A little taste of Oxford—another poured painting.
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A little taste of Oxford—another poured painting.
Or purchase a fine art print.
The d’Orsay Musee in Paris, was once a railway station. The original exterior clocks now serve as windows on the upper floor. I painted one of them a few months ago. That clock is opposite the gift shop and attracts as many tourists as the paintings. The other clock serves as the window in the museum cafe giving the cafe a charm all it’s own. Here it is.
I poured this painting is a similar manner to the first clock painting.
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These young men are real. I swear. I couldn’t make “Hungry, Vegan, and Broke” up. I saw them in one of my favorite places to people watch—outside of Powell’s Books. It was a hot, hot afternoon, and they looked just as hot and tired as they do in my painting. But the sign was absurd and their shoes expensive, so I don’t think they were in much danger of starving.
I came right home to paint them. My youngest daughter came home from school to find me almost finished.
“Why are you paining those men?” she asked turning up her nose.
“Because the are tragic, funny, and beautiful all at once.”
“I don’t get it.”
Her reaction was a foreshadowing of all my friends and family. So several, months later I downplayed this painting when I had my first show. It didn’t sell, but it got more positive reaction than any other painting there. It is one of my best selling greeting cards and it doesn’t do badly in prints either. Everyone smiles.
Today Redbubble , a print on demand service, featured it on their homepage. It would be Redbubble, they like the quirky and the edgy.
This restaurant was below our apartment in Florence, Italy. Early every evening the waiters gathered to shoot the breeze and smoke while waiting for the dinner rush to begin. I liked the way their black clothing stood out against the stucco building and flag street. The street is typical of Florence, narrow, flagged in uneven stone, gritty, and full of life.
My eldest daughter learned to spin last year and the Oregon State Fair. She came home with a drop-spindle and proceeded to spin several pounds of wool within the week. The obsession continued and all she wanted for Christmas was a spinning wheel. We obliged. Since then, she spins whenever she sits down to talk or watch TV. It’s a good thing the wheel is beautiful, because it’s become part of our living and family rooms.
Naturally, as I think both the wheel and the girl are lovely, I had to paint them together. As she also writes I thought a background of our family room books was appropriate.
The painting turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. I began with the pouring method, a process much like batik involving multiple masks and literally pouring cups of paint over the paper. After a day of pouring, I got out the brushes and promptly ruined the painting by making it too dark. So I began again, spending another day pouring paint. I began work with the brushes at the gallery and was very pleased with everything except her face which I though was good, but could be better. So improved it until is was merely okay. And then I improved it some more until it was bad and my paper was damaged beyond repair. But I loved the rest of the painting so much that I began a third time, first pouring and then painting.
This time I am happy, and while there are a couple details I might like to alter just a hair, I won’t improve it anymore.
Once again the sun on wet pavement caught my eye. But this time it’s mid afternoon and threatening to rain again soon. The light was spectacular. Sunlight streaming from between the clouds always seems so much brighter.
The palate is what is becoming my new standard: phthalo blue, cobalt blue, quinacridone brown madder, and raw sienna. I painted conventionally working from light to dark in multiple transparent layers. The “blacks” are phthalo blue and brown madder.
This is a little painting I started just before we left on vacation and finished while we were en-route. Kinda fun putting the finishing touches on a beach painting while staying at a motel in West Yellowstone, Idaho. How much more land locked could I have been?
As with many of my beach paintings, I was trying to catch the immediacy of confronting the wall of water. It is an all consuming moment. In this case that all consuming moment was in the late afternoon, facing a back-lit ocean. People were almost silhouetted against it and the spray shown white.
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Believe it or not, this is February in Oregon. Where is the rain? I don’t know, it took a vacation for our vacation. I took a number of photos of these boys who were obviously enjoying the unseasonable weather. They seemed immune to the 62 degree water, and quite happy to get wet.
I painted this watercolor very traditionally starting which the sky which I painted wet into wet with ceruleum blue. I dropped in a mixture of cobalt blue and burnt sienna to give the clouds some depth.
Then I masked the foam and the boys. The ocean is a combination of phthalo blue, cobalt blue and burnt sienna. I used the phthalo blue mostly for the green cresting waving. After removing the maske, I spent much time scrubbing the hard edges left by the maske and lifting highlights from the waves.
I added the boys using burnt sienna, raw sienna, and quinacridarone rose form there skin. Their trunks are quinacridone rose, colbalt blue, and phthalo blue.
