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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Road Trip?

The new museum of American Art that just opened a few months ago, Crystal Bridges, looks like it will warrant a road trip. Here is the New York Times article on this new museum. I think the road trip must wait until the pools are running with water but other than that, I am ready!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Alley Reflected

Reflected Alley, 36x24, oil on linen
Here is a new alley in the continuing alley series I have been working on for the past 2 years. I am not tired of alleys yet (although you all may be) as there is so much to discover. I keep thinking I should move out of my neighborhood, but each time I think that I find another scene worth doing. It sure is easy when you can paint a scene so close to home. If I get stuck, I can walk back over and just check it out. This one presented me with a few questions that I needed to venture out to solve but overall it was fun. I can't wait to find out how many people tell me this is just like the alley where they grew up!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Burghausen Again

Burghausen Castle, 20x30, oil on linen
I discovered a funny thing while painting this piece. We were in Germany in December 2003 so I was still using film cameras at that time. I used Seattle Film to develop my negatives, and with that they offered digital images as well that they kept in albums online. So I went to the website (now owned by Shutterfly) to download the digital image so I could work from the computer. On screen there was this odd green light in the sky which is barely visible in the bottom photo and a bit more in the top photo, going across the sky about midway. In person, this green really drew the eye to it. I was trying to explain this to someone at work, as I do take paintings to work to see them from a different point of view. I sent the digital photo to my work computer to show her, but the green did not show up on my screen at work. Go figure. So I then dug around in my photo albums and found the print. The green light was not in the printed version either. But what I did discover is that the print (4x6) showed way more detail than the digital image. So from the original photo of Burghausen that I posted a month ago, I went about adding the details that were lost to me on the screen. I made the wooden covered stair way more interesting and not so flat by suggesting the boards; I discovered window boxes under the windows; and a red door in the shadows under the walkway. I had put a door there anyway but now I knew there was one and that it was red. The dark blue window bothered me so I lightened them all up a bit. I also decided to put more detail into the whole wall and lightened the tree somewhat so it wasn't quite so dark.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Denver Street in Winter

6x6, oil on canvas panel
Here is the second painting I did thinking I would submit to a juried show where all paintings had to be 6x6. It is a challenge for me trying to keep all the values so close to give the effect of a snowy gray day. So typical in my neighborhood to have only one set of tracks down the street but I must have been in my car as there aren't any traffic lights where I normally walk the dog.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jimson Weed Refreshed

Jimson Weed, 2002, 18x14, oil on linen
Here is a painting that I gave my daughter years ago when she asked to hang it in her room. This Datura was in my garden and I am fascinated by them. I think they have great color and great shape. You can see why bats love them.

Last week I was helping my daughter hang her art in her new place. This one was rather dark for the wall where she wanted it and in that particular light the painting and the frame just did not work well together. I brought the painting home to refresh it and see if I had another frame in case the painting still did not work in that frame. Linen-lined frames can be problematic in that way. The reworked painting needed a new frame.

To begin with, I thought the flower not very pretty with too much harsh gray and not enough nuance. But I decided to start with the leaves and work my way into the flower. My memory and my photo references told me the leaves were too green, so I went towards blue green. I used ultramarine blue and cad yellow light to get my blue green. Adding more yellow where I wanted it to be more towards the green and younger leaves and flower buds and then more blue for the depths. The stems I wanted to be more purple to add a richness and color. Every so often I would throw in Quinacridone Violet for a deeper color and to tie in with the purpley stems (QV and UMB and white). The dirt I also played with making my own brown and adding orange and QV to give it more variation in color yet keeping it in the light.

Since I had no photo reference for this particular painting I went to the internet and found a pretty good match for the angle of this flower and used it for form and color. I fixed the form to make it less angular and stilted. I softened the edges and toned down the value. I wanted the stamens to stand out more and even though the shading in the revised version is lighter overall because it is more uniform the stamens now pop out. It is subtle but I used yellows, blues and violets to make the form of the flower.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Birds on a Wire

Thanks to my friend, Linda, who sent me this link to let me know that yes, others do take "note" of birds sitting on wires and can pick out the tune. I knew enough to think that some birds looked like whole notes and some like half or quarter notes at least. Enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blue Note - 6x6

