Friday, October 17, 2014

193. Let it Rain


'Let it Rain'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

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. :)
Let me in!



Monday, October 13, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop!

Warning: many words ahead...

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!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

192. Lining Up


'Lining Up'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

We are enjoying the warmest autumn that I can remember. 
Foggy mornings, beautiful blue sky days, and then, orangey/pinky/greeny sky evenings. Fabulous.

This evening scene is from Ridgefield, WA, where my sister lives. 

I just realized that I paint often from a view captured while visiting 'my sister'. Lest you think I have one extremely nomadic sister -- I do not. 
I do, however, have five wonderful sisters. 
I love them all just slightly more than power lines. ;)






Friday, October 3, 2014

Aug-Sept in review...


August and September together. :)

As always, thanks so much for viewing my work!

To see all of my paintings in one spot, just visit my Daily Paintworks gallery.
(LOVE, LOVE Daily Paintworks!)

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

191. Back Roads to Battle Ground


'Back Roads to Battle Ground'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Oh, late afternoon autumn sun. 
You're so gorgeous and warm and terribly dangerous to drive in. :)

Whenever we head out of our small town, my boys discuss the upcoming trip for time, distance, landmarks, etc, and they always refer to any wooded area, in any region of the country, as 'The Forest'. As in, "First we go through 'The Forest', and then we cross the bridge..." 
It makes me smile. 

This scene from 'The Forest' was just the other day, driving away from my sister's house in the Washington hills. So pretty.


Friday, September 26, 2014

190. For Sale


'For Sale'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Just felt like painting something shiny. :)
A sweet little 1950 Ford Fordor. 
(See what they did there? - Yes, four doors. I like it even more now.) 




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

189. Hood Ornament


'Hood Ornament'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

There are some incredible mountains around these parts, and my husband gives me a hard time 'cause I rarely paint them. (Too pretty. ;)  ) 
Then I remembered this from-an-airplane photo...,so, here you go, dear, a mountain. :) Mt. Hood, to be specific.

I took this photo as we descended into Portland a few Augusts ago, when the snow-cover is least. I've tried painting it before and failed miserably - things went much better this time. :)

Thanks for viewing!



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

188. This Little Piggy


'This Little Piggy'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

This little copper bank has kept me busy! I've been fiddling with him off and on for three days now. Sigh. They don't always just come flying off the brush. Ok, they almost never do. But, I am glad I stuck with him instead of wiping off in frustration.

We got this little fella from our favorite local vintage vendor, and my three-year-old promptly claimed ownership. It makes me smile when I see him being carted around the house. :)  


Thursday, September 11, 2014

187. Troll Pad


'Troll Pad'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

This sweet little cottage is tucked under the high and curving ramp of the Astoria-Megler bridge in Astoria, Oregon. 
Of course it's all about the light for me, - the setting sun, the long shadows, -- I cannot resist.

I completely enjoyed making this one - it makes me smile and chuckle and wonder a bit if you'll all think I've lost it. ;) Ah, well, I suppose you know by now that sometimes I really need a little 'ugly' in my 'pretty' -- a power line in my sunset, you might say. ;)

Thanks for viewing!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

186. August


'August' 
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Hey gang!
I missed you! 
And...what happened to August? :)

Honestly, I can barely recall the first part, because we spent the last part of the month making a road trip to Minnesota for my grandfather's funeral. :(
He was ninety-five and will be greatly missed, most especially by his bride of seventy-one years, my sweet grandma. 

My unexpected family reunion was exceedingly bittersweet, and it's taking me some time to get back in the swing of regular life. So much life needing to be attended to, -- it can be ultra-challenging to find time to paint.
But, I have missed it terribly, and I'm so happy I finally have something to show you! My two older boys are back in school and the youngest is thoroughly enjoying having the place to himself, and I will hopefully have more time in my painting corner. :)

This scene is from somewhere in Montana. Oh, Montana, you with your big sky and never-ending round bales. You are so lovely in August.

Thanks for viewing my work!







Friday, August 8, 2014

185. Morning Round Bales


'Morning Round Bales'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

A little Minnesota morning scene for today.
I photographed this round-bale-goodness several years ago, way back when the only way I ever saw a sunrise was by staying up all night. :)
It was fun being young. :)

sold

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

184. Winter Waves


'Winter Waves'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

I've had a hankering to go to the beach (coast, whatever you want to call it) lately, and it's no wonder - we haven't been since my parents visited last August! Can this be true?? Considering we live about an hour from some of the most beautiful coastline in the country, that's crazy. 
Must go to the beach!

This happy little waves-at-sunset scene is from a few winters ago. It was taken at Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton, Oregon, very near the wreck of the Peter Iredale. 

sold



Monday, August 4, 2014

July in Review...


To see all of my paintings, visit my Daily Paintworks gallery.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

183. Yamhill Hills


'Yamhill Hills'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Yamhill County, Oregon, is one of my favorite places - especially in the summer. I love her rolling hills, her pretty barns and all her farmy smells. :)

sold

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

182. The Elusive Red Squirrel


'The Elusive Red Squirrel'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

I love this old-timey metal merry-go-round at the Yellow Park in our town. 
(Not the official name, just what my boys call it.)