This another painting of the beach at Brookings.
I just had to do one of the dogs. Dogs and beaches go together. So much to see. So much to smell. So many, many other dogs.
This older dog wasn’t tugging too hard, but he was strongly encouraging his person to walk faster. I want to see. I want to run. I want to go. I want to do.
I used my typical beach palette: burnt sienna, raw sienna, phthalo blue, cobalt blue. I masked the waves before painting to preserve the whites. Painted last Wednesday at Art in the Valley, Corvallas, Oregon.
We call my youngest daughter “Bird” and “Birdie” and even “Birdles” because she looked a little like a bird when she was a baby. It’s been a long time since I thought she looked much like a bird. But crouching down on the shoreline, she made me think of long leggity shore birds.
The palette is simple, cobalt blue, phtalo blue, qinacridone deep red rose, and burnt sienna. I used liquid mask extensively to make preserve the white paper.
See more little girl paintings at Fine Art America: girl paintings.
Last weekend I was in Brookings, Oregon for the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s Spring convention. We visit the coast often, but we rarely get so farther south than Florance. Brookings is on the California boarder and getting there from Salem efficiently requires dipping into northern California, hardly a hardship as the redwoods are on the boarder too.
The southern coast is a different. Brookings is a rocky rather than a sandy beach. The land drops off rapidly into the ocean there. The result is that the waves do not feel like them are above you as they do in Lincoln City, but they break larger closer in. I haven’t figured out how to paint the immediacy of Brookings breakers, but I’ll get it.
In the meantime, here are three postcard sized Brookings sunsets. I did the first on location and the other two at the gallery yesterday.
The people in the third one are my husband and youngest daughter. It was one of the few times anyone stood still on the beach that evening. Stephen and the girls were much too busy skipping stones to stand still.
These paintings are currently for sale on-line at my Etsy shop.
This painting is a Christmas present for my father. He took the photo a couple of years ago while I was visiting him in New Mexico. He, my daughters, and my niece all went to Bandieler National Monument. It was just as hot and dry as you might expect summer in New Mexico to be. When we had finished touring the ruins, Dad snapped this photo of the girls cooling off by the brook. I liked the dappled light, and I know he will like the subject, all three granddaughters at once.
The palatte is cobalt blue, phthlo blue, French ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, raw sienna, cadimun yellow, and quinacrione deep red rose.
This could be anywhere. What I liked about my photo was the sunshine and the interaction between the young women.
I intended to pour a very atmospheric painting, and I did pour one reserving only the womens skin for direct painting. But I was unhappy with the reflections in the windows and the draping of the sundress. I really liked the bright pinks, oranges and yellows I got through pouring though. So at the gallery yesterday, I repainted the image using not only my photo, but also the poured painting as a guide.
For most of the painting I used hansa yellow light, new gamboge, quinacridone deep red rose, and phthalo blue. Using two yellow helped keep things bright. I added burnt sienna to the hair and the leather bag.
I tried to keep most of the poured feeling by mixing the paints freely on the paper. I added the windows and other darks in many layers of transparent color.
I’m happy with the results, but were I to do this over, I would pour the windows, sidewalk, and shadows and perhaps the dark bag and pants. Then I would paint the women directly.
Charlena’s picture is moody and emphases the intimate nature of the space and lighting. I didn’t see any way to do that better with paint than she had already done it with the camera. But I really liked the shadow looming up behind the resting musician, so I changed the format from horizontal to vertical and cut out most of the dark wall to emphasize the man and his shadow.
My version of this scene is an almost entirely poured painting. After transferring my sketch to the paper, I masked the musician, his shadow and everything else dark in the sketch. The trick to applying liquid mask is to use synthetic brushes and to soap the brushes before and in between dips into the mask.
When the mask was dry I poured the lights. After wetting the paper (a necessary first step to get the paint to stick) I poured a tea like mix of hansa yellow light over the paper. I waited for the hansa to dry before pouring first new gamgee, then deep red rose. Once again I wet the paper. I poured the area around his feet first. Then I poured upwards from his head to preserve the bright yellow halo effect around his face and hat.
When the lights were completely dry, I removed the mask. I took a moment to renew the pencil lines the mask had lifted. Then I masked all of the areas I has just poured leaving only the darks. I left the mask to dry. Then, after wetting the page, I poured light mixtures of cobalt blue, phthalo blue, magenta and deep red rose. I tried to keep the darker and colder phthalo blue primarily to the shadow and the dark wall leaving the cobalt for the figure in the middle.
