Sunday, December 28, 2008

December Bear Sketch

Holiday Bear-Nancy Van BlaricomHoliday Bear on cardstock
Today as I go through the house picking up a few of the holiday decoration's to put back in stroage boxes, I gathered up this bear and his female counterpart that I had sitting on the couch. He's been with me a number of years and I've often thought of painting him but never took the time. Today was a great opportunity. Darn, why didn't I paint it on some nice watercolor paper? Freedom comes easier when there isn't the pressure to make it perfect, don't you agree?
Are you thinking of some artist goals you'd like to accomplish this next year?
Are you taking stock of all your accomplishments this year?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21st, Winter Solstice

This is the north end of the island- Harstine Island

This first photo is from the very north end of the island, looking toward the main land and a couple of other islands.
From the aprox. same location as yesterday

The second photo is from about he same spot yesterdays photo was taken from.

snow from our front door

And the last photo is looking out our front door and you can see the snow that accumulated on the red chairs and the top of our fence. When I measured our snow accumulation I found aprox. 6 inches on my deck.
This is Winter Solstice!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Almost winter solstice ...

Almost winter soltice - Nancy Van BlaricomI thought you might like to see this photo I took yesterday about 10:30 a.m., on my daily 2 mile walk. Today on our walk we saw less sun, and we are seeing more accumulation of snow ... but it is still beautiful. How appropriate having snow so close to Christmas.

.....walking in a winter wonderland.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bad timing ...

This photo shows the center of the room, while the bookcase is being painted.

As you may remember, in my post earlier this year on (August 16th), I did a lot of cleaning and eliminating of unused items in my studio. I still feel as though I'm pretty crowded and want to get rid of even more stuff from the studio. I've emptied my book case and painted it white. I've left this book case unfinished for years - and now, during the holiday's, I feel the need to paint it,...bad timing. This gives the bookcase an illusion of looking like there is more space and not stopping the eye with a darker look of unfinished wood. I've also taken out my artists type drafting table to give me more room and I will try to get by with the storage table you see here to paint at. Also, I'm thinking of adding a little more color in this room with a valance over the window, leaving the walls white ... but why the urge to do this now.? All of this is really bad timing don't you think?

Hopefully soon I'll be finished with this project and it will inspire me to use my watercolors once again.

Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Another Sandpiper

Sandpiper #2 - Nancy Van Blaricom Here's another bird for my small 5" x 5" bird series.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Harstine Island Holiday House

Doors open at 2008 Holiday House This is a photo I took 5 minutes after the doors opened at the local Community Club for the annual Harstine Island Holiday House Bazaar. People were packed into this old building that is on the National Register of Historical Places in Mason Count Washington. A wonderful old building that is still used for many of social gatherings.
This was the second year I have participated in this local bazaar and can't believe the amount of people it draws from all around the area ... not just the islander's. I really don't think a bazaar's is the best place to show 'fine art', yet it seems to be a great place to sell note cards and that's mostly what I sell.
I had a great time visiting old friends and making new ones ... A great way to start the holiday season, don't you think?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tag ... you're it!

Celeste, who does beautiful oils has tagged me. When you've been tagged you are supposed to mention who tagged you, (that would be you Celeste) then tell 7 things about yourself. Then you're supposed to tag 7 others . I was tagged some time ago, but that was to tell some "weird things about myself" ... who me, weird???

1. I use to read a lot of novels. Now the only time I seem to be able to finish a novel is when we are out on our boat ... where I've been known to finish about a 5 books in 7 days. Now I seem to read only how-to books, art books, art marketing, art promotion, self help books.

2. I'd rather be in the Pacific Northwest than anywhere.

3. Although I usually paint in watercolor I love oil paintings.

4. I love learning about building anything. I don't build anything, but I love learning how others do. I think I may have been a carpenter in my last life the way I am intrigued with power tools. Well, I guess I like learning anything that I know nothing about. I think I drive people nuts by asking "why?", "now when do you do that?", "do you have to do it that way?"..... I want to know everything from the ground up.

5. Of all household chores, I dislike emptying the dishwasher the most. It always seems to need to be emptied in the most inopportune time.

