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Friday, December 17, 2010

Webinar by Johannes Vloothuis

I know its been awhile since I have posted a paintingI do plan to get back to it really soon!   Its snowing today, and will all week we are told- - - Then I will get out and try some snow paintings!   Christmas is next week and I have been doing a lot of baking and candy making----next its house cleaning, and getting ready for family.   I have ordered a new set of 120 Unison Pastels, 1/2 sticks for my self!!!    I couldn't afford a set of the full sticks, and Unison is one of the better pastels made.  I still like them all, for different reasons, they are all beautiful.
                   WetCanvas has been participating in a unique thing in the Landscape forums.  Artist Johannes Vloothuis from Hamilton, Ontario Canada has been holding a Webinar thru the , its been Fabulous!    You go on WC, go to the Landscape forum and look for the thread in Talk.   You sign up, and watch each day at 2 pm----Its like being right there with him!  He lectures on landscape painting and how to use the principles and elements of art----shows examples, shows work done by professionals and even critiques art work by us normal people!   He did one of mine a few nights ago, right on the webinar, a small plein-air I did this past spring.   All in all, its a brilliant thing he is doing, and it will end Dec. 22nd.    For now it is free,  which is great.  but when F & W Media picks him up, and they will- - - most likely we will pay a small fee.  Really, at this point, don't know how it will work out.
 A very Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

drawing and thinking thru these days between Holidays

With lots of ideas swerling thru my head, and such wonderful bright light these days I have been very hard put to take any one idea thru to the end!    We have had snow, wind and rain so far, along with some minor earth quakes this year.  I have been hiking in the brush and seeing huge deer---bucks with good antler spreads and very large does.   What is hard to believe is the green grass that was under the snow that melted this week!    Thats good for the cattle, but a surprize for me.
  I worked on this drawing this week, its from a photo from the W.C. library .  I will never see an actual tiger so much thanks to the photographer.  My goal was to practise sizing up images with out ever useing any mechanical means----and to practise my eye to hand cordination, get the values,  and learn better strokes with pencil.   Besides, I like to draw anyhow.   I may do this with pastel, maybe on suede mat board----or maybe in watercolor.   Still thinking about that!        I would like to learn how to photograph things better that are in pencil with my digital, tho.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November thoughts

  November has been a slower month for me with my art.   We have had many storms, and wind.  Now its snowing again, but softly this time.  Still thinking about skies, and mainly how to show vastness----quietness---and Maybe flatness at times.   I had created a surface to try, using illustration  board, and grit pumice with white gesso.   Its very gritty,  to me it was very interesting in appearance, and I had to try it.   After painting the whole of it with pink graduated watercolor, darker to lighter  I tried this skyscape.  Its a field in the center of the valley, with the river running behind it in those trees, and one cottonwood tree in the field.   I will try this in a different format I am thinking.  I do like the pink for the underpainting for bright skies.  Underpaintings are one thing I am exploring  right now while the weather stops me from Plein-air work.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New interests for now...

I have been pasteling, but not to rapidly.  Its colder now, daytime highs are at about 50 at our elevation, and in the 40's in Hope Valley or higher.  We have gathered 2 bunches of cattle, and sent one truck to sale.   We have a lot more to go, but no one seems to worried about things.   Thanksgiving is coming, and we have had 1 inch of snow here on the valley floor already, melted fast, but still, that means going up and over Carson Pass on Hwy 88 won't be simple if more storms come in, and I want to go to Sutter creek for Thanksgiving!  We'll see.   In the meanwhile, I have sewn a baby quilt for a young lady who is having her first.  She is out of college, and working at the Equine Clinic locally. She really is very accomplished, and can A. I.  horses or cattle. She is doing just what she wants, and now her first child.  This is my gift to her.
I made it small, the infant size, because its been years and years since I have made one.  Feeling pretty good about that, I also made Taffeta shades for the old home on Foothill!!  Good grief!    Sewing is fun, but not as much fun as drawing or painting.  I will get back into that soon.  I just feel a bit out of step for now, but the light in this cooler air has been amazing----watching the shadows each afternoon come down the mt. behind here , well, If I could paint it I would show you! The mountain is at about 7000 plus, with Lake Tahoe up at the top somewhere, and the tahoe valley at south shore.  Its a good place to live!   Hope you are all painting, and thanks for the comments about the show.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Carson Valleys Art Association Scholarship show

I haven't been posting on my blog for a little while--and I have been worried about that---but never fear, Its because I have been thinking!  About  Clouds!  And that takes me awhile, I love the sky and want to be able to paint a convincing one----and the sky changes, and can be so many different things but at least it gives me something to think about, and hopefully I will try them, one by one.

Meanwhile, The Alpine Artists Tour was held last month, and this year I did not join.  I felt I was not ready, and also have a very dark garage in which to show my work.  Last year was fun, and maybe I will do it again, but improvements need to be made first and my art needs to grow!