After the paint dried, I masked some small highlights in the musician’s face, hat, trousers and shoes. When the mask dried, I wet the paper and poured the same colors in the same places only darker.
When the final mask was removed I felt the picture was too bright. So I added little gray shadow under the chair to set off the vivid colors. Colbalt blue over the orangy pink floor produced a lively gray.
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I thought after sculpting for half a decade, I’d developed a pretty thick skin about displaying and selling my artwork. But I’ve discovered that my sculpture calluses provide no protection whatsoever for my tender painting skin. Rejection and acceptance still matter more than they should.
I’m not sure why this is so. It may be because somewhere in the back of my brain I only consider paintings to be “real” art. But I don’t think so. I’ve admired too much sculpture and photography to believe that. It might be because it’s new to me, but I’m not sure it’s that either. I don’t think I was ever this raw about sculpture or quilting shows. I think the answer is simply that there is a great deal more of me in my paintings than there is in my sculpture, quilts or photos. But whatever the reason, when I submit my paintings I itch as I’ve never itched over applications before.
But getting paintings hung in galleries, art shows, and art festivals requires submissions followed by (gasp) acceptances and rejections. I’ve just begun to put my toes in the water. My paintings now hang at Art in the Valley, where my sculpture has already littered the shelves for a few years now. And in addition to the Oregon State Fair this past August, I’ll have my paintings in at least two art fairs. Each of those acceptances mattered in a way sculpture acceptances haven’t mattered for years. Nor would I have considered any of these shows a big deal for sculpture. In fact, I’ve been in these fairs for years. But they mattered for paintings all the same.
In addition to art fairs I’ve begun applying to watercolor societies. Signature membership in watercolor societies is the entrance to watercolor society shows as their shows are often member only. I applied to the Watercolor Society of Oregon earlier this month. The three paintings shown in this post are the painting I submitted to them for active membership. Yesterday the acceptance came. I’m very happy, ridiculously happy given the that the prize is membership dues, and the right to submit paintings to shows.
We spent last weekend on the beach. I took enough photographs to have seacape material for some time to come. While I was there I reworked Twixt Wind and Water. Here is the result. As you can see, I gave the painting considerably more sea-room to the left, so that she has something more to look into.
I began her hair with an under-painting of colbalt blue. Then I used layers of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and cobalt blue to complete it. Quidacrone deep red rose provides the accent color in the hair band.
Her jacket is cobalt blue and prussian blue mixed on the palate.
The sea began as phthalo blue and burnt sienna with reserved whites. Then I changed my mind about much of the wave action and began experimenting with white gouache. To cover strong colors, gouache must be laid on fairly heavily. And even though I don’t use ultra white paper, gouache white is still bluer that the paper. Also, as I discovered gouache will washback into transparent watercolor and vice versa. Work a little gouache onto the paper and nothing painted there will ever be entirely transparent again.
The effect is interesting, but I think next time I’ll stick to transparent watercolors, unyielding to change though they may be. I like the translucency better.
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Yet another little painting I did at the fair. This one is a smaller version of one of my favorite paintings, Twixt Wind and Water. The only thing I didn’t like about the original was the vertical format. I thought the painting would look better with more sea and waves to her left. So I played around with that idea in this smaller version. I do like the extension of the the sea, but I think I made a mistake in showing too much of her right side. If I do a full sized painting of this one again, I will keep the extended horizon but still crop-out most of her right shoulder.
As you can see, both paintings show a complete change in compositional thinking from when I took the reference photo. Taking the photo, my thoughts were all about the shape of her figure and the rock. But when I looked at the photo up close, I fell in love with the hair spilling out of her braid. That required some rethinking. Looking at the photo again, I’m tempted to include more of her body to increase the feeling of movement.
This is another little painting I did at the state fair. I used yet another photo of the two brothers who were trying to give a log back the the sea. No sign of the log here, just companionship and beautiful afternoon light.
The palate is once again phthalo blue, raw sienna, and burnt sienna. Burnt sienna is more orange than it is red; so the paintings that I do with this trio tend to be earthy in feel with blue-grays and brown-oranges where one might expect there to be purples. Obviously there are no bright reds either. I find this a useful pallet for the Oregon coast as it makes very easy to reproduce the actual colors of the beach and ocean. On bright days the addition of cobalt blue helps to get the water as blue as it really is.
