Wednesday, December 8, 2010

American Art Collector and the Little Things

Sunday on 17th 8x8 Oil

I hope you had a chance to see my painting in American Art Collector's December issue. This view is looking east on 17th Street in downtown Denver, and it was chosen by gallery owner Chris Serr to be in Abend's two-page ad for the Holiday Miniature Show.   The show started last Friday, and I was lucky enough to sell two paintings on the first night.  Early Morning Tuscan Fog (shown on Nov. 4th's posting) and Union Station Reflections (shown below) have both gone to good homes.

Union Station Reflections  12x6  Oil/Linen Panel (sold)

I was in Union Station on the same day that "Sunday on 17th" was conceived, but this painting took a lot longer to be born.  I must have taken over 200 photos that day, and over the months I kept coming back again and again to this photo inside the station.  When I finally started playing around with the photo and cropping it different ways, I realized that it was just a tiny portion of the photo that kept bringing me back.  The sun shining through the large expanse of windows had created beautiful turquoise reflections on the floor, and in the middle was this lonely yellow "wet floor" sign that was just begging to be painted.  So now, whether I'm plein air painting or composing with a camera, I try to remember to look at both the trees and the forest, because sometimes it is the little things that count the most.

In this very busy time of year I hope you are finding time to keep track of and enjoy the little things in life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and the Joy of Early Preparations

Hello, Spring!  18x24 Oil
It's quite cold and snowy here today, but I'm not complaining.  While many of you are busy doing last minute grocery shopping, cleaning, and cooking to get ready for tomorrow's feast, I'm smugly sitting in front of my easel and munching on turkey left-overs.  
Because a couple of our (very grown) children have to work tomorrow, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving early.  I thought it might feel strange, but I now realize that early planning, preparation, and stuffing yourself instead of the turkey is definitely the way to go.  
Getting the turkey carved, the stuffing into a serving dish, the potatoes mashed and gravy made while heating assorted veggies and rolls, and pouring last minute drinks all at the same time while trying to converse with friends and family and dodge the grandchildren who still love to run through in the kitchen is like conducting a symphonic grand finale.  It's all about your timing, and I'm usually up to the challenge.  But this year I decided to forego the podium, enlisted the help of a couple of crock pots and made most of the dishes and all the desserts the day before.  I used this make-ahead recipe for mashed potatoes and it was so easy and so good that my conductor days are over.  Another time saver was making the stuffing in the morning and putting it into a crock pot instead of the turkey.  While I used my own recipe for this, a similar recipe for stuffing can be found online.  
Instead of cooking all day and being so tired that I really only wanted to eat pie and drink a glass of wine, I actually got to visit with family and friends and enjoy dinner.  I even got to try the hors d'oeuvres--amazing!

Now, with all this talk about the joy of early preparation, you can see why it's never too early to plan to visit Scottsdale and the Arizona Fine Art Festival.  You'll be able to see "Hello, Spring!" in person and perhaps that will get you thinking about planning your own spring flowers and garden.  (And I promise it won't be snowing in Scottsdale.)

P.S.  Don't tell anyone, but next year I'm cooking the turkey ahead.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another Painting for Abend Gallery Holiday Miniature Show

Peonies and Tangerines 8x12 Oil

I have five different types of peonies in my garden, and this one is the most prolific.  It's a Sarah Bernhardt peony, and I have three of them planted in various places in the yard with differing amounts of sun.  The bushes with the least sun have fewer flowers, but they bloom considerably later and that gives me a much longer peony painting season each year.  

I always check out and often buy what's available at the supermarket, but I'm quite partial to painting the flowers from my own garden.  I enjoy watching over them, anticipating when they'll be ready to go and picking them at various stages of development, which usually makes for a more interesting grouping to paint.  I'm sure my husband wishes I would do less watching and more of the work, but he's the real landscaper at our house.  I usually manage one good-sized spurt of yard work in the spring and then it's over for me. 

This spring we--I mean my husband--planted four new rose bushes and they struggled throughout the summer.  Then this fall they went crazy.  Cooler weather, I guess, but we still had roses last week--even after several frosts and a couple of light snows.  I didn't get around to painting them this year, but next year look out.  It's tough to beat peonies, but some rose paintings are definitely in my future.

