Thursday, November 8, 2012

Painting on the Road: Four Corners

Oak Creek Bluff (Sedona
During September we took a three-week car camping trip to the Four Corners area. Here are some of the paintings I made while on the road. 
Hole in the Wall (Powder River)
Oregon Trail
Storm on the Horizon
View From the Edge
Late Afternoon

How I spent my summer vacation

Bouquet in Ribbed Vase
 At the beginning of the summer I set a few artistic goals: paint more frequently; publish a couple blog posts; enter some art exhibits. Check, check, and check. Other activities included: welcome a new grandchild; entertain visiting family members; develop stronger connections with friends; grow, cook and eat good food; have parties, swim, camp, and spend time in nature. What a GREAT summer! And I'm so grateful to have sold several paintings--icing on the cake. The summer's grand finale was a camping trip to Flagstaff in September for Pickin' in the Pines Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival followed by a visit to the Four Corners area. While camping at the bluegrass fest I even sold four paintings right off my easel! Catching up on emails upon my return home I was really happy to read a  blog post from Bill Cone about his recent Sierra backpacking and painting trip and hope-hope-hope I can join him next year. He captured scenes similar to the ones viewed on my trip to Four Corners. Just love his style and know I can learn a lot from him. Pastelist Loriann Signori, another one of my "virtual mentors", has been blogging for five years and says her best piece of advice for artists is to paint outside every day. "Don't wait for that silly thing called inspiration. She rarely comes knocking. When you ALWAYS create she WILL find you. Time and time again." Okay. Got it. Intention launched!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hand of the Artist

Hand of the Artist / pastel / 18x12
Most artists do self-portraits from time to time. There are no modeling fees and no complaints about holding long poses! I'm very fond of this painting I did at a Kitty Wallis workshop on Wallis paper using her underpainting and colorist techniques. I'm grateful to have studied with Kitty. Click here to read a biography of this fascinating artist, learn about her famous paper, and see an example of her work.  If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I very much enjoy painting hands!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Inside my haunted head is a magic wand

Spooky Tree / pastel / 11x7
Olive Trees Study by Claude Monet
Halloween is almost here! I often sit around thinking, "I want to paint/create something! What can I paint? Look at that (object/scene/person)! How (intriguing/beautiful/colorful)! Which part of it would I focus on? What color is that? What color's next to it? Where's the shadow? Where's the highlight?" Those thoughts are pleasurable. Other thoughts, more ghostly and haunting, include: "I should my studio working...outside painting...finding an exhibit to enter...attending a life drawing session...dealing with business matters...working harder to sell my art." Then an evil spirit takes hold and casts a spell of inertia and negativity: "I'm tired. It seems like too much effort. I don't know where to begin. My studio is messy. I'm  hungry. Is it wine time? Better check my emails." The only way to exorcise these demons is to refocus on my goals and then take action in a positive direction. The operative word is action. Fortunately, I have a tool that works almost like a magic wand; it's called My Vision and Purpose Statement. I developed it over a four month period during a personal effectiveness seminar I took through Wings Seminars.   I put a lot of effort into identifying my strengths and values and learning tools to create the kind of life I want. The result is a written document that I created stating: "My vision, in brief, is to be a creatively productive artist, living a healthy and abundant life, strongly connected to my spirit, family, friends and community." The statement identifies in specific detail my vision for myself and my life. And when I stop, look, and choose to take action on one of the goals I've already identified for myself, voila! the magic happens! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Painting on the Road: Steens Mountains, April 2012

Steens Wetlands / pastel / 6.5x7.5
My husband and I love to travel and prefer the back roads. We're also big fans of Oregon Field Guide so when we were planning our trip to Death Valley last spring we made a point of stopping by the Steens Mountains in Harney County, Southeastern Oregon.  Wow! Can't wait to go back! Local residents said July is a good time for wildflowers. Another stop in the vicinity was Pete French Round Barn, built in the late 1870s or early 1880s and used to train horses.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And the winner is...Julie Pryor Barr!

A Glimpse of Mt. Hood / SOLD
Congratulations to Julie Pryor Barr of Bellingham, Washington, winner of a $59 credit (in honor of my 59th birthday) in my latest Drawing for a Painting. Julie can use her credit toward the purchase price of one of the paintings available through my online gallery, Daily Paintworks. If you want your name included in future drawings, please sign up by clicking the "Join this site" button to the right.

During August several members of the Northwest Pastel Society participated in our second annual exhibit at the Gorge White House . My painting "A Glimpse of Mt. Hood" sold. "Gorge White House Gardens" and "Columbia Gorge Vista" are still available; please contact me if interested.

