Thursday, December 5, 2013

Two New Paintings

Two new studio paintings hot off the easel:

Contour Fields, 16 x 20" oil on linen
I never tire of watching the seasons change, and this one celebrates the beautiful contours of a hill farm, the transition into autumn, and long late-afternoon shadows.

Full September Moon, 18 x 14" oil on linen
A full moon just clear of the tree tops as it ascends in the early evening.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Neighboring Barn

I don't think November days can be any nicer than today. It was so lovely and mild (no cumbersome mittens to stick my brushes through) and I'm happy I was able to get out and paint. This great old barn always catches the light so beautifully. I always see it when I'm driving past, and have been meaning to paint it for a long time.

Wolter's Barn, 9x12 oil on linen

Finished up just before sunset.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Colors

 It has been a beautiful autumn, and I'm working on a few studio paintings that I hope to complete soon, while it's all still fresh in my mind! As always, fall is passing by too quickly, but I've been able to get out painting a few times and here are a couple of recent plein air paintings:

Met up with some of my favorite artists on October 27th, and did some painting in Red Wing, Minnesota. This is a view of the iconic Barn Bluff as seen from Colvill Park. Such a gorgeous day to be out!

Overlooking the Mississippi and I-90, done on a blustery November 3rd afternoon. Had to bring out the winter gear for this one!
And this morning I woke up to snow. :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Old Neighbors

Old Neighbors, 9 x 12" plein air, oil on linen.
Last night's painting was pretty last minute, and I only had about an hour and a half, if that, before the light was gone and I had to pack up. Perhaps I should have chosen something a little simpler, but I just love this view of these two neighboring barns and all the great old trees overgrowing the landscape. It turned out kind of rough, but I had a good time, and a perfect spot for seeing a beautiful hazy sunset and spectacular moonrise simultaneously.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yellow Apples and Goldenrod

 I so rarely try my hand at a still life, but they can be so much fun! Today's alla prima, and very seasonal, painting:

Yellow Apples and Goldenrod, 9 x 12" oil on linen panel

The apples I used are called Pristine; one of the earliest apples to ripen here. Sweet, tart, and with a skin so thin we treat them as though they're made of glass when handling them. They bruise very easily. They're a very pale yellow, and, if hanging on the outside of the tree, can have a beautiful blush. I wanted to paint them along with some goldenrod because they're both in season now, and though they might both be called yellow, their hues are so different.

Palette, partway through painting.

 Picking apples earlier this month. :)
 Learning to look at the background color of apples to judge proper ripeness takes some time and I'm still learning. And doing lots of tasting. This sure is a good eating time of year.
The picking bag is almost full. Time to waddle over to a crate to empty it out.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Time to Make Hay

Time to Make Hay, 14 x 18" oil on linen
I love seeing a good herd of hay bales out in a field. ;-) 
Billowing clouds above, warm sunshine, the fragrance of cut hay. 
The actual painting of this went pretty quickly, and was a lot of fun. Prior to painting I did a fairly detailed pencil sketch, followed by a watercolour study. 

I sometimes rope my farmer dad into being my technical advisor. Being out in all weather, and farming all his life, he's got a good eye for skies, and can sometimes give a good dose of reality to my rural landscapes. In this painting I ended up adding more bales than I had originally drawn because it apparently looked like a pretty sparse harvest!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

End of July Paintings

8x10" oil on linen
 July 27- Rainy day painting at Little Bean's Estate. "Little Bean", my youngest sister, doesn't actually own the place, but would if she could, and sometimes I take her up there just to look around. There's a beautiful view overlooking a marshy part of the landscape near the river, and on this day, with the rain and constantly changing clouds, the bluffs appeared and faded along with every fluctuation of the weather.

 July 28- Gorgeous evening; sunny, cool breeze, just enough clouds to keep things interesting. Watched the shadows grow and spread over a hilly bit of pasture. Was going to paint the cattle grazing there, but they moved on too quickly, the fickle beasts.
9x12" oil on linen panel
It was great to be out in the fields, observing the changing colors of summer, and the Queen Anne's Lace growing thick along the fence line. It was time to quit when the wind died down and the bugs came out.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2013 Plein Air Festival

Home after a week spent in and around Red Wing, Minnesota, taking part in the annual Red Wing Plein Air Festival. I had such a good time- it was great getting away for a while and having lots of painting time! And it's always inspiring and motivating to see so many other artists and the work they produced throughout the week.

