Friday, December 31, 2010

Snowy Deck

it was too cold to go out today, but I wanted to end the last day of the year doing a painting. I have learned a lot, and painted more, by doing this blog this year. Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to look and comment. Thank you to my artist friends, who inspire me by continuing to create. Thank you for the friendship of you who have suppported me in many ways during this past year. I appreciate you even though I haven't said it well enough. Happy painting and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Portrait of a Pine

I did this little guy (6 x 8) in about an hour looking out a window. Didn't know how much could be accomplished from inside, but I had fun playing with the design and light, and the small format allowed me more time to tweak the colors and brushstrokes at the end. It was fun.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Really Small Painting

On December 23, I drove to the Garden of the Gods to capture some of the white on the trees, and it was melting so fast, it was gone. Next time, I'll do a few from my window instead. The trees were still there, as were the red rocks, so I painted a few of them. I had tucked some tiny canvases in my pocket, as it was cold to start, and did a 4 x 6 inch of evergreens. Tis the season!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A White Christmas

This was a wonderful gift, after driving to the Garden of the Gods to see the flocked trees, it really warmed up and I painted a little 6 x 8 of Pikes Peak and the foreground of Cottonwoods there on location in the Park. In December, there is always snow on Pikes Peak. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dry Painting

For me, this means absorbing with my eyes to add to my "visual encylopedia" of painting knowledge. There is a lot of beauty and information to soak up here with our recent "fog" which has flocked the trees with a coating of white powder. (There are changing light effects, new color and value relationships, snow is hugely transformative of everything.) I'm also reading about other painters through history and why they did what they did. Yesterday, I sat in front of the fire and re-read "Painters and the American West" from the 2000 Denver Art Museum Show. We all (painters included) are influenced by our cultural context, probably more than we realize. It's really interesting to see how it shows up in hindsight. I'm also reading Kevin Macpherson's book "Landscape Painting, Inside and Out." What a wonderful mentor through his books and year of experienced knowledge as a plein aire painter. Art offers such a continuous life-long learning opportunity. There is always more to discover.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Re-work

This is the one that has bothered me the most of all my paintings. It was a fabulously colorful scene with the rough rock formations, fall foliage along the river. I took many photos, and was thanking God I got to drive here. The painting even won "People's Choice" in a gallery show I did in Montrose in 2008. I didn't like the colors, and wanted to rework it, but didn't know how. Today, I just printed up a little 4 x 6 print of it, and started in. I added more brushwork, soft edges, and got the colors right! Finally, I'm pleased with the results. It just took me 2 years to learn.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pumpkin Cows- a beginning

These are the first 2 steps in a large painting (24 x 36)of a farm scene. On a trip up I-25 for work, a field of orange caught my eye, then I realized it was a pumpkin field (after Halloween) and the cows were eating what was left of the harvest. I first created a composition out of the scene by covering the canvas and sculpting out the images of the cows where I wanted them. The next step was adding the background, the primary cows and the foreground pumpkins. It still has some more fleshing out to do, but have approached this one in a little different way, and its been an interesting process.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lavender Re-Work

This is another one I reworked late this summer (18 x 24 oil on canvas). I loved the scene, its from a photo I took at the lavender field at Los Poblanos near Albuquerque from 2003 where we visited and stayed for a few days. I had it hanging on my wall, and the longer I looked at it, realized I wanted to make it more interesting. It seemed flat, and I wanted more texture and depth. I include both versions, the new one is above on the left.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rework from 2002

This was a 16 x 20 oil painting I did in 2002 of a building at Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, always loved the scene because I had good memories of being here. As the years went on, I knew there were some elements that I would like to change, but didn't know how. This morning, I pulled it off the wall and had at it. Sometimes it takes a while and like I've heard before, "no painting is safe until its on somebody else's wall." See new version above.

Friday, December 10, 2010

keep on painting/sketching

It's almost the end of the year that I said I would paint every day for a year. Well, I haven't. But I've painted more than I have in past years because I've had a goal, and I've gotten better at painting. This isn't even a painting. It's an ink sketch, a quick sketch. I've sorted through my sketchbooks in the last few days, and its been an interesting history lesson, going back to 1993. Keeping a sketchbook is a really good idea, and I want to do sketches from life more often. It's good practice, and there is always something that you can draw from life, even if its your dog. She is good at one minute poses, so its good experience for quick sketches. This is something that I can do every day for a year. A few minutes focused on something you want to capture is almost as good as painting, and value sketches are critical to creating an interesting composition.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Big Sky

