Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Carnival in my Studio!

Let's kick things off with a painting (because it can't be all fun and games):

"Blueberries and Water"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

....And now, ladies and gents - step right up, no tickets required for this guided tour of my studio! 

Can't you just hear the slow creeeeaaak of the door opening...?

Ok, there's no freak show or tunnel of love in this post. It's a blog carnival, in which a group of artists get together to post about the same topic. In this case: our studios.

I've shared pictures of my studio before, but here's what it's looking like this week. Two easels, tons of plants, random still life stuff everywhere, and paintings all over the walls.

You can see canvases stacked and leaning on both sides of my cabinet. The left is for blanks, the right is for paintings. I find this to be a *sophisticated* yet intuitive method of organization.

Below you can see some of my happy little plants. Correct levels of Oxygen and Co2 in an art studio is critical to the creative process! I fool myself that they take my fume exposure down a notch as well.

Below I attempted a panorama of a painting-in-progress on the easel. Left to right, top to bottom: My still life setup with painting, my palette, my painting table (and glass bottle collection), my paintbrushes, and a jumble of paints. The last two I'm not too proud of, but the system does contain some cryptic orderliness, and it's been working for me so far!

Interested in going behind the scenes of some other amazing artists' studios? Here is a veritable fireworks explosion of links!

Marla LaubischCarol SchiffKaethe BealerJo MacKenzie
Michael ChamberlainCharleen MartinSally BinardJacklyn Karabaich
Sharon GravesSea DeanJohnna SchellingTaryn Day
Julie Ford OliverSarah SedwickKim RempelCindy Michaud
Joanne GrantCarmen BeecherCindy WilliamsCathy Engberg

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Disclose my Future Whereabouts

"Radish Riot"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Another weekend is upon us! ...And a freak heatwave in the PacNW to finish June off in sweaty style. Next week is one of my favorites of the year. Not only is it the first official week of summer in Eugene (aka, the week it usually stops raining until October), but it's time for Art in the Vineyard - a huge gathering of artists, crafters, musicians, and wineries - and this year, I get to be (a small) part of it too!

I'll be painting a model somewhere on the festival grounds with my friend Farley next Thursday July 4th, from noon to 3. I shouldn't be too hard to spot - just look for my granny hat! Please don't hesitate to say hi, bug me, distract me...especially if you're sharing your wine!

Meanwhile, look for a fun post on the blog this Sunday, peek in on my current one dollar auction, and take advantage of free shipping on anything in my Etsy shop with the code SARAH. So much to do, so little time!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hot, Smelly, and Shipping for Free

"Simple Egg"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Hello, beautiful people! It's hot here. I'm wondering how long I can keep this egg sitting out in my studio before it starts to smell. This should be incredibly entertaining to my dear sis-and-bro-in-law who will be spending next week sleeping in my studio's alternate incarnation, aka... The Guest Room. Good thing they don't read my blog! (lol, no, they really don't.)

...To make matters even sketchier, these brown eggs were on 50% markdown at Safeway, so they're definitely not for eating.


Want to buy this painting, but shipping charges totally bum you out? I know! With the code SARAH, everything in my Etsy shop ships for free this week. Use it, share it, take care of your summer wedding gift list, or just ignore it. Just try to ignore it...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Grease and Getting Serious

"Three Pink Ladies"
oil on Arches oil paper, 9 x 7 inches. Image size 8.5 x 6.5 inches
 ...And three more Pink Ladies, because I couldn't resist:

What child of the 80's did not watch this movie a thousand times? I wonder if my daughter will get it at all when her time comes. 'Where are their cell phones, mommy?' I can hear it now...

My waxing nostalgic aside, I have a serious topic to broach today: the price of art. Now that I'm placing my work in galleries, it's been pointed out to me that my internet-friendly prices are no longer appropriate. Yes, paintings are selling, but collectors are wondering why my prices are so low - what's wrong with the work?

In advertising, sales, and the art world, numbers and the image they convey matter. 

So yes, there will still be internet-exclusive deals, Etsy shop coupon codes, and one-dollar auctions promoted here and on my Facebook page, but my prices will be changing as of July 1st. 

If you have some advice or a comment about pricing, selling, or the awesomeness of Grease, don't hesitate to leave it below!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Behind every successful woman (artist)...

"Jesse at 36"
10 x 8 inches, oil on canvas a husband that's willing to sit for her. It's literally been years since I've been able to coax this guy into the hot seat. Five years. I guess the last time was really painful or something.

Here's his last portrait, from February 2008:

I was just getting back into painting seriously at the time, but I was pretty happy with this one. I've still got it hanging around the studio five years later, so it's safe to say I'm sentimentally attached.

Jesse, I love you. I'm glad you were sick today so you could sit for me, just for an hour or so. I'll pencil you in for another sitting in 2018.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Painting Ladies Meet Again!

