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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Painting From Hell

Looking back at my first year of posts on this blog, you would think I am never satisfied with any work I do. But that is truly not the case. I just always leave room for improvement. This painting, however, has been one that I do call The Painting from Hell. I started it over a year ago for one of Kevin's Saturday class assignments. I was happy with the block-in, but from there it went totally down hill. Every now and again I would pull it out and look at it and shake my head. How it did not end up in the trash is beyond me, because I know I gave it careful consideration.

Working with the gray "mother" color for Kevin's class in October, and his suggesting we continue working on that theme until January, I thought this was a good candidate for that assignment. It was a wet, foggy morning so one way to achieve that would be with gray added to every color. I ended up using the sludge from the bottom of my brush cleaning can, as he had mentioned that some artists will do that. It is more brownish than gray but the theory is the same. I am no longer embarrassed to show this piece and I will report back after class next Saturday to see what the critique yields. Just the look on my husband's face after I showed him the new and improved painting was enough to tell me I was on the right track. And then he wanted to see it in a frame (I have not done that yet) made me a feel yet more encouraged. He, of all people, knows my struggles and I think he may have even agreed that if it went in the trash it would be no loss. I am sure Kevin will give me some sage advice to improve it yet again. Gotta love the process.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Antiquerra, Spain revisited

Here is an interesting progression I have been working on when not feeling like painting on the works in progress lined up in my studio. I went through some of my older paintings and found the painting below in the stack. I have always had a warm spot for this particular piece even though I have never been satisfied with it. I added the dumpster back in - and using the photo reference, changed the shadows. I also added the vehicles and lamppost for more visual interest. Feels more complete. The version above I did in 2007 trying to salvage the scene, but I think I did more harm than good, and taking out the dumpster and the driveway just left a very bare and boring foreground.

I was in Spain painting a few years ago and the bus stopped atop a knoll over looking Antiquerra. We were literally parked next to the city dump, but there was a wonderful view of the town. That view was a bit overwhelming to me at the time, and there were 60+ people lined up to paint it, so I went back to the bus to find some shade. The door to the "hold" was open and provided a great seat with shade, but the only view was of the end of this little street with a trash can. So that is what I attempted to capture. My relative relationships were not very good, to say the least. I had run out of film (hadn't gone digital yet) so I borrowed someone's polaroid (now this is seeming very dated) and took a not very good photo of the scene.

Its been awhile

This holiday season saw a few things happening that have kept me from doing much computer work. First, we signed a contract to remodel our kitchen, with work to start on Dec7. The next week, on Thanksgiving Day, my laptop died. I just could not focus on replacing my laptop with having to move everything out of the kitchen and keep some of it handy for use during the two week remodeling. The second week into the project, my husbands car died. I have not had the inclination to do much in the studio, with having to make so many other decisions. That is not to say my mind and brush have been idle. Just quieter than usual. I did go out and paint on Christmas Eve Day, at my favorite little park. I am not overly thrilled with the piece but I was blinded by the light reflecting off the freshly fallen snow. I am not making excuses, just observations. I will post it for everyone to make their own assessment. Now that I have a new laptop up and running and am using the trial version of photoshop CS4 for a month, I will get some photos taken.

I also have been reworking some older pieces, all of which are in varying states of "work in progress." On that note, I would like to post from an article I just read written by Ron Riddick.

"As a great teacher once expressed to me "no great masterpiece ever just hastily happened." There was great searching, questioning, working, reworking, caressing, redefining and patience."
Through my reworking of older pieces, I don't expect a great masterpiece, but I do learn so much and I can't help but believe, I have improved both myself and the painting. In sharing both my triumphs and my not so successful works, I hope to strike a chord within each of you. We are all "works in progess" after all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Harvard Gulch Park revisited

Thanksgiving Day was such a beautiful day, that I went to Harvard Gulch with some older field sketches I had done a few years ago. It seemed easier than doing another painting from scratch in the limited time I had before going to dinner. The scene, of the 5th hole of a 9 hole golf course, hasn't changed that much and I wanted to simplify and unite the shapes and clean up the relative relationships.
November 26, 2009

