Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sunset through the Trees

Oil on panel, 6x6
The skies of January have simply been breathtaking!  Looking out past the west pasture, I begin this painting quickly.  There is so little time to capture a sunrise or sunset before all of the color disappears!   With this in mind, I start with the bold colors I don't want to lose first.  Using broad knife strokes to skim the surface of my board, I get the whole surface covered.  Since I'm in a hurry, I drop in the trees with the knife, instead of negatively painting them.  As the color fades from the sky, I tweek a few of those colors by dragging the knife lightly over the base layer of paint.  This one is thick and juicy, and my 1483rd painting in 1483 days :)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Bold Sunset Sailing

Feeling bold today, the palette knife was calling my name.  I had sold a sailboat painting last week, and the memories of so many other seascapes came flooding back.  Using personal photos on my phone, I started this demo in class today to assist a student through the process.  This is painted entirely with my Princeton Catalyst, which I normally prefer to any metal knife.  The handle was too long to fit in my pocket box, so I took the head off the handle, holding it from the ferrel end!   It slid right off, and I can stick it right back on for normal use!   It is super fun to get chunky with the paint, while using the photo as a "jumping off point" for my painting.  It gives me some guidance, as I let the whims of the paint run wild.  Sometimes, I just have to run free!  Painting number 1482 in 1482 days.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Union Station Nocturne

There is something magical about painting at night.  I start with a dark panel, and brush on the lights as I see them.  From this humble beginning, the scene emerges.  Union Station is one of my favorite places to draw, the lines and arches of this building are beautiful.  When painting at night, I concentrate less on lines and details than I do on the impression of light.  The real story is the light, and the planes are just the supporting actors.  This one is in display at the Buttonwood Art Space for the upcoming Urban Abstract Show until April 29th.  Painting number 1481 in 1481 days.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sunset on Cedars

Two of my students have been creating some fabulous work with their palette knives - and it has inspired me to use my own!  On this one, I have used my Princeton Catalyst exclusively.  I love the flexible head, especially when laying down that first lean coat of color!  It spreads smooth and lean, unlike the scratchy scraping of the metal knife.  I also used it for the thick to layer, but the other knifes also work well when just skimming that first layer of paint.  I think the catalyst produces a smoother finish than my metal knives.  I have most of the tips, but really prefer the small, angled head the most.  I  have rarely used my others......except when painting larger works!  Time to wrap up shop - we are meeting friends for dinner!   Painting number 1480 in 1480 days :)
oil on panel, 6x6
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Friday, January 27, 2017

View from the President Hotel

While attending a wedding reception in the ballroom of the President Hotel in downtown Kansas City, this was the amazing view out of the many windows!  Why didn't I have my paints and why did we park so far away?!!  Taking plenty of reference photos, I painted this scene at my leisure a bit later. I blocked in the masses first with acrylics on a dark primed panel. The composition was rather complicated with buildings and streets, and looking down onto the scene created a unique "bird's eye view" perspective.  Nocturnes are so much fun to paint - I am really just marking the lights!  After the acrylics, I come in with my oils, and finish with a palette knife.  The energy of painting downtown is always invigorating, just as a gentle pastoral scene is always peaceful.  Painting number 1479 in 1479 days :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Running through the Cornfield

Today, I met with the Art Mob at Scheels in Overland Park, for plein air of a different kind!   I was surprised to find SO much to paint!   The animals were wonderfully posed for great compositions - and they stood still for me to paint them!  How often does that happen in the field?  This was my first drawing of the day, and I chose it due to the very lifelike setting.  I relished the opportunity to catch these deer running, and the cornfield was a bonus!  I am really enjoying my new watercolor perfection sets - I  bounced between three of them for today's paintings!  I also tried a new koi water brushpen today, medium tip.  I used it exclusively, and liked the flow.  It may take a little more pressure to get the water out than the 3 pack I got at Hobby Lobby, but it certainly worked well.   Painting number 1478 in 1478 days.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Coleman Baptist Church

I had not yet decided what to paint today, when a friend sent me a message about this old church.  It's not far from me, but I've never driven this road east of J Hwy.  I saw several wonderful old houses, barns and farms that I will need to return to, but this church suited me perfectly for my small painting window.  I started this one by looking at each mass carefully, and then blocking in that color on my panel.  With the gray day lighting, my colors and values were close in the scene before me.  I look for subtle differences within each plane as I paint.  The charm of this old church was a joy to capture, even though it was getting blustery out.  Cattle were lining up along the fence to my right - I sure wish I had time to paint them, too!  Painting number 1477 in 1477 days.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Raymore Presbyterian Church in Ink

