Thursday, December 4, 2014

Robbins workshop in Puyallup

still life in workshop
   It was all work for the artists at the Elizabeth Robbins workshop in Puyallup as we worked on daily still life set ups after a morning of demos. There is nothing like watching a master artist work her talents to reveal the magic of flower painting before your very eyes. She was generous in answering questions, long in patience and made it look so easy. Sigh, now it's time to do the homework. As I always say, "You don't get any better just going to the workshops" for those who just like to float from workshop to workshop.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The value of studies

 value study-4x5 oil on canvas
    So as we get more "practiced" in our craft as artists it is easy to forget where we came from. Yet it is the strength of the foundation that builds us to be better artists.
   One thing I am animate about is drawing on a regular basis. It keeps the perception sharp, the hand and eye coordination in sync and the practice of value scales finely tuned. Yet even in painting this practice needs to be revisited.
    Since I am about to begin a commission piece I thought it best to do a few preliminary practice runs. So 12.5% scale is a value study to flesh out the composition as well as the values.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Water shed... a plein air inspiration.

water shed 6x8 oil on linen
   I had the pleasure of painting in Marion's garden a little while ago during a plein air event I co-facilitate for Peninsula Arts League. Incredible garden really but I was most drawn to a sweet little collection of water pitchers outside a small outbuilding... perhaps enough to do a full fledged painting as I will discover when I return this week for another visit... "if the good Lord willin' and the bees don't sting".

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lil' companion piece- "Bird seeds"

"Birdseeds"- 6x6 acrylic, felt marker, seeds
   In follow up to the previous multi-medium piece on texture, I created this 6"x 6" companion piece on white board. In this challenge instead of using a bold sharpie, colored pastels and acrylic paints on the brown of the board, I narrowed it down to pen, acrylic paints and seeds. Although this image does not do justice to the dimension of the seeds worked into the owl's feathers and beak, the mix is intriguing. Now I contemplate whether to finish the piece in acrylic mediums to play with matte for the  tree and gloss for the bird seeds. Hmmnnnnn...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Work in progress-texture

sharpie marker on cardboard
     I don't normally show the progression of a piece unless I find the journey worth sharing. So I am in a "share project" and developing a criteria based exercise. The theme is "Texture times three". The challenge is to use 3 mediums, specifying a foreground middle ground and background, and use the 3 primary colors in a split-complimentary piece.
   On a 12"x12" piece of cardboard (Because if you mix the 3 colors you get brown) I used white to sketch out the big shapes. Then I dropped in sharpie marker to mark some darks and begin to establish texture feel to remind me to keep thinking texture... texture... texture!
adding in arcylic wash and pastels
    Then I mixed a thin blue acrylic paint wash to color the tree intermediately with medium and soft edges for the texture as I gradually roughed in the white of the trunk allowing the blush (brown of the paper to peak through. I did the same with orange (complement to blue) for the inner bark gashes before working to the bold solid orange of the eyes. Finally I broke up the background with blue and white pastels mainly in soft edged mass.
rendering the owl with acrylic and sharpie
   The remaining mass efforts were to drop in the range of oranges to blues in the body of the owl with acrylic paint. Meanwhile I adjusted the values and edges of the remaining sky and tree with pastels and washes. Although I could work the piece more to relieve the contrast, I believe that the mission has been accomplished and the criteria met.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

They growing out so fast!

sunflower #7 2014 6x8 oil on linen
   Amazing what a few days will do to a flower. Nearly unrecognizable from the last entry, the petals have fully opened and the center almost fully bloomed to hide the green center.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Good company

sunflower #6 2014 11x14 oil on canvas
The sunflowers paint on with this 5 pack in the new green vase. Early in their bloom the centers lay a nice directional green pattern within the straw colored texture surrounded by the raising buff colored outer circle. There is much to learn about these flowers.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sneaky lil lilly

Lilly post arrangement 12x12 oil on canvas
   It was a lovely lone Lilly I added among the remaining flower arrangement that had past it's peak. While pulling faded blooms, I snuck in the  yard cutting that only had a day left on the vine... smelt up the entire sunroom-wow!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer of sunflower

Sunflower study #1 in progress 12x16 oil on canvas
   It my wanderings I adopted a new table perfect for my flower studies. What better way to break it in than with a new sunflower study? So I guess I am back onto my flower studies. Usually I don't paint sunflowers until end of summer but.. what the heck? So it begins...
sunflower #2 study 9x12 oil on canvas

Monday, July 21, 2014

Local cali-color

Cali lilies in progress
   Getting practice on flower painting I thought to challenge working in open air and it occurs to me... I haven't painted a cali lily and what an unusual shape they are! This work in progress at least keeps me in practice with nature's models.