6. I became a Master Gardener - in Oregon, about 12 years ago. Also I was a professional cake decorator. I must have really grown tired of them both because I'm not interested in either now.

7. I am a procrastinator. I am trying to overcome this but it's amazing how it keeps creeping into my life.

Now you know a little bit more about me.

Some of the people I want to tag I've frequented their blogs for awhile, some of the others I've recently found. Lets find out some more about: Manjiree, Nancy, Helen, Andy, Laura, Toni and Steve

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some smaller works

Blue Heron paintings by Nancy Van Blaricom Three small 5" x 5" Blue Heron paintings

In preperation for a couple of holiday bazaar's I'm going to be involved in, I've been working on some small bird paintings. One show is on the 29th of November here on the Island, and the other is a larger two day event starting with First Friday the following week on both the 5th and 6th.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catching up on a few things

Karin Jurick's challenge 9
I'm too late to post this one on Karin Jurick's "Different Strokes blog, but I am trying to catch up and paint the ones I've missed anyway - just to give them a try. I find I tend to get bogged down with the detail of some of the photo's she uses, so trying to simplify is a challenge for me. A good challenge none the less.

Also, Nancy Van Blaricom - NewsletterI recently sent out my first newsletter. I thought I might send my newsletters out via snail mail but with the price of stamps I now think e-mail is the best way. This is a photo of my newsletter I printed out. I have notes all over so I won't forget how I did certain things I felt worked.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Week 10 challenge ....

I am enjoying painting these Karin Jurick challenges. I find since I am not attached to the photo's I can loosen up and paint them more or less as I would a sketch and not fuss with detail like I usually do. These photos will show you my process this week. I did the first sketch last Thursday and the drawing yesterday, waiting until today to do my painting.

Trying not let the other doodles interfere with my thoughts I decided to sketch this out on some scratch paper before attempting it in watercolor. hmmmm, ok, this may be fun.

Next I decided to get my drawing down on paper.

I told myself NOT to obsess with this one. Make it sketchy, get your thoughts down and don't look back. Its not a masterpiece, but I am pretty happy with it and feel I accomplished the looseness I had wanted.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Moooo - A Karin Jurick Challenge, painted by Nancy Van Blaricom Karin's Cow, watercolor 6" x 6"

Once again I almost let the week go by without attempting to paint Karin Jurick's Challenge. I had to hurry and do a fast sketch to make sure it was posted before the deadline tomorrow. It's so fun to see everyones paintings - all from the same photograph.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Another challenge ...

 Karin Jurick's Week 5 Challenge - watercolor on paper

As if my own art references aren't enough to challenge me, I seem to want to barrow a challenge from others. I didn't have much hope for this project when I first saw this weeks challenge. I had trouble understanding what this was and spent most of the week thinking about it and how I wanted to attempt it. Finally today I picked up some paper and did this fast sketch. Wow, to my surprise it really was fun, adding layers of pigment and creating depth to the skyline in the sculpture. Now I'm thinking I should have given it more respect - using better paper and concentrating on what all was in Karin's photo reference more.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Three white pumpkins...???

Three White Pumpkins Three White Pumpkins - Aprox. 6" x 6"
Although white pumpkins are not really white, but a little creamy looking, here is my attempt at rendering white pumpkin's. Once again I used this weeks Karin Jurick image as my reference.
I must admit it was a little more of a challenge than I had expected. I started out with many layers of a mix of Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna, then on the opposite corner using a dark mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. Once I was happy with the amount of layers to convey my light and dark I used the same mixtures to give shape to the pumpkins.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Karin Jurick's newest blog:

Who doesn't love the work of the very talented Karin Jurick. Karin recently started a new blog titled different strokes from different folks. Every Wednesday she posts a new picture for folks to try their hand at. I hope to participate on a weekly basis and post my attempt at painting from her photo here each week. Click on the link to check out all the entries.
From a photo by Karin Jurick

7 1/4" x 8 1/4" Watercolor and ink

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This is amazing ...

