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 in the woods on the Breadline Trail

I am having a hard time getting my photos to go to my computer (something seems to have changed), so am working with Blog Go on the iPad.

My friend Be and I set up our easels just off of the "Breadline Trail" on Tuesday (in case someone was hiking ... but the whole time we were there, not a single person - or bear - wandered by!)
 We found a great little sunny opening with a stream 
and a bridge - lots of skunk cabbage, Devil's Club and GREEN.


Blocked in with dark (Ultramarine + Burnt Umber)

 Be painting in the "jungle" (please note her hat).

And this is the start of her painting. She has covered the canvas already!

Here is my painting when we ended our session. I like how the orange pops through now and then and how it is subtly under the paint on some of the bridge/walkway timbers.

There may be more of this one another time.

Happy painting!





Sunshine Cove + Gesso-ing

The other day my friend Barbara (Be) and I went out to a quiet little place called Sunshine Cove. 
We painted. Here are a couple of shots of that day.

 My start.

 Be's start. (She just received her regular, non-transition glasses so she can see her paint colors when we go to Colorado to attend our plein air painting workshop.) I will try to blog about that as it happens in June.

Mother Tree at Sunshine Cove     6 x 8 inches   ws oils on linen canvas


I have been reading Show Your Work! and will talk about the next chapter tomorrow, if there is time (Be and I are going painting).

These final photos are of the gesso going on the three canvases for the big triptych! 
I will use at least two or three more coats of gesso.


Distilling what you know - the good parts

 Chapter 6 of
Show Your Work!
"Teach What You Know"

  I was SO excited when reading this chapter - for a couple of reasons:
1.  Author Austin Kleon lives in Austin, Texas, where our daughter and son-in-law live and as a matter-of-course, when you visit Austin (Texas), you must go eat barbeque at Franklin's! ... and A.K. tells of his chat with owner Aaron Franklin 
and how Aaron made a crowd-funded YouTube series called BBQ with Franklin.

!!!!!   I haven't watched this yet   !!!!!!


I HAVE been to Franklin's!
and I got the T-shirt!

2.  I have always heard that you learn when you teach, and any "teacher" who thinks they know it all (especially in art) - is probably not a good pedagog.

Sharing trade secrets may seem counter-intuitive to some ... but since we humans are not alike, the way we do things will not be exactly alike. We will think of a new way to mix a color (or a recipe) or draw the figure or imagine an abstract or or or ????

So, teaching the same subject (say oil painting, or making bbq brisket) that someone else is teaching - is NOT, in my opinion (especially with a bit of thought)  copying or duplicating what another oil painter/chef will do. Everyone does it differently!
As A.K. says in this chapter, 
"Teaching doesn't mean instant competition. Just because you know the master's technique 
doesn't mean you're going to be able to emulate it right away ... "
He says that the Franklins just love barbeque 
and they want to share their knowledge 
because they were also beginners at one point. (and aren't we all?)

Of course, as in any successful (delicious) recipe, there are the basics to know - thus, in my post today, while there may be slightly different ways to stretch a canvas, 
I demonstrate how I do it.

Ok, getting rather wordy here, so following are photos of my process of stretching a raw canvas onto a stretcher frame. 
These canvases are for my large triptych commission;
34 inch square center canvas and 34 x 17 for the two sides. 
My husband made the stretcher frames. Beautiful aren't they?

This may have been better in a video ... I am not set up, nor am I mentally ready for that   :o)

I learned this canvas stretching technique from my teacher, 
Jane Terzis, now retired from UAS (University of Alaska - Southeast).
I really love making my canvases (almost) all by my hand, but don't do it very often.
 Thank you for following along on this pedagogical journey today!



Painting at Sunny Point

I haven't been posting about our Saturday plein air painting outings since the end of April, 
but today was a great day for painting so here are some photos.

 Steve made a larger painting than he normally does. It is turning out nicely!

 Pua found a nice place to paint dandelion puffs and lupine!

 Dodecatheon pulchellum (Shooting Star) 
My favorite wildflower!
One day I will paint a close up.
This run-off stream in the tide flats was very iron-laden!

 Nancy captured a lovely scene!

 Cristine and Jane

Sunny Point Spring   8 x 10  ws oil on birch panel    

When I got home, I felt this little painting needed a third Indian Rhubarb stalk. 
These are the dried left-over stalks from last year. The new growth is coming up at the base. 
I captured a little bunch of Shooting Star and a couple of Marsh Marigold. 
There were sedges everywhere and Chocolate Lily about ready to bloom.

Fairly happy with this. I feel the values could be more separate...

Thanks to the Plein Rein Painters for their companionship and support!

Paint on!


What is a good story?

Chapter 5
"Tell Good Stories"

The only thing I know is that when blogging, 
words make a ton of difference (so does grammar ... ! ...) 
and the the stories should be short
It is not often that I linger over a blog that has tons written (unless it is very very good).

So my philosophy when I began this blog (2008) is to make my posts short and hopefully sweet.

