Friday, December 28, 2007

Rick's Pool #4- Christmas Moon

Rick's Pool #4- Christmas Moon 6 x 6 oil
$100+$10 shipping
The moon on Christmas Eve was huge. It never ceases to amaze me how illuminated the landscape is during a full moon.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rick's Pool #3

Rick's Pool #3 Oil 6 x 6

As some of you might have surmised, I've taken a few liberties with the topography in the Ricks Pool series (is three a series?). I am an artist, not a camera lens and that's part of what we do as artists- edit, rearrange- translate reality into a work of art. I have always been envious of my artist friends who paint still life. They can actually move that apple or bowl around in the composition until its in just the right place in relationship to everything else. Landscape painters, absent a handy backhoe or earth mover, have to learn to move mountains, not to mention trees and ponds, in two dimensions and then convincingly paint them as if in three.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

In Search of Style and Merry Christmas

I've been working on larger paintings so I don't have a painting to post today. But I thought it might be fun to do something else......a wonderful English artist Sheila Vaughan recently posted some comments about style and what elements make up an artist's style. She invited others to comment on the topic. As I mentioned in my post to her blog, its a subject I have been thinking about quite a bit and had been formulating a post in my head- so hers gave me just the nudge to actually do it. I won't repeat her very cogent analysis of the elements of style but invite you to click over to her blog for that. But, I will repeat my comments and expand a little on them.

An artist friend recently said to me that my style had undergone a radical change. I was both surprised and pleased by that description. While I definitely think something has happened in my work over the past 9 months, I had thought of it as more a further refinement of the direction I had been headed for several years. But when I really thought about it, I could see that much of what I thought had been going on, had taken place in my head and really didn't start showing up in full force in the paintings until about 6 months ago. That caused me to wonder, what changed? Its really pretty simple- I just made a choice to paint in a particular way. Once you have learned the basic understanding of values, color, drawing, composition , edges and have years of painting experience under your belt, you can really choose to paint anyway you want. But, to create a cohesive body of work, you must choose. So it becomes a matter of intention. You eschew certain subjects, techniques, colors, edges etc because they do not further your intention. We all do this as we create each painting- sacrificing one passage so that the focal point or emphasis is placed in another place where we want it. The same must be done in the entire body of work. In my case, that meant to paint what I love, and only that- and only in a certain way. For example, I enjoy thick luscious paint- I think most painters do- but I have found that thinner paint and in particular, transparent passages of paint, are much more suited to the effects I am trying to get. So instead of struggling with thick paint in order to be "painterly", I embraced transparent paint (which I was never trained to do) and things begin to happen. Instead of letting shows and galleries dictate the subjects of my paintings, I painted what I loved and what I was moved to paint. I found new techniques (or at least new to me) to better communicate those visual ideas. I feel that I have just scratched the surface now of what is possible. I was freed, rather than constrained, by choice and intention.

Annie Dillard, one of my all time favorite authors says it best:

"You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment. The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one's own most intimate sensitivity. Thoreau said it another way: know your own bone."

and this

"The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding not fighting."

Thanks to everyone who has dropped in to visit this blog over the last few months (and waded thru this last pontification....:) !) Merry Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful 2008.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Evening Sky

Evening Sky Oil 6 x 6
$100 + $10 shipping

I actually laid this piece in yesterday with the idea of doing a completely different time of day and light. But late yesterday, the color in the sky was so beautiful I just couldn't resist painting it this way- I guess I'm just a sucker for a pink sky.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Winter Greys

Winter Greys 6 x 6 oil
$100 +$10 shipping
We have had cold winter weather this week with morning fog and cloudy overcast days. The colors in the landscape are beautifully muted greys in tones of violet, ochre and rust. I spotted this scene on the way to the post office and came back to the warm studio to paint it later in the day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

November Twilight

November Twilight Oil 14 x 15
Please contact me if interested in this piece.

This is a larger version of the piece I posted on November 27. It's a bit unusual for me to simply size something up. It doesn't often work so more often finished studio work ends up being a synthesis of several small pieces. But I think doing these small paintings for the blog has somewhat changed my process. Even though this painting is very close to the Nov 27 study it also is related to many of the other pieces I have posted over the last month or so, in both design and palette. So instead of doing a number of studies to work out the idea for a larger piece (my usual m.o.) the small paintings are suggesting the direction for the larger work.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I've Been Tagged

I've just been "tagged" by two artists, Joan Dagradi and Stephen Magsig. As a very new blogger, I've been watching as others in the artist blogging community played this game, and now its a bit like getting asked to come out to play with the other kids in the neighborhood. Once you are tagged, you divulge 5 little known facts about yourself and then tag 5 other artists. The idea is to introduce artists whose work you enjoy to a potentially wider audience, and have some fun. I have to say that Joan's post was so entertaining, its a hard act to follow, but here goes:

1. My first and best friend as a child was a tiger (imaginary).

2. Although my undergraduate degree is a BFA, I practiced law for over 20 years before becoming a full time artist.

3. One of my husband's nicknames for me is Sybil (of multiple personality fame)- because I am both analytical and a romantic. It wasn't until I learned to make both these traits work together that my work as an artist really started to come together. Romantic Sybil wins out most days, and that's OK with me.

