10.21.2017

a one

Study of a Shipping Box; casein on board; 6" x 7.5"

What's that red worm in the lower right?  Why are there bits of red and medium blue standing out?  Why is the inside of the box so hazy?

Are you curious as to why these seemingly incongruous happenings are preserved in paint? 

Even if you're not, I'm in the mood to address them.  So - spoiler alert - read no further if you prefer to create your own interpretations.

The "worm" is an early sketch mark - it's where I thought the bottom of the plastic packing would go.  Later on in the painting process, the packing moved up - but I left the worm there - I kind of liked it.  The bits of red are also uncovered early marks.  The entire table top was generally expressed in red before adding the various surface values  (i.e. the medium blue patch) and reflections.  The red bits poking through were never covered up because I felt they added to the story - to the mystery of the empty (or not) opened box.  Finally, the haziness inside the box is very intentional - it's layer upon layer of paint until I felt I'd got it just right.  Again, the haziness adds to the mystery of what was - or is - inside the box. 

As for the contents of the box . . . I mustn't tell . . . just yet.

10.19.2017

upcoming exhibition

Today, notice was sent that two of my casein paintings from 2013 have been selected for an exhibition at the Mayo Clinic.  This will be a private showing for doctors attending a conference there.  I'm extremely pleased and honored to be included!  You can see the two pieces HERE and HERE.

10.18.2017

caught up

The Marsh Pool; casein on board; 10" x 8"
 
Are you caught up?  Do you think it's possible to be so?
 
When I think of those questions, two meanings of 'caught up' come to mind.  Am I up-to-date on the tasks I need to accomplish - or - am I involved in doing something I'm passionate about.  As for the latter - I definitely get caught up in scenes like the one above.  The brighter-than-bright-distant-illuminated patch of marsh along with the complex-tangle-of-branches-and reflections create an amazing dynamic when paired with the dusky-dark-wind-blown leaves, grasses and distant trees.
 
As far as being at a sense of completion with my task list - I doubt that will ever happen.  But as long as I get in episodes of being caught up in nature, I can handle that.
 

10.16.2017

turning corners

Potted Cactus in the Corner; casein on board; 10" x 8"

'Feeling Cornered' was my first instinct when titling this post.  I tried to write a bit about it - did some searches - even found out that quite a few horror films are titled the same.  But I just wasn't feeling it - or haven't felt cornered as such.

So we're turning a corner here instead.  Not sure exactly how - not sure it matters.  But just the idea of turning a corner appeals to me.  Have you found that if you focus on an idea it will materialize for you?  Well, that's what we're going to do - we're all going to turn the corner and see what wonderful things happen.

10.13.2017

self portrait


Self Portrait 10/13/2017; casein on board; 10" x 8"
 
The coffee cup doesn't usually sit on my palette.  But the painting above is a depiction early on in my process - when I use yellow ochre to sketch out the scene  That stage gives me plenty of room on the palette for a drink.  When the other colors came into play, the coffee cup moves to the ground. 
 
It's getting more and more important to bring something hot to drink when painting outside lately.  The good news is the mosquitoes aren't the problem they once were.  But the chill will only get worse now.  Casein is a water based paint so I definitely need to move inside to the studio when it gets below freezing.  Until then, I'll keep drinking my coffee - and start making plans for some winter still lifes. 



10.11.2017

lone lake

High Water; casein on board; 10" x 8"

There is an incredible amount of activity and life at the edge of a body of water.  Bugs, birds and unknown splashing things were my companions today - as well as walkers, both 2 and 4-legged, on the path nearby.  With a scene like this - where there are seemingly infinite amounts of twigs, branches and stalks - you really have to edit things down to what you most need in order to tell your story.  It also helps to keep your feet out of the muck.

Today's painting is number 76 of the 100-painting Reboot - 24 more to go.

