Friday, July 22, 2016

First Plein Air Painting!

Last weekend, I went camping at Fort Flagler, which is near Port Townsend in Washington state. I hauled way too much painting paraphernalia on the trip, and then didn't have that much time to paint anyway. But here's my little 8x10 painting of the woods at our campground, which I had to complete at home from memory and some very bad photos. But I had worked on it long enough in the field to establish the darks and lights (thank you, Mitchal Albala, for your demo on notan that I attended several months ago!) and the general direction and feel of the painting. 

No matter what I try, I can only get half the image  to post, but if you click it, the entire painting image will open in a new window or tab and you'll see the whole thing.  I'm going to leave it for now and try to adjust it tomorrow if I can.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Clearly, I need a studio...

Here it is, months after my last posted painting. Although I've done a few studies (unfinished), my resolution to paint more has mostly fallen by the wayside. I do have a better idea now of why it seems so difficult to get to the easel. I just can't concentrate well on painting with my "studio" right in the middle of my living space. There are just too many undone household tasks constantly  beckoning, and too many interruptions. And while painting, I'm distracted by worries about getting paint on my off-white sofa. Of course, there's also the problem of spreading myself way too thin, which I'm also trying to work on. It's hard to say no to things I really would like to do, but I have to draw the line someplace.

Although the circumstances are different, I'm reminded of Virginia Wolff's, A Room of One's Own. I would so love to have an away-from-home studio where it was just me, my easel, paints and canvas. I'm trying to explore ways to make that happen, but in the meantime, here's a poem. This is something I just uncovered while cleaning out some old files. I wrote it many years ago, in a time of great turmoil. I can see my own effort to reach down into my inner well of resiliance here...


The Big Bang ain't got nothing on me!
   I will dance across the  midnight sky,
   the stars my only foothold.
The Big Bang ain't got nothing on me!
   I will form worlds of words,
   and whisper wishes into reality.
The Big Bang ain't got nothing on me!
   I will spin a million memories
   into a silky cocoon of safety.
The Big Bang ain't got nothing on me!
  I will spread my arms into the universe,
  with the force of dreams as my shield.
The Big Bang ain't got nothing on me!
   I will streak the lake with morning nacre
   to reflect the power of my heart.
The Big Bang ain't got nothing on me!
   I will build my house with clay and tears,
   inviolate against the storm.
The Big Bang ain't got nothing on me!
   I will forge the chimera of disillusionment
   into a sparkling amulet of hope.
The Big Bang ain't got nothing on me!

Still needs work...

Friday, October 2, 2015

Knife painting...

It's funny how things work sometimes. I've been in a terrific painting slump, but since I'm planning to start the exercises in "How to See Color and Paint It," a formerly out of publication art instruction book by Arthur Stern (more on that later), I decided I'd better try to do a knife painting to get some practice, since all the exercises are done with a painting knife.

So a few days ago, that's what I did. I didn't really even have a plan or an idea of what I was going to paint until a few minutes before I started. I just opened up my reference photo files on my computer and chose one of the first ones I saw, and then jumped in without even doing a sketch! This is definitely not like me.

Oh my, did that knife feel clunky. It made it completely impossible to get the nice straight lines that are my inclination (after all those years of architecture) and I felt completely out of control. But, amazingly, in the end it turned out pretty well. The lines aren't straight and it looks sort of messy in places, but it seems to work. And it's got a spontaneous look to it and the color worked out well. So now I'm seeing this painting as a sort of amazing break through. Maybe I'm finally learning not to overthink it and just paint!

So here is "Fall in Fremont, 2005"
8x10 oil on canvas board

Friday, July 10, 2015

Two little paintings for an arts organization fundraiser

These are going to be exhibited at a street fair this weekend. The fundraiser is sponsored by Dakota Art Supplies in Ballard. The criteria that the donating artists were given was just that they had to be painted on 5x7 canvases. With my "once in a while" attitude, I've not been very prolific, so this is the first time I'll be putting something up at an exhibit and as a result I've been fussing over these two little paintings quite a bit! I think as one paints more and more, each individual painting must become less precious, and I'll be looking forward to getting to that point.

Study for Coast Starlight Sunbreak
This was painted from a photograph I took while on the Coast Starlight train, traveling from the Bay Area to Seattle. I was coming home from the memorial service for my mother. The painting was incredibly difficult to photograph, and I don't think that even this photo - the best I could manage - does it justice. There's more subtlety that just doesn't show up. It's really a study for a larger painting I'd like to do in the future.

Pu Pu Platter Parasol
I thought this painting, which someone described as "whimsical," would make a good donation for a street festival. Those little paper umbrellas always do seem so festive.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

And more...

These were part of the One Every Other Day Challenge:

Chinese ceramic and silver filagree box                          

Easter Daffodils                                                                    


So, I clearly learned a lot by taking part in the daily (or almost daily) challenges. But I not only learned about oil painting, but also about how important it is for artistic growth to paint as frequently as possible. I've heard it said that an aspiring painter needs to do 500 paintings in order to call herself a painter. I haven't kept a careful count, but I think I must have at least 400 to go. It's going to take a while...


Apparently, Blogger allows only three images per post...

Japanese Ceramic Cat

Blue and White Sugar Bowl and Spoon

Paintbrush cleaning jar

The first and third of this group were painted on canvas paper toned with gold acrylic paint. It isn't that apparent in the actual painting, but it shines through the oil when the painting is photographed.  These are 6x8 and 8x10s.

Just a few years...

Well, here I am, only three years later. I finally realized that the "every once in a while" thing, and waiting for the muse to strike, really doesn't work! So this year, I've made some changes and have participated in one Painting-a-Day Challenge, and another A-Painting-Every-Other-Day Challenge (it was me that thought up the every other day thing - surpised?). Anyway, since this is about painting, I'm going to post just a few of the little paintings I did. These are from the daily painting challenge:

Incense Burner

Big Burger

My Old Boots

Some of these were still wet when I took the photo, so the texture may look just a little off. They're all quite small,  6x8 and 8x10.