The odd part about visiting Central City, Colorado this summer was the empty streets. The Central City of my childhood was packed with tourists. The parking lots were still packed, so I can only surmise that the tourists are all in the new casinos. But the lack of people on the streets, gave me a field day for unobstructed photography on the steep narrow streets.
I chose this particular photo to work from because of the way the light lit up only the upper half of the street. That the scene showed the slant of the street so clearly was a plus.
Because half the charm of the city is the painted Victorian ladies I moved away from my usual earth tone pallete. The pallete here was phthalo blue, cobalt blue, quinacridone red, and quinacridone gold.
This is another postcard sized painting I did while demonstrating at the fair. This particular one is yet another view of the two boys I had so much fun watching. They were trying to return a log to the sea. As the tide was coming in, it kept spitting it out. They were having a marvelous time.
The palette was my usual ocean foursome: cobalt blue, phthalo blue, raw sienna, and burnt sienna. The Northwest beaches here rarely show the ocean in bright colors. It’s a earth tone world on the Oregon beaches.
I reserved the figures and the whites with liquid mask before painting the ocean and beach. Notice that the crested waves in the foreground are greener than the waves in the background. When a wave crests you can see into the water from the side and here isn’t much sky reflected into it. Consequently it tends to look green rather than blue, like the edge of a glass pane. I used cobalt blue for the background waves and the greener phthalo blue mixed with a little raw sienna for the crested waves. I like the effect.
After the paint dried, I lifted the mask and added the figures. I was very careful to preserve the whites on the front of their swim trunks. The light was strong that afternoon and I wanted to keep it in the painting.
I added the reflections as I added the figures. I didn’t reserve space for them with mask, because painting them over the beach and water colors mimics the way they really look.
Before demonstrating watercolor at the fair, I asked various other painters for advice. The message I heard loud and clear was never try to start or put the finishing touches on a painting while talking to the public. That’s good advice and I took it. But I found spending five days painting the middles of paintings unsatisfying and vaguely unsettling. So I also painted some little postcard sized paintings from start to finish too. Yesterday’s postcard sized painting was one of those. Here’s another one.
I think I took the reference photos on Lincoln City Beach, but it could be anywhere. What matters about this image is sun and sparkle contrasting with cool water. Also, I just love the way both mommy and daughter appear just a hair afraid of the waves, but they are right at the edge anyway.
I used phthalo blue, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and added little quinacridone deep red rose for the figures. The “sparkle” is reserved white created by splattering the page with liquid mask. I didn’t have a toothbrush to splatter with so I used a stiff filbert brush.
I spent yesterday talking with people and watching their reactions to my paintings at the Artisan Village, a part of the Oregon State Fair. Mostly, the paintings I, and my family like are the paintings other people like. Also, many people from Wilsonville were charmed by Memorial Day Waterworks because they recognize Town Center Park. The Annex Pub and the seascapes were also popular. There were some surprises though. One of them was Hungry, Vegan and Broke.
I painted the two young men in Hungry, Vegan, and Broke as a kind of private joke. I saw them in in downtown Portland in front of Powell’s Books. And while they were obviously hot and tired, they looked healthy and able bodied. Certainly they didn’t look like they’d been hungry anytime in the recent past. And the sign was so absurd: “Hungry, Vegan, and Broke.” I could translate that sign two ways: “We Are High Maintenance Choosy Beggars;” or, “Feed Us Because We Are Such Good Moral Young Men.”
I liked my little joke, and I loved the afternoon sun on their skin. But I the reactions of my family and friends to the painting were mixed. I didn’t even consider making a print or greeting card of the painting, and I hesitated to frame it for the fair, but I did. At the last moment I made some magnets of it too.
Well, the joke is on me. Almost everyone who sees this painting smiles, and this is the painting everyone wants a print of. I have sold more Hungry, Vegan, and Broke magnets than magnets of any other painting. Today I’ll place it more prominately in the booth. Right now it’s down low and half hidden by a table.
Since becoming a painter of people, I’ve developed some sneaky ways of photographing strangers in public. One of them is to sit in a restaurant or on a park bench and pretend to be reviewing my pictures when I am actually taking pictures instead. I took the photos I used for this painting in just that way.
I just had to take the photos because of the way kitchen lights in the otherwise dark pub threw these waiters into relief. They looked like they were on stage, yet the scene was intimate. It reminded me of an Edward Hooper painting. But I’m no Hooper, and I intended something much warmer than the world he painted.
