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Sunday, October 26, 2008


Last weekend was spent touring around Seattle and going to my niece's wedding. After logging in many miles going from one end of downtown to the other and then zigzagging the in between blocks, I did manage to get one sketch done. This view was from our hotel window looking up 6th Avenue, where the original Nordstrom's is in the lower left corner. I loved the patterns of the street, cars and buildings. I am planning on building a large painting from this sketch. It has the potential to be a very cool abstracted cityscape.

I have not painted at all this weekend with so much going on around the homefront. All of us out of town last weekend and our daughter moving out next weekend I have had to go with other priorities.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Memory

Here is a painting I originally did a study of (not sure what happened to it) from which I painted the above piece. I looked at this painting for at least three years(probably more) and just this summer took it off the wall and reworked it. The differences are subtle, but they are definitely there. This sheep ranch is the next ranch up from where my in-laws have lived for the past 20+ years. I thought it a fitting tribute to my mother-in-law, Dorothy, who passed away Oct 14 at the age of 87. The end of an era. Unfortunately, I did catch some light glare on the left side of the newer version. This painting is 11"x14" and is called "Debbie's Sheep."

Just for fun, I will also post a photo of my father-in-laws barn that I painted plein air the last time I was in Hopland in 2007. This barn did house sheep, goats and if I remember correctly some pigs at varying points in time before he gave up: the mountain lions won.

And his neighbor up the hill and friend, Lou's vineyard, which I had painted a study of on site and then painted the following 12"x16" Ravano's Vineyard:
You can't help but love the rolling hills of northern California. May you Rest in Peace, Dorothy.

Before and After on Berthoud Pass

Here is a painting I had painted two years ago up on Berthoud Pass. My husband, Richard was hiking one of the trails off the Pass and I stayed at the parking lot to paint. This was my least favorite of the three I did that day and the largest (14"x11"). By the third painting I was getting wet as you can see the storm is coming toward me in this painting.

As you can see the basic structure is still there. I had fun orchestrating and pretending I was back outside working quickly to keep the plein aire feel to it. I am learning alot as I paint over these older paintings - it is a sense of freedom when you don't have the fear of ruining a painting. I think I need to fix a few of the evergreen trees in the foreground as they are looking a bit static-and the blue willows end a bit abruptly. Other than that, I am quite pleased.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Black & white revisited

I am thinking that the problem with photographing this painting is its size- or it could just be me. But you can still see how much I changed it from the first try at adding color; I decided to play with breaking up all the grass. I am much happier with the new color on the chairs. I also darkened the house on the right and lightened the house in the middle. Not using any reference frees you up to orchestrate the painting. I missed the follow-up class critique for this exercise because I so wanted to paint the fall colors at Big Bend while it lasted. I did show the painting to Kevin this past Saturday and his comment was: I lost the local tone aspect of it. Especially on the two buildings towards the right and my grass, sigh. Which translates to: the value shift from one side of the building to the other is too great. Those buildings are reading as light and shadow. The original B&W version had basically three values and I have gotten away from that. Local tone essentially flattens out a scene. Back to the drawing board. Luckily, this was a test run and I still have two other B&W paintings to add color to.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

South Boulder Creek

Friday-October 10-Jeannie and I had agreed to paint together every Friday in October except the 17th, as I will be out of town attending my niece's wedding in Seattle. Last Saturday, at Lair of the Bear, I had told Pat, a classmate of ours, that we had a date to paint this Friday and she wanted to join us. Jeannie wanted to work on a painting that she had started up Boulder Canyon, so we agreed to meet there. Unfortunetly, it was a cold, foggy day up the Canyon, and Jeannie's painting was a light and shadow on a beautiful, sunny Fall day. The temp on my car thermometer said a cool 36 degrees and none of us were dressed for that. I love fog, and had I been dressed appropriately, would have loved the opportunity to paint in it. We headed back down the canyon, and as Pat is from Louisville, she knows the area well. She led us to the Bobolink Trailhead off of Baseline in Boulder, and what a perfect spot! Though there was no sun and it never got above 47 degrees, we stopped and set to painting. Jeannie and I both love "local tone" and we had our easels next to each other to paint right off the parking lot (Fall Color at Boblink Trailhead is 16"x12"). Pat went further afield to sketch. "Local tone" is basically a painting without light and shadow and the three values of the B&W painting exercise I have previously posted.

