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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.