I hope you will be able to join me at the Abend Gallery Holiday Miniature Show where this painting, along with five others, will be on display.  The show starts Friday, Dec. 3 with a reception from 5-9.  I will also be doing a demonstration painting on Saturday, Dec. 4th from 10-4. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Abend Gallery Holiday Miniature Show

Sun Spot in the Mountain Storm 8x10 Oil

I painted this on a snowy day last January when I was wishing for a bit of sun.  It's from a photo I took near Salida, Colorado, when I was down there for the plein air festival.  It was late in the day, and everything was so dark it was almost difficult to see where the mountains ended and the sky began.  Then this ray of sunlight snaked it's way down through the clouds and bounced off the field and aspens trees.  It was definitely one of mother nature's quick moments of spectacular beauty, and I was thrilled to have my camera handy.

When I started to paint this I was using soft brushes.  I wasn't happy with the way it was turning out, so I switched over to the palette knife and reworked everything.  Somehow using the palette knife helped me to let go of trying to replicate what I had seen and concentrate more on trying to recreate what I had felt.  So, in addition to my last post about using new colors, sometimes it's a good idea let go of the brushes, pull out the palette knife and just play.

This painting, along with four others, will be in the Abend Gallery Holiday Miniature show in Denver, Colorado.  The show starts on December 3 with a reception from 5-9.  I'll also be painting a demo in the gallery on Saturday, December 4th from 10-4.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Painting for Arizona Fine Art Expo

Hydrangeas with Pincushions and China Berries 20x16 Oil

I did the set-up for this still life over a year ago, and even though I was excited about painting it for some reason I couldn't make myself get started.  I got as far as completing a rough drawing on the panel and there it sat, staring at me for months.

Still life has primarily been what I've painted--especially florals.  Early this summer I was feeling like I needed to change things up a bit and I started looking at painting videos posted on YouTube.  I came across Karin Jurick's video* that shows her laying out her palette, which if you haven't seen the video is extensive.  I loved her comment in reference to a limited palette that, "People, there's a world out there."  I got inspired by all that color and immediately bought some new tubes.  What fun!  

Here are some of my new favorite colors and why I love them:

Asphaltum (Rembrandt)  A transparent warm dark.  Great addition to your palette if you use Transparent Oxide Red.  Add white and it becomes the perfect color for a sandy beach.

Greenish Umber (Rembrandt)  A transparent cooler dark.  Add white and it becomes a warm green/grey (cooler than Monochrome Tint Warm below)  (Note: This is nothing like Grumbacher Greenish Umber.  When you add white to that you get a grayed viridian color.  Both are good.)

Monochrome Tint Warm (Holbein)  A mid-value greenish gray.  Very handy to use as a beginning mix.

Yellow Grey (Holbein)  A mid-value warm sand color--sort of a grayed down version of yellow ochre pale and warmer than Monochrome Tint Warm.  Also handy to use as a beginning mix.

Blue Grey (Holbein)  This mid-value blue looks fairly intense out of the tube, but it doesn't have a strong tinting ability.  Add a bit of white and you've got a very workable light sky color, add a bit of naples yellow pale to that mix and you've got a great green for the sky.

Violet Grey (Holbein)  A periwinkle color--similar to the blue grey above but a better tinter.  I was lucky enough to spend a week in Provence this summer, and if you want to paint those vibrant blue shutters this is a great color to have on hand.

After adding these colors (and a few more I'll talk about at a later time) to my palette, I took another look at the Hydrangea drawing and decided to give it a go.  The entire painting is primarily these colors with the addition of Gamblin Titanium/Zinc White, a touch of Windsor Newton Yellow Ochre Pale and Ultramarine Blue, plus a touch of Rembrandt Transparent Oxide Red and Viridian. 

What I discovered was that while I could certainly come close to mixing all my new colors, I not only saved time but it gave me a cleaner color with which to start.  The more colors you mix together the more grayed down your mix becomes.  Rather than mixing from several primaries, if you can start with a color that's already close in value and hue it gives you more room to make additions to get what you want and still keep it clean.

