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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Looking The Other Direction

Painting backlit snow is very difficult, as I discovered today. It is troublesome to judge color or value when one is looking into something so bright. I think I have exhausted this subject for a while, and will try something else tomorrow. The ice was cracking all around me as I was painting this, but I managed to stay dry. This view is looking the opposite direction from the one I painted yesterday. The colors look better in person than they do here on this post. Overall, it was a magical day, yesterday's heavy fog combined with a zero Fahrenheit overnight temperature creating a thick flocking on everything in the valley. A very gentle breeze blew the crystals into the air where they seemed to hover and sparkle like diamonds in the sunshine against the deep blue sky. It was very Doctor Zhivago. Study 6x8 oil on linen.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day Bliss

There is nothing I love more than going out on a beautiful sunny, snowy day to paint. And this week I can't seem to get enough of trying to paint this creek. Today I braved the slippery wet rocks to get a view from the middle of the streambed. This study is my favorite one so far; I am not tired of trying this subject matter yet. There is another view I want to try, but I haven't found the right lighting conditions for it yet; maybe tomorrow. I arose before dawn today and it was crystal clear, but quickly the ground fog moved in and it became as thick as pea soup, and seems to be lingering all day in the valley. You can practically watch the hoar frost form on the trees, flocking everything including the downy winter coats on the livestock, into barely discernable tints of color. It was tempting to try a fog scene, but since the weather looks like it is going to become overcast soon, I thought I'd drive up above the fog to paint the creek again. Study 6x8" oil on linen.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

My Christmas Wish

All I wanted for Christmas was sunshine, snow, calm winds, time to paint, and World Peace. Four out of five isn't too bad. It couldn't have been a more perfect morning to paint. If this weather holds, I'll be heading out again tomorrow. Both studies are 6x8 oil on linen. The snow wasn't super fresh, but there was a lovely inch or so of feathery hoar frost on everything which made the snow extra sparkly and lacy (see below), definitely a winter wonderland. The second study here is the one I painted first, fairly early in the morning, and I could hear the coyotes yipping in the distance. Merry Christmas one and all.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Serenity

I finally had a chance to get out and paint today in the snow. It was overcast, but otherwise a beautiful morning. Twenty degrees and absolutely calm. I managed to find something I wanted to paint and found a nice, quiet site to relax. I really liked the location so I may try to return later in the week and try it again, hopefully with better results and maybe a little more sunshine. Study 6x8" Oil on Linen.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

June Pasture

I finished this painting yesterday, although I painted the study for it on a beautiful early morning in June 2008 in northeastern Oregon. If I could begin every day like that, I would be a happy girl. I was thankful for Gore-Tex boots since I was half-standing in the chilly flowing water of a runoff ditch. Across the road were some long-horned cattle with the biggest horns I have ever seen (see below). I kept imagining what it must feel like to go around all day with the weight of a bowling ball on each side of my head. Of course if I had tried to paint one of those beauties into my painting, it would have looked like a cartoon. The steer I did paint are the more ubiquitous Hereford breed raised for beef. They seemed to graze in a synchronized languid pace, wandering in the same direction down the long pasture, turning as a group and leisurely ambling and munching on the way back. I am happy with this piece because I think I managed to capture the mood of that bucolic morning. 40x20", Oil on Linen.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Aspens Glowing in the Afternoon Sunshine

I also painted this one a little while ago, but I'm unsure how I feel about it. I had fun painting it though. It was painted from a couple of studies I did a year ago. I had hiked up into a remote spot to paint, and as the sun became lower and lower, I became more and more paranoid about grizzly bears since they were very active getting fat for their winter hibernation. 24x18 oil on linen.

Autumn Hillside

I painted this from a study done a year ago in eastern Idaho, near Wyoming, in the Victor Valley. I painted it a while ago, but I keep fussing with it. 30x24 oil on linen.

Pass Creek

I painted this one a while ago, but never got around to posting it, probably because I wasn't sure if I was done with it. I'm still not sure. The study was painted in eastern Idaho last September, a year ago this week. When I was painting the study, I spotted what I believe was a beautiful North American Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata). 36x24 oil on linen.

