Thursday, March 26, 2015

Coy Cow

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of watching my friend Sarah demo a portrait painting (she teaches, by the way). She used a palette knife to pre-mix several piles of paint. Her method after that for applying the paint involved a different order of things than my usual way. It seemed to work very well for her, so I came home and tried it out right away, on some of the "funny face photos" you guys sent me like...3 years ago. Here's the first one. It wasn't a complete success, but there are some HUGE benefits of pre-mixing that I had never considered. There are also some cons. I'll do a little bit more testing and then I'll lay out my observations, with bullet points and all that snazzy stuff. : )

I won't post these for sale (because they are just practice), but if you recognize the face as something you sent me and like it enough to spring for shipping, it's yours!

The cow above is also pre-mixed. And using the same general method Sarah used. Not island to ocean - I'll tell you that much. More soon!

Ps. Thank you all so much for your kind words about my friend Bren. It means a lot to me.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Beautiful Life

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This morning I received the news that my good friend Bren passed away, after a long battle with cancer. Instead of going on and on about what a wonderful person she was, and all the reasons I loved her, I want to tell just one simple story.

The first time I went to stay with Bren in Maine, for a couple of days, right after a workshop I taught in the area, we decided to have dinner at a restaurant in Belfast (an hour away). We piled into her car, and got about 20 minutes down the road, chatting non-stop. Suddenly she turned beet red and stopped talking. I said, "What is it?" She said, "I'm so embarrassed. You're never going to believe this, but I forgot my shoes!"

We laughed so, so hard! I told her I was so glad someone else did stupid things and it wasn't just me. We turned around and headed back to her house, assuming the restaurant wouldn't let us in without shoes. When we got back, her daughter came out of the house with Bren's purse in hand. Apparently she'd forgotten that too!

After that we always joked with each other - "Did you remember your shoes today?," texting pictures of our feet back and forth from Maine to Oregon. And that is just one of the memories of her that I will cherish for the rest of my days. I love you Bren.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Familiarity Breeds...

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Here's another attempt at the daffodils. I really enjoy trying to pose them, though they don't always cooperate. But now I know (thanks to you guys!) that they'll stay closed up if I keep them cool. I'll definitely try that next time.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Daffy Dils

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When I found these guys at the store, they were all closed up. I thought the colors were so cool - I intended to paint them that way. But I didn't make it in time because I painted the alien flowers (from yesterday) first. I wonder if there's a trick to keeping them closed like they were at the store? Not that I don't like them open too.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Alien Flowers

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I stopped by our local market yesterday with the idea of getting some produce to paint. Outside, in rows, were tons of little plants like this. At first I thought, "no, I'm here to get apples." But wait, why couldn't I paint this if I'm excited about it?! Duh. So I spent about 20 minutes picking through the palettes to find the best ones. I took a few inside to pay and the guy at the checkout asked, "Are you going to put these in some nice pots?" I said, "Actually, I'm going to paint them." He just looked at me and said, "Ohhhhh." I'm used to it.

Anyway, I really like this one. A lot. My paint-cation totally paid off.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Goose Pit Stop

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This one is also from the Finley Wildlife Refuge here in Oregon (same as yesterday). I was feeling like maybe the colors were a bit drab, but a few minutes ago my stepdaughter passed behind me, saw the painting on my computer and said, "Great colors!" (Thanks, Maddie!) They were definitely what I saw. My buddies that I painted with said they were "very...accurate." I'm often torn with if and how much I should exaggerate when I'm outside. It's something I experiment with, and will continue to do so. For now, here's an accurate, overcast, Oregon marsh.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Oregon Marsh, Early Spring

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My paint-cation turned into a (damn) cold. Ack! But right before that happened, I did manage to get out for my first plein air-ing of the year. I went out with a couple of buddies to the Finley Wildlife Refuge here in Oregon, on a fairly overcast day. When we drove in, a hundred or so geese went flying right overhead. It was a marvelous sight!

Friday, March 13, 2015


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The reason you haven't heard from me is because I've been taking a paint-cation! This is a special time when you can do anything EXCEPT paint. And it's one thing to try when you get blocked to the point where you have no ideas and no enthusiasm. Which is where I was. But I can feel things percolating! Today I broke my "fast" and went out plein air painting with some friends. I'll post those soon. Meanwhile, here is the last painting I did before the break - slices of grapefruit.

One of the things I've been doing besides painting is filling orders for books. You should have seen the mountain the first day. Thank you all!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Have Any to Spare?