January 2007

November 26, 2009

December 2006
It wasn't that I thought these two studies were "bad" but they were "busy." The vertical painting is not quite finished but the light had changed so drastically I had to call it quits for the day. I sure like the violet mountains in the original...and the footprints in the snow. I may have to put those back in after the snow from today's storm begins to melt... I now consider any painting fair game to be called a work in progress... These paintings are 9x6 for the horizontal and 6x8 for the vertical.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An interesting development Notice that I won Judge's Choice award for my painting High, Wide and Lonesome. I am honored to have been one of the few chosen and to know that my "voice" or view, resonates with others. Artists from all over the world participated in the Facebook challenge. What fun!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

High Wide and Lonesome moving on

I finally am ready to send this painting in to the juried show, Paint America. Since they only accept 100 paintings into this show, the probability of being accepted is not high, but if I don't try, the answer is surely no. It has been widely exclaimed over by those who have seen it. I have taken it in twice to be critiqued and thus, reworked. I am ready to see the end of it for awhile at this point and I will have just made the deadline for posting in the mail.
The last critique had me lightening and simplifying the road, again.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday in Review

November's assignment was to do a gray harmony, explained in a prior post, but the gist is you have a "mother" color that is a neutral gray color and mix some of this into every color you put on the painting. This painting was successful in that, but the one thing Kevin did say to do was to clarify the darks and don't confuse the surface with breaking it up so much. My "mother" color was a mid-value gray, so my darks didn't stay dark when I added the gray. I brought it home and did the quick fix-its (above).

My pumpkin painting also needed some tweeking, although, again, I got the gray harmony part right. What I failed to do in this one was to have a clear light source. My shadow shape needed to be stronger and united with the shadow side of the pumpkin. I may have made my pumpkin too orange in the rework (below) since I grayed the background and bottle so much more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Discovery

Today I was once again trying to photograph some paintings. I tried to use natural north light. Interesting thing happened as you can see in the photo above. The one I was trying to photograph, came out totally washed out; the ones on the other easel in the middle of the room actually look true to color...So, it looks like I need to move the paintings further away from the window rather than closer. Took me long enough.
The paintings on the easel were just painted this weekend. The top one is another attempt at the homework of gray harmony, as is the washed out painting in front. The pear was just something I wanted to do last night after dinner. A 25 minute study.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Great Fall Day

This morning there was an email with notes on this month's assignment for Kevin's Saturday's class. Since I have taken a few days off from work, I thought I would go ahead and do the assignment to loosen up after 3 days of intense days on the computer. The assignment is to do a color harmony painting using a grayish "mother color." ie every color used must have the "mother" in it as well. At least that is my understanding not having been there for the demo and lecture. I was intrigued. I had set up this "still life" inadvertently - just getting the pumpkin out of my way for another project - and have been looking at it for days thinking what a cool juxtaposition it is. It became my subject for the assignment even though it sounds like photo reference was supposed to be used. I don't know if I did the assignment well (next class is 11-21) but I like it and I think it works. This piece is a 12 x 9 and I did it in about an hour. I may have to do a few more of these...
After lunch, being that it was a beautiful Colorado fall day, I went outside to see what I could see. I set up in the alley by my neighbors fence and faced north. I am pleased with this study, done in just over an hour and 15" on an 11x14 panel. I may use it to do a larger version. What a wonderful day it has been.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Second Place Emerging Artist category

Urban Serenity, 9" x 12" for $400 won second place at the GTMD 3rd Annual Denver Plein Air Event. I painted this at the Urban Roots garden center located at 10th and Acoma in downtown Denver. Thank you to the judges for the event.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2009 Denver Plein Air Exhibition

The GTMD Plein Air Exhibit opens on Tuesday, November 10. To view the invitation, click on the link. This year they are requiring a RSVP so if you are planning on going, just give them a call. I have two pieces in this year and I will be at the reception. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Carl W. Peters

