Friday, February 21, 2014

Speckled Eggs and Spring

"Quail Eggs"
6 x 6 inches, oil on canvas

The Asian market strikes again! These little cuties have been sitting in my refrigerator for I-won't-even-tell-you-how-long, but hey - they don't smell yet - and I'm not planning to eat them. Quail-egg-painting procrastination is over now, and I've got another version on the easel as I type.

One thing I'm terribly excited about this week: Spring! I actually saw the first Camellia blossoms of the year yesterday. I'll be out and about with my scissors soon.....


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Another Self Portrait and Another Road Trip!

 "Self Portrait, February 2014"
14 x 11 inches, oil on canvas

Last week, once Snow-maggeddon finally melted (and the power came back on and my car was towed out of a ditch), Carol and I hit the rainy road to Portland for a brunch date with a group of awesome artist-bloggers. There were a lot of familiar faces in attendance, and one new to me, but a blogger I've been following for years, Don Gray. What a pleasure to meet someone in person and feel like you already know them so well!

Because you can never have too much of a good thing: artist-friends, delicious brunch food, cute dogs, painterly commiseration, new-work-sharing...

Below, clockwise from top: Annie Salness, Carol Marine, Ruth Armitage, and Randall David Tipton; Lulu the cutest damn dog in Oregon; Sarah Peroutka; Don Gray and Randall; Jo Reimer, Don, and his wife Brenda. Present, but not pictured: Gretha Lindwood. Huge thanks to Ruth for hosting us at her stunning home.

As far as this self portrait is concerned, (and I should say something about it, huh?), I painted it while cooped up in the snow (but before the power went out).  I used a Zorn palette, and really wasn't planning on even finishing it, but ended up liking it. The nose is a bit short, the chin maybe a bit too big, but you'll have that. Until you come to Eugene and meet me, you can't really argue!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A post for a snowy Thursday

 "One Dozen Brown Eggs"
10 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Here's the painting from my always-fun live session at the gallery last Saturday. If you've been reading awhile, you might recognize this plate as the green twin of my subject from the previous weekend. If so, bonus points for you!


If you're interested in watching me paint, I'll be at the gallery this Saturday for the final day of my solo show, from 12-4. Feel free to join - pull up a chair, watch as long as you like, and ask me anything!

If you prefer a fancier soiree, tomorrow is First Friday, once again (because it's February, for all you doubters!) and I will be out and about, in a dress, no less! Brave the snow. Let's meet.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Road Trip!

 "All Kinds of Orange"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

I have a pretty strict policy around here: Say Yes As Often As Possible. Which is how I came to be driving North on I-5 this past Monday evening with my trunk full of painting gear, and trusty sidekick Amy in the passenger seat. Destination: The Corvallis Art Guild's monthly meeting.

I'm always honored to be asked to do anything - especially paint in front of people and talk about my work! The Corvallis Art Guild turned out to be a great group of artists who peppered me with delightfully technical questions about paint, mediums, etc, while I did my demo. Speaking of technical - the whole thing was projected onto a huge screen, with some help from the chairman of the group (and a friend of mine), Joseph Pfeiffer-Herbert. Everyone had a great view, and Joseph's arm only got a little tired.

Another invitation I gratefully accepted that evening came from Herbert and Rogena Berman, who welcomed Amy and I into their Corvallis home. They had seen my show at The Gallery at the Watershed and liked it so much that they invited us to see Herbert's wonderful paintings and studio. It was really a treat.

What a great night!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

All Questions, No Answers

"Two Orchids, Out of Bloom (sketch)"
 8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

As promised yesterday, this piece segues me nicely into a topic I worry about periodically - how to do preparatory sketches for a piece without burning myself out on a setup before I even get to the large canvas?

Well, I don't have an answer, but one thing seems clear: even if I enjoy and feel really excited about the sketch, if I'm still dreading starting the larger version, it really shouldn't happen. 

In this case, I have a totally different composition in mind from the same setup - vertical, so I can incorporate all the lovely green leaves of the orchids, and plenty of the negative/shadow space that I love. Sounds good, right? So why has the half-begun canvas been sitting on my easel for days? I keep telling myself that my dread of the large canvas is just some kind of stage fright, and not an issue with the painting itself. 

But I'm worried. I'm intrigued, as an artist, a mom, and a human, by the things that kids make. How fascinated they can be by jumbled strings of random beads, such as this one that my daughter made at preschool awhile back. But is it good in a painting? Does it work automatically because it interests me, and I'm the artist here, after all? I didn't set out to say anything with this piece, besides 'These are beautiful objects from my life that I love looking at together.' But as much as I try to deny it, meaning keeps sneaking in. I've discussed it before: my dread of artist statements: my dread of making any statement at all, beyond 'It's beautiful,' but a setup like this appeals to me more and more on a personal, narrative level. Either I'm getting old, or growing as an artist. You heard it here first!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sketch to Finish

"Curved Spine"
14 x 11 inches, oil on canvas

Here's what I did with that little sketch I posted a week ago. You'd think there wouldn't be too much to worry about, detail-wise when painting a back, but the subtleties are engrossing. And I had so much time to focus on her lovely translucent ears since I had no face to obsess over!

Here's how the painting came together over three hours. Having a preparatory sketch under my belt made the final piece flow SO much more smoothly. I'm a serious advocate of doing as much preparation for a painting as you can...without getting totally bored of your subject. More on that tomorrow!