"By the Oriental Screen"
16 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

I've been so spoiled lately with models at home, and don't plan to stop spoiling myself anytime soon. Disclaimer: although this is not my home,  I do covet this orange corduroy couch, and loved painting it this morning. 

Not to be outdone by a couch, however vintage, Tahni wore a shimmery blue-green dress that looked perfect with her eyes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Artist at Home

"Gentle Reader"
20 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

 The past two days have been exciting, painting a model in my own living room! Carol joined me today, just to make the morning even more fun. If you've been reading for a while, you know I'm a huge fan of shaking it up / getting out of your comfort zone, and strangely, this week I've managed to shake things up by remaining smack in the middle of my comfort zone - or at least, my living room. 

I really wanted to paint the model backlit by that huge window, but she was so sillouhetted that I ended up shining an extra halogen spot on her. The effect was still pretty dramatic. I'm now feeling inspired to paint in other rooms of my house, but my next foray into figure will be in a garden setting (weather permitting). 

Here are some shots from this morning: Our lovely model with our work-in-progress, a face-detail from my painting, and Carol at work:

click on the image for a better view!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Blood is Delicious

"Fishing Devil's Lake"
10 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

The Cascade Lakes Highway is pretty amazing. There are so many lakes scattered alongside it that Devil's lake isn't even listed on most of the online maps I found. La-dee-dah, it's only an enormous, bright-turquoise puddle compared to some of the more impressive watering holes. Scale gets so distorted in an enormous wilderness state.

This lake was plenty big enough to impress. Unfortunately, the fish weren't biting (or maybe it was the fact that the daddies brought their raucous 2-and-3-year-olds along), and the mosquitos most definitely were. Biting. Specifically, biting me.

You see, I have delicious blood. I've always been a magnet for biting insects, and have loved living in the Willamette Valley because mosquitos are almost unheard of here...but in the mountains, the mosquito reigns supreme.

I had on long sleeves, long pants, and two coatings of bug spray, and still left looking like the only child who missed her chicken pox vaccine. (Did you know children literally do not get chicken pox anymore? Blew my mind when I heard). 

I'll spare you pics of the carnage. Here are some pics of the beauty:

Once I'd escaped to the parking lot, I treated myself to a consolation beer. I figured I'd earned it, in blood.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So Great, I Had to Paint it Twice

"Smith Rock Vista"
10 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

 As you may already know (if you follow me on FB), my family got out of the valley this weekend, and headed to higher elevations for some great food, weather, and outdoorsy time with friends in Bend, Oregon. It was our first time visiting Bend, even though it's barely a 3 hour drive, and this is our seventh summer as Oregon-dwellers. I'd say it was worth the wait, but I think it would be more accurate to wonder instead what took us so long! Bend is spectacular. Excellent food, great for kids, gorgeous river and parks, tons of craft beer, and outdoorsy stuff out the wazoo. We tried to do it all in four days, but got a little hung up on the craft beer part, as you might imagine....

One of the highlights was a day at Smith Rock. The friends we vacationed with are rock-climbers, and have spent tons of time at this park. Because (wonderfully) they are expecting baby number two,  my husband had to fill in on climbing duty. I can happily report no injuries occured. Ok, two sunburned necks, both belonging to the dads, but that was the least of my worries. And look at this cuteness!

She was very serious about it.

...And I was trying to be serious as well. I had a great painting spot, just enough off the main path that (almost) no one bugged me for four blissful hours. The view was a little intimidating at first, but I reminded myself that I love putting something huge on a relatively tiny canvas, and once I dove in I was fine.

I even had time for a second attempt. In the lower right, you can see the trailhead with its picket fence.

"Smith Rock Trailhead"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

More Bend paintings to come tomorrow!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Go Figure

"Lounging Nude"
12 x 9 inches, oil on canvas

Here's my figure painting from Tuesday night. I know, I'm so behind! But I am on vacation after all. This is my kind of getaway - lots of computers lying around, plenty of wifi, drop-dead gorgeous scenery on all sides, and a craft brewery on every corner. 

Ahem, back to the painting. Or the model, at least. You'll be seeing a lot of her here in the coming weeks, as I'll be painting her in three different locations!

Feelin' Peachy

"Peachy Keen"
8 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

I'm blogging to you from a super-cute vacation cottage in Bend, Oregon! We're here with friends who also have a little one, so the kids are in heaven. Hot tub heaven. And, as you can see below, blue sky and huge clouds heaven! 

Man it's nice here. I'm going to stretch my plein air legs while everyone else stretches their real legs, hiking at Smith Rock this afternoon. Keep an eye on Facebook for pictures!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

An Audience of One

 "Sunny Egg"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

This morning I had company in the studio, and not my usual, mostly feline, company either! Luke Fannin, an arts writer and journalist with Create Eugene sat with me during the entire start-to-finish process of making this painting. He'll be writing an article about it for the blog Handmadeology. I'll make sure and link to it when it's published!

