Sunday, January 31, 2010

Time to Ride

Well its happened again, I've reverted to being a Sunday painter. Too many other things competing for my time, this painting is 6 x 8 on gallery wrap canvas. The photo reference is from Durango a few summers ago. A fun bright yellow bike near the old clock was appealing to me. I take photos thinking of painting them later. I look for simple elements with a center of interest and a good composition. I try to avoid anything complicated or distracting or flat.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

St. Francis Garden

this is one of my favorites from my archives, the painting is 12 x 12 and framed in gold in my studio. A garden in Santa Fe, the shadows on the wall and the surface of the pot with the tile nicho of St. Francis and the petunias was too hard to resist painting. Sometimes on travels, there are scenes that just appear like this and I was glad to have my camera with me. Lighting in the evening is fleeting and dramatic, and we were walking through the city and came through this hidden garden on the way to somewhere else.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Parking at the True Grit

This brings back memories, a historic small town called Ridgeway in western Colorado in the foothills of the San Juans. The old firehouse is now an art gallery, but has maintained its character. A few doors down the street is the True Grit Cafe, a popular restaurant devoted to the fact that this is where John Wayne filmed the movie with the same name. He left many good memories and stories for the residents, many of whom were extras in the movie. Painting is 5 x 7, wish I would have done it bigger. Maybe I will. I seem to put just as much detail into the smaller works as the larger ones, get caught up in the process.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pond 8 x 10

Pond at 11-mile. This was a photo reference I saved from a trip to 11-mile in the fall. Very abstract composition, the "weeds" floating on top gave an interesting dimension. I tried the Lukas water mixable oil set I just got fresh out of the tube with just water as a solvent. Sticky and gooey. I'm going to try again today, have saved the paint on the palette, and will see if it has seasoned enough to be oil paint consistency. Am trying it under all different conditions, including freezing my small palette from the other day. It's a good way to store paint already squeezed out that is not going to be used for awhile. Under plastic wrap of course. Not to be mistaken for anything edible.

sketching and drawing

Sketching and drawing is the foundation of painting. Yesterday, I attended a figure drawing class where we all did 2 minute sketches of a model. 2 minutes went really quick, but the more we did, the more the gestures we put on paper improved to accuracy. We moved on to 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and finally did 20 minute drawings. By the time we reached 20 minutes, it was possible to achieve some amazing likenesses by observing the way the light fell on the figure because we had trained ourselves to see the figure during the 2 minute sketches. It was a good discipline for me, I'm often in such a hurry to get on to the painting, my drawing is not accurate, and I'm constantly doing correcting as I go. Like they say, anything you do in art helps you with your art.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

life goes on

Today (Saturday) I plan to attend another figure drawing opportunity. The last few days have been spent organizing and starting the classes I team teach at the college. It seems my own painting also takes time and energy, and I didn't even start anything this Thursday and Friday. I have a photo reference I really want to start, its a landscape that looks very abstract. It's going to be a busy semester, and it may be "a painting a week" instead of "a painting a day" for awhile. Life is a balancing act, always. Even for full-time artists, I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

painting a model

Today, I painted a portrait in oil. It was fun with a group of other artists doing 20 minute poses of a model (for a total of 2 hours.) I didn't get a model release to post it on the internet, so I will not include a photo of my painting. I was pleased with it, as I rarely have done portraits. This experience made me want to try again. I have rarely had the opportunity to paint someone sitting still that long, except sketches at airports. I had a friend who lived in a third world country who said when she lived there, she painted people all the time, but didn't get the chance to paint them here, because they moved too fast. A comment on "modern" life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Looking at Art

today I visited the National Western Stock Show Art Exhibit in Denver. Fabulous work by nationally acclaimed artists. I recommend looking at really accomplished work whenver you get the chance, its a wonderful experience.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Old Depot

Old Railroad Depot in Colorado Springs, it is now Giuseppe's Restaurant. I did an 8 x 10 of it, from a photo I liked because of the shadows and reflected light. This is the secret of painting: you are really painting the light. No matter what the subject, the subject is always light. 8 x 10 original oil painting $300 framed, $200 unframed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

day off

to watch Meryl Streep compete against herself in the
Golden Globes. What a great year for movies, everything is looking "Up!"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Victor Mine-update

Can you see the difference? I added a few more nuances. The truth is, there is hardly any white in nature. The sunlight is what makes things lighter in value, but rarely is there a pure white glare on anything. Even though the fence was highlighted with sunlight from the left, it is actually a purple-gray shade, even in the light, which popped the color against the yellow-green grasses. Learning the color wheel seems like left-brain stuff, but that's really the way we see color in nature. Analogous, complementary, are the ways light and color work together to create "reality."