Blue Note, 6x6, oil on linen on board
I was thinking I would submit some works to a show that only takes 6x6" paintings. I changed my mind about entering but not before doing a few paintings to try the the small square format. Here is the first one I did, thinking I would keep it simple yet have visual impact. I saw this scene while sitting at the light at Downing St and Evans one day not too long ago. It made me think of a musical score. I can't read music but I wonder what a musician would get out of birds sitting on power lines, if anything.
As a side note, I was by here again yesterday and saw a bird sitting just like this one on the top of the pole! I wonder if birds have their "spots" like people do.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sea Shells II

Sea Shells 2, 8x10, oil on linen
Thanksgiving day found me wanting to paint another shell painting outside on my back deck as I knew the weather was beautiful and the forecast was not so sure for Friday. I had time before the turkey had to be prepped and my attention would be needed elsewhere. I opted for an 8 x 10 format to see how it would go and threw in another large shell and a few other smaller shells. This one was a bit more complex adding that more detailed scallop shell. I also thought in the first painting that I did not push the light on the sand enough so I wanted to do that this time. To not lose the nuances of the sand but not to focus so much on it. I got the majority of it in before I called it quits and then finished up a few details the next day in my studio.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 15, Red Onion

Day 15, red onion, 4x6 oil on watercolor stock
Not doing too well with a painting a day, but still thinking about the 15" time limit and how it has already helped me painting outdoors again. I wiped off 3 15" paintings of this one onion. I did not realize just how complex an onion can be. The shape is easy enough but the nuances that make it an onion stymied me with only 15 minutes to capture it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sea Shells not at the Sea Shore

Sea Shells not at the Sea Shore, 6x8, oil on canvas board
Since I had so much fun painting the apples outside on Friday, Saturday I set up this still life on the back porch. Believe it or not, a friend who lives part time in Port Aransas, TX bagged up some sand for me and her husband brought it to Denver on the plane. I wonder what security thought about that?? She had sent along 3 fine shells, but each one needs to be "king" of their own painting. I picked the snail? shell for this first one. I threw in some smaller shells from my own collection. I have no idea if these shells are even from the same continent, but most people won't care. The little purplish one is another spiral shell like the snail, and I love the little cone shaped one (limpet?). I poured the sand onto a shallow jelly roll pan and then just focused in within its borders. I am grateful to have been given such a mother lode of beach sand to play with.
Saturday was a bit colder than Friday, so much so that I got this done in 30" as I wanted to get inside, thank you very much. The sun was out but it did not have much warmth to it even though I stood in the sun today to try to use its warmth.
A bit ironic, this. Painting a sea shore theme in November, in Colorado, in the cold. But it was fun, and I enjoyed it. Getting warmed up to get back out and brave the elements.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fun and Funky Painting

Granny Smith Trio, 8x16, oil on linen panel
Friday was such a beautiful day that when I decided to paint a still life. We have a second story porch that would allow me to have the apples in the sun yet I would be sheltered from the sun and wind. Having let the Birger Sandzen show settle in my psyche, I thought I would see what I could do with thick paint. I also tried not to over mix on the palette and let the eye mix on the canvas. In the spirit of the 15" studies I have been doing I wanted to paint fast knowing the sun would be moving faster. I set up 5 apples thinking 3 would not be enough to fit this canvas, but I ended up with just the three after all. You need to actually see the set up I painted from as the reflected light was really intense and the apples read a b it weird until you see the photo of the apples.
Note the crow on the wire and the one below in our garden. Crows kept me company the whole time I was outdoors, some even swooping down close over my head, landing right above me on the gutter. I am not sure what had them agitated but I bet at the height there were 20 crows in and around our yard cawing up a storm.
It was great to be outside in late November, in shirt sleeves, painting! It has been too long. I did enjoy the thick paint and the confidence you must have to paint that directly.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Prairie Glow

Prairie Glow, 18x36, oil on canvas
This scene is NE, outside of Sterling, CO. I had originally seen it in 2005 and have wanted to paint it ever since but lacked sufficient references. This past August found me invited back to my bosses home for BBQ. Yes, my boss lives 2 hours drive from where we work. These barns and outbuildings are on the neighboring property belonging to his in-laws. I loved the light raking across the prairie and onto these buildings as the sun was setting. I do like the big sky you get on the prairie.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Old Friends Two