10.10.2017

minnehaha creek

Clouds over the Creek; casein on board; 8" x 10"
 
Longfellow wrote of Minnehaha - the lover of Hiawatha - in his epic poem: The Song of Hiawatha.  It's a tale that tells of the tragic love between an Ojibwe warrior and a Dakota maiden.  Early on, the poem sets the stage and relates how Hiawatha came to be born (his mother was seduced by the West Wind.)  Later, there are adventures to be had by the young warrior until finally he meets and falls in love with Minnehaha.  But there's still time later in the poem for him to kill the evil magician, Pearl-Feather, invent written language, discover corn, and accomplish many other feats.  Minnehaha's tragic death during a severe winter fits well with the setting - the South shore of Lake Superior.
 
The creek above is Minnehaha Creek in Minnetonka where I live.  It's 22 miles long and flows east from Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  There's a beautiful waterfall near its mouth - an amazing sight when frozen in the winter.

10.08.2017

no fish

Yellow Leaves in Silhouette; casein on board; 10" x 8"

The day was one of those magnificent crisp October days when the last of the leaves are putting on their final display. 

There were a lot of passersby at the easel - taking peeks - and offering kind comments.  One little boy in particular stands out.  He was sweetly impressed with my progress and told me so.  I thanked him and remarked at what a gorgeous day we had and how lucky we were.  He looked at me and said, "But there were no fish today."  I felt for him - he seemed truly disappointed.  Not really knowing what to say I told him that it was too bad there were no fish.  He shrugged - and left - taking it all in stride.

10.07.2017

fetching dogs

Fetching Dogs; casein on board; 8" x 10"
 
Every month there are challenges on WetCanvas - a worldwide forum where all artists are welcome.  For the monthly challenges, artists are invited to choose from a group of photos and then submit a painting that they made from their choice.  It's a wonderful opportunity to see how other artists interpret the same photo - and to explore techniques and mediums.
 
The painting above is my entry in the October Watermedia Challenge.  There are no prizes and everyone wins by participating.  Like the dogs in the painting - it's all in the pursuit.

10.05.2017

everything but

Dawn; casein on board; 10" x 8"

The kitchen sink makes for an exciting subject.  So much of our lives revolve around it.  We cook near it, satisfy our thirst by it and wash our fruits and vegetables in it.  And when the children are young, we indulge them with 'water play' in it.

I'm lucky now to have a window above this kitchen sink.  When we lived in an apartment in Hinsdale, Illinois, we weren't so fortunate.  The kitchen there was a narrow-window-less-u-shaped affair with the sink at the furthest-darkest end. 

We lived in that 750 square foot apartment for 3 years with our 3 little boys.  Our next move was to Decatur, Illinois and into our first house - we lived there for 2 years.  Lansdale, Pennsylvania was the next stop - staying there for 1 year.  After that we were able to stay in Libertyville, Illinois long enough for the boys to feel at home.  Buying 3 houses in 3 years with 3 little kids seems crazy looking back on it now.  Packing up each time with all we had - everything but the kitchen sink.

10.04.2017

decision tree

October's Way; casein on board; 10" x 8"
 
Have you ever been caught in a decision loop?  Where you keep circling around with seemingly no way out?  That was my day yesterday.  The painting above, that I made today, is my attempt to move beyond the loop and make a decision.  It may not be the final one - but at least I'm moving forward again and feeling a lot less dizzy.
 
There are all sorts of exotic tools out there to help you make your decision tree.  And depending on your problem's complexity, you may want to access some of them.  But yesterday, all it took was a large piece of drawing paper and my trusty fountain pen.  If you want help getting started, here are the basics at WikiHow.
 


10.02.2017

seeing things


Dream I; casein on board; 20" x 20"

How would you paint a dream?  Fluffy clouds or specific scenes?  Maybe you'd just paint an image of someone sleeping - or a cat curled up in a corner purring.

There's been a doodle of a morning glory flower - face forward - on my studio wall for some time.  I did it in colored pencil in a sort-of-fractal way.  It somehow gave rise to the painting above - my largest casein in quite some time.  It was a good break from my usual realistic fare and gave me a chance to play with the paint a bit more freely.  I love painting the orbs in casein - a medium that really lends itself well to those bubble-y-spherical-floating shapes.  It was fun to get carried away.