Ok, well, I love how it looks - I made the mistake of getting on - once.

Surprisingly, my boys seem to still like it.
 They'll get aboard occasionally, when the coast is clear. 
I know each of them has had their turn being thrown off by the centrifugal force generated by older, 'helpful' kids. :) 

sold

Monday, July 28, 2014

181. Wing It


'Wing It'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

I know I've mentioned it before, but don't barns just have the best faces? Ever since I was little, I've found them to be so expressive. 
This one in Yamhill County (Oregon) is no exception. 
He's all, 'Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I know I don't look like much, but these wings are ready to fly...'
Or something like that.

Hard to see just a barn there now, isn't it? 
Sorry - they always do that to me!  

sold


Thursday, July 24, 2014

180. Show Off


'Show Off'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

If you look closely, you can see the one on the right rolling her eyes. ;)

I've been away from the paints too long! After three wipers (including a different version of this one), I finally have a complete painting. :) 
Whew. 

Well, it is summer, and painting breaks just mean we are out enjoying ourselves. I hope you are too! 

Thanks for looking!

sold

Friday, July 11, 2014

179. Cherries on Top


'Cherries on Top'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Happy Friday!
Stay cool!

sold

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

178. Carlton Elevator


'Carlton Elevator'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

I've wanted to paint the Carlton Elevator for a while, but all my photos of it were taken on cloudy days. Imagine that. ;)

On our little anniversary tour of the neighborhood, we actually parked the car and wandered around the tiny wine-tasting town of Carlton, Oregon, just so I could take oodles of sunshiny pics of this here lovely elevator. 

I haven't painted for a couple of weeks and this was a fun way to jump back in. (After spending a couple of hours on a too-hard-for-rusty-skills, what-was-I-thinking-wiper-off-er, of course. ;) As I do.)

sold

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June in review...


To see all my paintings in one spot, visit my Daily Paintworks gallery.

Thanks for viewing my work!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

177. The Oak


'The Oak'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

We started our Sunday drive by doing a loop on Sauvie Island, the largest island along the Columbia River. Known (at least by me) for its pumpkin patches and corn mazes, the 26,000 acre island is flat and farmy, with the added bonus of foothills and mountains rising gloriously in the distance.
This little scene was one of many just like it, - a lone oak standing guard in his field. 

Reminds me of that old saying, "Farmers: Outstanding in their field." 
(Sorry.)
Y'know, like you'd see on a t-shirt in the Miles Kimball catalog. ;) 
(That makes me sound like I'm 114 years old. I am not.)

Side note, my mom ordered us personalized pencils from Miles Kimball one year that read: 'Stolen from' followed by our name.  :)
Ohhh, for some reason that makes me laugh and laugh every time I think about it! Boy, we used to fight over that catalog. Good times. :)

sold

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

176. Block Party


'Block Party'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

To celebrate our tenth anniversary, my husband and I spent the day doing two of our favorite things; driving around and eating. :)
An hour or two south of us is some of the best farmland in the pnw, and it's one of my favorites places to roam. The day was sunny and warm, and after stumbling upon some rolling fields of drying hay near an old barn stocked with goats, well, my senses were having a party. It brought me right back to the summers of my youth, and made me super homesick for Minnesota.
I love a farm in the summer. :)

This particular barn is one we've seen often; it's right next to the road heading north out of Yamhill, Oregon. 
The sign reads, 'Block Party USA, Yamhill OR 2005'.

sold

Friday, June 13, 2014

175. B is for Ball


'B is for Ball
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

The other day, I decided to whip up a large two foot by three foot painting of a blue Ball jar for my kitchen wall. 
Ha! 
Today, I decided to whip up a nice little version instead. :)
(Don't worry, large version, I haven't given up on you yet.)

sold


Monday, June 9, 2014

174. Berry Box


'Berry Box'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

The strawberries are so great this year, and our local fruitstand sells them in these beautiful green-blue paper boxes. 
Irresistible. :)

sold


Saturday, June 7, 2014

173. Royal Baking Powder


'Royal Baking Powder'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

I love a good label.
In fact, I was just admiring the A1 bottle the other day. :)
This vintage baking powder is from the 1960's.

sold

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

May in review...


My paintings from May.
To see the availability of these or any of my paintings, visit my Daily Paintworks gallery.

Thanks for viewing my work. :)


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

172. The Greens


'The Greens'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

This little scene with every shade of green is not far from my sister Greta's house in Washington state. 
From the foothills of Mt. Adams, these vineyards gaze across the state line (aka, the beautiful Columbia River) toward the foothills of Mt. Hood in Oregon. In fact, you can just see the edge of Mt. Hood's snow cover in the  upper right corner of this scene.

In case you didn't know, the Pacific Northwest is pretty pretty. :)

sold


Thursday, May 29, 2014

171. Put Me In, Coach!


'Put Me In, Coach!'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

My most recently acquired 'junking' treasure. 
Happy Birthday to me. :)
(Some of the info printed on the glove: MacGregor, Made in USA, 
Red Schoendienst Autograph Model, G119.)

