Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Big Fat Busy Weekend

 "The Yellow Teacup"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

I'm into this whole natural light thing lately - and I don't mean this.  Not that I haven't been stocking the cooler....we'll be heading out to the mountains soon for some family camping with lots of friends. 
But never fear! I'll be zooming back to town (only an hour away, after all) for the BIG, huge party at The Gallery at the Watershed Saturday night, and though I'll be leaving my closest friends behind in the wilderness (long story, mostly a major scheduling-screwup on my part), I will be bringing a hot date.

"Sketch for 'The Yellow Teacup'"
6 x 6 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

It's true, maybe I arranged for you to be stranded at a glorious mountainside hot springs this weekend. Maybe you're just busy - you have a life, after all, I know, I know. If you can't make it on Saturday, there will be another opportunity to party at the Gallery very soon! We're an official stop on the First Friday Artwalk this month. That's Friday June 7th - yes, it's June. Yes, I agree, that's crazy.

That doesn't absolve those of you without plans from coming out to see me just allows the procrastinators to do their thing.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Madame M.

"Madame M."
14 x 11 inches, oil on canvas

Resisting the urge to be a control-freak is easier for some astrological signs than others. Or so I've been told. Since I've lived in Eugene, Oregon, I've met people who really REALLY know about astrology. I respect it. I'm a Libra, and my desire for balance usually fuels my work - and makes it predictable....

Which is why I've been loving the model-in-the-middle version of MK figure painting night lately. So many new ways to see models I've painted many times before. I'm so grateful, really, truly, that I don't always paint alone. 

Fortunately, we all have an opportunity to rub elbows with one another - and many artists that I admire greatly, this Saturday night at The Gallery at the Watershed. Please join me....I think I might even wear heels!

I know, it's kind of blurry. Totally my fault. Come out, criticize my graphic design skills, allow me to introduce you to Eugene's newest Gallery-owner, meet some cool PDX will be a great time!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tea and True Stories

"Tea and True Stories"
6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

Phew! What a great long weekend. Our dance card was full every day, and my studio time was minimal - though I did get in a great thrift store trip, which was kind of a painting thing since I only bought props. I tend to get obsessed with certain objects and paint them over and over again (Hello, purple plate!), so hopefully I'll have some new still-life-stars in the batch I brought home.

This is a sketch I squeezed in between huge, luxurious, grilled-meat meals. Notable because it was done using 100% natural light. Apparently that's something to practice if you have plein air aspirations.

Speaking of plein air....if you look to the right of this post, you'll see an obnoxious little graphic that says "vote for me!" So. Why are you still here? Go click on it!


...And, while I'm asking for things, I have a fundraiser auction going right now, with all proceeds benefiting Oklahoma Tornado victims via the American Red Cross. DailyPaintworks is always so great about hosting these fundraisers, and there are many many more paintings to bid on

True story alert: my house in Cleveland was demolished by a tornado (well, technically a tree knocked down by one) when I was little. No one was hurt, thankfully - we were all safe in the basement!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Good News Comes Early

 "Calla Lilies on Black"
8 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

I was lying in bed this morning - before 7 am - just texting with my Gallerist (because that's totally normal), when she dropped the extremely excellent bomb that my scheduled show-slot this year had just become a SOLO show.

This news is especially excellent because the opening is December 13th. 

But just because I have six months to prepare doesn't mean the work doesn't begin today. And it also means that you all need to be opening Orbitz in a new tab and seeing about getting some plane tickets! Oregon in December. Pack your raincoats.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dark and Snowy

"Snowballs on Black"
approx. 5.5 x 4 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

I love these Snowball bushes. Too bad the deer that (over)populate my neighborhood love them, too. My husband put a little fence up around the baby I planted last year, but it's been too munched on already to provide any blooms this year. Luckily, my neighbors have a lovely, lush specimen that leans oh-so-conveniently over their deer fence right into my back yard. Another piece of luck - they last forever in a vase! Who knew?

Here's an example of how this painting-on-paper might look matted and framed: 

Love these snowballs as much as I do? My first painting of them - another one-dollar auction - ends this evening! Check it out here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Getting it on Paper

"Calla Lilies with Green Apples"
8.5 x 11.5" oil on paper

I have been enjoying the new oil painting paper by Arches, especially because every time I turn around these days, I'm out of canvases. I'm going to do some experimenting soon with mounting these onto panels, but they'd be great framed under glass, like a watercolor.

And now I'm off to scrounge up something to paint on and head out to the Alpaca farm for another rainy, cold (in fact downright wintry) afternoon of plein air.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Old In and Out

 "Calla Lilies by the Open Door"
8 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

 OMG, I couldn't resist. This is exactly what goes through my mind every time I paint a scene that includes both indoor and outdoor elements. No one should ever watch movies, ever, really, right? My apologies aside, what's a blog for if not to expose your mental issues thought process?

