Sunday, December 4, 2011

And just like that...

And just like's winter.
 It's been a beautiful autumn, and I'm still hoping to work on more November-inspired paintings. I just love its colors, and the intricate forms of the bare trees along with the muted tones of the sky and landscape.
5x7" watercolour, copyright 2011 Hannah C. Heyer

 But December has arrived and brought the snow-- gorgeous, soft, wet stuff, which has turned even the mundane into a feast for the eyes.
 I had the chance to do a little plein air painting this morning, my first this winter and I hope not the last. :)

5x7" oil on linen, copyright 2011Hannah C. Heyer
We've been cleaning and childproofing around here, getting ready for my sister and her family, who'll be coming from Australia's summer to a Minnesota winter. We're digging out all the coats, boots, and blankets, and hope they'll thaw out before too long.
It's been almost two years since I've seen them, and I can't wait to see my niece and nephews! (Hurry up and get here, guys!)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Little bits of news

I'm tickled pink to find out that a copy of Binksie and Bep is on an actual shelf, in an actual library, complete with a little "local author" sticker!

 The girls on whom the book is based are half-convinced they're famous. Especially since, in the past month, they've each been recognized by people they hadn't before met, who had read the book.

 Rumor has it that three of my paintings got to be part of the Robbin Gallery's annual Extremely Minnesota exhibit! I haven't seen the show yet (and sadly, had to miss the opening last night! :-( ) but hope to soon.

I've been trying to finish up all my oil painting in preparation for cold winter weather. Ventilation gets more difficult in the winter, and besides, these November days of moody skies and bare trees really make me want to spread out my watercolors and get to work! But I keep starting more oils, while waiting for the ones I'm working on to dry. :-P

 Some paintings drying.

 Here's one I've just finished:
12"x16" oil on linen
Hannah C. Heyer

Friday, November 4, 2011

Binksie and Bep - It's Here!

Binksie and Bep is finally here!
 It's now available on my Etsy shop: Here!

Written and illustrated by (yours truly) Hannah C. Heyer
8" x 10" (20.32 x 25.4 cm), soft cover, 34 pages, with 27 full color illustrations.

Yay! :-D

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The moon rise yesterday was truly awesome. Seeing it rise above the pink hued clouds, while the fading light still illuminated the trees along the river... breathtaking.
"The heavens declare the glory of God," says the Psalmist, "and the skies proclaim the work of His hands."

Preach it, moon!

I actually entertained the idea of staying up all night to paint, but settled on doing a quick pencil sketch, and got everything ready to start in painting this morning.
Trying to capture the dusky, peaceful scene before I forget it.

Moonrise over the Mississippi, 8"x10" oil on linen.
copyright 2011 Hannah C. Heyer

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Self-delusions and Painting Progress

I got a big fat box of new stretched canvases yesterday! I love getting new supplies in the mail. It's like it's my birthday and I'm getting a lovely gift-- that I had to pay for, but still!
Then I check my bank account balance and say to myself, "Oh Hannah! You shouldn't have! You REALLY shouldn't have!"
Having a lot of blank canvases, or paper, and fat tubes of paint lets me trick myself into thinking I have an endless supply. I can be less stingy with my usage, and don't worry so much about making every canvas or sheet of paper turn into something great.
Otherwise I can save and save, waiting to use my limited materials on only the grandest ideas, which never actually works in improving the quality of my work and only makes it more disappointing when something doesn't turn out and I've used up precious supplies. And I've missed trying a lot of ideas that might have been grand after all.

These new canvases, while still relatively small, are larger than what I've been painting most of the year. I'm really enjoying the challenge of working a little larger again, and hope to use more of my smaller canvases in some plein air painting this autumn.
But we've been stuck under cloudy, rain-spitting skies for the past several days, and I've been working indoors. Here's an update on the painting I began on the 21st:
The top of the large tree has become much more defined, the foreground has been filled in and given some grassy, weedy detail, and the sky is smoother and a bit lighter.
I can't wait to get my brushes messy again! :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blustery Beginnings

A day as gloomy, blustery, and beautiful as today was going to influence anything I painted. I began a new 16 x 12" oil painting this afternoon. I worked on the sky, and had just started to block in the tree and landscape when it got too dark. Blurry pic, but here's what it looks like so far:
Also, I was very happy to be featured today on the Artisan-Denizen blog! It was fun and challenging responding to the interview questions; it can be hard to express myself through words (thanks for including pictures, Wendy!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September Watercolours

Does it make sense that while we were without water (the old cistern was being replaced) I just had to paint with watercolour?

