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Breakers Below Yaquina Head

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Breakers Below Yaquina Head (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00

I did this little painting at the gallery last Wednesday.  It is another view of rocks below Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon.

I painted it  loosely without using mask reserving the white paper in the clouds, waves and foreground by painting around them.  I added the spray on the rocks with opaque chinese white.  I used phthalo blue, cobalt blue, raw sienna, burnt sienna, and a hint of quinacridone deep red rose.

This painting is currently on display at Art in the Valley, Corvallis, Oregon. You may still purchase it by mail on inquiry through the contact page of this blog.

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The Bamboo Grove

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The Bamboo Grove (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD

This was an exercise in mixing greens.  The more I looked at this little clump of bamboo, the more I realized just how many greens were there.  To get some of this variety  on paper I used two blues, cobalt and phthalo and three yellows, hansa, new gamgee, and cadmium.   As most of the greens I mixed were blue-greens I used a little bit of  blue green’s compliment, red orange to set them off.  Burnt sienna was perfect for the purpose without any mixing.   I carried the blue-green red-orange motif into the path, painting the red Georgia soil it’s natural red and overlaying it with blue-green shadows.

Funny thing about red soil.  My husband talks about red Georgia clay and how hard it is to dig in or clean out of clothes the way mid-westerners talk of mosquitoes  and three feet of snow.  But here in Oregon we have more than plenty of red clay.  From the mid Willamette Valley south the ground is red as red can be.   And yes it’s hard to wash out of pants.

 

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Agate Beach

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Headland at Sunset (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD

 

Sunset at Agate Beach (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD


 

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Wave Watching Again

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Making Waves (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD

On our last trip to Newport, my husband and I found a tiny little state park, not even big enough for a highway sign from 101 let alone our road atlas.  It is a wave watchers paradise.  Wet fireworks.   We spent a happy hour there with out noticing either the time or how damp we were getting.  This little part of the rocky headland didn’t produce such spectacular spray, but we were fascinated by the whirl pools the breakers kept forming against the rocks.

I began by masking the whites.  Then I painted in the rocks in burnt sienna, phthalo blue, cobalt blue and a little raw sienna.  The water is phthalo blue, burnt sienna, and raw sienna.

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OSU Moms Weekend

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Mothers' Day Daffodils (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00

[This painting is currently on display at Art in the Valley, Corvallis, Oregon.]

I’ve spent my gallery shifts this month making postcard sized paintings for the OSU Mom’s Day Weekend Craft Fair.  It’s a fun fair to do.  Where else do you get to see a crowd of college boys with their moms?

As part of the Mom’s weekend celebration I’ll be at the gallery demonstrating  polymer clay cane-making on Friday from 1:00 to 2:30 at Art in the Valley, 209 2nd Street, downtown Corvallis.  The craft fair will be on campus in the Memorial Union Quad.   The fair runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

Three Tulips (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00


 


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Silver Stream

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Sliver Stream (watercolor 5 x7) SOLD

Like yesterday’s paintings, I did this little watercolor at the gallery last Wednesday.  Postcard sized paintings work really well for gallery shifts.  Space at the gallery for painting is limited and I want to be able to drop whatever I am doing to greet and talk to patrons.  At this scale there’s hardly ever a bad moment to stop painting.

These little paintings make good sketches for working out larger work too. It’s so much easier to experiment with composition when the paper I’m risking is only 5 x 7.

The subject is Agate Beach in Newport at sunset.  If the stream has a name, I don’t know it.  And it wouldn’t surprise me to discover it seasonal runoff.  It’s course over the sand varies every time I visit.  But it’s always wide and shallow.  This Spring the it’s mouth was over fifty feet wide and perhaps two or  three inches deep.  I liked the silver reflections in the late evening and early mornings.

The palette is burnt sienna, new gamgee (yellow), quinacridone deep red rose, cobalt blue and phthalo blue.  I painted the sunset colors in tandem working first in the sky and then in the reflections and back again to the sky as I added new colors.  I began with the yellows, then worked along through the oranges, reds, and purples.  The purple is phthalo blue and quinacridone.

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The View From House Rock

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The View From House Rock (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD

This is the view looking west from House Rock just north of Brookings, Oregon.

I’m not sure why House Rock is named House Rock.  When we were on it we weren’t sure if we were supposed to be on it or looking for it.  A little google search made it clear we were on it, but no information about the name.  I have my guesses though.  The hill was surprisingly flat on top and hiking down below it I discovered wild onion, wild iris, wild rose, and strawberries.  Only the iris were in bloom.  Many years of  hiking around ghost towns have taught me which domestic plants go native when the settlers leave.  Onions, rhubarb, strawberries and roses were common survivors in Colorado and they appear to be survivors here too. I think there was once a house on house rock, not that the rock is shaped like a house.

The palette is burnt sienna, raw sienna, cobalt blue, and phthalo blue.

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Beach Walk

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Walking Her Dog on the Beach

Beach Walk (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD

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.

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Beach Birdie

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Beach Birdie (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD

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.

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Sunset at Brookings

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Sunset at Brookings I (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00

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.

Sunset at Brookings II (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00

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.

Sunset at Brookings III (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00

These paintings are currently for sale on-line at my Etsy shop.

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Two Postcard Paintings For the Show at Art in the Valley

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Little Green Mister (5 x 7 watercolor)

Here are the last  two watercolors for my one woman mini-show at Art in the Valley, Corvallis Oregon.   Both are much smaller versions of recent paintings.  Both paintings were painted at Art in the Valley in late March.

