My two-year-old likes to hang out with me while I paint, and I often ask if he can tell what I'm painting. He gives some great constructive criticism. ;)
Anyway, I don't recall ever talking about water towers with him, but apparently someone has, because his response today was, "Um, a water house?" Love that little rascal. :)
I snapped this evening scene last summer on the Columbia River dikelands, and even though I've pondered it countless times since then, I was just too chicken to attempt painting it. Well, today was the day, and I'm so glad I waited. Something clicked that hasn't been lately, and it was pure fun.
This feels very different for me (thus making me more nervous than normal about posting), but the in-house critic approves, so here it is. :)
You know I love me some saturated color, but I've lately been on the hunt for a way to capture the amazing morning fog that we experience in the fall and winter months. (Who am I kidding, it can be foggy year-round in these parts.) Anyway, the fog and sun combo this morning was great, so after dropping the oldest off at school, the younger two and I took a little photo-seeking tour of the neighborhood. I almost always head to the dikelands of the Columbia River, partly because it's the only flat land around here and it reminds me of home, and mostly because the way the sun spreads across the marshes and canals with the ridges and foothills rising in the distance; well, it can be pretty stunning.
So, pretty as all that was, the highlight of our little jaunt was easily the sight of these beautiful bald eagles. Two! I've seen lone bald eagles several times in my life, but I don't ever recall seeing two at once! It was cool.
Now I better go clean up before the door knockers start coming, -- my seven-year- old suggested we just block the view of the mess with our bodies when we answer the door. I better go put on my mattress costume. ;)
I took my oldest boy to our dentist last week, and after his appointment we took advantage of the crazy-awesome weather and spent a few minutes by Lake Sacajawea, easily the prettiest spot in Longview, WA.
The lake is surrounded by elm trees which are gorgeous year-round, but, now, when they are absolutely lit from within -- amazing. I took a bunch of photos under the warm, glowing canopy, and I've tried desperately to translate a number of them in paint since then. SO hard!
This is attempt number four, and I think I finally have one that I'm happy with. Or, I'm just exhausted and never want to see a turned leaf again. ;)
We thoroughly enjoyed a warm, sunny weekend, and this little fella (along with numerous other trip-hazards) got a chance to dry off and move around a bit, thanks to my boys and their cousins. Isn't it the best when great weather coincides with the weekend?
I took advantage of the beautiful sun and snapped some shots of the retro-style Radio Flyer in all his red, white and rusted chrome glory. So many great lines and I love the way the shadows fall on the white-walled tires and spokes. This one just makes me smile. :)
This sunny little scene was captured a year ago here in our small town, and we're enjoying similar weather today. A welcome change from the ginormous amounts of rain we've had recently. :)
I tried painting this several times last year, but it was sort of a nightmare. :) Now that I know the joy of painting on a black ground, this sort of scene works so much better. I'm kinda lovin' it.
Photographing it, though, - well, that was not as much fun. Those purply tree shadows just get waaay too blue and glow-in-the-dark for some reason, but with the magic of photo editing (completely accidental 'let's try this' kind of editing) I got them to look very close to reality. Whew!
Oh, also, Blogger has decided that all photos need a little extra saturation, so the image is actually a tad more accurate on Daily Paintworks and my Facebook page. That is, according to my monitor. Ha!
Now that I've spent nearly as much time on the photo editing as I did on the painting itself...tgif!
I've been in a bit of a painting rut -- I had a really great start on one at the end of last week, but I couldn't get it to come together. So, I tried again on Sunday. And Tuesday. And today. Guess what! It still won't work!
Reminds me of that Einstein - attributed quote about the definition of insanity. Not Einstein, by the way. As Abraham Lincoln once said, 'The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always verify their accuracy.' ;)
Anyway, all that to say, I (finally) wisely moved on to something else.
I love these old jars and took a different approach with them today - it felt good to stretch in a new direction. And, my rut feels like it might be getting a little shallower. :)
Although I didn't even come close to thirty, I'm really happy with what I did accomplish. Fourteen! Whoohoo! All done in the same month that school and Sunday school resumed -- so, sort of miraculous for me. :)
I s'pose I could have squeezed in one or two more if I really tried, but then my boys would have been wearing dirty clothes to school. ;)
I really appreciate the motivation and encouragement that this challenge provided -- thanks again for spurring us on, Leslie Saeta! A lot of the artists are linking collages like this on her blog - it's really cool to see the whole month's work all in one shot. Very satisfying. :)
I think I'll continue to that at the end of each month.
Oh, and eleven of my fourteen sold or currently have bids -- that gets an even bigger YAY!
Clearly, I will most likely not reach my goal of 20 paintings in the 30-day challenge, but I am oh-so-ok with that. :)
'Creating' has always been life-giving to me; it spurs me on like nothing else. Because of that, I feel infinitely blessed that I get to chase this dream from the comfort of my home. And, because I'm also immeasurably blessed to have a family, the balance of all these things requires an ebb and flow, win-some, lose-some, one day at a time approach. This day (and the last several), I'm taking it easy. :) We're all a little sick, we're all still adjusting to the school schedule (okay, maybe that's just me), and I'm trying hard to choose my bed over my paintbrush. It's been good - my blood pressure monitor is thanking me. :)
Ok, this little guy - I took this photo several years ago while visiting family in New Hampshire. It was early November, it was rainy and it was lovely. I've yet to visit New England at the peak of fall color - would LOVE to. I get serious east coast envy at this time of the year. ;)
I tried hard to choose a unique composition for this light - didn't feel like making any ol' lighthouse painting. And, hey, why not make the sky a little on the turquoisy/teal side while I'm at it. I am an artist after all. ;)
So, this was a major challenge, probably mostly because I was really trying to hurry and finish before prime 'outdoor photographing hours' disappeared. In fact, it's thanks to my husband that I actually have something to post. ;) He stopped me from wiping away the entire thing out of sheer frustration. Instead, I took a break, enjoyed a beautiful sunset, came back and wiped away everything except the car. And then everything was so much better. Simplify, simplify, simplify. :)
Oh, speaking of Daily Paintworks, they have a new monthly contest with cash prizes and my entry 'Peeling Potatoes' (below) for last month was one of the judges picks! Yay! I get a free month's membership and all the work I post this month will be up near the top of the page. Better get to painting!