A few months ago, while on the Judson Art Outfitters website, I checked out a blog I saw as a link. The entry I happen to remember, was on a forgotten American Impressionist painter, Carl W. Peters. I was so enamored of the photo posted with the article that I ordered the book it came from (by Richard H. Love) through prospector at the Denver Public Library. The book is due back on Saturday so I was busy trying to get through as much as I could this evening. Carl was an amazing plein air painter of NY and the harbors along the upper East Coast. Here are a few images I happened to find online this evening - although not the ones I would have preferred to have found, they still show what I am trying to elucidate. I have been struggling with doing cityscapes, ie buildings, in a manner I find pleasing. He, on the other hand, does an amazing job, while making it look like child's play. Very abstract, but he builds one upon the other in unifying way that is starting to make sense to me. I am inspired to take on my French village with renewed vigor. Kevin had suggested I study Richard Diebenkorn for this painting, but I think Richard and Carl are not unlike each other in approach to this subject. And I did study the Diebenkorn book I have, but I think Carl's work pushed me that much further into understanding. Now if I can come close to what I envision will be the question.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Plein Air Expanded Extended

The Denver Plein Air Expanded show that went up in September and was due to come down on November 5th has been extended through November 20 due to popular demand! So all of you who have not yet made it down to Republic Plaza, still have a few more weeks. This painting is one of 5 that I got juried in. The Plein Air Expanded is a show that has plein air works and the studio pieces done from the studies next to each other. This painting is a studio work but I sold the study a year or so ago.

Critique Update

Lockkeeper Along the Yonne River
Here is where I am at after working on this painting yesterday. I darkened the jeans so that they tie into the bike more. I now can't decide if I should lighten the gravel road and the middle field or darken the shadow of the white jacket. I am going to think on that some more.
High, Wide and Lonesome
I pretty much repainted this one since the critique last Saturday. I did everything Kevin suggested and more. From darkening the sky, simplifying the road, the middle ground and the mountains; making the wedge of hillside read as one value; reworked the car and Donna sitting in it. I think the only thing I didn't touch are the dry grasses along the road.
I am having a hard time photographing this painting due to its size. I just don't have the setup for it. It took me hours today just to get one that was acceptable.
On the Beach
On this one, I lightened the top edges of all the boats to be the save value as the overturned boat, redid the walkway to the building and also put in the ropes. Didn't take too long to get this one fixed up.

And that is as far as I have gotten. It sure helped to have a snow day yesterday from work.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Critique

Today I went to the Saturday class of The Masterpainting class; I have not been in quite awhile and today was the critique for the months assignment. I did not do the assignment, but I did want some paintings critiqued. I did bring in an assigment from last spring that I didn't get feedback on as well.
High, Wide and Lonesome, 36x18 inches. Simplify. Too much going on. I asked if I should force the middle ground back further and he agreed. Simply the road by taking out all the break ups and value changes and give it more gradation, from darker at the bottome edge to lighter at the crest; Simply the wedge of hillside on the left side to be more one value; Accentuate the Jeep Wagoneer so it is more the main focus by making the light edge lighter and the highlight on the rear edge more instense and unifying the shadow shape with the wood panel (ie, tie it in by bluing it) and lighter trim. BUT he said, on the other hand, if he saw this painting in a gallery in Santa Fe, he would think it a very good painting as it is. He just wants to push me.

The Lockkeeper, 15 x 30 inches. Unify the shadow side of the lockkeeper and tie that shadow shape into the bike and the cast shadow. And also unify the shape of the light hitting him. Again, he said it is not much that needs to be done but that would strenghen the painting overall. I could also try lightening the gravel road first to see if that helps. Loved the background.
On the Beach, 20x 16 inches. I am close to this being a local tone or front lit approach. Since I was going for front lit, I am going to keep it there. Very little needs to be done to "complete" this painting. Lighten the green boat's flat plane facing the light, lighten "Oliver" so that it is not the same value as the sand, but not too light since it is a canted plane, and all of the tops of the boats around the rims to match the value of the white/pale green boat in the rear.