It wasn’t easy. I tried a version of this painting almost a year ago and was unsatisfied with it. As usual, the main problem was composition. I included too much of the scene and destroyed much of both the intimacy and the light contrast I was trying to present.
I like this new smaller version much better than last year’s version.
Once again I used a limited palate: phthalo blue, cobalt blue, burnt sienna, and raw sienna. Because I was painting with limited supplies in Colorado, I only had one yellow. If I had been painting at home I would have substituted a brighter yellow for the raw sienna.
I haven’t been able to paint much recently, so I brought some things to play with at my mother’s. I started with another winter wave painting because they are becoming easy and familiar. This is my youngest daughter playing chicken with the surf. I think in the end she got her feet wet. My reference photo included both girls, but for composition reasons I left my eldest out.
The palette is cobalt blue, burnt sienna, raw sienna and opera rose. I rarely want anything as bright as hot pink, but when I do, Winsor and Newton’s Opera is a good choice. It’s hotter than anything I can mix by diluting my reds. It’s another quinacridone red, PR 122. And like most of the quinacridones it’s light-fastness is rated II, very good but not excellent. Also like the rest of the quinacridones its a very warm red.
The paint came to me by serendipity. Dick Blick’s sent me a sample on the same day I saw it used to effect in small touches in a large foresty landscape. I was painting a picture of a young woman with a hot pink plastic bucket. I grabed the new paint and discovered I liked it.
My step-father jokes that civil engineers aren’t very civil. But he is a civil engineer and he is both civil and civilized. Here is a painting I did of him last year. The poise is characteristic and setting his own home. It isn’t a portrait, but everyone who sees it recognizes him immediately.
We will be visiting him and my mother for a few days. I just finished showing the house sitter around. She’s very helpful, about watering the garden and feeding the dog, but she won’t ship paintings for me. Any paintings purchased before I get back will have to be shipped after I return.
Do you remember the two brothers who were trying to send a log back out to sea? The tide was coming in and so the sea kept sending it back. I used another one of the photos I took of them that day to make this little postcard sized painting of the older brother.
The palette is phthalo blue, yellow ocher, and burnt sienna.
This painting is currently for sale on-line through my Etsy shop.
I love the ghostly look of the beach at low tide on a foggy morning. The beach stretches out forever half hidden in haze and strangely reflective, making the beach and the sky much the same color. The ocean swallows up all sound. All is quiet mystery.
But I have a hard time painting it. It is essentially nothing with variations. Here, to emphases the space and provide life are my daughters striding companionably into to that great emptiness filling it with sound and movement.
To paint the picture I masked the white waves, the foam and girls, but not their reflections. I painting the sky with burnt sienna and cobalt blue in multiple wet into wet layers. I painted the beach first in yellow ocher and than followed that with burnt sienna. I painted various mixtures of burnt sienna and cobalt blue wet on wet over the sand. The waves are a darker mixture of burnt sienna and cobalt blue painted wet on dry.
After the wet paper dried, I lifted the mask and painted the girls. The were actually dressed in brightly colored coats, but I painted them in more burnt sienna and cobalt to keep the monotone foggy feel of the beach. Then I dampened the area under the girls and painted in their reflections wet on damp.
I placed my signature carefully since in all that emptiness I knew it would be a design element.
This painting is currently for sale on-line through my Etsy Shop.
This is another little painting of the two brothers playing in the surf. They had found a log about half again as tall as either of them and were busy trying to return it to the sea. But as the tide was coming in, the sea kept giving it back. Here they have just finished taking it far so into the surf that they thought they had gotten rid of it. The victory dance was short lived. It came back. I don’t think they really minded though. They were having fun.
I used the same palette and method as the last little painting. First I masked the white foam and the boys. Then I painted the water and sand, beginning wet into wet and adding the details wet on dry. I painted the sand in with yellow ocher and burnt sienna right up to the first foam. I laid the thin layer of water reflecting the sky with blue cerulean right over the sand. I added the reflections last. When all was dry I removed the mask and painted in the boys and softened the foam.
Removable liquid masking is the easiest way to preserve small areas of white paper. I use Shiva Liquid Masque, but Winsor & Newton make a perfectly good mask too. The advantage to Shiva for me is that it’s slightly pink, making it easier for me to see where I’ve masked. Winsor & Newton is slightly yellow which I find harder to see against white paper.
