Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't let ego get in the way

Just reading over my notes from the Kitty Wallis workshop last month. One thing that stands out in my mind today: don't feed the ego. Don't say, "ooh, that line is so beautiful" because that makes the line too important.

Say, instead, "this is just a road map" so that the ego keeps away.

It's plenty to think about.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

White building with light on it

It may not look like much to you, but this building, made from wood and painted with layers of white paint, kept me busy for hours yesterday.

I thought about Andrew Wyeth and the many weathered buildings he painted in his long lifetime.

I thought about the person whose tender care caused the garden around the church to thrive.

I thought about the shadow on the white building. How dark? As dark as what?

A white building with light on it. It bears more thinking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More sketches, plus today at Orcas Island!

I did the last two rows of sketches at Orcas Island and completed this page in my sketch book. I like seeing the page full of value sketches!

Eastsound on Orcas Island has the most beautiful church, the First Congregational Church. I think that artists and poets must feel their hearts beat hard in their chests when looking at the glory of bright light on the white painted surfaces. I spent a long time today looking at the church.

Life is good!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunset Plein air Lopez Island

Sunsets. Bending light and colors and the world becomes magic. I felt like the conductor of a symphony painted with wondrous yellows and pinks and orangey violets. At the end I could only go by feel and memory of how my pastels were arranged in my box and hope for the best.

This morning it was a a special treat to see the results of last night's painting.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lopez Island plein air

I tried out a piece of Jack Richeson pastel paper today. Compared to the Kitty Wallis paper I usually work on, this toned paper had big bits of grit on a sometimes slick surface. It was difficult for me to work with and I found that the overall toned surface was a distraction.

But standing on the bow of the boat in Fisherman's Bay, looking out at the sunlight on the beach and cliffs ... a little bit of heaven.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lopez Island ORCA!!

After sketching this morning with my Prismacolor markers at Hope Island, we made it through Deception Pass at slack tide. As we neared Lopez Island, we spotted orca! What a way to spend the day! Whale watching.

Life is good!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Notan on a windy day

We're anchored at Hope Island in 27 kt winds. Too windy to paint but not too busy to try more sketching with Prismacolor markers. I'm using 30% warm gray, 60% cool gray, and 90% warm gray. I only chose the cool gray because they didn't have 60% warm at the art supply store in Winslow.

When I sketch a lot, like on trips, I become very aware of line. The outlines of objects become my focus and the quality of the line my aim. When I get back to painting after so much time working on line, I struggle to again find shape and form and value patterns.

This time my sketches, by nature of the fat ends of these markers, are all about value and shape and getting the big parts right. I only hope that i will have an easier time with painting when I can get back to it.

Fingers crossed for less wind tomorrow!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bainbridge Island plein air

Port Madison plein air
9 x 12

4 value Notan plan

my palette

set up on the bow

Morning quiet, except for the loon who insistently called for his mate.

Mirror-like water and bright light warming every surface, including me! I can see that I deviated from my original notan sketch (a simplified value sketch). I attempted to pay close attention to the mid tones and use temperature to create interest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New book, new markers, new way to sketch

A nice stop today on Bainbridge Island at the public dock near Winslow. I walked into town a couple of times, first just to look around and get some exercise. Second with camera, sketchpad, pencil, and dollars in my pocket.

I stopped in at Oil and Water Art Supply and bought some books and markers. This book, "Value Sketching with Markers" by D. Anderson, is all about using markers for notan sketches. I bought three markers, too. You can see the sketch I did once we stopped at Port Madison at the north part of the Island.

It's a beautiful bay, surrounded by very expensive homes. I think that there's a lot of old Seattle money here. I can hear the call of the loon as the sun sets. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Landscape values abbreviated

I did these graphite sketches while boating today. I'm trying to simplify what I see and group things into value shapes. The skies were dramatic with dark clouds and the land looked very dark today. Next step is paint from these notan sketches.

Monday, September 14, 2009

You are invited!

(click to enlarge)

Michael Fisher, Kitty Wallis, Celeste Bergin, Carolyn Rondthaler, Marge Rood, Kimberly Kent, Katherine van Schoonhoven, Mary Luzinski, Eileen Nelson and Carrie Holst are long time members of the Portland Plein Air & Studio Painters.

regularly show their work as a group, providing a wide variety of light filled paintings all created “directly” employing first hand observation. You'll see brand new work from me hanging on the beautiful walls of the tasting room!