Columbia Gorge Vista / pastel / art 7x5-framed 16x14
Gorge White House Gardens / pastel /  9x12

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Painting on the Road: Plein air competitions

Loaded with gear, scouting a scene to paint

Guerrilla box

Heilman box and tripod
Changing locations, close by

Painting at 2nd location, having walked from 1st
We arrived at the Grand Canyon about a week after participating artists had left the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art invitational "Plein Air on the Rim" event. We were able to view the show, which was very impressive. (One of the bloggers I follow, Michael Chesley Johnson, summarized his experience here.) To be invited to participate in a large high profile event like this one must fill out an application, submit digital examples of work, and be juried in. There's lots of competition. The rewards are great--exposure to an international audience, sales, etc. It goes without saying that to be accepted one must be an accomplished painter; proficiency in plein air painting is a given. These are two distinct and separate skills. It's one thing to paint well in the studio from life, a still life, photograph or imagination, but it's a completely different challenge to paint outside. Where to paint? What to paint? Weather is unpredictable; wind can knock the easel over; the light is constantly changing; passersby can break one's concentration; etc. But even before dealing with those issues, one must get the gear to the site! When car camping, as I'm currently doing, I have two setups, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The main consideration is weight. One of my plein air setups, the lighter-weight alternative, is a 9x12 Guerrilla Pochade box that weighs about 5 lbs. empty. The lid opens up and can be locked into place, and raising an attached mast makes a perfectly satisfactory easel. In the lid, behind the painting support, is a space where I store pre-cut paper, sheets of glassine to protect finished paintings, and an extra piece of foamcore to use as an additional painting support. The Guerrilla box has some storage inside but not enough for a good selection of pastels, so I carry my pastels separately. In this scenario I take Prismacolor Nupastels (more lightweight and less fragile than other brands) that I transport in hard plastic, foam-lined plastic boxes in an ArtBin brand zippered case (no longer available for sale as far as I know). These items fit in my daypack along with paper towels, baby wipes for hand-cleaning, tape, apron, water bottle and other necessaries.  My second plein air setup is much, much heavier but way more satisfying artistically because it holds my fantastic selection of buttery-smooth and deliciously colored soft pastels (primarily Schmincke, Mt Vision, Terry Ludwig, Great American).  The setup here is a Heilman Pastel Box (original size), which holds my pastels.  When opened up flat the box has drilled holes for a painting mast. It also has a tripod coupler (I use an unfortunately heavy but cheap tripod acquired from Goodwill). The third element of this setup is a special paper/painting support holder that I "invented"-- an old Eagle Creek Pack-It-Folder originally used for clothing. It's approximately the same dimensions as the Heilman box (roughly 12x18 and folds up like an envelope with velcro closures). It contains a foamcore painting support, an assortment of paper, and glassine to keep paintings protected. I love it! Although I try to carry my own stuff, due to the additional weight and heft of this second setup I often have to enlist the help of my husband when packing this baby up a steep trail. Some day, I am going to apply to be a participating artist in a big plein air event. In the mean time, I'm going to keep practicing my painting skills-- keep trying to streamline my setup and gear.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Painting on the road: Fall 2012 Road Trip

When inspiration strikes, picnic can wait
Untitled, West Fork of Oak Creek, Sedona
Schlepping my Guerrilla pochade box across a field
Untitled, West Fork of Oak Creek, Sedona
My husband and I love to travel. Within the U.S. we generally drive and camp en route. I always have more baggage than he does, and not because I take a big wardrobe. No, my extra bags and boxes are full of art gear--easels, paper, paints and supplies take up a lot of room! As much as I love hanging out with my husband and seeing the sights, I also crave "something to do" while on the road and that means capturing what I'm seeing in drawings and paintings, with my camera and in words in travel journals. Currently, we're one week into a 3-week trip to the Four Corners area. I made a few paintings near Sedona, Arizona, that I like quite a bit mostly because I got to use reds, yellows, oranges and browns that usually don't show up in Oregon landscapes. Our first big stop was at the Pickin' in the Pines Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival in Flagstaff, Arizona. I painted my heart out while listening to the bands perform, working quick and loose, keeping tempo with the music. Back at our campground, I captured musicians rehearsing and sold 4 paintings right off my easel--sketches, really. What a happy and unexpected occurrence!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Johnson Creek Watershed Art Show at Reed College coming soon!

