Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Short Story for the Season

The day after Thanksgiving, also know as "Black Friday" when multitudes of shoppers descend on the malls and retail establishments like locust in search of the bargains to be had from within. This year my husband and I joined the ritual that I have taken part in for the past several years. It was Ted's virgin voyage on this journey of mayhem.

We awoke in the wee hours of the morning, grabbed a quick shower and a cup of coffee and drove to the shopping center near our home. I was anxious to see Ted's reaction to the crowds of shoppers and the famous department store chain we visited first was not to disappoint. "Oh my god" was his reaction as we approached the car park to find autos circling in search of a spot. We nearly got hit as one crazed shopper rounded a corner rather speedily to acquire a soon to be vacated spot.

After s few hours and a few stores we found ourselves at yet another retailer while lines were forming awaiting the opening of the doors. On the corner we spotted a coffee shop and decided to duck in for a cup of coffee and danish and wait in the comfort inside. As I was waiting for our coffee order I notice a large box for the "U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program" sitting next to the pick up counter. The mission of the program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. Since Ted served in the Marine Corps it has been one of our family traditions to donate toys to this program every year. I made a mental note of the box location and thought it would be easy to purchase the toys while inside the department store and drop them off in the coffee shop collection box as we exited.

We were in the check out line before I remembered my plan hatched in the coffee shop but I noticed a large display of big bags of building blocks a short distance away and sent Ted to collect one for our donation. We paid for our haul and exited the store. I took our shopping bag and handed Ted the bag of blocks to drop in the box. I watched as he entered the coffee shop. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as I witnessed him make his way through the crowd of patrons to the drop off. I stood in silence as he unceremoniously dropped in the bag of blocks and exited.

In the early morning hours, among all the hustle and bustle of the holiday buying frenzy, one small act of giving went totally unnoticed. It warmed my heart so deeply I nearly cried. We walked away hand in hand in silence back to our car. 'Tis the season!

( You can make a donation in the comfort of your home at "Toys for Tots")

Monday, November 15, 2010

What if we treated driving like we treat the arts?

We'd assume that people were either born to drive or not. We'd wait and see if, as children, they started driving on their own, if they had talent and a calling. If they did, we would be careful not to interfere with their talent and possibly suppress it. We would make sure to encourage only those who seemed they'd be able to drive professionally. We'd pay some of them millions of dollars to drive and lavish them with fame; others we would refuse to support, encouraging them to do something more useful for society. Everyone else would assume that they would never be able to drive and would just stand on the sidewalk and watch the traffic. At least the ozone layer would be in better shape.

From: "The Creative License" by Danny Gregory

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanks Duck Store

Thank you to the University of Oregon Duck Store for inviting me to participate in the "Tools of the Trade Show". This was the 29th year of this fabulous event and I have been attending for the past several years to stock up on the great bargains.

This year I was invited to participate and demonstrate my colored pencils and talk about them to the attendees. It was a jam packed couple of days and I'm dog tired but I had a blast!

The personnel at the book store were all fabulous, the fellow artists were a treasure trove of tips and techniques and the art supply vendors had loads of valuble information. It seemed that customers were non stop and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them and answering questions. I am always impressed by the support the city of Eugene has for the arts. Thanks again!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Duck Store Trade Show!

I will be at the U of O book store next Wednesday and Thursday demonstrating colored pencils at the "Tools of the Trade Show". Drop by if you are in the area and say hello. You can also get 25% off on all art supplies!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Turkey Tail Fungus 1&2

Worked a few hours last week and a few hours today. One of the hardest things is stopping the process to take some pictures :)

This is colored pencil on Strathmore marbleized paper.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turkey Tail Fungus (Trametes versicolor)

Just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday I am starting a new project of turkey tail fungus. My plan is for a diptych, that could be a triptych when added to my "Rhubarb" painting. My inspiration comes from some turkey tail fungus I photographed in a friend's garden growing from a tree stump. I am intrigued by the patterns of the growth. I plan to do both paintings 8" wide and 16" tall. I have played around with my photographs and after much cropping and rotating, have two compositions I like. I will be changing the colors to make them a bit more exciting using a complimentary color pattern of blue and orange.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Top Bid!

My barrel got high bid! The auction closed on Oct. 17. For more information and to read about my five minutes of fame go to Gazette Times.

Visit my blog post dated June 22 to see photos of the finished barrel.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vistas and Vineyards Annual Show

It is always a surprise when I enter juried art shows. I wrote in my posting dated September 30th about the three paintings I submitted and am pleased to announce two of the three were selected.