Old Friends Two, 10x 8 oil on Linen
I was stunned by how many people commented on my old pair of boots painting that was hung in the museum show. It was always a personal favorite of mine, but I really did not expect that response. The painting sold at the opening reception and at least 5 people told me they would have bought it had it not already sold. I still have those old boots so I pulled them out to see how I would see them now as opposed to 3 years ago. This is a larger painting at 8x10. I purposely did not look at the photo of the original painting so that I would not be influenced by it. Very different yet the same look to the boots. I see now that I had put the boots up at eye level on my table top, but in the new one I kneeled on the floor and had the boots on the rug.
Old Friends, 6x9, 2008, oil on canvas paper, sold

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Birger Sandzen at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center

In the foothills, lithograph by B.Sandzen
Friday I went to the CS FAC to see the 66 paintings and lithographs on loan from the Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, Kansas. This artist is known for his amazing color and thick impasto paint and it was truly worth seeing in person. Photographs of his work do not do it justice. The nuances of color and just how well he captures light is so often lost in the reproductions I have seen. I would have loved to have bought the book on his Colorado paintings but the colors were flat out dull. A real travesty.
I was taken by the prints in the exhibit. When I first saw that the show was a mix of prints and paintings I just could not imagine why they would include prints. Well, now I know! The lithographs in particular were stunning. There were a few that were displayed next to the painting he also did of the same subject and though I have a new respect for his painting that I just did not have from seeing only photographs in magazines, I was taken away by the energy in his black and white lithographs.
Please do yourself a favor and go see this show. It is on view through January 8, 2012. You will never see the Garden of the Gods in the same light again! Remember to stand across the room and look at his work from distance and angles and then go up close to see what makes this man special. I plan to go back at least once more if not twice. Very energizing.
Entrance fee: $10; over 62: $8.50. There is a nice restaurant with a view of Pikes Peak too!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Burghausen Castle

Burghausen Castle, a microcosm view; 20x30", oil on linen
A number of years ago our family spend Christmas in Bavaria. This is one of the castle's we visited and it is a marvel. It is located above the town of Burghausen and serpentine's along the top of the hill. It is the longest castle in Europe. I really am happy with how this painting turned out. I took it to work yesterday and I was pleased with the positive response. It was very well received by all who saw it and went home on a trial basis for the weekend with one of my co-workers!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Alley Paintings Highlighted in Psychology Today Blog

Last night the museum was open until 10 pm for Denver Art Week. I went for 3 or so hours and was very gratified by the support showed by the people who came. One was a former co-worker from Colorado Community College System who left many years ago but we still keep in touch via the electronic age. Imagine my surprise when she sent me this link to the article she had written today because she was so affected by my work! Here is the link to the post:

Day 12 - 15" Painting - Scissors

Day 12, scissors, 6x4 on watercolor postcard stock
I managed to do my self-imposed, self-improvement assignment yesterday in this pair of sewing scissors I had left laying around in my studio. I again beat the buzzer, so once I am done with my sample pack of watercolor postcard stock, I will move up a size or two. It is important to not play it too safe. I am enjoying the card stock surface and I am amazed at the quality of this paper. The oil is not leaking through it, it takes the paint so well and the paper is so nice and thick. This is hot-pressed surface stock, which was always my preference for my watercolors. Hot pressed is a smooth surface and cold-pressed has a texture to it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pear Odalisk

Day 11 4x6 oil on Watercolor postcard stock
I have been severely negligent in getting to my 15 minute daily painting. Here is the last pear from the bag I bought at the farmer's market 2 weeks ago. Took them awhile to get ripe, but this one is now perfect so I had to paint it so I could eat it. I managed to beat the clock for a change-it helps to keep it simple.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 6 and 9 combined

Day 6, 6x4, Thread oil on linen

Day 9, 6x4, Vernia's Thread, oil on linen
I did Day 6 in 15" and decided after looking at it for a few days that I wanted to make a painting out of it. I tried a new set-up for it. The first one I had the spool sitting on a canvas board with my MAC laptop showing silver in the top corner. I pulled out a dish towel for the second, upgraded version. I tried to paint the "finished" spool of thread in 15" but I did go over that time. Still, I don't really want 365 rough sketches laying around the house so I may do more of these duplicate studies as I go along. I have never done thread spools before but I may look into doing a few more. I have more wooden spools to play with but I did like the large size of this one and the nice slope to it. I found this when my elderly neighbors belongings were being boxed up and given to ARC. I was told to take what I wanted and I saw this spool sitting on top of a box of sewing sundry items with the needle in place. Perfect little model for a quick study. I also found an iron from the 1930's I think. It will also be put in the role of a model.

