Friday, December 27, 2013

Bon Voyage 2013

I was fortunate to be invited to a potluck to watch the holiday "Parade of Lights" from a friend's marina this season. Creative me thought, 'How cool would it be to have a boat shaped spice cake for the event?' Come midnight the night before he was cool enough to frost so I thought that I would just slather a little cream cheese frosting (colored blue) for the water and lay in a bit of spot color for Christmas decorations but one thing led to another and come 4:30 am I had the cake completely decorated with Christmas lights dangling the side and gingerbread boy for a figure mass. Strangely when I saw the pictures from the parade they all turned out blurry... kinda looked like the frosting on my cake. Creativity... it's not just for the studio anymore so hence my last "project" of the year.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Abundant Harvest

sunflower study #9-oil

   It has been a "different" autumn as I have had a large loss in my life this past summer. I believe with the approach of winter it is far easier to match the mood of gloom with the greying weather. Yet my lifestyle doesn't have much allowance for depression so I medicate... heavily... with sunflowers. Here are a few more of the now dozen sunflower studies thus completed this autumn. If it weren't for running out of available fresh cut sunflowers, I could easily see a series of these.-G.A. with another study on the easel as I post.
Sunflower study #10-oil

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Small Works Sale Sets Sail at the GH Boatshop Nov. 15th

"Sailing the Jolly Santa"
4x5 inks on paper
   The last show of the year (in which I will be selling work) opens at the Gig Harbor Boatshop November 15 through Dec 30th. I will be selling 5 new small works for the holidays accompanied by 9 other artist's work in varying mediums for this show. Items priced to move so get them before they are gone!- G.A. wondering 'Is it dry yet?'

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tricks or treat?

What would an artist's workplace be without a little sense of humor? If you don't see much work being posted I'm blaming the mascot. You see this time of year keeps me so busy that I find my muse has her hands tied... err- something like that. Some call it trick or treat but while 3 of my shows close at the end of October another will open in mid November. Treat yourself to a little shopping in the harbor.... before the other holidays- last show of the year!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I spy...coast to coast

Coffee drive through
lighthouse Washington

So I was heading towards deception pass from La Connor (out in the tulip capitol farmlands of Skaggit county) when I came across this corner coffee drive through at a light between farmer John's 50 acres and brother Jim's 100 or so acres. It was the only light for miles and perhaps the last stop for gas until you hit the small town. Apparently filling up the car's tank isn't the only octane those country folks stop for.
Car Wash Lighthouse in Florida
   I believe this is the most comical non lighthouse I have ever found. While seeking out a Starbucks in Florida my GPS took me to a home depot... never could trust those navigators and their "recalculating". I asked some pedestrian's if they could guide me accordingly to which they guided me through the strip mall and low and behold... I found a lighthouse! Eventually I made it to Starbucks but as I always say, "Sometimes it's not the destination that matters so much as it is the journey getting there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I spy... with my big fresnel lens

Fresnel lens housed in
Muckelteo's Lighthouse.
As many people could conclude by now, I fancy painting lighthouses. They are the one thing that I will go out of my way to seek when given the oppertunity. It all began with an imitation lighthouse in my home town. So cute... so small... so-- what? It's not a real lighthouse? Nope the happy harbor to which I reside has a "time capsule" with a blinking light and a sign reminding all those ships that enter to slow em on down. Too funny! So in my quest to find real lighthouses, I have encountered many a structure that neither housed a fresnel lens nor (in some cases) ever graced an ocean's side. Here are a few of those such frauds... but fun to look at.
Time Capsule Lighthouse
Gig Harbor
    This is the said time capsule at the mouth of Gig Harbor... all 15 feet high of the lil guy. Yes he does have a little red flashing light on top. In order to raise money for him folks bought capsules in 1988 to locked away stuff that would be reopened in 25 years. I think since the lighthouse was dedicated in '89 then the capsules should be revealed next year.
I have painted this lighthouse 6 times and 3 of them have sold thus far. As small as the little guy is, it is quite the sight with Mount Ranier standing tall behind him.

Friday, October 11, 2013

If at first you don't succeed, shine, shine again!

