Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I really like crow and raven imagery..and it seems like lots of other people do too, judging from the number of ravens on display in galleries and stores. Obviously, I am not the only one who finds ravens to be cool.
From mythology: The Raven is a central figure in West Coast native traditions from California to Alaska. Among his many feats, he stole the moon and sun from the Sky Chief and put them in the sky, brought humans the first berries and salmon, and (according to several traditions) called the first humans up from the earth, or discovered the first human babies within a clamshell. Raven was perpetually hounded by the trickster-god, Coyote.
I purposefully made my Halloween Raven slick. Woe to the Coyote that tries to trick him.
Oil on 9 x 12 Wallis sanded paper

Friday, October 30, 2009

I ♥ Frames

The plein air painter usually likes a dark wood frame or a gold frame. It's traditional. Generally I like to frame in the same style and color for unity sake..but, of course, it is important that the frame looks right with the art. I have a collection of frames that are pretty bad (things I acquired before I landed on 2-3 styles that I like best). One of these days I will have to find a new home for those frames...They take up room and I doubt that I will ever use them! I do like this one.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Self Portrait (# 4?) An oil sketch

I had a great day today. It began at Bread & Ink where I met my artist friends and we had breakfast and a lively art discussion. Then I took my pieces into Aurora Gallery in
Vancouver for the November show, Cast Shadows; Pacific Northwest Plein Air Landscape. There I caught sight of some exceptional submissions and picked up this Aurora Gallery bumper sticker (pictured below). I couldn't help jumping into Art on the Boulevard where I saw the current show and visited with Kevin Weaver. At the end of the day I scratched out a sketch of myself utilizing some leftover blue paint and the big mirror on my drafting table. The funny thing about those eyeglasses is how much I remind myself of my Father whenever I wear them. Now I am ready to sit down with my book and read a few chapters. The perfect end to a way-above-average day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nearly Halloween

This painting is a couple of years old. Originally it was just the street scene and I added the figure because the painting needed "something"...and this just came to me. I guess the creepy light suggested it. It's rare where I paint something just "out-of-my head". I almost always use photo reference or paint directly from life. Well, since it is nearly Halloween I thought I'd dust this off and put it up on my blog. Haven't you always been totally fascinated with the Ripper? How do you you think he was Royalty? In honor of Halloween, here is a horror movie quiz for you. I got 7 out of 10. I was disappointed--I thought I'd get 100% easy.

"Jack" Oil on 11x18 stretched canvas

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Demure figure... from photo reference

The whole issue of what type of figure to paint is fun to consider. I recently discovered an artist named Neil Boyle. Apparently, during his painting/teaching/illustration career he painted lots of frontier dance-hall tarts. Tawdry pretty women seem to touch a chord with people for whatever reason. One evening I found some youTube videos of Boyle addressing an audience of fellow (commercial) illustrators. He did a demonstration of one of his "soiled doves" (a lady of the night). The sound is not good, but I watched all 8 segments of the session--(staying up well past midnight) ....mostly because Boyle reminded me how comedic illustrators are. (I worked with illustrators during the 80's/90's). You can count on the illustrators to keep you laughing all day. I never met one who doesn't have a very wry wit. I was captivated during Boyle's demonstration..he kept up the banter without losing a bit of concentration. People who think illustrators aren't "real" artists are daft! Boyle painted a lot from photo references, but he also painted from life on a consistent basis so that he understood how light really affected what he was using as reference. Here is a link to Boyle's demonstration. (You probably won't watch all the segments like I did...I really enjoyed all the "inside" jokes). Neil Boyle, YouTube Sadly, I have learned that Boyle has passed away..but fortunately there are a number of instructional dvds by him.
As for my painting above...this is another of those paintings that I might sand down after it dries in order to use it for an guide to paint it again--(the next time with improved flesh tones). I'm happy with most of it..but I think it might benefit from a 2nd pass.
Oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Monday, October 26, 2009

Aurora Gallery, Pacific Northwest Plein Air Landscape, Opening November 6, 2009

You are cordially invited (click to enlarge):

I am happy to report that I have been accepted into this juried exhibition of Pacific Northwest Plein Air Landscape. The overall exhibit dates are 11/6/09-11/28/09. There are 17 artists from the PPASP represented. The Aurora is a very inviting gallery on Main Street in Vancouver, WA. Reception: 11/6/09, 5-9pm (Artist's Reception 6-8).
Aurora Gallery

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quin's Reception at Broderick Gallery in Rainier

(click any photo to enlarge)

Today was Quin Sweetman's Artist's Reception at Broderick Gallery in Rainier. Quin is committed to painting outdoors. She is an impressionist who loves golden light as well as blue moonlight. The food was exceptional and it is always such a pleasure to visit George Broderick. Broderick Gallery is located in the oldest house in Rainier. It was built in 1851 as an overnight rest stop for travelers on the Columbia River...don't you think the original owners would be happy that their house is still used for travelers..? Travelers of art.