Birger Sandzen at the Colorado Springs Art Museum

Cedar and Rocks by Birger Sandzen
For those of you who don't get or read my newsletter, I wanted to be sure you are aware of a wonderful opportunity to view one of the more colorful exhibits to come our way: the Birger Sandzen exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. 66 paintings, watercolors and drawings are on view through January 8, 2012.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 7 is Eggplant - 15" study

Day 7, Eggplant #4 oil on watercolor paper
I am finding 6x8 a little rough to get done in 15" so I found some watercolor postcards that are 4x6. I am going to use them up until I get a bit faster. It was fun painting on this cold press surface and it took the oil well. No oil leakage through the paper. I am not past the eggplant stage yet as they are really fun to paint. I have one more I hope to do before I move on. Now that the garden has been nipped, there are no more to be harvested. It has taken me about two weeks to do 8 days, so I am not yet actually doing one a day. Whatever works!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vincent Van Gogh - new theory on how he died

Vincent Van Gogh, one of many self-portraits
A co-worker mentioned last Monday that he had seen a very interesting "60 Minutes" episode on Sunday night. Serendipitously, I found it while following another, work-related story. I must say, I am happy to have watched this as I have read more about Vincent Van Gogh than probably any other artist and it never "sat right" that he would kill himself. If you have a half hour, I would recommend watching the two parts posted on CBS's website. Or look for the October 16th segment of "60 Minutes." I went to Auvers-sur-Oise 4 years ago and it is true. It would have been very difficult for a gut shot man to walk down the hill from the wheat fields to his room in the center of town. I walked it. It is still a very quaint, old world town. If you are ever in Paris I highly recommend a side trip to Auvers. We saw very few tourists there (less than 5); We had the Chateau Auvers to ourselves and it was one of the most memorable museums I have been to.
This show also leaves you feeling sad; Vincent not only had no friends but his own mother turned against him.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

# 3 - Eggplant

Day 3 Eggplant, 8x6, 20" study on canvas board
Eggplant is always fun to paint. The rich colors in one little homely shape-but oh what interesting shapes they all have. I only have 6x8" panels as my smallest size on hand and this one did go over the 15" - I just wanted to carve out the shapes of the crown (can't really call them "leaves" and I don't know the proper term for the eggplant cap.)
I noticed that inadvertently I have a color thing going on here. Red tomato, Yellow pear and now Purple eggplant. I did paint eggplant for the next 2 days which I will not be posting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

15 minute paintings Day 2 - bartlett pear

Pear Study, 7x5 done in 15 Minutes
Pears are by far one of my most favorite subjects. I paint them not only when they are in season but when I travel it is the first fruit I gravitate to at the market. I have a travelogue of Pears where others do landscapes. Day 2 found me with a 5x7 panel. Those extra inches mean keep it simple!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 1 is a beautiful heirloom tomato

1. Mr Stripey, 4x6, 15" study
I read a blog post last weekend in which the author had just attended an art workshop. He had garnered from it the discipline of doing a 15" painting every day for 365 days. I have attempted variations on that theme on and off over the years, never making it the whole year, but always gaining something from it. One of the best life drawing classes I have ever taken involved painting the model in motion for a half hour. Then getting 30 seconds poses, a minute, and by the time we had the 5" poses it seemed like a plethora of time; all this in 3 hours. I was always exhausted at the end of the evening but the exercise itself was invaluable. Don't get hung up on the details!
So, I have started this regime again. Here is #1. I may not make it to 365 days but that is okay. For now it is working to loosen me up after spending so much time getting ready for the museum show. I have missed painting plein air. This exercise will get me warmed up for that. Luckily we have the last of the garden produce to get me started. I grabbed this heirloom tomato off the counter.
I will not critique these as they are not meant to be "serious" works. I usually love these studies the best, though.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Prairie Glow Work in Progress

