Friday, December 12, 2014

Late-Night Painting

As a care-giver I keep some strange hours. It can be hard to get work done, hard to start something that will take a lot of time, knowing that at any moment I could be called away. Learning how to manage time, when that time is irregular and unpredictable, is a continuing process. Broken sleep is the norm.
 I find it easier to stay awake than to wake up. If I'll be serving chocolate pudding and coffee at midnight, or we'll be belting out Christmas songs at 2am, I'd rather still be up than try to clear a half-asleep mind. So sometimes when I know it's going to be a late night, and because it's hard to stop once I start, I paint in the wee sma's.
Work-in-progress... at 3 o' clock am.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Produce Prints

Ew, not very nice looking at this point!
 Every now and then I try my hand at screen printing. My screens are whatever fabric I had on hand, painted with screen filler, in embroidery hoops. I recently got a set of colored inks (had only used black and red before) and tried them out for the first time today, printing on muslin produce bags. The colors look pretty garish right out of the jar, but I had some fun mixing them together on the screens.
I'm happy with how the red and blue mixed and came through onto the fabric.

Progression: The colors mixed to a pretty uniform purplish color, and I added a bit more red to the center each time.

 I used some of the muddy color left from the first ones together with more blue, some yellow and white for the next design.

Grayish garlic.
 I like how the first print almost has a watercolor-like look. After that the color gets pretty uniform.
Garlic progression.

Yellow, blue, and white to make a good pea-green.

Pea vine!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Two off the Easel

 A couple of recent paintings:
Wind Across the Fields, 16 x 20" oil on linen/birch panel.
 Love the feeling of the wind blowing across the fields as the weather moves in from the west. A few birds take flight.
Anvil Cloud at Sunset, 18 x 14" oil on linen/hardboard panel.
 Crazy skies again. I saw a cloud like this one night and did some quick sketching. The sun has just disappeared, but still illuminates this towering cloud, and the lights of farms across the valley begin to show.
These two paintings are hanging out at the local library for awhile.
It's been a cold and snowy month, and my painting has mostly been indoors. But I have a lot to work on- a bunch of new pieces started, and a sketchbook full of potential ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Smallest Fattest sleeping in the shadow of my easel.
Smallest Fattest Niece (and her mother) accompanied me painting today. Smallest Fattest slept while I set up my easel and got started, and awoke delighted to find herself in a hay field and got right to work. After all, Auntie Hannah's painting gear wasn't going to strew itself about the field, now was it? Someone had to take it in hand!

Pretty much finished... 9 x 12" oil on linen

 My eyes are always drawn to beautiful skies, dramatic clouds and fleeting light effects. Painting them seems to be a practice in frustration, but I keep trying.

In any case, it was a great day to be out. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Valley Farm

Sometimes, on my way home, I drive up this road just because I like the views. This is one place that has always caught my eye, and it was fun having the chance to poke around a bit and see the place from different angles. There is a collection of old outbuildings, a beautiful little barn, and this lovely old worn farm house.

Old Valley Farm, 9 x 12" oil on linen
 I'd forgotten to put some of my paints back into my plein air gear, which made this a bit more challenging. I was missing my main yellow, and had to squeeze paint from some almost empty tubes to get at the yellow I had, and the blue and white I needed. Oops!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Driftless Art Festival and Between the Bluffs

My booth stuffed full of paintings. :)

I spent September 20th and 21st in beautiful Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, at the Driftless Area Art Festival. There are so many talented and skilled artists and artisans in this region, and I was delighted to be included in this event for the first time this year. Thanks to the organizers, who do such a wonderful job, and to everyone who stopped by my booth! It was a great and exhausting weekend.
  I was also really excited and honored to receive the People's Choice Award! Thank you, everyone!

Overlook, above La Crescent, Minnesota. 9 x 12" oil on mounted linen.
The following week I was able to get some time to paint as part of the Between the Bluffs plein air event in La Crosse, Wisconsin. All painting was to be done within ten miles of the downtown area, and I did some painting on the Minnesota side of the river.