I've demo-ed in front of students and other groups, and been joined by models and friends in the studio before, but I doubt I've ever been so closely observed and documented while painting - even when I was professionally photographed! It was interesting, especially as I approached the end-stage of the painting, which can be a tense time even on a normal day. Under questioning, I noticed things I hadn't before - like how I hold my breath when executing more precise passages, and then exhale and breathe deeply once they're completed.

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Good to Have Friends

 "By the Garden Gate"
18 x 14 inches, oil on canvas

Yes, it's good to have friends. Friends with incredibly beautiful, perfectly landscaped gardens. Friends who paint, and love to paint with friends.

I got to share this blissfully sunny morning with my Monday painting ladies, a new (to me) model, and a super-fluffy kitty - who declined to pose, but entertained us with her cuteness. Jean, Patti, Joy and I were happily reunited with Katia, our compadre from the coast, who drove 2+ hours to paint with us! We keep threatening to return the favor...Hopefully she has a guest room for four!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

A REALLY Good Weekend.

"Two Peaches"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Well, I can't complain about my weekend! It started off with a bang Friday night with The Gallery at the Watershed's first artwalk - and I do mean a bang. As in, I sold 7 paintings that night! (Insert Howard Dean scream.) It's such a change for me, selling paintings in person rather than online. My favorite part of the night was selling this piece to two friends who planned to share it - 6 months at one house, and 6 at the other. Joint-custody of art, what an idea!

The rest of my weekend was no slouch, with an absolutely idyllic creekside playdate, home-grilled chicken wings, lots of husband-and-wife yard work, and SUN. Tomorrow morning I paint the figure en plein air with my Monday ladies once again. I think I have the best job in the world!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Party Pictures

"Grand Opening Flowers"
12 x 9 inches, oil on canvas

Last Saturday was the Grand Opening party for The Gallery at the Watershed. As part of the invitation, Amy asked everyone to bring a flower from their garden, and this (after some editing of wilted foliage) was the result:

Obviously, I was not going to tackle this beautiful bunch of blooms with a limited palette. I think it got a little out of control, though....

 Party pictures, please! I can hear you all the way from here.

 (Left to right, top to bottom: my painting peeking out from behind a very cool sculpture by Randy Ortiz, Amy and Robert welcoming their guests, yours truly posing with Amy the gallery owner, and my wall. Really, they call it "Sarah's Wall." Love!)

By the way, if you couldn't make it out last weekend, we're on the artwalk this Friday night - that's tomorrow, for those of us wondering where this week went - and I'll be there! So come say hi. 5:30-8 pm.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Strange Habits, Exposed.

"Summer Skin"
18 x 14 inches, oil on canvas
My in-progress pictures, below, expose one of my many strange painting habits: wiping my brush on the "background" area of the canvas while I'm working on the figure. Do other people do this? I've had to explain what "those marks" are several times recently - people must think I'm actually doing something over there....

To find out if maybe I am actually doing something, I tried to keep a little of the randomness in the background as I finished it up.

P.S. This was painted with a Zorn palette! Because it was hot, and squeezing multiple paint tubes is a lot of work. The end.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Time Comes

"Happy Apricots"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Apricots have been on my mental to-paint list for quite a while - but they are always so expensive, tiny, and beat-up-looking in the grocery store.  When I spied some lovely ones at Costco last week - on sale, no less - I knew my time (to finally paint apricots) had come. 

My Costco membership should be a tax writeoff. I mean, really - who can create great art without enormous bricks of cheese lying around? Not me.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Painting the Figure en Plein Air....and my Guinea Pigs.

"In Patti's Garden"
16 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

What an awesome morning! As many of you know, I've been spending my Mondays painting with a great group of ladies - and as some of you may know, I'm teaching a plein air figure workshop in August. So... I thought I would use them as my guinea pigs, and take advantage of Patti's gorgeous garden, which she generously offered us, even though she is spending her week on a torturous death-march hiking the Rogue River trail.

We were lucky to get one of my favorite models, the lovely Ali. I was a bit nervous early on, especially about the weather - when we were arranging the pose, it was overcast and about 60ยบ, though the day's forecast called for mid-70's and sunny. I encouraged Ali to wear a sweater - but thankfully, she overruled me. By the time we all got our drawings down, the sun was blazing and the mercury was rising!

By the start of the second hour, sunblock was being applied.

I felt a bit off at first, but quickly warmed up, literally and figuratively. (Bonus Pun!)

I invited Carol to join us today because I had a hunch it would be a blast. She finished two great sketches in the 3 hours we painted. Hopefully, this won't be the last time she paints with the Monday Ladies!

...And for those of you wondering about my recent whirlwind camping trip, here's the best photo I managed to take of the fun times. Gabriella and I admiring our gear in the swanky campground bathroom. Swanky, indeed - it had a mirror (and showers!)!