Sunday, December 02, 2007

Crayon sketch

Here's the same ol' mug Ive drawn before.

There are times when I'm sitting in my recliner watching t.v. yet I still want to be drawing or painting, yet, I don't want to go into the studio right then. That's when I gather up my pack of 16 Crayola Crayon's and still get the color I want without using my watercolors. I love how they are so user friendly and clean. If you drop a crayon, no big deal, just pick it up. Nothing to clean up - as opposed to oils or watercolors that could do some damage to my chair, floor, table etc. Also, I love the availability of crayon's, and how well they travel if you want to carry them in your purse. Let's hear it for Crayon's!

I'm finished with the two bazaar's I wanted to try selling at this year. Although this was my first year selling at bazaars I did ok and gained some insight as to what I would do differently if I choose to try this again. One thing I really appreciate is that I had a good friend volunteer to come with me ... she was a great help in setting up and helping me through-out the events. You know who yours friends are when they are willing to sit all day with you in a crowded bazaar setting and help you set the stage with your wares, don't you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The holiday's are upon us.....

Poinsettia - Nancy Van Blaricom

I think you can always tell that the holiday's are right around the corner because the Christmas bazaars start. This last Saturday I participated in my first ever holiday bazaar. While I was a little frazzled trying to get ready for this it wasn't bad at all once I had enough prints, cards and originals complete and ready for the public. The only thing was that not a lot of public showed up.

This is a small 5" x 7" Poinsettia I painted in preparation of the holiday's.

This next one is a little larger. Approximately 6" x 18". I have cropped it in the scanner just so it is doesn't look that large. Both look so pretty in gold frames. Red, Red, Red - Nancy Van Blaricom

With my first bazaar behind me I am now concentrating on a commission I agreed to do as a surprise gift.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A full sheet in the works..........

Step #1 Harstine Isl. Bridge - Nancy Van Blaricom Step one.. pencil lines and first washes
This is a full sheet watercolor I started some time ago. Just saying that makes me think I should write the date I start a new piece on the back. Not knowing the exact date, you should just take my word, it has been some time ago. The painting will be of the bridge to Harstine Island on a foggy day. The fog is pretty thick. You can't see much of the bridge or the Island. Only the beginning and some of the boat ramp this side of the bridge. In the first photo you see I have laid down a few very light washes of an indigo mix on top of my pencil drawing. At this stage, seeing the drawing on the paper, I wonder if the composition will work. It looked fine before I got it on the paper. The ususal self doubt is starting to take over.
Step #2, Harstine Isl. Bridge - Nancy Van BlaricomSecond stage - a few washes plus some large shapes.

In this photo you can see numerous light washes have been added since the initial drawing and washes, helping to give a foggy look to the painting so far. I have started giving shape to a few trees and the structure of the bridge. At the boat landing, this side of the bridge, I will need to pay close attention to so that it doesn't take on too much weight.
I'm hoping by posting these photo's and blogging about this painting, I'll start working on it. I have noticed before that after I start a painting those doubts come as to "can I paint this?" etc. I need to learn from this and just let the doubt come and then move forward ... after all it's only paper and watercolor.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tuesday the 9th ...our bad weather Plein Air day

Sketch of Allen by Nancy Van Blaricom
Sketch of Allen
I can never get my pencil sketches to look their best when I scan them .... but, doing the best I can by tweaking them in a photo program, this is what I was able to come up with. It turned out grayer than the paper really was and the small amount of color I used doesn't show, but I was able to keep most of the pencil line. This sketch was from the last Plein Air meeting I went to. When the weather isn't conducive to going out and painting we will spend the time to critique work that each of us bring, offering suggestion's, praise, etc. Some times if there aren't many of us we will paint after our critique ... working on something we may have started at another time. I had nothing that I was working on that I could bring so I chose to use a 9"x 6" sketch book and sketched a fellow artist. Fellow artist, Allen, was finishing up a painting he had propped up on an easel. He thought it was a pretty good likeness, so that was good enough for me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Local Color

I love watching movies about artists!

Recently I saw the trailer of Local Color. Having only seen the trailer I think it looks like a good movie. Although I do not paint many oils I think it has a possibility of inspiring a lot of us artists.
PLOT: A successful artist looks back with loving memories on the summer of his defining year, 1974. A talented, but troubled eighteen year old art student befriends an elderly alcoholic genius painter who has turned his back on not only art, but life. I think it's due out later this month.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One goal that has yet to be accomplished.