"Between the Vines" and "Under the White Oak" were hung on the walls and "The Far End of the Lake" came home to hang in my personal gallery.

Oh well, time to move on to the next great painting.

(FYI - I designed the postcard for the show)

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Yikes, here it is the last day of September and I have not updated my blog in weeks! I have been very busy out making art and have not been writing about it.

The last few days I have been getting paintings ready for the Annual Vistas and Vineyards art show at the Oregon State University LaSells Stewart Center Gallery. Every year that I have been a member of this group of outdoor artists I have entered and have been lucky enough to have one or more of my paintings selected. This year I can enter three paintings to be juried.

I have chosen three of my strongest pieces and hope that at least one will be judged worthy enough to hang on the wall.

Entering art shows is always a" crapshoot". One never knows what will strike a cord with the judge. You just have to enter and take a chance.

I'm posting my three entries so you can see for yourself. You be the judge. Will they make it in? What one do you like the best? I'll let you know how it goes.

The first is titled "The Far End of the Lake"
The next is "Between the Vines" and the last is "Under the White Oak".

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My First Art Fair

Yesterday I spent the day in a booth at the Corvallis Art Guild Clothesline Art Sale.
What an exciting day it was. I shared my booth with a fellow (literally) artist. By sharing the space we also shared the set up and take down tasks and had someone to man (not literally) the booth at all times. It was fun but exhausting.

Some things I learned:

Set up early - the serious shoppers are out early for the best deals.

Be organized - by spending time before the event to get everything organized pays off in getting things set up. No last minute frantic runs for parts.

Take lots of water - It is important to keep hydrated during the day, it could be very hot!

Take a lunch and snacks - You may not get a chance to break away to go get lunch so bring it or have someone bring you a lunch. Also take time to eat. Don't wait for a lull in costumers, it may never happen but do be prepared to interrupt your meal to talk to someone about your art.

Talk about your art - Don't be shy in striking up a conversation with people in your booth. You can never tell if they are "tire kickers" or "serious shoppers" so strike up a conversation. Say, hello, ask if they are enjoying their day? This will either lead to more conversation or not.

Get a good nights rest the night before - it could be a very long day and getting some rest before the big day is a must.

Get help tearing down - If you can get some help in taking the booth down, after several hours at the fair it is a welcoming site to have help arrive at the end of the day to help pack things up! (Thanks so much to our spousal partners!)

All in all it was a fun day and well worth my efforts in monitory and social value though I do not plan taking my art "on the road" any time in the near future :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One on One with Nature!

Last Wednesday I was at Beazell Memorial Forest in the morning and out at Tyee Wine Cellars in the evening.

The Greenbelt Land Trust was honoring 21 years of conservation with a celebration. A fellow artist and I listened to music and enjoyed a beautiful sunset while trying to capture the rapidly changing light.

Oh, the joys of summer!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Featured Artist on Imagekind!!!!

I am totally jazzed about being selected as one of the featured artists on the Imagekind web site, the #1 place on the web to discover and purchase original art!!!!

Check out my gallery link on my blog :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roll Out The Barrel Final Chapter

The day has come to deliver my barrel. It is a bitter sweet parting. After spending the last four weeks getting acquainted and forming a relationship, fighting, and making up, I will miss my barrel, we part as old friends.

One of the last things I needed to do to the barrel was to put some kind of a protective coating on it. It will spend the next few weeks outside the entrance of the Benton County Historical Museum so it needs to be protected from the elements. I decided on a product from Minwax called Helmsman Spar Urethane.

"Helmsman® Spar Urethane is a specially formulated protective clear finish for exterior or interior wood that is exposed to sunlight, water, or temperature changes. It contains UV blockers to reduce the sun's graying and fading effects. Helmsman® Spar Urethane forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture and its special oils allow the finish to expand and contract with the wood as seasons and temperatures change." (from Minwax)

It is also water clean up, always a plus in my book. I chose a "Satin" sheen.

I was 99% sure it would go over my acrylic painting with out a problem but there is always that 1% chance something could go terribly wrong. The first coat was a bit stressful but all went as planed and four coats later it looks great.

Beginning July 2nd the barrels will be auctioned off and part of the proceeds will go to the Philomath Downtown Association and part to the artists. The link to more information and the on line auction is Philomath Downtown Association.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Roll Out The Barrel Part 5

I am the happiest when I am painting. All of my troubles disappear and I am lost in the joy of creating.

I am very close to having my barrel completed!

I painted a grape vine mandala on the top of my barrel and touched up the black rings with some black paint.

All I need to do is seal it and deliver it!