Friday, January 15, 2010

no white paint!

One from the archives, but had to include it. This was done plein aire on a beautiful fall day I went to Eleven Mile Canyon with a pastel painting friend. I didn't have any white oil paint with me for mixing colors. (Somehow I had neglected to replace the used tube from the previous trip.) I was stuck, as we were a long way from home. I painted it anyway, oil on canvas, and simply wiped back to the white canvas and thinned layers of oil I didn't want as dark as the colors I'd mixed. It worked surprisingly well, kind of like sculpting out the painting. I have used this technique since then on purpose.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Red Engine

This is a new kind of paint for me to try, Lukas Berlin. Buttery. Will take some practice, its really making me paint loose. I think I'll like it once I get used to it. Like driving a different car. Old fire engine from Victor, Colorado. 6 inches by 8 inches.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Victor Mine-almost finished

I have a few finishing touches to add, but the structure is there. I want to make the back hill a little more interesting, and add some variety and color to the fenceposts in the front. And maybe a few more things to the grasses in the foreground. I want the shadow play of the fence to be the main subject. It's always helpful to take a photo of the work, or even to hold it upside down to get another view of the painting before its signed and finished.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ginger's favorite

I completed this image (11 x 14 oil) in 2008 from a photo reference in Tucson on a previous trip. I will post the finished mine painting that is in progress tomorrow, but this post is in honor of Ginger, as today is her birthday. She has been a great encouragement to me and my painting and is a collector of my work over the years. I would like to thank all my patrons and welcome more of you to join this most cherished group. "Blue Amphora-Tucson" is framed in gold and is available for $500 framed or $400 unframed.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Victor Mine-in progress

A work I just started, 12 x 16. The drawing is more complex than I would normally create, but I loved that fence and its shadows! In fact, that is the reason for the painting. I worked really hard to get this reference photo at just the right time and place to get those shadows just right. Will publish the finished work when it is complete. A lesson here is that you keep drawing (with paint) until the work is finished. I am continually making adjustments until I'm pleased with composition and spatial relationships. I love these panelli panels, they have just the right finish that makes it easy to draw with watered down paint and then apply oil in varying degrees of thickness. They are from Italy. As are many other good things.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dry Painting

"Dry Painting" is a part of the artist's vocabulary, and it means looking at stuff and letting it soak in. This is part of the process, because, contrary to popular opinion, painting is actually work, even for talented artists. It takes time, and painting really takes place in the artist's brain, not just the hand and painting tools. A good photographer is good because of the developed sense of seeing, and not the cost of the camera equipment. Van Gogh was quoted as saying that he wished he could paint the ideas in his head the way he saw them. "Art is the difference between just identifying and seeing"....Jean Mary Norman. Today I looked and was inspired. I have a plan for a larger work I want to do this week. More to come.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Durango Study

Several years ago I worked for a company with an office I visited for several days at a time in Durango. I woke up at 5 am and walked the historic district with my camera. Still got to work by 8 am. I took a lot of photos for references, and planned to paint them later. This one was fairly complex, and so I did a 6 x 8 inch version of it today. I loved the rose gardens along the sidewalks and the variety of colors and dappled light through the tall cottonwoods. Had planned to simplify it more, but I love those architectural details. $100 unframed, $150 framed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Water-soluble "Ex-pear-iment"

A new pear, done on watercolor paper. Tried the water-soluble oils really watered down to use as watercolor. It worked pretty well, actually. I like them better as oils, though. Its always fun to push a medium to its limit and see how it performs. Everything you learn in art helps you with your art. So, "ex-pear-iment" every once in awhile.

my new blog at Jerry's Artarama!

I am now writing a monthly blog for Jerry's Artarama. My first article with "Spatter" came out today, 01-08-10. It's entitled, "What is Art?" Articles by other artists contain fabulous information and great encouragement about art. I recommend it to everyone who wants to learn more and keep on doing art. The link is I am including it as a link on this page and my website. Heather Goldstein is the new VP of Artist Relations and is a gem to work with. Did you know there is a Jerry's in Ft. Collins? They have 15 stores nationwide. I've enjoyed their excellent customer relations for many years. Great art supplies. Now I will get back to painting. Hope to get a new one out today, all those photo references from Europe and the Western Slope have been calling to me for a long time! By the way, this painting is entitled, "Laundry Day, Italy." I finished it last month, it took me a week, and it is 12 x 16 in water-soluble oil. $700 framed, $600 unframed. I was in Tuscany in June of 2005. The location of this painting was a hill town we walked to almost every day for coffee or pasta or wine or something. The path took us past vineyards, olive groves, and lavender lined walks. Fabulous. I want to return as soon as possible! Let me know if you are interested in going on a painting workshop with me here this summer!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Purple Pepper Plate