Chinese lantern study 6x8 oil on canvas
   Inspired by a new addition to my organic model choices, I was gifted a Chinese Lantern plant of which I was wowed by the color of the fully bloomed plant. After 3 days of awe, I decided to take a break from my sunflowers and try a portrait of the brightly colored plant. My colors weren't quite in the pocket but I decided an orange glaze (after the study dried) would put me in the ballpark for representation. Then I got to thinking...
Chinese lantern study#2 11x14 oil on linen

...What about that new collection of color choices on my list for my workshop next week? It had a cadmium orange that I was sure with a little cad yellow lemon might just do the trick. So I experimented around with this new palette of what I would call more warmer colors in order to acquaint myself with the new collection before the workshop. Though dramatically different studies, I did get closer to desired color without having to glaze.- G.A. shining on. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunny days with sunflowers

Sunflower study#1
  In defiance of my missing "sunflower season" I have taken to brightening my days with cut flowers. When I went all around town I could not find a sunflower to save my life. After 3 strikes I found a flourist who tells me, "Oh yes, we have sunflowers. It's the flower of the month." It was like christmas and I was strangly giddy to have found the little guy... so I painted him twice.
Then the florist called as they got a new shipment. I was hoping for the mammoths (I don't think they ever get those) so I stopped by. Sadly they had the same yellow petals with green center sunflowers so I went to another grocery store to my surprise they had two bunches of yellow petals with dark brow centers. This bunch of 5 models costing $1 more then my single florist specimen. They said that they got shipments in weekly but were clueless as to what would be shipped variety wise. I took one of my new models for a paint session on Fox Island and found his dark center right at home with the dramatic light coming in through the old windows of the schoolhouse... alla prima in 2 hours for that model.

Ponce De Leon Lighthouse study

It was incredibly hot painting the lighthouse but I must admit my first red lighthouse. All the grass sections between the buildings had "do not walk on the grass" signs but the sidewalks had ants... which I found out the hard way when doing this study.

Interior stairwell of Lighthouse

The inside of the lighthouse was like a nautilus shell. How ironic I thought considering the oceanic tie/tides...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Art Festival 2013

Spare Thyme serenades the artists... and a few dancers.
   Last weekend I had the pleasure of being a part of this festival in the artist demo tent for Peninsula Art League again this year. It was great fun as we were set up right in front of the sound stage. I thought to bring sketching media and set up the obvious... comedy and tragedy masks on a red velvet cloth. After the first break (and one of my masks blew off it's still life stage) the sun came out and challenged me to swift moving light. I met the challenge by doing a different sketch every hour while chatting with the community about PAL, plein air, the netshed challenge and art, of course. G.A.- sketching to the beat in Spare Thyme.
Comedy mask sketch...
tragedy flew away.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Saltwater State Park

Saltwater State Park 9x12 oil on canvas
   Early this year I began my plein air season (April) at Saltwater State Park. It was cold, windy and finally the rain halted any adhesion of oil to any surface! Yet without the suffering there would not be this effort. Not a bad start to travels for the sake of art. G.A.- celebrating parks' birthday.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Manchester State Park

Weapons storage- Manchester State park
   Who knew that an abandoned building could be so inspiring? Reminding me of a series I did as a photographer "the passage series", again. I was drawn to the whole outside/ inside/ outside aspects of windows within doors and windows in windows. The perfect cloudiness enhanced my shade but soon chased me out when the clouds clears to practically blind me with reflection.- G.A. finding another occupational hazard.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Neither wind or cold, nor the scorch of light...

oil study Bay view state park 9x12

 ...the mail carriers aren't the only devoted souls with a creed! Despite the interstate bridge collapsing into the river less than a week before the event, dozens of us plein air artists descended upon Skaggit county for our paint out. Bay view and Deception State Parks rivaled the cute picturesque town of La Connor for my attention. Painting from 8 am until 9 pm the first day brought brief watercolor sketches and 2 oil studies. The second day yielded a less productive schedule of only one panel between packing and pacing for the long drive home.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nothing but green

   While painting Dosewallip State Park this weekend a fellow artist asked "Well, how'd it go out there?" when I returned from the morning session. I looked at him exhausted and replied, "Nothing but green!" Twas an overcast day in the park but after driving 90 minutes I was determined to put paint to panel. The river looked blotto with the white sky (and perhaps a little threatening for some rain) so I took the wooded path. Being on the outskirts of the Olympic National Park forest, you can imagine the green and worse the cloudiness saturates the color while lessening the contrast especially under a canopy of trees. Challenged but determined I found an unusual root remaining renewal of a tree among all it's mossy friends; I see glazing in my future! Needless to say the 2nd session that day was along the river.- G.A. challenging myself to discover new ways to mix green.
Dosewallips State Park- morning session

