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. 


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.


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.


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.


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 :)


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.


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.


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


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


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.