Friday, October 30, 2009

Demo Part 4

A few final details are all that is needed to complete the painting.

I add a few dark grasses crossing the lighter grasses in the foreground. I also decided to add some tall weed seed pods to the grasses to add some variation.

I added a bare branch to the trees on the left.

I lightened the value in the center where the path disappears. It had become too dark and was not allowing the eye to travel beyond into the far field.

I added a little color and detail to the distant trees.

A little more blue was added to the sky. One of my students thought it would make it more dramatic.

I was happy with the painting so I signed it!

Title - "The South Forty"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Demo Part 3

I added more color to the grasses. I am building up layers of color to create depth in the grass. I use the side of my pencil and long strokes especially in the front where the grass is quite tall. I have adjusted the slant of the tree on the left so it points inward toward the center of the painting. I have added some clouds to make the sky more interesting.

Now I can start adding more and more detail. I keep added grasses this time adding some that cross the ones in back for variation. I adjust the values in the grasses so they are lighter towards the center of the painting to draw the eye inward.
I add more detail to the leaves of the trees.
I decided to add more to the distant hills in the center of the painting to give the feeling of the valley extending beyond.

I needed something to slow the pace of the strong line in the path so I added some dark spots between the grasses. I am paying very close attention to any strong lines and breaking them up with variation in color and/or value.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Demo Part 2

After laying in my basic color washes while doing my demo I then worked in my studio adjusting the composition and adding more color.

In this next step you can see that I added more area to the distant field. I wanted more of it to show in the painting, more like my original sketch. I accomplished this by erasing the distant trees and raising them up higher on the picture plane. This also moved my horizon line. Now it's not right in the middle of the painting making for a stronger composition. Secondly, I dropped the base of the trees on the left. They had becoming too close to the same level as the trees on the right. My intent in the original sketch was for the left tree mass to be closer on the picture plane then the trees on the right.

I am building up the color layers, concentrating on color so sometimes I loose the composition. I find it very helpful to keep checking my sketch so I keep my composition true to my original.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Demo at the Duck Store (Part1)

I started with a thumbnail sketch of my composition and values.

I then transferred my composition sketch to my paper. I decided to try some new paper I just purchased called PastelMat. It is a pastel paper from France and the color is sort of a yellow ocher. I drew my sketch with a water soluble graphite pencil and then wet it to create graphite washes for my values.

After it had dried I started adding colored pencils. I started with French Gray 10% in the sky with some light pink and a bit of light blue. I applied the color in long strokes going first diagonally one direction and then diagonally in another direction.

All of the colored pencils that came next were applied while I was doing my demo. I found it quite hard to work and talk at the same time, so left verses right brain. I tried to let people know what I was thinking and why I was making the choices I was making as I was working.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Down to the Wire

Late Friday afternoon and still nothing to demonstrate for Saturday.

I am scheduled to do a two hour demonstration on colored pencils at the U of O bookstore on Saturday and I have been struggling all week trying to come up with something. The first hour will be no problem, I can talk about all the pencils and papers available to colored pencil artists as well as the many tips on ways to use them. But what can I demonstrate for the second hour?
Finally inspiration hits me! I will demonstrate how I approach a landscape painting. A fall scene!

First thing to do is gather some photographs. I will be in a basement so will have to work from reference photos rather than life.

I took this photo a few days earlier from my car window. I loved the color in the foliage.

The second is of a hill covered with fall colored trees and grasses in the foreground.

The last one was taken earlier this year. I like the path in the grass and the distant field.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Waiting for Insperation

My muse has left me. Oh, come back to me my beloved.

I am stuck! Cannot find inspiration. I have searched my photos, taken more photos, spent what feels like hours searching through art books and art magazines. So far no luck. I need something new and different to challenge me.

I guess I shall just have to quit trying so hard and be patient.

" I go to studio every day. Some days the work comes easily. Other days nothing happens. Yet on the good days the inspiration is only an accumulation of all the other days, the nonproductive ones." - Beverly Pepper 1924 (from Artist to Artist by Clint Brown)

It is tough just waiting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What next?