When I paint this frequently, I sorta get more and more critical of each piece; - I start to think, "Oh, the next one will be better, the next one I'll be so much faster!" (I prefer to think of it not as overly critical; instead, I'm an eternal optimist!)
Anyway, in trying to achieve 'better', I then choose more difficult reference photos as the week goes on, and pretty soon I'm spending every free moment of the day on one painting!
(You can imagine what my house looks like right now.)
Sheesh. Gotta chill out. :)
Back to the painting: This morning scene was captured last fall, just around the corner from our house. One of many mornings that I rushed back to the house to get the camera after dropping off my son at school.
Thanks for sticking with me this week - I gotta go order a pizza to feed my family. :)
And, then, trying to get a good picture of it - not easy!
This little scene is from one of the quaint hilly streets in Astoria, Oregon.
I love cruising around Astoria on a sunny day, admiring all the charming houses perched perilously on hillsides.
Astoria is one of the oldest cities on the West Coast, and a large portion of her first immigrant settlers were from Finland, the land of my forefathers. I get a kick out of seeing 'Suomi Hall' (now a retail store) and other Finnish names around town - makes me feel at home. ;)
Painting daily is super beneficial - I'm excited to see how I grow and stretch during the rest of the month.
It seems I'm on a bit of a floral kick - see, I'm stretching myself already! And, it's pink! I'm not typically a fan, but this pansy face got me. It was one of those that seem like a wiper almost all the way through, but, just near the end, it came together and I'm happy with the result.
This was another really fun one to paint - and who can resist a backlit sunflower? This one is growing in my sister's front yard - so warm, sunny, summery, warm ;) ...love it. But, to me, they also give off the first sneaky feelings of Fall...which I also love, but not quite yet!
Speaking of Fall, today was the first day of school for my boys -- here they are all ready to go! (Second grade and kindergarten.) It is so cool to see them grow and experience these big milestones. I'm so blessed. :)
We packed a whole lot of fun into our last two weeks of summer vacation, and I'm actually looking forward to the boring ol' routine that the school year brings. Let's just keep the warm temps here for a while longer, k?
So, the super-energetic artist Leslie Saeta has issued another 'thirty paintings in thirty days' challenge and I have joined the fun. The challenge runs for the month of September, and thankfully, there really are no rules, other than to attempt a daily painting as often as you can and then link it up on her blog. Thirty in thirty is a HUGE stretch for me, but I'll do my best. Who's counting, right? ;) I'll post a link to her blog frequently - it's fun to see what everyone is coming up with! And, if you like that, be sure to check out Daily Paintworks (where I sell my work), - they post a new crop of paintings every single day.
Oh, about this painting - black-eyed susans. One of my very favorite flowers and thankfully, one of my neighbors has a nice little bunch.
Ack. This is why I don't paint people very often. They're tough!
Truth be told, I nearly wiped this off in complete frustration last night, but, after sleeping on it, I muscled ahead, and I'm glad I did.
I could go on and on fiddling with it, but that's enough learning for one painting; -- time to move on! ;)
This scene is from our town's Independence Day parade -- the Color Guard starting things off. Ok, a confession. I cannot witness a passing of the colors or a rendition of our national anthem (no matter how poorly sung) without welling up. Even reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at my son's school assemblies turns me into a puddle!
Lest you think I'm some sort of super-patriot, I do the same thing watching sports - the younger the players, the more pathetic I am. Don't let your small children go scoring any touchdowns or baskets 'round me, - I'm likely to burst into tears. :)
Seriously, though - this sight at the parade brings all to their feet, as it should; - respect shown to the flag and those who carry it.
But, the best part is nearly upon us -- my parents and one of my sisters and her family are visiting from Minnesota! I can't wait to see them all this weekend and meet the latest sweet little niece. :)
In the midst of all the busy, I managed to sneak in a little painting today and boy did that feel good. I found these little squirts at a yard sale a few weeks ago. Squirt is one of my top three soda (I mean pop) flavors - but I've never seen the vintage glass bottle version.
Love 'em - especially the twisty-glass one.
Oh, and the sweet slogan - 'Never an after-thirst'.
A couple of weeks ago, my guys and I went to our local county fair.
I've lived here for nine years and this was my first time - a travesty!
When I was a kid, I don't think we ever missed the fair - I lost many a burger-flipping-earned dollar trying to win cheap prizes at silly, rigged carnival games, and wandered through oodles of barns and buildings checking out animals and 4-H projects. It was the highlight of our summer!
My current county's fair lived up to all my fuzzy, youthful memories. The weather was perfect, the crowds were light, and the fair attractions were spot-on. It was my boys first fair (that they remember), and it was really cool seeing it all through their eyes. The horse barns, the cute, cute goats, the alligator(!), the rides, and especially the food. Oh, wonderful fair food. I'm still dreaming about those beignets (they called them fritters). Oh, yum.
Anyway, as we left, the setting sun did a lovely number on these horse barns. Can't resist a long, long shadow. :)