paints - and both were in Indiana........I wonder if this is just the custom in this state?  When I started for Carmel in the morning, I thought to myself, "I'm going to choose something easy and fun for this quick paint - no complicated buildings!"  I first set my easel up at the large fountain in the pavillion, but the street kept calling me....specifically this figure on the bench on Main Street!  Who cares of there is only an hour and a half?  Who cares that I am again set up in full sun with that full sun on my panel?  When a scene calls, I must answer!  This was fun, despite the complicated scene, and I feel like I really learned some things about painting cityscapes.  I am trying to detail less, and let the painterly strokes flow - which can be a tall order when it comes to buildings!  This painting makes 996 in 996 days and is Day 23 of the 30 day painting challenge.  I must do MORE of these fabulous street scenes!  By the way, this figure is a statue - there are several "townspeople" set up all over the Carmel Arts District!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ruby in Carmel

Ruby in Carmel
Oil on masonite, 8x10
Carmel on Canvas
After finishing the first painting of the woods, I went downtown for a snack break.  Planning to paint on the corner of Main at Bazbeaux's, I composed the painting in my head - already visualizing what it would look like.  As I walked back to get my gear and set up - this most adorable boxer puppy grabbed my attention.  Oh my gosh - he was adorable!  When her "mama" asked if I'd like to paint him - I jumped at the chance!  Still quite young at 9 weeks, she was a wonderful model and such a little sweetheart!  Such a joy to paint! There is a bit of a glare on the upper part of this painting - so I'll try to get one in better light later.  The light really reflects off of the darks when they are wet!  Day 22 of the 30 day painting challenge and my 995th painting in 995 days.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sunflower Fields Forever

Sunflower Fields Forever
Oil on masonite, 14x11
purchase here
Tonight finds me getting ready for the Sunflower Festival.  It is so relaxing to immerse myself into this meadow painting after the bustle of town.  I love the rural midwest landscape, and capturing it with paint is sheer heaven. Right before leaving or Carmel, I topped off my walnut oil with safflower oil.  I didn't have time to clean out the can, so I ended up with a 50-50 mix.  The honeymoon with walnut oil was waning, as I did not like the stiff, sticky residue that was beginning to adhere to ferrel and bristle, as well as the way it was setting up on my palette.  The simple addition of safflower oil has made all the difference!  Oh, how I have missed the safflower oil!  It cleaned my brushes right up, even reversing the damage the walnut oil was doing, and my bristles are supple again.  After two months, the benefit of a tiny extra bit of gloss was not worth the cons of the walnut oil.  This is Day 21 of the 30 day painting challenge, and my 994th painting in 994 days :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bazbeaux in Carmel

Bazbeaux in Carmel
Oil on masonite, 12x9
Carmel on Canvas, Indiana
on location
What fun I am having in Carmel! This morning, I had three paintings in my head to paint.  The rain had pretty much stopped, but with a mist persisting.  Therefore, I looked for shelter and started the most complicated composition first.  I loved how shapes took form, and the panel came alive before me.  Passersby stopped to chat and watch, as the strokes fell off the brush.  This was a joy to paint and an honor to win the Bazbeaux purchase award for this street scene.  Day 20 of the 30 day painting challenge and my 993rd painting in 993 days!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Electric Mountain Reflections

Electric Mountain Range
Oil on canvas, 10x8
purchase here
Tri-County had Melanie Nolker in for a palette knife workshop - and it was super fun!  With bold color choices, I struck out with my palette knife and abandoned my normal palette.  She provided paints, orange primed canvas and a single knife from which to complete this painting.  The underpainting is scraped on very lightly with colors to create an energy with the top layer of thick paint - so not what you want the top color to look like.  Over the top of this, a thick layer is spread on as if icing a cake.  Then, I punched up the colors, allowing the painting to have it's own bold voice! SO FUN and a little crazy! This is Day 19 of the 30 Day painting challenge and my 992nd painting in 992 days.
underpainting