8x10" watercolour

A Roadside, 2.5 x 3.5" watercolour

September Tree, 3.5 x 2.5" watercolour

The bright clear days, fields changing to autumn hues, and trees clinging to summer green-- I had to paint something! And washing out oil painting brushes without running water was not very appealing.

I've had to stick close to home a lot lately, and after a much needed (but very short) ramble one evening I did some quick watercolour sketches while colors and places were fresh in my mind. This is such a beautiful time of year.

Happy to have water again, and hoping to work on some of my incomplete oil paintings very soon.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A quick overview of August

Didn't do as much painting in August as I hoped to do, but much of it was a feast for the eyes, which I hope to interpret in paint later on.
Here's a brief look at last months work:
Showers of Gold, plein air done on August 11th. 6x8" oil on linen. See previous entry. :)

Green Corn Moon, 8x10" oil on linen. The moon on August 14 rose in a blue-gray dusky sky, where clouds that covered it blended into the clear sky above. Did a sketch late that night while the memory was fresh in my mind, and painted the following day.

August 22, 2011, 5x7" oil on linen
A little 5x7" plein air painting of our rusty Quonset shed in the evening light. It was a hard day, and it was great to stop and appreciate the beauty light gives to the most mundane objects.

August 25, 2011
Footbridge plein air, 10x8" oil on cotton
Last meeting of my little oil painting group that met bi-weekly this summer. You guys did great, and were so much fun. :) I hope you keep on painting!

8x6" oil on linen
August 28, 2011, plein air painting under a beautiful cloudy sky, with the sound of the wind blowing through the poplar leaves. Goldenrod and Queen Anne's Lace and thistles.

And a peak at the first step in my next project, studying the face and form. It will get better, and I'm so thankful for friends who will sit for 5 hours and not get mad when the artist inserts sarcastic lines into romantic movies meant to entertain the sitter. You're the best. :-D

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Clouds and Showers

Showers of Gold, 6 x 8" oil on linen

I did this little plein air painting on the evening of August 11, 2011.
I love these flowers. They're a little past their peak now, but still so bright and unruly. I've been told my great-grandma grew these flowers, and have always heard them called "Showers-of-Gold". They grow tall and are prone to blowing over. I happen to know that they make a great hiding place if one wants to eat doughnuts undisturbed.

In other paint-news, I've been studying the clouds.

Monday, August 1, 2011

July Plein Air "Snapshots"

I didn't do much studio painting this past month. There were so many hot and humid days when, even with fans blowing, an upstairs room in an un-airconditioned farmhouse wasn't a very inviting place in which to work.

So I packed my paints and headed out, hoping for a wind to cool the air and give the gnats and mosquitoes a run for their money.

I'm doing a lot of farm paintings this summer. Change is coming, and I want to capture this place, and tell a tiny bit of its story in my own way.

These are my "snapshots" of July.

July 3, 2011- In the orchard, view looking uphill from the woods, evening, long shadows, mosquitoes very hungry.
6 x 6" oil on linen canvas.

July 5, 2011- Cut hay, needed to be raked, rain to the north, interesting clouds to the east, early afternoon, intense sun, burnt artist.
6 x 6" oil on linen canvas.

July 7, 2011- Wagon full of bales waiting to be stored away for the winter, weathered red barn, afternoon sunshine, cool shade, vicious gnats.
6 x 6" oil on linen canvas.

July 17, 2011- Old elevator in overgrown grass and weeds, evening, looking south, thunder and rain to the north, got a little wet.
6 x 8" oil on linen canvas.

July 18, 2011- Evening, so HOT, thunderhead to the northeast, constantly changing, light fading.
8 x 6" oil on linen canvas.