Early Spring in Sonoma County

I painted the study for this painting last spring (technically winter, but to me winter means snow). It was probably January or February, one of those rare pleasant winter days between storms where the radiant heat from the sun is instantly missed as it sets at 4:30 in the afternoon. I was actually painting a different view. It was getting late, I was shivering already and packing up to go home. I turned toward the car and this scene in the last of the afternoon light begged to be painted. My study was very rushed, I just tried to get a few color notes, but it was enough. I spotted the study in my pile and decided it was time to paint it up. I started a smaller canvas and by the time I had finished my rough-in I knew I wanted it bigger, so I grabbed a bigger canvas and started over. I'm glad I did, it is my new favorite. 30x24 oil on linen.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sequoia Watchtower

I worked this study up to 24x18 a couple of weekends ago. It was a nice way to keep the memory of the trip fresh in my mind while it was still aching in my joints. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sequoia National Park Backcountry

A few studies from my backcountry painting trip last week in Sequoia National Park. All studies are 6x4", oil on linen. The study above is the view toward Watchtower rock
along the popular Pear Lake trail at roughly 9,000 feet. Pear Lake sits in a deep granite bowl at 9,500 feet. A small group of us painted for three beautiful days this year. We had one day of high clouds, wind and flat light, but mostly it was sunny and pleasant. Coyote, pika, chipmunks, bats, mountain bluebirds, and tiny pearl grey mice with white bellies were abundant. I spotted a large buck and an occasional hummingbird at 9,500 feet. The American Pika is an endangered species, threatened by the effects of global warming, so it was nice to see these extremely cute creatures.

We had mostly crystal clear skies, but one morning was more atmospheric. I could smell blueberry pancakes cooking on the camp stove as I was painting the study below.
On the first morning, after not much sleep, I arose well before sunrise to paint, not realizing that the sun doesn't illuminate anything in the lake basin until later in the morning.
The sun also leaves the lake basin well before sunset.
On the hillside above my tent site there were a few gnarled old white pines in interesting shapes growing out of cracks in the granite.
Most of the Lake was surrounded by these steep granite walls that were streaked with mineral deposits. The lake is not particularly deep, and the color consisted of deep jewel tones.
In a couple of places, the granite was interrupted with areas of vegetation. I thought the shapes in this area were really interesting.

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Near Jenner

I hadn't been out painting on location for a while and felt very rusty as I tried this seascape study near Jenner. Of course, when one is feeling rusty, a seascape is probably not the easiest subject; however, it was a glorious evening on the beach, clear and calm. The study is 6x4", oil on linen.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pacific Morning

This painting is 24x20, Oil on Linen. It was painted from a study done last June, near Jenner. I'll shoot a better photo of it when I can varnish it.

Napa November

This painting is 24x18, Oil on Linen. It was painted from a study done last November in Napa County. I'll shoot a better photo of it when I can varnish it. And the color correction on this is terrible!

Boxing Day Breakfast

Another snow painting. This was painted from a couple of studies from last December. I'll take a better photo of it when I can varnish it and make it less shiny. This painting is 24x18, Oil on Linen.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Through The Woods

Oil on Linen, 24x18. I painted the study for this on New Years Day 2008, and have wanted to paint it larger since then. It was a little weird finishing it on a day where my thermometer hit 99 degrees, but it made it feel refreshing I think. The mountain in the distance is Chief Joseph Mountain in the Wallowa Mountains, the location is just outside Enterprise, Oregon.  I want to paint all four seasons of this view at some point, there is something about it that catches my eye every time I drive by. A painting done on location always triggers memories of sights, smells, events. The study for this reminds me that the snow plow drivers in the area are a force to be reckoned with. They fly down these country lanes at top speed in enormous trucks and do not slow for anyone. And there is nowhere to park to be out of their way without getting stuck.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ediza Afternoon

This painting is also 36x30, Oil on Linen. It is painted from a study done last August at Lake Ediza, in the John Muir wilderness in the eastern high Sierra.

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Valley Aspen

This painting is 36x30 Oil on Linen.  The study for it was painted in Victor Valley Idaho last September. 


Sunday, April 26, 2009

View of Wallowa Lake from the East Moraine

The Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts is June 5-7, 2009 in beautiful Joseph, Oregon. I hope to be participating this year and this is my donation for their silent auction to benefit the festival. It is 12x9, Oil on Linen. You may recognize it from a couple of my studies from last summer, painted on the east moraine overlooking Wallowa Lake. I have lately finished two large paintings that I will post as soon as I have decent photos of them. I also hope to rework and update my web site soon, it is long overdue. I have several other large paintings in the works, with one getting very close to completion. And I hope to get out on location soon, I'm overdue for that as well. To paint this scene, I had to get up at 4:30am and hike up a steep hill for an hour to catch the early morning light as the sun peeked over the moraine. It was an excellent way to spend the morning before breakfast. 

