Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy New Year!

Another scene from our home in Renton, Washington. This is the bamboo along the street as it catches the light of the setting sun.

Link: Looking back and looking forward

Sunday, December 14, 2014

a few things

A few things:

Bursting into flame: 
This morning I received a comment on one of my posts. Here is an excerpt: "In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." 

How true! I have a file folder on my computer desktop titled "Ready to Paint, Look Here." When I come across an image that impresses me, I label it and put it in this folder. Then, when I am ready to paint, I look at the images for inspiration.

The reason I'm not painting:
The image above, taken yesterday, is our house-in-progress. It is the reason there isn't a lot of new artwork posted on this blog. Our completion date is spring 2015 but then there will be landscaping. Every few weeks I have an art spurt - the last one was five paintings in 10 days but now I am back to selecting the house gutter color, deck floor color, etc. If you would like to follow progress on the house (and new studio), here is the link to our house project.

By the way, it just LOOKS big from the water. The building behind the house is my husband's garage. My new studio will actually be smaller than my current studio but I plan to have my office in another room. In my current studio my office area takes up a quarter of the space. It should be interesting...while I am painting there won't be the distraction/temptation of incoming emails and there will be more space for the possibility of teaching in the studio.

Mentoring and Workshops:
In January 2015 I will begin to mentor a Canadian artist. It will be a three month one-on-one online test. If it turns out to be a good fit for my new life, I hope to do more of this beginning in Fall 2015. If you are interested in being put on a list for online mentoring or a workshop with me, let me know. Contact

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

a little gift

Autumn at Anahim Lake, pastel, 5 x 7 inches
"Autumn at Anahim Lake" is back in the Studio after its debut in the Northwest Pastel Society 2014 Small Works Show in Oregon. A little holiday gift for yourself or a friend? Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2014

annual tradition

"Tradition," pastel, 7 x 11 inches
It is my annual tradition to rework older paintings that I'm no longer happy with.  Today, it was "Road Show: November," a painting that has hung in one of our bathrooms for years. I have enjoyed it there but when I rotated art recently and hung something new in the bathroom, "Road Show: November" ended up in my studio and my painting style of five years ago began to bother me.

Brushing off Road Show: November from 2009
I unframed the painting, brushed the pastel off down to the ghost image. To bring the sky up in value, I applied an under-painting of white acrylic with a rubber spatula for a mottled effect. Once the acrylic was dry (just minutes) I began to work over all in pastel. This painting went through some very bad renditions and took way too long before "Tradition" emerged. It is named that for my annual tradition of reworking paintings - and because no other title besides Aaargggh! came to mind.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

saving grace

Doing that year-end thing again...reworking paintings that really need help. I gave this painting a partial rework - softening some detail, adding a darker value in the lower left to open up the entrance to the painting, extended the light grasses in the upper right corner to open up the view there but added some shadow to bring the eye back to the center and the road. Wiped off the orchard and added just enough color and detail to indicate trees...I am careful to keep them as an illusion, not a botanical rendering of trees. I'm happy to have saved what grace the original painting had and to have updated it with the signature of my recent work.

Monday, December 1, 2014

autumn memories from memory

Autumn Memories, pastel, 10 x14 inches
Late yesterday I unframed an old abstract pastel and began again with an oil wash over the top of the pastel ghost. It's fun to wake up to a painting foundation that has dried overnight and is ready for the pastel. This one went through some pretty bad stages until I put the iPad reference photo away and began to paint from memory. No specific place in mind...just what I know about marshy, brushy scenes. I like it. See the reference photo and the oil foundation below.