10.01.2017

seeing purple

in process photo of The Straw

There's a reason why bits of surprising color shows through in my paintings.  When I'm first searching for the forms and the relationships between them, I use color - and not necessarily the color that I see in real life.  The first colors I chose either represent my interest in that part of the painting or are helping me to organize the painting spatially.  Certain colors suggest distance while others seem to jump forward.  Reds are apt to attract a lot of attention while subdued grays provide a resting place for the eyes. 

The Straw was a challenge because the subject of the painting, the straw, needed to appear in front of the Post-it Note.  To calm the yellow, I added a fair amount of white and also used a less-saturated yellow ochre.  There are other ways of pushing the note back - and if you look, I think you can see those too.

sweet water

The Straw; casein on board; 9.75" x 6"

When you're using your tap water today - and drinking your filtered water - please remember the people of Puerto Rico.

The First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, has set up a website for donations that will go 100% to helping the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  Please click HERE to learn more.

9.29.2017

that frog

Late September; casein on board; 11" x 6.75"

Mark Twain once said, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”  A few people have applied that saying to personal time management - encouraging us to get our nastiest-most-undesirable task done first thing in the day - freeing up the rest of our time for higher productivity.

When you're trying to get out in the fresh air and capture the early morning shadows, it's hard to "swallow frogs" first thing in the day.  That's why my personal frog is scheduled for consumption tonight - after dinner.  It's my storage room.  I tried to find a specific painting last night.  It would be perfect for a call for art about dreams and sleep.  But try as I might, I couldn't locate it.  So I'm bringing in back-up tonight and attacking that room head-on.  Wish me luck.

9.27.2017

back story

Morning Light; casein on board; 9.75" x 6"


Someone told me today that you're supposed to know who your audience is - if you want to sell anything - art included.  This reminded me of a visit I made to our local butcher shop a few years ago.  It's one of those amazing throw-backs - the kind of shop I remember my mom going to in the 60's.  Oh the smells :)  But I digress.  It just so happened that a marketing guy was visiting the butcher shop when I was there and I overheard a bit of their conversation.  They discussed brochures and signage and a host of marketing topics.  But when asked about his target audience the butcher said simply, "People who like meat." 

So is my target audience simply people who like original art?  Or people who like intimately-sized-realistic-sometimes-impressionistic-other-times-casein paintings?  Or people who like me and want to support what I do?

I happened to have a conversation with an art marketing expert today.  It was an introductory call.  She asked me to imagine my target audience as vividly as I could.  To give them names, back stories and daily lives. 

That sounded like fun.  It also sounds like fun to let the wind carry these little paintings where they will.  To offer them up for auction and let anyone and everyone see them and have a chance to take them into their homes.  Actually, that sounds like a lot more fun :)






9.26.2017

the cabbage-let

The Late Harvest; casein on board; 6" x 9.75"

This is my first year growing cabbages - and now I'm hooked.  There are so many things to love about them.  I grew red cabbages because they're a little more nutritious.  In general, vegetables with vibrant colors have more micronutrients - with cauliflower being the exception.  But back to cabbages - they're an absolutely gorgeous plant, they get ENORMOUS and they're oh so tasty.

All of my cabbages are picked now, eaten and digested - by me.  But my cabbage plants won't quit.  Where each large cabbage was removed there are now several little cabbage-lets.  They're the reason I made the painting above.  They're so adorable they were simply begging to be painted.  It took me about an hour to find a suitable setting for this one - and about four hours to complete the painting.  If anyone's counting.  This is both painting number 66 and 10 as I painted over 10 in an effort to reuse materials.  You can see the process here.

zero waste

process images of creating one painting on top of another

There's always a stainless steel straw in my purse - as well as a spoon-fork-knife-combination-thing.  That is to say lately these tools are always on hand.  2017 was my year to discover zero waste and I've been slowly working on minimizing my contribution to landfills.  At this writing I have two items on a Buy Nothing Facebook group.  These groups are specific to neighborhoods and allow people in your community to offer up items they no longer need.  No money is exchanged and all transactions are done in a friendly-folksy manner.  Everyone wins - except maybe the waste management companies.

