I'm trying hard to ignore the too-big number of days since I last posted a painting...ugh.
I have a zillion excuses, but let's pick something fun...I blame Little League. Ha!
Two of my three boys are learning the game of baseball, and even though our very busy calendar is testing my preferred 'homebody-make-no-plans' way of life, I really do enjoy watching them - especially the littlest ones - too stinkin' cute.
Today's painting is a sampling of some other cute little things I collect.
I have always had an affinity for these pin-on buttons - I mean, hello, 1989!
(My sister Rita had a great collection on her stone-washed jean jacket.)
A few years back I found an old tackle box at a yard sale with a bunch of these oldies in it. Score!
I've blown them up almost three times their size here; that awesome little flag is only a half inch tall in real life.
*Just a little note - the blue reflections/highlights on the rocks are incredibly difficult to photograph well - in reality, they do not 'glow' nearly as much as it appears here.
Way back in '03 or '04, my guy and I went to Indian Beach, a gem among gems on the Oregon Coast. It was overcast and damp, and I was completely enthralled with the rock-covered shore. We had a great time, even taking some selfies (eons before the word existed) with my very first digital camera - 2.0 megapixels! Lol. Here's one of them -- I can't believe I'm posting it -- but anyway, you can see all those lovely rocks behind us. :)
A couple of years later, we were newlyweds and I was pregnant-sick, so I dug out one of my Indian Beach rock pictures and used it to help pass the days/weeks until our first son was born. Here's the result -- a little bigger than my work now. :)
24" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
Like a lot of things in my life, over the years I had completely forgotten about Indian Beach. Our good friends reminded us last summer, and we finally made our way back a couple of weeks ago. It was fabulous - I have a feeling we'll be back often.
I mean, three young boys and never-ending rocks? Perfection. :)
Today's painting is from my new Indian Beach rock pics.
I got up early last Sunday to go watch the sunrise above our town.
It was a very clear day above the fog, and the views were fabulous. As pretty as it was, I couldn't wait to get back down the hill and see how the fog and sun were hanging out together - I just can't get enough of those two. :)
Unlike a lot of the country, we've been enjoying really terrific weather.
It's got me totally jones-ing for summer.
(Although, those of you in the throes of winter are probably jones-ing way more than me.)
Anyway, here's a little summer for you all - from one of my favorites places in this amazing state - Yamhill County, Oregon. This is the first painting in a long while that was a good 'ole time from start to finish.
Central Washington and Oregon: high, barren hills; green, fertile valleys.
And fruit. Lots and lots of fruit. :)
Last August, we stopped at this fruit stand in Washington on our three-day drive back from Minnesota. My boys enjoyed their free apple, and then we filled every spare inch of the car with glorious, juicy peaches. So, you know, like, eight peaches. On my lap, the rest of the way home. :)
I worked a little faster and looser than I normally do, which was fun, and my youngest (almost 4) helped me at the end, "It's done, Mom. You can put the sign in the corner. The sign with the 'B' and the 'N' ".
I am not a native of this cute little town, but my husband has lived here his entire life. That means, often he'll come find me after a day's work and exclaim, "Oh, you're painting so and so's house." Or, "Oh, that's so and so's work truck." Today, I was a little floored when the remark was, "Oh, you're painting dad's old service station."
I had no idea. Well, I knew my father-in-law used to operate a service station, but, I never made the connection between that knowledge and this lovely white building that catches my eye every time I leave town. I mean, now that I think really hard, I maybe vaguely remember hearing that once upon a time, - it sounds sort of familiar...
Clearly, on this sunny day last summer, I was really only thinking about yellow truck...white walls...blue shadows... :)
I took vacationing very seriously for the last two weeks, so we're just easing slooowly into this lovely new year. :)
Here are the paintings I did in November and December, and below that, a shot of the highlight of my year so far. (Ok, it's gonna be tough to top that - good luck, rest of 2015.)
I had the pleasure of meeting artist Carol Marine (and her delightful husband, David), and it was so great! I really appreciated the chance to chat about daily painting and random arty stuff, especially with someone so talented and experienced. An invigorating way to start the new year. :)
I caught this little scene last weekend on the Columbia River Dikelands near our town.
This lowland marsh district is full of farms, water-filled ditches and grazing livestock. In the distance, foothills and ridges stand guard.
This time of the year, the clouds and fog in this area are ever-changing and just lovely.
Right now, though, a winter storm is blasting through, complete with flickering lights and extremely high winds. I have three very excitable young boys bouncing off the walls and repeatedly opening the front door to get a better look. I better go get the candles and flashlights ready. :)
I must credit my three-year-old for the title, - he was very disappointed that I was painting just a 'normal tree', as opposed to a much more festive Christmas tree. :)
This normal tree is seasonally appropriate to me; we had many 'brown Christmases' when I was a kid. I didn't like them then, but I can appreciate their subtle beauty now. Several years in the perma-green environment of the Pacific Northwest (which I completely love), has made me all the more aware of the lovely sepia tones of midwest winters, especially on those overcast, frigid, snowless days.
