Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Back To My Roots

Study of Red Tulips, 8x8 Oil on Canvas, Click to Bid

​I think I may be going back to my roots.  That is lower key and quiet paintings.  While I havent posted them on Daily Paintworks I've been doing a lot of larger gallery pieces this year which have been very consuming.  So consuming that I often forget to eat lunch - which is saying a LOT.  That's right, I work straight through lunch and right up to dinner.  YOWZER! (Did I spell that right?)
But all this heavy lifting, so to speak, has me doing some "heaving thinking". 

Sometimes I wonder if I'm spinning my wheels in the studio.  Why am I really doing this??  Who am I doing it for ?  And various other philosophical questions clutter my thoughts - until I get my brushes wet.  From that point on it's pure and utter focus.  My thoughts turn to questions of hue and brush strokes and what would Richard Schmid do here?  But when the dust settles, I'm back to the age old question, what is it all for?

In an attempt to answer this deep, philosophical question, I've been throwing a few things against the wall to see what sticks.  So far, this is what I've come up with:

I live on a small farm. Why? Because my father shared his memories of his farm life as a boy then for a short period moved his family to a small farm - his roots.

As a young girl with a horse I too developed farm life memories and so convinced my husband to move us to a farm some 20+ years ago.  My roots

As an adult, I often wonder if all the work is worth it.  
  • Hay has to be cut, raked, baled and stacked.  
  • Tractors have to be maintained $$$.  
  • Water pipes in the barn have to be protected from freezing weather and repaired when they werent.. :(
  • Fields need to be cut in the off season to keep the weeds down and grass thick for better hay.
  • Outbuildings need maintenance (we need a new roof on one of our lean-to's ASAP).  
  • And that doesnt even account for the animals :  
  • A geriatric horse.  
  • Cows due to calf (while we are away no less).  
  • Goats that are like puppies on steroids.  
  • A dog who seems to search out skunks and a cat that has been here since, well, since forever.  I cant remember a time when she wasnt here.  
  • Then of course there are the critters that come around just to keep us humble:  Raccoons, opossums, rodents of all shapes and sizes and of course the afore mentioned skunks.

I've decided that it's worth it.

So what does this have to do with my art?  I'm getting to that.  I think, and I'm still percolating on this, but I think I have rural farm life in my blood.  Sure, I fantasize about living in a condo with an extra room for a studio.  NO animals and NO yard to take care of.. Certainly no outbuildings. But when I go out to feed the animals with my husband in the morning and evening, I always have an appreciation for where we live.  I love my barn.  And I love seeing the cows in the fields.  I love taking care of my aging horse. Two decades plus later and I still love it.

Still, how does this affect my art?  I'm rural deep down.  Like everyone else I've had my share of crisis and like everyone else I've had to deal.  But I've learned a lot living on a farm.  And I give some credit for my (relatively healthy) emotional status to the slow but steady pace we've adapted here.  And it's my emotional status that drives my artwork. I often see people rushing off in so many different directions.  So many priorities.  So many commitments  (all of which used to be me).  And I often wonder if I'm just lazy.  Jury is still out.  But lazy or not, it works for me.  :)   We get things done.  We try not to lag and fall to far behind lest our farm will quickly get trashy.  But we also stop to smell the roses, lilacs and my new clematis vines.  

Can you see it yet?  How it relates?  I may be reading more into it than is there but here it is:  

I relate to quiet paintings.  Less is often more.  I think (still experimenting here) I gravitate towards dominantly warm paintings over cool.  I inject quiet atmospheric backgrounds vs. active brushy backgrounds.  (I do like brushy though.  It just rarely works in my pieces).   I dont put a lot of inorganic items into my paintings anymore.  I try but it never quite works for me and I often just take it back out.  

So I dont quite know how to articulate it yet but I can tell you that while I was the only (pretty much) exclusively (can you be "pretty much exclusive"?) still life painter at the Fred Oldfield Western Show last year I felt like I finally found my tribe.  Most of these people painted horses and mountains (beautifully so) and here I was with a booth of pansies.  But I felt like we were family.  

So there it is.  My rant.  I live on a small farm and I paint quiet atmospheric paintings.  Less is more.  Stop to smell the good stuff.  Fix the fences and bake a pie.  Enjoy today because time is the one thing you cant own (I got that from Marc Cuban. Dont know where he got it).  But that doesnt mean stay busy.  It means do what counts.  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Brrr... Cold Days Cold Roses

Frosty Mug, 16x20, Oil on Canvas, Click for info 

More Manganese Blue please.  What a great color.  Uber icy.  And paired with red it just makes me want to grab a sweater.  :)

This is so far from my earlier pieces that were warm and smokey that it almost looks like a different artist!  But I assure you, it's all me.  As always, I continue to experiment and push myself because...  well, I'd be bored to tears if I didnt.  