I have finished all of my major art projects. The rains of autumn have arrived and I am feeling the need to begin another project. What shall I do? There are so many choices. I want to do another long detailed colored pencil painting but of what? This is where it all begins. What will my subject be? I begin my search through my reference photos to see if anything sparks my imagination. So, I make a pot of tea, and start searching.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Okay, really, I'm done!

I went back to "The Learning Tree" at Benton Center this morning for the last and final tweaks. The last thing I did on Tuesday was add some metallic paint. I knew I would have to return and knock back the finish after it had dried. I found a few more places that needed touched up. A bit of green hear, a smudge of yellow there, you know, the fussing stage. I fusses and tweaked (technical artist terms) and would still be there if Shirley had not kicked me out. Sometimes you just can't help fussing with your art. Well, all the paint is cleaned up and the ladder is back home so, it is finished.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Learning Tree

I began work around 8 this morning. I worked alone today because I needed to make decisions on color as I worked. I mixed colors and glaze to get the effect I wanted and applied them to the wall. A bit of red hear and a bit of green there, softening and blending as I went.

I finished at about 3:30 and just had time to get things cleaned up before a small gathering of board members assembled in the area for a five year anniversary party for the remodel of the building.

I was trying to get out before the shindig began but was asked by the president of Benton Center if I would stick around so he could introduce me and my "Tree of Learning". Needless to say I was not dressed for the impromptu unveiling but it was nice to get the warm appreciation of all who were present.

Thanks Jeff and Shirley.

The tree is a white oak, native to the Willamette Valley and growing outside of the Benton Center. The colors where chosen to represent all four seasons as well as coordinate with the surrounding colors in the building. The symbols represent the different things taught at the center and are hidden in the tree to be discovered upon close inspection. I am pleased with the way it turned out, so it must be done.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Wall... continued

Things are going much faster than I originally anticipated.

I arrived this morning at Benton Center around 9:00 and started sketching in the icons that represent the classes offered here. I then painted them with a dark brown almost black paint. Around 10:30 a good friend arrived to help. Having help always makes the job much more enjoyable and fun. It didn't take long before we had the dark section of the tree done.

We then mixed up our glaze colors, five in all, a dark red, a pea green, an orange and a golden yellow along with a wall color glaze. The glaze is mixed about 4 to 1 with the paint color. We applied the glaze with natural sponges starting with the dark red, then green, then orange and finally the yellow. I must admit the thing was looking a bit garish after the colors were added but we then went over it with the wall color glaze and it all softened and became quite subtle.

I fussed with it awhile adding lights till I decided it needed time to dry and I needed a soak in a warm tub.

Thank you Nancy for all your help today. It was not easy being brave and sponging such bold color onto the wall. You did an awesome job!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Wall... continued

Yesterday I put a layer of primer and then a layer of wall color paint on the wall. I am ready to start painting the details on the tree!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Wall... continued

Yesterday I want back to the Benton Center and added more joint compound to sections of the tree to define more depth. Jessica was able to join me. Jessica recently graduated from UofO with an Art degree and she specializes in sculpture. It was good to have another pair of eyes to evaluate where more depth was needed. Thank you Jessica!

I will give the wall the next 5 days to dry. It should be good and dry by then and I will be able to put a layer of primer over the sculpture and then a layer of wall color paint.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wall Sculpture

Today I started the "Tree of Learning" mural at Benton Center. My plan for today was to start putting the texture on the wall to create a 3D tree. I was originally thinking about using a material called Kwik Fix but after talking to my carpenter friend Steve, I decided a setting type joint compound would work better.

This type of drywall compound is very different from other types of drywall mud. This type dries through a chemical reaction and is typically very hard. Available as a powder with drying times ranging from 20 minutes to several hours depending on the type used.

I used the 90 minute type. It has excellent bonding capabilities to a variety of surfaces. Other benefits include less shrinkage and cracking, also it is much harder than regular All-Purpose drywall mud.

I used a trowel to apply the compound to the trunk and root area, then I used a textured roller, then knocked the surface ridges down with my trowel. It worked great and really likes like bark.

