Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunset Clouds II

Sunset Clouds II
16" x 20"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
Click here to purchase.

This is painting #3 in my Cloud series. I like it.

I realize it is not a very original title, but I figure the painting has enough personality to make up for a simple name. I really like the way this one turned out. I think the larger canvas suits a skyscape. Ooo! imagine a huge huge painting of clouds. Mmmmmm.... like a 5 foot x 6 foot canvas all painted red and waiting to be smothered in stormy sunset clouds. That sounds like fun!

Woohoo! My reference photos came in! I am spastically excited. AND!!! My shipment of canvases came in. Could there be any bigger inspiration to paint?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

WIP - Clouds

More clouds from my super fantastic photo session day in Western Colorado. This one is bigger than the other two. 16"x20".

I was a little intimidated at the thought, but now I don't know why. Painting clouds is basically just blocking in bits of color, and it doesn't seem to matter if the minute structures are off. As long as the basic nature of the cloud is adhered to, the finished product still looks like a cloud.

This is the closest I have come to really abstract painting so far.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Clouds

Sunset Clouds
8" x 10"
oil on canvas board
Click here to purchase.

Painting number 2 in my Cloud series. I started and finished this one last night after Soren the Destroyer went to bed. I was amazed at how fast it went.

This photo came from my favorite painting spot in Western Colorado, same spot the photo for Anticipation came from. I'm pretty sure it was the same evening.

Ooo! if you get a chance, check out Sandra Flood's artwork. Amazing artist! And she is self taught! She is my hero. Her work is full of life, mystery, and spontaneity. I love it. She has work in Austin, Texas at the Wally Workman Gallery. I so want to see some of her paintings in real life- I'll have to stop by when I'm in Texas next. Here is a link to an interview she did with an online art magazine- good read.

Oh- I just saw that Carol Marine, another of my favorites, has work in the same gallery! I definitely need to go there.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Port Townsend Boats II

Port Townsend Boats II
16" x 20"
Oil on canvas
Click here to purchase.

Voila! Painting number 5 in my Boats of the Pacific Northwest series.

I like this one. I really like the composition- the busy stuff at the top with a majority of the space taken by reflections.

I think I am going to do a couple of cloud paintings while I wait for my reference photos from Seattle to come in.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

WIP - More Port Townsend Boats, and a bit of a ramble

I took this tonight because I didn't want to wait until morning when I have the proper lighting... The colors are a little off.

We went to Seattle this weekend and loaded me up with SOOOOOOOO many wonderful boat pictures! Oh! I am so excited! Wait until you see some of the beauties I got! Saturday evening we ran over to Fisherman's Terminal. Brad got himself a fish taco to go from Chinooks- which he said was awesome. I don't care for the taste of fish. I took his word for it. The day had been overcast, but seconds after Brad got back in the car with his dinner the sun broke through the clouds. I booked it for the boat docks. There were so many wonderful things to see. I took around 200 pictures there. Then we went down the road to a Marina just below the Fremont Troll and got a few golden hour pictures. I am so excited! I can hardly wait!

We had an interesting stay at the Mediterranean Inn. Someone pulled the fire alarm around 3 am. It was chilly, but a nice night. I think there was a dominant feeling of goodwill coming from the relief of knowing that we were all out and safe. The hotel was pretty small, so it didn't take long to clear the building. No fire. The suspect was a lonely drunk guy in a beret, apparently looking for some company in the wee hours of the morning. There was only one person there who seemed angry about the whole deal, but he seemed like a nice fellow. He was running about taking pictures of everyone standing around outside in their pajamas with their bed hair sticking out in all directions. I spent the rest of the night going over in my head how I could get out of a building faster if we were ever in another fire alarm situation.

I love Seattle. The city itself has so much personality. I remember someone telling me they hated the place because all the buildings were a dirty gray... I saw so much color there. Even with the overcast and rainy skies. The buildings are tastefully colored, muted, not obscene. Not the glaringly hideous colors you see on the houses in mountain towns.

There is art everywhere in Seattle. And artists too. On our way into town yesterday we saw a man riding a bicycle with a french easel strapped to his back. It was a very pretty easel too. Looked a warm red, like cherry wood. I wonder where he found such a pretty thing. Maybe he stained it himself.

