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.


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.


Breadline Trail painting finished - another workshop soon begins!

Worked on this painting in the studio 

and I declare it finished! 
I like the way it looks rather tropical 
(several people have said it, too)
and I love the light on the bridge boardwalk.

In other news, Plein Rein Painters of Juneau will be hosting a Dominik Modlinski plein air painting workshop beginning July 17 and thru the weekend. I am so excited to be able to attend another painting workshop this summer!

In still other news, I began work on my large triptych last weekend. One thing I already know for sure - I will need a LOT of paint!  I do have an order coming of some of the paint I know I will use up, but I wonder if I will need more?

Tomorrow a peek at a bit of my process/progress on that work.

Thank you for viewing my art!


The Traveling Chicken in Southeast Alaska

TC posed for another couple of photos ...

... and again, got a little silly. 

She liked to wear the Salmonberries as hats!

My method is to do a sketch before painting.

I think it might work ... so here goes:

About half-way thru.

Traveling Chicken in SE Alaska with Salmonberries    7"x5" oil on black mounting board

Some of you might be wondering what this is all about. 

to see the very first post from a little over 3 years ago, 
on how TC began her journeys ...

... and here to see my post today.
TC is on her way to Kathy in Canada!

Thank you to Panda for herding cats ... er ... chickens!



Traveling Chick Here, then Gone!

A very quick but entirely entertaining visit!

Little TC was kind of silly 
when we were trying to find her a pose for me to paint:

TC posing with a Minion was something that thrilled HER, 
but not me ... (nothing against Minions, understand).

She tried posing with my husband's carved birds!
Top bird is an American Dipper and of course below
are male and female Rufous Hummingbirds
but, I didn't think it was quite working ...

 We walked down to Sandy Beach on Douglas Island
& found a cool old-old-old rusted chain - one of the many remnants of the old Treadwell Gold Mine
(that link has TONS of info, grab a cup of tea ...)

There were some very old pilings to explore.

 The mainland and the city of Juneau is in the background.  TC was so curious about the old pumphouse, but it's not that easy to climb onto ... and I think it is probably frowned upon. (The link takes you to info about its restoration.)

 This is the best we could do.

Tomorrow, more portrait-posing photos 
and the real painting! 
(well, a picture of it ...)



Triptych Canvases & TC

Progress on the triptych. (A commissioned work.)
There is not much room in my studio right now ... but it is going to work!

My husband built some solid, sturdy supports for the canvases to rest right on my easel. 
These are the first two. The middle canvas is 34 x 34 inches; the rightmost panel is 34 x 17.
(You may remember he also made the stretcher frames 
for these canvases ... he is a painter's dream!)

Here is the left (third) canvas - also 34 x 17.

 We used these clamps to smush the canvases together so I can paint them as one larrrrrge painting! They will be separated when almost finished to paint the gallery-wrapped edges.

Here is that very large 34 x 68 inch white canvas staring at me. 
Now to make sure I have enough paint! Am taking inventory ... I can begin painting, but I know which colors I will probably use more of, so I will place an order in the next day or so.

In the meantime, I have been showing Miss TC a few of the sites. Yesterday, on the 4th of July, my husband and I biked out to North Douglas Island (kinda opposite of where everyone else was headed). We observed the Mendenhall Glacier from a distance,

 saw many bumblebees enjoying fireweed flower nectar
  and I painted some Fireweed which I will post if the painting turns out. 

Here is TC taking a gander:

She had fun on the bike ride and decided she loves Fireweed!

Tomorrow she poses for a portrait!