Tomorrow, I'll post the finished painting from the process you see above.  But I thought you all might enjoy seeing some of the steps I take when creating a painting.  This is the first time I've painted over another painting and I thought it would be difficult to mentally block the first painting out.  But it turned out not to bother me at all.  Once I get in the zone, I'm focused entirely on the still life set-up I see before me.  All that matters is depicting it as faithfully and honestly as I can and all else melts away.

9.24.2017

cosmic encounter

45 of my 65 paintings thus far; casein on board; various sizes

In the game Cosmic Encounter there is a character called the Warrior.  Her unique super power is how she is strengthened by her failures more than her successes.  From her character card: "You have the power of Mastery. After an encounter in which you were a main player, add one token to this sheet if you won that encounter (or made a deal during it) or two tokens if you lost that encounter (or failed to make a deal during it)."

Above you can see laid out on my large table 45 of the 65 paintings I've made so far during my 100-Painting Reboot.  These are painting encounters that I 'won' - paintings that I would be proud to have collectors hang on their walls.  The 20 paintings you don't see are encounters that have earned me valuable experience points. 

It's all good.

upon further

Further Reflection; casein on board; 7" x 4.5"

Another little studio sketch to work on my handling of water in casein.

9.23.2017

reflection reflection

Reflective Study; casein on board; 7" x 4.25"

Reflecting on the reflections of yesterday's painting, I wanted to do some studio studies of water.  I need to learn more about casein's unique properties and stop treating it like oil paint.  That was my mistake yesterday - applying my oil painting experience to a decidedly-non-oil-based media.  I'm much happier with the results above where I used a loaded dry brush to add ripples to the edges of reflected forms.  Composition matters a lot when dealing with reflections too.  One 'should' either include more of the subject - or more of the reflection - not equal amounts of each. 

This is number 64 of my 100-Painting Reboot.  Plenty of time for more reflection.

9.22.2017

my town

Library Pond; casein on board; 11" x 6.75"
 
Minnetonka is a truly magical place.  I got up before the sun this morning and had no idea where I'd be painting.  My town is like that.  You can wander around on any day or time of the year and you'll undoubtedly find a beautiful spot to paint - or think - or just be.  Feeling blessed.

9.21.2017

slug fest

Early Autumn Yellows; casein on board; 9.75" x 6"
 
The red cabbage patch has become a refuge for slugs.  They're quite crafty at working themselves into the tight wrappings of the cabbage heads. 
 
I like to use them in my slaws and smoothies - the cabbages - not the slugs.  So every time I pick a head of cabbage - or pull one out of the frig - I check it as carefully as I can for slugs.  When I find them (notice I use the word 'when' and not 'if') I toss them into my compost bucket to haul out later to the bin.  I'm no Buddha but I do like to be as kind as I can be to animals. 
 
Mosquitoes aren't animals.


9.20.2017

making way

photo of the fading sunflowers, harvested kabucha squash and today's plein air

Today's painting - 62 of my 100-painting Reboot - was supposed to be of the sumac painted exactly one month ago.  But the sumac was uninspiring today.  It's either a bad year for sumac (it looks like it might be fighting off a disease) or it's too early yet for their flaming red display.  It could have also been my timing.  It was fairly close to noon when I finally got out to Murphy-Hanrehan Park.  Midday can have some of the least interesting shadows of the day.  As a rule, outdoor painters like to go out very early - or in the evening - to take advantage of the extreme shadows at those times. 

It just so happened, that the midday light picked up some amazing yellows in a tree - near a path - against a larger-darker tree. Inspiration met paint with the result being the painting you see above on the mantel.  (A closer-more-detailed photo of the painting coming tomorrow.)