This weekend is the CVAAs scholarship Show.  Its to encourage a young highschool person to study the arts, and the scholarship, along with a nice public show that is judged, and ribbons and even $$ is given!  Its small by most standards, I guess, but the club does a first class job, I always enjoy it.  I used to want to be able to put work in this show, and since 2004, I have.  Its great.  The reception was last night, and we went. There were close to 200 entries, mostly in Watercolor I think, and quite a few people were pursuing the works.  What fun!  They did have catagories for each media, and some phtography which was wonderful work.   My watercolor instructer had a nice painting of a palemenio pony I liked.  Lots of landscape, and another watercolerist known for her old rusty machinery had some fine works there.    The pastel section didn't have to many paintings, I am sad to say.   I had 2 in ,  and won 1st place and 3rd place---and the 3rd place entry sold!!!   I almost passed out, I was so surprized.   It is a large one, titled "Paying the help"   I will show you here.
And the landscape was 1st place.  Its 11 x 14, and I was surprized at that, too! 
I was told the executive director of Douglas County Chamber of commerce or something like that , bought it and will hang it in his office!   Of cource, I will get his name, and all that info and send a thank-you card for making such a purchase of my art, and hope he enjoys it for a long while!   And yes, this is my first sale of a framed piece of art from a show!!  I sure was surprized, like being on cloud 9!!      (from where maybe I can paint a sky!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Day spent out plein-air with a friend!

A couple of weekends ago , my plein-air friend from Dayton, Nevada drove out and together we went to Hope Valley to try and paint some of the fall color.  We try to do this each year, and as we are just learning plein-air, it has been challenging indeed!!!  Hope Valley, Calif. is a short drive from the ranch, and is at about 5500 in elevation. Very popular now with the photographers, and upper class vacationers mostly from the bay area who come to Tahoe and various places in the Sierra's.   This is where Richard Mckinley held a workshop in September, and Lorenzo Chavez last summer. A really great local water colorist, Lady Jill Mueller has also held many workshops here in the valley, as well as the college from Tahoe.  So you see, it is a rather "Destination" sorta place at this time of year.
            What we did, was pack all out stuff, and take it out to the middle of the valley where we could let our dogs be free.  They are border collies, and really won't leave our sides, but do love being out there.  It was so beautiful!!  Everywhere you turned was a new painting----if you could settle down and paint it!!  We took many  pictures, and Carole had a new camera to play with so that was fun, too.   She settled right down, and spent about 3 hours on her painting , which really turned out well.   Here she is!!

Now,  I had  a more difficult time settling.  I  did 3 starts, from 3 different places using 3 different papers.   So much information!!  And I really didn't do well, so I just tried to take it all in, so to speak.  ( maybe to much caffeine!)   anyhow ----I did do one from my memories and the photo's we took.   Choosing the right support is sometimes hard with pastel, to get the right finish you want.     I finally choose a dark aubergine colourfix plein-air board, 11 x 14----and worked on this off and on for maybe a week.    Now I have many more ideas to try------composition is always key, and at time is very difficult.   Anyhow, my effort is here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A week of rain---and indoor work!

A week of rain and lightening with thunder drove me indoors.  I know I should buck up and paint on these types of day, but it was a soaking rain!  Maybe next time.  I had made a few surfaces this summer, and they were waiting for me to do something with them.  I should be making a quilt, but alas----pastels are more fun!!  So, with  3 photo's taken in the spring of a wonderful meadow on Hwy 4, early in the a.m. I began doing thumbnails to see what and how I would put this together.  And what would be the most important?  I am trying a 3-spot comp., and I think it works.  I hope so.  Trees and greens are so hard for me, and I didn't do many trees this summer.  So in this one, I addressed both.  Using an 8ply Matt board in off white, then putting gesso and pumice on top,  drawing with charcoal, then using a watercolor under painting in purples and oranges, this is what I got done.  I put this on WC--then saw a few things I wanted to fix---and this is where I will let it stop.I hope the color is right----The blues tend to look bluer in Digital and over take things when in real life its not so that way.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Very hi-key plein-air study!

Really not sure why I can't seem to get up and going in the mornings when the weather starts to get cooler!  The sun is a little later now, and moving into the southern sky---the fall light is clear, bright and beautiful!   From 9 am until about 10:30, I struggled with this chimesa study.  I had made a surface last night, on w/c paper with gesso and some nice fine but gritty pumice---not the dust or powder, but fine grit pumice.  Its very nice, but gritty--so I did plan I would use watercolor for an underpainting on this white surface.  This is 9 x 12, a good hour and half size for study.   My brush, like my trees and my flowers, leave a lot to desire!!!  I must get better at this, I say, but only unless I work at it will that happen!  Its not so much the detail of these things I always want---but the feeling of them, and you know that's what it is.  The sun was in the east, of course, and we receive it strongly as we are on the hillside facing the sun, the eastern side of the Carson Range of the Sierra's.   I will show you my Hi-key painting---but keep in mind the value's will be close because of its Hi-key----so the sun was high and going toward noon----and shadows were getting short.   Interesting, I must say----Fun, but hard, --still learning the light is a good thing.
                     I should be trying evening works, it would be so different in the lighting!  So, until Tomorrow!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yellow sage is blooming wildly everywhere! Its Fall!

Up fairly early this morning to get out there and try the Fall rabbit brush that grows all along the hillside above the ranch.   Lorenzo Chavez  painted from here last fall.  He had the workshop in Hope valley that I attended.  It was wonderful, but it had cooled off about that week---so that Wednesday, we all came to the ranch to paint and warm up!!  All we had to offer was the yellow sage brush.  Lorenzo's demo just wonderful,  he was able to make us really see that the  shadow contained so much of the sky color, a cool blue.   He had lain down a white paper that showed this so amazingly.  I was in the same area, but choose a different composition.  I may not have done so well in the comp. department!   Above is my work on  my easel.  My BestBrella has sure been a good tool this past week!
This is where I will leave it with just a little changing in the studio.  I used Sennilair's Pastel card, in a brown ochre color and that was nice---a bit different for me for plein-air.  Its great, tho, for close-up detailed work so I did send for some more to keep using and see what I can do with it.    I want to used a watercolor under painting for this subject tomorrow!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Third try at Plein-air old car of sorts

