Saturday, October 08, 2016

:: A very good day ::

Earlier this week my friend Barbara and I packed up our painting gear and went to a lovely location in hopes of getting some plein air work done. We both thought this was a perfect location with views in every direction.

Looking east you see a couple of apple trees that still had plenty of apples on the tree … and on the ground. Yes, they made a great snack.
To the north were some huge fir trees.
East were some mature aspen trees as well as some young less developed trees.
And then to the south were the majestic Olympics Mountains and some grazing milk cows.
Dungeness Cows © Nancy Van Blaricom
Dungeness Valley Cows, 8" x 10" Oil on Canvas ~ ©Nancy Van Blaricom
I haven't done many plein air paintings but as I started to set up I realized I had forgotten a few things.  I forgot my phone, that meant no in progress photos.  I also forgot to bring a bottle of water, that alone makes a person thirsty, lol. And lastly I forgot my tripod mount … what attaches my easel to my tripod.

All was not lost. Fortunately I had a small blanket that I carry in my car to set anything on that might soil the carpet in the car.  I spread it out on the ground between the apple trees and had a great view of the cows and mountains.   It was a rather perfect place to be and sitting on the blanket instead of standing was just fine.

As I mixed my paint I tried to remind myself of all the steps I needed to take ...  things I really wanted to remember that would help this be a successful painting day.  I took my time.
  • Do a few thumbnail sketches to make sure I would be happy with my design.
  • Using a neutral paint color to sketch my design on the canvas.
  • Block in my darks ... shadows. Once that is working add some light and color.
  • Try to get my values right.

Anyway, you get the idea .. I didn't hurry when working on my canvas.  

After two hours my I felt very happy with what I had accomplish.
I think I am getting the hang of this stuff.

Once home I gave the cows a little more detail since they were quite far away while I was painting.

Wahoo … I'm calling this one a success ! What do you think?

Friday, September 30, 2016

:: Moving Forward ::

One day last week as I was thinking about the end of summer and how it seems to be hanging on, I decided to do some cleaning up on our patio and was greeted by a geranium that was flourishing. 

When I planted it I was worried that it might not make it.  It was looking very sad, dried out and very spindly.  

Then in a few weeks after that I noticed it was looking better and out of laziness I decided to leave it in that spot since it was very late in the season.

When I went to the patio recently I saw this beautiful healthy geranium in a flower bed.  What?  Could this really be the same plant that was hardly alive earlier?

I grabbed my oils and started painting. 

I had a great time painting this 'en plein air'.

I tried to remember that I wanted to use bigger brushes, plan my values,  and only one or two brush strokes per loaded brush. I think all in all I was successful.  2 hours well spent.

I think I'm kinda like this geranium plant ... I'm moving forward with where I want to be.  I may not see the growth as fast as I'd like, but, before you know it I just might flourish.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

:: Without Plans ::

I love to plan things.  I like goal making … task lists etc.  It motivates me as a rule.

Recently we decided to take our travel trailer for a weeks get-a-way to the coast.  
Yippee, I'll take my oils and paint a bunch of small plein air paintings.  Of coarse I'm hopeing the weather will cooperate, but if not, I can paint out the window.  Maybe I''ll even take my watercolors and sketchbook just incase ...

And, the weather was beautiful.  Walking on the beach could not have been better.  Fall was in the air but the sun was giving us the impression that summer would hang on a lot longer.

And then out of the blue I hurt my shoulder.  Bursitis maybe?

The Group - Nancy Van Blaricom

Anyway I just need to stop making these plans ... its like the universe says "You are not in charge, I am in charge".

So, once again I did no plein air painting. 
This has to change ! I need to work thru these obstacles that I keep running into.

Last week before we left with the trailer I decided to work on a small study of some tangerines that I had purchased earlier in the week.  So,  just for practice, to see if I can remember to use big brushes and more paint,  I gathered my tangerines and a lovely blue and white saucer & arranged them on a tall plastic roll-around cart I have in the studio. Its a perfect height for a still life  set-up if standing at my easel.

After I had blocked everything in the light had changed to some degree and I decided to change the black to look more like a wood table top, from imagination. The black just wasn't working for me … 
  • Had I used big brushes? YES but I still was too nit-picky.
  • Did I mix enough paint so that I didn't end up scrubbing the paint into the canvas? NO
Even though I didn't remember everything I wanted to accomplish while working on this little study, 
I do think the painting session was a successful one because I will take notes and re-read my them prior to my next session.

Practice, practice, practice !
But its not a plan …...

Friday, September 09, 2016

:: Lazy Autumn Days ::

Fall is definitely in the air here in Sequim.  Leaves are turning color and the warm and sunny days have a crispness to them that only fall can have.  

Maybe its just the changing of the season, but, I find I'm less inclined to hurry on to different projects. Maybe instead lay around and read or maybe take a nap.

One project I managed to accomplish was to hang two pieces of my work in my studio.
I always have to give the act of hanging any of my work a lot of thought. 
So up until yesterday my studio walls were bare.  

Below are the two that I hung.  Both is Floater Frames.

Now I have two small 6" x 6" paintings hanging on my studio wall.  It actually looks nice to have some work on the studio walls and maybe now I'll be more inclined to frame a few paintings and hang them.

Fall is a perfect time to get out and do some plein air painting.  I had ordered a few Signet Bright brushes that arrived in the mail and now I'm packing up a few panels and my tripod and pochade box in anticipation of some autumn plein air painting.

I hope the lovely fall days gets you outside and you can enjoy it before winter arrives.
Happy painting.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

:: Value vs Cost ::

I had a lengthy post written for this week, but shortened it at the last minute. The subject is interesting to me because often people will talk about the cost of a painting as being too expensive.

I recently read an article on this subject that did a pretty good job of explaining the difference.
One thing the author used as an example was that its like spending $125 for a hair cut and color may sound expensive, but, if it makes you feel like a million bucks, it was a good value.

I love that analogy don't you?

When I sell a painting I hope that the work makes my clients feel good, makes them smile or maybe brings back some good memories of a place they had seen. I want them to feel like their investment was a good value.

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see". ~ Henry David Thoreau

On The Street Where I Live - oil on canvas-NVanBlaricomPen & Value Markers Sketch - NVanBlaricom
Standing at my easel in the studio and looking down the street … I grabbed a scrap of canvas and started painting … too bad about the wrinkle.  "On the Street Where I Live" © Nancy Van Blaricom
On another note, Paint the Peninsula 2016, The 4th Annual Paint the Peninsula Plein Air Competitions was held in the nearby town of Port Angeles on the August 22 thru the 28th.  My husband & I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the show on the last day of the event.  We saw some beautiful works of art by some very talented artists.  it was amazing to see so much beautiful work at one show.

Seeing all the beautiful work at this show has inspired me to make sure I find time this fall to get out and do some plein air painting.