I applied the compound with a natural sponge to the leaf areas, some thin and some thick. I twisted the sponge and made sure not to get any repeating pattern, just random texture.

In the photos the tan area is the wet joint compound. I decided to allow this to dry a day or so and then go back and add more depth.

It must be going okay because I had several people come by and say it looked like a tree. :))

Monday, August 31, 2009

From Inches to Feet

I'm trading in my pencils for a few weeks and taking large paint brushes in hand to create a mural in the Benton Center lobby.

The plan is to create a "Tree of Learning" on the wall along the ramp leading to the older section of the building. The wall has some challenges with a hand rail as well as a slope. My plan is to use the hand rail as a horizon line and put the roots of the tree under the rail and the trunk and leaves above.

The request is for the tree to have some dimension, so my next challenge will be putting some sort of material on the wall that I can sculpt to look like a tree. My plan is to use a dry wall texture, in dry form so I can control the thickness.

I have put a layer of primer on the wall and have drawn the tree out roughly where I want it. This week I will be working on the sculpting part.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Silver Creek

Last week I was in some of the most beautiful country in the world. I happily found myself in the Boise National Forest in Peace Valley, Idaho along a clear mountain stream named Silver Creek. I was fascinated by the huge granite rock formations and canyons. It has been a long time since I was surrounded by this beauty.

I awoke early my first day and ventured out to find a spot to paint. It didn't take long to find a spot along the banks of the stream that inspired me. I set to work and within a few hours caught the picturesque setting on my paper. Several fishermen and woman stopped to take a look as I worked. I don't know how they did with fishing but I came away with "a keeper".

It was fun painting in a place that I don't usually get to visit.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Something Different

I'm getting ready for a mini vacation to visit family and some places of my youth. I am planing to take my supplies with me and try a bit of outdoor painting in a different part of the country, most likely without as much green.

When packing for this kind of a trip I cannot take as many supplies as I would painting locally. I plan to take only what I feel I have to have with me. I plan to pack everything into a small carrying case so it is all in one place.

I have a small portfolio that should hold all I will need. I will take some colored pencils packed in a small box, some colored pencil sticks, also in a small box, some paper, a drawing board, and a folding chair. My camera is already in my purse.

Idaho, ready or not here I come!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Out, out, darn PINK!

There is no substitute for landscape painting like being outdoors painting. The experience is quite often daunting but the rewards are worth the effort.

I have been out weekly during the warm weather of summer creating colored pencil paintings from nature. Some worked out well, others not so much. Never the less I keep at it for it is through my outdoor experience that I learn the most.

A few weeks ago I was at a beautiful location right in front of a spectacular water fall. I was happy with my painting till I returned home and viewed it inside out of the direct light. Too pink!

I worked on it in the studio adding more blue and white to the water but lost some of the spontaneity in the painting. The more I tried to get rid of the pink the more it worked its way to the surface. I was working on a sanded surface that I had not tried before. I liked the surface but what was it with all this pink?

I finally realized I had used a dark purple and dark red color in the dark rocks, the more I tried to get white water the more lavender and pink it would turn. I used an electric eraser to get rid of most of the dark red and purple and then I was then able to use white without all that pink coming back (the sanded surface ate through several erasers). I think it is a bit overworked but I am happy with the final version.

Happy painting :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When is it Done?

No matter how many paintings I do I always have trouble with this question. Is a painting done when you are finished? Is it done when it is signed?

For me I don't always know when a piece is completed. It may be done when I am finished adding the last stroke of color, ready for my signature and a frame. Other times it has to set for awhile and "percolate" slowly showing me what needs to be changed. This is when I place the piece where I can observe it at various times of day and varying light. Sometimes I have taken a piece out of the frame and tweaked something that needs changed.

This is my latest piece, started a few weeks ago and just now completed due to life's other challenges.

Is it done?

I think so, but then it's not framed yet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Painting in the Great Outdoors

Today was the first day of this seasons Vistas and Vineyards painting “en plein aire” at local sites in the mid-valley. I have been so excited about this day!