As I look back over a few of the goals I made for myself at the beginning of this year I see that the enthusiasm I started out with doesn’t seem to last. One goal is to post more on my blog, keep it fresh and learn more of the tech stuff everyone seems to know but me. This seems to be such a challenge!

When I think of the blogs that I enjoy reading (and there are some great ones out there), I wonder how did they learn about widgets, rss feeds, alt tags, etc? How do they keep their posts full of enthusiasm and keep us coming back for more?

Although I am a watercolor artist, one of my favorite blogs to read is that of ceramic artist Cynthia Guajardo. I find her posts to be both informative about her work and her personal life – just enough, yet not too much – she even shares some of the technology side of blogging! Recently I stepped out of my usual field of watercolor and became a reporter... asking Cynthia numerous question's. Because she is such an inspiration to so many of us “blogging artists”, I’d like to share with you these queston's and answers with you.

Cynthia Guajardo
An interview with Cynthia Guajardo

Nancy: First of all, thank you, Cynthia, for taking the time to answer these questions and allowing me to share them with others. I know you as a ceramic artist. Has your medium of choice changed over the years or have you always known ceramics to be the medium for you?

Cynthia: I always knew that I would love working with clay even before I touched it, however, I am absolutely seduced by other mediums. Every so often, I flirt with painting and I took 2 print making classes in college which I adored. In the end, the mediums converge and I have been exploring image transfer to clay since last summer.Nancy: What is the allure of clay?
It's a plastic material and able to be used to make virtually anything from functional pottery, sculpture and even jewelry.

Nancy: Did you receive formal education in the ceramic field?

Cynthia: Yes, I have a BFA from the University of Southern Maine with a concentration in ceramics. I graduated later than most - I was 38 years old when I finally received my diploma. To tell you the truth, my real education continues today as I work on my own with no benefit of an established, fully equipped studio.

Nancy: What part of the ceramic process do you enjoy the most?

Cynthia: I definitely enjoy the creating and making part of working with clay. Working with clay is physical; yet at the same time when I am in the zone, it's very meditative. I am pushing myself to concentrate on the glazing and decorating aspect of working with clay now that my forms are pretty solid. Glazing is often an after thought for many ceramic artists, but it is what makes the work spectacular in the end.Nancy: Where do your draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from so many places and people. I love architecture, nature, color and art history. I see patterns everywhere and am also inspired by the handmade movement happening right now. It's fantastic to make something knowing that a little piece of my energy is transferred to the recipient. When I see or touch an artist made object or art piece, I wonder about the maker which is a lot more meaningful than a mass production piece out of a factory.

Nancy: Are you inspired by other artists, if so, who?

Cynthia: I'm inspired by so many other artists including a painter that I did my internship with in college, Richard Lethem At 70+ years old, he still paints everyday, teaches at the university and is vigorously pursuing show opportunities. I have also met a lot of really talented artists in cyberspace who I might never have met otherwise, including yourself.

Nancy: I admire how you have kept your blog looking new and fresh. Have you always been a "techy"?

Cynthia: Oh, God no! Just 6 years ago, I had to learn how to use a PC for the art history classes I was taking. I didn't even know how to use Microsoft Word to write a paper. That being said, I'm not afraid of technology and am able to figure programs out. What's the worst that can happen? Major computer Crash - oh wait that happened to me last year and I was so proud of myself bringing the old gal back to life.

Nancy: Can you tell those of us that are "technology challenged" how we might learn to take better care of our blog?

Cynthia: Well, that's the hundred thousand dollar question and I'm still trying to figure that out myself. I try to post at least 3 times a week with fresh material. I also try to keep up with new social networking sites that I think might be beneficial and interesting to me. I read a few other blogs and have learned a lot by looking at how other bloggers make it fresh and exciting for their readers. If they have a new widget, I check out the site to see if it's worth implementing. Most important of all, I respond to all the comments left on my blog and I reciprocate with a visit to the commenter's blog if they have one. My goal is to make it very easy to navigate my blog so that people aren't lost and frustrated.
I might add that I am never at a loss for words and I actually enjoy writing. I have a blog post in draft mode where I write ideas and add links for future posts. I have also added a tracking counter on my blog to see how people end up on my blog. It's important to add relevant tags to your posts so that people can find the information for which they're looking.I might add that many new opportunities have come my way since I started blogging 1.5 years ago that wouldn't have happened otherwise. It's in my interest to keep my blog alive since it receives so many more hits a day than my website does. Blogs are inherently dynamic whereas, websites are more static - both are, however, necessary in my opinion for an artist today.