My intention was to stay true to the origin of the barrel and keep it in as much of it's original state as possible. I used grape vines around the top ring and a grape vine mandala on the top. The center ring depicts landscape scenes from around the local area including the Benton County Museum, Alsea Falls, Marys Peak, vineyards and Philomath's welcome sign.

I am very pleased with the way it turned out :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Roll Out The Barrel Part 4

Today was both rewarding and frustrating.

I started work early this morning. The weather today was much cooler and a bit rainy. This has helped with the paint, extending my work time before it dries. I started with the last fiddle bits on the band around the middle.

The bunghole has been a bit of an issue from the start. When I received my barrel it had a bunghole and I was given the bung to reinstall if I so chose. I was not sure whether I wanted to put it in or leave it out. I thought about how I could incorporate the hole in my painting and tossed a few ideas around. Mother nature helped make up my mind. On a warm afternoon I noticed a lot of gnats flying around the barrel. They were drawn to the wine smell emanating from inside. I decided to reinstall the bung.

The bung is a small round piece of wood and when inserted in the bunghole sticks out about 1/2 inch. I glued it in place and left it to dry contemplating how I was going to cut of the excess and sand it to match the surrounding surface. The next morning while drinking my coffee and staring at the barrel inspiration struck. I decided to paint the bung to look like the welcome signs as you enter Philomath. The signs are mounted on large logs and great traffic at both ends of town. Voila, problem solved.

I was finished with the middle band by around 11:30 and had the rest of the afternoon to finish the smaller bands. My plan was to paint a grape vine around the small bands. Shouldn't be too tough, right? Wrong! I tried to get the vine to look right all afternoon. Around 4:00 I gave up and worked in the garden for awhile. When I came back I realized the vines were too close to the same value as the barrel and needed to be much darker to stand out from the background. The last thing I did before calling it a day was use a very large brush and paint over the leaves. They need more work but that will have to wait for another day. I'm beat!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Roll Out The Barrel Part 3

Ah, perseverance shall prevail!

Today went very smoothly, a bit cooler so the paint was not drying before I could apply it to the barrel. I am also feeling better about working with acrylic paint again, it is not my normal medium of choice.

I managed to get about 90% of the band around the center very close to finished by early afternoon so I decided to knock off early and give it a break. I'm exhausted! Creativity is hard work.

"It is very hard work to turn out anything that looks like a good painting." Georgia O'Keeffe

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Roll Out The Barrel Part 2

Another LONG day of painting. Thank goodness it has warmed up and stopped raining, at least for the time being. Unfortunately the warm weather is also drying my paint much faster.

I managed to make progress dispute the speedy drying of paint. Most all of the color is blocked in and I have about 1/4 of the painting on the center section done, or close to done.

It is at it's ugly stage. This is when I begin to doubt myself and the painting. I have to push through my fear and self doubt and do battle with this invisible enemy. "Creativity takes courage" Henry Matisse.

Roll Out The Barrel Part 1

Philomath Downtown Association is hosting a "Roll out the Barrels" art exhibit. I have been chosen as one of the participating artists. Two weeks ago I picked up my wine barrel and we have been getting acquainted. These empty wine barrels will be painted by artists and will showcase the beauty of the region. All the barrels on exhibit will be available for purchase through the Philomath Downtown Association (PDA) website’s silent auction. Minimum bids per barrel start at $100 and bidding will begin July 2nd.

I had some ideas for my barrel but it was not until I actually obtained my the barrel that I could start visualizing how my plan might work. My plan is to paint a panoramic view of scenes around the area on the band around the center of the barrel. I will be using acrylic paint instead of my colored pencils since the barrel is quite large. It is set up in my back deck, much too big for my little studio. (Hint, Hint)

The weather and other obligations have postponed my starting. I started on my barrel yesterday. I began by lightly sketching the position of the major masses with charcoal onto the barrel. This allows me to understand the placement and make corrections as necessary. I then started the painting process beginning with the sky and working my way down and around the barrel. I originally thought I would paint one side at a time but have found it is better if I work around the barrel tying one scene to the next with color and scale.

It looks like another sunny day so I'm off to paint!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Outside Painting a Last!

Finally out painting again! Last week I was at a local nursery. This is one of my favorite places to go and get inspiration for my garden so it was hard to settle on a location to paint. Mother nature made the choice for me. Just as I set my chair up to paint the rain began. I promptly picked up my gear and headed for cover in one of the greenhouses.

This is a little painting I did of the pots and plants surrounding me. Not bad for the first outing of the season.