So this bright painting has been delivered to the gallery along with another one that I will post next week. Today I start a new project.  But I dont think it will include Manganese Blue.  It will likely be a warmer painting but still a new palette for me.  More on that later.  :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Red Winter Roses Oil Painting

Winter Roses, 18x24, Oil on Canvas, Cole Gallery

It's been a cold winter.  A long, cold winter.  I cannot remember a time of going out to the barn without my hat and gloves.  Everything I paint recently seems to reflect that in a much cooler palette.  
Spring is just around the corner - although I'm hard pressed to see that because it was 28 degrees this morning.  The silver lining, however, is that my studio is warm and cozy.  And my easel faces away from the window so once I'm underway, I am far from whatever is happening outside and happily locked into my own little world.  Still, as you will soon see with the next few posts, everything I paint has chilled.  For now anyway.

So this painting is titled "Winter Roses".  My concept started with Valentines Day.  Ironically, I am not a fan of Valentines Day.  It could come and go for all I care.  The kids are grown so I'm not buying those cute little cards and those little heart candies.  Also, all sugar seems to rest comfortably on my hips so I'm not a fan of that either.  BUT the thought of having (painted) roses that wont wilt and need water changed was a comforting thought.

Here's the paradox.  I dont care for Valentines Day but I used it as my "jumping off" concept for a romantic painting...  Its really the whole (currently acceptable) concept behind Valentines Day (far from the original history, I hear).  So what I was really focusing on was the love and sharing of ones self.  The giving of a gift (or the gift of giving..) that demonstrates your love, respect, appreciation.   Roses are the traditional medium for that in our society.  At least this week.  

People appreciate being appreciated.  I know I do.  Nobody is perfect so we focus on something that we have in common and start there.  Everybody brings something else to the table because our history has given us our own unique perspective.  Those personal experiences have left thin slices of information stored away in our subconscious that influences our decision making.  However skewed everyone else may think it is, it is very real and intuitive for us.   

These roses are for you, skewed person.  You are just trying to make your way in this crazy world like everyone else.  :)

Cut flowers are nice but already dead.  A painting will live forever, right??  RIGHT??

Monday, December 05, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for Artists #2

Bright Christmas, 12x16, Oil on Canvas, Click to Buy

The painting above is, as of yesterday, fresh off the easel and delivered to the gallery in Edmonds, WA.  If only poinsettias were on the shelves earlier - I may have more poinsettia paintings available. But as it is, I may get one or two more done before the season is over and we will all be moving on to other things.  

But as to the title of this post, I thought I would mention some of my favorite art related books that might be considered for gift giving.

I understand this next one is really good but I still dont have it.  Kind of pricey:

This is a pretty good start for now.  I have others but these really stood out for me.  Granted, it's been a while since I've read some of them and I had some on my kindle which passed away about a year ago soooo...  That said, I've read a few of these more than once such as Hawthorne on Painting the Art Spirit and Creative Authenticity.  But they're all good.  

Happy Shopping and dont forget to click through from Ebates if you do that kind of thing. 

Friday, December 02, 2016

Christmas Gifts for the Discerning Artist

It's Christmas time-ish and that means we look forward to finding that something special for that someone special, right?

Is your someone special an artist?  Or a wanna be artist?

OR -- did you draw the name of an artist this year?  Was it mine?  :)

Here are some brainstorming ideas  from $ to $$$:

(If you are an Ebates user, dont forget to click through from that site!)

$      Value Finder Not to be confused with View finder- put this next to your palette. Dont underestimate the value of values.   :)

$      Color wheels are inexpensive and there are a blue billion of them out there.  Options are endless.

$       I just saw this mug warmer on a blog.  I could have used this when I first set up my studio.

