Friday, September 1, 2017

Coming Up for Air- Yet again!

So I decided to participate in Leslie Saeta's "30 in 30" painting challenge for September, 2017, and found that I had not entered anything on my blog for ages! In this time away, I've been mostly on Facebook, but a lot has gone on. Just finished a solo show at the Sequim Museum and Arts Center, recorded a Christmas album which we still have hopes of releasing this year, released my first ever CD in 2016, and continue to recertify as a composite artist for law enforcement. So let's see if I can remember how to do this.......

Here is the September 1, 2017 image. It's a watercolor from a plein air session this morning. We went to the levee and found lots of vegetation (challenging), moving water (challenging), twigs and trees (challenging.) Usually when plein air painting, the sunlight changes and goes away. This time, the sun moved around the trees and we fried! 

Down by the Levee, watercolor, 6"x9"

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Stay tuned! New stuff comin' down the pike! I'm in between projects, having taken an amazing class on painting clouds last fall with Andy Eccleshall in Edmonds, WA, finished up entries for a couple of exhibitions, won an Honorable Mention in the Gamblin Torrit Grey competition, and am now taking some "Me Time" to enjoy some of my favorite books. Will be starting a couple of new commissions this next week as soon as I can gear up. Life is good! Art is good! Do it!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

For me, blogging has become a bit like the Christmas letters we receive that begin "Where has the time gone?" I do spend more time communicating on Facebook than here, primarily because those posts are so short and more interactive. But Skywriting becomes a good place to share my thoughts, just in case anyone wants to read my mind.

Fact is, I've been working in the studio a LOT!!! My painting of two Navy A4s refueling entitled "Rendezvous" was accepted and exhibited at the American Society of Aviation Artists annual Forum exhibition, held this year at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. The exhibition ran all through the summer and we were so fortunate to have our work there for many visitors to enjoy.

At the Forum, Canadian artist Cher Pruys gave a wonderful presentation on how she produces her work, including advice on  Dr Martin's liquid watercolors. So of course I had to buy some. Not just some- a whole set! I love working with them, and have been creating work with a combination of M Graham pigments and the Dr Martin's- not by mixing them on the palette, but just by deciding which pigment would work for certain effects. From a series of car/truck/motorcycle watercolors, "Mellow Yellow" won a ribbon at the Clallam County Fair last month.

Since I'm in the "Help! I'm painting with Dr Martin's Watercolors and can't stop" mode, I decided to take on some of the challenges that appear on the Daily Paintworks website ( . Two of the three pieces I've entered, "Triple Scoop Balance" and "On the Rocks" have been selected as DWP Auction Picks. Both are available for sale through the site.

Through all this, I'm still working on launching the cow, from my last post, and picked up my oil painting brushes to do a demo at the county fair, just to get something on the canvas. It's easier for me to do a demo in public using oil since people come by to chat, and of course, I want to talk with them, too. If you're in the middle of a watercolor wash and stop to talk, the timing can be lost and dreadful things happen that don't happen when painting in oil. Pix to come soon......

So through all this, every time I wonder what's it all for, something really cool happens to keep me going. Life is good.........

Monday, October 21, 2013

Launching the Cow......

The 2014 American Society of Aviation Artists forum is scheduled for April. Since we usually meet in June, this means all deadlines have been bumped up two months, including the Call for Entries for the exhibition. If I want to have anything reasonable to show for my time, it was apparent that I'd better get busy.

But what to take off my full plate? I decided to take a two month leave from singing with my chorus to get some work done. This hiatus, although short, would still be filled with projects, including private music lessons, but without the amount of administrative functions I'd allowed myself to take on. It would be an opportunity to dust off some of the "great painting ideas" that had been shoved aside the past couple of years. The first folder to emerge from the dusty file pile contained sketches of a JN4 (Jenny) in a field of cows. I contacted my long time friend and mentor, Charles Thompson, and announced that it was time to launch the cow- again.

The original idea was to tell the story of a pilot ready to take off from a field only to be hindered by cows. This was eventually sketched out to include one cow, obviously in the way. I sent off the sketches which were promptly returned via email by Charles with his ever useful advice on composition and values.

He also suggested that the cow and the pilot make some sort of eye contact. Hmmm. Not being sure of how a cow could reasonably look up at a pilot in a cockpit, I ventured off to the local pasture the following morning to do some research.

The closest cow population is fed at 0730 when the farmer comes with hay on a flatbed truck. Since I walk daily at 0700, this was not a stretch for timing. I poured a cup of coffee, walked down to the pasture and waited. The cows languished lazily, some lying down, some standing. After awhile one wandered away. No farmer yet, though. Soon another and another wandered away from the fence and sauntered toward the farther fence. Still no farmer. They weren't worried. I wanted another cup of coffee. Patience, I thought.

Eventually they all began strolling lazily toward the far fence. Then I heard the sound of the truck- the farmer cometh. Empty. He went right past the field- and me- and after awhile came back loaded with hay, driving around the corner and down the other road to where the cows were waiting. By the south gate!!! I hoofed it around the corner as his farm hand unlocked the gate to let the truck in. The farmer drove along through the pasture while the hand tossed hay from the back of the truck with cows ambling along behind, unconcerned and yet confident that their breakfast would be served in due time.

Patience. It occurred to me that my normal Tigger mentality was hindering not only my previously way too full schedule, but also the composition of the painting. Instead of doing a painting of a hurried pilot locking eyes with a cow, why not a hurried pilot with a cow that doesn't give a rip?

I went home and sketched out a new composition with the cow in an "I don't give a rip" stance which I sent off to Charles for review. We'll see. I'm feeling better about having a little time to shift focus and complete some tasks in a less hurried manner, perhaps with an even more bovine mentality......