Quin Sweetman

Broderick Gallery
located in the historic Dibblee House, 313 B Street East, Rainier, OR 97048

Friday, October 23, 2009

Overcast and snow

I remember Mitch Baird telling us during our summer workshop that there is much more gray in nature than we think. I thought I would try my hand at ratcheting back the color to try to capture a gray snow scene. This is my start. I'll revisit it in a day or so.
Oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to create a blog with Blogger

Tomorrow (Thursday) I am going to get together with some of my artist friends to show them how easy it it to begin blogging with Blogger. There will be a couple of us there at the meeting who have blogged for awhile so the idea is to demystify the set up. I've put this nice Blogger-Help video up so the attendees can find it quickly if they want to follow these steps later (after the meeting).
It's comical that some of my art pals think I am so tech-savvy. There are several blogging areas where I simply shrug. Feedburner is pretty confusing (though I managed to add it correctly, I think). I got started once with Google Analytics...only to learn that I did not put the code in the right place. (Alas), I can't see statistics. OH WELL. I will save that project for a very rainy day. Meanwhile, it's enough right now to be able to encourage my artists friends to throw their hat into the blogosphere. They will be surprised by how easy it is. Blogging is a perfect place to share your art and your news.... (don't you agree?)!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A snow scene....with a strong diagonal

My last snow painting turned out doubt because I planned ahead. It is such a good idea to get the idea in your head, however you do it, before setting paint to canvas. I referred to my previous on-site photo and did a sketch from it. As I did the sketch I felt more in tune with the scene. I probably have some more details to add to the painting--but I thought I would stop here, before I took it too far. I'll revisit it in a day or so.
Preliminary sketch:

Sunday, October 18, 2009


(Click arrow for video)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Morning, sketching at the Japanese Garden

The walk up to the Japanese Garden always reminds me how much I need to go to the gym. It's a heck of a climb to the entrance! It was worth it, of course. I had my "woodless" pencils with me and my sketchbook. The Japanese Garden is usually a meditative experience, but a maintenance crew was out in force this morning, with leaf blowers. Despite that, I still enjoyed the time sketching. The view of downtown was especially pretty this morning (scroll down). Next time I might take some watercolor.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hello, Hollywood

(click to enlarge)

Ever since I discovered that I can paint over old paintings..I really like doing it. It is amazing to me how the painting beneath can show through, lending itself to the new version.
I found a painting of fellow artist Quin Sweetman that I did during a life painting session (scroll down to the very end of this post to see it). It's a so-so painting and it doesn't do her justice at all. Today I turned that old Quin painting upside down and painted over it. Using a photo reference, I painted this new person (wearing sunglasses). In our art discussion group recently we had a conversation about painting with suggestion, utilizing more lost and found edges. We also talked about painting just for fun..without rhyme or reason. I had both these ideas in mind as I painted this. I photographed the stages to show the transformation from old new. I'm just going to leave the new painting just as it is. So, goodbye, old Quin (I have some other better paintings of her)...and hello Hollywood.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Cast Shadows"

I am excited to have been invited to submit work to a juried show at Aurora Gallery in Vancouver. The emphasis is on landscape and the name of the show is: Cast Shadows, Pacific Northwest Plein Air. A year ago I painted at Conboy National Wildlife Refuge and put together some good studies with snow. (There was plenty of snow last year!) To my way of thinking, snow and cast shadows makes a super-pleasing design. I hope the juror agrees. We'll see! I should mention that this is about 90% done.
Many of my most successful paintings have been "carefully considered" with a preliminary this one:

(Do you like to think through your idea beforehand.....or do you jump right in with paint?)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Long shadows

An oil sketch idea for a larger painting.

Too much orange..but I like some of the design elements.

Oil on 6x8 canvas panel

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A mid-week visit with George Broderick

When George had his gallery(s) in Portland and Lake Oswego, I got to see him a lot. Since he moved to Rainier, however, I don't get to see him near as often. But, it's a less-than-one-hour easy drive so I visited him on Wednesday to discuss his newest projects. We went to Longview for lunch, visited a bead shop (so time-warpy, very 60's!) and also we made a stop into the beautiful new Rose Center for the Arts at Lower Columbia College where we saw a fantastic mural by Lucinda Parker. Afterwards, it was back to George's for coffee cake and conversation....about painting! A perfectly artful day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

5-value Man

Here is my finished five value oil sketch of a guy with a light source above (and from our right) My purpose in doing this practice sketch was to pay attention to the fact that all paintings, whether they are of people, places or things.. are handled in the same way. Instead of painting an object, we paint how the light affects the object. I tried to make sure my five values were clear and distinct.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oil sketch, man

I've dashed out this value sketch with about three values. To be continued. (I'll add two more values tomorrow).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Let a smile be your umbrella

I was taken aback recently when told by a friend of mine that my smile looks fake. Really? Well, I smile a lot. I have a lot to smile about and yet sometimes when the camera man is endlessly focusing I guess my smile gets a plastered on look. (Obama is likewise accused). But, I assure you that my smile is authentic...because I get to paint every day and spend time with people who love visual art.

I am never going to be one of those glum artists who want to be mired in the worst of things (although I love melancholy dark paintings too--I just don't "stay there"). I love life. You'll find me SMILING through all the next chapters in the book of life.

It is my earnest belief that when we smile, we not only help ourselves, we encourage others around us. Even a so-called forced smile will always trump a frown in my book. I sincerely hope that you are in the midst of miles of smiles in your life too.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"No reason" painting

It is pleasant (and fun) to just paint something completely "out of the blue". One stroke leads to another and the painting seems to emerge of it's own accord. Such was the case with this painting that I painted over a failed painting this afternoon..a portrait that came out looking kind of "Russian".

Oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Friday, October 2, 2009

Six of "Eight+"

Eight+ had a reception tonight in Newberg at Bishop Creek. It was great to visit with everyone there! From L to R back row: Katherine van Schoonhoven, Kitty Wallis, Eileen Nelson, Celeste Bergin, L to R front row: Marge Rood, Carrie Holst. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with us!