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My husband has been working his tail off for months, programming a shopping cart for me so I can sell my books myself. It took a while because he is integrating it into Daily Paintworks so that all our members can sell books too. And/or other stuff. Today we are releasing just my store, and once we're sure it works, we'll release it to the rest of DPW.

So, if you're interested in buying one of my books, including my new 100 Small Paintings - vol.6, visit my new store! And tell me what you think. : )

Friday, March 06, 2015

Grapefruit Diet

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I've never actually been on a grapefruit diet myself. But they looked delicious at the store the other day. The color inside is almost unbelievable. So grape-fruity!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Something Old and Blue

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This is another scene from around my town (Eugene). The big tree and background trees were quite a challenge, but I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. For the background I basically just squinted and painted what I saw as simply as possible. But then I guess that's sort of how I paint in general. : )

And speaking of Eugene, I'm giving a talk at the local art supply store next Thursday. If you're in the area, and you have $5, come see me! Here's all the deets.

Monday, March 02, 2015

A Touch of Light

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This is a scene from our Willamette Street here in Eugene, Oregon. Even though it looks like a theater of some kind, I believe this is a coffee shop. Needless to say, I haven't been inside this particular one, otherwise I guess I would know. What really grabbed me was the slash of sunlight on the upper windows, and the bits of reflected sky.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Cozy Kitchen

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I took the picture for this in my friend Bren's house in Maine, last time I was there. I have very fond memories of this house and my friend in it. She sat in the nearest chair last spring and let me henna her whole head. This is when the henna was still basically mud. ->

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Warm Crossing

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This is another one from New York City. More shafts of light. I'm particularly happy with how this one turned out. I used a combination of approaches. I painted some of the darks first, but left out the stuff that I thought was too vulnerable for it. For example, her pants. And the whole part of the street in the light. And all the blue-ish background bits.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sunny Patches

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This is why I love the city - the shadows the buildings make on each other! And the bits of sun in between.This is a scene from San Francisco.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Reflecting San Francisco

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This is a scene from San Francisco. I just love the reflections of windows in the car from the building beside it, and the peek of the bay in the background. It took me 2 tries to get this painting right. It was really hard to convince myself to do it over, but it was totally worth it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cozy Spot

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This is a little scene from a hotel my husband and I stayed at in San Francisco last year.

A friend of mine sent me a link for some interesting frames for paintings on panels. They look pretty neat, and VERY inexpensive. If anyone gets them, please let me know what you think! If the quality is good, I'd like to recommend them on a regular basis.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Angels in the Architecture

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After a few successes with the "darks first" method, I had a few total disasters. So I retreated back to my usual method for this one (islands to oceans). What I've discovered is there are pros and cons to each. My goal is to figure out when to use each one, and if there's some way to use them somehow together. I will keep experimenting. Thoughts, anyone?

Meanwhile, I did this one from a photo I took inside the NYC downtown library. I chose a bigger panel for it and found it was MUCH easier to paint people when they weren't crammed into a 6x6! I've been wanting to do this one for a while, and am very happy with the result.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Street Market

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Here's another one with the same experiment as yesterday - putting down the darks first, and mapping out all the values with that color, then the rest on top. I promised I would talk about the benefits (that I can think of right this moment), so here goes.

1. The base color (whatever you make the darks of) ties the whole thing together quite a bit, because that color is everywhere (I used a mix of red, blue and yellow).
2. It is far easier to judge each value as you go because you're just matching the color to the value that is underneath. (BTW, I actually switched the photo to black and white as I was blocking in the values, so I wouldn't be distracted by the color)
3. I could easily see (and adjust), throughout the whole process, somewhat how the whole thing was going to look in the end, because all the values were already there (vs. how I usually work - from islands to oceans).

Again I'd like to mention that it worked particularly well here because the colors are all fairly neutral. I wouldn't use this method on a scene with really saturated colors, as my still lifes often do.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Who Needs a Taxi!?

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So, ok. I tried something new for this one, but it's actually something very old too. And I'm embarrassed to admit it, because it's something I specifically do (and teach) kind of the opposite of. But humility is good for us, right?! So here goes.

For this one I put down the darks first. Crikey! Actually I made a pretty thorough value study with just one dark (a mix of red, blue and yellow), painting in the darks and wiping out the lights. Then I painted on top of that. I think it worked well because 1. it's a dark dominant painting, and 2. there aren't any super saturated colors that I needed to keep "clean." I don't think I would try this method for many of my still lifes, but I will definitely try it again for this kind of scene. I'll explain the benefits in my next post.