Monday, October 7, 2013

Brain Waves!

Talk about the brain swinging to and fro on a pendulum!

Being a working artist has its perks, but it was time to get away to a workshop again. To my delight I found two happening in the same weekend at Cole Gallery in Edmonds! Denise Cole manages to get the most energetic and interesting instructors, so I really looked forward to some time to play with art.

Friday night was a three hour session with the whimsical and contemporary acrylics of Jennifer Bowman. As a rule, I shy away from acrylics, preferring to work in watercolor (as a purist) and oil. But a getaway is just that- getting away from the norm and trying something new.

We started with wine and refreshments. Now THERE'S a way to start painting. Relax, Jennifer encouraged us! Although her work is contemporary (to some, that may mean abstract),we never deviated from the basics- the color wheel, composition, line, value, chiaroscuro, or the use of light against dark/dark against light. A  toned matboard provided the surface for a free hand drawn pear and some free-wheeling paint application, taking into consideration light source, shadow location and value to achieve drama and interest.

Then we got to throw paint. Yikes!

Next project, also drawn free hand, was a wine bottle. How to achieve a festive look was created with more paint spatters and squiggles.

Those of you who know me and how left brained I am can imagine how foreign this was. But the results were fun and imaginative, and yes, I learned something. It's okay to loosen up. Well, a little, anyway.

Saturday and Sunday's session with Eileen Sorg was more in my ballpark. Traditional, although equally whimsical,  we were given a predrawn image to transfer to hot press watercolor paper. Like acrylic, I shy away from hot press paper since it has a mind of its own and doesn't accept washes as well as cold press. But.....with the right instructor giving the tips and tools of the trade, I was amazed at how well we could get the hot press paper to behave. Plus, in order to accept the colored pencil accents, the paper needs to be smooth. A bumpy paper won't allow the detail she wanted us to achieve. We were also encouraged to try some of the granulating watercolors - something else I'd been leery of. In painting traditional watercolors, particularly skies, one of the things I try to avoid is granulation. But apparently it has its place.

Saturday, transfer the drawing. Ink in the darks. Apply watercolor backgrounds. Sunday, add the details and highlights with colored pencil. Found myself humming, "Heaven, I'm in heaven!"

The results on everyone's pieces were nothing short of awesome! Planning to try these techniques on some of my upcoming work and have already spent the morning going through reference material.

Get away, step out of your comfort zone, and have some fun. As I sign off all of my education articles for ASAA, Ancoro Imparo- I am still learning. (Michelangelo)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Okay! I'm hooked on plein air painting!

Well how cool was THAT!!!

Arrived at Camaraderie Cellars for the "Quick Draw" event at about 0830 this morning. We had two hours exactly- from 9-11 AM- to do a painting on the grounds of the winery. Finished pieces were to be delivered and checked in at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center by noon.

I chose to do a watercolor/pen & ink in the journaling style that would incorporate the morning's activity. Featured were some of the artists painting along with the owner's dog, who manages to be an integral part of all dynamics on the premises. If you are local and haven't been to Camaraderie yet, do make it a point to go out and sample the fine wines, enjoy the scenery and just relax! It was a great two hours!

Adding to the wonderful time painting and enjoying time with other artists, my little "quick draw" piece sold!

Since we had to pick up any unsold work at 4 PM, I decided to stay in Port Angeles, have some lunch and visit with the other artists. I met some really incredible and inspiring talent! Learned a lot, too.

1) I don't have to work so hard- keep it simple.
2) No need to do so many paintings- although entering juried exhibitions is a lot like cooking spaghetti where you throw pasta onto the wall and see what sticks. One never knows what a judge will accept, much less give an award to.
3) Jurying is subjective. The judge said so- and I suspected this all along. He said he could come back tomorrow and have a different perspective.
4) Therefore, the main objective is paint what's in your heart and have fun!

Oh- and another shout out to the Joyce General Store- that painting sold, too! Whoop!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Nike logo says, "Just Do It!"

A different weather forecast every day! Friday turned out to be what I call a "Kodiak Day." Fog to the deck for most of the day- and a far cry from partly sunny Wednesday and the thunderstorms of Thursday! Took my watercolors out to a friend's place with the intention of doing a painting of her mountain view- which can be pretty spectacular- but ended up drinking coffee and just relaxing. Last night's reception at Camaraderie Cellars gave us all a chance to scope out the Quick Draw location for Sunday.

As unused as I am to painting on location, I'm even more unused to framing wet oil paintings! But without frames, they can't reasonably be handled. I managed to get the frames, wires and labels on all of the paintings and delivered them this  morning.

Next time, I tell myself, things will be done differently. Since all work had to be presented framed, I was limited to the materials on hand. Last week I hung 30 pieces at Bank of America in Sequim, thus my inventory of available smaller frames was severely curtailed. My friend Susan Spar said "You need to invest in some plein air frames." In other words. some standard sizes just for this kind of thing. Well, the first annual anything always leaves room for discussion on how to do things "next time." Susan's advice is well received, so a selection of plein air frames is on the shopping list!

The body of work - one watercolor/pen & ink in the intrepid journal style of my idol, The Seattle Sketcher, along with four oils, three of which are larger than I would have normally come up with, are done, and my initial efforts were worth the time and experience. Hopefully I'm getting the hang of it.

 (Joyce General Store, University of Joyce, Reflections (at the marina) After the Storm (on Port Williams Road) and Lightning Over the Straits- all done in  two days!)
Ancora Imparo= I am still learning.  (Michelangelo)