Here's my work-in-progress, anyway:

 It's a huge challenge, capturing any subject backlit by a window. The trick is to keep the outside SO much brighter than the inside, but also very neutralized, or dull, colorwise, since it is seen through glass. I almost got there in this painting - I had trouble darkening the gorgeous whites of the lilies sufficiently to really sillouhette them. Can you blame me? I'm still charmed by my results. Charmed, I'm sure.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I Get the Worm

"Wilted Beets on a Broken Plate"
8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Sadly, (but happily for the morning after) the title of this post does not refer to me attending an all-night Tequila bash (Veinte de Mayo, notwithstanding). I got up around 3 am to fetch Ellie some water, cuddled with her for five minutes, went back to bed, and could think about nothing but coffee for the next hour and a half. So I got up. 

And, since I was up, caffeinated, and bagel-ed, I decided to warm up for my Monday morning "teaching" gig. I use the (air) quotes because truly, we're all learning from each other in this group. I may be learning more life lessons than art lessons, but they are precious to me. My students don't know it, but I'm absorbing as much from them and their talk of young-adult children, aging parents, world travels, and husbands - it's always the husbands, isn't it? - as they (hopefully) are from my harping on lost edges and perfecting your ellipses.

So here's this (early) morning's warmup. 25-20-15-10 brushstroke sketches:

Believe it or not, I got up SO damn early that I still had time to take - and edit - photos of everything I'd done that morning, and my painting from the weekend, besides. Which is a good thing, because my Classy Painting Ladies kept me busy until until 3 pm today. I've just run in the door with time to write this little missive before having to move on to the dreaded dinner question.

And the answer is: pizza. 

But maybe a word about this painting before I go? The title says it all, I'm hoping. But I wanted to explain that I'm not really trying to be dark and serious on purpose. Mom brought me the beets, fresh and glowing, from Saturday market, and of course I had no time to paint on Saturday, what with putting on mascara and other unpleasantries, for my ladies night out (book club), and other random Saturday things. The leaves were so gorgeous, springy, and so many shades of green that I really wanted to drop everything and go paint them, but beauty duty called, and I left them for Sunday. By which time they were as tired as I was after yakking until all hours with my book club buds.

The broken plate is sad, in its way, though it got that way honestly. My dish-doing is spotty, and my dishwasher-loading even more so. I pulled this one out of said dishwasher so elegantly cracked that I knew its next life would be in my studio. At least this week.

And now I present to you your honorary degree in comparative literature (because compared to good literature, you know this is a mess), since you basically just read a novel. That's what happens when a blogger gets cooped up with a sick baby for a few days. A word purge. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sickness, Sketches, and a Windfall

"Spring Snowballs/ sketch"
6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

In the past, I admit, I've been a thief. But these were given to me, wholeheartedly, by a friend who sympathizes with my seasonal-bloom-painting obsession. You know who you are, and thanks! That said, I have had precious little time to do them justice this week, as my daughter has been down with a high fever and so I've been on juice, crackers, and book-reading duty for the past few days. The snuggles are precious, but so is my studio time. Hence, only a sketch, and a windfall for Sedwick collectors everywhere! Bid away....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Nude and an Invitation

"Leaning on Her Elbow"
11 x 14 inches, oil on canvas

What a pose! So fun. I really started this one off lively - as you can see below. I think I liked the face more before I smoothed out that quick sketchy energy, but the blendiness does give her some serenity. 

I don't know how come this small town has so amazing models, but they are all such pros. Could you hold that position for 45 minutes without screaming? Me neither!

I promised you an invitation, and now I will deliver: 

It's an open house all evening long, in celebration of my new Gallery! Food, drink, and lots of artists. What could be better on a Summer Saturday?

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Painting Party... and Stockholm Syndrome

"An Orange for Tea"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

How do you make a Monday morning awesome? I'll tell you. Get a great group of artists together and revel in your collective creative energy!

 You've seen this studio before, and so you already know why I was overjoyed to paint there again. This informal workshop is made up of students of mine who just couldn't bear to part with me after our last session....I think they must have Stockholm Syndrome!

 Joy and Patti painting away:

 A bird's eye view of the action! From the loft above Patti's studio:

 My warmup (and cooldown) sketch - and also my newest $1 auction offering:
"No Comparison"
6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I Get Funny Looks

 "In the Rhododendron Garden"
8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

If you ever get a chance to visit Eugene, try to come in Spring. At least, try to come this spring - honestly, we usually have wall-to-wall rain until the 4th of July. Not this year! Most years, Mother's Day is Rhody day - the peak of bloom time. This year they are almost finished. I was happy to find these pink and red pals in all their glory, though. Do you ever think about how long plants like these live side by side, watching the seasons and decades come and go....?