This was the first little painting I did on Monday, looking across the river at the boat houses.
Across the River, oil on linen panel, 6 x 8" plein air
Later that afternoon I hiked up, down, and around Barn Bluff. I love the woods and all the familiar spicy and earthy scents therein. The mosquitoes were pretty bad on the way up, but once I got to the top there was a nice breeze. Later, while I was painting, it got quite windy up there, and not blowing off the bluff goes on my list of things to be thankful for. :P
View Atop Barn Bluff, oil on linen, 9 x 12" plein air Sold

 Tuesday afternoon was spent painting in downtown Red Wing. It's a beautiful downtown, with great old buildings, but my painting... left a lot to be desired. Its new home is a cardboard box.
In the evening there was a picnic (yay!) and the park where it was held had some fabulously huge cottonwoods, and the air was thick with their fluff.

Old Cottonwood on the River, 12 x 9" plein air oil on linen Sold

Wednesday afternoon it poured. After it let up I drove out to the west of town, but by the time I got to the farm where I was going to paint, the sky was getting dark again and I could hear the rumbling of thunder. I drove around a little, but the sky just got darker. I pulled off to the side of a gravel road and tried to capture what was happening. I spent a lot of the painting time for this one in my car, and added not getting struck by lightning to my list of things to be thankful for.

Storm Warning, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen Sold

In the evening I drove through Lake City, and stopped to watch the clouds over Lake Pepin.
Clouds over Lake Pepin, 10 x 8" plein air, oil on linen

Thursday was a beautiful, hot and sunny day. Good weather for drying hay. Thanks to Jim, another artist who had found this farm previously, and to the farmer who let us paint there! I feel right at home painting in a hay field. :) I loved the character of that little barn in the background.

Hay Drying in the Sunshine, 8 x 10" plein air oil on linen Sold
Thursday evening I had planned to try to paint the sunset, but got out kind of late. That's when the sky was most beautiful, but as I checked out different vantage points around the park, I was keenly aware of the time slipping away. I knew I'd have very little time to work, and almost didn't begin. This was a sprint of a painting, done at a fevered pace, watching the sun slip behind the bluff, and the clouds change shape and colors.
Sun Setting over Red Wing, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen Sold

Friday was framing time, and turn-in. We were each allowed to put three paintings in the show. Then we were treated to a tour of the Anderson Center, which was great. In the evening was held the cocktail reception- great food, drink, music, and first dibs on the week's art! Awards were presented, and I was surprised and very happy to receive one of the Judge's Awards for my sunset painting. This year's judge was Scott Lloyed Anderson, whose work I've long admired, and it was really nice to meet him and to see some of his paintings in the show!

 Saturday morning was the Quick Paint along the river. The morning was positively cold! If some of my paint strokes are a bit more wobbly than usual, it's because I was shivering.

Pilings on a Gray Morning, 8 x 10" plein air, oil on linen Sold

The show runs till August 26th at the Red Wing Depot Gallery. Go see it!

 A heartfelt thanks to the Red Wing Arts Association, and everyone who helps to put this festival together, and a special thank you to those who are giving new homes to some of my paintings from this past week!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Neglected Paintings

One of my goals this summer is to FINISH paintings. I have many more I want to begin, but have been holding off a little, as I try to get some of my old neglected works back onto the easel.
This one's a bit different from my usual subject. I had a few beautiful maple leaves that I brought in for my Grandma to see in the autumn, when she was no longer able to get outside. They dried and curled, their color faded but remained. I loved to see how they caught the light on their fine points and contours, and the shadows they cast.
Maple Leaves, 12x16" oil on linen
This one is closely based on the summer kitchen here on the farm. A beautiful dilapidated old building from the late 1800s. There's a hole in the roof and the floor is incredibly warped, but I love it. It was a fun place to poke around as kids, climbing carefully around the old cream separator, finding old stamps and interesting glass jars and bottles. Behind the door were stored all our shovels, rakes, and hoes, and in the bucket just inside the door was kept the small digging tools my grandpa made and painted in his signature blaze orange. On the east side grow those old fashioned, scraggly but jubilant flowers known only as "showers of gold".
Summer Kitchen, 24x18" oil on linen - work in progress
This one may be one of the longest abandoned. I think I've had this for a couple of years at least- one of those paintings started enthusiastically, which was then muddied and it's original plan forgotten. On a walk this spring, watching a somewhat stormy sky in the distance and trying to sketch in dull graphite the vibrant and changing clouds, I thought of it again and decided to drag it out and paint it over.
12 x 16" work in progress

There are a lot more in line to be worked on, but it feels great to move a few over to the completed category, and I hope to get the time to get a lot more done.
Just now I'm gearing up for this year's Plein Air Festival. Looking forward to getting out and painting like mad in and around Red Wing, Minnesota!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pear Blossoms

Midday painting in the orchard.
It's that time of year again. The pear trees are in full bloom, humming with bees, and the rain and sunshine have produced all shades of vibrant and interesting greens, as the trees leaf out and fields grow lush.