Friday, September 18, 2015

Along the Monon

Along the Monon Trail
Oil on masonite, 14x11
We arrived after midnight last night and hit the floor running this morning at the Carmel on Canvas event in Carmel, Indiana.  We can paint anywhere inside of the "Carmel Arts District", which is marked by arches on three sides, and the high school on the other. Everyone is so friendly, and my first day spent painting in this totally new location was SO pleasant! There are several themes available for the artists to paint - and this one is "woodlands".  This is a whirlwind event with only today and tomorrow to paint - turning in one painting for judging at 4:00 tomorrow, with others on display, and theme paintings marked with a special sticker.  A reception follows, and then a quick paint takes place on Sunday.  Whew!  This painting is Day 18 in the 30 day painting challenge, and my 991st painting in as many days :)
Along the Monon Trail
oil on masonite, 14x11
purchase here

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tansy on Cotton

Tansy on Cotton
Flower pigment, pen and ink on cotton, 8x9.5
This pounding is of tansy in my garden.  It blooms in yellow atop tall feathery fronds.  Used in teas, it is one plant I needed to keep away from cattle - as it can affect their milk (or so I was told).  Since we live in the country, that meant keeping it away from the fences and edges of the yard.  We no longer run cattle, but I still keep it far from fence lines!  The blooms are tiny yellow ball shapes in clusters, which here turned to the brown shades.  I wonder if cutting fresher blooms would result in more of their true yellow color seeping into the fabric.  I found that with sunflowers, I needed to cut them and pound them immediately, or their petals would release very little color.  Each flower is a new experience - and who knows the next blooms will bring!  This is Day 17 in the 30 day painting challenge and the 990th painting in 990 days!! Woohoo!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Roses on Cotton

Red Roses on Cotton
Flower pigment, pen and ink on cotton, 8x9.5
I learned several things with today's flower pounding experience.  The rose that was almost red to fall apart had the strongest and most defined pigment.  The fresher ones were just too juicy.  So, the next time I have roses ready to fall apart in the vase - I will pound them instead of tossing them!  Today, I am using unbleached muslin, which is thicker than the cotton I used before, and the texture is coarser.  It works well, but I wonder how something like batiste would work......it is natural cotton, but quite thin. Perhaps the pigment would be stronger just because there would be less fabric to bleed into to produce a good image.  The best part of this project?  I pounded the flowers ahead of time, allowed them to dry (with 4 others), and then took them with my to ink in the car as I waited for the boys to get out of school!  It is a fabulous project for waiting time, because there is no clean up, other than capping my pen and setting the cotton aside.  Much easier than shutting down my "in car watercolor studio" at the bel of release!  This is Day 16 in the 30 day painting challenge and my 989th painting in 989 days :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Dream to Sail

A Dream to Sail
Oil on wood panel, 11x14
purchase here
The turn in for my two Lake Quivira paintings is next week, so I am making sure they are framed and ready to go before I leave town.  These sailboats resting on the beach caught my eye immediately.  Off to to the right of these is one more sailboat, and I almost switched my composition from portrait to landscape to include the fourth boat.  But, when I looked from one to the other, I decided that this was the more dynamic composition.  I may well paint the other at a later date!  Lake Quivira is a fun place to paint - everyone is friendly, coming up to talk as I paint.  On this day, the sun was high and the light was strong, glistening off water and sand alike.  Since I am finishing this one after dark, I will have to look at it in the light of day, to make sure I have all as I want.  I already see one minor adjustment I want to make, well maybe two....... This painting makes Day 15 of the 30 Day Painting Challenge, and my 988th painting in 988 days.  I sure wish there were more hours in the day!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cosmos and Crape Myrtle

Cosmos and Crape Myrtle
Flower pounding, pen & ink on cotton, 8.5x9.5

Experimenting again, this time I am trying additional flowers.  You can’t tell what color will come out of them by looking at them.  For example, all of the antique brown shading  in clusters is from a pink crape myrtle!  The pink cosmos was very light, but the dark violet ones were true to color.  The greens kept their color, and did the pink vinca, and the purple morning glories had the strongest pigment of all!  The yellow centers of the cosmos also pounded out as brown.  It makes me wonder what will happen when I try sunflowers....will they be brown instead of yellow?  I really love the vintage appeal of these blooms pounded on cotton!  And, isn’t it cool to use the flower pigment as my ink? This is number 14 in September’s 30 day challenge and this painting makes 987 for me in 987 days :)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Crape Myrtle Sprig