Eight+!, Artist’s Choice
Reception: First Friday, October 2, 2009 5pm-9pm

Location: Bishop Creek Cellars Tasting Room, 614 E First Street, 
Newberg, OR 97132,
Phone: 503-487-6934
Exhibit dates: September 30- October 30, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kitty Wallis Advanced Color Intensive Workshop Day Four

Final day of the workshop and we made our own pastels! Kitty had us put the colors on a giant color wheel to help fix color theory in our minds. I made yellow greens for the big wheel. Later, I made dark olive green and shades. Don't they look beautiful?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kitty Wallis Advanced Color Intensive Day Three

putting it into practice

big shapes under painting on 18 x 24


Day three. I can tell that this stuff is sinking in. Not perfect by any means, but, some progress.

When I sorted laundry this evening, the piles I made were "lights," "midtones," and "darks."

Tomorrow we'll make pastels. I'm excited!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Kitty Wallis Advanced Color Intensive Day Two

Mixed temperature value palette

Warm lights and mids, cool mids and darks

Class renderings with warm lights, cool darks

After yesterday's experiments with value palette, today Kitty had us work with temperature. Color temperature is important to understand for any serious painter, but it's seldom discussed in workshops.

First we selected playful palettes but limited the light to midtones to warm colors and the midtones to darks were cool. This sounds easier than it was. Even steps of value between each color change. I discovered some holes in my available pastels.

Using only those colors selected for the palette described above, we rendered another black and white photo to a color painting. Some artists used the same photo reference from yesterday, but I selected a new one.

Finally, we used the palette from yesterday and the new one from today, mixed them together and repeated the exercise. This time we were able to select warm or cool colors. I used the same photo reference so that I could compare the two experiences.

Contrast between dark and light, warm and cool, bright and dull all go toward giving the painter a variety of ways to express his/her ideas about the essence of the subject. Today felt like starting to learn how to play an unfamiliar piece of music. I played a few wrong notes, felt awkward at times, but I'm excited about what is to come!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kitty Wallis Advanced Color Intensive Day 1

Kitty Wallis emphasizes the importance of understanding and mastering values.

"Value" means the darkness or lightness of a shape or pastel.
"Value" does not mean color intensity, saturation, purity or anything else.
"Value" has nothing to do with your preference for a color.

One exercise she has her workshop students do is to create a playful value palette using different color families in an evenly stepped progression of pastels from dark to light. Next, she has students use that palette to render a black and white photograph.

In the top photo you see my photo reference and my painting. Isn't it amazing how the color is not important when the values are right?

The bottom photo shows the renderings from all of the workshop participants. Notice that different artists sometimes chose the same reference to work from -- with different results!

Time for a good night's sleep. More workshop tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Slow for turtles

I drove through the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge today. I love that place! Not too many birds there yet since the wetlands are dry from the summer sun. But I was not alone at the refuge.

When I peered into the water, over the cattails and nettles, I could see the turtles sunning themselves on the exposed branches and roots. They stretched their necks out like old women hiding double chins. But you have to slow down and really look for them before you can be charmed by their vanity.

A white Suburban drove impatiently behind me and finally passed when I was able to pull off to the side of the gravel road. Inside, with the windows closed, were a father and his young daughter. They drove quickly through the refuge. I'm sure that they missed the turtles.

But, if you go there, you'll be sure to slow down and look for them, won't you? Old ladies with their chins lifted to the sun to minimize wrinkles and jowls. Turtles are great!

Modern Portraits

Georges Rouault (1871--1958) had a distincitve way of painting portraits. Whenever I see one of his pieces in a museum, I admire the bold lines, the graphic style. It seems to me that he strokes the thick black lines while making a face at the critics who would judge him.

Though my lines are not so distinctive, not so thick, nor so black as his, there is something of Rouault's spirit in my painting of Mom.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Another chance with Mom

Mom is patient and gracious and sat for me again today. This time: pastel!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Model: Mom

It's been great having Mom visit this week. She was a willing model today in the studio so I pulled out my watercolors and did this little painting.

She's so beautiful!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mount Vision Pastels

I splurged. A nice big brown box of pastels from Dakota Art Pastels arrived with the entire set of Mount Vision pastels inside. Just like Christmas it was, opening each box and looking at the colors.

Now I just have to carve out to the time to use them. And I will!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New at O'Connor's

Come to O'Connor's to see "Considering Kelp" hanging with the latest "Artists' Choice" by Eight+. The new artwork on the walls just shines with light and color. I hope you'll get over to see it!