Mask should be applied to bone dry paper. Use a synthetic brush well rubbed in hand soap to apply the mask. Resoap the brush regularly and wash it with soap afterwords. Don’t use water that has been used for masking when painting. Don’t remove the mask until the paint is bone dry. A rubber cement pick-up works best.
This painting is currently available on-line through my Etsy shop.
This is another postcard sized painting. I find it therapeutic to do these little paintings while I’m in the throws of getting ready to stock another polymer clay sculpture booth. While they don’t take as long as my larger pieces, it is challenging to get enough detail into these tiny paintings without overwhelming them with fussy little brush strokes.
I took endless photos of this young man and his brother last summer. They were very active and having a grand time playing in the waves. The light was beautiful and so were the boys. I may paint one or both of them again tomorrow.
The palette is cerulean blue, burnt sienna, and raw sienna. Substituting cerulean for my usual cobalt blue resulted in a greener and less gray sea. I used raw sienna rather than yellow ocher because ocher is on the green side of yellow and would have resulted in a pea green sea. For the boy’s skin and hair I used all three colors. The more I work with watercolor the more I am drawn to the sedimentary and metallic pigments. I have trouble with the organics.
This painting is available on-line through my Etsy shop.
I don’t think I’ve ever taken anywhere near as many photos I’d like to paint as I did the day of the Wilsonville Festival of the Arts. Hot sun on skin and lots of water is turning out to be one of my favorite combinations.
This one took a little more teasing out to make it a good image. The photo itself shows not only the boy but also his father and sister and sub machine gun style water pistol too, all cluttering up the background and obscuring the larger fountain. It was easy enough to remove the figures and the shadows they cast. To restore the fountain I need to use other reference material.
I have have been using much the same method for all of the paintings in my Splash series. First I mask the fountains, waterfalls, and water drops. Then I can paint the water without worrying about saving the whites as the masking protects them for me.
Once the paint is really dry I remove the mask from the water features and the figures but leave the water drops over water masked. Then I mask the highlights in the water-features and the splashes obscuring the figures. After I’ve painted the figures and roughed in the water I remove all the mask and add shadows to some of the water drops.
Should you like to try using removable liquid mask yourself, I have two tips. First, use cheap synthetic brushes to apply the mask and soap them before and during the process. Second, never use a hair dryer to speed the drying of a masked painting because sometimes it causes the mask to stick to firmly to the paper.
I painted the water in cobalt blue grayed with burnt sienna. The boy’s hair is yellow ocher, burnt sienna and cobalt blue as is his skin. I added some quinacridone deep red rose to key places in his skin such as his ears. His shirt is cobalt blue and burnt sienna again.
This painting has sold, but you may still purchase a print through Fine Art America.com.
This painting is of my husband and our girls. He loves his little girls and he likes paintings of himself being a daddy. And truth to be told he likes an excuse to do little boy things. Here he is helping the girls find pumice, the magic rock that floats.
It was one of my first half dozen or so successful paintings. I used the mask and pour method and then spent several hours direct painting it as well.
Stephen likes it too much to let me sell it. But we we don’t have a place to hang it either. Every so often he fishes it out and looks at it.
So for his upcoming birthday I painted this little version of it. It doesn’t have all the nuance of the larger work, but it’s a good little painting and it will fit neatly in his office.
The palette for the first painting was phthalo blue, burnt sienna and hansa yellow for the pourings. I used some burnt umber, raw umber and cobalt blue in the direct painting palette.
For the smaller direct painted version I used colbalt blue, ceruleum blue, burnt sienna, yellow ocher and quinacridone deep red rose.
I have difficulty painting in public. I never paint my best or even close to my best with an audience. Even at the gallery where people wander in and out infrequently, I have a hard time with painting in company. I don’t blush or drop my brush. But I don’t concentrate as well as I do in private. And I make fundamental errors more frequently.
But I must learn to paint in public and soon. And what is more I must be able to talk about it while I do it, because this coming August I have agreed to demonstrate painting and sculpture at the Artisan’s Village in the Oregon State Fair.
It’s sculpture that got me into this. I’ve sculpted for seven years now and I’m quite comfortable doing it with an audience. For the last four years I have sculpted all day at just about every art fair I’ve been in. Only heat and fancy carpets stop me.