Well, up early to do my few chores, and get back out to try and paint this old relic again. I set myself up with a different angle today, and I planned to really work hard at getting the drawing right.    I measured carefully, and re-measured----and I used a white piece of Richeson's Premium pastel paper, cut to 9 x 12.   I planned to use watercolor over the drawing, a sort of value plan  and when dry, finished with pastel.   Sounds like a good plan, right?-----I think the drawing, which I done in pencil, was good---well, as good as I can get it!  ,  But better----So I went ahead with the w/c, and I rather liked that.
This is my scene for today----So much to see when you get to looking!   See the flowers in front of the front wheel?  That looked good, now if I could get it.  Instead of trying the whole car, maybe I should of used a viewfinder, and did a portion of it?  Maybe one day!  Tried to remember Lorenzo's lesson on the color of the shadow, which with the warm morning light , would be cool----cool sky color mixed with the ground color---opposites!  Warm light/cool shadow----and for evening light it would be the opposite.    High noon would be a cool light, and maybe no shadows!   Anyhow, I digress.
This is where I stopped today--from 8:30 am to 11:00!!   And, I am still as fudled as ever.  I asked why the radiator was up so high, and was told it was a replacement that didn't fit.  I can see that!   Honestly there is so much to see when you panit out doors---And this is sorta up in your face, and you want to get every rusty thing!   There are dabs of green, the only paint left as it was once green.  No rubber for wheels,  its been here a while!  The kids that used to ride in this with their parents are in their sixty's now, and their mother just passed away last year at 100!!! Amazing.    Its been a good lesson----and I will think and think on it, but I need to try something else now.   Maybe the rabbit brush on their own somehow.  Its everywhere now, and in its glory!   This has been enough of a struggle, now for something fun!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

setting an outdoor challenge for Myself

Yesterday I thought, Its time.  Time to try and paint the yellow sage brush that blooms each fall.   I walked thru it, looking at how it grows, and the light in the morning touching it from all angles---and the colors of the light in fall.  Amazing blues, contrasts everywhere, and those yellow flowers.  But I do have such a hard time with flowers!  So, I had to slow myself down a bit instead of jumping right in.  There is an old car, a sorta station wagon-utility vehicle from the late 30's early 40's parked in the brush with yellow sage around it.  It once was green, and even pulled a horse-trailer!  So hard to imagine because it is so small compared to today's auto's for that job.  Now this isn't going to be pretty---I am sorry, bare with me!   But I decided to paint this thing every morning untIl I can get something I like!  It won't be easy for me, there is drawing of a car involved!  And then those darn brushes, and foreground....and all.     I bucked up, and began.   I drew the first one site-sized----by measuring with my charcoal pencil---and trying to get things located in relationship with each other.  It was fun---and good practise and hard!!!  Its on White Wallis, with a Nupastel #244 underpainting and drawing.  8 x 12, and here's how it ended.

I sorta thought it was worth the time----sure helped me with seeing everything---and I saw so much!!   I began leaving things out, but getting the brushes I wanted.  Measuring the windows, the vacant place the engine was, the grill, and there is a radiator still there.  All sorts of stuff!!    I sure hope the next days effort would be better!    But alas....that was not to be so.This is the second days work.  Its on Wallis Belgium Mist, and about 9 x 12,   I worked a bit closer this time to the car, and tried to measure more carefully using the #244, and washing down with alcohol for the shadows and dark area's.   Of course , I saw more this time, like broken windshield, and more of the green color that was left( there is not to much of that!)  its so rusted.  I like the green remaining on the old front grill.    Well, I have plans to try again tomorrow with a different method----but still trying to be better at the drawing.  Its a fun challenge, and takes about 2 hours, and is right here at home--no driving.   I feel a bit braver about the drawing part now--and maybe how I want to end up  We will see how far this goes----until the flowers are gone I guess.

Friday, September 17, 2010

From a drawing to pastel

Earlier this summer, I did a large drawing from a photo I took of my Nephew and his dog, Sage.    He had just brought a few head of cattle from one of the ranches to the other.   It was late fall, and sun was  getting low.     I wanted to do it again in Pastel----and I thought I would think it over for awhile. Also, learning  to paint in Plein -air was pretty much on my mind this summer!   I finally chose a piece of Moonstone  Canson  to try and paint the scene I wanted.  I may again try it on Uart----I am not sure.   I thought I had turned to the smooth side for my work,  it actually seemed that both side had a texture, so I decide not to worry about it and began.  I worked on it for about 4 days, and today I deemed it done.    In evaluation,  I am not sure of it.   Good to have this experience, tho and I may do it again------maybe even in watercolor.    I have a lot of other reference shot to work on as well, of scenes like this on the ranch.    Here is today's effort.
I call it "   Paying the help"   and its a small moment between the cowboy and his best help, his dog.   It is a full sheet of Canson,  which is a good size.   