I am still working on my plein air set up. I found a small folding chair that works quite nicely. It has a Velcro strap to secure it and a strap to fling over my shoulder. It is just right!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Close to Plein Air Time

The days are growing longer and the weather here in the Willamette Valley is becoming, well shall I say not quite so wet, so I am preparing for the plein air season! For the past several years I have been out during the late spring and summer painting on location with a group of local artists enjoying the benefits of working from real life. I have become addicted to painting one on one with nature.

In preparing for this year I am thinking about the best way to pack and carry my supplies. I don't want to lug a bunch of gear up and down and around the valley. In the past I have pretty much packed my supplies in whatever I had on hand. I have used a canvas portfolio to transport my paper, a clip board, and anything else I could zip into it. The rest of my stuff has been packed into a canvas bag. I also take along my handy, dandy tote bag full of pencils. I want to continue to have ample supplies for whatever comes my way but I also feel a need to compact as much as possible and make my outings a bit more comfortable.

With paint the artist can use a few tubes and mix many colors on a palette. With pencils I need many colors to mix the pigment on the paper. My handy tool tote bag filled with my pencils is a great way to transport my pencils to a class or workshop but it's a bit awkward when working in the middle of a rye grass field.

My quest is to find the perfect plein air kit for working with colored pencils, and a way cool lunch pail :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Final Waterfall Painting

Final version.

Very small changes. I softened the edges of the falls. I also softened the grasses in the foreground and added yet more depth to the middle ground trees and softened the edges.

Very large change. I was told by someone who's judgment I trust that the top right section of trees was confusing. I eliminated them and worked on the transition from trees to canyon wall.

I am happy with the painting so I consider it finished.

Just before I fell asleep one night the title came to me.... "Anticipation".

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Waterfall Painting Progress Part3

Not very big changes now, just some minor adjusting.

The main change was to the waterfall. It is important in making the fall look convincing that the water falls straight down. I used a ruler to make sure I had a straight fall.

I also added some detail to the water with lights and shadow.

I added more dark foliage at the base of the falls where it disappears behind the trees.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Waterfall Painting Progress Part2

After receiving critiques from those I trust I worked on adding more depth to the foliage especially the middle ground trees. They needed more shadow to make them feel round and, as an artist friend said, "holes for the birds to fly through".

I added more dark values, I wanted to emphasize the feeling of the light as it poured out from above the canyon rim so I needed allot of contrast. I also worked on opening a space in the row of foliage just past the front grasses to allow the viewer to move back into the painting.

I added more trees to the canyon rim and more color to the sky.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Waterfall Painting

This is my waterfall painting after a couple of painting sessions. I am pretty pleased with the results so far just not sure what needed to happen next so, I asked.

I showed my painting to several of my friends and asked for their comments. This can be rather intimidating the first few times. An artist's skin has to be thick. I want an honest answer from my friends when I ask for an opinion but they don't want to say anything bad to hurt my feelings.

After several years of creating a relationship I am fortunate to have several friends whom I trust to give me an honest critique and they know I don't take it personally. Actually sometimes I don't take their opinion at all. In the end it is up to me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inspiration at last!

Finally back in the studio working again!

I have been thinking about doing a painting of a waterfall for several years. I was in the Columbia River Gorge at an artist retreat a few years ago. On my last morning there, I sat before one of the falls and sketched just as the sun was starting to break above the rim of the canyon. I snapped several reference photos and headed for home.

Well, that was three or four years ago. In my search for inspiration I cam across the sketch I did that morning in the canyon.

Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I have not been able to locate the pictures I shot that morning. Here is my sketch and a thumbnail I did for the larger painting.

"If you want to be a painter never look at pictures." - Winslow Homer

I have a frame all ready, actually it is an old painting I did many years ago so I am recycling! The frame measures 16" X 32".

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Dead Working Period"

"I believe in listening to cycles. I listen by not forcing. If I am in a dead working period, I wait, though these periods are hard to deal with. For the future, I'll see what happens. I'll be content if I get started again. If I feel that alive again. If I find myself working with the old intensity again."

~ Lee Krasner 1908-1983
from Artist to Artist compiled by Clint Brown

This struck a cord with me when I read it. I am so in a "Dead working period" as Krasner put it, and I am so frustrated with the wait!

I shall try harder to not force it...

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Time to Reflect

This is the time of year I turn my thoughts back and reflect on the past year. I expect this is pretty typical as one year fades into the next, the days shorten and time slows. It has been a good year, I have many artsy experiences I can put a check next to in my sketch book. I am looking forward to 2010 and new wonders I will find.

Happy New year!

"If you worry about how good the art is, you're never going to make your own art". -- Eric Fischl