Back to my tourism plug. If you come to Eugene, and if it's a glorious spring day, Hendricks Park is not-to-be-missed. Apparently there are hundreds of types of Rhododendrons, and you can see most of them there! (Travel Lane County, please send my check to: xxx0 xxx street, euge ---- oh just kidding.)

Here I attempt to show you the scene I was looking at, and how it eventually came to be a painting.

And here, I give you eye candy. Flowers are nice.

...And here, I demonstrate the best way to get funny looks from all passersby while plein air painting: not only wear a granny hat, but definitely, definitely smear red paint all over your face. Then act like it's completely normal.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Small Changes

"Blue Evening Light"
 8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

I don't usually include much background in my figure paintings. We place the model stand against a wall, hang a cloth behind her, and go at it - so there isn't much back there to paint anyway. This week, we got a little crazy and put the model in the center of the room. Suddenly, there was a whole new side of her to paint! And a window, and a sliver of golden Oregon evening. And the violet light on her arm and cheek....

Monday, May 6, 2013

Who Wants Quiche?

 "Cracked With a Spoon"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

In addition to my regular huge box of props, I arrived at the Art Center this morning with two big cartons of eggs and a bag each of red and yellow onions. And that was just my lunch.

Just kidding! I know, I had you for a minute there.

Anyway, today was Egg Day, with onions as a special guest star, and it was all about facing your fears, your allergies, your culinary aversions...ok, it was really just about value, color, and texture. 

First, I did a little demo:

 Then everybody got to work. Some awesome paint was slung today, and I'm totally proud of how everyone "womaned-up" to the challenge. Sometimes I think an artist could spend a lifetime painting just eggs....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Composition by Attrition

"Lone Lilac"
6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

As previously mentioned, Lilacs don't last long in captivity. What is it with these guys? They think they're too good to hang out with me? Apparently. Well, this lovely Lilac was perfuming the air in another room, and for some reason didn't wilt like the others. Maybe it's the Gamsol fumes they object to in my studio....

Tomorrow morning is, sadly, the last installment of my workshop. Happily, though, it's Egg Day! I'm also packing a BUNCH of onions, in case any of my repeat offenders regular students want to tackle something other than eggs. 

It's going to be one hell of a good-smelling classroom!

P.S. What are you getting your mom for mother's day? It's only a week away (tick, tick). I have LOTS of paintings in my Etsy shop that I can ship tomorrow, with a custom-written note card attached! (And free shipping, for those in the know. Use the code SARAH at checkout.)

P.P.S. And speaking of undying love, I've entered a contest - and I'd really like to win. The prize is a free plein air workshop, here in Eugene, in August. All I need is tons of votes! So, if you have 10 seconds and a Facebook account, please help me out! Thanks. (P.P.P.S. you can vote once a day...)

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Lilac Thief, an Autobiography

"Lilacs and Tea"
6 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Lilacs don't last long as cut flowers, I'm finding. Not to worry, Lilac lovers, I'm out stealing more as you read this!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spooky Plein Air

"The Old White Church"
8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

The Walker Church is the destination for the Plein Air Painters of Lane County this week, and yesterday dawned so incredibly lovely and sunny that as soon as I opened my eyes I knew I would be driving the 20-odd miles south to check out this new spot. The church was about as deserted as you'd expect on a Wednesday morning, and also in the middle of nowhere - the closest neighbors being some cows, a shuttered trailer, a gravel pit, and a junkyard - always love seeing that sea of derelict cars, don't you?

There were Lilacs and Iris in profusion in the small cemetery adjacent to the church, and tombstones for everyone from pioneers to the recently dead jumbled together in no particular order....and as I hiked around through the long, blowing grass, a windchime that sent chills down my spine!

Soon after the chills, I heard Patti's car crunching up the dirt driveway, and soon we were exploring together, exclaiming over the lovely old houses and picking out our painting spots. By lunchtime, we were freezing (It was about 50 degrees out, even with all that glorious sun), and so we headed to the nearest town for some hot soup and coffee.

More Lilac paintings coming soon!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

One Last Fling

 "The Swedish Student"
11 x 14 inches, oil on canvas

Big, cheap, and raggedy - No, I'm not talking about my model! It is a pretty accurate description of the brush I used to paint her with, though. It's an old, cheap, number 6 flat that I keep around for applying tone to my canvases - that orangey color you see behind this one, for example. Anyway, I sort of forgot to switch brushes after toning my canvas, and once I noticed - hey, it was working, so I just kept going. 

Worn out brushes often give me one final cool-looking painting before dying completely. One last, loose, sketchy fling!

Here's my progress, taken at 45 minute intervals. I'm pretty proud of the fact that once I'd painted an area, I managed to leave it generally intact, except for some minor blending and adjusting. It's so frustrating when I feel like I'm repainting the entire thing, over and over what I've already done.