*If you haven't seen Karin Jurick's palette video, check it out.  If you're not familiar with Arizona Fine Art Expo, look at my last posting or click on the link to the website.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Arizona Fine Art Expo

Hydrangeas and Milk Can 30x40 Oil

The end of daylight savings time is always such a shock.  It's great to have that extra light in the morning, but oh so dark in the late afternoon.  I shouldn't complain--it was in the high 70's where I live in Colorado yesterday.  That's darn near a record breaker for Nov. 6th, but those of us who live here know we are on borrowed time.  Old man winter and his snow-packed roads are going to appear any moment now, so I decided to post some flowers to remind myself that Spring really is on the way.  It's just going to take awhile.
The good news is that I'll be spending a good chunk of this winter in Scottsdale, AZ, where it's quite a bit warmer.  I will be participating in the Arizona Fine Art Expo, which starts mid January and ends the first week of April.  Every year, the Arizona Fine Art Expo showcases more than 100 nationally-acclaimed artists applying their artistic talents.  You can walk through the main gallery/studio area as well as the two-acre sculpture garden and watch your favorite artists applying their talents in a studio situation.  Grab a latte in the cafe and enjoy the musical entertainment on the weekends, or have a quiet weekday visit to the Koi pond and hummingbird/butterfly garden.  Visit often and watch the progress as paintings are completed, sculptures are cast, and pottery is fired.

The Expo will be open every day from 10am to 6 pm and is located on the southwest corner of Scottsdale and Jomax Roads.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Early Morning Tuscan Fog

Early Morning Tuscan Fog 6x12 Oil (study)

I was lucky enough to spend several weeks in Italy and France this summer, and I'm overwhelmed with painting possibilities.  The view above was near San Gimignano, Italy.  Quite the magical place, and we had the best gelato during the whole trip within the walls of this medieval town.   If you ever have the opportunity to go to Italy, do yourself a favor and make the trek to San Gimignano--not only for the breathtaking views but also to visit Sergio Dondoli, Master Gelato Maker .  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Go Ahead, Enjoy Yourself!"

"Go Ahead, Enjoy Yourself!"  9x12 Oil/Linen Panel

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July and that you enjoyed yourself with family and friends, great summer-time food, and--of course--lots of fireworks!

Every once in a while my husband enjoys himself with breakfast pastries, and so I decided to paint this and hang it in our kitchen for awhile.  It's a good reminder that sometimes it's OK to indulge.  Starting January 20th it will be hanging at the Arizona Fine Art Expo, where I will be painting and showing my work through April 7th.  I've just committed to this event so I'll write more about this in a later post, but if you're in the area (North Scottsdale) I hope you'll stop by and say hello. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Plein Air Artists Colorado "Annual Fine Art Exhibition"

"Red Rocks Near Salida" 6x8 Oil on Linen Panel (sold)

"Red Rocks Near Salida" is my entry in this year's Plein Air Artists Colorado show at Saks Gallery in Denver. It's a beautiful show and will hang through July 10th. If you're in the area, I hope you get a chance to see it. The show was judged by Jeff Legg, and I was lucky enough to receive an Honorable Mention award.

I painted this last September while participating in the Colorado Mountain Plein Air Festival in Salida and Buena Vista, Colorado. If you have the time, I would suggest checking out the info for this year's festival. It's in September again, and if you've never been to that part of Colorado during the fall I highly recommend it. The Aspen are turning, the weather is usually gorgeous, (but it is Colorado, so anything can happen...,) and the people running the festival are some of the friendliest I've ever met. Not only did they take us to all their special painting spots, they took the time to put together an interactive map with pictures of painting locations throughout the region.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Sunday on 17th" and Jason Smith

"Sunday on 17th" Oil

I spent quite a bit of time this past summer plein air painting. "Sunday on 17th" is part of a new series I'm working on based on my summer outings in downtown Denver. I'll be posting more of these in the next few days.

By the way, I'd like you to notice a link I added to the right for Jason Smith. I've had lots of issues with photographing my artwork over the years and it's still a work in progress, but Jason has helped me quite a bit. The link will take you to his e-book, which is aptly titled "Exposing Yourself: An Artist's Guide to Digital Imaging." I found his site through Carol Marine and immediately purchased the book. Boy, did I learn a lot! I've since purchased some new lights and a polarizing filter per his recommendations and have been amazed with the results. (By the way, Jason likes to do things as cheaply and pragmatically as possible, so his advice is not only accurate but reasonable.) I hope you'll check it out.