Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Color Notes

Really working on fine tuning color notes and temperature changes this week (or any week for that matter). For as much as I have been called a tonalist and a subtle painter, my work REALLY has alot of color and I'd like to push the envelope a little more towards greys. We, as artists, generally work in this little bubble of our studio, surrounded by our own work, comparing palettes and compositions to the work that is around us. It is only when we get out to a show, hang our work next to another artist, enter a competition - that we really start to get an objective view of where we are. I've got Monet and Tryon out today to learn some lessons from the real deal. The piece I am posting is a simple little square composition and it is ALL about temperature changes in the sunlight and in the shadows. Very close value ranges within each, very subtle color changes with each. Don't know if I am completely done yet, but here is my days work progress! What do you think - still ALOT of color?

Quiet Cloud Cover, 20x20 oil on canvas

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back outdoors!

Have a little green anyone?
I got out painting with the gang again. We have had so much snow, and rain here in Utah that our rivers and reservoirs are gushing over onto the banks. This week will probably be the worst flooding as temps are going to stay high all week. I feel a little guilty embracing this wonderful and much anticipated warm weather, but it sure feels good for a change! And my garden is LOVING it! It's been so cold my cucumbers couldn't even grow and today I think they have grown two inches. Back on focus.....
We went to a favorite little place of mine called Jefferson Hunt in Ogden Valley. It's a place that my family used to go to annually on Memorial Day to camp. This year the entire campground is under water, but my little spot is still fine to paint. This big round billowy tree has been the subject of many paintings for me. But what about the greens? And what about the close values all over? How to strategically make this work? First I simplify as much information as possible and figure out what stays and what goes. Why am I drawn to this shape over and over and what emotional ties do I have to this composition? This analysis will help me with shape placement. Next comes a value pattern block in. Will this be high contrast or low contrast - will dominance of color or values be more effective? Will it be subtle color changes or more saturated and daring color? So many decisions to make in the beginning! After that, it's fly by the seat of my pants and jump right in. At least a half a dozen times in the process, I am sure that the piece will completely fail and I'll pack up and go home. Be damned, it won't get the best of me....! I finally settle in and quit thinking and start listening. This is my favorite part, when I can finally just be in the moment with my painting and let things start to happen. Later in the day, I will look at it with fresh eyes and critique it a little more constructively, but I try to remind myself of the emotional freshness of something painted on the spot. That is the spirit of plein air, the freshness of decisions, the impression of the moment and the landscape around me - reworking too much will take away from all of that. Maybe just a touch here and a touch there and let the piece speak for itself. Ahhh, all in a days work - what a great job I have!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hello from California!

Posting from not-so-sunny Southern California this morning! I'm here visiting my daughter for the first time since she moved here to become an actress. I'm very relieved to see she is living in a beautiful neighborhood and she is safe! She works in Beverly Hills and is checking in on auditions daily. She is going after her dream!
My first adventure here in LA was the Getty Museum. After a couple of interesting mishaps from the TOM-TOM (technology sometimes does not differentiate the back entrances from the front ones and hopefully there were no cameras recording my actions), I finally found the parking area for the tram and off I went, up the hill to the top of the world. The architecture of the building and the landscape and gardens were amazing. I dissected the map and immediately headed for the West Pavillion with the paintings from the 1800's on, the Impressionist paintings and anything modern from there. I am an instant gratification kind of girl and I am known to plunge into desert before dinner - you never know how much time it will take to see what I came here to see! It's been awhile since I've actually set my eyes on a Degas, Monet, Van Gogh - my memories had forgotten how truly transformational they are, how complex and yet simple, the paint quality and color subtleties - the vast division of the truly genius painters from everybody that wants to be. In person, one clearly knows on all levels why the masters are the masters!
And so the process begins - awe and inspiration lead to defeat and dejection (I swear I will sell my paints) which then lead to an atta-girl, you can give it your best shot, try harder and I'm ready to paint again. Spent the next few hours back at the apartment looking through images to start a new series. All in a day!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Newest Piece on the Easel

This piece is called Yellowstone Mineral Pools. It is a 9x12k destined for the Jackson Wildlife Museum Western Visions show in August.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hello Summer!!!

It's been awhile since I spent any time blogging! A couple of announcements - My workshop in Creede, CO has been postponed until September due to "increment" - meaning HORRIBLE - weather. Snow, rain, winds - sound familiar? We here in Utah have had the same thing and now we are preparing ourselves for snow melt flooding, probably the worst in years. I heard that in the last 35 days, we had rain for 28 days. We've had moments of sunshine and I've taken advantage of those days! Second time out with the gang painting. We have an unbelievable group of painters from this area that get together once a week to paint, have lunch and talk art. Today was a beautiful day and we had the pleasure of entertaining a horse, a burro, two goats, three sheep and a black lab. Who can say that everyday? The landscape was a bit busy and we all had to do a little "embellishing"! Here is a little pic of our friends...

I am SERIOUSLY going to do more field study painting. The act of simplifying information and building compositions from life is invaluable to a studio painter. I think it is the element that I need most in my work. I feel like there are so many different styles of painting - plein air, tonal, traditional, stylistic, contemporary - and they are all beautiful. I would not necessarily call myself a plein air painter, I work from thumbnails, plein air studies, my own photography, and memory, but every time I get out, I learn something invaluable to carry over into my larger work. Color notes, values, relationships - you just can't get that from a photo. And being out in nature reminds me what it's all about! Back to the land, back to the trees, the water, the mountains, the changing skies. And I live in an amazing landscape - our valleys and meadows are the Best!
Another announcement - I will be doing a small works show at the Crowley Gallery and Cafe here in my hometown of Ogden, Ut. This week June 3rd, I will do a demo for the gallery's art stroll from 6-9 pm. I will work in oil for the demo. Then on June 18th, they will hold a private reception for my watercolors and oils, along with appetizers and wine. It should be a great time and I will post the invite when I have it! If you are anywhere near me for the demo, come on down and visit me.
I'm also gearing up for the PleinAir Show with the Kneeland Gallery in August, a new body of work for Mtn. Trails Gallery in Jackson, WY as well as the Western Visions Show at the Jackson Museum of Wildlife Art. Other shows are in the making and I will announce them as they come. I've kind of taken some time off from the traveling I did last year. Marco has a job that requires many hours and won't be able to travel with me as much - what a bummer :( Sure glad we took advantage of it last year. I think this is my year to really get out in the field and concentrate on quality over quantity more than ever. It's really scary to take away options from the sales arena, but I know I am making the right decision. I guess this is where a little faith goes a long way! And I always seem to make it...... so far. :)
Happy painting all - get out and paint! Play with some field studies and breathe a little mother nature!