Prairie Glow, 18x36, oil in progress
I first saw this scene 6 years ago and it has haunted me every since. This past August found me back there once again. This is the view of my boss's in-laws property from his property on the prairie lands of NE Colorado. The setting sun lit everything with this pinkish orange-y glow which I have thus far only intimated at. I got to this point a few weeks ago and have not been inspired to finish it off quite yet. There will be a beautiful highlight of light separating the purple cloud from the blue sky; I have a fence to build and a few more horses grazing in the shadows of the hillside (I am still debating whether they are needed or not-the fence may be all that is needed). Then I want to add the rosy light in a more unified pattern throughout.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Reflected Alley Work in Progress

Reflected Alley, 36x24, oil painting in progress
"The real jolt comes...because the viewer becomes lost in the sheer beauty of it. The painting gives a person an experience of the eternal." I read this last night in a novel I am reading and it so captured how I think about my work. To capture the eternal...Wow!

I worked on this painting this weekend. Made progress and it is heading in the right direction. I have not yet been  able to jump back into painting with gusto, but the passion is still there when I do stand at my easel. The building blocks are coming together (ie the big shapes are all there now and I am starting to work on breaking them down into smaller shapes which will then reveal themselves as "details.") I like the freshness showing already in this painting of how it looks after a spring rain when the sun comes out. Glorious!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Inspiration in Spades

Came across this video today (Just in case you want the link: All I can say is amazing. This artist is blind. He has a wonderful outlook and impressive paintings. Talk about overcoming your disability! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Virtual Slideshow

The Littleton Museum allowed me to bring a photographer in to the exhibit Monday morning while the museum is closed to the public. They are very strict about photos being taken in the galleries. I thought the virtual tour would be nice to post online for the many who cannot make it to see the show in person. This virtual tour will allow you to see the scope of the show, if not the individual pieces. Please know that this does not represent my paintings themselves in their true color. The slide show is a bit better color-wise if you would rather view that. Enjoy!
I apologize to those that receive my newsletter and my blog post via email as this is a duplication of content. Once I recover (I have been told I have post-partum  blues) I will get back to painting.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Victoria's Reception at the Littleton Museum

Here are a few shots of the exhibit. It doesn't appear busy, but the lot was packed and I suppose when you are taking photos surreptitiously, you wait for a quiet moment. I was kept busy for the short period of the reception, and admittedly, I was late to my own party. There was an accident that took place on our property 20" before I was due to leave and I was not dressed yet. I had to go out to see what happened as it sounded so horrific. My garden did take a beating, but thank God, no one was visibly hurt. I do believe the poor man who plowed through our yard in order to avoid a woman who ran a stop sign was suffering shock, and his car looked totaled. I apologize to any and all those who showed up and I did not get a chance to visit with. We were ushered out in short order. I only heard rave reviews from all those I did manage to talk to and the word on the street was that this is by far the best show this museum has had. Thanks again to all of my faithful friends, and acquaintances who continue to support me in my art journey. I talked to so many new people who are now interested in my work, receiving my newsletter and in me as teacher. The road continues to  open before me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Before the Reception on Thursday 9-15-11

Victoria with her son, Grant

Victoria, with her niece, Jen and her sister, Megan
This past week has been a whirlwind of activity. My son, Grant, surprised me Tuesday afternoon not 10" after I got home from work. He had flown in from Japan to surprise me and to be here for my museum reception on Thursday evening. I was totally surprised and a bit overwhelmed with emotion, but it seems everyone else was well aware of it and they all managed to keep it hidden from me. Lucky for me I knew my niece (from Seattle) and sister (from Hawaii) were coming ahead of time. They checked in with my daughter to see if she thought I could handle them all surprising me, and she wisely said, no. My niece left yesterday afternoon after a wonderful visit. This afternoon I will meet up with my aunt and uncle (from FL) and their 6 grandchildren who are all driving up from Colorado Springs where my cousin and his family live. We will tour my one person exhibit at the Littleton Museum together (which I have yet to see) and then come home for a family dinner. Photos are verboten at the museum but I have heard there were a few reprobates who managed to get some taken. No names will be mentioned!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Starting Anew