Last Christmas a representative from the Artisan Village saw me demonstrating at the Salem Saturday Market Christmas Show and asked if I would be willing to take a booth at the fair. This is plum. Commercial booths at the fair rent for several thousand dollars. Booths in the Atrisan Village rent for $75.00. The difference? The Village is a juried venue. The catch? —artists in the Village must demonstrate from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Most artist share a booth and share demonstrating hours. But I know no one else who sculpts polymer clay. And besides, it’s an outdoor venue and the hotter it gets the hotter polymer clay gets until it becomes much to soft to sculpt. What to do?
Well, I was looking for a way to display my new watercolors so I talked myself and the director into both sculpture and painting. I am to sculpt in the cooler mornings and paint in the heat of the day. Switching mediums halfway through the day should help me keep my brain active too.
Now all I have to do is learn to paint in public. I spent this weekend learning. Saturday and Sunday I sold sculpture while painting watercolors. I tried to stick to easy subjects and to leave the detail work for later.
Here are my three half finished paintings. With luck I’ll be posting the finished paintings later this week:
This is the beginning of another painting in my Splash series of the children playing at Town Center Park. I began by masking the boy and the fountains and painting the water in cobalt blue and burnt sienna. After lifting the first mask I masked the splashes on the boy and the high lights in the fountains. Then I added raw sienna to the palette and began painting the boy. I think I am going to need a real red to complete his skin. Then I will lift the mask and complete the detail work.
This is a full size painting of the boy with the umbrella. The boy is mostly finished, but I want to add a second umbrella on the lower right. I didn’t have a reference photo for that at the show. But I have plenty of pictures of umbrellas in the same light to choose from here.
The painting is on hot pressed paper. The palate is cobalt blue, phthalo green, quinacridone deep red rose, yellow ocher and ceruleum blue.
This is a much smaller version of a painting I did a few months ago of my husband and the girls looking for pumice stones at Crater Lake. Stephen loves the original and won’t let me sell it. But it’s too large for his office. I’m hoping to have this smaller office sized version finished in time for his birthday.
So far I’m using just three pigments: cobalt blue, yellow ocher and burnt sienna. The painting still needs a great deal more contrast.
In the meantime I’ll be preparing to sell sculpture and paint at the Salem Art Fair. I will be at the State Fair August 28th through September 1st in Booth 414 on the south side of the village next to the floral gardens. Wish me luck.
About a month or so ago the Titanic exhibit, or at least a small piece of it came to Salem. Stephen and I took the girls. It was a hot day and we were grateful to the sponsoring bank bank for providing us all with sunshades. And all of those great green and white umbrellas made the crowd rather picturesque. I puzzled the volunteers by photographing the crowd rather than the outside of the exhibit.
I think I will eventually do a back-lit painting of the line. But right now I have an upcoming art fair in Seattle (for my sculpture not my paintings) that’s taking up most of my time. Nevertheless I want to keep my brush hand in. These three little sketches are of a toddler ridding on his daddy’s shoulders and playing with one of those umbrellas.
He was having so much fun twirling that umbrella around and so happily oblivious to everything else that I was afraid he was going to bean his father with it. Come to think of it the father has slid of the paintings. None of the angles I liked showed the man’s head. When I included too much of his back and shoulders it looked like the boy was ridding the headless horseman.
I began the sketches because I liked the umbrella. I ended up doing three of them because I got carried away with the infinite variety of color in the boy’s hair and skin. Blue, yellow, red, brown, purple and orange. It’s all there.
Now that I look at the sketches I may make a full size painting out of one of these.
The palette was phthalo green, ceruleum blue, cadmium red, quinacridone deep red rose, yellow ocher.
These three sketches may be framed or used as postcards. Purchase all three for $50.00.
Because they are so small, I’ll mail these little sketches flat rather than in a tube. As always prices include postage within the continental United States.
Elizabeth Edwards of 1stAngel Arts Magazine has put together a beautiful side show of her favorite artists from First Angel’s Art Network the magazine’s FaceBook group. I’m honored to be among the fourteen artists she chose to include.
You can view the whole side-show here. Or you can go straight to my page of the show here. The slide-show is set to classical music. If you object to sound emanating from your computer, turn your sound off before entering.
I am now offering many of my paintings as greeting cards through Fine Art America. The cards are 5 x 7 inches and can be printed blank or with a custom message inside. A single card costs $5.45. In packs of ten they are $2.95 each or $29.50 per pack. In packs of 25 they are $2.25 each or $56.25 per pack.