Nancy: You keep your posts enjoyable and fun to read. How do you decide what to share about your work and life and is there a strategy to this?

Cynthia: I don't have any hard and fast rules about what to share. I am an open book at this point, though I do keep my husband, daughter and other family and friend's identities a secret for safety reasons - unless they have a public Internet presence. I also try to keep my blog PG-13 because my daughter sometimes reads what I'm writing over my shoulder and my mom reads daily. Sometimes, I wish that I did a better job at censoring my posts, because I'll write about almost anything. I will occasionally edit a post that I wrote the night before if it feels offensive. I don't know that there is a strategy per se, but I do think familiarity breeds recognition. And, that goes back to the initial impetus for starting my blog - to market my work to a broader audience.

Nancy: Thank you so much Cynthia, for taking the time to answer these questions. I know you keep a full schedule with your own creative work, family and now returning back into the work field. I know that myself and many others will be better artists because of the insight you have shared.

Cynthia: Thank you, Nancy for the opportunity. I enjoyed "talking" with you and reading your blog the past year.

Please if you haven't been to Cynthia's blog, you can see it here

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Red Fall Leaf

This is just a fast watercolor sketch I did of a pretty red leaf I found while on my daily walk. The leaf on the left is the real one. I enclosed it in some packing tape and then adhered it to my sketch book, placing it next to the one I painted. Soon enough all the fall leaves will be gone ... only a memory, replaced with wind rain and cold weather.

Friday, October 05, 2007

October exhibit at the local hospital

Hospital display - Nancy Van Blaricom

Monday I hung some of my art prints at the hospital.

Our local art association is allowed to hang art in a 4' x 8' section wall in our local hospital and each month a different artist hangs their work for the whole month. Although the art is at one of the entrances, this is not the main entrance so I am not sure about how much exposure the art work receives.

Each time I hang my work, enter a different contest or sell my work somewhere I feel I learn so much. I need to be writing down all the information I gather from each new venue so that I can improve for the next time I try it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Completed - Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves - Nancy Van Blaricom

Autumn Leaves

For once I felt that I knew when to stop. I could have kept working on it by adding more color here or there, but I didn't ... and I'm so glad I stopped when I did. The colors are bright and vibrant just as I had wanted. Then, when I was happy with my colors, I added some water soluble metallic splatters and I think it adds to how I wanted to depict fall.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Autumn leaves

unfinished - Autumn Leaves
I had found some pretty autumn leaves on my daily walk that had fallen from some huge maple trees. They were so pretty I wanted to capture the colors before the leaves dried and the colors faded. In this photograph you can see the leaves are starting to emerge. These are not necessarily the colors I saw on each leaf ... but I thought I'd take come creative license here and just let the bright colors fall. I'll post my finished painting when I finish.
I love the fall gold and orange leaves that Toni Kelly
has one her blog heading. Tony is a wonderful watercolorists and calligrapher. She is such a creative inspiration.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Belated - Happy First Birthday ...

Happy 1st Birthday
No one could be more surprised than I am ..... my blogs first birthday was on the 12th of this month.
This year has gone by so fast ... I remember I was nervous about starting my blog. I wondered would I find enough to blog about? Would anyone look at my blog? Would they post a comment?
My fears were for nothing. I've really enjoyed blogging. I love being able to share some of my thoughts on art and show my work to other like minded people.
To all my subscriber's, fellow blogger's, friends, family and collectors of my work ... thank you for sharing in my first year of blogging ... my I continue to keep learning and keep you interested in my work and creative endeavors.
Thank you, it's been a great first year!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Colors and my color swatches

All my colorsAll my color's - swatches

Some time ago I decided to go thought all my tubes of watercolors and make swatches of them all, all together on one piece of paper. I labeled them as to what the color was on the tube and the manufacture, such as transparent yellow- winsor newton. I also painted over a 1/2" line of black ink in to tell if it was transparent or not. I placed all the yellows together, earth colors together, reds, etc. I was so happy with this when I it was completed. I could look at one glance and tell what color would best suit my needs. Not to mention that all those colors just look great all lined up together ... neat and tidy.

