Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Rumor has it that it will be winter before we know it, and I felt the need to take advantage of the warm weather on Saturday to get out to the woods and do some painting. I biked, stopping in the orchard to pick a few pears that still hung on the branches, and a few of my favorite late-summer apples, to add to my painting bag. No starving artist here!
 The dogs were with me, dashing off at the slightest insult from a squirrel, or something I couldn't hear or see at all, only to return with wagging tails to be told what good pups they were.
 Once again, I picked something "simple" only to be almost overwhelmed with how complicated I actually found it to be. The shapes, colors, texture of the trees, and the number of them... partway through it looked pretty dismal. But what a day to be out. The warm yellows, oranges, and greens of the trees and shrubs in the background, along and beyond the barbed wire fence that separates the pasture and woods from the orchard, were lovely. Little stems of wild asters bloomed in amongst the trees. The paint went on thick.
Late September in the Poplars, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.
In the evening I attended the opening for the Between the Bluffs plein air painting event in La Crosse, Wisconsin. A great show! Really fun to see all the new work and pick out favorites. We were each allowed three paintings. I submitted "Roadside Glory", which I wrote about recently, and these two:

Sundance, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.
"Sundance" was another orchard painting, done underneath the trees, looking out. The apples themselves are named Sundance, a tangy-sweet late-ripening variety, and I wanted to highlight the play of light on the ripening fruit. They won't be ready for harvest for some time yet, but the apples hanging on the outer branches pick up a lovely blush. When trying to paint something like this, I really get a chance to notice things like the differing shapes of leaves, a little insect damage, variations in color like those little touches of reddish-brown on some of them, and I appreciate it all that much more. This piece was awarded the Best of Show at the opening! I am so thrilled and honored.

Saturday Sunshine, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.
My third painting was the first that I did for this event. An old, long admired barn situated on a narrow gravel road that should probably be avoided by sane drivers. I made some little friends here when I asked permission to paint. They kept me company, kept me on my toes, drew me pictures, and when they disappeared into the barn and reappeared on the low roof shouting "Paint us! Paint us!", I did. I'm delighted to say that this one sold at the opening and is going to a new home. What a fantastic and humbling feeling it is when someone chooses to live with a piece of my art. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Days

This is a beautiful, colorful time of year. Yesterday I went out to paint, but first spent some time just wandering, and enjoying all the wildflowers - asters, goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace, black-eyed susans, and a few late-blooming bird's-foot-trefoil and clover blossoms. And watching the butterflies.

Then time to paint.
Sketched in...
The trees are only beginning to hint at the colors they will turn, but the sumac and grape leaves are showing bright hues of reds, oranges, and yellow-greens.
Color time!


Roadside Glory, 9 x 12-inch plein air oil on linen/hardboard 

Today's painting:
The sky threatened rain, but it stayed to the west and we only got clouds and a little wind.

Very rough sketch- doesn't look like much at this stage!
The cows were busy munching, and working their way from one end of the pasture to the other and back again. I did a very quick sketch of their shapes before they moved on. By the time I was ready to work on them again, they were back to nearly the same spot.

Blocking in the greens and beginning to really notice all the subtleties of the field grass.


More color and texture in the grasses and trees:

 Finished up with the blue-gray clouds, and black and white cows.

Grazing the East Pasture, 11 x 14-inch plein air oil on linen/hardboard.