Sneaky little studies

master gardener stuff- 6x8 oil study
   Out of pure guilt for wasteful possessions, I took my original 6x8 pochade box (bought 3 years ago but only used 3x in the 1st year... it was too small) from the cobwebs of the studio shelf. I have come to realize that at times there are events/places that I would like to paint but am not wanting to hoist around "the gear" and do a whole production of a 9x12 (or larger panel) but prefer a quick study... like a sketchbook. So in effort to work faster and paint more, last week I returned to my 6x8 set up and further tweaked the supplies so that it was an all in one carry out... to encourage me to take along oil paints more often/easily.
    I found a tiny turp bucket, sawed off the handles of small paint brushes, rigged a paint carry container within the ponchade and am using nice quality 6x8 loose canvas (like sheets of paper) taped to a lightweight  rigid substrate. Bingo- I'm back in business! While I do still bring a tripod and bolt the box to stand while painting,   this system does have a thumb hole where I may be able to work without a tripod. Furthermore the canvas sheets are maybe $1 for 3 sheets of that size opposed to $6-7 a panel for the 9x12 ampersand gessoboard of which I stopped buying last year when they passed $5. While last year my goal was to have the 9x12 plein air panel be the finished product, this year half of what I work on site are color sketch/references for possible bigger paintings in the future.
   While I am still using the 9x12  gessoboards for the events and client work or distant painting sessions (where I will probably only get one chance to go there and paint), I began this year's plein air season with my local group on the little format and actually got a nice little study. -G.A. painting more and paying less.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Maritime Month Exhibition in Gig Harbor

Summer 2012 plein air Eddon Dock.
    June 1st-30th  

Gig Harbor BoatShop Eddon Boatyard    3805 Harborview Drive
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
(253) 857-9344
Tuesday through Sunday
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Paintings go on display the day of the parade in Gig Harbor so stop in and support your local business... it's always a party! G.A.- off painting "beyond the river's bridge" (what's left of it) in Skagit county.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Stalker spirdies of awe

Eagle of garden tour
      Some would find me odd (openly admitting this) but in more than one occasion I have been visited by an eagle. The Native American belief is that perhaps these frequencies might suggest a "totem animal" bringing messages or guidance to those they honor with their presence. If that isn't enough to make you wonder, try having a juvenile eagle land less than 6 feet in front of you at eye level and literally make spirdie sounds until it has your attention. Although it was my birthday (I considered the visit a gift) the message was personal and I clearly understood and was grateful. This birthday "gift" has happened many years as I have made it tradition to "be out of town" for my birthday since I was 20 something- outdoors usually being part of the formula.
   This year was no different as I was destined to do a plein air study of Admiralty Lighthouse on Whitbey Island. Only problem, there were 30-50 mph winds but the eagles didn't seem to mind. First the pair of eagles (parent and juvenile) soared right over the top of the lighthouse spire, then they circled... just to be sure I was paying attention before coming and casting a shadow (in a cloudless sky) just long enough to have me look up. When I did stare in awe, they split formation. The juvenile lowered to maybe  10-15 feet above my head and slightly in front (I could see its eyes looking down toward me) and hovered (remember this is 30 mph constant winds gusting up to 50 mph- tail winds for the birds) while the adult rose straight up 35-40 feet or more like a balloon- of course it was so unbelievable I was reaching for a camera! This juvenile hovered above for well over a minute communicating its message beginning with "Put the camera away! That is not while I've come." When it was done it looked out to the ocean, back at me and rose up and out  backwards fast,  like an F-14 jet, to join the other eagle who had not broken formation.
plein air garden tour site
    Okay birthday eagle, I was grateful for the visit, but then the next time I went to paint plein air (fox island garden tour- artist in the garden) at somebody's private estate 2 weeks later it happened again only this eagle was an adult. It waits until there is NOBODY viewing the back portion of the estate (we had over 150 people pass through in under 5 hours) and the other artist who was working there had gone inside the house for a minute. Here comes this eagle. perches at the top of the evergreen (maybe 25 feet away) that is right over my scene and commences to chattering away at me with a watchful eye. It chattered a few moments then waited in response but I guess the adults are harder for me to understand because I wasn't "getting the message" that the juveniles seem to deliver to me so easily. So it went back to chattering and I pawned it off to spirdie speak among its environment... not every eagle is bringing messages right? So for the person I shared the birthday story with,  I pulled out the camera and took pictures which soon sent the adult indignantly on its way. Perhaps fifteen minutes later the eagle returned with reinforcements- 2 other eagles, a juvenile and another adult. They circled a few times, wowed the crowds and went along their merry way.
   I once was told something to the effect of... if you are told once- listen, twice the same- pay closer attention but if the same thing is told to you 3 times- it may be true. So I am out at a lighthouse hundreds of miles from any of the other recent eagle encounters but it is a friend of mine's birthday so while she is enjoying the north shore of the ocean, I convince her to take her time while I check on the lighting of the lighthouse because if I can't be painting perhaps I can observe the color phenomena that I am watching change on this building... thinking how I would paint it. When I walk back to rejoin her, a pair of eagle come soaring over the hill and down the path  right at me face on less than 3 feet from the ground. I was so in shock at their proximity to both me and the ground as they were closing in that I begin to pull my dog on a leash closer, ready to pick her up in case they are hunting. This doesn't alter their coarse as now I can see the yellow beaks staggered in formation so I shout to my friend (finally able to get a word out), "Eagles up the path!!! Eagles!!!" to which they come maybe 15 feet from where she is sitting, turn their heads to notice her movement glare back at me and lift and and  bank a hard right altering coarse less than 20 feet from where I stood, again like fighter jets. I didn't insult them with the camera (it happened way too fast) but the message was clear and for the 3rd time that month... I was in awe!