Friday, September 10, 2010

Studying about creating from Photo's

Value plan
I  have been thinking a lot about how to keep painting when it gets cold, and to stormy using photo's.  And have been reading articles from pro artists on how to keep that "special" idea that you want to show your viewers in your artwork. The reason why you took that particular photo--or made that particular plein-air painting.  In other words, what it was that drew you to
"That"  in the beginning.  Sometimes it is something you see, like when out walking- - - but sometimes its an idea, and you need landscape ideas,or lighting, or some other information to support your ideas or themes.  When painting from photo references the temptation is great to copy every detail, no matter how much is needed or not, to convey your first feeling of the scene.   Its hard to get past this!  Editing the scene, using what you need to impart your concept is truly an artistic past time- - - and we need to think in order to get it down as we want and feel.   So, toward this goal, I thought using a value sketch would help me to eliminate, understand values, and pin point what is needed to convey my idea.  Also, I was playing with making my own grounds again,  So using an already used 140 lb. watercolor paper, 9 x 12, I gessoed both sides.  When dry, I placed acrylic  Matt medium mixed with pumic on one side, and let that dry.   Then using a photo for references, and water soluble graphite pencils in 2b, 4b, 8b,  I drew in a scene, reconstructing the photo a bit.  It was a back-lit rock, and aspens on a hillside looking toward the sun.  I wanted to show what a sunny spot it was in the forest of pines, then you walk thru an aspen glen.  So, I tried to meander a pathway thru it.   Here's the value plan, using the pencils, then using a watercolor brush with water to paint it down and hopefully get values that makes sense!  It does look OK, I thought.  Now for the color part!!  Knowing your values are supposed to help you with color-  So the next step was to use my pastels, and just go over the value sketch with color that best tells the story-----time of day, light placement and so on.  This is what I ended up with.   Its not great, but an interesting little project i gave myself.
I hope it reads well, and it may jump start some other works.  Anything you do is good for learning, and often opens many doors.  Just drawing a landscape with pencil is  difficult!  Really.  I have been working at it for a few years now, and often feel I don't see much growth.  Still, a very worth while passtime, and I do feel it helps my outdoor paintings.   And seeing in an artistic way.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Woodfords Canyon , effort for this year!

Ok,  this is my painting from this morning.  I have done this before, not exactly from the same location but similar I guess.  This is a huge canyon that hwy 88 runs up on its way over the Sierra Nevadas to the California Gold Rush country.  You could also get to Lake Tahoe this way, then go over hwy 50 to the gold rush communities.  This is the southern pass thru the Sierra Nevadas'  the pioneers took  as they tried to get to California and a better life.  This is where the small community of 'Woodfords is, and the west fork of the Carson River runs to the left of this field.  We have cattle here in the summer, but they had shaded up for the day under the trees.
I have had trouble getting this painted in the past and am not sure what about it I really wanted.  I love the meadow, and the trees in it are very big---but that looming huge canyon you see in the background draws my attention most of the time.  I like the contrast of the dark blued Mt. on the right compared to the huge rocky pinkish-orange one on the left.  Both are plenty high---and rocky.  The old timmers sure had a big job ahead of them when they started out across these mountains and must of been so amazed and happy when they made it to California!  This is plein-air---2 hours today, between 8 am and 10 am---on 8 ply matt board coated with PVA ,  and pumice, and the drawing was done with a dark nupastel, washed with alcolhol and let to dry.  Then the colors of the morning were put on as best I saw them.  It sorta catches the place as I wanted to I guess.   I will try this when it snows this winter!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hike with my sister, and her grandaughter (and 6 dogs!)

This Saturday was sorta fun!  My sister and I planned a hike, a short one, on the same trail that My artist Friend from Reno and I had gone horseback on earlier this summer!  I wanted to share with my sister, who wanted to bring her grandaughter and we had a great time!  We carried backpacks, and took our dogs, plus my son's dog, and all together we had too many dogs!  They are well behaved, and we went early so didn't really run into to many other people.  We were home by 1 pm, so , even tho it was quite a walk, it was a Saturday when many others tend to sleep in, and do things late in the day.  It was windy, and just got windier!  In the A. M. tho, not as bad--the closer we got to the afternoon it got so windy, up to 45 mile an hour wind gusts.  Here are a few shots!
This is my sister, her dog in front, Kate, and her grandaughter with her dog at her side.  My sister carried a very full back-pack!  Too full.  And this is her crossing a log over a deep stream.   There was a lot of water in this area, and the lakes here are great.  I lost batterey in my camera after about 8 shots, so I can't show you the lakes!  Sorry!  I will go back and try again!   We got to a nice lake, where my artist friend from Reno and I went, and had our lunch.  The wind was getting wild and blowing across the little lake making ripples.  But there are lily's on the water with yellow flowers, and huge granite rocks around the lake. My friend, Carolyn, took this picture of me when we were there:It was a much quieter day as far as wind went!  And so beautiful.    After lunch, my sister and her grandaughter went for a short hike on the rocks, and I settled in to do a pastel.  I wasn't to sure of the outcome, so I did a sketch in my skecthbook, then choose a mid-grey canson, taped to my board and used my lap.  I sure did miss my easal, but we had a hard time carrying what we did manage to carry!  We are used to going horseback, truly, hiking is different for me.  But fun, I will do it again!  Anyhow, I drew in my comp. with that purple #244 nupastel and located the darks and shadows, then washed with alcolhol.  When dry, I used the local colors I was seeing over that.  I did n't get much for the water of the lake as the wind was blowing and making ripples and no reflections.  Every day is different, and I will be back to try another one.  Here is my effort of this day:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Plein-air again- with a friend!