My new colors My limited palette color swatches

I then decided that all those colors were too confusing to me. I did a little research and decided to concentrate on just a few colors. I chose the Michael Wilcox colors he suggests. I now have 8 colors in a small watercolor palette that I travel with: Cad Red Light, Quinacridone violet, Cad yellow light, Hansa yellow light, Cerulean Blue and Ultramarine blue, Burnt Sienna, and I added indigo- just because I like it, and in the 12 wells of the Eldajon palette I also have Yellow ochre, Raw Sienna, Blue, Phthalocyanne, green and some white.

I occasionally, when in a hurry, grab another tube of paint because I "know" what it will look like when on a fresh piece of white paper. But other than that I and trying hard to just learn these colors.

Don't you think this art stuff to be a fun journey?

Monday, September 24, 2007

My pile of palettes

Some of my Watercolor Palettes Pile of Palette's
Since I first began water coloring, palettes have always been my accessory of choice. In other words I have a love - hate relationship with them all. The first palette I ever bought was the Eldajon palette, the one right in the center of the photo. It has 12 small slant wells and three mixing areas. Nice, but I still thought I needed something else, something to hold more paint. Then I heard about using stacking ice cube trays as a palette, along with another palette that has many wells (very far left) that will help you with mixing. Okay, I still wasn't happy ... I bought a palette recommended in one of Jan Kunz books (I can't remember the name). That didn't satisfy me either, because it had such small wells, I bought the Winson Newton travel set... nice but it is just something I never use. The list goes on. Now that I'm about through with buying new palettes I reflect back on the ones I liked/like the best. Believe it or not, I still think the ice cube trays are one of my favorites. I had one for reds, blues and yellows ... they travel nicely because they stack and you can use a large brush with them. Another favorite is the Jones round. It has 12 small wells for paint (even though they are small), but works great if you use a color wheel... plus it has a lid. I'm now using my first palette, the Eldajon. It has no lid, small wells and only three mixing areas ... but, I went back to this because I decided to stick with a limited palette of 12 colors ... the Michael Wilcox colors, and I thought this palette would help me learn more about the colors I was using.
After 12 years of water coloring the pigments are still a mystery to me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fishing Flies

Fishing Fly Royal Wulff
Fishing Flies have always been appealing to me. Since I was a young girl when my brother and I would go fishing with my grandfather. Then, after a day of fishing, grandpa would fry up our catch of the day. Ummm the thought brings back memory's of smells and tastes I haven't been able to reproduce in all my cooking years. Those evenings, my brother and I would then entertain ourselves for hours tying fishing flies and talking about which fly would catch the biggest fish.

Now, I prefer to paint the fishing flies.
Fishing Fly Sofa Pillow

Almost always when people (especially men) see my fishing fly watercolors they seem to be surprised and want to know how I came to paint them. They are always a conversation starter. I started painting the flies after I'd done a series of 6 different trout. I had matted and framed the six trout all in one frame ....

Fishing Fly Golden Stonebut felt something else was needed along those same line to hang opposite them on a smaller wall. That's when I came up with the idea of painting fishing flies. It just seems so appropriate.

I had a few fishing flies to use as a reference but after water coloring them I wanted to find more to add to the series. I stopped by a very large sporting good store to beautiful ... all different colors and sizes.

Fishing Fly Muddler Minnow

I found a few to purchase, left the store to continue on with the rest of my shopping list. All was going well until a young girl, in a loud voice said, "Momma, look, that lady has bugs on her arm". Sure enough, there on my right arm were some fishing flies that had attached them selves to my sweater sleeve as I reached across the multitude of fishing flies on display at the sporting goods store. I was so embarrassed ... not only that I had frightened the little girl, and had to explain to the child and mother what the "bugs" were doing on my arm, but that I had blatantly stolen the fishing flies.

And yet, to this day I still love to see and paint them.