9.19.2017

dar williams

Eggs and Sunflowers; casein on board; 7" x 11.5"
 

Last night, when I was painting Eggs and Sunflowers, Dar Williams was singing sweetly - via a CD.  "As Cool as I Am" is a favorite of mine and I must have listened to it 20 times last night.  Here are some of the lyrics:

You tried to make me doubt, to make me guess, tried to make me feel like a little less,
Oh, I liked you when your soul was bared, I thought you knew how to be scared,
And now it's amazing what you did to make me stay,
But truth is just like time, it catches up and it just keeps going . . .
 
Dar is coming to the Twin Cities soon on a book tour.  I can't wait to see her in person again - and to buy her book - and to have her sign it.  Yes, I'm a fan.  I've got the date marked in my Bullet Journal.

P.S. For those following along, I've decided to stick with my beloved watercolor board.  If you compare the painting in this post (watercolor board) and the one in the previous post (primed panel,) you'll see the difference in my ability to handle the paint on each surface.  Albeit, with time, I think I could gain proficiency with the primed panel.  But at this point in time, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. 

9.18.2017

hot mess

Wild Sunflowers; casein on panel; 5" x 7"

The aluminum panels were an epic fail - a hot mess.  The paint wouldn't adhere at all.  It felt like I was trying to wrestle a greased pig.  I'm still counting it as painting number 59.  I'd spent too much time and effort on it to do otherwise.

The experience did cause me to do more research and soul searching.  Research to see if there were other supports out there well suited to casein.  And soul searching to determine why exactly I'm going down this path when the watercolor board is working so well for me.

The research led me to Ampersand Clayboard - which you can see above - under layers of paint depicting wild sunflowers.  I think if I paint consistently with this support it will yield excellent results.  It will take some time and effort to gain the proficiency I now feel I have with the watercolor board.

More soul searching will tell me if it's worth it.

9.16.2017

fertile grounds

Radishes; casein on board; 8" x 10"

New supports (panels upon which to paint) arrived today - complete with treated grounds (surface treatment of the panels - usually gesso of some kind.)

These panels are Aluminum ply and are extremely rigid and stable.  From my research, they are the most archival surface upon which to paint casein because of their rigidity and resistance to swelling with changes in humidity.

The supports I've been using up to this point (Crescent cold-press-watercolor board) are also extremely archival.  The major difference is that the watercolor board needs to be framed under glass - where the Aluminum panels can be framed with their surface exposed - much like oils.

The radish painting above is the 58th in my 100-Painting Reboot.  I'm looking forward to the last 42 - and the eventual secrets these 100 paintings will reveal.

9.15.2017

dominating thoughts

From the Park Bench; casein on board; 7" x 11.25"

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about thinking.

Specifically, about how our thoughts manifest themselves into physical reality.

Senator Al Franken played a character on SNL years ago who would rail against "Stinkin' Thinkin'."

All kidding aside, we need to talk kindly to ourselves if we wish to talk kindly to others - and if we wish to fulfill our destinies.

9.14.2017

over looked

From the Park Bench; casein on board; 7" x 11.25"

There's a group on Facebook called 'Plein Air Purists' of which I'm a member.  The requirements of belonging to the group are that you post your outdoor painting alongside a photo of your the same painting on your field easel in situ.  So here's the 'in situ' pic. 

I'll have to wait until tomorrow to post a good photo of the painting alone.  Usually I scan my paintings but this one is too big for that.  Tomorrow there'll be enough ambient light to take a good photo with a camera.  My husband and business partner, Bob, is my photographer.  He's also the amazing drone driver/photographer :)

9.12.2017

back home


Dusk; casein on board; 9.75" x 6"

It was a wonderful 5 days in Boston visiting my son and his family there.  Two little boys, 2 and 4 years old, kept us hopping the whole time.  We got back yesterday evening and were reunited with our dog, Gumby, who literally jumped with joy.  We are definitely feeling blessed here.