A friend from Dayton , Nevada came out this past Wednesday to plein-air in Pastel with me. That is always so much fun.  She worked at painting the whole day, I could only go for the morning.  We drove out to Hope Valley to try and do the river.  A full on river scene is something I haven't felt confident enough to try.  There are plenty of opportunities around here so I knew that one day I would.  This was so difficult , and I hope to do many more after having worked thru this one.  Of course, the sun kept climbing and as it did, there would be more of the sky color reflected on the water. And the breezes would blow, making little ripples and changing things! Boy, what an experience tho and I can't wait for another try at it!
I have been painting upstairs in the old ranch house that is the main part of this ranch and where my fella grew up, and his father before him, and grandfather before that, both being born right here in it.  It is taking me a lot of time, prepping and painting and all, but so worth it.   Tomorrow is a day off for me tho, and I will hike and plein-air.  See you after that with what ever I am able to paint!
I also want to say, my friend from Dayton brought with her some wonderful pastel paper--Clairfontaine Pastelmat, and gave me a peice to use.  I had white, and I did a Nupastel value sketch of the scene I wanted to try, and washed it with alcohol--then did the colors I was seeing over that.  I cropped the sky out as the river was enough for me! and a fisherman walked down , which I make to look like a lady I think! Oh well. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New plein-air on a cloudy morning.

I went out yesterday morning early with an oil painter friend .  He loves to paint en plein-air and does a wonderful job---I am lucky to be able to go along.  He wanted to go to a high mt. lake off the Monitor pass hee in our area, so off we went.  Both of us were disappointed today,, tho, as it was a cloudy morning and no bright sun light to cast any wonderful shadows.   Big clouds all thru the sky and us right under them.  We walked around the area, its a nice place---lots of possible paintings.   Have to admit tho, the flat light causes close values, and a lack of interest ---we choose to give it a try anyhow.   I feel it was worth the experience, although I had planned for a sunny day as they mostly are this time of year!!  I had a 9 x 12 sheet of canson on my board in a med. Pink color.  I like that sometimes.   I drew my planned comp-onto the paper with Nupastel #244 which is a purple, and washed it with alcohol.   When dry, I finnshied the painting with the colors of the day I was seeing.   Not to excited about the comp----but the method worked well.  I am glad I went  and can't wait for the next adventure!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Aspens in Hope Valley

It has been a while since I have put a plein-air on my blog, but I have been going out non the less.   Just have not been to successful lately!   So, I did force myself to use my sketchbook and do the nolans in it, and thumbnails instead.  I have always believed if i do this, and get better at this, my paintings will also get better.  It helps distill the scene for you, and you get what you want onto your painting. soon, it only takes a few minutes to do this step, but for now, it does take me awhile.  Yet, it does force me to look, and to see, and to think of my composition more.  Many almost pieces were done, but paper not wasted as I washed them off , and will use the paper again!  That is one pleasure of using good artists quality tools.         Yesterday was a beautiful    Sunday, wonderful in the early morning, and with 5 dogs , and my sister to help with the dogs, and haul my stuff we once again went up to Hope Valley.  Its about 20 minutes from where we live, and the early mornings are so wonderful----no people, and we have it all to ourselves!     There is the remains of the old hi-way, 89, running thru the valley, going up to Luther Pass and on to Lake Tahoe, so we walk down it.  Its great, so quiet, and its right on the valley floor, a very small hwy.  You can imagine the old cars on it from the 20's, 30's and 4Os's.     Found a great spot with a small bunch of summer Aspens in the sunlight,  grasses and bushes everywhere----This is just one possible scene that beckons you to paint it!!  Evenings are just as wonderful here, with very rich color.   Wild flowers abound, wish I could paint them!     The far mountain was in direct sunlight,  I hope it reads well.   I can not wait to go back and do more!!  My car isn't running well now, so I have to figure something else out!!!  

Friday, July 23, 2010

"COW DAYS OF SUMMER'--where I will stop. . . . .

This is where I will stop.   I will leave this on the board in plain site in the kitchen, and as I do my chores and cook, I will catch a view of it once in a while.   That way, things that are not right will jump out at me-----and more subtle things that may need to be change will all of  a sudden be noticed.   You can see the texture of the board, made with the PVA glue, acrylic Matt medium, and pumice.---I like this texture for some things and thought it may work for a field of summer grass.   I can not believe its almost August!!!!  It was so hot today, and we were sorting cows and taking them to other pastures, with another small batch  of calves to brand in the morning --EARLY!   I am so hot right now, just dripping wet and its almost 8 pm!   I get up at 5:30 each day and just love that.   Soon, I will be plein-airing again!!!  Maybe Sunday morning, I hope so.         And I also saw a wonderful place to try a afternoon plein-air----it was amazing.   Maybe I will go and sketch there first, and plan a point of view, or something.  At least get familiar and watch how fast the light leaves.   I am already excited!!    Often for me, the subject is the light,   as it touches something---or how it feels to be there in that particular light.   I can't really explain it, but its something I have always felt--.  And I wonder......Should I frame my cow?   I think I will just let her sit awhile as I think about that.  There is always a period of time after having done a painting, that we, the artist, just fall in love with it and can't see where it may need something.  That's another reason to let it be for a while---maybe you will see it differently in a few weeks.   Just my thoughts here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where I got too today!