I kinda love it, especially since this year my oldest boy started Little League.
I completely enjoyed watching him play, and it made me realize why my mom rarely missed a game of ours. (And there were a lot of us!) 
Something about watching your kids learn a new skill and have fun while doing it -- really cool. :)

sold


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

170. Ahead of the Curve


'Ahead of the Curve'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

We had a great weekend in the Columbia River Gorge with a few of my sisters and their families. It is just so stunningly beautiful in the gorge - a must see if you're visiting this area.

I snapped this shot on our way home as the sun was settling in the west - my favorite time of day. :)

sold

Friday, May 23, 2014

169. Red Doors


'Red Doors'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Hey! It's Friday, it's my birthday, it's the start of a three-day weekend...everything is awesome. :)

I painted the front half of this mid-40's Ford back in 2012, and it's fun to see how my painting style has changed since then - here they are together:

     

Thanks for viewing, and have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

sold

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wide Open Air


'Wide Open Air'
24" x 12"
oil on gessoboard

A change of pace this week -- working much larger and trying to 'think big' again! It was a fun challenge, and I think I shall finally declare this complete. The scene is the sun setting just outside our little town, where the flat, marshy dikelands sprawl between the hills and ridges that contain the mighty Columbia River, just an hour upstream from where she joins the Pacific. When I see hints of skies like this through the trees, I zip out there to soak it all in. :) 

This painting will be part of the Spring Auction at my boys' elementary school, and I've chosen the image and title as my interpretation of the auction's theme, Dr. Suess', "Oh, The Places You'll Go!"

"It's opener there
in the wide, open, air."

This auction is organized by the teaching staff, and we're so grateful to be part of a school where the teachers and parents go the extra mile. Last year was the first of these auctions and I was blown away by all the work put into it -- really, really great. I love our school!

I've been posting some progress shots on Facebook and Instagram (user name norabergman), and I've shared them below. 
I'd love to have you follow me either place, -- every so often I'll post paintings in-progress, or you can see what boring things my boys and I are up to. ;)

tuesday

wednesday

thursday

friday

Thanks for viewing my work!






Friday, May 9, 2014

168. Never Mind the Rain


'Never Mind the Rain'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

The rain has been relentless the last couple of days, but I don't mind.
I find the fog and clouds to be a blanket of balm; the pounding of drops a soothing lullaby.

sold

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

167. Cream of the Crop


'Cream of the Crop'
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord

A little scene from last month's Tulip Festival in Woodland, WA.
My fellas indulged me (briefly) and endured the flower fields on a warm Sunday afternoon. :)

sold

(Reminder; Blogger oversaturates the photos here, - to see a more accurate representation, visit my Daily Paintworks gallery.)

Friday, May 2, 2014

166. Work in Progress


'Work in Progress'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Alternate title: 'It looks like something you'd like', which is what my husband said when I showed him the phone pic and asked if I should paint it. :)
He is oh-so-right. 

Some of the shops in our town are getting new paint jobs, and when my littlest guy and I walked down the main street yesterday, I literally stopped in my tracks. I mean, come on. All those ladders, their shadows, all the lines -- it's as if someone set out four ladders just for me. :)

sold

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Framing

I was recently asked about framing small panel paintings, specifically about 'floating frames' and how they work. A floating frame is designed to have the artwork installed from the front/finished side of the frame, therefore leaving the entire image exposed. 
I think they're kind of ideal for small paintings made on panels.

(Disclaimer: None of this information is original to me, I've merely learned from others, especially Carol Marine, and adapted to my liking.)


Similar to regular install-from-the-back frames, floating frames come in a variety of finishes and profiles. I'm a simple girl, and I really like these straight, black floating frames from Franken Frame
(This particular frame is item no. 2026 on their website. My panels are 6" x 6" so I order the frames at 6.25" x 6.25" to allow for the little space.)

(front)

(back
(These frames come without any hardware, I added the wire and bumpers myself. Little known fact: one of my part-time jobs in college was a framing assistant at The Great Frame Up. :) )

Securing the painting to the frame couldn't be easier!
I use industrial strength self-adhesive black Velcro. It comes in rolls or sheets, and I've bought it at craft stores and hardware stores and, of course, it's available on Amazon


I cut the appropriate length strips (1/4" to 3/8" wide), and attach the hook (rough) piece to the frame;


and the corresponding loop (soft) piece to the back of the panel.




To install, just put the two together! Easy as pie! 


I usually put one hand up through the back side and lower the artwork with that hand so I can clearly see all the edges while lowering slowly onto the frame. A couple of firm pushes on the corners to make sure it's attached, and that's it!



Here's my little rotating display in our living room:


I love using the Velcro for a couple of reasons; one, it has some thickness so it lifts the panel away from the back of the frame a bit, and two, even though it's incredibly secure, it's not permanent! I can change out the art in my frames as often as I like, and have my 'For Sale' pieces displayed nicely. 

How do you frame your small panel paintings? Share your tips!