Search This Blog

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall Color III

....on my way up to Marie's on Friday morning, I had seen this amazing scene at Big Bend right before you turn to go up Berthoud Pass. Because I had agreed to meet her I could not stop and paint it. I didn't even take a photograph. It was just as amazing coming down in the evening, with no light on it at all. The only thing to do was to go back the next morning and paint it. Which I did. The Scene at Gold at Big Bend is 14" x 18" my first completed painting of this size done plein aire in 5 years! And you can see it in progress on a post below, thanks to Robbie Scott.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A comment with Photos!

Because this spot was so amazing, many cars stopped to photograph the scene. A few people came by to see me as well. Below are some photos taken of me and my painting by Robbie Scott along with her response to meeting me. Thank you, Robbie. Robbie is quicker than I am at pulling this off, but my paintings from this weekend will be up soon!
PS Seeing her photos of my painting on her camera made me realize I had to much of a curve on the mountain, so you will see I did correct that.

"What a double delight it was to come upon Victoria Ekelund, local Colorado artist, at the peek of color changes, in Berthoud Pass, on Saturday, Sept. 27th, 2008. It is one of our favorite annual day trips from Monument, CO. To see the magnificence of the leaves changing, feel the crisp fall air and drink in the splendor of God's creative handiwork, is something we had only read about in travel brochures. Now, since moving to Colorado four years ago, we make it a point to get out each fall, for the spectacle! This year, we came upon Victoria Ekelund, as she was putting the finishing touches on her painting. Her work reflects the vibrancy of colors that splash our senses and dance in our memories, long after the leaves have fallen for the season. Thank you Victoria, for capturing this amazing time of year!"

Robbie and Jim Scott
Monument, CO

Fall Color in Colorado

Friday found me back in Fraser painting with my friend, Marie. The color and light was simply breathtaking. I arrived around 9:30 a.m. and it was after 10 before I got everything set up and got started. My first painting was a struggle. I am not sure yet how I feel about it but my initial reaction was - just quit while your ahead and work on it later at home. So that is what I did. This painting is 11"x14". I have not touched it yet, and it is not looking quite as unfinished as I had thought. I will have to sit on this one.

I turned my easel around and painted the scene directly opposite the first. I tend to shy away from silouette but I did like the dark evergreens against all the aspens with the light shining across the willows. I did both of these paintings in four hours. I am not sure how long each took individually, but the second one just seemed to flow. If anyone has any suggestions for names of any of these paintings, please let me know. I am not creative in that arena. The Silouetted Sentinels is 10"x16" and will be up on my website this week ( I think it is a complete painting done alla prima.

We went back to Marie's home for lunch and a break. I had Fritz with me, who is my 5 year old schnoodle. He was antsy to get going, so I was going to head home from there. On my way back down the road, Marie was already set up for an afternoon painting, in the same location I had painted my earlier two, and it was just too tempting. I pulled over and we talked and decided to limit ourselves to an hour and fifteen minutes so that I could get going by 5:15 or so. I did this little 8x10. I think of the three, this is my least favorite, but my family disagrees. That is what is so wonderful about life. We all have our druthers. I do think I can make something better from this start. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How to comment on a blog

I have had more than a few people write me via e-mail commenting on this blog. They all say they don't know how to publish a comment. It is a little intimidating the first time but it does get easier and even becomes fun! The way to publish a comment is to click on the little link that says "comment." This takes you to a page with a text box, and a list of comments already posted, if there are any. You type in the text box. You do not have to have a google account to post. You can be anonymous, or you can use existing accounts from a variety of IM accounts, etc. You must do the word verification text box or it will not go forward. You can preview your comment before posting. It is as easy as that.

The other comment I have had made is not feeling qualified to critique or judge art. I don't expect everyone to be comfortable with this, but if you have a reaction to a piece of art, say so. Art is very relative to the viewer. It will not appeal to all people. But something may jump out at you after you have passed over many. Posting photos of my plein aire work helps me to see what needs to be done, which is why I comment on it. A photo shows things that I do not see because I am too close to it. A photo strips that emotional tie away. Some need touching up, some don't. Some need a major overhaul!