Hadn't planned to do this, but this work is from the archives (pepper season in the fall of 2008) I coupled the brightly colored peppers on a complementary colored plate and was captured by the reflections in the surface of the plate. It was a challenge to keep it simple, with all the wonderful highlights and reflections. And great shapes. After 4 hours in the dentist chair today, I am laying low and watching another artist's video on painting plein aire in Venice. Which is something I did in 2005 and would like to do again. What a beautiful city.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


D'Anjou pear was an exercise on "how simple can I make this project?" I had a pear in the kitchen, and some dioxyzine purple and yellow ochre and white paint remains on my palette. Without needing more paint, using these 3 colors, I painted a 5 x 7 pear in 15 minutes. Knowing it is this simple to paint something every day gives me satisfaction. Like if I have time to brush my teeth, I have time to paint. Every day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Today I used a 6 inch by 6 inch clayboard that was a free sample at an art supply show years ago. It's a strange surface, as it soaks up (as does clay) any moisture or oil painted on it. I had to build up the layers to get the effect anywhere near what I wanted. The colors all turned out darker than I painted them, and I had to work with the values to get them right. The subject is the town of Silverton arriving from Durango, Colorado.

free art lessons

I added a link this morning to my blog for Jerry's Artarama. I have bought supplies from them for years, their customer support is first rate. Now they have free video art lessons that are really wonderful. It's always fun to watch artists at work, and there are over 200 little demos that can inspire you anytime you like. Great fun! Click on their link and enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Aspen in Forest-finished!

I like this little format, it goes quickly, and I can sit with the palette and painting positioned so I don't have to stand at an easel. Pleased with the results, it accomplishes the feeling of being in the aspen forest in fall.

work in progress

Work in Progress. I have hesitated to start a painting from this photo reference from Crested Butte for years. Yesterday's small 5 x 7 made me think if I did this one in a smaller format, I could simplify it. I smudged on the color impressions with a large 1 inch flat brush, and the format is only 6 x 8. The lower aspen close-ups I took a q-tip and removed the paint so its a negative space where I can add the vivid transparent yellows to almost white canvas. When it dries further, I will complete the painting.

Cafe au Lait-finished!

This is the finished work, with patrons added.
Cafe au Lait in oil on canvas.
11 x 14 $500 framed, $400 unframed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Barns in Winter

This is a tiny painting (5 x 7) that I did today after walking in the snow yesterday. It helped give me the spirit for it. I first saw this scene on my way back to Montrose from Colorado Springs after Christmas break in 2007. There had been a huge snowfall, and there were some spectacular scenes across the ranch country. I knew I wanted to paint it, but had never really painted mounds of snow before, and so giving myself a smaller format helped to make it less daunting. I think it may be a study for a larger piece.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"School's Out for Summer" from a photo I took in Victor 6 years ago. Had semi-finished this piece in 2004, never was happy with it. It was on a gessoed canvas I had taped to a board. I had some art-sized plywood cut and I sanded it to fit my frames on 12/31. Yesterday, I glued and pressed it to a board. This morning I added some palette knife details to the barn, bus, house, and foreground. And signed it. I think I may want some more color in the foreground flowers, but am just about done. Redeeming "not ready for prime time" art is a useful practice. I always enjoy hearing the stories about now famous artists who carried their brushes and paint to the museum to "touch up" pieces that bothered them.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Painting du Jour is "Cafe au Lait" When I visited Aix en Provence in 2005, there were these wonderful light effects created by orange cafe awnings that bounced up in the mornings to the surrounding areas. Also loved the plane trees with their texture.

What I learned is that I need to just do it. I've looked at this reference photo for a long time, and it took me 1 hour to get this far. Not finished, I created the stage to people the painting. And I really like palette knife for the textures, it would be easy to overdo it, because its so much fun, like color. I'm pleased to have gotten this far.


This first digital day of a new decade seemed the perfect occasion to challenge myself to this project. I know others who have done it, and I hope I will learn a lot, whether I meet my goals or not.
I am inspired by nature and art, and to me painting on location is the perfect connection to both.
I plan to post a painting a day and record the process. Would love to hear feedback that encourages me to continue in a positive direction. As in any process of life, the key is keep on moving. (Keep on painting!)