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Monday, February 9, 2009

In Case You Are Wondering...

Yes, I have been painting, I just haven't been out plein air painting lately. I've been working on a couple of studio paintings based upon my summer studies and hope to have one completed soon. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chinook, Squall & Panettone

The weather has been quite varied lately, and downright nasty. We had two days of blustery Chinook winds that melted most of the snow, followed by a winter squall that drove temperatures back down and coated the north facing surfaces with ice. It has settled down now into relative calm and high clouds. This little study was from a couple of days ago when it was windy and cold and lightly snowing, just before the weather went wild. As you can see, it was pretty dreary that day. I'm not very good yet at making dreary days look beautiful. Oil on linen 8x6. 

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day Calm

I did get out to paint today, but I can't say that I'm happy with them; a combination of hurrying too much and not settling into confident deliberate brushwork. I didn't quite earn my cassata though since they aren't decided candidates for the recycle pile. It was a supremely gorgeous day: an inch of fresh powder to keep the landscape looking clean, dazzling sunshine, soft clouds, calm winds, and a temperature just below freezing. My new boot warmers ended up getting delivered to California, so I will have to tough it out with cold feet. There seems to be some puzzlement about what boot warmers are. They are rechargeable battery powered insoles that slip into your boots. They run about 9 hours on a charge. Just the thing for standing in knee deep snow while painting. Each oil study is 8x6.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day Snow

All I wanted for Christmas was snow to paint and boot warmers. The boot warmers haven't arrived yet, but the snow did in abundance. Painting snow is one of my most favorite things so I'm a happy girl today even if my toes and fingers are still trying to thaw. These two oil studies are 8x6 inches. 

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Late Autumn Napa Bliss

I finally made it out to paint after taking a break from it for the last month and a half. It felt good to be back out painting, and I will try to go out again soon. This is my favorite time of year, where there has been enough rain to green things up a bit while fall colors are still abundant. The vineyards in particular are still clothed in a variety of lovely autumn hues. The light is very horizontal and filtered with heavy atmosphere typical for November. The days are warm in the sunshine and the winds are calm, perfect for painting. Both oil studies are 6x8". 

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Autumn Colors

My four month painting adventure is now complete.  I am already getting nostalgic looking back on the last four months of painting. The primary reason for my painting break was to try to get to a better level by painting more frequently than I can usually do; and to find out if I am meant to be a painter. Just because I have the passion for it doesn't mean that I have the gift. Painting is probably more about the hard work and practice than talent itself, and I hadn't yet done either. I can't profess to having worked hard at it this summer, but I think I have learned the discipline of beginning a habit of practice, at least as much as I can do with the career I have chosen. The passion has certainly been inflamed in the process. And yes, I paint with a limited palette and have for a while now. I prefer it because I makes me look more closely before I mix colors.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Near Iceberg Lake

This alpine meadow study was painted about a couple of hundred yards before Iceberg Lake, which is situated above Lake Ediza at about 10,000 feet. It was very windy that day which made it impossible to paint with an umbrella. I struggled with glare which made it difficult to judge color well, but I managed to touch it up to be close to what I was seeing. The snowfield was a fun bold element to compose with, and it is a good memory of a good day. I would love to work this one up into a larger painting.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Old White Pine

Lake Ediza is at about 9,280 feet according to my GPS unit, near the timber line. I was wandering around looking for something to paint and passed through a very old grove of hemlock and white pine. The gnarled trunk of this specimen growing out of the rocks caught my eye with the late afternoon light reflections. The mountain lumps in the background are Ritter and Banner. I will have a few more studies to post in the next few days but they need some touchup first. 

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Minaret Morning

I was intrigued by the long shadows on the slope of the Minarets at this time of morning. This view was painted from the same spot as my favorite study (posted earlier). 

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Looking Toward Lake Ediza Outlet

A morning view looking toward the outlet of the lake, painted from our campsite area. We had a day or two of wind early in our trip, but toward the end it was very calm, creating silky reflections on the lake.

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