I awoke this morning with a sinus headache. Oh, the joys of spring. This was nothing to sneeze at so I took some medication and packed my gear. I decided I would not set high expectations for my first day out. I just wanted to go, nothing more. Camera, chair, pencils, art sticks, paper, lunch, all loaded in the car and off I went.

I arrived at the park where our first paint out was scheduled and started looking around for a suitable site to work. I grabbed my camera and set out on foot up and down trails to find my inspiration. Alas, nothing was very inspiring, everything just looked green! Don't get me wrong I love living in Oregon and the Willamette Valley because it so green and lush but this spring has been very wet and damp especially after a long rainy winter. Everywhere I looked all I could see was green, green, and more green.

I got back into the car and drove to the opposite end of the park where I could find more natural scenes and less manicured grass. I finally found a grove of trees in a small ravine with yellow and purple wild flowers growing among the long grass. I parked my car and set up my chair and reached for my small sketch pad to work out my composition. Oops, no small sketch pad. It was not in my bag where I usually keep it. I must have used it over the winter and did not get it put back into my bag, darn. Luckily I found a small piece of scratch paper to use.

It was cold out and the sun was not going to break through the cloud cover, in fact it was beginning to look more and more like rain. Not to let this dampen my spirits I decided I could set in the back seat of my car and work instead of out in the rain and cold. I set my supplies on the seat next to me and began working. Hours went by. What time is it anyway? I looked at my cell phone for the time, I cannot see the hands on a watch anymore, much to my surprise it was nearly noon. At noon we usually meet as a group and critique our work and eat our lunch. I took a look at my work. It looks like crap! I decide to skip the group critique and see if I can salvage anything in my painting. My feet are cold.

Thirty minutes later I am getting nowhere with my painting, my feet are numb, my head is beginning to pound and I am getting hungry. I give up!

I did not get a "keeper" today but I did what I set out to do, I went.

I can't wait till next week!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Art Shows... emotional roller coaster.

My painting of the "Rhubarb" has been accepted into the International Colored Pencil Show.

I entered the international show many, many years ago and did not get accepted. I told myself it was because I was not yet good enough. Many years later I decided to give it another try. Alas, once again I was not accepted. I told myself it was the judge. I entered last years show thinking I would surely get in this time. No, drat foiled again! I told myself it didn't matter, the judge must be an imbecile! I don't need to waste my effort, money, or time.

A friend told me I needed to change my attitude. I needed to start looking at the entry as I have told my students for years "It is one persons opinion on one day". She said I may or may not get in this year or next but I need to keep trying and improving. I decided to enter again this year.

I have mixed feelings about being accepted. I know I should be thrilled but I am not. Maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet, or maybe it is all those years of telling myself "It is no big deal". Then again maybe the pressure is on now to make signature status, I don't know.

I entered the same painting last year and was not accepted. I guess it is true "It is one persons opinion on one day". It must be really hard to be a judge.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Workshop Success

I just spent the weekend in a two day workshop with one of my favorite colored pencil artists.

I signed up for the workshop several months in advance and marked my calendar so I would not forget. As the time for the workshop approached I took a look at my supply list and started gathering them together.

Last week as the weekend drew near I started to doubt my wisdom in signing up for a workshop that would take my time for an entire weekend. My husband and I are in the middle of a bathroom remodel, my schedule has left me little time this spring for yard work, the weeds are taking over my flower garden and I'm sure I could think of a thousand more reasons not to go. I was already committed and planed carpooling with a friend, as well as pre-paying, so early Saturday morning I was off.

Once we were on the road our hour drive was filled with catching up on things we were doing as well as views of some beautiful scenes of the valley in the morning light. We talked of stopping to take photos but did not. We were anxious to get to the workshop and find good spots to set up, close to the front so we would not miss a thing. Our plan payed off and we were able to get seats in the front row right up close so we could see and hear all that the instructor was saying. We worked from 9 till 4 with a short break for lunch. My friend and I packed a lunch so we were able to eat and talk and get right back to work. By Saturday night when I arrived home I was exhausted and ready for a good nights rest.

Sunday morning we were off again, this time we did stop and take a few photos. We arrived early, made the coffee for the group and our instructor and once again went to work. The day was just as intense as the one before and we all worked very hard. By mid day I could tell my ugly duckling of a piece was going to turn into something beautiful. I was just as exhausted by the end of the day but very glad I went. Workshops are HARD work!