Jeannie still wanted to work on her painting and I felt I was finished with mine, so Fritz and I went wandering. Since she had an hour to go before leaving, I found a spot up the trail and did the painting below, Blaze of Color, 8"x6".

Friday, October 10, 2008

HWY 67 outside of Sedalia

I had a day off from my day job on Thursday; I knew the weekend weather, starting with Friday, was not a sunny forecast for the Denver Metro Area, so I had asked to have it off so I could enjoy painting "en plein aire" with the autumnal colors and the fine weather before both are gone. My painting partner for the day had to beg off at the last minute, so Fritz, the wonder dog, and I, headed south of Denver on Santa Fe Drive to Sedalia and then towards Deckers. Not quite "foothills" but more like the "hogback." I found this amazing tapestry of color along the side the road. I had driven past it thinking I wanted to paint aspens before they were all gone, but turned around realizing that aspens and this route were not one and same thing. There were aspen along the way, but mostly dense evergreen forests, which I was not really interested in. I was quite happy in my little pull out and painted the following "Fall: Tapestry of Color, 16"x8":

We headed back towards town, stopping at the Audoban Center at Chatfield Resevoir to see what the colors there might be. It was noon, and though pretty, I did not feel like hauling my gear that far for what was there at that time of day. Fritz and I took a walk along the loop. It was a nice break.

At home, I remembered an old painting that had been done about this time of year in the backyard. Perfect! I painted over the old painting (ie 2002), keeping the existing structure even though I had moved a plant or two in the meantime. The white rose is now to the right of the mums. The plum tree had gotten bigger (imagine that!) so I had moved the rose a few years back to give them both more room to grow. It was nice to paint the scene from life over the old painting - usually I am lucky to find the photo reference! This photographed on the dark side.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lair of the Bear

Saturday the group from Kevin Weckbach's Saturday informal class met at Lair of the Bear, a Jefferson County Park in the foothills. The assignment was to do a value sketch and then add color notes of the important colors. From the sketch and the color notes we are to do a finished painting for the next class, which is the last Saturday of the month. I opted to do a painting since I love fall, the weather was perfect, ie a gray day with no sun coming in and out of the clouds and it was not too cold, nor too hot, not too windy. What caught my attention to this scene were the colors and textures. It was great to have Kevin's input on my painting and he was right on, as usual. This painting is 8" x 10". I am still not crazy about the dead willows at the top of the painting, even though I included them because I liked them so much. Seeing the photos on the web really helps to clarify for me what, if anything needs to be done to a painting. This is one of those paintings that looks better in person - I can't seem to get a good photo of it, yet.

A woman came by and not only commented (I was right off a trail, so I had lots of people commenting) but kept repeating how much she loved the painting, lingering and not wanting to leave - I know I should have jumped at the chance to tell her it was for sale or give her my card, or something - none of which I managed to do. I realize that marketing myself is my weak point. I have cards with me, but I don't think to get them out before I start to paint and I have to dig for them. Once I start to paint, none of that is even in my consciousness. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
P.S. I have decided after looking at this painting for another week, that it needs some work. It is not just that it didn't photograph well, but it has other issues as well.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

On Squaw Pass Road

Friday saw me painting with Jeannie and Susiehyer off of Squaw Pass Road. The two of them stayed near the road and in the aspens painting. I choose a spot off the trail in the middle of the field. We ended up being chased away by snow! that turned to rain, but I had already finished my painting. I chose a more intimate view of a grouping of trees (12"X16"), while Jeannie started a vista with the great clouds that were moving in. Susiehyer had two aspens in the foreground with the field in the middle ground and more aspens and evergreens in her background. Isn't it grand how we can all see something different from the same scene?

We then headed to Susie's place on the other side of the mountain, where at least it was not raining - much. I did not finish my second painting of the day because I spent too much time sketching it out trying to figure out how I wanted to do it. But I do have a good start on it and I anticipate finishing it up at some point in time. I am thinking it will end up more abstract as I am just liking the shapes too much and the negative space created by the white chairs.

Here is a painting I did the last time I was at her place painting (this past summer) of a similar subject (chairs) that is across the lawn from the ones above. "Prayer Flags" below is on the patio outside Susiehyers studio, while I sat on the steps of her studio to paint the scene above. Both are 12"x9."