It should be easy to comment on the before and after. Either you like one better than the other or you don't. I have been reworking quite a few old paintings so there will continue to be more of these posts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fraser, Colorado

The last time I was in Fraser I not only painted the scene already posted of the ranch that I call Fraser Valley (same view, different years) but I also painted the Byers Ranch outbuilding above. This one has a different feel to it even though they were painted the same day. Byers Ranch was painted in the morning. I hadn't realized this before but I have committed a big no-no here. The painting is cut right in half. If I recall correctly, I was using the brush and willows with the evergreen trees to lead the eye up to the outbuilding with that great purple color of the bank of dirt behind it. I do believe that the dark blue of the evergreens above the dirt bank saves it from feeling cut in half. I was taken by the textures and the colors of the scene. I am going to Fraser tomorrow to paint, not sure where just yet. I am hoping some fall colors will be out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Before and After II

I have been playing around with old paintings because I figure there isn't anything I can do to ruin them, so I should just have some fun. Here is a before (below) and after (above) of a painting I did in 2005, when I was in Connecticut. I was so happy with this painting at the time. There are some aspects of the original that I do still like better now that I see them together. I lost some of the expressive quality of the water channels coming at the viewer and the feeling of light. That is the beauty of oil paints and photography. I can use the photo of the original to go back in and try to bring some of that back.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Portrait of my daughter

I have been threatening to paint my daughter for the past few years and she enjoys "calling" me on it. So a month or so ago, I finally got down to it. She is a good model and is very patient with me. It is not like I have never done a painting of her, but previously they have all been from photographs and have been from her childhood. One of them did win a "best of show" so I will post it below. I called it "Isn't it Past your Bedtime?" She also modeled for me for the Denver plein aire event, but I did not manage to finish that painting yet.

Before and After I

this is a scene I really thought had potential when I first saw it two years ago. It is on Hwy 40 behind the Cozens Ranch and Stage Stop outside of Winterpark, CO. The painting I did on site was a disaster. The painting I did using the study and the photo was also not so good. Yet I still thought it had potential. So I decided to paint over the original painting to see if I could salvage it. I still contend it there is potential, and that the painting is now much improved, but it still is not where I wanted it to be. I just may have to try it again Plein Aire.

finishing touches

I touched up a painting I did this summer while staying in Fraser with my friend, Marie. It is a view I have painted before - so here you see them both. Some what of a difference, but I think still recognizable as the same place.
Above is the view I painted in 2006 - and below as I saw it this past July 2008.

Today I worked on paintings in progress. Just a few minute touch ups on the paintings from the plein aire event that ended Monday that I won't bother to repost as the changes are negligiable. The major rework was on the b&w to color painting posted last weekend. The photo I took this afternoon does not do it justice, so I will try again tomorrow.
Here is the more complete parking lot behind the Bail Bond buildings that face 13th Avenue at Delaware Street in Denver.
P.S. Y'all need to leave comments on the blog, please. I do appreciate the emails, don't get me wrong. The thing is, I would really like to get a dialogue going online so that we can all be a part of this adventure.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Holy Cow, part II

Here is the painting from Saturday’s “quick draw” that I reworked on Sunday and is still in process. I had originally planned to put in a tree behind the mama cow in the upper right hand corner and then there were some smaller trees in front of a window in the orange wall between the two cows that I had wanted to put in. That would help make the grasses stand out against the darker shapes. They blend in too much with the wall right now. Obviously I do not work fast enough outdoors under pressure. I can see too that I need to adjust the lighting on my easel as this photo is also lighter on the left to right sweep. To be continued…

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Denver Plein Aire festival is over

