Welcome! This blog began as an assignment in a digital art class. That was in 2008. I decided to keep it going as my art journal. It is fascinating for me to see how a painting develops, so this is where I post my painting progressions and exciting new things I find on creative blogs and websites. I hope you will learn along with me about painting, drawing and all kinds of art.


Painting - from little to big

One would think that it shouldn't be too hard to take a small painting and enlarge it ... 
 however, it does take some planning!

This painting
 is 6 x 9
(a plein air - done in Kelowna, BC at a park on the shores of Lake Okanagan)

This canvas
is 24 x 36

Here are some shots of my progress so far:

You might have noticed that the park bench is much too small. I hadn't seen it, but my husband came in and politely pointed it out to me. I will fix.

I wanted to see what other painters might say about 
the process of painting a larger piece from a plein air study.

Painter Kathleen Dunphy says that, "While the best plein air paintings have a life of their own that can never be repeated, studio works that are painted with the same degree of interest and discovery can convey their own unique story to the viewer."  This is the link to that blog post.

Do you enlarge your plein air studies/paintings from time to time? 
I would love to hear any tips that help you in this process.


Show Your Work! Chapter 10 + triptych fini

Raft of Scoters     8x8 inches    oil on prepared panel
The painting above is my very latest sketch - I loved the gigantic raft (probably several thousand) of scoters (sea ducks) that were gathered on the ocean on a recent misty fall day, 
getting ready to head south.
(Sheesh, I've had this draft post for so long ... but it has been long on my mind as well - lately I don't have too much of a schedule, so blogging goes by the wayside. But summer is over and I am ready to be more of a routine blogger, whatever that means.)

Today I will talk a little about what I took away 
from the last chapter 
in the book I've been reading -
Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon.

The chapter title is:
Stick Around.
 The point of this final chapter is to just keep going. 
Many times you just feel bad, not motivated, not enjoying your life
so you stop working on what might be a tough spot in a painting, or in your writing, or potting, or sculpting or ... That's ok. 
Taking a break is fine, but get back to it and push through.
Just know that you will have learned something from the push.
It might be a breakthrough, 
or a peek into something completely new. 
From A.K. - "Even if you try to toss it aside, the lessons that you've learned from it will seep into what you do next."

At the end of his book, one of the to-do's that A.K. suggests 
is to plan a "Show Your Work!" night. 
Well, ahem ...
A few years ago a couple of friends and I held a salon. Just three of us. We showed our work to each other and asked for help if we needed it. Working independently as we do - it was great to have "new eyes" to see things we have missed, to confirm that there is a problem spot and maybe what to do about it. Or just say Bravo to a work well painted!

We are holding another salon in a few weeks. I'm very excited to exchange and discuss ideas about art ... 

however, unlike the salons in the 17th century, 
 I shall not have my guests gather around my bed to chat ... that is what they did then!

Oh, and here is the triptych -
finished, before it was taken apart to live as three instead of one.

Calm Retreat - Lynn Canal View        34 x 68 inches       Oil on gallery-wrapped canvas

And here it is at delivery and then how it looks in situ.

And lastly, posing with my collector :)
... really gives it a sense of scale.

This painting was extremely challenging, but incredibly fun and I  learned so much about painting from small studies to a large canvas (or three!). 

Thank you Judy!


Selling out?

You may remember this photo from my May 24th post

 - so this:

is the back.

Before blogging on, here is an apropo question. 

Why do you make art? - if you do. If you don't, why do you like art?

Here are my reasons:  
1. Creative Outlet (I really don't believe I am intrinsically creative, but I do have a passion to create - my landscapes are impressionist (I hope) and not realistic (I hope). I very much admire realist painters, but that is not my goal.
2. Art materials addict (Hello Mr. Blick and Mr. Artarama, etc.) 
3. Art History lover 
4. To make some money to buy art (& art supplies!) I love buying art from my artist friends when I can. 
5. To make some money to create more art!

Chapter 9 of "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon is 
Sell Out - not the one word "sellout",
which sounds crass and finger-pointing.

