Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The last day of 2013

I thought I'd share with you what the last day of the year looks like here in the Pacific Northwest.  

The prediction for the day is: low clouds, fog and poor visibility conditions improving around noon.  Cloudy with temperatures steady in the mid 40's.  Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. 

All three photo's were taken while on my walk around 9 o'clock this morning.

In the first photo we are looking south on the beach.You can see waves on the water and the breeze was blowing in my face and it felt cool but refreshing.

 This short set of stairs leading to the beach and we see more gray skies.  The tide is coming in but still plenty of beach to walk on.

Looking north you see more cloudy and gray skies. 

On this the last day of 2013 I look back and I'm very happy with all I accomplished this year.  I won't list them all but here are a few of my artistic accomplishments: I painted 56  57 paintings (which was a new record for me), I received an honorable mention at our local art show and sold 3 watercolor commissions, I also took on the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge …not easy feat, and yet one I'm contemplating attempting once again. And I think this is my 100th blog post for the year.
I like the fact that the year will end calmly.  I'm thinking its probably a forecast for the new year coming on, right?

Happy New Year - 2014

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014, Oil on panel, 5" x 7", © 2013 Nancy Van Blaricom
In anticipation of a new year I finally used a saved champagne cork and muselet as my prop today.

Yes, I had to look up what the wire cage on the champagne was called.  I've always just called it 'the wire thingy'.  Whoda' thunk it had a fancy name….

I hope your new year is everything you hope it to be.  Cheers !

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Self portrait

I can only remember attempting a self portrait once before.  It wasn't very good.  I wasn't very serious about it and had used the back of some scratch paper and a ballpoint pen.  This time I was a little more enthusiastic after watching a video that Lisa Gloria just posted about.  Still …. not so serious as to get out the oil paints.
Self portrait, aprox. 6" x 4", gouache, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

Instead I got out my gouache and gave it a try.  
I started out by sketching with a pen, then once I thought it was going in the right direction I started using the gouache.

I don't think this is and exact likeness, but, my husband recognized it as a portrait of me…. thats encouraging right?,
I did enjoy working not this one and hope when I attempt to use oils it will be as fun.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Some of my favorite artists:

 Last Saturday … the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, the annual Holiday House Bazaar once again opened the doors to start off the Holiday season.  This is usually the only event I participate during the year and its always something I look forward to.  I love that old friends drop by and I have the opportunity to make new friends.  Such fun !

This year the traffic seemed steady from the time the doors opened and vendors were kept busy until the doors closed.  Aside from all the many items for sale the community hall (where the bazaar takes place)  had a small menu where you were able to buy some soups, sandwiches, salads and coffee.

The fun day was topped off when the two paintings  below sold.
The top painting has always been a favorite.  This is a very poor photo, but even so, I love the light on the water.

The one thing that I wanted to capture when I painted the two paintings below was the light.  Finding a way to paint how I saw a particular moment.  Was it a cool day or was it a warm day, where was the sun at?  Was the wind blowing … all things that make a painting memorable to me.

Hope your December is going as well as mine is ….

Mail Call, 8"x 10" oil, © Nancy Van Blaricom

Early Morning Light, 8" x 10"  oil, © Nancy Van Blaricom

My booth is up on a stage where I can look down on a number of different vendors and customers.
A good time was had by all.  :-)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My 12 favorite paintings of 2013

I'm not a prolific painter by any means, but, in checking my records I see I produced 56 paintings this year. 14 of which were small shell paintings on wood blocks, 2 watercolors and the rest were oils.  Part of the reason for the large amount ( for me its large anyway ) was that in January I entered a 30 paintings in 30 day challenge.  Believe me they were not all great paintings but some were worth keeping and tweaking on to improve. Some even ended up on my favorite list.

Here, in no particular order, are 12 of my favorites paintings with some comments on what I liked about the piece:

On the left was a typical scene from our boat travels into British Columbia.  I can picture myself there now by looking at that painting. I love how I've captured the fog and the hills.  This is B.C. to me.
The painting on the right is a local scene.  I am happy with the atmosphere I created in the sky with the clouds in a bright blue summer sky.

I was pleased with both of these two florals I painted.  I was challenged with them both because I wasn't use to painting flowers, ruffles with highs and lows creating depth of each petal. I think I'll try more florals.  I didn't realize how much I liked pink until I painted these … I guess thats part of the reason I liked the beets I painted also.  I thought the color combination was really nice here.

I liked the dappled sun I created in the painting on the left above.  I think I tweaked with both of these paintings and made them worth keeping but in my rush to post the 12 favorites I didn't take the time to find the finished photograph of them.  
The painting on the right made the favorite list because it not only brought back memories of the event but that I was able to paint the gesture of the 'Story Teller'.

I was really pleased with the atmosphere in the painting on the left above.  
I thought I captured the  essence of the location.  
I thought I did a good job with the rocky beach of another scene from B.C.  I like the trees also.

Maybe the cow made my list of favorites because I thought it really did look like so many of the cows I've seen.  I liked the way I didn't make the grass detailed, also I like seeing the sun on her.
The center painting is typical of my small shell block paintings … I like them all so it was hard to pick out one favorite.  This one is 6" x 6" on canvas.   Last, but not least for sure, is a painting of a little ceramic bird I picked up in a second hand store many years ago.  It really isn't that cute but for some reason I hang on to it.  I placed it on a cardboard box and when I finished painting it I felt after many tries through-out the years, I had finally captured the look of this bird.

I'd love to hear which is your favorite of these 12 paintings and why.  

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Research Vessel, 16" x 20"

Research Vessel, 16" . 20", oil on stretched canvas, © 2013 Nancy Van Blaricom

Living near the shoreline in south puget sound I see a lot of different boats traveling through these waters.  This particular boat was owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and they were just heading out to do some research on the six gill shark.  

Have you ever heard of a six gill shark?  It was new to us.  Read more about it through the link above.

Some thoughts on this painting:

I am very pleased that I was able to keep this painting like the vision I had for it.. When I started this one I wanted to make sure and keep the trees and bushes in the background.  Keeping their edges soft and not hard or sharp keeps them less in the focus of the painting.  That part of the painting basically painted itself.

Also, I was pleased that I managed to do some editing in my reference photo, eliminating a house that was in the background as well as editing the shoreline adding some boulders to the shore.

I felt while painting this one I achieved some  growth … and when that happens I am encouraged to start another painting.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Hanging small works …

I love it when one of my collectors sends me photos with my work hanging on their walls.

Recently one of my collectors sent me these photo's of some small shell paintings she had recently purchased.  Don't you think these look great?
 5 paintings of my Shell Series, Oil on wood block, © 2013 Nancy Van Blaricom

When you have a number of small items to hang there is always the question 'do I hang one or two together and hang the others on another wall' ….. or even hang them in another room.

I think she came up with the perfect solution to hang them vertically between two doors where there is just a few inches of space.

I love the look of these all hanging one on top of the other.

 5 paintings of my Shell Series, Oil on wood block, © 2013 Nancy Van Blaricom
Do you ever have small works to hang and you don't quite know where to hang them?