Painting without a name, 10x16 inches. I brought in my B&W photo of this painting to show him what I was aiming for but knew I was missing completely. He agreed with my assessment of it being a "who cares" painting. He suggested looking at some Richard Diebenkorn books to take it in a more abstract direction. I like this suggestion. He said the composition is strong, the light, medium and dark patterns are interesting, so do away with the detail that I was getting to involved in. ie keep the shapes flat and accentate the graphic. The name of the is village Semur-en-Auxios, and is located just off the main road between Dijon and Paris.
Grand Lake Regatta, 16x12. This painting was actually done as a class assignment from last spring on Local Tone. I am still not there after 4 tries. He said to take it to light and shadow would be easier, but I really want it to be local tone. With that in mind, I must darken the light strip of water to read with the foreground water. I must lighten up the sails and take the warm patch out. Keep the value cool. So, back to the proverbial drawing board. I am determined to get this right. Not because it will ever be a great painting but for my own edification.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ten Minute Studies First Installment

Here are the first weeks worth of ten minute studies; I started at the top left for the first row and second rows and then went right to left on the last row. I figured out on the 6th frame that if I put an undercoating of paint on the canvas paper then the paint actually went on as I intended and it didn't take so long to get coverage and I was finishing in under 10". I wasn't fighting the dry rough surface so much. That is one of the reason I have been doing underpaintings on the larger canvases I have been working on; They are so difficult to cover with paint otherwise. It has been a long time since I have painted on cotton duck. I sure miss painting on linen, but I am liking painting on stretched canvas I don't have to frame. There are always trade offs in life, right? One day soon I will be able to afford the stretched linen canvases.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Silent but for a good reason

I have been busy working on some large paintings, so it is harder to post as often. There is a show deadline coming up that has me focused on getting the piece I want to enter completed in time. The show is called Paint America. The painting I am doing is a large format for me, 18" x 36." I want to enter it in an online exhibit that is on Facebook, as well. Both deadlines are the end of this month. This project has kept me in my studio with one except. The cold, wet weekend two weeks ago, Richard and I drove up to Lost Park. I painted this little study above(8x8) as it snowed on me. I did not have gloves on and the paint was thick and unresponsive. But I painted.
I recently found out that the two pieces I submitted, see blog entry, to GTMD were both accepted. That show will be opening November 10 at the Denver Public Library and will hang through the end of the year. This show was a lot of fun last year, so if you can make it to the opening you will not be disappointed.
Yesterday I took the last of the 4 new paintings that Ron wants for the show opening the first Friday in November. The four paintings are: "The Composition of Winter," "Smokin" formally called French Construction Workers, "Reading @ the Metropolis" (ie Liz) and "Stately Oliver."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

French Lockkeeper

I also have been working on another painting from reference material I took on my trip to France two years ago. This painting is of a lockkeeper. We rented a boat for a week on the Yonne River in Burgandy. We were in one of the locks where we had to either be raised or lowered - can't remember now, so he had to ride his bike to let us out at the other end. I am not quite finished with the tires but other than that I think it is complete. This photo has a bit of a yellow cast to it. I had fun with the textures on this one. It is 15" x 30."
Even though I wrote this post a week or so ago, I have still not finished this painting. I have been focusing on the looming deadline for entry to the Paint America Top 100. I just realized today that I had never uploaded the photo.

Reading at the Metropolis completed

Here is the finished painting of Liz called "Reading at the Metropolis. The block in for this painting I posted a month or so ago. This painting is 16" x20."

I was talking to a friend of mine the other evening and she mentioned a workshop she would like to take and would I consider going with her to it to share expenses. This workshop is in Sedona, and the artist is Carol Marine. Now I don't really have much interest in workshops so I started to look into Carol, as Jeannie is a good artist and her friend who recommended this as the BEST workshop ever seems to be a successful artist in her own right. I found Carol's blog to be very inspiring and through her blog, she linked to one of her student's blog. There I found 14 things she had learned taking a recent workshop of Carol's in Canada. I also learned that one of the things Carol has her students do is 10 little studies each for 10." So I drew up some little squares on a piece of canvas paper and started doing a few each night after work. I am trying again to paint every day even though I am tired after working all day. I figure even I can do a 10" painting. So far so good. I did 4 in two nights. I have not been doing them on days I am home and painting anyway.

