Monday, October 27, 2014

195. Toast, swell!

'Toast, swell!'
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Ok, I stole the title from the toaster itself; it's a vintage GE, model name 'Toastswell'. (I know, 'toasts well' , -- I like mine better. ;) 

Fun fact, - in my first collegiate drawing class, a few of my classmates referred to me as 'toaster girl' because my very first project was a pencil drawing of my roommate's vintage toaster. 
Or 'toaster chick'? Yeah, probably that. Ha ha! 
Either way - I took it as a compliment. :)

Anyway, I've wanted to paint one forever, and I was very happy to find this bubbly little thing at a shop just around the corner. 
I'm sure you'll see it again. :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

194. Picked Cherries

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

I mentioned these cherries last week in my blog - they had me beaten.
Well, I gave them another shot today, and I think we got somewhere. 
Take that, cherries. ;)

Also, thanks to my eldest son, Jack (8), for the title. 
--- It's Monday, I need all the help I can get. :)

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!