I  began early this morning as its so much cooler in my old garage working place.  I tried to think my way thru this, to get the right color and value with out covering all of my underpainting.   The old Grumbacker's are sure nice to use on this hard surface, and I plan to finnish the ground with the soft Terry's.   I still have her face, and eye to do---and face-shadows.   The calf in the distance is fairly finnished----I need to think a lot on the ground work----I mean the foreground shadow----and the whole ground cover, including strokes!!!!  So until tommarrow  A M  I am at this point.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The first block-in

This is the first block-in Layer.   I don't want to loose the sun-lit effect that the underpainting helped to set up.  I need to go slow and think, and not loose site of the light I see in my mind's eye.  I want the distance hillside to appear hazy  with sunlight, like when you squint yours eyes and look toward the sun.   The edge of the cows hips should be hazy also, going into the sun, and that edge should be a " Lost" edge.   The calf in the background gives a dark shape in which to show off the cows white head, even tho the side of it is in shade.   Also, that calf is black---but I want some hints of other colors, like blue--purple--showing up   , in the correct value.   The foreground and field  are the flat planes of the painting, and are being hit by sun, so should be light in value.   Foregrounds are hard,  grasses should be acknowledged   - - - - but how much?
So, I will stop here for the day, and think carefully about color.   It will be hot in my OLD  garage studio working space,  I can only use it early in the day or in the evenings.  As I get up early, evenings are hard  . . . .  I am tired by then!!!   Oh well.   It will actually go fast.
Working on this surface so far is fun.  I don't want to comelelty cover my underpainting- - - this is some of what I am trying to learn!    I have been reading a book by Caroline Jasper, who studied with Henery Henche, who studied with Hawthorne.  So interesting!!!!  All of us should give this a careful read,  And push the way we think.
Also, the little gallery reception was fun. Lots of travlers going thru, and gave me a chance to meet other artists.  Very nice work is being shown, and mine will be there until July 31.   Then its home again, with me trying to LEARN  MORE!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cow (not dog!) days of Summer

I  have finally made a choice about how I was going to plan this painting.  With the cow already drawn as a value drawing, plus the size I wanted the next things to consider were : Background- color- light- support-and method.   Actually , maybe this isn't even the right order of things.  Support is important, because then the way you do it is easier to figure, or picture in your mind.  But, then, as you picture the outcome--and how you can make that happen, the light-source needs to be considered.  I was lucky with this one, tho, as we know.  It was, is summer, and the light is bright and warm----so its important to use the right colors to show just how good that sun feels in the A. M.------Maybe I think to much. 

So, using a large piece of 8 ply-matt board coated with Gesso on both sides-   then when really dry, coated on one side with PVA glue and pumice  seemed like an interesting way to go.   I then got my drawing onto the support, and used watercolor for the underpainting.  This is like a map, if I stay within the right values, I should be able to get the 3-D effect of the cow--plus show the sunlight hitting her red coat,  and her hapiness at being there!   Just an idea. I do plan now, to finnish her in pastle, with a very sunny obscure background.
I haven't been out plein-air latley, we have been moving cows around from one pasture to another, as the summer grasses begin to go.  Everything is irrigated real well, but some pastures are farther from home and now ready for cattle.  In the fall, we will have little "drives" to get each bunch closer to home for the winter.  Tonight is a small rececption at the little gallery I have some artwork in.  The town is very small, but qutie a tourist destination, and the lady who open the gallery just this year asked me to try it out.  It will be an experiance for me,  I guess.  Sharing is always fun, and visiting with other artists really enjoyable.  I love seeing all their work, and seeing what each is up to.   Selling my own hasn't been a concerne as I feel I come late to the party and have a lot to learn and experiance.  I am not sure Of even my own style yet, or what I love to paint most.   I know I do love Plein-air, and learning about that.  I also love all animals,  and learning about compostion which best expresses what I want to show.  This part is the kicker!!   Oh well,  I will carry on.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This A. M.---back at Plein-air

Out in the front Yard.. 7-8  a.m.

I thought I had an appointment today to help an artist friend who lives nearby.  I wanted to paint, and thought I would try a small plein-air to see if I could!!  The Morning light across the Carson Valley is amazing at times.  The sun just coming over the distant mountains seems to have a hazy yellow cast as it goes up to a soft blue sky.  The far mountains are so blue!! Especially toward Carson City, to the north.   I sat my easal up in the front yard, under a huge spruce tree that was planted about 100 years ago, and yes I know who by and approximately when!  I didn't finished the fence in front of the metal grainery----ran out of time----and was mainly trying to match each color out there as I saw it.   This is on Canson paper, pink, and mounted to an archival board.  This is a favorite scene, and so I will be doing it again, in different ways.    I hope I am back again with the every morning plein-air!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Learning art and Life!: New Plans----

Learning art and Life!: New Plans----

New Plans----

 These last 2 weeks I have been going out to plein-air regularly,  in fact everyday!  I have many sketches in my sketchbook, and many on-site notes drawn.  Trying to solve the many problems before I spend 2 hours stumbling thru with all the wonderful colors!   My friend from Dayton was here on the 9th, and we drove to Charity Valley , which is above our well known Hope Valley on Hwy 88.  We spent a wonderful around 3 hours, after walking around and looking at the scenery, on our paintings.  It was great, no one around except mosquitoes,  a great place to work with log tables for our stuff, and we drove right to it!!  Still----maybe too wonderful, if you know what I mean!!!  All that amazing spring green!!  I have to re-work my effort, Or toss it!!
So, the next day, I was out again very thoughtfully looking at the landscapes before me and making sketches in my sketchbook.  AND  re-reading John Carlson's book, which, by the way along with Edgar Payne's', are the best books for explaining all the things you go thru learning to Plein-air paint!!!!!   The above cow is from a photo I took of our cattle in the meadows at the Diamond Valley ranch.  She is a Hereford.  Well, some of her,  She really is a cross-bred with a lot of Gelvhich, too.
So----back out there doing skethes and planning places to set up my easal for actual work.   Oh----one of my plein-airs sold this weekend.  I have  a few in a local gallery.
They are small---about 7 x 12---and matted nicely, but not framed.  It didn't sell for a lot, of course, but its incouraging!  I bring the remaining works that don't sell home on July 31st.   Its a good experiance, and the first time I have done this!!  Well---back to the drawing board!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy 4th---and recent art ideas