Because I want to do #4 and #5 in my list, 
does that make me a sellout?

This chapter is a must read for artists. 
Yes, many people don't want to sell or even show their creations - they are personal. But most of us want to display and have people enjoy it, or discuss it or even revile it. (Remember the title of this book.)
The last line of this chapter ends Kleon's discussion about "paying it forward": "You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done."

... and the bottom line for me is to 
make my paintings/drawings/ceramics/sculptures/whatevers
and allow people to get a bit of enjoyment from them because I get so much out of creating them.
(I do not have a website, apart from this blog, so I am not "getting out there" but every so often locally. This "advertising" is a slow process for me!)

Speaking of showing work, 
here is set up and plein air painting from yesterday:

A Bolder Boulder     oil on prepared canvas panel     9 x 12

 the glacier left it
boulder is BBQ size
the moss will take it

This is a much more abstracted painting 
than I thought I was going to make!
Oh, and here is the promised peek at a detail of the triptych:

Thank you for viewing and reading my art blog!



Crazy how fast 10 days fly by!

I've been taking down paintings from my June/July show at Coppa Ice Cream and Coffee shop -

30Paintings30Days (Stuff in my Refrigerator)        prints available!    $50/each unframed

- delivering the sold paintings (10 sold!) to the new owners, 
painting on my own, 
painting with Plein Rein 
and working on the triptych. 

I guess that is why time is flying.

The other day my friend, her two little boys and I went on a walk 
and afterward I grabbed my backpack and went out onto the tidal flats and did a painting 
that I scraped all the way off before I came home.  

I worked on it in the studio the next day and it came out like this:

Tidelands      oils on birch panel     6 x 8 inches
Which was mostly what I was striving for out there. I am fairly happy with it.

I will give you more peeks at the triptych in the next day or so!

Happy painting and/or viewing!

And thank you for checking in to this blog!


Punched in the gut

Chapter 8 - Learn to take a punch
(from Show Your Work! - by Austin Kleon)

Way back 
when I was beginning to follow blogs -
 trying to be social and make a comment or two,
I commented to a really fantastic artist who had posted a painting of a cow in a field that the cow looked more like a horse. 
Normally, this artist posted amazingly fantastic still life or street scenes (that was why I followed them), with this one they were out of their comfort level, I think.
Of course they did not respond to my comment, I didn't really expect them to, except maybe curse me or something.

I did think about how it would feel to have someone make a comment like that ... prob'ly not so good.
So I have NEVER said anything that wasn't a compliment from then on. But maybe that artist went back and learned how to paint cow heads?
This chapter about learning to form a thick skin
 was short and the takeaways were:
1. Relax and breathe
2. Put out a lot of work and let them say what they will
3. Realize that criticism cannot hurt you
4. If some of your work is too personal, keep it to yourself
5. Your work is not who you are, it is just what you do
Oh, and yes - most of the time you are your harshest critic ... 
and speaking of this - 
this is one of the landscapes from my recent workshop.
If you remember, it began like this:

Eagle River to the Beach    Oil on Birch Panel    12 x 9 inches (plein-air/studio)
I have been having a heck of a time with the mountain values, so I think I will turn it to the wall for awhile and wait a couple weeks to go look at it again. I did sign it, so it must be close!

Just remember, from A.K. - "delete those nasty comments because
comments outnumber ideas"!
Next post, progress on the triptych -
thanks so much for checking in!


Back to work ...

... reporting on Show Your Work! chapter 7.
AND "the Triptych - Day 3"

So, when last I posted about this great book by Austin Kleon, 
way back on May 24th, 
I demonstrated (with still photos ... lame) how to stretch canvas over stretcher bars. I love doing that and maybe one day I will teach a little workshop to show people how to do it themselves. 
It really is very satisfying.

Chapter 7 is "Don't Turn in to Human Spam".
Exactly what does that mean? A.K. says simply 
"Shut up and listen."

His book (page 125) shows
 a diagram kinda like this:
< Hoarder            Contributor            Spammer >
---------------- sharing --------------->

(Hey, not bad for not drawing it out!)