I remember seeing an artist painting at a busy intersection a couple of years ago. His subject was a cute little bar/cafe, and he was painting on a rather large canvas, in my opinion, for painting outside. It was definitely larger than a 16x20. I was impressed. And then there was little ol' me running around like a maniac trying to get as many boat pictures as I could before the light vanished. But as far as anyone else knew, I was just an enormous dork caught up in a shutter frenzy.

I had so much fun running up and down the docks.

Seattle = Good Food.
Woah! let me tell you. We have never eaten at a bad restaurant in Seattle. This morning I was dying for a hometown-hangin'-with-the-cronies kind of breakfast. I was looking doubtfully at a Greek breakfast menu when Brad opened the door of the next cafe, took one look inside and said "We need to eat here." I was skeptical at first because it was called Mecca Cafe. I was thinking "middle eastern food for breakfast... not today." The place was a tiny bar/cafe done down in red, black, and silver. It was like Mephistopheles bought himself a little 50s diner. The waitresses had pasty skin and black hair and fingernails and dark dark lipstick- not quite Goth though. They took the look and gave it a real down home feel- if you can imagine that. It was all very well done! And the food was wonderful. I had a massive plate of scrambled eggs, rye toast with strawberry jam and the biggest pile of hash browns I have ever seen in a cafe- all for a whopping $4.99.

I was musing over the fact that we have yet to eat crummy food in Seattle, and Brad said it is because they have loads of competition and access to all kinds of fresh ingredients. A mediocre eating establishment can't survive in that kind of an atmosphere.

I love Seattle.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WIP- more Port Townsend boats

I was looking at my wall of reference photos last night trying to figure out what to paint next, the pickings are getting slim, when I came across this photo. The composition was boring, so I cropped a section with tape and cut out what I wanted.

So now I'm working from a teeny tiny 3" x 4" photo. Which, as it turns out, is a good thing! I am having to break the smaller bits into chunks of color rather than trying to paint a particular something. I am in trouble when I find myself trying to paint what I think an object is supposed to look like, instead of how it is.

My mantra for the day:
Paint what you see, not what you know.

Oh! I found my learning journal while cleaning up the book shelf. One of my "learning observations" from the other day was that a concise drawing is key to a good painting. My husband calls it "P.A." - Plan Ahead. I think it makes the painting process more enjoyable, because everything is set and ready to go.

I didn't plan very well on my last painting and struggled with it the entire time.

Gotta have P.A.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Squamish Yacht Club

Squamish Yacht Club
oil on canvas
Click here to purchase


This picture was taken in the middle of summer. It was chilly. And stormy, as you can see. That was such a wonderful day. The dark, moody sky... and the sun beaming through in just the right places.

I am looking forward to getting some more reference photos soon. I was making room on the bookshelf the other day and found Fodor's Pacific North Coast guide book. Oooo! Excitement! I don't know why I didn't think about using a guide book. This one is over 10 years old, but I figure I can get some basic ideas of where to go and then look up the details on the internet.

I love the internet.

How did we ever do without it?

Monday, March 16, 2009

WIP - Squamish Yacht Club

Adjust, adjust. The boat in the foreground is in a constant state of adjustment.

I am, at least, feeling a little better about this painting. When there are so many changes needed, and so much going on in the painting, it is sometimes difficult to see the end product as worthwhile.

Getting there!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

WIP- Squamish Yacht Club

My paint has been drying fast on this painting... either that, or I am painting slow. E-gad! this painting and I have been having it out. I just keep telling myself to keep trudging along.

I find grays to be somewhat difficult to match. Apparently I need more practice...

I am too zoned in on the background right now. It has been irritating me, but I think what I needed to do- and I see it now - is to post the work. I think I am staring to see some of the things that were bugging me about the background.

Moving on... dab, dab, dab.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WIP - Squamish Yacht Club

I am excited about his painting. I can hardly wait to start filling it in!

I love Squamish, BC. The water has this odd pale whitish-green color. The one little marina in the town is quaint, and somewhat sparse. Good for reference photos- not so incredibly busy.

The hubby said something last night about wanting to go climbing there again. I certainly hope so! I would like to try my hand at painting some boats on location.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fast Clouds

8" x 10"
oil on canvas board

I started this painting last night and my husband said that he was thinking I should do this one as well. It was meant to be.