Another painting done above La Crescent, Minnesota. The sky was filled with low clouds, and as I painted I watched the weather move in. A good day to have an umbrella, even if the mosquitoes did congregate underneath it. It rained, cleared, and rained again, as I painted autumn grasses and wildflowers, and a couple of trees.
September Showers, 9 x 12" oil on mounted linen. This painting received a merit award at the opening of the show on Saturday!

Thursday, September 25th was the quick paint. I walked around downtown for awhile, but ended up down in Riverside Park, along with several other artists. I did this little view below the Cass Street bridge.
It was a beautiful morning to paint, AND I received the quick paint award! :-D
No Wake Zone, 12 x 9" oil on mounted linen.
So it's been a pretty exciting few weeks for me! :) I'm so grateful.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Painting on the bluff-top.
Painting overlooking the edge of Minnesota.
 What a perfect day to be out. :)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Late July Greens

West of the Crossroad, 9 x 12 plein air, oil on linen panel
Though we've had a wet summer, and the landscape is still overwhelmingly green, the greens are changing as the season progresses. I have two different yellows that I keep on my palette: a lemony sort of yellow, and a cadmium yellow. In the spring the former gets the most use when mixing my greens, but as we move towards autumn, the cadmium becomes the most squeezed tube.
I set up yesterday in the slight shadow of a scrubby little box-elder. The dogs were with me, dashing off after every strange sound or smell, and then returning to pant happily in the shade. Fields and pastures are filled with blossoming Queen Anne's Lace, yarrow, asters, clover, and many grasses going to seed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Red Wing Plein Air 2014

I started out the week exhausted, and I'm afraid I stumbled rather sleepily and late into the welcome breakfast that kicked off the event. :P It was good to see some familiar faces, as well as many new ones this year. This year's judge gave a demo following the breakfast, which was very fun to watch. I didn't stay to the end, though - I wanted to get out and paint!
 I found this beautiful old farm, and my eye was immediately drawn to the way the light, breaking through the clouds, hit the roof of the barn, and the surrounding long uncut grasses.
My kind of sloppy initial sketch.

I can be a bit haphazard with my progression on a painting! I wanted to get that roof in before the light changed too much.
Barn on Old Church Road, 9 x 12" oil on linen panel sold

I took a scenic drive home that day, driving part of the way on the Wisconsin side of the river. I stopped for awhile at a lookout and painted the quickly changing clouds over the water. I admired the many colors in the river, as the dark clouds and patches of sunlight shifted with the changing weather. I finished as the thunder started and before it started to pour.
Rain Over Lake Pepin, 10 x 8" oil on linen panel
  Tuesday was "Paint the Town" day, and I wanted to paint this beautiful old church building (now a house) and gardens. I really picked a bad time of day, though. The light changed so quickly! And even though there was blue sky showing between the clouds, I got rained on twice.
Almost finished.
On 7th Street, 10 x 8" oil on linen panel
In the afternoon, I went along with another artist to a gravel farm road just off the highway. He painted the spectacular clouds in one direction, and I painted the shadows on the road in the other. It was a quiet road, and I was able to set up right in the middle of it. A rabbit came out of the woods and sat on the road for a while, so I painted it in. :)
Rabbit Crossing, 12 x 9" oil on linen panel sold
Wednesday morning was rainy and gray. Late morning, when it was only cloudy, I hiked up on Barn Bluff and took the prairie trail. It was beautiful. I ate lunch at the end of the trail, overlooking the river and bluffs, and then found a spot along the trail to set up my easel.

Prairie Trail, 9 x 12" oil on linen panel sold
 In the evening, as the sky cleared, I painted this tree on a farm off County road 1. The same tree and hill, though it looks different and is from a different angle, that I painted the first year I did the festival.

Tree and Hillock, 14 x 11 oil on stretched linen
 The next day was the day to paint the river valley. I had great ambitions, but had forgotten to have more of my panels stamped. :-p I did this one in Winona, standing on a dock in the shade. There was a cool breeze blowing in off the water, and few little families came and fished for bluegills and bass.