this is an 18 x 24 oil painting I did in 1995, and titled it "Big Sky". It's from a reference photo of a trip my dad and I took to the Dakotas several years before. It is one of my personal artist's collection. I have always loved sky paintings that have wonderful depth and it was about this time I realized that skies have as much depth as the landscape. They really have much more, of course, but we usually don't see it. Usually, they are an afterthought in landscape paintings. (Paint all the stuff and then you have to put in a sky.) Some landscape paintings don't even have skies. It resonated with me once more reading Georgia O'Keefe's words at the museum in Santa Fe, that she painted the bones against the sky, because there is more of it than anything else here. My drive on the way back from New Mexico was long, and through an impending storm. The growing storm clouds were irresistable, and the landscape was so small in comparison. I still want to finish my cow paintings, but the sky is calling me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chico Basin (small)

This was fun. I had an 8 x 10 painting from 2006 that I wasn't happy with. In 2008, I added more color to "zing" it up. It was too much, I thought it looked fake. So yesterday, I got out my saw and cut up a 4 x 6 chunk of it that I still liked. It's great! Picture editing with a power saw.

Aspen Overlook

While driving into Aspen late in the day, there is a pull-off where cars stop and take photographs. It is a breath-taking expanse of a cathedral of trees that glow pure gold. I hope to do more of this scene, but don't know if I can ever come close to capturing it. This 18 x 24 quickly became more about balancing the painting and less about the actual scene. I got involved in the interplay of light and color and wanted to re-create a sense of light. That is what painting is about for me. Light.

Maroon Bells with Lake

I took lots of photos and walked around the lake, for views that changed with every few steps. The trees were "past their peak" but what does that mean? Some of them were missing their leaves, but the scene absolutely glowed. I love Colorado. Didn't have time or energy to do a 16 x 20 on location (I probably never will) but I had my small reference color sketches, and still had the memory to re-create this one in my studio.

Maroon Bells Campground

The same Sunday in early October the drive to Maroon Bells was spectacular. Everyone else in the world went up to the lake at about noon. So I pulled over at one of the campgrounds and painted the view through the trees before the Bells came into view. Then about 2 pm, hordes of cars descended down the road, and I knew it was time for me to go up. Is there any better scenery than Maroon Bells in the fall?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sopris Revisited

I did a little 6 x 8 on location of this view 3 years ago when I had an extra hour on a trip between Glenwood and Aspen. It was such a spectacular scene, I knew I wanted to return again. This year, I had work in Aspen the first week of October, and stayed in Carbondale on a Saturday night. I woke up Sunday morning, and drove past this same scene. This time, I did an 8 x 10. The river here is misty and the sunrise is fast and spectacular. Cold, but really beautiful. There is a little sign that says, "Overlook, Mt. Sopris"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

and then there were three

This was my cat Bingo, from about 1963-1975. He was a great cat. I do remember painting this, also in oil on that tacky old canvas paper, that gets brittle after 40 years, but survives. I was bothered by the fact that I couldn't quite fit his tail in the painting, but it doesn't bother me so much now. It is amazing now that the likeness in the painting seems so much more like him than photographs I have. I remember thinking that it was a shame we didn't have photographs before the 1800's so we couldn't really know what those people really looked like who came before then. I know now as a painter that paintings, especially portraits, reveal so much more than photos. Especially if not done in an idealized style.

Life later imitates art-age 13

I don't remember painting this, but from the canvas paper and browned tape on the back, it must have been done when I was age 13 or 14. I didn't know anyone in Colorado then, so it must have been copied from a magazine photo I chose because I liked it. Pretty generic landscape, but I recognize little aspen, ponderosa pines, Douglas fir, and snowcovered peaks. The same things I love today about the landscape here in my own backyard. I also remember watching True Grit, which was released in 1969. I was in awe of the scenery, thinking "wow, I'd love to go to a place like that someday." From 2007-2008 I lived on the Western Slope, and visited all the locations where it was filmed. My favorite was aptly named, "Debbie's Meadow."

Life imitates Art-age 11

Having the week of Thanksgiving off, I am cleaning my closets, garage, etc. A long neglected project. I found a watercolor painting I did at age 11, and I only have 2 paintings from my childhood. There were lots more that got tossed years ago. It's a collie dog, and its a stunning resemblance to my dog today. Never had a collie dog until 2006, and yet 40 years ago I painted one. And it's one of the two paintings I have from the 1960's. Good Carma. (I'll post the other one as well.)