The long and winding path

Dunes to Longbeach 6x8 oil on linen
   In a recent trip to paint lighthouses I had some down time to wait out a morning fog. Thinking I would test drive the materials while I waited, I retreated to the balcony to try and get the jest of what was between the ocean and I. As I was putting on the final details I spotted a deer making its way through the tall grasses- how I love my job!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Port Townsend- another day another lighthouse study

9x12 PWLH study 2012
9x12 PWLH study 2011
Perhaps one of my most frequently painted lighthouses, (I believe I am up to #6 now) I had the pleasure of visiting an old friend this weekend, Point Wilson Lighthouse, after dodging the annual rhodie parade and celebration. phone) is all I got. 

Since the forecast rain had somehow missed Port Townsend, I was blessed with perfect weather so retrieved my mini guerrilla paintbox (6x8 only 3 colors and raw umber) and painted again outside the lighthouse from a slightly different angle and was happy as a clam.
6x8 PWLH study 2014

   The motivating factor was not so much tp paint it but to get my lighthouse passport stamped which entails visiting the inside of the lighthouse, an event which only happens for 3 hours, once a week during the summer. I was so happy to finally get my stamp that it didn't occur to me that I would be going up the tower to an incredible view of all the surrounding islands. Since I don't paint from photos, I didn't have a camera so my recollection (and a very poor image taken with a 4 year old phone).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tradition: Birthday out of town.

 It was birthday as usual... on the road, out of town, practicing my gypsy ways! It was like heading over the rainbow when I arrived at  RoozenGaarde as tulips of every color (and then some) where in bloom. 

painting the tulips 6x8 oil on linen
It was absolute eye candy for the artist I plotted a patch, out of the way and broasted in the 80+ degree record breaking temperatures beside the minimal shade of the windmill. I snuck a quick minimal study (6x8) with only raw umber, white and the primaries yellow, red, and blue. Not bad for a first attempt of the year. After a couple of hours painting my 1st plein air of the 2014 season, I closed my mini guerrilla box to go tip toe through the tulips. The day finished with good friends, good food and good memories. It was a happy birthday!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roses aren't always red

Green roses- 12x12 oil on paper

   When challenged to paint flower color #5 of my 7 options choice, it came to the dreaded green. Sure there are many outdoor green flowers in perhaps exotic gardens or tiny wild green springs on mountainsides about the size of chickweed but for cut flowers I thought I would be looking for the dreaded tulip or worse. Last time I did the dance with a tulip the blushing model bowed out on me early but green was the designated driver so I slathered up a red piece of paper and went to it- with a rose... by any other color. It wasn't exactly a rumba but I was able to get some sort of facsimile of the funky flower... NEXT!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Don't shout "FIRE" in a crowded theater

Nozzels w.color- station #9
Nozzels pencil 6x9
   "Shouting fire in a crowded theater" is a popular metaphor for speech or actions made for the principal purpose of creating unnecessary panic. Luckily it all happened in an old fire station renovated into a crowded restaurant/pub, hence the shouting. This weekend I ventured to Station #9 for a little sketch outing that went from thumbnails, to a watercolor study gone bad and back to a drawing but with only 40 minutes left in the allotted allowance, it was panic on the dance floor.  I threw in the (wet) towel 15-20 minutes into it when a group  came (to eat lunch) and sat in front of my subject... the nerve! Better luck next time- but the food was good and the company even better.   If nothing else I got to test out a new pad... not impressed!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Once upon" in orange


Ordinary orange tulips 12x12 oil
 In a mischievous corner of my studio, there once was a group of ornery orange flowers that had issues with their blue background. They seemed like ordinary fresh cut tulips posing in position but as soon as I went to break for a quick bite the flowers decided to be naughty. When I returned they had bowed to half their height and turned 30-45 degrees in all different directions. What I had painted was unrecognizable to what was now facing me so I abandoned the study. I have painted tulips before and never had so much problems. Needless to say the next study was a Daisy... also in orange.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tharrr' be pirates in the darrrk!

