Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Yesterday I had time to paint in the afternoon and so I finally painted the barn up by Boomtown on Hwy. 80 in a horizontal format which  really places the barn in the landscape. What's more fun, the big white barn or the two little red sheds?

In learning about taking a subject further and further, going in really close is lots of fun and hold lots of information.  This close up is almost abstract and is certainly a study of shape, shape, and shape.
 Can I go closer? What color is white? Was this the most interesting part of the barn on which to concentrate?

Back out to Seavy Lane. My friend has several old barns on her ranch. I loved this shot as they really play with each other. Once again, shapes. After photographing this and posting it, I can see some more work I want to do on it.  A work in progress.

Wishing you all a very happy new year full of peace and light.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Study, study

The last couple of days, I have taken the time to do little studies, getting to know a subject better. This barn is up at Boomtown, Nevada.  Travelling west, it is just past Boomtown. It  was ready to snow when we were there and bitterly cold. I took my pictures quickly.

There was this little red shed behind the building and lots of trees around. The landscape in the foothills behind was quite barren. Amazing how much color is in even the drabbest, dryest landscape. The shapes and the colors were what I was hunting for as I did these small studies.

And just in case you thought I might have way. Here I am playing with light but what I really need to play with is composition. How can I skew this? Interestingly.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all the merriest of Holiday seasons.  I loved painting this guy. I did three holiday paintings this weekend.  Now I am firmly in the mood!
Share the light of the season.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Helen Putnam Park in December

The December challenge for Daily Paintworks is "paint your dog".  Now may I say, that is easier said than done.  Black dogs have lots of shiny blue, purple and grey in their coats which is great, but they smile with their tails......which is most difficult to capture.  You see how I handled it?  Josie is a fun dog, happy to play, happy to sleep for upteen hours. Maybe I should say she is a "whatever" dog. At any rate, here she is.   8 inches square and painted over an old painting that I scraped........which is why you see those lively flecks of color  here and there.

Painting class today was at Helen Putnam Park just outside of Petaluma.  It was so cold when we arrived, and then almost shirtsleeve weather at 12:30 during the critique part of the class. This December day displayed these great fall leaves and grass that was really spring green. My "word" for this painting that I was to keep in mind throughout was fleeting.  Anything that did not seem fleeting should go. It did not belong in the painting.  I adhered to this except for the hills in the background. I felt they were a nice contrast to fleeting and therefore enhanced the work. Long and narrow, done in oil,  7.5 x 15.
Fun, fun, fun.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The merry, merry month..........

This week's Daily Paintworks Challenge is to paint in the style of an admired artist.  Since I am so fond of flowers and really trying to get inside of them, I picked Georgia O'Keefe and her famous calla lilies.  This is from a photo I had of my own callas and to get the relationships right...........I had to turn the reference photo upside down. For now, that is a big help. Someday it might be a crutch. This painting is 5 x 7 and done on a gessoed board. Check out to see more of the lovely paintings.

Finally I started to paint from some of my Swiss photos.  There were amazing gardens everywhere.  This is my first attempt and I so enjoyed doing it. More to come.

You might have seen this on Facebook.  It is a trike I did for a friend who lost her husband. I am sure she will know who did it for her immediately.  I hope it brings a smile to her face.
I will continue to dig deeper into the trikes............I want to get one done that has an abstract quality about it.  They would also be fun to do indifferent styles..........Cubist Trike?

Guess who is coming............Santa!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November fleeing...........

This has been a month of art housekeeping chores which does cut down on painting time, but I did get to put another coat on the white barn.  Now it has lots more depth and texture. That is a good thing.

Two weeks ago we painted in Putnam Plaza in downtown Petaluma.  I did the stairway up to Kentucy Street as I felt I needed instruction on doing stairs.  They came out just fine and I really needed little instruction.  I had them way too steep. When I corrected that, it all flowed just fine. This one and the others from class will be on display at the Thai restaurant that is in the Plaza for the holiday season.

Quite some time ago you saw this painting and it was green, so very green. I did not like it so it sat in the art closet, resting.
A few days ago I pulled it out and added another layer with color, lots of color (as long as it was not green) and look..........amazing, isn't it. Now you see  a happy place where someone left their trike. Just what I wanted.

November fleeing..........have a wonderful holiday..........