4. I love submarine movies - from Run Silent Run Deep to Das Boot and U573. Don't know why, just do. Dive! Dive!

5. My husband was a combat artist, serving in the Marine Corp in Vietnam 67-68.

Now, comes the hard part-tagging other artists. Because I am such a new blogger, most of the artists I "know" have already been tagged pretty recently. So, with apologies to the game gods, I am only tagging 2 artists:

Robin Hall, a wonderful California artist who is also new to blogging and
Todd Bonita, who was the first blogger to contact me after I started posting and welcome me to the blogging community

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Rick's Pool #2

Rick's Pool #2 oil 6 x 6
$100 +$10 shipping
Same song, second verse. As I have mentioned here before, I am always having a conversation with myself as I paint about whether what I have done is not enough-just enough-too much. Unlike a lot of artists, I tend to quit too soon rather than overwork a piece. I'm pretty sure I'm not lazy.....:) , so I expect it has something to do with wanting to keep things simple and hopefully just a little elegant and mysterious. I actually photographed this yesterday with the intention of posting it and then realized..uh oh..not enough. So I spent a little more time on it today and I think I moved it into the just enough category, but just barely.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rick's Pool

Rick's Pool Oil 6 x 6
$100 + $10 shipping
This one has been in the incubator- that is to say, my head, for a while. Some take longer than others, but today I finally painted it. So, about the title. Here in Texas (or at least this part of Texas- its a big place) , people refer to ponds, often man made and used to water livestock, as pools. Occasionally you'll hear somebody call it a stock tank, but usually its called a pool. When first made, they have sides built up to hold the water, but I think after a while the cattle manage to return things to natural elevation. And they can get fancy- some people stock them with fish and build little docks on them. I even saw one with a fountain in the middle. But this one- on my neighbor Rick's property- is just your basic pool.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November Twilight

November Twilight Oil 5.75 x 6
$100 + $10 shipping

The rain finally stopped. By last evening the sky was full of color and the air was crisp and cool.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Day After Thanksgiving

The Day After Thanksgiving Oil 6 x 8
$100 + $10 shipping

Late on Thanksgiving weather blew in- by Friday morning the sky was heavy and violet grey. Noises- even the rainfall-seemed muffled in the thick damp atmosphere. I've always loved the woodcuts of the landscape in rain and snow by Japanese masters, so I decided to try to capture that effect in this little piece. Can you see the rain falling?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Morning Haze

Morning Haze Oil 6 x 8
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. So many blessings here in our great land.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Backyard Magic #4

Backyard Magic #4 Oil 4 x 8
$100 + $10 shipping

This is how the sunset looked one day in late August. Really- I'm not kidding. It looked like there had been a fiery volcanic eruption over the hill on our neighbor's ranch and the sky was bathed in hot lava. Of course, nothing like that happened. It was just a sunset. In a few minutes, it was over and everything went back to normal. More or less.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Heading South

Heading South oil 6 x 6
I think autumn is one of the most evocative times of the year. Unlike spring, which is all about rebirth and looking forward, fall is a reflective time - more about looking back than forward. It can have an almost sensual feel, made even more poignant by the passing days. The word "autumn" itself is a metaphor for loss and the passage of time. I don't know that I got all of that in this little painting, but I sure did try.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Afternoon Clouds

Afternoon Clouds Oil 24 x 36

This is a piece I just completed for M Gallery of Fine Art in Sarasota. I posted the study for this piece a while back (ok, it took me too long to get this finished!) I am generally pleased with it. There is a quality of light I was after - its partly the feeling of glare you get on bright days in Florida but also that sense of distance and atmosphere created by layers of moist air - I wanted the viewer to have an experience of that- like you could walk in and put your sun glasses on! I don't know if you can feel that in this image but I think it does come through in the painting.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rhythm & Blues

Rhythm & Blues Oil 6 x 6
This is painted from memory. One of my favorite stretches of road is 287 between Amarillo and Wichita Falls. Now, even Texans think I am crazy to say that, but this is where the Plains meet the West - an area also known as "the Breaks". Agriculture and ranching, nourished by the Red River, clings to a narrow swath surrounded by big open country.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Backyard Magic