Crape Myrtle Sprig
Flower pounding, pen & ink on cotton fabric, 8x9.5

Today, I am experimenting with flower pounding!  I have wanted to give this a try for years.  The first step is to pick some flowers and lay them on a natural fiber surface, cotton in my case.  Then, after covering the flowers with wax paper, I pounded them on a wood surface with an actual hammer!  I brought a large rubber mallet to use, but it did not force the stain out of the petals like a real hammer did.  Next step - allow fabric to dry.  I left half the crushed flower pieces on until dry, and then scraped them off with a plastic putty knife and stiff, short brush.  Next - and most daunting, was to define all petals, leaves and stems with an india ink pen.  I chose sepia color, to add to the vintage feel of this project.  Once this was done, I went into those lightly stained areas with just a bit of color, using my Tombow brush pens in matching colors, on their sides. This was SO much fun - I now want to run out and pound every flower in the yard!  This is painting number 13 in the 30 Day Painting Challenge, and 986 in 986 days for me :)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Waiting in the Bay

Waiting in the Bay
Oil on canvas, 6x4

While in Door County, all around the peninsula boats came into the harbor, tying up for an evening in town.  As the sun begins to set, the wind dies down and a calm settles over the bay.  The hustle and bustle along the coast are gone, as sounds from the coastal restaurants and pubs begin to rise.  What a wonderful life, to live near water’s edge, and simply sail to another town for dinner!  This is number 12 in September’s 30 day challenge and this painting makes 985 for me in 985 days :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cow Face

Cow Face
Oil on canvas, 6x4



While I was in Augusta, painting on a wonderful cattle farm, I took many photos of the beautiful cows.  This nosy boy strolled right up to the fence to see what I was doing in the tall grass with my easel.  One by one, many came right up to me, before heading back down to the creek for water.  This spot was a hidden treasure, nestled behind old sheds and farm equipment.  I could fill a book with just the reference for this one place.  I sure wish it was close enough to run by and paint en plein air!  This is painting number 11 in the 30 Day Painting Challenge, and 984 in 984 days for me :)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cows on the Ridge

Cows on the Ridge
Oil on canvas, 6x4
I have SO many amazing cow photos that I have taken on my travels - and I am just starting to dip into them.  My grandparents had a dairy farm, as did my great-uncle and aunt, and I have always had a fondness for them.  They are excellent mothers - always watching all the young, whether their own or not.  They have such sweet, docile natures - and there is something so soothing about there presence in the meadow.  Perhaps, I'll paint some of those fabulous faces one day soon!  This is Day 10 in the 30 day painting challenge, and my 983rd painting in as many days :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sisters at the Lake

Sisters at the Lake
Oil on masonite, 12x9
sold

Labor Day weekend seems to ring in the last days of summer!  Where did all the summer days go?  It was only yesterday that the kids were out of school, and plans were being made - and now cooler days are on the way.  I have been working on this painting, and now I think it is finished.  It will be hanging with another painting, so the two need to display well together.  I will let them rest together on easels for a few days - just to make sure no other detail calls out to me.   This is number 9 in September’s 30 day challenge and this painting makes 982 for me in 982 days :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Gentle Reflections

Gentle Reflections
Oil on masonite, 10x8
purchase here

Another day packed with activity - sunrise to sunset!  Michaela has headed back to college, and the rest of the family has left.  So, as I come to my easel tonight, I am longing for peace and solitude - and my painting reflects that mood.  Not feeling like pushing the color, I am instead letting the soft colors of this misty, drizzly day reign.  I have used the brush completely, not even picking up the palette knife.  Now that my art fix is finished, it is time to unwind, and let the business of the day roll off me like rain. This is painting number 8 in the 30 Day Painting Challenge, and 981 in 981 days for me :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Bright Bluebird

Bright Bluebird
Oil on canvas, 6x4
purchase here
Once again I am capturing one of our bluebirds in paint!  However, in this one, I am pushing the color, laying the paint on a little bolder and brighter.  I like the color play - it has a playful, cheerful feel!  I am using both brush and knife, and my favorite brushes that I bought in April are finally starting to show some wear.  Mind you, I have used them every day since - about 150 paintings worth!  I guess they are entitled, I didn't expect them to last forever!  This is Day 7 of the 30 day painting challenge, and my 980th painting in 980 days :)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bluebird Pair