Twin Lakes pochade

I did this the first of October on a drive to Aspen to see a nursing client. It was a good place to stop for a walk to stretch my stiff back and legs, and the scenery was spectacular. The fall colors were bright yellow, and it was hard to decide on a scene with the mountains and lake. I chose a little historic cabin and a backlit cottonwood as it gave me the opportunity to stand in the shade and find a post to tie Carma. I had her off lead for the walk before, and she decided to cross the highway and follow another dog into his house. I got to meet a very nice dog-loving person who was remodeling her very old and interesting home in Twin Lakes. Who understood my gregarious dog who takes advantage of every chance she gets to meet new friends. Oh, and pochade means sketch. I have a little 6 x 8 pochade box that is very portable and allows me to make painting on location a very easy thing, so I actually do it. If I had to set up a big easel and box, it would be too cumbersome and I wouldn't be able to do it. Life means moving forward and figuring out what works to continue to do this.

Monday, November 22, 2010

September 27 aspen

this was another 6 x 8 I did on location at Rampart Range Rainbow Trail. It was a hot and bright day, so I found a spot in the shade, which made the lighting interesting as always. Can almost remember the smell of the leaves and Carma standing on a 20 foot rock, peering down at everything below. She is good at finding her way to the best view.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Early Fall Aspen with Peak

I did this one in August on location, with several members of the PPPAP group just off Rampart Range. It was a day when I brought my dog, we had lunch and took a walk after painting. 8 x 10 oil. Good memories.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Morning Aspen

Another 6 x 8 on Rampart Range. The colors and values in the trunks compared to the background and the foliage was a really good challenge in seeing. And fun.

Friday, November 19, 2010

September Aspen

It's been a month and a half of classes and visits, have not posted in a really long time. So here's the catch-up. Before I started my classes 9-30-10 I went to Rampart Range 4 days in September and focused on aspen on location in the fall. I will post the results in the next 4 days. Last weekend and this weekend I spent an hour or so a day working on a larger studio version of aspen. I feel I really understand them better after spending all that time with them on location. Here is the 6 x 8 inch plein aire from 09-26-10.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall aspen with lichen rock

Colorado Aspens-have captured my attention this past few month. I get out and paint them whenever I can, and at different times, weather conditions, in different seasons, their trunks are completely different colors. A really good painter's challenge. There is so much information to receive, that a photo reference couldn't possibly afford. I keep the format small (6 x 8) so I can easily transport the lightweight materials with me and actually do it on location. It makes all the difference.Even if I'm exhausted the next day from the effort (which I was), its so much more worthwhile to capture a subject from life.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Paint-a-thon in Victor

I did the Victor Celebrates the Arts event this year. Many fine artists attend this plein aire week in a small mining town every Labor Day Weekend. It's really a paint-a-thon as all painting supports are stamped the first day, and then you have a week to turn out 4 paintings to enter in the show at the end of the week. I drove up 2 days (3 days apart) and painted 2 each day. The challenge (and its a good one) is to paint fast. This one of Vindicator Valley and the Teresa Mine, I really wanted to do. I did a studio painting of it last winter and really wanted to paint one on location. The colors and shadows were much more interesting in person, especially in the morning light. And of course, changing drastically in a 2 hour time frame when I was there. The wind was really picking up and I found myself trying to hit a moving target by the time I got out my palette knife to do the detail work. Plein aire really is fun (and work.)I like my results when I paint outside, the work is usually fresh and colorful.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Project

I am honored to have been chosen as one of a group of artists who will assist Doug Rouse in his latest project, "The 12 Mural Project." It is a community effort for the community to beautify public places in Colorado Springs. I will attach the link so you can follow the progress, and also will put it on my Facebook page. I'm excited to follow the progress. The plan is to have a video of the process from start to finish. The start is this weekend with powerwashing and basecoating. (which will be done by some of the other artists.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Aspen

the more I look at these, the more I see. They really do come in all different colors and reflect the light that is around them. I'm looking forward to doing some on location this fall.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

another re-work

This one I've looked at for awhile, and thought I had it sold a few years to a couple who had lived in Manitou, but moved back east. They liked it, I liked, but had it hanging up, so looked at it often. As my style developed, I thought, maybe I should do more with the foreground, maybe I should push the background back, maybe I should straighten up the windows. And so I did.