Yesterday, inspired by Carol's quick and direct brushwork, I took this painting from April that I had been cogitating on anyway, and reworked it. I sure had fun. This is also a 20" x 16."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Golden Triangle Deadline

Today is the last day to submit to the Golden Triangle Museum District 3rd Annual Event. I did 5 paintings in the two weeks. Wiped one off, which leaves 4. I opted to only submit 2 (Urban Tranquility and Urban Serenity) of the 4 this year even though I think all 4 are better than most of the ones I did last year and I submitted 5 last year and 4 were accepted. I finished the Delaware Street scene ("finished" being relative). It did not go where I wanted it to go; My son described it as "static" and I must agree with him.

I forgot to post this when I wrote it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last weekend of the GTMD paintout

Friday morning I went back down to Urban Roots and painted again. This one is called "Urban Tranquility" and the one I did a week previous is called "Urban Serenity." They both are 9"x12" and both took me about 2 hours.
I also went out Sunday afternoon to meet Cynthia; I painted looking up Delaware Street. I had hoped to get out yesterday to finish it up but it was so cold, wet and miserable. Not at all the sunny, warm, clear conditions of Sunday. The event officially ends for painting on Thurday, so there may still be an opportunity for me to finish it up. I think it is a good start and worth it. All images need to be turned in for jurying by Sept. 30. Last year I had 5 paintings, submitted 4 and had 3 accepted into the show. This year I have 3.5 paintings; not sure how many I will submit. 2 for sure. I think the two buddha paintings are good and will make a nice change from all the urban buildings and street scenes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Golden Triangle Museum District Paintout 2009

Saturday morning I was downtown by 9:30 a.m. It was chilly and overcast. I found a meter on 13th (15" for a quarter, with a two hour limit) as the schedule for the day was to paint along 13th Avenue from Speer to Pearl. There was so much activity, with the Sept 12 Tea Party at the Capitol a block to the north; and the cultural event at the art museum (PowWow), one block to the west, and artists all over the Byers-Evans Museum lawn. I decided to drive around and see what else I could find. I ended up at 10th and Acoma where I found free 2 hour parking and lots of parking places. Those places filled up within minutes as I came to find out that Channel 6 was having a street fair one block to the west of where I had setup to paint. All of these events would have made for good studies of import, but I was not feeling up to the challenge. Since I work during the week my time for participating in this 2 week event is limited. And I find working outside challenging enough without trying for moving targets. I chose this tomato red building instead. I thought it was funny that it had a Clamato Juice ad on it.

I went back Sunday afternoon and again went to 10th and Acoma and painted a vignette at Urban Roots. The owner was so sweet to me, and invited me back to paint inside their property and even in the shop if I so choose. I really did not want to get in the way of their customers as they were busy, but she assured me it was fine. And to use their restroom and fridge and anything else I might need. The dark blue of the big dark pot is still not photographing well. Too much glare/reflected light on the brushstrokes. The dark of the underside of the fountain is also coming in too light. I have taken so many photographs of this painting, I am quite sick of it. I will try again this weekend as the deadline for submitting is fast approaching. This does give you the general idea, if not the correct value relationship.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Plein air Expanded show at Republic Plaza

Please visit the show hanging at Republic Plaza if you are downtown. It will be up through November 5, 2009 and I have 6 paintings hanging. I will be at the opening on September 17, 2009, which is from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oliver the Cat