Watercolor fishing flies from top to bottom: Royal Wulff, Sofa Pillow, Golden Stone, Muddler Minnow

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Back from vacation ...

I've just returned from a 12 day camping vacation - attending a family reunion, and visiting friends along the way. When we stopped in towns I made sure and visit the local art gallery's. I think its fun to see what the local talents are doing. The last place we camped was Cape Disappointment Campground in Washington, close to the mouth of the Columbia River. The nearest town is Ilwaco Washington which is a small fishing community at the mouth of the Columbia River. While there I was so surprised to find one of the nicest art gallery's I've ever been in called the Shoalwater Cove Gallery . It was beautifully remodeled with items strategically placed where you'd like them if you were an artist who had work showing there. Easy to navigate through this large gallery. The person who was working that day (it was a Sunday) greeted us almost immediately yet went on about working in the Gallery. If you are ever in that area I highly recommend you stop by to see the gallery and look at the beautiful work they have on display.

This photo is of Cold Water Cove where we were able to take a 4 mile hike around the lake and the camps were very private. The day was beautiful and the water clear and a beautiful turquoise color.
Camping Vacation
One of the areas we camped was along the McKenzie River. This is beautiful. We camped where the river was rushing by our camp-site and river rafters would occasionally go by. This is the only place where I took time to sketch.

Rushing Water

I know this isn't a very good sketch ... it's suppose to show the river rushing over and around the rocks that were in the center of the river in front of our camp. I had trouble showing moving - rushing- water. Also the colors just do not show up in this scan.

Alder tree and leaf

The above sketch, while is does show up better, just doesn't do the colors justice. This was an alder tree along the river bed at our camp. The colors were pretty with the sunlight on some of the leaves. I tried to capture the color of a fallen leaf that came down by where I was sketching.

Now that I'm home my list of art projects is long. There are still two more Saturdays that the Farmers Market is open, shows to enter, prints to frame for month long hanging period at the local hospital, plus a commission.

It's fun to go .... but so nice to be home.

Friday, August 31, 2007

New ... fall note cards

Autumn Scarecrow Autumn Scarecrow

There is only four more Saturdays that our local Farmers Market will be open and since we are planning on being away most of them, tomorrow seems like a good day to introduce the newest addition to my note card line, Autumn Scarecrow just in time for fall. Last September the original sold at auction on e-bay, fortunately I saved a copy for cards and prints so others will be able to enjoy this warm and friendly scarecrow also.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride ~ watercolor

Last Saturday, for those of us that were selling at our local Farmers Market, the weather co-operated and we even had a little sun. There were less vendors than usual, with some of the vendors attending a large event, in a near by town. I was worried that with fewer vendors there would be little sales. But, to my surprise there seemed to be just as many customers as usual. I sold numerous cards and one original watercolor. The painting was about 22" x 11" titled Along for the Ride. Matted in white with a blue inset boarder, and a blue frame.
Once, while anchored in our boat, with the dingy tethered behind, this seagull decided that he'd just ride along on the stern of our dingy as it bobbed up and down with each wave. I just had to take his photo, he looked so at ease there, just like it was the norm for him. ... It was a fun painting to do and it brought back memorys of that day and our stow away each time I looked at it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A couple of E.D.M. sketches

Draw a Lamp E.D.M. Challenge #2

Today after a yoga class and a couple of loads of laundry I decided it was time to work a little on my E.D.M. list of Challenges that I printed out some time ago. This first photograph is of a floor lamp that has been in my family for some time. My maternal grandparents had this in there living room when I was a child, then my mother had it in her living room for years, now it is mine and I have it displayed proudly behind our couch and beside a palm. The shade has been recovered numerous time, and most recently I have chose a red fabric with a small gold pattern throughout. Although you can't see it with this drawing there are also gold and red beaded fringe on the bottom.

E.D.M Challenge # 3 Draw a wallet or purse.

I love my wallet, It's perfect for me. Once opened you will find on each side, slots to put your drivers license, credit cards, photo's or even some folded mad money. Then in the center there is room for your change and a few bills. Perfect for someone who doesn't want to carry too much.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Finally finished my second landscape oil

Nancy Van Blaricom ~ completed oil

Nancy Van Blaricom ~ almost finished oil I can't believe it has been so long since I first started this oil painting.
The last post about it was on June 26th of this year, and, this is what it looked like (photo at right) at the end of that painting session.