 When people whine and complain, don't share and think the world owes them something, these are what he calls human spam.

A.K. sees that forward-thinking artists of today are happy to collaborate, co-conspire and think of innovative ways to create because "good work is not produced in a vacuum".

One excellent example of this sharing is Leslie Saeta's podcast, Artists Helping Artists (nicknamed The AHA Show!)

Leslie and a guest host interview artists, talk about materials, discuss how to BE an artist, and so many other topics - 
it is easy conversation, 
it is funny, 
it is informative! 
Go check it out! You will not be needing another podcast for a long time.
(btw, this isn't the first time I have mentioned Leslie Saeta. 
I participated in the September 2014 30 Paintings In 30 Days Challenge!
AND I think she is going to do it again ... are you up to the challenge?)

Another cool thing in this chapter was something A.K. calls 
"The Vampire Test" ... ugh, don't google it because it actually gives you sites that you can check to see if you are one! No, the one he is talking about is the kind of person that saps your energy. You will read a good little Picasso story that relates when you read the book.
There are three more chapters left, next post will review a very important lesson, "Learn to take a Punch" - nope, not about boxing.

 Trying to keep my palette in order.  
Top row: 
Titanium white, Cad Yellow Light, Cad Yellow, 
Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Violet, Ultramarine Blue (UB), Black (made with UB and Burnt Umber), Dioxazine Purple.

 On the left side vertically from White: 
Yellow Ochre, Terra Rosa, Olive Green, 
Greenish Umber and Viridian.

Most of these are M Graham oil paints. My medium is Walnut Alkyd mixed with Liquin.
I put my paints in a sealable box to keep the paints from drying as much as possible. If I'm away too long, I will put the box in the freezer. I want to get some clove oil that is supposed to help keep the paint from drying out as well.

 The triptych is coming right along.

Love the green on the beach that just showed up!

Thanks for hanging in there with this long post, prob the longest I have ever written. I don't want to make that a habit ...



Workshop with Dominik - Day 3

 I am so glad I found out this weekend - 
6. Do NOT use Walnut Alkyd Medium mixed with Liquin for your medium when you paint in the RAIN. That is the only thing we could think of that allowed the rain to wash away the paint! It must be a tad bit water soluble?

This was the painting that got splashed. 
(The values are too close - it is a WIP.)
I blended in the spots before taking the photo - dang it.

Yes, it was chilly and it rained on us, 
so we hid under the shelter (the one in the background of the photo above) to paint for the rest of the day.

But before we moved to the shelter, Dominik demo'ed again.

 Not sure why but I didn't get a photo of his finished painting. 
But this is it nearly done.

7. Distance - transparent paint (seen very clearly here in his demo)
8. Foreground - opaque

Blue Mist over Eagle River     oil on board    6 x 8
Last painting of the weekend. 
The rain produced a misty vapor over the river and this painting captures the feeling of rain, mist, beach, river ...

This is a keepsake for me 
because Dominik had his hand in it for the finish.

Here is my "learned" list all in one spot:
1. Primary colors, best quality paint, mix up incredibly vibrant and an almost infinite number of colors.
2. Each color has a complement, and in each complementary color, all 3 primaries are there!
Yellow & Violet = yellow, red + blue
Blue & Orange = blue, yellow + red
Red & Green = red, yellow + blue
3. Leave OUT the detail!
4. Mix your colors first.
5. Exaggerate shapes.
6. Do not use Walnut Alkyd in the rain.
7. Transparent paint in the distance.
8. Opaque for foreground.
and last should I never forget ...
9. Keep track of values, values values!!!
A few more comments about the way the workshop was run:
  • Beginning with the color chart - mixing paint sounded elementary, but it was definitely informative, and I will do it again (and again ...)
  • Dominik's demo's were very constructive with questions answered patiently and clearly
  • Suggestions to help make our paintings more interesting were explained and shown with permission
  • Our critique on the final night was important to sum everything up and to see everyone's work. (And we all tried to critique without using the word "like" ... try it! It's hard!)
Thanks to Juneau Plein Rein Painters (especially to Pua and Cristine) and "Dziekuje" to
Dominik for a fun and enlightening workshop!
For those interested, check out Dominik's
 YouTube channel (this link is Bolivia) 
videos of his adventures.