Alley Reflection block in, 36x24
Prairie Glow block in, 18x36
Saturday found me ready to start some new paintings now that the stress of trying to have everything ready for the show is over. I looked around at what size canvas I had ready to go and decided to go large. I got both of these blocked in and Sunday found me back at my easel painting. It is amazing how blocking in basic big shapes can get a piece pulled together in short order. At this point I know the prairie piece does not look very exciting but I do have some fun things in store for it. I decided to start with this one as I want a whole weekend ahead of me to get into the Alley piece. That one has me excited. One would think I would be done with alleys by now, but it is not to be. I haven't moved much out of my neighborhood. So many treasures yet to be uncovered!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Moving Day

My Subaru with all the 16x20's and smaller

Jane's Honda Element with all the 18x24 and larger paintings
Here I am before we started to unload the 86 paintings I delivered to the Littleton Museum yesterday morning. My friend Jane and I got there right around 9:30 a.m. There were 3 volunteers checking in all the paintings; they checked the condition of the frames and then set them around the gallery; Kate helped Jane and I not only unload the cars, but load the carts and haul them inside. What a trooper.  Al and Sarah unwrapped and checked them in while we did the hauling. There was only one fatality, and that was the first painting I unloaded from my car. I tripped and hit the corner of a frame and damage it. Other than that, the only slow down was my painting titles on the spreadsheet I provided did not always match the names I had written on the backs of each piece itself (some of which had no title on them). Oops. By this time, Kate was checking in the paintings and she was very patient with me. The museum had printed out the titles in alpha order, making it hard to find if I wasn't close in guessing the first word in the title. I always sort by painting size, because I usually know what size a piece is by looking at it and I can find the right title that way. While Kate and I sorted out the odd titles, Jane folded bubble wrap and put smaller boxes into medium boxes into larger boxes, and by the time everything was done, she had also loaded up the cars! She sure made my life easy. Jane insists she had fun and was so pleased to be a part of the process. Bless her heart. She will also come on the return trip when the show comes down, which we envision we will be transporting way less paintings, of course! We left the museum before 11 a.m. Very efficient process.

Jane was tickled pink. She got to chat with the museums curator and the other two volunteers (Sarah and Al) while Kate and I sorted out our pile of mismatched names. She told me over lunch how excited they all are by the work they saw and what a great show this is going to be. I saw the curator really looking at a few pieces and Al (retired art teacher) told me as we were leaving that a number of pieces really got to him and took him to new places! That is what it is all about. Transporting people. Apparently they have never had this much work from one artist, so I said, use your judgment-if you don't want to hang them all, don't. But no, they said they can stack smaller pieces and the show was in the raw stages of ideas when I left. The actually hanging will be done Monday afternoon.  My house seems so empty!

I took the repaired frame back to the museum in the late afternoon, and everyone I met was so excited to meet me. The word was out that this was an exceptional show. Wow. Are they talking about me??? You all will have to judge that on your own. For those of you who will not make it to the show while it is up I hope to have a virtual tour for you to view in the next few weeks.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Moving Forward

I neglected to take photos of the guest room when it was the collection point for  holding all the paintings as they were packaged up and checked off the list. Not a surface or wall area remained-including closets. It would have made for a more dramatic photo. I started moving them all downstairs this past week in an effort to keep the final loading to less up and down stairs. Now the main floor has paintings stacked all over. They are due at the museum on Thursday morning. I am hoping that my friend Jane and I can get them in our cars in one trip. I plan on loading my car up on Wednesday evening with the smaller pieces and leave the larger paintings for her Honda Element. The end is in sight! Or is it just the beginning of another chapter?

I am trying to finish one last painting today. I decided it was not good enough to make it to the  museum without more work. The other 3 that were on the chopping block seem to have come together well enough to be presented to the public. It is probably a good thing I started boxing paintings up fairly early in the process or I might never have felt any of them were ready!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exciting News!

Not only is my sister coming from Hawaii, but my niece is flying in from Seattle, and one of my oldest friends (not in age, but in how long we have known each other) is driving from Oklahoma with her husband in a show of overwhelming support of me and my work! What fun we are going to have. I have not seen my friend in 20 years, my niece since she got married 3 years ago and my sister for a year. There will be some catching up to do after the dust settles. More family will be showing up during the 6 weeks of the exhibit. My brother and sister-in-laws from California and my uncle and aunt from Florida. They are coming to Colorado to take care of their grandkids, but still, how amazing is it that they will be able to see what I have been up to. Wow! is all I can say. Thank you to all my family and friends; you all make it worthwhile.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Debbie's Place, 11x14

My laptop is in the shop as it has been overheating and I have been afraid to use for more than 20" at a time; overheating to the extent the keys were hot to the touch. Perfect timing with my show quickly approaching.