(This photo is from a Minnesota November.)
And also, making that collage of my 200 paintings had me overwhelmed with color. Too much color!
Lol. Don't worry, I'll get over it - you know I can't stay in one spot too long. ;)
I absolutely love the sunny days of summer, but, after many bright days in row, I long for the clouds and the rain.
To me, gray skies are a soft, warm blanket.
It's raining today, and I am happy.
This is one of my favorite buildings in our town, and this little scene is my 'why I love the rain'. I've passed it hundreds of times, and only once have I ever seen it lit from within. It was all I could do to not bang on the door and beg to be allowed inside. I'm sure it would be warm, and smell like dirt and grease and oil, and there would be work tables and scads of tools with worn wooden handles, and shop stools scattered about. And snacks. :)
My sweet friend Kara invited me to participate in an 'Around the World Blog Hop', so today's post will be a little different than my norm. First, I'll answer a few questions about my work and then I'll pass the baton to two other artists that have graciously accepted my invitation. What a great way to learn a little more about each other - thanks for the invite, Kara!
By the way, besides being an invaluable friend and resource for all my arty angst, Kara is an incredible watercolor painter and I adore her work. Be sure to hop back along the blogging trail to check hers out as well - you won't be disappointed. :)
Ok, here we go...
1. What am I working on?
Well, I have a nearly finished painting of cherries in a box that I did last Friday. The cherries just didn't come out as 'juicy' as I wanted, so I'm really debating whether it's worth trying to improve, or if I should just ditch it and start something completely new. I get a little stubborn about these things, and then Kenny Rogers starts on a loop in my head - 'know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em'... and I go a little crazy. :)
2. How does my work differ from others of my genre?
Hmm..., that's tough. I'm not good at defining 'style' (mine or anyone else's), so the main distinction is my 'voice', whatever that exactly means. After happily painting the ideas of others for years, I feel like I'm finally starting to figure out what I like and what I want to say through my work. I'm sure life experience has as much to do with that as anything - whatever it is, it's rewarding to experience and refine.
I also know that my creative style has never naturally been 'loosy-goosy'. I clearly remember a print-making critique from a fellow student in my college years, - I'm pretty sure she wasn't a fan of my subject matter - but she said my work was always 'crisp and clean'. :) I keep trying to loosen up, to use bigger brushes, but my default is definitely neat and tidy. I really did love my eighth grade drafting class. :)
3. How does my creating process work?
I paint from my own photos, so the creating starts long before I settle into my painting corner. I bring a camera everywhere, and am always grabbing little moments of light, interesting shadows, snapshots of our daily life. The more I do this, the more I see things I wouldn't have seen before, the better I can tell in advance if an 'amazing' scene will or won't translate onto a little 6" x 6" panel. I'll move around, up and down, to change the perspective, horizon line, etc., and just get as many options as I can. I literally have thousands of photos on my computer, and still, most days I feel like I don't have anything to paint. :)
Once I finally make a selection, I use a simple photo-editor (I use Picasa) to crop and edit my pick. Composition is like, so, so, key, -- sometimes it feels like I spend more time cropping to find just the right composition than I do actually painting! More than once, I've nearly completed a piece before admitting the composition was lacking - I really want them to be interesting and unique.
There are other challenges to painting from photos - the camera distorts lines, and of course, colors can be all wonky. This is where my design background comes in handy. Most often, I will print a fast gray-scale copy of my composition, and then draw right on it to make it work for me. I'll fix distorted lines, make sure the perspective is right, move things around, add a tree here, take out that telephone pole that is just one too many, etc. Did I mention that composition is key? :)
I rely very heavily on my photo reference for composition and values, but everything else is more intuitive. The camera doesn't always capture the color of sky that I remember, or the warmth of the sunlight or the lusciousness of the cherries in their box, so I try hard to ignore the photo at some point and just make the piece 'mine'. Y'know, just wing it. Not that anyone would be able to tell besides me - haha! Yup, not very loosy-goosy. :)
Ok, after all that, I'm gonna pass you on to two very talented artists, both of whom (as far as I can tell) work very differently than me. I can't wait to learn more about them!
Sunny Avocado paints in several different styles and media. Her portfolio includes beautiful portraits, whimsical puppets, mouth-watering pb & j's, and energetic abstracts. I'm especially a fan of her birds series - works that combine a wonderfully moving abstract background with realistic little birds. 'Beaks' and 'Beaks II' are my faves - love 'em! Thanks, Sunny for accepting my invite! Now go visit her blog, Sunny Avocado Art!
I literally grew up down the road from Kayleen Horsma, and thanks to art, we've recently become friends. Kayleen is an oil painter, I find her work so expressive, so moving, so beautiful. She recently completed a show entitled, 'Expressions of a Sami Heritage', and I just loved it. She has been so encouraging to me, and I totally look up to her. Go check out her blog, Painting Color Within - she's super talented! Thanks, Kayleen!