Bluebird Pair
Oil on canvas, 6x4
My daughter has requested an impressionist painting of a bluebird, so I am going to paint a few to see what she likes - as she wants a VERY large painting! This time of year, we have bluebirds that fly up and down the lane as we come and go.  I could always count on seeing them when we went down to meet the bus!  I have chosen more traditional colors on these little birds, but want to get loose and bright with some in the future.  This is Day 6 of the 30 day painting challenge, and my 979th painting in 979 days :)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Brother Cat

Brother Cat
Oil on canvas, 4x6

We have a "cat" theme here today on the property! Michaela and Clint found mama cat's kittens in the rafters of one of the sheds!  Beau had started barking early today near the shed, and I thought it may be time to tell the kids that I suspected we had kittens!  Michael went scouting for them, to no avail.  With quite a bit more hunting, Michaela found them far out of Beau's reach!  They are beautiful - two gray calicos, and one spotted white, with orange.  I will have new little muses to paint in the coming months!  I have been wanting to explore color - namely, pushing the boundaries of color - and today I am starting that journey!  On this cat, brother to the mama (hence the name), I have used his real coloring as a "jumping off point".  He is white with orange spots, and that color is where I have painted it. Into these areas, I have stroked in reflected colors - squinting to see them, and then pushing them a little bolder.  I love paintings where the color is pushed, and as it is rather unnatural for me, I am making the effort to do exactly that!    This is painting number 5 in the 30 Day Painting Challenge, and 978 in 978 days for me :)

Friday, September 4, 2015

September Geraniums

September Geraniums
oil on canvas, 6x4
purchase here

Trying to prepare for Labor Day weekend has me crossing chores off my list and juggling those others!  Michaela comes home from college for the long weekend - and it will be so nice to have her home!  Lots of family time ahead!  Most of my geraniums did not survive “Beau”, and this painting is a tribute to the lone survivor!  I REALLY hope he matures by next summer, so he will allow my blooms to flourish as they should!  Now, I am off to the store for groceries before staring dinner :) This is number 4 in September’s 30 day challenge and this painting makes 977 for me in 977 days :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bike Along the Fence

Bike Along the Fence
Oil on wood panel, 6x4
purchase here

Spending time with friends tonight, I am reminded of how truly special each day is!  Each one is a jewel - and it is SO fun to reconnect!  After a wonderful dinner out, I return to my easel to complete my painting.  I had this sketched out yesterday, but was seriously considering a totally different subject.  Would you believe that I could hardly decide whether to paint this bike along the fence, or a happy cow face?  Those subjects couldn’t be more different, and yet they were both calling to me!  This is painting number 3 in the 30 Day Painting Challenge, and 976 in 976 days for me :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Time for Wine

Time for Wine
Oil on wood panel, 4x6 - purchase here

Knowing this day was going to be super busy, I sketched out two small paintings early this morning - hoping I would have time to lay paint, too.  I did not - so this waited all day long for me to return!  In this still life with bottles and glasses, I am longing for loose, fun strokes - steering away from tight realism.  Painting is expression, so tonight I am painting what I feel more than what I see.  If you look closely at my yellow earth paint marks - you can see how the texture changes with this coarsely ground Terre Greeze Italian paint.  I prefer it's warm tones over yellow ochre (which I almost never use).  I simply do not like the very slight green tint that all yellow ochres have.  The other sketch will have to wait until the morrow for it’s paint, for tonight I am just too tired!  Sometimes, even I wear out!  Another 30 day painting challenge has begun, so this is number two in September’s 30 day challenge and this painting makes 975 for me in 975 days :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Seagull on the Beach

Seagull on the Beach
Oil on wood panel, 6x4

This was a day spent at the hospital - this time keeping company with Mike’s mom, as his dad lay in the bed.  They live nearby, making the whole experience so much easier than having to make a 12 hour drive first, as it has been with my dad so many times.  On days like this, I come late to my easel.  Feeling the need for color and loose strokes, I chose one of the many photos of the gulls of Lake Erie from a couple of weeks ago for my subject matter.  I pushed the color a little bolder, used the knife a little more freely, and like how the paint expresses the way I felt sitting on that sunny beach watching the kids, gulls, sand and surf.  I love how a painting can take me right back to the place!  This is painting number 974 in 974 days :)