Now that I've completed it, I'm not sure that its better, but I do know that I'm done and won't add another drop of oil to this painting.

Some of the things I learned from this painting.

  1. Think about shape... forget about all the detail
  2. get your drawing right the first time around
  3. I need to paint more and do alla prima ... (A style of painting where, instead of building colours up with layers, the painting is done in one session while the paint is still wet. From the Italian word which literally means at once.)
  4. Decide right away if you want a high key or low key painting

I thoroughly enjoyed the two landscape oil paintings I have done. I don't think either one is an award winners, but they have been so enjoyable to paint ... and isn't that really why I did them?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Every Day Matters ...

I had decided long ago not to join the Every Day Matters Yahoo Group, but I love the idea where you are challenged to draw things on the list. My sketchbooks are filled with items that are on the list, but just recently decided I'd use one of my Moleskines for the Every Day weekly Challenges.summer shoes sketch
Drawn yesterday (with pencil on computer paper) before I thought of putting the drawings into my Moleskine

2nd sketch of summer shoes

Today's effort - Zig Millennium pen in Moleskine.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Now, where was I ...

I'm sorry to say that I wasn't able to attend the Lavender Festival this year. I had not been feeling very well and had to cancel. Pat, the owner of the Lavender fields was very understanding and I'm hoping she will let me attend next year as a vendor.

Recently, friend and fellow artist Maeona, posted on her blog a short paragraph about palette knives, which made me realize that although I have been doing a little oil painting, I have very little in the way of oil painting supplies. So to help remedy that I purchased one small palette knife and three 5" x 7" canvas boards the last time I was in town (its a small start). I have no idea what kind of knife I purchased, but it was so different from the other palette knife that I own (inherited from my mothers art supplies) that I had to purchase it. After reading her blog I realize that each knife is used for a different purpose. Maybe someone will share with me what purpose each are are used for. My new one is the small cute one in the photo ... short and pointy.

Recently I found instructions on on Wet Canvas! for making a small pochade out of a cigar box. I've been wanting one to use when out with my plein air group, and thought it may be fun to work on, plus be a lot less expensive than purchasing one. This photo is the cigar box that I bought on e-bay. Next time we are in town I'll purchase the other materials to complete this project.

Once again I really enjoyed being at the Saturday Farmers Market this last Saturday. I was able to visit with with numerous customers. Some just visiting, others asking for certain prints, some sharing why they like this one or that. This is what is so great about being at the market .... getting to know and enjoy your customers. I think I'm hooked.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sailboat Linoleum Print

Harmony on tide grid
This is a mono print I did of our sailboat up on the tide grid. I am pretty new to printing and now that its done I can see that I could have done some things differently to make it a better print ... remove more linoleum in some places, done a better job of coating the lino block with the ink, etc. Even with these mistakes I can still recognize it as our boat and that Harmony is on the tide grid. I have only done a couple of prints before and I find them mesmerising to work on. I became so engrossed with this one, trying to decide what to remove and what to leave behind. I may continue to work on this to see if I can't improve some of the lines of the hull.

Today our weather has changed. I woke up to pounding rain ... which I welcome with open arms. I love the cool rainy days in the North West - even if I am in the minority. Today my husband and I put the sail boat up on the tide grid to do some maintenance on our boat. The tide was in high enough for us to put it on the grid at 7:30 a.m., by noon the boat was completely out of the water enough so that work could be done and we will put it back into its boat slip about 7:30 this evening.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lavender Festival

Harstine Island Lavender Festival
Summer time, as a rule, always makes me feel creative, but this year I seem to have slowed down in the creative department and I think its because of the heat we've been experiencing here in the northwest. Its undoubtly been hotter in other parts of the country, but being a native of the Northwest, it is turning out to be a little too hot at times for me.
Last Saturday, yesterday, I once again attended the Harstine Island Farmers Market. I'm finding it to be a fun endeavour. I'm enjoying meeting and talking to the people who come by to look/buy my work or just to visit. Because of the success I've had at the Farmers Market, I've decided to have a booth at the Harstine Island Lavender Festival next Saturday and Sunday. It should be a fun time ... with a lot of entertainment both days. Food, Drinks both prepared with lavender, live music, art and crafts, massage ... and plants.
If you are in the area please stop by and say hello.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Vacation ...