Geranium, a watercolor sketch by Nancy Van Blaricom Geranium watercolor sketch

Aprox. 6" x 4"

Noooo, not that this little watercolor sketch is amazing ... it's not. Although I did enjoy myself sitting outside in the fall sunshine sketching this poor sad geranium (ok, I took creative license and added a 3rd bloom). Again, I used the back of an old watercolor painting I had cut into smaller pieces. (I'm finding it very freeing to paint on used paper.... go figure).

What is amazing is this beautiful flag painting done by Deb Ward .

Deb Ward Flag painting

It is approximately 11" x 8" and it arrived yesterday in the mail. On September the 1st, she wrote "I will put up some photos of my class demo paintings with a short description of them. And they will go on a first come, first served basis". So, I wrote her with my name and address and next thing you know I received this great painting in the mail. It truely is a beautiful work and it will serve me well to strive to become better. Thank you SO much Deb. I love it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Watercolor sketch - inspiration, the last of the pansy's

watercolor sketch 4" x 6"
300 lb. cold press arches

Today I was in the mood to do a little watercolor sketching. Since I'm always intimidated by a clean sheet of paper I used the back of a painting (way beyond any way of salvaging) that I had cut up to test colors on the back side. I had cut the painting into small 4"x4" and a little larger size. I thought by using this 4" x 6" size today I might add a large mailing address label on the other side (the badly painted side) to write a few words and a smaller label with an address. There you go, a post card ready to mail.

The last few days have simply been beautiful, and the weather is only expected to become warmer the next few days. Yippee a beautiful fall after all. Today after my daily two mile walk I took my new camera to the beach and was able to take a few photo's of areas that I thought make great paintings. Lately I've been thinking about a lot of different scenes I want to paint. I only hope this motivation lasts.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mt Rainier

Mt. Rainier
5" x 5" on Arches Watercolor paper
I painted this from a photograph that my husband took last year while on one of our daily walks. Frequently we are able to see this majestic mountain in all it's splendor, but occasionally clouds cover it from view.
My camera has arrived and I've been trying to learn as much about it as I can so that when I find that perfect shot I'll be ready. Last week we were walking along our normal route and we saw a small seal sun bathing on a dock. That would have been a great shot!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sandpiper on a Log

Sandpiper on Log - Nancy Van Blaricom Sandpiper on Log
5" x 5" original watercolor

Today I finished this small watercolor painting of a sandpiper. Painted on 140 lb. Arches cold press paper using my usual limited palette of artists grade watercolor pigments.

When I tried to identify this Sandpiper in my bird book I found so many varieties of Sandpipers all looking similar that I am going to take an uneducated guess that this is a Western Sandpiper because of the bill length and shape. If these birds are standing still they are so well camouflaged, blending in with the sandy pebbles on the beach, that you can easily miss seeing them unless they are scurrying along the waters edge. Their little legs moving as fast as they can carry them.

I love walking on the beach here in South Puget Sound where I can usually see 4-5 different birds at any given time. But, it seems that I constantly forget my camera or decide not to carry it with me because it's too bulky. It's not that its particularly large, but, still I can't just put it in my pocket and be off for my walk. So this week I decided to purchase a new camera that I will be able to carry with me at all times. Its 3.8" wide x 2.3" high x 0.8" deep. I'm thinking I'll be able to capture some great shots of all the sights I am blessed to have around me each day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Clean Studio - update

Photo #1 shows the "before" area - messy and cluttered. (as posted on January '07.
Photo #2 shows the after, the less cluttered and more organized area.

Having a studio in a small space has it's challenges, but over the last 12 months I've come up with some space saving ideas that have helped keep my studio less cluttered. A lot of the accumulation has been removed and donated to charities or thrown away. The rest now have a place in see-through storage containers.

Cluttered and unorganized in this first photo. Now organized with frames and shipping material out of the way, tucked neatly behind some shipping boxes of mat board.
I've done some serious clutter busting lately, can you tell? Things had seemed to accumulate and get placed somewhere never to be looked at again. I work best in a clean environment where I can focus on my painting and not get side tracked by unrelated "stuff". I think this tidier work area will help.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Canoes at Rest, am I done yet?

Canoes at Rest progress shot When I work on a larger painting (I think anything 15" x 22" and up is large for me) I need to set the painting aside for a few days and analyze whats working and whats not.