Friday, July 2, 2010


this is one I reworked today and like so much better. I did the original in 2004, and have touched it up a few times, but this time was brutal. Sometimes it just takes looking at something long enough to tell how to fix it. (and painting for a few more years of problem-solving doesn't hurt, either.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

sittin' in a tree, kiss-ing

this was so interesting, I had to include it. This is the tree I painted on location yesterday. I always take a photo reference for later comparison. I don't really ever use them, as my paintings are usually completed on the spot. Even when it starts raining on the canvas, its hard to re-create that plein aire feeling from a photo. So I usually wipe off the paint and start over with something new. This really amazed me at how complicated the branch and leaf structure was, and how I simplified it for the painting. Simple is better, and you can see the difference in the visual material you receive from a photo versus from life. Kiss-ing refers to "keep it simple, smarty" of course, and always a good reminder!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sunny Day Aspen

a beautiful morning, this aspen tree was very full of leaves and extra twigs. I simplified them and am pleased with the results. Aspen trunks are so colorful and detailed, I wanted to include the light-dappled and reflective effects of the light bark. The more I look, the better I see!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rainy Day Aspen

my second in the series. The palette knife was useful in scraping on some of the dark colors when I was finished with the trees. Again, painted this one in the rain. Glad to see the afternoon rains are back in Colorado. 6 x 8 framed in gold $200

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Little Aspen Grove

I have wanted to paint aspen on location for a long time. I did one in watercolor years ago, but never in oil. Yesterday I found this little grove just as it had finished a light rain. The observation you get is incredible. The lighting changes, the color changes, each tree is slightly a different shade. Very subtle. I want to do more, this is just a 6 x 8 in size. I want to do a series, so I really get to know the aspen trees.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Delphinium Delight

A small painting done on location at the HAS demo garden this morning, 6 x 8 of a group of delphiniums. The light changed under the filtered tree often, so it was a matter of remembering the essence. I loved the variety of color.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bowl of Cherries

I took the photo references for this when the first cherries came out at the grocery store. I loved the way they looked in the purple bowl in the sink with the morning shadows and a few drops of water. I positioned the composition for the most dynamic impact, and built it up, layer by layer. Original oil 11 x 14 $400 framed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Santa Fe revised

the new version with the orange roses. There may still be a few more things I change, but I like the color the roses add, and the ladder was glazed with color a few more times to get a more accurate shade. What do you think? Feedback welcome.

Monday, June 14, 2010

adjusting elements

This is the first version I did of an adobe building visited in Santa Fe. It was an early morning shot and I liked the shadows and the ladder and the blue windows. The flowers were snowballs, and the more I look at this, the more I realize it doesn't have the zing I wanted in colors. I really like to crank up the colors in Santa Fe, because it feels so colorful to me. I changed the color of the ladder, the flowers (made them into those orange/red wild roses that were not blooming yet) and have a few more changes to make. I'll post the new version tomorrow so you can see the difference. The painting has to take over where the reference leaves off. (sometimes more than others!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pecos Church

I've been working on this for awhile. It's 12 x 16 in oil and would be $500 framed. It's been layer upon layer, adding elements that weren't there, and enhancing what was there. This is an old New Mexico church that I photographed 6 years ago on a visit to Santa Fe, and the photo was pretty basic and plain. I've seen so many paintings done of similar churches there that I guess they all were calling me to bring it to the life that I feel when I'm there. The lines and perspective were a lesson in archetecture, and the more you look the more you see in relationships of lines to one another. I'm pleased with the light and glow it achieves.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another Poppy

I found another one! The HAS garden downtown has beautiful poppies in bloom, despite the heat of yesterday. My thing was to go to Taos and paint poppies (its been in my head to do so for about a year now) and so I'm the Colorado Springs poppy scout. There may be more! I love painting them, although there are some peonies and iris waiting at HAS also. This one is 6 x 8 inches for $200 framed.

Monday, June 7, 2010

the last Poppy

did not paint today as it was 97 degrees in the shade. The last poppy in my garden last evening I painted in the shade. Spring flowers seem to be here for about a week each, then move on. The daylilies are budding, as is the lavender. Must be the heat.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Poppies and Iris

This is another backyard painting 9 x 12 on location. I really love this time of year. Everything is in bloom. The challenge is to want to capture all the details, vs. create a painting of it. This one had a lot of details that needed to be coordinated and simplified. I want to do another one before the poppies are gone, they last only about a week every year.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rocks and Water

another beautiful day in Colorado. 6 x 8 inch study on location with Pikes Peak Plein Aire Painters. I travel light with a small paint box and lightweight easel. 3 geese hung out with us while we were painting, and the sound of rushing water was like music. Painting outdoors is the best.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


a small sketch for the color and detail on location, the fragrance while painting was a nice bonus. I love spring flowers.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Poppies from Life

Did these Saturday morning in my backyard. Love this time of year with everything blooming. Want to paint it all.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Poppy Passion

every year I have to paint poppies, they grow in my garden and the ones I do from nature are better than the ones I do from photos. This one is from a photo, but I loved the composition. Have to try again from nature, they are blooming now.