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Another barn

Today at the Dahlia Farm I worked on this old barn.  Just the drawing was a challenge for me. Another challenge.......what color of white?
It is 12 x 12 which I felt a good size for making a statement concerning the barn. I will do another taking into consideratioin some of the composition comments I received during the critique.
It was a fun class.

And I made revisions to the pumpkin............
Can you tell?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

My weeks results.......

This is the upside down one after three visits. As I noted in my last post, the challenge was to put my reference photo upside down so that I would look at shapes and relationships, and not think, trike, trike. Hopefully the drawing is  correct. I think it is and then one week later I see something new.
 It will be fun to discuss composition at class tomorrow. My only thought, laughing away, was to crop the trike on three sides. Other than that, it landed where it was outside by the birdbath.

I took a painting of the trike to class last week with the drawing having several fatal flaws.  This is the painting redrawn and then repainted.  I left the rear of the trike as it was and squared everything else off of it. I also challenged myself to use fewer paint strokes.  That was difficult as I was painting over a painting but hopefully I left some areas with a mild abstract feeling...........

This little pumpkin will be posted on the Daily Paintworks challenge. Just paint a pumpkin.....that is all that was required. The one I chose was a mini that was very flat. Great Thanksgiving decoration?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Class today was fun....

I did this trike after class and discussing my first try with Sandra, the instructor. Her advice was to put my reference photo upside down and paint from that. Then I would be looking at shapes, not a trike. It really worked for me.  You are seeing it after one needs more but not lots more. That is the hard part.  It is also one of my larger paintings.  12 x 12 ,oil

I did revisit this little barn and now I am going to leave it alone and do another with a more exciting composition.  This is too sweet but certainly fun to do.  Maybe I need the upside down method again but with better composition.

This is really dark but it actually is a pretty dark painting. The fun today, as this is the one I did in class, was learning more about those trees I love so much.  I ended up pleased with the tree but the lowest part of the painting needs work......just a little excitement.
Onward and upward.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Ok, so I have a thing for red barns. They have lots of personality.  This is the third painting I have done of Terry's barn. The perspective is better and the composition also. It seems to fit nicely on 8 x 8. When I post, I always see through new eyes. This time I am seeing a need for darker darks. We will see what tomorrow brings when I look again.

Wednesday art class met at Adobe Pumpkin Farm where there were so very many things to paint. What this farm had that some other do not, is rows and rows of flowers. I was very taken by the lovely variety....rows and rows of color.
For this painting, which is done on a 6 x 12 board, I was to go for the gesture of the blossoms and of the greenery. Shapes, shapes, shapes.
Love it.

Above the flowers you could look onto Adobe Road and see this massive gum tree. And I mean massive.  Sandra taught me lots about capturing the shape and then I worked on the foreground which I made way too bold. When I got home, I scraped most of the color off. This is the result......

And so I did another. Fun tree to paint.

And early Saturday I did another practice tree.......this one from my vacation.
Once again, are the darks dark enough?
Good question.
Great weekend painting.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Click here to view these pictures larger

Just experimenting.  Yes, it is this easy to upload pictures from Shutterfly.  Who knew?
I loved the windowboxes in Switzerland and took several photos of them, hoping to paint them.  Soon we will have rain and I will stay indoors and give it a try.

Critique was great and all the photos I posted last time have things for me to work on, fix, alter, etc. It is such a  delightful experience to see how the work changes when I put to practice the instructor's comments.

Tomorrow I will load all the fountains I saw. And maybe some art work...........

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making progress

This is an 11 x 14 canvas......I just wanted to do something with size for a change.  And I got size didn't I? This red barn is at my friend Terry's ranch and posed lots of problem spots for me.  Getting the angles and shapes correct was a challenge.....then on to keeping the landscape way back and lastly the punch so you know where to look. The  critique will be fun... and should involve that bit of roof on the edge of the canvas.

Another interesting shape..........6 x 12.  Number two in this process. I like this fence better and those trees really do look like the "gum" trees of Two Rock. And yet I wanted a looser painting.....I am not sure this is loose enough for where I want to get. On to the critique in art class for this one also.

Hopefully the last revision. It's looking pretty good.

I did this little 6 x 6 study from the roof top of the downtown Petaluma garage. So the challenge was the relationship between the part of the house in the front with the turning basin and boat behind. I also had the opportunity to edit out objects. It was my first painting after returning from to be back in class and learning about looking down.