Yes, it’s yet another painting of the children playing in the water feature at Town Center Park, Wilsonville, Oregon. What can I say? I love hot sun on skin. And the children were cute. This little girl in particular was adorable. She was all over that stream and happily oblivious to the camera.
This is my second painting on hot-pressed paper. The last was a rocky seascape and I used hot-press to get more luminous darks. That worked well.
I wanted to test the wipe-out properties of hot-pressed paper. Wiping-out means to paint solid color and then to lift the high lights. Hot-pressed paper wipes easier than cold-pressed or rough paper. It thought it would be a good technique for skin on a hot summer’s day. What I discovered is that it works well except for highly staining colors. Quinacridone deep red rose is highly staining. Actually I haven’t found a red I like that isn’t highly staining. The closest I’ve found is burnt sienna which is really an orange. I think I’ll wait for a less sunburn scene where I can use the raw sienna before trying wipe-out with hot-pressed paper again.
The palette was burnt sienna, colbalt blue, quinarindone deep red rose and yellow ocher. I reclaimed some whites with titanium white.
Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.
This painting began as my first attempt at Ladder to the Past. As you can see I began the idea with two figures not one. Midway through I decided that a single figure would be more eye catching. So I gave this painting up and began again. The results are Ladder to the Past shown in the entry below.
But I liked Ladder to the Past so much I thought I’d finish this little painting too. And I’m glad I did. The two girls are my daughters and the ladder is of course still at Bandelier National Monument.
The palette for Blond Indians is a little larger than Ladder to the Past: quinacridone deep red rose, burnt sienna, cobalt blue, phthalo blue, yellow ocher and dioxazine purple.
After painting four very wet paintings working mostly wet on dry, I just completed a very dry painting working mostly wet on wet.
This is Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico. For those of you who don’t know of it, Bandelier is a kind of pocket sized Mesa Verde located not far from Santa Fe. The major cliff dwellings can be seen in a half day self guided walking tour.
I took the photos for this painting a couple summers ago while visiting my father. The slender young women reaching the top of the ladder is my niece. She and my daughters climbed every ladder and explored every dwelling. Besides the fun of climbing the dwellings interiors are a cool contrast to the hot dry trail.
The palette is burnt sienna, cobalt blue, phthalo blue and yellow ocher.
Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.
I started painting this young man on Saturday. Unfortunately the tummy bug that swept our family earlier in the week caught me just as I was starting to mask the whites. But I thought about him off and on all Saturday and Sunday. This morning I went right to work and here he is, the fourth in my Town Center Park series–one more happy extrovert getting wet.
I used tons of splattered masking fluid to keep the splashed water. I find flicking a damp flat brush produces a lovely semi-controllable spray of mask. The faster you flick the smaller the dots.
I’m particularly pleased with his shirt. To make it look wet and stuck to him I added a little cobalt blue to his skin tone and applied it very lightly to his shirt. Where the shirt is stuck to his pants instead of his chest I applied a grayed down pastel version of the same colors that went into his pants.
The palette is a raw sienna, burnt sienna, quinacridone deep red rose, phthalo blue, and cobalt blue. His skin is raw sienna and quinacridone darkened with cobalt blue. I washed him with burnt sienna at the end.
Yes, this is yet another painting of the Town Center Park water feature. This one is rather more ambitious than the previous two. I backed up to take in the feel of the whole stream bed. And I included not one but seven figures.
As you can see from the reference photo, I took some liberties with the geometry of stream bed. I narrowed the center wall of concrete and removed a trash can among other less major changes. I also slide the boys around a little so that they wouldn’t be directly above each other. Finally I eliminated the blond boy half hidden on the left hand side.
Once I was satisfied with the sketch I masked the boys and concentrated on the water feature itself. Masking an object against water or sky makes it easier to get the water to flow evenly to the edge of the foreground object.
Masking the boys also served as a final composition check as it made them stand out as the centers of interest. People always attract the eye and I expected the boys to so doubly because their skin provides the only warm tones in an otherwise cool picture and because their clothing and toys are the brightest colors in the painting. I liked the way the placement of the boys echoes the “S” curve of the concrete wall. Now that the painting is finished, I still like it.
But I’m probably still not done with this water feature. I like this subject and I’m learning the value of working in a series.
Pigment notes: The background is all burn sienna, phthalo blue and cobalt blue. To do the boys I added yellow ocher, cadmium yellow, and quinacridone deep red rose.
Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.