Busy Work

Inkwell#1tech. reference-pen&ink

   I came upon a story about an artist who was hired to do a piece for a well paying client. The client waited and waited never hearing from the artist about his piece but thought to himself, 'Oh this must be some great work!' Finally the artist called the client and told him to come pick up the landscape. When he got there the client was led into solitary room where the artist set down a fresh piece of paper, dipped her brush and within moments made the most incredible piece and finished saying, "I hope you enjoy the piece.". The client became indignant with the artist and protested, "First you put me off indefinitely, then you expect me to pay you all this money for something you could have done in 5 minutes?!? You must have little respect for your clients or their intentions!" The artist sighed deeply, walked across the room, slides open a larger door to a room three times larger with stacks upon stacks of the same landscape she had perfected unmercifully since his request.
Inkwell#1tech reference details- pen& ink
   So it is with the artist and I am no different.  I host "honest efforts" of fault in the process... a study of life observations collected in books or on panels. This month the focus alternates between illustration, technical drawing and plein air work. Although my room may only have a few hundred attempts, the hours upon hours of effort have not witnessed idle hands. - G.A. reinstilling callouses and other malformities of repetitive practices.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

NORTH... (not) to Alaska

   The end of the month found me working en plein air in Coupville. While attempting a paint study of Admiralty Lighthouse, I battling 30-50mph winds from the concrete bunker of Fort Casey, enduring the tray toss, the turpentine tump and repeated assaults of grass from the lawnmower dude. 3/4ths of the way into some sort of completion here comes "get the job done Gus" cutting the grass with his industrial sized paint texturizer. After the 3rd pass (less than 2 feet at eye level) I had more grass in the paint then there was paint on the panel; won't have to concern myself with color match on the grass, I have a physical reference! I retired the efforts in favor of having my lighthouse passbook stamped and looking for a new pair of lighthouse socks... what I wear when I plein air these sentries- like good luck.
   When I left the lighthouse, there sat the grassy assailant, a good distance away, on his lawn mower with the power off. I did visually/mentally brand him with pity for the ignorance (or lack of respect) for ruining a 2 hour effort of challenging patience.  Instead as I walked across the vast area of grass (between the lighthouse and where I was set up) I couldn't help but wonder why none of that longer grass had not been touched, after all, nobody walks where I was working along the roof of the underground bunkers. -G.A. on to greener (and possibly previously mowed) pastures.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

On the road again

    So it begins... my Plein Air Season in Des Moines! It was a grey, cold misty morning when I arrived to the site where my new group gathered. They were troopers of intent to paint the landscape of Saltwater state park but while most of the members were on the beach I found the hardy leader, Sylvia, painting the creek.
Sylvia painting the creek.
I set up gear when struck by an intriguing composition. With the skies grey I had little change in the lighting. Unfortunately the rain moved in and my proceeding land masses, stacked in the distance, began to disappear. By the time the rain came to shore I had the composition and basic color notes so fudged in the boulders and foreground before my ponche box began to hold water.
From direct painting to studio study
 This year in my efforts, it is my desire to attempt to use the direct pieces done en plein air as sketches for "studio work" that I may or may not finish back on site. As seen in this study I am changing the composition slightly while pushing the underpainting towards a tonal yet complementary warm/cool study. Whether I add spot color for the greens will depend upon what a few sessions creates. G.A.- plein air fever broken.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Gypsy Artist: April= party time!!!