I thought I would list a few things to do to help make your workshop experience a good one.

1 - Research the artists that will be instructing the workshop. Check the artists work on their web site. Think about how the artists work and your work relate. If the workshop is about portraits and you like to do landscapes, the workshop may not be the best "fit" for you.

2 - Gather the pieces and materials that you plan to bring. Check your supply list and make sure you have all the supplies listed as well as any other supplies you might like to use that are not listed. Don't plan to bring your entire studio but a good selection of materials and extra supplies can always be left in the car and are close at hand just in case.

3 - Clear your schedule. Your focus for the duration of the artist's workshop should be solely on the workshop and the pieces that you are creating during this time. Plan to stay in a Hotel close by or if you are close enough to drive, plan to have dinner ready when you get home or pick something up on the way. Keep your evening free for relaxing and get a good night rest for each day.

4 - Attend all sessions. Plan ahead and plan to arrive early to set up. It is a good idea to pack a lunch or know where you can get a quick lunch nearby. You want to make sure you are on time so you don't miss an important lesson.

5 - Make time to speak one-on-one with the instructor. Don't feel like a nuisance if you take up the artist's time. You paid the money to attend and should get as much feedback about your work as possible. On the other hand don't take up ALL of the instructors time, be courteous to the other attendees, they paid for the workshop as well and deserve equal time for feedback.

6 - Keep your attitude positive! If you have a positive attitude about your work no matter what level of experience you are and about yourself it will come through in your work. My goal is not to have a completed piece of work by the end of a workshop, but to learn as much as I can about new techniques and practice new skills. If I only finish a small section and get a feel for how new techniques work, I consider the workshop worth my time and money. Sometimes I feel I only really "get" one thing from a workshop but that one thing leads to one more thing, and one more, and I keep improving and building my skills. Besides, no one wants to hear me whining about how my back hurts from sitting too long or how my bunions are inflamed and swelling!

A workshop is a great place to meet new artists and new friends. If you do some planning you can assure your workshop experience will be a good one.

I want to thank Pat Averill for all her hard work putting together a wonderful workshop (believe me, I know how much work goes into a workshop). I also want to thank Nancy Rogge for helping me make coffee and keeping me laughing :))

Bonus! I got a beautiful painting to keep as a reminder as well as loads of new techniques to try on my own colored pencil paintings.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Corvallis Art Guild

Practice, practice, practice!
I practice all day long. I would go over and over my speech so I knew it by memory, which by the way, ain't as good as it used to be. All my work payed off.

I was in Corvallis last night at the Art Guild meeting and did a presentation about colored pencils. There were around forty or so artists present and my presentation went off without much of a hitch. I only wish my slides would have projected better. Technology is such a fickle thing. It is very difficult to get an image on a computer monitor to look like the original and even more troublesome to get it to project accurately.

I had a great time talking about my passion, art, and my love of colored pencils. The Corvallis Art Guild is a fabulous bunch of artists and I am proud to be one of them. Thank You CAG.


I really thought you did a great job last night - very informative... I was in the back of the room - everyone was entranced with the capabilities of cp and what one could do with it. I think you surprised a number of people. There seemed to be a good crowd up front after the presentation. I would have to rate it as one of the better presentations this year as the amount of information provided and the way it was presented. Cool job... !
Terry Tallis

btw- I have added Terry's blog to my Art Links. Terry has written a fabulous book for photographers. Check it out on his blog!

Hi Kris. That was a really good talk last night. I had no idea how varied your styles and subject matter are! Great work. I especially was intrigued by your plein air "starts". When I looked at the one you brought, I realized you didn't even need to be near a landscape to see one in it. Congratulations for being able to make the move from fine detail to broad ideas. I can't do that...yet?

I think you should give a mini-workshop to the CPSA on your plein air techniques. I think a lot of people (me, anyway) would be interested.