Today was a day for laundry and grocery shopping and unpacking. But in the evening it was pure pleasure.  I met with 3 other outdoor painters on a paint-out to Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  We went to the Richard Anderson Conservation Area where an expansive vista greets the viewer with miles of scenery.  I'll go back to paint that vista another day.  For today, I was content to paint a scene nearby. I was captivated by the back-lit path with its angling shadows and so turned my easel to face the setting sun.

9.06.2017

plein air

Minnehaha Creekside Plein Air; casein on board; 6" x 9.75"

En plein air is French for outdoors - while plein air painting is the act of painting outdoors.

A finished painting may also be called a plein air painting but there is no agreement as what exactly that means.  In its most literal form, it mean a painting that was painted, from start to finish, outside without the aid of photography or any devices other than the most basic painting equipment.  Many artists tweak their outdoor paintings upon returning to their studios.  These artists may also refer to their work as plein air because they started the painting outdoors.

Plein air festivals aim to even out the playing field by stamping all of the artists' supports (canvases or papers or boards) with a unique identifying mark at the start of the event.  After getting their stamps, the artists disperse, paint their pictures and return at a designated time with paintings that were executed entirely outdoors. 

The above painting was done in the manner of a plein air event.  The first thing I did upon returning from my paint out was to put the painting on my scanner bed.  There will be no tweaking, no minor - or major - adjustments.  It is what it is.

9.04.2017

fleeting impressions


Morning Haze; casein on board; 9.75" x 6"

Jidana Park in Minnetonka, Minnesota is vast but has only five parking spots.  There are no picnic tables, no play equipment and no bathrooms.  The only things man-made there are the paths and a bridge or two.  It's a park intended, no doubt, for the nearest locals to use.  Today, Labor Day, there were lots of walkers and quite a few dogs on the trails.  No runners and no bicyclists - but there was a painter near the path - working to capture the feeling of the morning haze with the sun struggling to shine through. 

photo of me painting Morning Haze
- after the sun came out

9.03.2017

garden gems

Eggplant Love; casein on board; 6" x 9.75"



that voice

The Garden Gate; casein on board; 13" x 8"

"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

The title of this blog is "p a i n t - verb/pānt" for a reason.  It's there to remind me, and others, that life is all about "doing."  If you desire a thing, like to paint pictures or to capture beauty with a camera or to express yourself with dance, then do it.  Do it immediately and constantly and with a definite goal in mind.  Be - and do - what it is you desire.  If you say so to yourself, 'this is what I do' and do it - you will achieve your goal.

More quotes by Vincent

9.01.2017

pumpkin patch


The Pumpkin Patch; casein on board; 9.75" x 6"

These aren't really pumpkins.  They're Kabocha 'Sunshine' squash.  But I'm being picky.  Most people walking past my house would look over and think, "Oh - a pumpkin patch!"

Neighbors walking by can easily see my vegetable garden because it's in the front yard.  In the 18 years we've lived here I've carved away at least 2/3 of the turf.  Some has become wooded - with saplings of juniper, maple, oak, ash and poplar.  Some of it has given way to native plants - mostly little bluestem and brown-eyed Susans.  The rest is the veggie patch - complete with very pumpkin-like Kabocha 'Sunshine' squash.

false starts


late night petunia studies after going to the fair

My friend invited me to go to the fair with her today - the Minnesota State Fair.  It's a huge deal here - we call it the great Minnesota get-together. 

Our first stop was the Miracle of Birth Center where we watched piglets suckling, newborn goats pouncing and freshly hatched chicks huddling in fluffy-fuzzy masses.  It's the most popular exhibit at the fair so it started to get crowded pretty quickly.  After that, we were off to see the quilts, woodworking, fine arts, flowers, apples, Christmas trees, seed art, etc.

It was dinner time when I finally got home - and 7 pm when I finally had some time to paint.  Now it's midnight - so somewhere in the past five hours I've struggled to set-up a still life where I could sit at my easel (too tired to stand tonight.)  Tried something new - a black support of discarded mat board (failure because it blistered right away.)  Started again on my old-stand-by board - that must've been around 10.