The recent holiday, the 4th, was a long and busy one.  No art was done, all though each morning, after feeding the calf, (Lucy)  I did look for good plein-air spots.  I drew in my sketch book, did not paint, and in general hunted for nice places to take my friend from Dayton when she can run away to paint with me.  Its good practise, tho, to use your sketch book.    Family came to enjoy a B.B.Q---and  a lot of fun was had by all. I did work on a watercolor that I have been thinking about doing.  These flowers bloom each year along the road ways here, and I have been taking pictures of them I was told the name for these poppy-type flowers is "Cowboys eggs"  now, this may just be their nick-names.   They are very happy looking flowers, and do look like sunny-side up eggs.  The sun filters thru the petals with a lot of color when they are back-lit.  Here is a picture for you to see.

And this is the water-color I managed to get done.  I am doing this again, and hopefully planning the darks, and negative spaces better.  It was fun to do---I use a lot of water, and sometimes use a plexiglass board to paint on with my paper completely soaked.  This one was done on dry paper, stretched, then re-wet with a lot of water.   I need to get back into watercolor----but the pastels are just soooo much fun.   You can use them in so many ways, on so many different surfaces for so many different looks.  I guess you can watercolor, too.  I am also interested in Gouache painting.  Did I mention my horse is getting fat?? (Maybe I am , too!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

June at Hope Valley-

 Today  I was up early.  Its supposed to be about 98 today, with afternoon Thunder showers coming over Lake Tahoe.  We live just below the lake, and I wanted to go up to Hope Valley today so I thought I better go early as I could.  Fed my Calf, who seemed to enjoy the early milk , loaded the dogs and took off.   Its so beautiful here, and the greens are really  apparent now!!  Hard to figure how to control them.  I have been reading , of course, and found some older pastel journals that have some great articles in them.  I could see how much painting with Albert Handell had influenced Richard McKinley's work in the early 2000's----amazing---and read his thoughts as he took this journey to where he is now.   I will really miss a great clinic this September!!!  But I will paint any way.  Today , While I enjoyed where I was and will go back---I don't feel I got my self around the scene the way I wanted.  First off, I choose to paint a far mountain that was being hit by the morning sun coming up in the East.   Not many shadows, but still, I tried.
This is where I was looking----Next time I will chose a more up close scene.  I did use a viewfinder, but held it too close to my eye to get the large scene.  Better selection next time!!  There is just so much you are overwhelmed!!This is my painting.  I really tried to simplify the foreground, and also to show the farther mountain to be cooler, but still hit by light.  And the foreground mt.  is warmer   and is not showing the true colors in the digital photo!!  That's so frustrating!   I don't understand how to adjust and get the correct color when this happens.   At least I was out there , and home by 10  am!!!  Hauled some hay, feed some horses, and now for my lunch!   It was fun, but I need to do more, much more, and much better planning!!! The dogs had a great time , chasing squirrels,   and trying to swim in the river---Which is very HIGH  by the way!!  NOT SO HIGH last june when I painted the dog playing in the water, trying to fish!!    He was having so much fun.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Woodfords canyon from the meadow--plein~air

Woodfords canyon

Today I was up early again, and headed for the meadow we lease .  I walked down thru it, with the dogs, just looking around.   I thought I saw a composition I could maybe I went and got  my things and set up with the river running behind me, under a nice tree.  Very cool, and very beautiful.  I did a small thumbnail.....but I must not have given it a great deal of thought still.   I did only one, and we are told by the pros to do always at least 3!!!  Take heed, folks, they know what they are talking about! I worked for about 3 hours, and today used Canson paper in a grey tone, sorta med-dark.  I was just thinking, ( well , not hard enough)..... When I was three, I went back to the house , and found an old Pastel Journal from 2003.   There are two articles in there that really are worth the ink and paper they were printed on!!!  One is by Margot Schulzke, and the other , of course, by Richard McKinley. I propped up my effort  across the room, and began reading.
Margot 's article was titled  "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify"    and brother that's a mouthful.   I thought I did.  Of course I did not.   I did get my large shapes, 5 of them.  But when I worked on this,  I added more and more.  Also, I sure could of thought of "Composition" a lot more.
I should of figured out what was essential for me, about this scene-----and began editing.  I should of thought about a lead-in,  an area of interest, and the value plan.......As Richard McKinley says  "  Putting Everything you see into your painting is like trying to write using every word in your vocabulary"   I do this  all the time and it never works!     These two articles are so well written, and they were right in front of me at a time I really needed to re-read them!!!   The out doors is so BIG.  So much out there, and I need to slow down!       But I do have  a plan now----and I will be out there, in this location until I get what it is I want!   Plus a lot of what I don't want I have a feeling,  But oh well.......that's what learning is about.  

Monday, June 21, 2010

Last of this winters Snow!

Raymond Peak from Airport

This morning , after feeding my 2 calves their bottles I again loaded up the 4 dogs and drove out to look for a great spot to Plein-air.  I had noticed a lot of good spots to explore while driving yesterday.  After stopping a huge dog fight on the front seat of my car, we headed for the Markleeville airport.  Its a quiet place, no buidings, no planes, no body!!  But great trees, and color and a good view of two of our best mountains.  This is one of them, but I do admit my drawing is off a bit.  I was happy just to be doing a snowy topped mountain, but agast at all the other stuff!  I tried to make a compostion that would lead your eye up to the peaks, and snow, yet help you to also linger and explore the other area's.   This was about 2 hours, on Wallis Beligum Mist mounted to foamcor,   9 x 12.   I like the grey color of this paper, sanded at 400grit.  There was no wind this am, very quiet except for one car who came by to talk.   The elderly couple were camping in their airstream and noticed me.  When I answered his question about the choosen medium, he then told me of a Master Pastelist he once knew.  And judging by all he knew about him, they must of been friends.  I will now look up a pastelist by the name of Herman Margulies and see what I can learn. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plein-air again!