Hi Kris,
That was a wonderful presentation. You covered a lot of material, which was organized in an easy-to-follow way. Making the samples available to touch and see at the end was a great. It's one thing to see/hear how you do it; to actually touch it makes a greater impression. Thanks
The Mandala Lady

FYI I have added "The Mandala Lady" to my links as well. Check out Maureen's beautiful Mandalas.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happy Anniversary

March 2oth marked the first year anniversary of mitchellart blog.

Happy Blog Birthday!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy Time ... No Fool-en!

Well, this time of year is so busy! The flowers are stating to bloom in my garden and I am just itch-en to get outdoors and paint, never mind those pesky weeds, they will have to wait.

I will be back in Eugene this Friday for another "First Friday ArtWalk" and I'm sure it will be just as much fun as last month. I finished the paintings I was working on last month so I am busy getting new ones started so I will have something to demo. I had such fun with my abstract piece I think I will do another.

I will be giving a presentation on Monday to the Corvallis Art Guild and am trying to get the final preparations finished up. The presentation will be on Colored Pencils and is titled "The Many Styles of Colored Pencil". I am very pleased to be able to share my work and the work of other local Colored Pencil artists with the Guild.

Classes are starting this week and that is always a little hectic but I will soon be back into the routine once again.

Oh, and I am a grandmother again! Charlie Dean arrived March 26th at 3:03 am. Both he and Mom are back home and doing great. I have posted pictures on my "Facebook" page and you can view them on my badge at the bottom right of this blog.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Art Guild Presentation

I'm getting things ready for my presentation to the Corvallis Art Guild on "The Many Styles of Colored Pencil".

I'm so excited about this opportunity to share colored pencil art with the community. There is always such a "WOW" factor when people see the wide range of possibilities and effects colored pencil artists create.

I am also getting my just finished painting framed for the "Ruth and Jim Howland Community Open" at the Arts Center in Corvallis. It is a painting I was not in love with when I started it, but like the way it turned out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I am recovering from a two day workshop on the coast coloring with friends and crayons.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hats off to Eugene!

WOW! Last night I was in the colorful city of Eugene doing a demo on colored pencils for the Colored Pencil Society of America District Chapter 201. The chapter hosts a show every year and one of our main difficulties is finding a gallery where we can hold it. Having a large portion of our group in the Portland metro area we usually have the show up north. This is our first year in Eugene.

Eugene has a "First Friday ARTWalk" on obviously the first Friday of the month sponsored by the Lane Arts Council where the guided tour includes stops at galleries and interviews with artists. Some people go with the tour and others go it in smaller groups. Our show was at The Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (DIVA) a not-for-profit Center located in the heart of Eugene. I was at the gallery doing a demo of my work from around 5:00 p.m. to 8:00. I had a BLAST! It was estimated that over 600 people came through the gallery. They were of all ages and all sectors of the community and a joy to talk to. When I was not talking to people about colored pencils I was listening to the "Wows" as they viewed the art. The atmosphere was energized and people were just out having a great time.

In my many years being involved in this show I have never experienced anything like this. HATS OFF TO EUGENE AND YOUR SUPPORT OF THE ATRS!

Thank you to CJ for being there to document the event in pictures as well as moral support, Do Mi for demoing with me and Kelly for manning or should I say womaning the "Try It" table. Thanks also to Barbara for getting us into the gallery and her hubby Dan for backup and Sharrie for doing all the work as exhibit chairman, and my hubby for escorting me, and a BIG Thank You Eugene!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Where The River Rests

I am done with the river rock painting. I have had it in my studio, resting on my easel for the past few weeks. From here I can view it in changing light and tweak it here and there. I decided it was complete and signed it. Today I am taking photos and framing it for a Colored Pencil Show in March and April.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

River Painting Final...

Hmmmm, O.K. after taking my painting into my workshop and having quite a lovely discussion, I have come to the realization that this did not go abstract so much as impressionist. I'm o.k. with that. As a mater of fact I love impressionism. That may have something to do with the results. So, I have sprayed a workable fixative on it and will let it set in the studio for a few days, that is if I can keep my mitts off it, and let it tell me what it needs, if anything.

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

River Painting Final?

Well I couldn't let it alone for long. I also could not stop the creative process and take photos.