"Gordon" 12x12 charcoal
Last weeks outing took me to The Wine Studio where I had the pleasure of working with a willing victim named "Gordon" dressed in pirate attire. With the sun returning there was a most enjoyable setting sun on the models face for a pose. It was so beautiful I regretted not having a camera... even if I don't work from photos. By the 3rd pose the natural light faded, the clamp lamp changed everything and I was left struggling in a dark bar that became crowded and loud. Such is the "Yarn of "Aaaaarrrrrrgh!!!"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Antiques on Broadway

streetclock on broadway 6x9 wc
My last outing was down Broadway where I got caught in the rain. Originally I was visiting an antique store to do a little watercolor study of some items in the shop. I did said study but was drawn more to the architecture of the area with the corner wedged ( think flat iron building) Tully's coffee shop which is probably why my watercolor study was not satisfactory. In the theater district the parking is limited to 2 hours so I had to move the car before I was done meeting people so by the time I was ready to go I still had 20 minutes left on the meter. Rather than stray in the rain (a sure way to loose track of time and get a ticket) to do another quick study, I looked up to find one of my favorite subjects- street clocks so I backed up my car 2 spaces and rode out the clock on my already bought parking permit to do this quick study.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Asia Pacific Culture Center's New Year's Celebration

   This week I went to a new years party. There was a parade, music, dancing and many oppertunities for an artist to sketch a very vividy colored variety of unfamiliar things like traditional costumes and instruments. As was mentioned in the opening, "It was stormy outside but once I came indoors and became part of the event it was sunny and warm."
komono- watercolor study 6x9

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yellow Rose Portrait (working in series)

yellow rose study oil on paper 12x12
I am experimenting working in series with flower portraits in a square format. I did a few oil studies on paper this month with an emphasis on yellow subjects. What I learned... it is tricky to mix the shadowy side of yellow (Greenish? Grey? Blue? Brownish?) but even trickier when the light comes through the petals. Furthermore while roses slowly open during their session, daffodils crumple and darken toward a more warm yellow in the light and daisies raise and (mainly) lower their petals with no logical pattern to predict and paint and they dance quickly.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Destination Harley Davidson- Fife

oil study in progress 9x12

My travels took me to Destination Harley Davidson this week to sketch then I returned to do a paint study in oils the day after the superbowl. The music was great (classic rock) and the cafe made me a very tasty roast beef sandwich for lunch. Special thanks to PT (previous owner) and Matt (sales associate who gave me permission) and of course the bike that inspired me.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hawk Fever in Fife

"The Hawk Hog" watercolor study 6x6
In my travels yesterday, I went to Harley Davidson store in Fife where I came across an extrordinary oppertunity to witness a functional "work of art" and combind efforts to do good in the community. For full story go to: Although I didn't know much more then that this motorcycle was being auctioned off on Superbowl Sunday, I did take an hour to sit on the floor and do a watercolor study right there on site. The more I observed and appreciated the motorcycle, the more I wanted to spend more time with it but having my Superbowl supplies (Blue Max Meat's "Beast Mode" sausage) waiting in the truck with ice packs and 3 more stops along the way, I was only able to do the small study. Being an artist that works from life (not even carrying a camera that day) I asked if I may return Monday to do a painting of the bike and was told if it wasn't being crated for shipping then I could come so like the Seahawks, I got a 50/50 chance. If nothing else was a fantastic oppertunity to spend an hour with this incredible creation. Go Hawks!

Monday, January 13, 2014

New efforts on old techniques

"Billi" 12x12 pastel, charcoal and conte
    Upon returning to weekly portrait sessions, I have decided to attempt trois crayon. Experimenting stages have brought my technical abilities to do a portrait in 90 minutes to a minimal. This effort required another hour of working from memory. Unfortunately it also detoured the effort from realism and light years from my comfort zone.