I hang the show this Monday.  It will hang until Tuesday, May 4th.  During the show, I will be painting in the gallery on Wednesday April 14th, Wednesday, April 21, and Wednesday, April 28th.

Single Lily (5 x 7 watercolor) SOLD

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Clouds over I5

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Clouds Over I5 (5 x 7) SOLD

Clouds Over I5 (5 x 7) SOLD

This little postcard sized painting is home. The view is looking west at the Coastal Range off I5 just north of Salem. I took the photo for it coming back from the airport this summer. But I could have painted it from memory. It is yet another painting done at the art fair in Tigard.

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Breakers at Seal Rock III and IV More Postcard Paintings

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The Breakers at Seal Rock III (5 x 7) SOLD

The Breakers at Seal Rock III (5 x 7) SOLD

The Breakers at Seal Rock IV (5 x 7) SOLD

The Breakers at Seal Rock IV (Sold)

Art in the Vally’s December feature will be a group show of mini paintings.  So yesterday during my gallery shift I painted another couple of postcard sized watercolors. (Update: One of these paintings did sell at the Art in the Valley show and the other sold the following day.)

These are the view north from Seal Rock Wayside, looking downs on the beach.  Seal Rock is a great place for wave watching because the beach drops sharply into the ocean and the beach is ringed by rocks for the waves to crash against.  If the tide is coming in, we can always happily waste an hour or two just wave watching there.

The palette for both paintings is cobalt blue, phthalo blue, cerulean blue, and burnt sienna.  The cerulean is all in the sky.

Update: One of these paintings did sell at the Art in the Valley show and the other sold the following day.

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A Little Wind and Water

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A Little Wind and Water (5 x 7) SOLD

A Little Wind and Water (5 x 7) SOLD

Twixt Wind and Water

Twixt Wind and Water

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.

Reference Photo

Reference Photo

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.

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The Brothers and the Sea

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The Brothers and the Sea (5 x 7) SOLD

The Brothers and the Sea (5 x 7) SOLD

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.

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A Gift For the Sea

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A Gift For the Sea (5 x 7) $20.00

A Gift For the Sea (5 x 7) SOLD

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.

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Postcard Paintings I Did at the Fair

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Mommy and the Waves (5 x 7) SOLD

Mommy and the Waves (5 x 7) SOLD

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.

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Sgrafutto or Taking A Razor to my Painting

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Seal Rock Breakers I (5 x 7--damaged) SOLD
Seal Rock Breakers I (5 x 7–damaged) SOLD

Seal Rock Park is one of our favorite waysides on Highway 101. This little painting shows a small part of the view north from the headland looking down at a string of volcanic rocks ringing the shore.
Last winter I took a series of photos of the waves crashing against the rocks as the tide came in. The photos look good in black and white but strangely lifeless in color. The contrast between the black rocks and the white waves is almost too much for color. So I left the photos on the back burner. But earlier this week I decided to try a small close-up view just to get me started.

To solve the overly black rock problem, I decided to make the rocks a chocolate brown. I began with raw sienna, and layered burnt sienna over the top. Then, while the burnt sienna was still wet or in some cases damp, I dropped in phthalo blue and let it interact with the sienna on the page. The result is almost as dark as the black in my photos but much more alive.

As usual I saved the white paper for foam and breakers with rubber mask. But I had a hard time getting the mask fine enough to show the run off down the base of the rocks. So when I tore the paper a little removing it from the pad (left of signature), I decided it was a good time to experiment with sgrafutto. After all, what did I have to lose?

Sgrafutto is an Italian term. It means to scratch the surface of multiple layers of color to reveal the lower layers. It’s a good technique for fine detail. In this case I used a razor blade to scratch through the brown rock to reveal the white paper below. Dragging the tip of the razor perpendicular to the cutting edge worked best. Dragging it toward the cutting edge produced a line so fine it didn’t show.

Now that I’ve tried it, I like this technique and I’ll use it to show more water against rocks in the future. I might also use it to show highlights in brick and stone.

The other technique I used to detail the spray is lifting. I moistened the edges of the rocks where they met the masked spray and scrubbed them a little with the brush. Then I took a dry thirsty brush and lifted as much of the paint as I could along the edges of the rock. You can see the results in along the left hand side of the largest rock and at the base of the far right rock.

I like this little painting and I’ll use the same techniques to make some larger versions of it later. I have plenty of rocks and breakers to play with.

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In the Waves

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In the Waves (5 x 7) $20.00

In the Waves (5 x 7) $20.00

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.

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Nose to Nose

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Nose to Nose (5 x 7) SOLD

Nose to Nose (5 x 7) SOLD

I think dogs are at their most happily doggie on the beach. Freedom to run, other dogs, disgusting smells, people to meet, and soft sand—what more could a dog want?

The palette was prussian blue, cobalt blue, burnt sienna, and yellow ocher. I used mask to preserve the whites.

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Surf Dance

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Surf Dance (5 x 7) $30.00

Surf Dance (5 x 7) $30.00

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.

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Afternoon Tide Tag

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Afternoon Tide Tag

Afternoon Tide Tag (5 x 7) $30.00

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.

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Three Dog Afternoon

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Three Dog Afternoon (5 x 7) SOLD

Three Dog Afternoon (5 x 7) SOLD

This little painting is of three dogs we watched playing on the beach last February. As far as I could tell they all belonged to different groups of people, but they were very happy to meet each other. I took a number of photos of them and will probably make a larger painting from one of those photos later. This little painting is just the right size for a postcard.

My favorite palette again: burnt sienna, cobalt blue and yellow ocher.

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