Friday, June 15, 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Fouled Lines

Fouled Lines
18x24 oil on canvas

When lines aren't tended or are mishandled they no longer function properly and the ship can't sail on course.

The tonal underpainting
Laying in the color begins
Focusing on and bring detail to the rope
Refining the lines and the imagined chaos 
Attention paid to the stormy sky, lines in the background, the mast and boom
To finish the final image, I brought more shadow and detail into the knot.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Greg LaRock workshop

The Estuary
16x20 oil on canvas

Just over a week ago I spent 4 days in a workshop with the landscape painter Greg LaRock. I have always felt that there are so many skilled painters recording the California landscape that I'd leave it to them and I'd focus on something different. But I so admire the work of Greg LaRock that I thought I would spend a little time looking over his shoulder to see how he develops his loose, painterly pieces that seem to capture the feel of a place in a very real way.

I couldn't have been more impressed with the generosity of Greg's spirit and the energy he poured into teaching. He enthusiastically shared his techniques, his favorite tools, the colors on his pallette and his methods of storing and working from photos. But, as always I learned the most from watching him paint. The sequence of decisions he made as he built his paintings was fascinating. If you ever have the chance to either study with or watch Greg paint, do it!
9x12 oil on canvas
9x12 oil on canvas

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Winged Seeds

Winged Seeds
oil in panel

This painting just left to take up residence at a sweet friend's beautiful home. I will miss it, and the studio feels a bit empty without it. It is one of the larger paintings I have done, which means that it commanded a lot of space, and it is by far the painting that I worked on longest... over a year! I started it in February of 2017 and only just finished it. I would work on it in fits and starts, with many other projects completed while it was percolating.

These uniquely beautiful pods and seeds in real life are no bigger than an inch high.
I decided to experiment with a new approach. I started using latex paint  (yes, house paint)  to execute the underpainting. I painted directly instead of using the method I have come to rely on - working from a middle tone, laying in my darks and wiping away the lights. 
Also, you might notice that the color is not my traditional Burnt Sienna. Far from it! I thought I'd use the complimentary color, or the one directly across the color wheel, from the green that I knew would dominate the painting.  
Once I had the shapes and the darks and lights mapped out the next step was laying in the color. 
I thought that if I had bits of the complimentary color peek through it would add sparkle to the piece
With the color laid in in a general way I stood back and realized that in my usual thorough way I had managed to paint right over most of those little flickering bits of complimentary color I had been excited to let show through. Old habits are hard to break! Oh well "I yam who I yam"!
As I built the painting I realized there were shapes that didn't work compositionally that I decided to remove. 
Liking the simplified composition, I focused on how the light caught each object
I worked on defining the forms and how they relate to one another, pushing the background deeper and pulling up the  light on the foreground.
Nearing completion, I continue to add details and and make sure that the stars of this show are in the spotlight. I double check that my focal points are working and that the eye travels around the painting in the way I would like.

In the final sessions I glaze (putting a thin coat of transparent color) on some objects to further push them back, and I warm other passages with a glaze. I reaffirm my high lights, and then do what what I find the hardest part of any painting - sign it and call it finished!

The finished piece is at the top of the post.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What I did on my summer (or in this case winter) vacation

It's been a very long time since I've shared what I've been to. My husband and I had a period of months where we traveled a great deal. It was delightful in countless ways, but it did throw off my rhythm in the studio.

I decided to grab an hour here and one there while traveling to record glimpses in gouache on paper. I mixed a light value, a medium one and a dark and made sure they didn't particularly relate to what I was looking at. I wanted to take a vacation from the precision that I had developed in my oil paintings.

I found I especially enjoyed head studies done in this fashion.

Again using little bits of time I painted small and fast in my studio and created a number of cards that  for the most part have flown out into the world that look something like these below.

I'm happy to say that I've established a schedule that allows for more focused painting time once again, yea! I'll begin posting more formal paintings again soon!

Great to chat once again, I've missed you!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Three color stacked drypoint

I haven't posted in quite a while. The projects that I've been working on are large and have consumed more time than I had anticipated. I have 2 paintings, each 2x4 feet, that I have been working on for months and months, and I've been working on a 5 plate etching series that has taken the same length of time. I'm nearing completion on both projects, and look forward to soon sharing them here in my step by step way.

But I must confess, my life hasn't all been work. My 3 big art projects have been interrupted countless times in the last 6 months by marvelous trips. We've been called to northern Europe,  San Diego and Paso Robles for the weddings of family and friends and we've joined friends in Mexico and Hawaii. My heart is full, my head is swimming with new images but I find that it's hard to remain productive while living like the rich and famous!

In response to feeling a bit bogged down I popped off an experiment that I was interested in trying. In the past I spent years on a series of 3 color stacked mono prints, winding up focusing on head studies. I was interested in seeing what a 3 color drypoint, creating color and value using line rather than tone, might look like. 

I didn't belabor the development of the image or the drawings. I acted on impulse, and am quite pleased with the results!

This is the first plate, where I'm establishing warm yellow tones, and anywhere I want green or orange.
This is my second plate. Here I'm drawing line where I want pure red, orange or purple.

Here is a print of those two plates, the red printed over the yellow. I like what I see, but am surprised to see that I'm not getting many secondary color mixes.
Here is my third plate, establishing the deepest darks on the face and hair and creating the environment.

And here are all 3 plates printed on top of one another! I like the result and it's raw feeling. Playing with a new technique was really fun and a perfect antidote for my long and labored projects.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Salad Days

Fresh Picked #1
8x8 oil on panel

I've spent so much time in recent years looking closely at plant forms in both gardens and in the wild that the natural next step is to look at them in the kitchen, right? It occurred to me how beautiful the food we now routinely eat is, and I felt moved to record a few beautifully abundant salads. 

Fresh Picked #2
8x8 oil on panel

I grew up in the time of Tang and TV dinners. Fortunately my mother didn't believe in frozen dinners, but she sure did believe that the only trustworthy vegetables came out of a can. How lucky I am to have lived in California enjoying the produce of the Central Valley as cooks have made it a more central and satisfying part of our meals. Not only is our new cuisine delicious and nutritious, it stunningly beautiful!