Indain Creek  Resivoir lake

Today I was determined to get back into a groove and go out in the AM to plein-air.  I love my Heilman Box, and my 1/2 french easal and want to use them!     I feed now 2 baby bummer calves at about 7 am, then loaded my little car with the dogs,  (4)-- and headed to the camp ground at Indain Creek  Resevoir.   It was a sparkly sunny morning, just wonderful.   I found an area where no one was, and tho I could hear and see people this fine Father's Day morning,   we were alone.   People in small boats on the lake, and did look interesting---but maybe next time.    I decided on the far end of the beach and lake and hope I did it justice!!   The violets and greens and sages and oranges were so pretty-----along with that blue sky color the lake was reflecting, with the sun sparkel!!       This picture, tho, is not the correct porportions and I am not sure why!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New project

I haven't been on my blog for awhile, but I have had art projects coming along.  I have been drawing, and planning.  Its easier for me , on some projects in studio work, to do a full drawing working out the values and getting the drawing as good as I can.  Also , the composition and the size I think it needs to be.  Then, when the problems are worked out, I can use my own drawing, traced onto whatever support  I want and it is my  own artwork.  I mostly always use my own photos, if its not plein-air work, although I did use an artists' from Denmark Photo when doing Lucas---She knows about this, and its not for show or sale, I just wanted to try it.  Getting a good photo of such a close up face isn't easy and you must also learn good photography.   So, when trying artwork there is a lot to learn!
  Also, the Carson Valley Days is this weekend, along with an Art show.  I took 2 things down to it, but this is not a juried show , just for sales.  I did this just to see how my things looked next to the other mostly local artists in the area, and to visit with them,  I actually went to the reception. This is something I rarely do, as I  hardly go to town!  It was nice and I saw a lot of good work!  Some from Ladies I know, and they are improving and enjoying the journey as am I.
     This is today's project.  I need to learn how to use my Digital to take good pictures of graphite drawings as this isn't accurate.  The paper is pure white, soft, Veleta by Legions paper.   It large, also, and completely my own drawing.  No use  of  any sort of projector, or anything like that.   I did use a simple grid of triangles to locate things in the interior of the drawing, and to get the large shape.
                 I plan to do this in pastel soon, and trying to decide what support to use, and if I want an underpainting.  I like the UArt, and also Canson papers----So I will just think on this.

This is also a recent pastel, from the Dutch Valley ranch we have.  I was taken by the clouds and shadows here this day.   So this is some of what I have been doing in between the cattle and company  and all.  I also have more ideas for artwork!!  So little time for it all, and its cold here again!! With wind.  But things are looking up.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

window gazing and dreaming......

You guessed it!   Cold and windy days here again.   It is getting green outdoors, but that wind won't settle down.   We have been re-building corrals in order to brand some calves, and ship.   Yet its to windy even for that!  At least for me.   So I spent several day on this cat.  He is a Maine Coon Cat,  I believe, and he lives in Norway.   A member of WetCanvas put his picture on about a year or so ago, and I thought it was a wonderful picture.  I am not so good with a camera!   And I finally gave it a try.   I used Sennelier pastel card , in sand color from the support.   I really must stop painting cats!  Well, when the wind settles down, it will be back to the plein-air!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16th struggles, Plein-air outing

Today I was back out in the meadow that we lease to try and capture the trees and the light of the morning.  I walked around a bit, looking at all the wonderful elements of nature out there, and the colors.   Trees are inspiring to me, and so difficult to get across the feeling I would like to get in them  With my dogs, and all my stuff, I set out to try once again!This area seemed to show the largeness of the trees shooting up into the sky without to much other clutter to arrange.  These also had sun hitting from the right sides, and shadows on the ground, so maybe , just maybe I could do something with this.  Been told on W.C. website that they aren't as dark where they reach the sky as I have been making them, even when in silhouette.  I have also been reading my John Carlson's landscape painting and admit I don't always understand what I think I understand.  Best way to handle this to get out there and paint!This were I set myself, still thinking to keep it simple, ( KISS)---Means.....keep it simple, stupid!---I began, after doing a notan in my sketchbook, then a simple pastel underpainting washed with alcohol.  Both dogs kept watch, feeling very bored I am sure.  When dry, taking only moments, I began with the local color---9 x 12 white wallis---next time canson!
Hope you can see this!   Anyhow, not the best---but still trying!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A watercolor sky---for practise

Skies have been on my mind a lot lately----In Nevada, we do get some great May skies!  Some may be thunder clouds, and some may be just gentle moisture filled skies that have a lot of light coming thru.  Cloud shadows across the valleys can be amazing, and really show a great sence of depth and distance.  It really is a large world out there!   Also, we had another cool couple of days giving us rain and snow, we had more than 2 inches late in the evening on May 10th, that was still there the next day.  It was really wet, and very good for all the feilds that are trying to grow now.   So, caught indoors  I painted this sky.   A watercolor, just a bit smaller than a 1/2 sheet of 200 Sauders Waterford paper, a really nice paper.