This little painting started as a 30 minute study and I also took a reference photo. Then after looking at my 30 minute work for about a week, I finished it up with highlights and another layer of color. The little bit of red along the street is very important. Perhaps the river reflection divides the painting in two?  I do love that paintings are all about a little moment of time. Love the process!

Friday, September 30, 2011

After class

The 5 x 7 tree gets reworked once again.  And it is better, more form, better movement.

For class we were at the Steamer Landing looking down the Petaluma River. The boat was in shadow while the distance sparkled, light bouncing off of the river.
I learned lots doing this scene in a class setting. And I do think the result stands up just fine.

And when the critique is over and I have made the adjustments I wanted to make......this is what you see.  A pleasing, used palette.......

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The process

More trees and how they develope.  This picture is of a pear (I think) tree in Valley Maggia. Actually it was in the tiny, tiny village of Brontallo. I loved the shape of the whole tree and the lovely arcs of the trunk  and branches as the tree reaches for the sky. 

So I just jumped in and created this little work. 6 x 6 and kind of abstract. Great negative shapes. Great trunk, wrong shape. I worked on it two different times.

Next I did this 5 x 7 in a less abstract form looking for the play of the lights and darks....
There is something missing here, probably in values but not really sure. So it will go to class with me tomorrow and we can all discuss it.

Then, after two paintings I decided to do a little study accentuating
the basic shapes found in the tree. Learning to really see this tree. The first study is on the left and then, with the orange background I did another. It is a fun one.  And so I learn.  And I still might like the very first one best!

This charming little village is called Foroglio which is in Val Bavona. Val Bavona branches off of the main road of Valle Maggia at Cavergno.  It is a village that has decided to not have electricity.  We heard a generator which is used for the restaurant but the people really did decide no electricity.

No better example of clean and neat could exist. Beautiful red geraniums everywhere.  And always, watch your step. As you can see, the depth of the stairs is never consistent. Nor could it be, made with the granite and other stones of the valley.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Back From Vacation

As many of you know, I spent the first two weeks of September in Ticino, Switzerland. It was an absolutely fabulous vacation. My cousin and I stayed with our dear friend and college-mate, Vivien at her home in Lodano.  No oil paints, but I did experiment with gouache. Looking, it is obvious that I do not yet know how to get the intensity of color that I want. This hydrangea was up at their summer "hut" in the mountains where there is just no time. We sat around, I painted, we ate, rested. Wonderful

One day I went and sat in the local restaurant and did a couple of pen and ink drawings. This is very, very simply was hot.

When I returned I took up the Daily Paintworks challenges again. This green mug is my second try at counting how many strokes one needs in each value area and not picking up the brush.......just loading it full enough for the one area. So I kept to my 20ish strokes and did not go back and adjust anything. It is all about keeping it simple, thinking about your strokes before you lay them down, evaluating values.  Great exericse.

Ticino has all the same flowers that we grow here in northern California. It was lush and green as they had plenty of summertime rain showers this year. Smiling out from the ferns and other greens was the old favorite rudbeckia. Such a happy plant.

Our first free day in Ticino, after adjusting to the flight and landing in the next day.....we went to lunch in Ascona which neighbors Locarno. You are looking from right in front of our lunch table out onto Lago Maggiore. Heavenly.  I can still taste the Calamari Salad..........yes, it is all about the food!
I will keep sharing special photos with you, sharing my art and I will see if I can rope those two grandboys into a picture or two. And my garden is getting ready for that last, lovely fall bloom

Friday, August 26, 2011

Daily Paintworks, superstitions

The Daily Paintworks Challenge for this week is to paint a superstition.  I decided to paint the sample photo as it was certainly a challenge enough........all the various values and shades of red. So I am happy that I got the shape of the umbrella and think it is nice that that the object resting under the umbrella looks rather animal like! Since I have never painted a cat and am not likely to do so again very soon, rather animal like is fine.  The sheen on the painting is not fine.........I need to slow down and mix some cold wax medium into the medium I was using. That would dull down that very reflective surface.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And more trees

After wonderful class yesterday, I came home and retouched three of the trees I included in my last post.

See if you can tell the difference.

And yes, the changes are minimal.

This is my work from class. It is an 8 x 10 of the beautiful urns in front of the visitor's center. It was a fun class and the learning curve continues...........