Long story short: I really like the top "painting" which I needed to abort because the mat board started blistering.  Mat board isn't made for water media - I knew I was taking a chance.

The subsequent painting is okay - but in my mind I keep comparing it to the false start and wondering why I favor the first one so much. 

Time for bed - maybe if I sleep on it I'll find some answers.

8.30.2017

bike path

Early Morning on the Bike Path; casein on board; 4.25" x 7"

There's a high-tension power tower, an interstate highway bridge and numerous other details left out of this scene.  But the good stuff remains.

The bike set-up is working well save for transporting the tripod.  This morning I used bungee cords and they messed up my brakes - not good on this very hilly terrain.  Velcro straps may be the way to go.  Those should be able to go around the frame but be flat enough to bypass the brake cables.

44o 57' 52" N
93o 27' 40" W
forty-eight out of my 100-painting reboot

8.29.2017

something different

Barn en Route; casein on board; 7" x 4.25"

Another painting from the road trip.  This was probably in Iowa - as the sun was rising.  The first layer is the painting I did in the car - which I've learned is quite a challenge.  The final layer is a series of dots as you can see.  The dots provided a chance to correct colors, lines and values.

I like a few dots here and there.  However, the jury's still out on whether to go full-on pointalism.

forty seven

The Impasse; casein on board; 4.25" x 7"

The bike path was impassible in spots today.  Here's the first major puddle I encountered.  Instead of turning back - or plowing through - I decided to set up my easel in the middle of the path.  That's something I never get to do because of all the traffic.  There's also never enough room on the side of the path to set up.  So this was actually a fortunate turn of events.

Above is my first painting done while bringing my gear in by bicycle.  All went well - I'm excited to try it again.

boulder clouds


cloud studies on my trip to Colorado
 
Mountains aren't something we see in the Midwest. And they're not something I've ever painted. 
 
I wish I could've painted them from life.  That's the only way to really learn a subject.  But I didn't want to let my brushes dry out on my trip so I made these attempts from an iPhone pic I took while in the car.  The top painting I did alongside my grandson.  I actually like his better - with the bright yellow clouds and black mountain tops.  The bottom one I did in the car - a challenge with the cramped quarters, constant jiggling and changing light on the painting as we made turns.
 
Today I'll be painting my 47th out of my 100-Reboot - my first attempt at biking my gear into a site.  That's what a reboot is all about - breaking new ground and old.  



8.28.2017

road trip

Driving to Denver; casein on board; 4.25" x 7"

It was 1 a.m. when I rolled up to the house today.  After spending the previous day in the car - driving from Denver to Minnetonka -  I was a bit wobbly.  Caffeine is usually off limits for me, but for safety's sake, I indulged in a couple of iced-green teas.  I wasn't alone, my husband was with me and we took turns driving and napping (and sometimes painting - see above.)

And then there was Gumby - our standard poodle.  He came along too and thankfully napped the whole trip.  He's an old dog - 11 years now.  Gumby's the reason we drove instead of flew.  Lincoln, our nearly-five-year-old grandson who lives in Denver, insisted on seeing him.  It was good to connect.

8.22.2017

forty one

Lilies and Buds; casein on board; 7" x 4.325"

This is painting forty-one of my hundred painting reboot.  There's some down time between paintings to think about where these hundred will take me. 

Here are a few of the ideas I've come up with to take action on when the hundredth painting is finished:
  • paint larger
  • have regular open studio days
  • create linoleum prints based on my paintings
  • participate in plein aire completions
  • register with LinkedIn
  • teach classes/workshops
  • launch an eBay store and offer my paintings on auction
  • write a book
  • seek gallery representation
  • write an article - or two

8.21.2017

frame up

framing idea for 6" x 9.75" casein on board
 
Here's a rough idea for framing for exhibition.  The frame is a simple-pine-presentation one (16" x 20") from Blick's.  And the mat is archival-black-core-alabaster-wheat - also from Blick's. 
 
