Friday, May 24, 2013

Ups and Downs

I started off the day just fine! I'd had a nice evening and was looking forward to the day. I have a commission I'm working on that is nice and challenging, ( an odd proportion), and a student coming later in the day whom I very much enjoy working with.

I had just enough on my plate to make it an interesting day without too much craziness. I'd taken care of many of the tedious details for the week, yesterday. All good!

Then, things went a bit a wry. While moving some canvases to prepare to gesso, a stack fell over and hit my tripod and camera. Down went the camera on the cement floor. I wasn't too hopeful and sure enough, it wasn't good!!

Well, how to make the most of this??? That camera was awfully big for me. I was used to my old camera. I love the name Nikon much better than Cannon?? I'm itching to read new owners manuals?? I love shopping for new equipment?? Tired of painting and want to spend money?? I'm trying!!

A busy studio with lots going on, constantly in flux and a bit of chaos thrown in. Life is good. A broken camera is not a broken arm or leg. Just stuff. Off to Camera Solutions!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Little Plein Air in Bend, OR

I returned last night from teaching a quick, one day plein air workshop for the Plein Air Painters of Oregon. What a wonderful day! The weather gods where definitely behind us as we had a spectacular day in the high 70's with just a bit of wind early in the morning that settled right down, making it perfect painting weather.

We kicked off the workshop with a mixer at my host's house the night before.Thanks to everyone for the yummy and welcoming evening. Super to get to know one another before we head out into the field.

An early start to Dillon Falls, a place I've painted before. When I was there last time, I hadn't taken the time to wander up to the falls. Boy, was I surprised!They are amazing!

Dillon Falls on the Deshutes
Starting a watercolor under-painting after completing a thumbnail sketch

Watercolor palette
A loose and chromatic start
Making some assessments
Wild and bold start to cut all the GREEN!!
Adding pastel

My newly cleaned and organized palette!!

Making a little headway to finish

The completed field sketch

My source

We had a great day painting in the Oregon sunshine. Thank you to all of you in the group for coming out and working with me. Thanks to the coordinators and especially to Jennifer for hosting me!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Organizing Pastels!!

Today was finally the day. I spent the entire day organizing and cleaning all my travel pastel boxes. It was a long, dirty and physical day, but I'm really satisfied with the results. I'll wind up with three fully stocked pastel boxes; a large Heilman, a small Heilman and an additional box from Willow Wisp Farms,( I don't think this one is available any longer).

As usual with these kind of tasks, it was a slippery slope. I started out thinking I was going to spend a couple hours restocking, but in the end, completely emptied all three boxes, cleaned the foam and carefully restocked each box.

As I started in, I realized if I didn't clean the foam, the work of cleaning the pastels was futile; they wouldn't stay clean on the dirty foam. Honestly, I'd never cleaned the foam on any of these boxes! The oldest one is about ten years old, so that's pretty yucky!!

I opened up all my back stock and filled in all the boxes, making sure to eliminate, duplicates and almost imperceptible duplicates. This maximizes the space in each box.
I used only half sticks to populate the boxes, also maximizing space.

I snap the pastels in half rather than cutting them. I just find this works better and causes less crumbling. I take off all the wrappers in order to be able to benefit from what each stick can do. When the wrapper is off, it can act like many, many brushes. If you leave the wrappers on, your stuck with just using the very tips of the sticks.

My boxes contain a wide variety of pastels, because I like the qualities of many of the brands; Terry
Ludwigs are rich and grainy, Schmincke are buttery and soft, Nupastels are harder and good for glazing and line. I wouldn't want to limit my box to just one brand.

Now for a couple more exciting things. I'll be presenting next month at the IAPS convention on Friday and then again on Sunday. I hope to see some of you there. I can't wait!

Then in July, I'm totally excited and honored to be part of the Arts Week Faculty at the Omega Institute, in Rhinebeck, NY. I'm sure this will be an amazing experience for me.

Happy Painting!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I got to paint outdoors on a beautiful Friday in Portland! 

I haven't been outdoors to paint much lately, so this was a treat that I'm happy that I gave to myself. I'll be teaching a one day plein air workshop in Bend, Oregon a week from tomorrow, so it was a good thing to get out and check my gear and reconnect with painting outdoors. I needed a little tune-up!

I decided to take my half french easel instead of my usual set-up on a tripod. A little more to carry, but I liked it a lot better for pastels. I find the easel attachment for my Heilman box to have a bit to be desired. 

I was in a good spot; pretty shady until I got some dappled light on my painting surface. But my board and my pastels were getting roughly the same kind of lighting, which is pretty important in order to be able to see the colors/values correctly on a sunny day.

I hope you get lots and lots of these kind of painting days! Happy Painting!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Inspiration Near and Far

I am very fortunate to have traveled to some of the most lovely places in the United States to paint and teach. I love visiting new places, seeing new vistas, seeing how we are connected to the landscape. Next year, I'll embark on some international painting trips for both teaching and for my own pleasure and education. But the truth is that one can find beautiful things to paint anywhere. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

One of the exercises I have my students do on the last day of one of my workshops is to look around the studio and find one object to paint large on a full sheet of paper. They usually moan and groan about "wasting" a good sheet of paper, but quickly see the beauty and elegance of making the usual, unusual;  painting using large, broad strokes. One doesn't have to cross the country and haul your gear through miles of territory to find something worthy to paint.

This point was driven home for me the other day when I went for a walk on Elk Rock Island with a friend. This beautiful spot on the Willamette River is literally across the street from my studio. I'd been down to this beautiful park on only a couple occasions and then, had never bothered to take the time to really explore it.

This park in my back yard has all the makings for a wonderful painting spot to be explored and enjoyed over and over again. I'm sure I will visit it many, many times, never having to leave my neighborhood. Sometimes we overlook the obvious, or that which is right in front of us.

Inspiration for creativity is all around. The other morning I was treated to another reminder of this when I woke and looked out my window to find the driveway alley filled with chalk drawings. Some of the drawings depict the Kundalini. They were done by my neighbors and serve as an example of the many realms from which one can draw on creativity and energy.

I was reminded to keep and open mind and an open heart to discovering beauty. It could be across the country, across the street or alley or even across the room.

As always, Happy Painting.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Another Lovely Workshop!

I'm such a lucky duck! I just returned home from Springfield, where I wrapped up a four day painting workshop at the Emerald Art Center. Springfield, Oregon is also pretty lucky, as they have an amazing art center right in the heart of their downtown. It is a beautiful facility that houses a lovely, large and well lite gallery space, light filled classrooms for workshops, a library and all the other amenities like a kitchen, storage etc. They host top-notch workshops from nationally known instructors. Check out their website. It's impressive.

My kids were hard working and motivated. A lot was accomplished in the four days....mileage, mileage, mileage. Our class was lucky to have Carol Marine as a student! Boy, was that fun. She is a delight and shared her experience and knowledge with the group. I'm so happy to have connected with her!

Me and Carol
 One of my demos started out kinda rocky! About halfway through, I thought I might have bitten off a little more than I could chew. Luckily, I heeded my own advice, left the section that I was troubling over and began working the whole piece. I found my way and was able to go back and readdress the unresolved section with more clarity and less frustration.

One of my demos
Our group!

Home Sweet Home!!
Next up is IAPS!!! I can't wait! Better buy your banquet tickets! Hope to see some of you there!