Here are some photos posted of artists painting throughout the event. Yours truely is just off to the side in more than a few of these photos but didn't quite fit in. Saturday was the Quick Draw down at the new wing of the Denver Art Museum. A quick draw for those of you new to this genre, is generally a set amount time (2 hours in this case), in a set place (Martin Plaza) and sometimes even painting the same subject. I decided to push myself again, so opted for a 12"x12" format, which although I did get the canvas covered and my shapes in place, I did not get the values in as I wanted them before my time was up. The photo of the painting is above. I did work on this painting on Sunday, so now the statues actually have some heft to them. I will post the finished work once it is where I want it. A passerby gave this painting its name: Holy Cow! You can see that this size canvas stretches the limit of my pochade box. I discovered too late that the new ultramarine blue I ordered (new brand for me) does not have the depth of color that I am used to and I struggled to get the right colors mixed. This was not the day to take an unknown color along! Live and learn.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

adding color to a b&w underpainting is not as easy as you would think

It was raining hard Friday morning (yesterday) and so I opted to stay in the studio and paint over one of my b&w paintings. Remember that the assignment is to paint in three values of b&w and then to add color over it without using any references, just the value underpainting as your guide. I discovered that I wanted to "paint by numbers" doing this exercise and I was losing the expressive brushwork of the black and white underpainting, which I had done quickly. I also note that I lost the shapes in and around the adirondack chairs. I haven't yet decided how much I want to dink on this but this is the first go round. I also left off the "office" and I added to many sky holes in the trees. This is going to be a humbling exercise for me. I also see that I should not photograph art at my easel in the evening. the light from the left is a bit stronger than the right, even though it does creat a nice gradation from left to right...
I am off to participate in the "quick draw" today at the Art Museum.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday's Painting

Thursday found me once again downtown in the Triangle. I had seen this colorful building on my recent forays into downtown looking for subject matter. It turns out to be a fairly popular restaurant called Cuba Cuba. The light was flat this morning, being it was overcast, which made it nice for me to concentrate on the shapes, like I did yesterday at the Governor’s Mansion. The bright colors still come through nicely. I had to put the Banana tree sculpture right in the middle of the painting to be sure and get the red doors in, too. I am starting to like cityscapes after all, with all the angles and shapes you can get from cropping the subject. Not having light and shadow to deal with is an asset for me.

Museum District-Golden Triangle Plein Aire Event

All this week there is a plein aire event happening here in Denver. Yesterday, we were invited to paint at the Governors Mansion for the day with a catered lunch provided. There was some amazing work being painted by some very talented artists. I managed to paint two 9x12's; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. And here they are in all their glory - done alla prima. The image above was painted in the afternoon, under a lovely tree. My daughter said, did you have to paint the trash bin?? Well, yes, as it was one of the shapes within a shape that drew me to this scene in the first place. How often does the rear entrance (gardener's area?) get its just due?

The one below was done in the morning, and includes fellow plein aire artist, Don Barnes.

Last weekend, the event opened on Saturday, September 6, I started with a 12x24 inch panel and chose the backside of a row of "houses" that now are home to Bail Bonds. In the background is, yes, the city & county of Denver's downtown jail. Looks somewhat like a modern day fortress. I have not yet finished it. This is a subject out of my comfort zone and I am probably taking more care with it for that reason. I am posting it in its unfinished state, and I plan to go back this weekend and put the finishing touches on it (like the numbers hanging on a wire for the parking spots and finish the car, and maybe add the lovely telephone poles as well).

Friday, September 5, 2008


Here is a painting I just finished for the Art on the River event sponsored by the Art Students League of Denver. The juried show will open at the League on September 19th. This view is from the pedestrian bridge over the Platte River near the confluence with Cherry Creek. The painting above was done as a quick study this weekend. My husband brought me these two beautiful eggplants from his garden to see if I wanted to paint them before he made vegetarian burritos for dinner. It was hard to pass up his offer. The pear was added for a color contrast.

Here is a painting I did for an assignment. The challenge was to paint something familiar, in three values, using black and white paint, no smaller than 18 x 24". My first attempt was 18x24, and I had so much fun doing it that I did a second painting, the scene above which is 24x24." I followed this one with a third painting in B&W, a painting I have been struggling with for quite some time. Working #3 out in B&W has helped me see shapes and value and not be bothered by the color or the subject. Tomorrow I will start painting over one of these three in color, using no reference. I will post the finished paintings with the original B&W as I get them completed.