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


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.  


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.


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


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


shot glass

Pears and Yarrow; casein on board; 6" x 9.75"; 2017

The shot glass came from Super One in Superior, Wisconsin.  My husband was playing in the Twin Ports Open Chess Tournament there this weekend and I tagged along hoping to get some painting done outside.  The first two days were cooperative but yesterday it was a bit drippy.  And since casein is a water based paint, I opted to set up my easel in the hotel room. 

The fern-leaf yarrow was everywhere.  I'm hoping no one minded that I picked some for my hotel-room-still-life.  Oh - and the pears were from Super One too.  They were a delicious treat when the painting was done.


thirty two

8, 12, 16 and 20 Kilograms; casein on board; 7" x 11.5"

Kettlebells are pretty amazing.  Within the space of less than 2 cubic feet you can fit enough workout equipment to last a lifetime.  I follow Lorna Kleidman's book: Body Sculpting with Kettlebells.  So far, I'm more than halfway through her silver routine.  I can't say I enjoy doing the exercises.  But I do love how I feel afterwards.  Plus, it's good for the bones.


thirty one

By the Water's Edge; casein on board; 3" x 4.75"
One hundred paintings - that's what I'm focusing on right now. 
This little elephant painting is number 31. 
Ideas and directions for where my recent painting activity might go are captured in a notebook.  It's important that I don't act on them just yet.  Action (other than painting) will come when the hundred paintings are done. 
It seems that I'm making around one painting per day.  At that rate, the time to pick a clear direction and set goals will come around mid-October.  So far, I've written down ten possible avenues for my art to take - one for every 3 paintings?


spider mum

Spider Mum with Mug and Glasses; casein on board; 5" x 8"

Another little set-up on my mantel.  The wall really is that reddish-orange color - but for this pose, I put folded-gray paper on the ledge to cover up the oak.  I also edited out the mug's handle.  It didn't add anything and drew too much attention to the left.  I wanted the mum to be the star.



Apple on Chair II; casein on board; 4.75" x 3"


first one

Apple on Chair I; casein on board; 4.75" x 3"

further progress

Little casein paintings of a Granny Smith apple on a turquoise chair - 4.75" x 3" each

You can see this at an earlier stage here.


in progress

Work in Progress: 4 little paintings done simultaneously - of a green apple on a little turquoise chair


From Beard's Plaisance; casein on board; 8"x10"; 2017

I went out this morning to paint this scene from Beard's Plaisance, as the title suggests.  Wikipedia says that plaisance means pleasantness - certainly an apt description this morning.


painting outdoors

Morning's Light; casein on board; 3"x4.75"

This scene was painted from our campsite at Wildcat Mountain State Park in Wisconsin.  It was the morning after we set up camp and the first light was amazing!  In the opening beyond are the walk-in prairie sites in a field filled with Queen Anne's Lace.



I've slept in a tent the last two nights - at Wildcat Mountain State Park in Wisconsin.  It was an absolutely breathtaking place to paint - and the weather couldn't have been more agreeable.  Above are the seven 3" x 4.75" casein paintings I made at my field easel while I was there.  The four on the left were painted on my second day there and the three on the right, on the third.