Afternoon on Lake Winona, 9 x 12" oil on linen panel
In the evening I attempted a sunset paint. The sunset was very subdued, there were still a lot of clouds, and the mosquitoes were very, very, very hungry. This is a view from Memorial Park overlooking the top of Barn Bluff.
Quiet Sunset, 12 x 9" oil on linen panel
 Friday was the day to frame and turn in three paintings to be hung and judged for the show. It rained off and on in the afternoon, but it was a lovely evening for the gala reception, with music from My Sweet Patootie. It's always fun to get the first glimpse of the show with everyone's paintings from the week. The show changes from Friday night to Saturday, with some paintings selling and new ones being hung. And it's nice to get a chance to talk with many of the artists who've been scattered about painting all week. Awards were given, and I was very surprised and happy to receive an honorable mention for my painting "Rabbit Crossing"!

Saturday morning was the quick-paint. We could paint from 9 to 11:00 sharp, and then had to frame and turn in the work by 11:30. The morning was mostly cloudy and windy. Rain was in the forecast, but thankfully didn't fall. With the river having overflowed its banks, some of the usual area was off limits! I picked this oft-painted scene of the train tracks and the bridge. I liked the soft, hazy view visible past the bridge, and the lines and colors between the tracks.

Green and Gray Morning, 10 x 8" oil on linen panel

So I had a pretty nice week in Red Wing. Sometimes the sun shone bright, and sometimes it was gray and rainy (like the morning I'd planned to paint the sunrise and the evening I tried to paint the sunset!) I found some new places to eat, and wasn't quite eaten alive by the gnats, ants and mosquitoes, and met and re-met some lovely people.
 I'm deeply grateful for everyone who made it possible for me to get away for the week and paint, and who bought paintings so I can keep doing what I love. May God bless you all.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dandelion Field

Dandelion Field, plein air, 10 x 8 inches, oil on stretched linen.
A field full of dandelions, mostly gone to seed.
When I started this painting, the rain was just reaching the other side of the county. I stopped as the thunder started rumbling in the distance.

Even though I wasn't far from home, having a car close by is a good idea when the weather looks iffy.

 The sunlight, which had vibrantly lit the treetops and grasses when I began, had given way to a moody and more subdued light before the coming rain. I was glad I'd put the most vibrant greens and yellows on before they changed!

Lining the finished painting up with the path- just for fun.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Planting Leeks

Planting Leeks, plein air, 8 x 10 inch oil on stretched linen.

A few days ago I helped plant hundreds of tiny leeks into a long row in one of my mom's gardens. Today, with many more to add to the row, I was a slacker, and painted instead. ;) It was a beautiful sunny morning and early afternoon, but I could see the clouds moving in from the west. I had to hurry to block in the shadows before they disappeared, and also sketch in the figures before they moved elsewhere!
This was my funny little quick sketch of my mom, with her signature red garden boots.
I was just cleaning up my brushes and palette when the first rain drops started to fall.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Maple on the Marsh Trail

Maple on the Marsh Trail, 10" x 8" plein air oil on stretched linen.

Warm and breezy day in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The Myrick Park marsh trails were busy with people enjoying the day, and the water was filled with coots, ducks and noisy geese. This is a view of the footbridge from just past a large grey maple tree.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oaks and Outbuildings

Painting at an old farm in Red Wing, Minnesota.
A beautiful day, and I got to meet up with some painting buddies. :-) 
It was pretty windy, and I meant to find a sheltered spot, but ended up out in the open, and just held onto my hat. I love these old oak trees, but I got off on the wrong footing trying to paint them. Half way through it looked like my paint tubes had just spewed onto my canvas. It came out okay in the end, if a bit rough, and it was a good challenge anyway!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Snow Clouds

Snow Clouds and Birches, 16 x 20" oil on linen/birch panel.
Another one drying on the easel.
 I find snow so challenging: the way it drifts, catches the light, and casts shadows, and how it can look so different depending on the light, weather, and time of day. It can be dull or dazzling. Hard and soft. I'll keep trying to get it right!