In the first photograph you see my painting with a white mat around it, my black and white photo reference and my value strip to the side. At this point I decided to leave it alone and not touch it again for awhile. Canoes at Rest- Nancy Van Blaricom
Today after giving it some more thought I decided to add some more value to the middle front area... showing more shadow of the trees overhead. I also worked on the grass between the breakwater and the water. I'm still not sure its complete, but then again, when do you know it's time to leave it alone?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Lavender Fest a success

The Lavender Festival that I participated in on July 26th and 27th was a success.

The first day, Saturday, it started out a little cool and we had some rain the first few minutes after I arrived, but before long the sun came out from behind the clouds and warmed us up. On Sunday we had some wind. I had my card rack sitting out at the corner of my tent and pretty soon I saw the card rack revolving ever so slowly, then pick up speed and next thing I knew off flew most of my card inventory. It really was funny to watch and fortunately none of my cards were hurt and I had a lot of help picking up the card inventory as the other vendors came running to assist. Good thing my tent was staked down.

The foot traffic was pretty constant both days. Besides there being a lot of plants, there were about 20 vendors, food, and a band that played most of both Saturday and Sunday. I loved meeting the people and having converstion's about everything from art to plants. Now I know why this lavender festival is such a success.
These two photo's are of the vendors arriving and setting up our tent space. Thats me in my red top with my back to you. Oops... sorry about that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Art Show a success

The art show yesterday was a great success. We had customers coming through most of the day with only a few brief minutes of slack time. All of us who were part of this first time event are hoping that it will be an annual event. I was fortunate to sell two of my larger paintings and numerous card packs and single cards. Having framed my paintings last week and printing and packaging so many cards, I feel I'm pretty close to being ready for the lavender festival in two weeks.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Art at the Pointe

Lately I've managed to keep busy with numerous activities, most recently I've been busy preparing for a few summer shows coming up.

Art at the Pointe

Both events are here on Harstine Island. On July 12th I'll be showing work at "Art at the Pointe". I'm really looking forward to seeing the work the local artists have and share in this first time event. On Saturday and Sunday, the 26th and 27th of July I'll have work at the local Lavender Festival. I wasn't able to attend the lavender festival last year and I am so pleased I was asked once again to participate.

Framed work-Nancy Van Blaricom
I'll have framed originals as well as some note cards for sale at both events.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Remembering a friend

"Phae" 5"x 7"
Recently a friend lost her cat, her beloved friend of over twenty years, and asked if I would paint her cats picture from a photo of when she was younger and in good health. She was pleased with this painting. "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened" Anatole France

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Good news to share with you

"Foggy Island Bridge", watercolor, won 3rd place in the Peninsula Art Association's Annual Spring Show.

I've neglected to share with you this good news. I was so surprised and excited to find I had won 3rd place in the watercolor division of the Spring Show. This year the show was located in a larger building and had great lighting. It was well attended and I think this new location will be one that the organizers of the show try to use for next years show.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A few more One Hour Oil paintings

I think most of these are pretty self explanatory. The first is #14 of my one hour paintings, a white carnation, #15- is tulips from Easter, #16- a pencil, #17- a pink rose, #18- a film canister, and last #19 is scissor handles. Although I am calling these One Hour works, some I didn't work that long on.

one hour carnation
one hour tulips
one hour pencil
one hour rose
one hour film canister one hour scissorsI have looked over my goals I sat for myself at the beginning of the year and see that I bit off more than I can chew. I have yet to go out and do any paintings "en plein air". My goal was one a month, on my own, without a group. I still think that I may be ale to get a few in, but not the way I had originally planned, one a month.

Also, my one hour paintings are still coming, but not as often as I had wanted. I let other things become more important. I had forgotten I had three other obligation's with shows and auction's, and I am not good at multi-tasking.

My last goal of researching, using and accumulating 100 addresses for my mailing lists is on track. I have done research on how others deal with mailing lists. I have the software program- Microsoft Access, and I will integrate my Outlook address book and have them set up in groups accordingly. I have more to learn with Access, but am feeling confident about this one goal.