10 x 8" oil on linen. Pear trees in bloom, May 16, 2013.

I think it's safe to finally pack away my snow pants and winter boots, but just two weeks ago we had this:
5 x 7" oil on linen. Plein air, May 3, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

April 3 plein air

Melting snow turned this cow path into a little stream reflecting blue sky. 
 It was beautiful to sit out in the woods and hear the rushing of the water under and through the snow, and the blackbirds calling to each other from the tops of the tallest poplars. I'm loving the spring sunshine, but it's still cold enough to freeze my fingers!

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Few March Paintings

 March 12.
Massive dark snow clouds fill the sky. The sun breaks through every so often, only to be covered again, as more snow flies and falls to the earth.
A previous storm,with wet, sticky snow and a cold wind, left the north sides of the trees plastered in white. I stood among the birch trees down the hill to get out of the wind. Occasionally the tree tops were shaken, and I discovered what a nasty texture snow gives to wet oil paint. :-p

March 12, 2013 plein air. 5 x 7 inch oil on linen.

March 13.
Blue skies and blinding sunshine. I took a long walk around the north side of the farm, out to the orchard, where the snow had been broken and churned up by deer. The dogs went a bit crazy trying to follow all the tracks at once.
I continued around on the south side, but a cold west wind competed with the sunshine, making for a short and cold painting session.

March 13, 2013 plein air. 7 x 5 inch oil on linen.

March 14.
Close to home. A twisted old maple casts its shadow on the corn crib in the evening.
March 14, 2013, plein air. 6 x 8 inch oil on linen panel.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

When you can't do a lot...

 ... do a little.

Over the past week I have not accomplished a whole lot. A nasty cold changed all my plans, and I've been house-bound, making friends with the tea kettle and tissues.

So glamorous.
So today I worked on little projects. I haven't done much watercolour painting recently, and haven't done any tiny paintings in a long time. I'd forgotten how much fun they are. :)

Small glimpses of winter, 2.5 x 3.5" paintings.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Puerto Rico Plein Air

Time to pack away my sandals and get reacquainted with winter, after a week away in Puerto Rico!
 I'm so happy I was able to go; I had a fun time with some wonderful artists (you guys are inspiring!) got to see a bit of the island, and had a great time painting.

 Painting trees at Las Croabas.
10 x 8 inch oil on linen panel.

8 x 10 inch oil on linen panel.

Dusk in Luquillo.
9 x 12 inch oil on linen panel.

Hiding from the rain and watching chickens at Hacienda Siesta Alegre.
12 x 9 inch oil on linen panel.

Old wall and young officer in Old San Juan.
9 x 12 inch oil on linen panel.

Watching waves in Luquillo, with my feet in the sand.
12 x 9 inch oil on linen panel.

Trying to paint the sunrise through the palms.
9 x 12 inch oil on linen panel.

I really wanted to climb one of these trees! A rotten board part way up stopped my one attempt, so I had to be satisfied with painting one instead. :)

12 x 9 inch oil on linen panel.

Watching the moon rise above the clouds, and the waves crash against the rocks. Beautiful.
12 x 9 inch oil on linen panel.

I could spend a long time just watching the waves and the changing hues of the water.
9 x 12" oil on linen panel, with my messy palette and oil paints.

Clear blue sky, drying nets, and overturned boats beneath the shadows of the palms.
9 x 12 inch oil on linen panel

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February 2, plein air

February 2nd, 2013. 8x6" oil on linen panel.
I haven't been out painting in well over a month, so I was really happy to get out today and try out my new winter boots (happy birthday to me, from me!) Feeling kind of rusty, and cold, I worked small, doing this little 8 by 6 inch piece. The way the light hits the old cupolas on the rooftop of the barn always catches my eye. Looking up, I also noticed the swelling buds on the reaching branches of an old maple tree - a reminder that spring really isn't so far off.