Thursday, October 31, 2013

Being Green

 "Tahni in Green"
18 x 14 inches, oil on canvas

My latest figure painting. Here's the progression - between the first and second shots, I changed the lower body, and before the final photo, I changed the background. That bat-shaped, dark drapery was totally Halloween-appropriate, but probably too distracting for the other 364 days of the year.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mark Your Calendars!

 "Quiet Plums"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

This is the first time I've used natural light on a still life in my new studio. The late afternoon light is a tranquil blue coming through my windows - especially on drizzly, overcast days like a few we've had recently. And yes, this gray swirly cloth is a repurposed curtain.
I'm all smiles (and stomach butterflies) about an exciting event coming up soon - my first solo show in nearly three years! The Gallery at the Watershed isn't a humongous space, but my paintings are small. My point is, there's going to be a TON of work on display. Which is good, because I paint a lot.

Mark your calendars! And if you can, please do come to the opening. The show will be a mix of still life, figure, and portrait, and you might even spot one or two of my models in the crowd. The Gallery is hosting several fun events around this show, so stay tuned!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seven Days of Steals!

6 x 8 inches, oil on canvas
(The week's last) $1 Auction!

A huge thanks to everyone who's placed a bid this week! Here are the final two offerings. All seven paintings are still up for grabs...

"Cherry Hearts"
6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One Dollar Auction Week: Now, with Persimmons!

 "Early Persimmon"
6 x 8.5 inches, oil on paper

 The persimmon tree in my mother's yard is a step ahead of the seasons this year - loaded with almost-ripe fruit, and it's not even Halloween yet. I'll be clambering onto her garage roof to pick more as they ripen (because I love to live dangerously), but I've already got a huge bowl in my studio just waiting for their chance to be my subjects!

Here's a peek at how I began this little painting. That's a wash of Burnt Sienna, and a shot of my start. You can sort of see my underdrawing in Alizarin Crimson, and plenty of evidence that I don't paint from background to foreground. My instant-gratification junkie just has to paint the fun part first!

An oil painting on paper should be matted and framed under glass. Even though the Arches Oil paper I use is archival, and should stand up well over time, it's not a surface you'd want to be dusting or touching for any reason. Here's how it would look framed:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making it Big

"Leaning Lanterns"
16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

 Do you remember the sketch for this one? I can't believe it's taken me almost a month to finish the larger version! That's what Artist's Anxiety will do to you, I guess. If I'm going to paint larger still lives, I really need to make sure I've got a big chunk of time (and an extra dose of mental fortitude) to just bang it out in one sitting. Working back into a half-finished canvas sends my AA through the roof!

Monday, October 21, 2013

One Dollar Auction Week!

 "Fall Fruit Bowl"
6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

Fall greetings, friends and readers! Around our house the pumpkins are carved, certain silly decorations have emerged from storage, the leaves are gorgeous, and my four-year-old has her fairy princess costume all set to go. And in my studio, a week of $1 auctions begins today! Bring a truly unique gift to surprise your host at Thanksgiving dinner, spruce up your dining room for the feast, or get a jump on your Christmas shopping. Now is the time!

 "Fall Lineup"
6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

You can check in on my DPW page for each day's $1 offering. And tell your friends! Thanks for bidding.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Pleasure Was Mine

"Portrait of R. Canaga"
20 x 16 inches, oil on canvas
Sold commissioned portrait

Robert Canaga is a former gallery owner and the curator of Eugene's Gallery at the Watershed. He knows everyone in the Oregon art world, and has an amazing collection of original art in his home. He's also a printmaker and painter. I was extra excited when he asked me to paint his portrait, because I knew I'd be able to include one of his works in the background! Working in his spacious, skylit studio and listening to his fascinating stories were icing on the cake.

Here's a progression: you might notice that I redrew the arms and hands between the second and third picture, lowering them on the canvas. I spent an entire sitting just painting the hands

(Click on the picture to see it bigger.)