$       View Catcher  I use this ALL the time.  Wish I had had it years ago.

$$     This is called a View Finder and it seems over priced but I guess that's the way it is with specialized items.  I dont have one but I've often wished I did.  It basically breaks the view down into a value structure by weeding out the indiscriminate values.  Trust me on this.

$$     I LOVE my subscription to Southwest Art Magazine.  And it's not limited to just barns, deserts and cactus as you might imagine.  There are plenty of still life, portrait and figure paintings as well.  It covers events, artist bios and competitions.  Pretty inspiring.  I dont know what I would do if I let my subscription run out.

$$     Artist Magazine and it's sisters Pastel Journal and Watercolor Artist.  There's also Acrylic Artist
Drawing, Beadwork, Lapidary Journal, Cloth, Paper, Scissors, and so many more.  Magazine subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving, right?

$$     More ideas?  Is your artist on the road a lot or EVER?  How about a wet panel carrier? Or the more elaborate Wet Canvas Carrier.  I'm a canvas painter but when I'm on a plein air excursion I use panels exclusively for reasons I wont go into at this time.

$$$     If you have a really deep pocket maybe a pochade box (this is mine) or the many, many accessories that make painting outdoors fun.  Keep in mind the box is only as sturdy as it's tripod so that is an added expense...

$$-$$$     I have a detached studio with a corner for my Keurig and mini fridge - so many options here but I wish my fridge didnt have the freezer.  I have never had a use for that in my studio. However, I do put my florals in the fridge in between paintings.  They last so much longer that way.

Books, Books, Books!

My must have list is:
Alla Prima by Richard Schmid  ( I dont know what Alla Prima II is.  I've only read the original)
An Artist Teaches by David Leffel

Of course there are many more but I will save that for another post.   I really want to get out to my studio and finish my painting.  

Have fun shopping!  And dont forget to use Ebates to get your cash back!   :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Original Oil Painting : Fall Pansies

Study of Pansies in Low Key, 8x8, Oil on Canvas, Click to Bid

I went out in search of a grow light because I knew I had only so many days left with these pansies before they went into hibernation.  

There is a variety of grow lights out there and I really didnt want to do a LOT of homework on it nor did I want to spend a lot of $$ on one.  Lets face it.  The plant only cost about $1.89 -- but when it's gone, it's gone until spring. 

I settled on a rather inexpensive one off Amazon and set it up in my studio with a timer so it stays on for about 18 hours.  So far I have a few new buds opening up. However, the plants that I had purchased earlier may be toast because it gets pretty cold in my studio at night (I used to turn the heat down).  So even the light may not be much help for them.  They have a few odd kinks in their stems.  That said, they are still green and not losing their leaves so I'm not giving up hope. 

If this is effective, I may be able to start my own seeds in the dead of winter for an early, maybe even ongoing, onslaught of pansy mania!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Study of Pansies in High Key

Study of Pansies in High Key, 6x8, Oil on Canvas, Click to Bid

This is a rare attempt at a high key painting. I really loved doing this. More importantly, I loved looking at it next to the TV while it dried. Yes, I was watching paint dry - and enjoying it! :)

Light and airy, this painting has a different feel then the previous mid key in yellows and red-oranges. Not so spicy but more quiet bliss. Kind of like a crisp clear morning if you will. At least for me. :)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Original Oil Painting * Yellow Pansy Study in Mid Key

Study of Pansies in Mid Key, 6x8, Oil on Canvas, Click to Bid

Fall pansies.

This mid key study was an attempt at depth without sacrificing color. I generally add my version of atmosphere which interferes with color and, in my opinion, enhances the subject.

This time I applied knowledge from a recent workshop and spiced up the color still pushing the background in to the background.

I dont think I like one over the other. They both have their qualities but are having different conversations. One is more smokey and moody and the other is a little spicer and louder.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Glass Study with Cherries Oil Painting Auction

Glass Study with Cherries, 6x6, Oil on Canvas, Click to Bid

I've been really tied up getting ready for the Fred Oldfield Show last weekend. I painted this before all the chaos started with packing up and framing paintings, preparing gicle├ęs and purchasing new equipment for my booth. All that behind me now, I'm finally back in my studio where I can  relax and get back to doing what I do.

This little painting is about depth and light atmosphere. I'm starting to realize what authenticity means - to me anyway. I like to experiment and study new areas in painting but sometimes when I do, it just feels wrong. Like it's phony. Fake. When I just start putting in colors or strokes for the sake of - what if I did this, or that (usually because someone else did it and it looked interesting) ... But you dont know if you dont try, right?

What I am finding, for now anyway, is that depth and atmosphere are home for me. Yes, my paintings are a little dark in that they lack bright cheerfulness. I like to think of it as old worldly and a little moody maybe. But it's what I see when I paint - for the most part. So it's what I paint and that makes it authentic - for me.

This little painting is authentic. It's my little jar and actual, real cherries before they died in my studio. There was a reddish background that I integrated the foreground with. Was it hazy in my studio? No. But I prefer a simplified background to a drapey one. And I want depth. I also want it to be quiet. I think this painting accomplished that even with the dominant use of red which is commonly know to arouse anger and appetite I'm told.

Anyway, this is what I saw and frankly, how I paint. Thanks for taking the time to read my blurb! :)