Places/Events where my art will be showing and on sale:

April 2nd-May 31st
The Hub (Harmon Brewing Company)
Tacoma: Stadium District
Opening party TBA

April 6th
Spring Fling
Key Penensula Civic Center
Party  Saterday 7-10

April 12th
Chair Affair
NSFB Tacoma: between Freighthouse Square and Museum District
Party Friday 7-?

Friday, March 22, 2013

3D challenges March onward

"Copper Owl" 12"x7" paint on copper
   This is a prototype for an owl mask sculptural project made from 36 gauge copper sheet metal. Unlike my metalsmith days in Alaska, I no longer have access to the studio containing proper hammers, shaping anvils, stakes nor the heat to soften the metal for more shaping so the process of making this piece differs greatly from any metalsmithing I have ever done. While some of this was coaxed by hammering into submission with a common house hammer or rubber mallet, much of it was hand formed and refined with wooden sticks. In challenging myself further with this new material I tried painting the metal to define the owl's markings. The finished metal mask sculpture for this project will be available for purchase during Two Waters Art Alliance "Spring Fling" auction on Saturday April 6th at 7pm in the Key Peninsula Civic Center. Go to for more information.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

An Affair to Remember

"Retro Rocker" 45 Lable

   Greetings art enthusiasts! I invite you to attend the 2013 Chair Affair Friday, April 12th at Northwest Furniture Bank in Tacoma for the unveiling of my newest creation, "the Retro Rocker". It will be an evening of fun and folly starting at 6 pm to view 30 artfully transformed chairs from local artists to auction off throughout the evening. Tickets are on sale for which you can go to for more information. G.A.- rocker from way back.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Exhibition Opens March 4th

Inkwell #1- 9.75 x 13.5" graphite/charcoal/ink
    Previously I had done 4 studies of a plaster ear in varying mediums in a sketchbook on one page. I wanted to try this idea again but instead of doing the same exact view of one object, I tried using the same 3 objects in a still life just being rearranged and re-lit for the each medium. Today I was able to finish the last study on the lower right in pen. From top left: pencil/ charcoal/ ink wash with dip pen (from still life)/ micron pen. 
   The original idea was to frame the four as one but there was some damage to the surface when removing the tape separating the images. Come to the Fox Island Artists Group Exhibition at the Kimball (show opens March 4th) and see which one is chosen. In addition to a new painting I'm only exhibiting once, I will be joined by half a dozen other talented artists I work with on a weekly basis.- G.A.  really enjoying the drawing after doing sculptural work (this month and last) for upcoming engagements.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meanwhile, in the real world...

"Dorothy" -12"x12" charcoal on paper
   Although I'm still playing with "the mess" of abstractions, I had the pleasure of working from a model this afternoon. In this 90 minute session, I felt I was just starting to get warmed up before it was all over. - G.A. with a heavey sigh.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What the -?

Lily2 on collage mixed media 4x5.5
   Okay I'm just as baffled about where this piece came from (aside from my studio) but it is my journey to trial and prototype on this forum so... consider yourselves tested!!! In this magical forum, this realist artist has gone off the deep end and is completely out of any element to reinvent myself. Don't worry, I will retain my sensible, more straightforward, endeavors in art but once in a while you just gotta reach out there and see what or why you are steered in a different direction. G.A.- fearlessly putting it out there for art's sake.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Away from my desk...

...but still in the studio.
Carp and cougar  5.5" x 4" mixed media on yupo

    In celebration of finishing a body of work and exhibiting the paintings, I thought I would take a week off (kinda) because I've been pushing since April of last year. Most people go on vacation to exotic destinations but my adventure was in the studio. I spent a week reading (art books), sketching (for the joy and discovery), and playing abstract-ish artist. Here are 2 of the 32 small studies I made in the last week. G.A. having fun and sending postcards...from the edge of abstraction.

The Queen's Post 4" x 5.5" mixed media on yupo

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

But wait... there's more

"Leaves" 9x12 mixed media on yupo
Ever once in a while the brain needs a break from reality... at a 2nd venue in Gig Harbor I am exhibiting some less representational works at Tacomma Community College during Jan. and Feb. 2013.
Gig Harbor Campus: 3993 Hunt Street, Gig Harbor WA 98335

Monday - Thursday8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Friday8 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
*Stay tuned for info about new work exhibiting in March.