Here, directly from the book 
(that book again, for those who have forgotten, is "Show Your Work!" by Austin Kleon), 
is a John le Carré
quote regarding a good short story:

" 'The cat sat on a mat' is not a story. 
'The cat sat on the dog's mat' is a story."

I am not a good writer, so I paint, and I tell the story of how I paint in short blurbs ... this post is already almost too long for me.

So here is a continuation of the final study for my triptych:

I will actually be combining details from each of the studies for the large triptych.

I have the stretcher frames (thanks to my very talented wood-worker husband), the canvas (thanks to Mr. Blick), and the gesso (thanks also to Blick).

I will be posting some cool stuff about raku firing (ceramics) in the next few posts, however, because I was asked to come help with that event on Mother's Day!

Thanks for checking in!


Junk collector?

Title of chapter 4 of "Show Your Work" -
-Open up your cabinet of curiosities-

I know some artists are collectors ... I understand it. 
(me talking - "You never know when you might need this thing ... what ever it is.")
One of my collections are old frames. Some of these "vintage" frames have been perfect for a couple of my paintings. Here is one - perfectly fitting into this light turquoise "vintage" frame; I didn't need to do anything to it, or even cut the panel! ... it was made for the painting, or the painting made for the frame, whatever ... it is cool!

Impromptu Aria (or Nan)       18 x 12     oil on panel
A.K. says there is not as big a difference between collecting and creating as some may think.
Some flash of creativity may pop into your head when you
dabble about in your cabinet of curiosities! A color, a shape an idea ...

On another note,
this is the next (third) sketch study for the triptych I am doing, not finished. Will post the finished one tomorrow ... or soon.

The weather has been really really nice here these days, so it is very difficult to be inside painting. But now that my new gesso and canvas has arrived and my stretcher frames are made, I will get going on the prep for the large canvases.

Thank you for viewing my art!


Share something small each day

Chapter 3 - Show Your Work!
"Share something small every day"

Ha, well I strive to do this, but obviously I don't do it every day. 
Life gets in the way.
And that is ok!

A.K. says if you put yourself and your work "out there" you will meet some amazing people. 
I know! 
Somehow people find this blog and when they comment, 
I am so excited that someone saw it - it is amazing. 
('Cept for the spammers, I don't get so excited about them.)

I'm participating in the Every Day in May sketching group on Facebook (hereafter abbrev as fb). There is also a group on Flickr
The artists in this group are generous, talented and fun! They comment and "like" and even though I don't "know" them -
(well I sort of know a couple of them, because they are in Juneau) 
- we are in a cohort.

A.K. says that what form you choose to share doesn't matter, everyone chooses the most comfortable method for them. He says that a daily (or weekly, whatever ...) "dispatch" is like watching and "listening to the director's commentary while the movie is being made." He has a little flow chart to self-determine if something should be shared, and "it is not a diary"!
There are so many gems in this little book, that I could go on and on, but I will reign it in and let you discover more if you get the book.

Meanwhile, work on the triptych studies goes on, this is the second one finished:

Thank you for checking in - sharing is fun ... try it!


Process Not Product

The title of chapter 3 of Austin Kleon's book,  Show Your Work!
is "Think process not product"
Before the digital age, Kleon (I will use "AK" now, hopefully not to be confused with my State)
 said no one really thought about, or cared how the work was done, 
 they wanted the finished product. 
He noted that even in their book, Art and Fear
(which I am also in the process of reading) 
Bayles and Orland say that,
" ... details of artmaking are utterly uninteresting to audiences 
because they are almost never visible
 ... from examining the finished work."

But now - with digital images and video - 
an artist can share whatever they want, whenever they want!

... and it is quite easy, as I am proof of that. 
Of course I do believe the people who enjoy the sharing are other artists, 
because I also love it when people show the methods and processes they use.

... and "process is messy"!  (quote from AK's book)

 I used Transparent Red Oxide to sketch in the main shapes. 

This shot is because I worked on the water and distant mountains and sky, 
but doesn't look, at first glance, much different from the first shot.

More about AK's book in one of my next posts.

Cheers to spring (it is sunny today, getting out to do some gardening, speaking of messy!)


Scenius vs Genius

Austin Kleon has titled the first chapter in his book, Show Your Work! 1. "You don't have to be a genius." Then he says "find a scenius" - the word, to me, sounds really dorky. But it makes sense when you read this, from Quora:
Scenius is like genius, only embedded in a scene rather than in genes. Brian Eno suggested the word to convey the extreme creativity that groups, places or "scenes"  can occasionally generate. His actual definition is:  "Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius."

Being part of a scene, you are contributing to the whole creative endeavor, that one big giant organism. There are SO many artists in the world today that being unique is much harder than it used to be. Sharing what you learn can help others and as Kleon says, "the world is changing at such a rapid rate that it's turning us all into amateurs."

Slough at Amalga (study)        triptych mid-panel ~5 x 5 in     oil on Arches Oil Paper

This wonderful quote by H.W. Longfellow is also in the book -
"Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think."

I believe I have found my scenius (still think it is a dorky word) and hopefully this blog will continue to contribute to art and artists around the world in its small way.

Happy painting!