July 26, 2011- In the hayloft above the barn, old beautiful wood, lines and angles, dust, cobwebs, smell of new hay, sun shines through the cracks in the wall, bales thrown off in a hurry will be stacked later, early evening.
8 x 6" oil on linen canvas.

July 27, 2011- New roundbales, rainy day, air fresh and clean, evening, hills across the valley are hazy blue, facing southwest, umbrella much used.
6 x 8" oil on linen canvas.

For riches are not for ever:
and doth the crown endure to every generation?

The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. -Proverbs 27:24-25

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ode to Paperwork

What's this, that causes, without fail,
My blood pressure to rise?
Nauseates, keeps me from sleep,
Confuses, angers, terrifies?

Its neat, type-written pages,
So innocent appear,
It will only take a minute, right?
Where is the cause for fear?

But oh! The ambiguity!
I think I'm going to cry!
The intelligence I thought I had,
Has left me high and dry!

My name (my name!) I've written wrong,
Oh why can I not think?
If only it were pencil,
And not this bold black ink!

Lines one through seven went alright,
Without too much frustration.
Line eight's a doozy and bids me search,
For some long-numbered publication.

Now for a lengthy guessing game,
Of "Does this apply to me?"
Put YES or NO or leave it blank,
And pretend I didn't see.

Line seven hundred forty-A,
In perfect legalese,
Asks the state of my finances,
And if my cat has fleas.

Attach the proper documents,
To prove I'm really me,
Paperclip -"no staples please"-
To page one hundred twenty-three.

Buried here in paperwork,
I still can't understand,
I now have just one question more:

Can someone hold my hand?

Ode to Paperwork, 9 x 12 Ink and Watercolor
Copyright 2011 Hannah C. Heyer

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I wonder if...

"I wonder if......there are any fairies..."

There are now, Cinta!
Auntie Hannah

9x12 ink and watercolour, copyright 2011 Hannah C. Heyer

Monday, June 27, 2011

Plein Air in Red Wing

Catching up on sleep and work after a week spent in Red Wing, Minnesota.
I was so excited (and nervous!) to be a part of the fifth annual Red Wing Plein Air Arts Festival, June 20 - 25.
I ended up having a wonderful time, thanks in large part to a jolly group of super-talented artists that I got to hang out with throughout the week.
You guys left me feeling inspired and challenged; wanting to throw out half my paintings, and throw myself into the creation of more and better work!

There was rain and gray skies most of the week, which made outdoor painting a bit tricky.
My new easel held up well to the buffeting from the wind during the creation of this piece:
Just after I'd finished up, the tornado sirens went off. :-P
Then came the rain.

This was done sitting in the shelter of the depot later that afternoon:

The old Iron Works building is really cool. I chose to just do the top against the clouds, where a little bit of blue sky made a brief appearance.

On Wednesday I was privileged to paint at a lovely farm outside of town. Driving out was like going home: big sky, rolling farmland... a Hannah in her natural habitat. ;)
The sky was so gorgeous, and there wasn't an ugly spot to be found. However, one of the reasons the sky was so interesting was because it was poised for a downpour. Just after I'd begun to paint, the clouds let loose. Even with my big umbrella I got pretty wet.
This painting was officially finished when a large clap of thunder and flash of lightning sent me scurrying to my car like a scared rabbit.

Thursday was more of the same, minus the interesting-ness of the sky. Had a good time painting, but my painting was as drab as they come, especially when compared the work of my painting buddy that afternoon. (If you go to the show, check out the watercolors of James Turner-- wow! Color explosion!)

Friday morning we all had assigned places to paint, and there was a map for anyone who wanted to find the artists and check out what everyone was working on. I got a late start, but had a good place to paint by the Golden Lantern.See that above the rooftop? That's what's known as a blue sky!

Saturday morning, from 10 until noon, was the quick paint. I loved the ivy growing up the side of this big old brick building, and focused on a small part of it.
It was raining again by noon!

If you're in the area, you can check out the plein air fest exhibit at the Red Wing Depot through August.

My paintings might look a little smug, because they feel pretty cool getting to hang with the work of some amazing artists, like this guy, and this one, and this one, and this one, and many more. It really is a great show, and there's a lot to ooh and ahh over.

