Friday, January 30, 2009

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Eucalyptus Trees plein air, 6 x 8, watercolor

There's nothing like a road trip, especially to someplace sunny and warm, to get the creative juices going. I spent several hours today at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. I soaked up the sunshine, looked at the birds, took a two mile hike, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. At one point, the trail was lined with bird-filled trees. The birds scolded me as I walked past. Life is good!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paul Klee Day!

Today a group of artists from PPASP met together for a day of learning and experimenting with the methods of Paul Klee.

Carolyn Rondthaler took a class last summer at PNCA and came away from this exercise with renewed excitement about composition, shape, value, and abstracts. She graciously showed us what she learned and then invited us to share the experience.

Here is my effort. I enjoyed the day, the friends, the art talk and practice. I think I'll do this again!

Klee Shapes, 12 x 16, acrylic on canvas board

Lowell, the final version

Lowell, 24 x 24, pastel on Wallis paper

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Astoria lunch

A beautiful day for driving out to the mouth of the Columbia River to Astoria. Lunch at the Silver Salmon had the added delight of a glass of crayons and a paper table cover for artistic doodles. I was happy enough to draw the little vase of carnations sitting in front of me.

There used to be a great little French eatery in Portland, Brasserie Montmarte, where artists would draw on the paper table covers. Hung in frames around the restaurant were some beautiful samples of the best doodle art done there. Live jazz some nights. I miss that place. It was supposed to open after a renovation but I haven't heard that it's happened.

Have you?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Working with watercolor

Broughton Group Vista, 12 X 20, watercolor

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lowell, part 2

A little pastel goes a long way when the values on the under painting are right.

The vest and jacket have only a little pastel on them. I like that.

I keep fighting off the sensation that, once again, I won't achieve what I want with this subject. Defeatism. I'm usually not prone to it. But, with this painting, I seem to get in my own way.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Lowell, part 1

June 2004 Santa Paula, CA
Annual Bucker Fly In

It was a great weekend of bi-planes, pilots, hangar exploring, and meeting interesting people. Many, many people.

I had just started taking art classes and had no idea that I had found a life passion. But, at the fly in I took many photos, including one of this dear man.

Lowell was in his late 80s when I met him that weekend, but his age did not stop him from being charming and flirtatious with me.

He agreed to let me paint from the photo, but if I earned money from his likeness, he expected a cut of the profit!

So far, I have painted this precious man four times. None has turned out the way I hoped. What you see here is the beginning of my fifth attempt. So far just my charcoal sketch and the under painting. Maybe this time I'll capture what I am after.

Lowell, 24 x 24, pigment under painting on Wallis paper

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Henry David Thoreau

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."
H.D. Thoreau

Thoreau, 16 x 12, pastel

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Monkey Business

These are not self portraits!

Okay, now that we're clear on that (no wise cracks, please), I can explain why I am painting gorillas.

I have always loved observing wildlife but wildlife art often leaves me cold. I do not want to count feathers and render animals in a photo-realistic way. I admire artists like Robert Bateman who do that beautifully! It's not for me.

I do not want to paint "cute" animal paintings, either. Enough said.

But, I have been thinking that maybe I could try to paint wildlife in a way that expresses how I feel about all living creatures: excitement, wonder and delight. What you see are my fledgling attempts to do that.

I observed these gorillas at the San Diego Zoo. For hours I stood and watched their community interact with one another and with the observers. I studied their faces, their hands and feet, how their bodies moved. It was amazing!

I have no predictions about my future painting subjects, but I guess that animals will continue to interest me. Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Photography Exhibit at PAM

January 11 is the last day of the exhibit "Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge" at the Portland Art Museum. I enjoyed the show so much, I went again yesterday with friends.

While waiting for my group, I picked a spot on a bench and did this quick sketch of some of the people enjoying the show. I love little sketches like this. They remind me of my experiences in a vivid way!

I carry a Moleskin pad in my purse and a ready supply of pens and pencils. Like a good Girl Scout, er, I mean artist, I am always prepared! I love it!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Woodland Bottoms

The Woodland Bottoms, between I-5 and the Columbia River in Southwest Washington.

Pasture lands, corn fields, dirt roads, a railroad trestle, cows and horses. I think I'll just keep painting it as often as I can because there are rumors of a new Wal-Mart. More rumors of aggressive industrial development.

For some people, it looks like a good place to build something. For me, it is a place to rest my eyes and mind.

Until they pave it. And put in a parking lot.

Woodland Bottoms, 22 x 22, watercolor.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Neon Reflections

Rain in Portland is not news.

I was early for a dinner meeting and ducked into a little coffee house to dry out. I was soaked! The rain had penetrated the back of my coat and my clothes were damp.

I ordered a cup of coffee and felt myself building up a good case of the crankies. The coffee was smooth and with a splash of milk, perfect.

I sat down and looked outside. On the other side of the window was a table, beaded with water, and filled with reflections from the restaurant across the street. A quick sketch. Notes about colors and values.

Today, a painting. Maybe rain isn't so bad.

Tabletop Reflections, SW Taylor, 18 x 24, pastel

Saturday, January 3, 2009


It was 2005. I had taken a few art classes and done a few paintings. Tried charcoal, graphite, pastel, and watercolor in group classes with art teacher, Debra Jones.

Then a three day workshop with Eric Wiegardt. I was by far the least experienced artist in the room and I was open-mouthed at the great paintings they were all doing. I was making a mess, but having fun. And absorbing as much as I could hold.

Another student in that workshop whined, "When will I be a good artist?"

Eric quipped, "After you paint 250 paintings, you might start to get good."

He was joking.

But, I went home and counted how many paintings I had done. 36. I had a long way to go.

That's when I started keeping track of my work in the journal. At first, I just wrote the date, the number of the painting (trying to get to '250' so that I might start to get good), and a general description.

Over time, I've expanded my notes. I still keep track of the date and the number of the painting, but now I include the size of the piece, what I was trying to accomplish, the location (if plein air), and my own critique of it. It has become my art journal. I write in it most days.

2009. A new year. And today, a look back through the entries in my journal.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Thoughtful Moment

She reads. What new ideas unfold that cause her to relish the quiet and stir up in her the desire to read more, to wonder more?

No thought of changing out of party gown. No attention paid to sounds of telephones or voices of others.

Perhaps with the reading will come understanding. Or maybe more questions to pursue.

Reading, 18 x 24, pastel

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 First Painting in the New Year

Katie is not big in a physical way. She's not tall. She doesn't weigh much. She's not powerful looking or particularly muscular.

Katie is big in a personality way. She is a born leader. Smart. Compassionate. Straight as an arrow. Passionate. Talented.

When Katie smiles, everyone around her smiles. It's a big smile that is contagious. I can think of few places I would rather be than around Katie when she smiles!

I even feel like smiling when I see this portrait. Happy New Year, Katie!

Katie's Smile, 24 x 18, pastel