Backyard Magic Oil 8 x 6

I've spent a lot of time this year painting in different parts of the country. Its one of the many blessings of being a landscape painter. These were all beautiful spots- oceans, mountains, deserts, you name it. The 19th century English landscape painter John Constable (one of the fathers of plein air painting) said "I should paint my own places best, for they made me a painter." So, that's what I did today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Zig Zag

Zig Zag Oil 6 x 8

This is another piece done from memory. I am intrigued with the patterns and marks on the land made by agriculture.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Almost Home

Almost Home Oil 6 x 7
$100 + $10 shipping
Its a two day drive from Laguna Beach. I stayed with friends in Placitas, NM Monday night -where we lived until about 5 months ago. It felt a little odd to be there and I thought a lot about just where "home" is as I drove toward Texas the second day. With just about 50 miles to go on Tuesday it was dusk when I saw this field. I painted this from memory today.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational- Day 7

Sorry folks- no images today. I forgot to get a pic of my quick draw from yesterday- oh well. Saturday began with grey skies and light rain - a real surprise after the perfect weather we had all week. I set up on the south end of Heisler Park and was soon joined by Ken Auster, with William Scott Jennings set up just a few steps behind us. I knew Ken would draw a crowd so I told him he could be my "blocker" for the event. Its a two hour event but we both managed to finish in an hour and a half, which was good because that's when the rain started up again. A quick trip to my car to frame and then I turned my piece in at the museum. There was a brief preview period then the auction started. Happily my piece sold quickly - off to a good start!

The Gala dinner and Preview sale started at 6 last night. Joe Paquet won both Artist and Collectors Choice! Michael Obermeyer and Glenna Hartmann both won awards sponsored by two art publications. Sales seemed slower than in past years and there was a fair amount of artist anxiety in the room. However, traffic and sales picked up considerably at the public sale today. I was very happy with my sales and only had two small pieces left at the end of the day.

The long drive home starts tomorrow morning at 5 AM so it may be a few days before I post again!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational - Day 5

Sunset from The Top of the World 18 x 18 Oil
The Top of the World is up above Laguna Beach- a public park overlooking the canyon and the town, and of course the Pacific. Its a great place to catch the sunset. This is another not so great pic unfortunately- just can't seem to get rid of that glare! Its a moody tonal piece-I think I got what I was going for here. Our three paintings from the week have to be turned in at the Museum tomorrow morning. After that, I'll head down to the area where the Quick Draw will be held Saturdaymorning. It is usually held in Heisler Park, but this year the Park is under renovation so the Quick Draw has been moved to the Main Beach area. I've never painted there so I'll spend some time scouting it out tomorrow. Then the Artists Party tomorrow night- a little time from R&R!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational- Day 4

Newport Back Bay 12 x 24 Oil
Here is another piece- this one from the Back Bay area in Newport. I couldn't get a very good pic of this one either- too much glare. Two more days to go before work must be turned in at the Museum Friday morning Tonight is a backyard buffet for the artists at the home of Jay and Mary Linda Strotkamp, who are long time supporters of LPAPA, the Museum and this event.
Crunch time!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational- Day 3

Laguna Canyon Morning 14 x 15 Oil
Well, the painting has started in earnest! After dropping my two pieces off at the Museum yesterday I headed out to Laguna Canyon. Sorry about the poor quality of this image. I scumbled some cool color over the top of the hills and I just can't seem to get a good photo of it. I also started a nocturne of a house on a cliff at Woods Cove which I hope to finish tonight. I scouted a couple of locations I had not been to before like Crescent Beach- the small public park there has nice views to both the north and south. I hope to get up to the Newport Back Bay area today. Back to the easel...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational -Day 2

Midday at the Montage 8 x 10 Oil
Yesterday was the beginning of the Laguna event activities. A welcome brunch and orientation was held at the beautiful Montage Resort followed by a paint out at the public park and beach adjoining the resort. The crowds watching the artists were steady all afternoon. This is a pretty bad image of the painting I did- keeping it small to warm up. This formation of rocks is called the Wedding Ring Arch and is a popular motif with artists although its the first time I have painted it. I have to say, setting up my easel next to people like Ken Auster and Ray Roberts is still a bit daunting. This morning this painting and the "Masterpiece" piece we were asked to bring from home ( see previous post for that image) have to be turned in at the Laguna Art Museum. Those two pieces will hang through out the week in the Museum and be for sale next weekend along with the other work done during the week. So, I'm off to the Museum and then to paint.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Afternoon Surf Laguna

Oil 12 x 16 Private Collection

Well, tomorrow I am off to California for the Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational. I am driving- I like road trips- I'm like a kid in a candy store watching the landscape change as I drive west. The event starts Sunday the 7th with a paint out then ends the following weekend with the Quick Draw and auction and then the Exhibition & Sale Saturday and Sunday October 13-14 at the Laguna Art Museum. There is more about the event here. I hope to post through out the event so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Afternoon Light