I took this photo at my favorite painting spot in Western Colorado's high desert. The sun was setting and this.. just.. phenomenal storm was blowing in. I took like fifty shots of billowing pink, and orange, and purple clouds. They were churning and swallowing themselves, only grow larger --expanding in every direction at once. Oh!- the energy of it! WOW!

My favorite part of a thunderstorm is that vibrating crackle that is so thick, you can almost feel it pulsing through the air and exciting every atom. Ooo! My skin tingles just thinking about it.

That was a wonderful day. So productive. I managed to successfully capture a skyscape while painting on location. Those sunset drenched storm clouds were, to me, like a fireworks display celebrating my accomplishment. It felt good.

Zorbit II

Zorbit II
8" x 10"
oil on canvas board

So here are the two paintings of the same boat. Separated by 3 years, of course. Hm. The older one looks more like a sketch than a finished painting. Man I love progress! I'll have to paint the boat again in another 3 years and see the difference.

The back end of the boat is my favorite bit. The variations in white were exciting to see. I am pretty sure I didn't even see those colors in that white last time. Funny how blind I was to something that seems so obvious now.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

WIP - Zorbit II

I had to stop and take a picture. This is the really fun part, where the water starts tying together and looking like water!

Friday, March 6, 2009

WIP - Zorbit II

Ah, the Zorbit.

I took a photo of this boat in Squamish, British Columbia a couple of years and painted a picture of it when I got home to the studio. I really enjoyed that painting, and I am enjoying it this time as well!

The difference between the two will be in the detail and the colors, I think. I see more in the photo this time around. I love all the colors in the white. I am looking forward to seeing pictures of the two side by side for a comparison.

This one is an 8" x 10" so it should be finished very very soon. I started drawing it in last night and started filling it in this afternoon. Lovely thing about small paintings- they are completed quickly.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Meet Pinhead

Do These Shoes Make My Butt Look Big?
8" x 10"
Oil on canvas board

Sketch books are wonderful things. They are a treasury of inspiration and ideas.

Several years ago I did a sketch of a funny looking chicken out of one of those chicken identifier books. The other day I ran across it and imagined it in a huge pair of high heels- looking ridiculous- but feeling beautiful. I woke up around 3 am last night and started this painting.

It felt good to just plop the paint wherever I wanted without having to refer to reality. A good break after the boats.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Funny how this morning I felt as if I was sooooo far from being finished with this painting and now it is done! Yippee-hurray!

I like it. Its Etsy fodder.

Now I am going to go paint some chickens... or something else....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

WIP - reflections

Moving along.... slowly.... I've been a bit more sleep deprived than normal over the past couple of days, so I have been hesitant to paint much while my judgment is impaired.

I like this painting.

The boat in the foreground has been giving me trouble, though. Hmmm...I see another issue I didn't notice before. The blue band on the side of the boat is wavy. Slightly, but it shouldn't be that way. Should be more or less straight. Glad I saw that. Now I can change it.

I really like how the background mess turned out. It is just a bunch of irregular shapes, but they take the chaos out of that part of the painting. If you look back to my other recent boats at a dock painting, Port Townsend Boats, you can see how I fudged the background. Looks sloppy. I thought it was fine at the time. Wow! That was just 6 months ago. I love seeing improvement. Hurray for progress!

I think I am going to have to do Port Townsend Boats again. Maybe larger this time, and with more meat on it!

Sometimes I wonder if painting is like riding a bicycle. You may feel shaky after not coming in contact with it for a while, but you never really forget how it is done. Before I went on my baby sabbatical I was coming to a point where I felt comfortable making the brushstrokes and placing the colors where I wanted them. Then I stopped painting for what felt like an eternity. Now I paint, and it feels like my hands and eyes are waking up. Remembering something forgotten.

Its nice. Its like waking up from a wonderful dream and remembering some of the luscious little details.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

WIP - reflections

Egad! I feel like I'm just barely creeping along on this painting. Any minute now I will look up and it will be finished.

Looking back, I realize that my photos show the colors in this painting a little differently. Well, a lot differently. Someday I'll figure out how to get consistent results.

This has been a very challenging painting so far. All the subtle differences in colors between the lights and darks, the objects above water and their reflections, and within each shape itself. And all the detail! Or implied detail in this case.

I think I'll work on some smaller pieces after I finish this one- a little instant gratification. Maybe a bit of whimsy.