We have been gone for a week, sailing around South Sound, in our boat for the last week. We had decided to stick around locally and see more of the local surroundings instead of going on a longer, out of area location this year. The weather has been beautiful, if not too warm most days. Because of the warm weather I guess, I spent my days reading mostly, although I brought plenty of art supplies. I had read To Kill a Mockingbird years ago, as well as A Catcher in the Rye, but thought it was time to reread them. I spent most of my time reading Charles Reids book Watercolor Secrets. He makes watercolor look so easy. He is a master of understanding that value is really the important item in his work. He can put a pink and a green next to each other and having the the same intensity and value ...... they appear to be just what was needed. I always feel I need the proper color AND value. I've owned the book since it first was out in print and have read it numerous times... I think this time more of it sank in. Hawthorne on Painting is always fun because you can pick it up and read any page and benefit from it.

It is suppose to be hotter this week and I'm glad to be home where it will be cool. I've cleaned my studio a little and will try to work on a large painting I've been started some time ago ... maybe the time is right.....FINALLY.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New watercolor and prints ...

Harstine Isl. Oyster
I've painted this watercolor to look very similar to the Harstine Isl. Crab painting I did some time ago. At first I wasn't sure how I liked this. I think it was because it was so similar to the crab painting ... But now that its finished and prints made, I'm very happy with it. The crab paintings (prints) seem to be very popular at the local farmers market and have had some customers ask for the same but with an oyster on it. Many people around here raise their own oysters so it seem fitting to the area. I have cards, matted 8" x 10" 's, and 11" x 14" 's that will be for sale next Saturday.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

another plein air experience....

I'd be interested in knowing if any of you can guess what this photo is of .... well, any of the photo's I'm posting for that matter.

As you know, I'm new to oil painting. I know very little about oil painting and as of yet purchased very few supplies for painting in oil . The palette I have is one that came in a small acrylic package I had from years ago. Its a small white plastic palette, approximately 9"x 6". The brushes I have are some odd brushes I thought may work ... some are from the same acrylic package as the palette. So, to continue with my story .... Last Tuesday was another Plein Air day with the new group I've been fortunate enough to join. I found a spot along a creek, that was running into Hood Canal. It has a small foot bridge and I thought I may be able to capture it in oil, but if not I had also brought my watercolors, some brushes and even a gallon jug of water. And just incase I couldn't finish my painting while out for the day, I brought my camera.

Well, although I wasn't able to finish my painting in oil, I did find I was pretty satisfied with getting the basic idea down on my

pre-primed, pre-gessoed cardboard canvas. When it was time to pack up and head home I placed these large clips (see first photo) in each corner of the painted canvas board. Then I set the painting down over the top of my palette, paint side up, in a cardboard shoe box lid. (I thought I was so smart to even think this far in advance when I packed it) This worked great because the clips kept the painting up off of the palette full of paint ... both set in the shoe box lid... for a safe journey home. Yeah right ! Remember me telling you I'd brought all my watercolor supplies... even a jug of water? Well, during my travels going home, the water jug fell over landed on top of the oil painting (still in the shoe box lid remember). The weight of the gallon of water bent the cardboard canvas down on top of my palette and rode there for the duration of the trip. When I arrived home some of the water had leaked out of the jug -even with a lid screwed on- there was oil paint all over the jug and the beginnings of my painting has paint smeared from the jug, the back of the cardboard - the first photo - had oil paint and water soaked into it, and most of my paint on my palette was now on the back of the canvas.

So, next time, I'll take some plastic wrap to cover my palette, and something else to place my painting in for a safe trip while traveling. As time goes by I hope to pick up a few more supplies for oil painting and won't have to worry about how to travel with my oils.

One of the women in the plein air group is always saying, "I wonder if I can salvage this painting". I asked myself this very question after this experience and I think I'm going to try.

More photo's to come as I work on this painting... maybe then you'll be able to tell just what it was that I was trying to capture on canvas.

Photo #1. Back of canvas covered with water and oil paint. #2 My palette NOW covered with plastic wrap ... after the damage. #3 My oil painting with smeared oil paint, and nothing that is recognizable.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Another day at Farmers Market

This lady looking at my cards is a vendor who was all sold out at the
end of the two hours, her empty table is to her back.