Oil 5" x 7.5" unframed
$100 + $10 shipping
I am working on a 24 x 36 version of this for the Florida gallery. The large one has been sitting on the floor of my studio for several weeks now- the lay in done and a first pass on the sky- but a long way from finished. I often do small studies before starting a larger piece to work out ideas about composition and color harmony. My first teacher- Ned Jacob- always said "if it doesn't work small, it won't work large." He was right, of course, but what I have also found over the years is just because it works small doesn't mean it will work large. I hope this isn't one of those!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Summer Storm

Oil 6" x 6" unframed
$100 + $10 shipping

I've been painting some large pieces for the gallery in Florida - 30 x 40, 30 x 36- well, large for me anyway. I thought it would be nice to do a small one, so here is Summer Storm. I grew up in Florida and lived there most of my life until the last 5 years or so. Most recently, we lived about an hour from Homosassa - Homer and Sargent both painted there and George Inness - who is a big influence on my work- wintered in Tarpon Springs not far away. My husband kept his boat there, so we explored the backwaters, marshes, and flats in that area for years. For the most part, I rely on memory and imagination when I paint Florida.

Evening Field

5" x 6" Oil unframed
$100 + $10 shipping US Sold

This is a painting of a field near our home at a certain time of day. I painted a 10 x 12 version which will be exhibited at the Albuquerque Museum Show next month.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Clear Midnight - pastel

A Clear Midnight Pastel 8 x10
Private Collection
I painted this about a year ago . Its a studio piece, now in a private collection, based on the landscape where we lived in New Mexico at the time. About four years ago I went to see an exhibition of Remington's nocturnes, painted in the last ten years of his life. It had a profound effect on my work. The show catalog The Color of Night is wonderful and a must read for anyone interested in nocturnes. The title of the painting is from a poem by Walt Whitman.
It says all there is to say about why I love nocturnes. You can read it here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Up Against The Wall oil 6" x 6"

Up Against the Wall
6" x6" Oil

And now for something completely different.....for several years now I have been trying to find the balance between not enough, just enough and too much when composing landscapes. I like the space and the elements in it to be elegantly spare - not an easy thing to accomplish when every little leaf is screaming for attention. So, I thought with this still life I would try to see how three small objects could be arranged for that effect. Then I got to thinking about the space itself. If you are committed to the idea of creating the illusion of air and atmosphere in your landscapes- as I am- then the shallow space of still life should be no problem, right? But noooo. In a book called Rembrandt: The Painter at Work (really good-I highly recommend it) the author demonstrates how Rembrandt would soften edges, reduce paint surfaces and lighten and cool colors to show that a sleeve was receding in space from a cuff! Right then and there I realized I needed to take pretty drastic steps to create the sense of space I wanted in my landscapes. There are just a few inches between these grapes. I wonder what Rembrandt would have done with that?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Moonlit Tide - pastel 9 x 12

In a few weeks I'll be heading out to Laguna Beach for the Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational. This is my third year in this event and its a big thrill to be included in one of the most prestigious plein air events in the country. Plein air shows are like a high wire act- at least to me. You are trying to paint a landscape which is not your home turf - in this case, surf- do some of the best work you can and do it in just a few days! This year the organizers decided to ask each artist to exhibit a studio piece in addition to the work done during the event. I didn't have time to create something but I did have this small pastel from a previous trip to Carmel. I had planned to hold onto it because I like it and I think its important to keep paintings that signal the direction you want your work to go (I love nocturnes- but that's a subject for another post!) - but now its headed for the Laguna Art Museum, and that's ok too!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Twilight at Scatter Creek- oil 10 x 12

Here is the 10 x 12 version which will be exhibited at the Albuquerque Museum Miniatures show in October along with two other pieces. I have four "candidates" for the two remaining pieces (none of them quite finished yet) and I have to let the Museum know by Monday! Tomorrow will be busy!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Lemon On A Ledge - oil 6 x 6

Oil 6" x 6" unframed
$100 + $10 shipping

When I first started this daily painting project I had not painted still life in about 15 years- landscape has totally occupied my painting life- so the prospect was a little daunting. But starting to look at the objects around me as subjects for paintings got real interesting real fast. This was my first attempt and I guess its natural that I would include a precipice - a landscape element- or maybe that's just how I was feeling that day! Anyway, its been fun to shift to different subject matter, and then there's that whole cool light-warm shadows thing that is the exact opposite of what happens in the landscape most of the time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Twilight at Scatter Creek- oil 5 x 6

Oil 5" x 6" unframed
$100 +$10 shipping Sold

This little painting was created as a study for a 10 x 12 piece which will be exhibited at the Albuquerque Museum Miniatures show in October. Scatter Creek is a small creek near our home- not so grand as I have painted it but still a magical place at certain times of the day.