All in all, I have not made painting my priority. I have been too easily side-tracked.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Remember Andy Warhol

me, 9 different ways
Remember Andy Warhol's paintings of Marily Monroe? This is a web-site, I found on American Genius's , blog site. What a hoot.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Red Tomatoes Framed

Red Tomatoes-Nancy Van Blaricom Framed "Red Tomatoes" with gold leaf
watercolor (10" x 11" Unframed)
Just a little veggie painting to get us all in the mood for fresh juicy tomatoes from the garden. Yes, I know some say tomatoes are a fruit ... ok, so you go ahead and have a nice sliced tomato on your cheerio's.
After painting the tomatoes I felt the background would look best with some Gold Metal Leaf to set them off in a rustic yet elegant way. The gold foil added sparkle to an otherwise dark painting when the background was left a darker green that is seen at the edges of the foil.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Completed - Foggy Island Bridge

 Foggy Island Bridge-Nancy Van BlaricomSOLD Foggy Island Bridge 22" x 30" watercolor

Finally .... after thinking about this scene for such a long time, I've completed this full sheet watercolor.

Scenes such as this, with the fog and the green trees, are pretty typical of the Pacific Northwest. When I'm out and about seeing these types of landscapes, they almost take my breath away. I wouldn't want to live any where else.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Foggy Island Bridge

Below are three progress photo's of a painting I introduced you to back in October 2007. I think I have shown you the first two at that time. In the first photo, I have the drawing and a few washes of indigo with some ultramarine blue that have very little pigment in the water. In the second photo I have more washes of the indigo mixture and I'm beginning to shape some of the trees and the bridge. Today I worked more on this painting and it's beginning to take on some substance. I've begun to shape the large rocks started working on the trees and shrubs on this side of the bridge on ramp. I've added some definition to the boat ramp and the dock area.
Foggy Island Bridge-first washes progress photo's of "Foggy Island Bridge" #1

Foggy Island Bridge-#2progress photo's of "Foggy Island Bridge" #2

Foggy Island Bridge-step #3progress photo's of "Foggy Island Bridge" #3

In thinking about this painting I realize that I enjoy painting in watercolor by getting the first washes down and then putting the painting away for awhile. Although this is far from finished I do think the next steps will come easier now that it has sat untouched for a while. I do keep these paintings out in the open where I can see them, so they are not really forgotten. I like thinking about what area I should work on next and how I should accomplish the look I want when I work on it again. If I put it away for awhile I can see where I need value, where I need color etc. that I can't see when I originally start out painting.

If you work in watercolor, how do you prefer to work? Do you usually like to finish your painting in the first (and only) setting or do you like to take your time and to work on the painting for days before you complete it?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lovely spring tulips to view

Easter Flowers, Fresh, Oil and Watercolor sketch Easter Flowers - Fresh Tulips, Oil Painting and Watercolor sketch

The first of these three photo's is the original fresh tulips our daughter and family brought when they came on Easter to spend the day with us . I always feel so artistic / creative when I'm around fresh flowers. The next day with my oil paints (and timer) I painted this (the second photo) oil painting, hoping to capture the beautiful colors of the flowers in one hour. The canvas was some that I had left over from a previous painting project so it is an odd size at 8 5/8" x 3 5/8". Then yesterday I saw the petals were drooping a little more and realized that soon they would be just a memory, so I grabbed my sketchbook and watercolors for one last try at capturing the beauty of them , photo #3.
Recently I've been reading and seeing all the vibrant watercolors Schmincke has to offer. I think next time I'm at the art supply store I'll pick up a couple of tubes to try out. The watercolors I use (Winsor & Newton, Da Vinci, and American Journey)are so dull compared to the Schmincke watercolors I've seen ... although if used alone, with out doing any mixing, my watercolors do have some sparkle to them. Do any of you have a favorite brand of watercolors that you prefer to use or recommend?

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Belle Belle, 6" x 6" oil

After working on Belle a little more, I've finally decided this painting is as finished as she will ever be. The painting isn't perfect, yet I see the resemblance in her face. I think I've learned a lot by attempting to paint an animal in oil, but I'm ready to move on.