Here is the last of the remaining tables, along the same row as mine that were yet to be taken down on Saturday. This time I was fortunate to be using a borrowed white canopy. Some of the two hours were bright sunshine, then other times, dark clouds. Sales were about the same as my first Saturday at the Farmers Market. Very good, considering most of my friends had dropped by that first Saturday. This Saturdays sales were mostly from strangers. I enjoyed visiting with my customers and feel I made some new friends by being able to spend some time with a few.
I thought I'd mention a novel I've been reading and am just about to finish. The title is CHASING CE'ZANNE by Peter Mayle. Its about a stolen painting by Cez'anne and a forgery put in its place by the owner ... It is a fast read and one easy to get into. For some reason, this is the time of year that I can really get into reading novels and other books about artists. CHASING CE'ZANNE is my first book to kick off the season.
I wonder, what should I choose to read next ......

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ode to a Lemon

Today I decided to do a series on the Lemon, I thought I'd call it "Ode to a Lemon". Odd, but I guess I didn't know what the word ode really meant? says an ODE is: A lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanzaic structure. Then I googled "Ode to a Lemon" and up pops entry after entry on a poem by Pablo Neruda titled "Ode to the Lemon".... I'll share a small part of that poem at the end of this blog entry, if you care to read it.

#1 Pencil in Sketchbook

I decided today that I'd do a study with my one lone lemon. The first photo is done in pencil

#2 Dip pen and Noodles Ink on Card stock.

I have long admired those of you who do pen and ink and all that wonderful cross hatching. I'm not patient enough. Or, to be more accurate, I wasn't patient enough today. I may give it another try some time.

#3 Watercolor on Stonehinge Print Paper.

I had some left over 5" x 7" pieces from some lino print projects and thought I'd try it. Turned out I was satisfied with the way it handled the water. It was a good experiment.

#4 Pastel on Mi-Teintes Pastel paper.

I don't think I'll ever get use to having my fingers all dry and chalky. I clean my fingers constantly because I can't help but use my fingers to blend.

#5 Is Charcoal on brown craft paper.

I wasn't happy with this either... How do you get a bright lemon to look that way with charcoal? I couldn't get it to look the way I wanted.

#6 is Oil on some Canvas paper

Or anyway I'm assuming it's canvas paper..... I seem to accumulate single papers, a sheet at a time. I should have written what it was on the back so I'd know. Another lesson learned.
Odd, I just noticed that the two mediums that I enjoyed working with the most, the watercolor and the oil, both had more detail or depth to the paintings. I must have felt more comfortable working with them.

Ode to the Lemon
by Pablo Neruda

Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight,
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree's yellow
the lemons
move down
from the tree's planetarium

Delicate merchandise!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My first (ever) oil painting

For some time now I've thought I'd like to try oil painting. I had some 8" x 10" canvas boards, (I'm not sure that is the proper name for them), and a few brushes I thought may work. I purchased some oils, some linseed oil and found some helpful step by step instructions on Joe's blog. In the first photo you see where I've toned the panel with a mixture of cad yellow and aliz. crimson, plus some white acrylic. That was as close to the yellow ocher Joe used in his instruction's. Also you see a photo I was using as a reference.
This photos shows where I have done a rough sketch of my picture (and I use the term very loosely) with my homemade vine charcoal.

At this point, in the photo above, I was suppose to be blocking in the major shapes. I think this is where I start to get overwhelmed and begin to think that I've not done my blocking in correctly. I was already beginning to get nit-picky.

This is where I've stopped for the day. I can't seem to get a close-up of it today because of a glare when I photograph it ... maybe tomorrow it will be a little dryer and I'll edit this post with a finished photo.
I'm pretty satisfied with my first attempt, but feel I may do some touch-ups tomorrow.
I still need to:
  1. Learn what brushes to use where. I seemed to want to use only one brush and had to force my self to try one that would work better.
  2. Remember that I can use either the thinner or linseed oil to mix with my paints to aid in painting. I think I used way too much paint, when I could have used a thinner application.
  3. Learn not to mess up my whole pile of paint to mix a color.
  4. Figure out what to do now with the paint left on my palette that isn't used.