Crystal Springs in Late Summer / pastel / 11x14
Here are paintings I produced for the upcoming Johnson Creek Watershed Art Show at Reed College's Vollum Lounge from September 7-October 12. They were painted at three locations: Leach Botanical Garden, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, and Gresham Main City Park. I can submit only three paintings--which ones do you like? Note: Nature, people and structures are all part of a watershed!
Reflections at Johnson Creek / pastel / 9x7
Sunlit Creek (Johnson Creek) / pastel / 7x9
Swag / pastel / 7x9
Half-Pipe and Ramps / pastel / 7x9
Secret Pond / pastel / 14x11

Friday, August 10, 2012

Oregon Lavender Festival

Two Paths / SOLD -  and -  Eucalyptus Tree / pastel / 8.5x6.5
The lavender industry is big in the Pacific Northwest with an annual Oregon Lavender Festival in Yamill the second weekend of July. Artists visit participating lavender farms for two weeks prior to the festival and paint their hearts out. Due to rain, the painting period was condensed this year but I managed to get my work in on time. Paintings that didn't sell at the festival went to different art galleries in the area and I learned today that "Two Paths" sold at the Currents Gallery in McMinnville. Yay! Won't know the fate of the other paintings until the end of the month. Those that are still available will then be listed for sale in my Daily Paintworks online gallery . The Lavender Festival holds a special place in my heart because in 2010 it was my first art show. A lot has happened in the past two years, and I'm thrilled about my growth as an artist and as a person. Hip hip hooray for me for taking action to make my dreams come true! None of this would have been possible without my involvement in Wings Seminars where I learned to believe in myself was shown ways to be the best me possible while creating the life of my choice.
Mountainside Lavender / pastel / 8.5x11.5

Peaceful Moment / pastel / 6.5x9

Walk Just Past the Lavender / pastel / 8.5x6.5

The Scent of Lavender / pastel / 8.5x11.5
Lavender Fields Forever / pastel / 10x20

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Doing Laps" now available through Daily Paintworks auction

"Doing Laps" / 9x6 / pastel
I've been a member of the Daily Paintworks online art gallery for almost a year. One of the services offered by Daily Paintworks is an online auction and today I will participate for the first time by listing my painting "Doing Laps." Click here to bid.  I'm curious to see how it works and welcome your feedback. The sidebar of this blog includes a rolling view of ten of the paintings included in my Daily Paintworks online gallery. I hope readers of this blog will periodically check out my online gallery because it includes more paintings than I post in my blog.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


View from the Deck (Mazatlan)/6x9/pastel
 Summer got off to a late start in Portland, but now it's here in full force with hot days and (thankfully/typically) cool nights. My studio faces north and is a pleasant hangout throughout the day. Am continuing to sort through a large inventory of paintings that were set aside for one reason or another. Many of these I've greeted like long-lost friends--and here they are to meet you! Today I'm featuring scenes from past trips to Mazatlan. While I'm working, my husband in the room next door doing his bit to help support me in my art business as he mats and frames new paintings for the upcoming Oregon Lavender Festival which is going on this weekend. As we work we're groovin' to our favorite Pandora stations. 
Pancho's from the Beach (Mazatlan)/6x4.5/pastel

Vendor with Green Bag (Mazatlan)/6x4/5/pastel

Waiting on the Beach (Mazatlan)/6x4.5/pastel
Tom's Catch (Mazatlan)/4.5x6/pastel

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Flowers and vegetables and a winner: Penny Sorenson!

"Pink Tulips" / 9x12 / pastel
Congratulations to Penny Sorenson of Anchorage, Alaska, winner of the June Drawing for a Painting! She will receive a $70 credit toward purchase of my artwork. Thanks for playing, Penny! And remember, folks--you can't win if you don't play, and playing is soooo easy! All you have to do is sign up to follow this blog.

"Red and Yellow Tulips" / 9x12 / pastel
Today's featured paintings emerged from a recent studio clean-up. As I mentioned in a previous post, I like to paint but am not so fond of the steps that follow: photographing and cataloging the artwork; putting it into its protective cover; listing it in the Daily Paintworks gallery; etc. Fortunately, my darling husband helps me with all these tasks. But he can't get started until I "sign off" on the paintings and often it takes me a while to decide if they're really done or not. During my recent cleanup I ended up concluding that the tulips were great the way they were. I added a few more strokes to the artichokes and garlic and can now release them, too. Yay! Progress! Only a few dozen more to go through...
"Artichokes at the Market" / 9x11 / pastel
"Garlic at the Market" / 8x10 / pastel

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blue Skies Ahead!

Blue Sky / 7x17 /pastel
Yay! It stopped raining! Last evening there was the most beautiful sunset available from my front porch--much like the one in this painting.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Glass of Beer and a sale

"Glass of Beer" / 12x9 / pastel
I like to paint. Finish one painting, start another one. Keep repeating until there are so many paintings I have to sort through them and have a sale!
"Ball Jars" / SOLD
"Cows in the Shade" / 4x6 / pastel & sumi ink
"Light Through the Tree" / 8x6 / pastel & sumi ink
"After the Storm" / 4.5 x 6 / pastel
"Lavender Shadows" / pastel