I pushed and pulled colors. I scrubbed and added, took off and added more. At one point I decided the painting would never be any good and I would just moth ball it and move on. I'm glad I pushed on. I am feeling very good about the painting now.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

River Painting step 3,4,and more

In this next photo I have started applying colored pencil with sticks. I decided to use some natural mineral spirits to blend the colors. I had somewhat mixed results. The colors would blend well but would muddy if I didn't work from the light colors to the dark colors. If I had the "Rub N' Buff" under the color it would get muddy as well. I ended up using a lot of mineral spirits and the areas where I used it stayed tacky for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately I was in too big a hurry on the next photo and it was out of focus so... fast forward to the next day and a lot more color.

I am struggling with the painting now and feel it is moving more and more away from an abstract. I think I will let it sit for awhile and look at it and think about what it needs.

Friday, January 23, 2009

River Painting step 2

Next I applied some "Rub N' Buff" with my finger in some places. This reminded me of finger painting! What fun. I was just careful to keep applying the color in some places and not all over, standing back and looking for where I thought I would like more. I used a turquoise color, some silver and a bit of gold and red.

I then decided to add water soluble colored pencils. In the first photo I have the color on dry. The next photo shows the color after I applied water.

After it is dry I will start adding color with colored pencil sticks.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

River Painting step 1

O.K. Once again I am going to try and share my process in the creation of my painting.

Last fall I stopped along a local river and took some photos of the river and autumn foliage. The water level was so low I could almost walk across the river on the river bed. I loved the formation the water had carved on the rock bed.

I have decided this will be my subject. I begin by creating thumb nail sketches. Very quickly I realized that I had two paintings to consider. One of the landscape including the rocks in the river and another of just the rock patterns.

After some thought I have decided to do both paintings starting with the rocks. I looked through all my reference photos and started to crop just the rock patterns till I came across something I liked. I decided I would attempt to do this one as an abstract. I have not attempted an abstract painting in over 30 years so we will see how it goes.

I decided to make the painting 28 1/2 by 23 inches because I already have a frame that will fit that size. I have also decided to put it on illustration board. I cut the board and taped off a 2 3/4" border all around for the 3" mat. This will give me a 1/4" all around to make sure my mat will cover.

I then decided to texture the board with Gesso and a sponge. I applied a thin coat of Gesso on a small area and dabbed the sponge over the wet Gesso. After it dried I sketched out some guide lines with a gray pencil.

The hardest part is remembering to stop and take a photo.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I was contemplating starting a painting I have been thinking about since last Fall. I started doing some thumb nail sketches and was in the process of scanning the images to share on my blog when I came to a stop. It was almost like a vail came down and covered me, smothered me. I began to question why I would want to go through the process of doing yet another painting. No one would buy it and it would sit with my other paintings in a corner of my studio gathering dust. Why bother?

I spent the rest of the day digging myself out of my gloom and doom, telling myself time and again, I do it because I have to. I do my art because it is in me and I need to let it out to feel whole, to feel like I am complete. I do my art for me! Why dose it get to be so complicated sometimes?

Why do we question our talent and abilities to just express ourselves through our art and not care what the rest of the world thinks? Maybe it is the gray days of winter or the alignment of the planets that caused such doubt to overcome me. This too shall pass, and thankfully it has. I am ready to begin anew!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Early Spring Clean

Well, it's a brand new year and time to think about the future. I have been thinking about my art and what new directions it will take in 2009.

To begin the process I am cleaning out my studio space. Yikes! At first it seemed a daunting and insurmountable task but my loving partner helped me with the first steps. We broke it down and just started by sorting through the closet. He suggested that I remove anything that did not have to do with art or the business of art. That got the ball rolling and I have been proceeding quite successfully. I have a pile for the thrift store, a pile for recycle, and a pile of garbage. When I finish I hope to have a room where I can work that inspires me.

I think it is important to have a space for your art work, small or large, someplace where your art is center to everything else. I also think if I clear out old stuff it will make room for fresh ideas to enter, a kind of Fug Shui concept. So, get busy and clear some space for your art in 2009!