If you're not in the area, plan a road trip!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Art in the Park 2011

Sunday, June 19th
Art in the Park in Lanesboro, Minnesota.

A gloomy, uninviting day, always threatening rain. But there was good music, and some wonderful people.
A big thanks to everyone who braved the weather and stopped by, and especially to those who are giving new homes to some of my little works! :-)

I worked on some small paintings throughout the day, and had a good time with my sister, and our new Lanesboro buddy, both of whom were such a big help when it came time to pack up.
(Yeah, okay, they pretty much did everything!)
I've discovered I am not a quick healer, and was feeling pretty awful after doing too much lifting the previous couple of days. I'm so thankful they were there to give me a hand.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quick Draw

Saturday was my 2 year plein air painting birthday. ;-) Two years ago at the Quick Draw at the Bridge event in Zumbrota, Minnesota, I discovered just how difficult painting en plein air really is.
I also fell in love with it.
This was my set-up this year. ^
We had from 4:30pm until 6:30pm to complete our paintings, which then had to be framed on the spot.

Saturday's event was so much better than two years ago for me for several reasons:
  • I have two years of experience under my belt.
  • The organizers did a great job!
  • I met some great people.
  • There was tasty cheese, which makes everything better.
  • The weather was gorgeous!
  • I wasn't late
  • I didn't run over any dogs (or other small animals) on the way.

All the paintings were displayed until 8pm. Awards were given, and there was wine and cheese for the public. There was a free concert at 8 as well, but I couldn't stay.

Here's my painting! It will be on display, along with all the "Quick Draw" art, at Crossings Gallery until the end of the month.
Part of the proceeds from the sales will go towards the care of Minnesota's last covered bridge.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

what's on my easel

What can I say. I love dandelions. :-) And skies.

I've been staying with my grandma recently, and have temporarily transformed "my" room into a studio of sorts.
The walls are a funny pastel green, and the light isn't always the best, but it's got two windows that let in a lot of air and there's room for me to spread out.
Several easels, a jolly scattering of paint tubes and canvases, and two small tables filled with potted herbs and houseplants make it feel pretty homey.
Recovery from surgery has been slow, but I am healing and it's good to be working again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

necessary R&R

After many years together, my appendix and I have parted ways.
Working on healing, and trying to get back to work as soon as I can.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 7th, Plein Air

After an April that felt like a mere extension of March, and a beginning that included snow, May is finally coming into its own. Sunshine, landscape carpeted in green, and even a few blossoms here and there.
I've been working mostly in watercolour lately, on some small but very labor-intensive landscapes. I'm hoping to get some of them completed this week. After an afternoon inside working on several of these, I packed my oils and headed for the hills.
The woods are gorgeous just now, but somewhat intimidating to paint. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees, you know. But I do want to go back and have a try anyway. Last night, since it was already getting late, I settled on a little area looking uphill, into pastures and fields, where young poplar trees grew along a fence line. These trees don't yet have leaves, and the old dry weeds still stand tall in the new green growth of spring, while large clouds move slowly across the sky.
The beginning doesn't look so promising...

The clouds are sketched in, and the trees begin to take shape.

And there you have it!
This painting was done in oil on linen, and measures 6"x6"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April Snow

Today was another yucky, slushy, gloomy, wet, snowy, can't-seem-to-get-anything-done sort of day. Yes, it is April 20, but it looks more like January just now.
However, the sky was amazing tonight. :)
I took the opportunity to try out a new paintbrush and did this little 6"x6" oil painting.A beautful sky can make even mud and slush look good. And I always love the line of white snow against a dark sky.
This painting's got a lot of brush-strokes, which I think works especially well for the forground. It's messy out there!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Painting time cut short...

The problem with great, dramatic, cloud-filled skies is that they're usually connected with severe weather.
This is where my painting was interrupted earlier:
Just as the sky was getting really exciting too!
But thunderstorms and tornado warnings are nothing to mess around with, so this will be a studio painting rather than truly plein air.
Here it is after a little more work. I'll let it dry and come back to it.
There were a lot of hay bales that were left out in the fields over winter, and I always love the curves and lines of the fields on a hillside.
But mostly, I wanted those clouds!