Here is a painting I hesitated to post but it is one that I have been reworking. The bottom photo was from 2006 when I originally painted this piece.

The middle version was done 2 years later about the time I was trying to assimilate what I was learning in the year long master painting class I was taking. What happened in that version was that the whole painting became rather flat even if the colors improved. The photo has a yellow cast that I could not get rid of.

This past weekend I decided to work on it again and put back the sense of light. I added some greenery to the black hole on either side of the sheep shed. I worked on the back angle of the tin roof and lightened the rust (not sure that is completed yet). I fixed the drawing and shaping of the sheep;  the sheep got lightened and the dirt was darkened to sharpen the contrast. The plastic ribbons got more light and shabbiness.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The End is in Sight

Monday all the rest of my "paperwork" is due to the Littleton Museum. The invitation is already at the printers;  I must have my artist's bio, mailing list and painting price list to Lorena on Monday. From there I have 2.5 weeks until the paintings must be delivered and then one week after that is the opening, September 15, from 5-7:30 pm. Seems like a lot of work for a 1.5 hour opening, but I am sure they don't shoo everyone out at the stroke of 7:30, or maybe they do!

I have been working on one last fun painting as well as continuing to fine tune those that are in the "finished" category. This past week I got my artist's statement where I want it, and today compiled the press release. I will sit on that over the weekend and then send it out to a few publications on Monday. The newspapers will come later.

I ordered the last of the frames I need and they will be ready the weekend before the paintings are due to the museum. That was cutting it a bit close, but 5 weeks seemed like enough time. It is, but barely. Varnishing is still being held off on too many paintings as I decide whether they are really where I want them or not. I have come to believe that a painting is never finished until it sells!

 Now a prayer to the god of the stock market.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Walk Back in Time

Parry's Primrose
Chiming Bells

There was a time, many moons ago, when we hiked as a family. During this phase of life, I would carry my watercolor supplies and do sketches of wild flowers along the way.  When I reached 100, the research began in earnest so that I could compile these sketches into a little book. I actually did talk to a publisher but was told my book was too much like others already on the market. Recently, the last prototype I had from this experience went out the door to a new home. It got me thinking I needed to revamp the book. And see if I could add some new sketches.  Which means go hiking. Which we have not done in a coon's age. Truly. Do I really want to find out how out of shape I am??

The good news is, the hike went well; the bad news is, I did not get any sketching done. Here is a shot taken on our way back to the car. The blue flowers are Columbines. Near the streams the Parry Primroses were amazing and the trail was lined with Chiming Bells and Larkspur. I did snap some photos to see if I can identify the few flowers I found that I did not know. It was good to be back on the trail.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Big Picture

6x8" oil
The last assignment for the Master Painting class I took a few years ago was to do a small "study" of anything we wanted and to then paint a larger piece (minimum size 18x24) using only the small study for reference. Trying to copy even the brushstrokes! This was to teach us how hard it is to make a larger painting look good even if the study works well. Our end of the year assignment fell in December and so I had brought up these fruit from the kitchen and just set them down while I decided what to do. Serendipity had a hand in it as the fruit set themselves up! I painted this at eye level using a kneeling bench. That is my old printer behind the nice gray shape of my desk chair and the base of my lamp to the left. I can't remember what adds the nice white line to break up the grays. I still love this little study which hangs above my desk.
The Big Picture, 18x24" oil on board
The larger piece was not so successful. I happened across it while looking at old paintings stashed in the basement and brought it up to see if I could make it work. Kevin saw it in my studio when he came over last month and he pulled it out. He always liked my study for this assignment so he gave me a few things to do, saying the larger piece was just about "there" and it was worth saving. I did as he suggested, but I have not yet been told it is "there." "Here" it is.
Ah, I wrote the above text before I had the photo uploaded from my camera. Somehow seeing them online makes the differences "jump out" at me. If I really want them to match, I suppose I shall take it back to the easel.