Here are two paintings I did last month of a cat named Oliver. The square one (12”x12”) was done as a commission and the seated Oliver (8”x10”) was done just because I wanted to. A realtor commissioned the portrait after seeing a painting I had done for a friend of her cat, Magpie, also a black and white cat. I don’t normally like doing commissions, but this one was fun. Unfortunetly, the photo I took last night of Oliver sitting has too much light glare on his face, but the general idea is still there. His face is just as rich as his body.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Tuesday, September 1st, Marie and I joined a friend of hers, Donna Lyons, who was taking some of her students on a plein air mini trip to Sarasota, WY. Everyone but me lives in Grand County, so I drove up and stayed with Marie Monday night for the early 8:00 a.m. start time. We drove up Hwy 125 through North Park, stopping for a morning painting at a Nature Preserve along the road.
I did two small paintings; the one above left of Rabbit brush (8"x6"and the one to the right with the sage, 9"x12"). The painting of the sage would benefit for a bit stronger color in the Sage where the light is hitting it. It is looking a bit washed out to me now.

Tuesday, it took me most of the morning to settle down to painting after driving around like I was lost, looking for inspiration. I settled on painting some buildings in town. Not my best work, but I painted and sometimes that is good enough in itself. This is 11"x14." I would like to try painting this one again in the studio from this study and my photo reference. I was trying to prep myself for the Golden Triangle Museum District 3rd Annual Paint Out that starts tonight and runs through September 21st. I messed up on the perspective of the little yellow building and I also do not think it "reads" well as being in the shade. Yellow in shade is very tough to get for me without losing the "yellow" color.

Marie met up with me for lunch and then we drove out of town on one of the county roads to paint hay in the fields. It was definitely haying season in the back country. I did the painting of part of a hay fence with the rabbit brush on a slope first (above to the right, 10"x8"), more for the colors and to catch the light and then turned my easel around and did a second painting of the hay in the field (11"x14"). I would like to also do this painting larger and put in the tractor that came along to pick up the hay bales just as I was finishing up. The road into the field is to the right of the fence in the painting. I feel like I lost the shapes of the foreground bushes in this piece and the rabbit brush doesn't read very well either. For all the practice in the previous days work I had you would think they would have been a no brainer for me.

I did two more paintings but I am not sure I want to post them. Marie and I drove home via the Medicine Bow Wilderness Scenic Byway and we did stop to paint. I had fun painting my little piece at Mirror Lake, but I see too many things wrong with it to post it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A year to think about it.

This year's Golden Triangle Museum District paint out starts September 5. I started this painting during last years event. My daughter graciously posed for me so I could try to do a figure plein air. I liked the composition but just could not get it where I wanted it to go. I started another painting last weekend (see below) of my daughter from another photograph from the same setup. Blocking in that larger piece (16x20) that is cropped up close helped me figure out how to finish this one. I think I was struggling with the graphic versus impressionistic even back then.

French Construction Workers-break time

I started this piece in late June and finished it (or not) a few weeks ago. I have had trouble getting a good photo of it so that has delayed it getting posted. I keep changing my set up around which means I then must readjust my lighting. What works for photography may not work best for when I am painting. I was influenced by a show I saw in June at Gallery 1261 that showcased Mark Nelson and Kevin Weckbach. Seeing Mark's strong graphic, almost abstract work, reminded me of my background in graphic design. I started out painting very similar to Mark and then was chastised by an instructor to "move on" and develop as a painter. So all these years I have been trying to paint more painterly, and I am as close to that as I ever have been. Yet when I saw this show all that just doesn't matter anymore. I really want to paint more graphic. It has been a mind bender, though.
And I feel like I want to focus on the figure; this coming after I have said more than once that I am a landscape painter. The best laid plans of mice and men.

Working on this piece led me to another

Sunday, August 23, 2009

another behind the scenes

This painting on the right is also from my "plant portrait" time. I had joined the Denver Orchid Society to have access to the expertise available in trying to grow orchids and also to see what the orchid world had to offer me for subject matter. Here is a mini phal that I borrowed from one of the members who was very generous in allowing me access to his plants and greenhouse. It is 12x9 and painted in 2003. I have always liked this little piece, butI decided to play with it just the same. since I liked the compostion, I just did a reworking using color and value.