My initial reaction is positive except that there seems to be a lot of mat showing.
 
If I were to paint larger - say, 8" x 13" - that would reduce the mat area by quite a bit.  I could also go with a smaller frame.  The next-smaller-conventionally-sized frame would be 11" x 14".  The painting above, then, would be surrounded in about a third of the mat area - as seen above. 
 
Complicated - no?  That's why I'm taking some time out to actually put some of these paintings on the wall as if they were being exhibited.  It forces me to revisit my mat cutting skills, check out how other artists are framing and exhibiting works on watercolor board, imagine how it might be to hurriedly frame competition-plein-air paintings directly from easel to show and last, but not least, to evaluate the aesthetics.  It may also influence the sizes of the next 60 paintings.
 

8.20.2017

forty

Sumac in Late August; casein on board; 6" x 9.75"
 
 
My husband's gift to me today - on my 59th birthday - was to take me out painting to Murphy-Hanrehan Park in Bloomington, Minnesota.  He found this scene for me along the horse trail and thought I'd like it because of the elevation.  He was right - a lovely mix of pathway, foreground, middle ground and background.  But it was the sumac glistening in the bright sunshine - giving them a bluish cast - that sealed the deal.
 
It won't be long when these sumac will be a fiery red.  I'd like to come back then to this same spot and same time of day.  It was a perfect place for a quiet painting get-away.  People on horseback, runners and hikers went by now and then, but for the most part I felt alone and at peace - a perfect day.

8.18.2017

thirty nine

Pochade and Lily Buds; casein on board; 6.75" x 11"

The lily buds are taking their time.

While waiting for the buds to open, I stepped away from the scene  and painted it - including my new little field easel.  It's an old cigar box screwed atop a camera tripod.  I bought it from Gary Parks on eBay and so far I've been very happy with my little purchase!

I love my old field easel but it's quite heavy.  That's a good thing for stability in the wind and in general.  But I've been longing to bike to painting sites along the nearby bike paths and lakes.  With this new pochade box I'll have a light-weight means to do that.

But this will all have to wait until after the lily blooms.

8.17.2017

thirty eight

Lilies in Bud; casein on board; 7" x 4.375"
 
Some subjects ask to be painted loose and others lean to tightening up. These lily buds were definitely in the later category.  I left as much raw-rough color as I could but in the end, a fairly refined painting revealed itself. 
 
I may paint this set-up again as the lilies open.  Maybe it will be a looser painting.  We'll have to see what the lilies say.

8.16.2017

thirty seven

Yellow Balloon; casein on board; 8" x 5"; 2017

Nocturne's are something I'd like to do more of.  Painting this balloon (although I was standing comfortably inside) made me think about getting out more in the evening.  Moonlit paintings are enchanting and a bit magical.  But then again, the same can be said of balloons.

P.S. If you don't have a helium tank lying around, you can hang a balloon by a string from the ceiling, light it from below and then turn your painting 180 degrees when you're done.

P.P.S. A neat way to 'paint' a very thin white line is to not paint it at all - just paint up to it and let the white of the paper show through.

8.15.2017

thirty six

Lemons, Mum and a Pear; casein on board; 6.5" x 5.25"

Jeffrey Hayes, an artist friend of mine, is also giving himself a personal challenge this month.  Instead of creating 100 casein paintings in a quest to look for answers, his project will last for 90 days and will explore painting in oils from life.
"I'm doing a 90 day challenge, in which every single day I make one new painting from life - no photographic aid whatsoever.
While this might sound like a painting-a-day project, I have quite different goals in mind.  This is not an open-ended exercise where the goal is simply to produce one painting each day.  
Instead, I'm thinking about it more like an educational course, and I have a rough outline for it in mind.  Some of the paintings will even be designed to solve specific problems or learn new techniques." - Jeffrey Hayes 8/12/2017
Please check out his YouTube channel and follow along as he creates a daily video of each new piece.