Workshop with Dominik - Day 2

Saturday turned out to be a great day for painting.
We traveled "out the road" to Eagle Beach, about a half hour drive or so from downtown Juneau.

  Dominik's demo began with a drawing. His base layer is Cadmium Yellow Lemon prepared in advance.
Like a watercolorist, he works from light to dark.

 He painted his background 
and then we all traipsed off to paint ours.

He allows his base layer to peek through. 
He paints thin, then thick. Large brushes to small.

I learned:
3. Do not worry about the details. Simple is best = Less is more.
4. Mix your colors first. (I have THE hardest time doing this!)

My thumbnail.
Scene sketched-in. Composition ok.

Dominik asked if he could show me how to better
define the mountain and nearer trees. I told him to go for it! It helped me to see how he loaded the brush with paint.
5. Exaggerate shapes.

The last thing I wanted to do was add the pop of fireweed color to the scene. This painting may still need a bit more work, but it was a great lesson for today.
Next will be our final workshop day.



Dominik Modlinski Plein Air Painting Workshop

On July 16 - 19, the Juneau Plein Rein Painters hosted 

an intrepid plein air landscape painter from Canada.
Check his website, 
I highly recommend taking a workshop from Dominik.

Things I learned, and things that were refreshed:
   1. With Titanium White, Quinacridone Red, Phthalo Blue and Cadmium Lemon Yellow (or Cad Yellow Light) you can mix a huge variety of colors. When going out painting en plein air - no need to bring tons of tubes of paint!

   2. In each pair of complementary colors (colors diametrically opposite each other on the color wheel), all three primaries [red, yellow, blue] are always present.
 Yellow - Violet = yellow, red + blue
Blue - Orange = blue, yellow + red
Red - Green = red, yellow + blue


Dominik instructed us how to make our own color charts to see for ourselves what incredible diverse and beautiful color mixes you can get from 3 colors. We were encouraged to do this again. I will.

This big, open (dry!) space is the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council venue for shows, fund-raisers, etc and luckily it was available because on the first day, it was pouring!

This demo painting by Dominik showed us how complementary colors affect a painting, 
that red-orange just pops next to the blue-violet.

The day's last exercise was to mix the complementary contrasting colors (yellow to violet, blue to orange, red to green) little by little to transition from the base color to its complement - as in the photo above. In those six colors alone you can see the beautiful mixes that result, which, when used in a painting produce color harmony.

Next post will be about putting those limited palette color mixing techniques to work en plein air! and continuing my "learned list".


Triptych - Day 2

Tomorrow (Friday) my plein air workshop begins 
so there may be a few days of not blogging on this project ... skipped days 
are nothing new around here!
At least I have a pretty good start. 

Wish for dry days!


On with the triptych! Day 1

"Art is made by ordinary people."
- from the book Art & Fear, by Bayles/Orland 

I page through this book when a niggling cell of fear is bubbling up to the surface at the start of a painting.  
I (usually) do not let the thing get a breath of air!
(my painting motto, after all, is Be Fearless)

But ... there is still a niggling.

Reading this -

"If art is made by ordinary people, then you'd have to allow that the ideal artist would be an ordinary person too, with the whole usual mixed bag of traits that real human beings possess. This is a giant hint about art, because it suggest that our flaws and weaknesses, while often obstacles to our getting work done, are a source of strength as well." (my underline)

- gets me going!

(that Nike bumper sticker helps, too)

I have to back way up to get the whole canvas in the photo.

My set-up ... looks rather neat right now but it was a huge mess earlier.

By the way, the book I am quoting is so great, you should read it, because -

"Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult."
- Hippocrates (460-400 B.C.) - from page 1.

Thank you for following along with me as I learn about art.