Have you ever thought about commissioning a portrait? I'm 100% at your service. Let's talk.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Life In The Gray

 "In the Gray"
20 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

Things in life aren't black and white (though you do need to check your values sometimes). Is your painting good or bad? Are you talented or not? Are you successful or a failure? These aren't absolutes - we all fall across a spectrum - and change is always possible. That's life in the gray.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tips and Tricks: It's Curtains!

 My contribution to this month's blog carnival, devoted to Tips and Tricks, is all about window treatments. It might sound a bit strange - this is an art blog and an art tips carnival, after all. Some of you, having witnessed firsthand my attempts at interior decoration, might be wondering what I could possibly contribute on the subject of tasteful decor curtains, but fear not! At the heart of this matter are two subjects I do know something about: problem solving the simple way, and shopping at the thrift store.
I've come to realize that people like to redecorate. They must, because there are tons of curtains at the thrift store. Weird curtains. Oh well, I don't judge. The more colorful, the better, for my purposes...

Those purposes include model backdrop, still life component, and (in moments of desperation), drop cloth. Hey, they're pretty cheap, these used curtains. 
One of my favorite ways to use any piece of fabric is to block out windows when I want to control a lighting situation. Our weather changes very quickly sometimes, and when I have a model in my studio, using window light, which can switch from cloudy grey to bright and sunny with no warning, is not a good option. Sun breaks make the general public happy, but for me, they are no good!
By putting two little nails in the wall, I can easily hang a window-blocker of any type with bulldog clips. Those round holes are so convenient.

If you score some of these funky grommet-curtains,  you can skip the clips altogether. I'm not sure how I feel about this type of curtain as an actual decorative element (although, it's already been established that I am no Martha Stewart), I love them for this:


I've got one more tidbit before I send you off on your carnival rounds. I get tons of questions about how I hang paintings in my studio, and the answer is simple:
Thanks for stopping by today! Hope you enjoy some more tips and tricks from these fabulous artists:

Linda Nickles

Marla Laubisch

Jo MacKenzie

Joanne Grant

Taryn Day

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Beware, My Pretties

16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

Have you ever met someone and been captivated by their face right away? From the moment I saw Dakota's mysterious eyes and gorgeous slender fingers, I knew she'd be a fantastic portrait subject - not to mention her nose, which is truly distinctive and elegant. These are the things artists are thinking when they meet you, folks: you may believe they're enjoying your pleasant conversation, but really they're sizing you up! 

So beware, my pretties, if we ever meet: you just might end up motionless on my couch for several hours!

(Here's a work-in-progress:)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Primarily Apples

 "Two Apples, Yellow"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Red, Yellow, and Blue: the parents of all colors. Some white and gray thrown in, because they're beautiful!

I had a great portrait session this morning, and I'll be heading to figure painting tonight. You can follow along on Facebook or Twitter. See you later!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tempting Snow White

 "Tempting Snow White"
6 x 6 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

What kind of apples are these? I can't remember, and I took off their nametags. They aren't Red Delicious - they are even redder than that. Blood red! Not very good eating, but so beautiful.

We picked some delicious (but not so pretty) apples in the October sunshine today - one of my favorite fall activities. I can't resist eating them right off the tree, pesticides and all. I totally grossed out my family, but I'm ok with that.

Here's the cuteness - my own little snow white and her sticky temptation!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How About Them Apples...?

 "Two Apples, Blue"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Talk about a still life coming together by accident! I put this plate on the floor while moving easels around the other day, and voila! It's great when I don't have to spend an hour fussing with a setup - running back and forth, minutely adjusting everything over and over until the elements are working together in just the right way. It's not quite as good for exercise, however.

So now I have two these two apples on red and on blue, and I'm contemplating adding a yellow composition to this duo to complete the primary set. Could be an excellent way to spend a Sunday!


If you're looking for an excellent way to spend an afternoon next weekend, The Gallery at the Watershed is hosting their inaugural "Good Old-Fashioned Art Auction" on Saturday the 12th from 3-5 pm. This is going to be a fun event, a great chance to score some fabulous art, and of course, an opportunity to rub elbows with the likes of me. Hope to see you!