Circa 1876, this historic Raymore Presbyterian Church was the first church built in this town. It has a charm and character that does not grace newer buildings.  Until a few years ago, there was a beautiful 2 story parsonage on the property, but it has been torn down.  Unsure of whether or not to add watercolor, I stopped. You know the old adage, "..if in doubt, don't! "  After a little thought, I may just loosely add in some watercolor later.  I like this building so well, I may just paint it in oil after the gym tomorrow!   This drawing makes 1476 in 1476 days :)
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Back Side of the Barn

Another foggy, moody morning, another chance to capture that feeling in oils!  I teach two classes on Mondays, so I quickly prepped for the first one and grabbed my pocket box and headed for the barn.  The fog had only thickened since sunrise - and I had less than 45 minutes before class!  Again, I started quickly, sketching the composition lightly with my brush. I love the ragged twist of hedge apple branches - and there are two of these trees on the back side.  Once sketched, I painted in the dark shadow areas followed by the foggy grays.  There were no warm tones in this morning's light, only cool, frosty ones.  It was cold enough that the fog was frosting all surfaces.  Will I ever grow tired of painting this barn?  I don't think so.  Painting number in 1475 in 1475 days.
oil on panel, 7x5
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tangled Trees in Lamplight

As the day was winding down, and I begin to do those last chores of the day, this scene is what I see when I look out the window!   How can I simply turn my back on such beauty?  No matter how tired I was, you know what I did, right?  In a scene like this, I prefer to start with a dark panel.  I didn't have any primed, so I chose one in a dark pumpkin shade.  I start by laying in the darks of all shadow areas, and then define the light.  With the fog, the light spreads far into the landscape, and the deep, dark blue of the sky is not even visible.  There is only the warm light from our light pole throwing all the redbud trees into silhouette.  There is so much beauty around us every day, all we have to do is look!  This painting makes 1474 in 1474 days :)
Oil on panel, 10x8
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Saturday, January 21, 2017

January Fog

I could not believe my eyes when I awoke to ANOTHER foggy morning!!  Wanting to paint 10x8, I realized the fog was already thinning.  Judging that I may have less than an hour in this light, I pulled out a 7x5 instead.  I am again using my limited palette of Indian yellow, red oxide, alizarin crimson, Windsor blue, titanium white and ivory black.  This very typical pasture scene was quickly painted in masses, cutting in around the trees with the distant misty fog.  Just like a clear day, the fog is lightest at the horizon, so I find myself dropping in more light at the top of the distant tree row.  The sun was already popping through the clouds with my last strokes.  Painting number 1472 in 1472 days :)
Oil on panel  7x5
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Winter Grapevines in the Fog

Another gorgeous, foggy morning - and I HAD to get out there and capture it!  These grapevines caught my attention yesterday, but the west pasture beckoned.  Today, these vines would not be denied.  I sketched the general composition quickly, then started laying paint.  Whenever I have limited time, I just let instinct take over and work as fast as I can.  This is painted with my limited palette, which ensures strong color harmony.  I used a limited palette exclusively for years with my acrylics in plein air, and I have really had fun getting back to that with my small pocket box set up!  I find I am going back to those limited colors even on my larger works lately!  Painting number 1471 in 1471 days :)
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Foggy Winter Morning

With more fog expected this morning, I rose early.  With every intention to finish this painting before pilates, I rushed to get outside.  Once painting, I relished the opportunity to paint such a thick, juicy atmosphere!  I knocked this one out quickly, but I was still late to pilates!   I made up for it with extra laps on the track...... painting number 1470 in 1470 days!   I hope this fog continues!
Oil on panel, 7x5
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Frosted Fog at the Barn

Frost enveloped the landscape this morning - and I could not resist it!  The fog was still heavy and luminous - so I started painting!  As a result, I was a little late to Zumba!  There is more frost expected in the morning, so I will get up extra early to be ready for it!  I love the challenge of this frosty scene with it's close values and minimal color.  I don't think I've ever painted in the frost before.  The very best thing about trying to paint en plein air everyday is the wide range of color and value in the landscape, especially in the quiet of winter.  I find I am enjoying it immensely!  Painting number 1469 in 1469 days :)
Oil on panel, 7x5
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January Barn

I rushed from the gym to the monthly Tri County meeting, then a quick stop at the post office to ship a painting to Maine. With paints in tow, I stopped by the Memorial Park for a brief scouting. I found this lovely scene with barn, clouds and yellow grasses.  I stopped and painted on the spot!  I love this little 5x7 thumb box pochade box by Guerrilla Painter!  It is small enough to go anywhere - and still holds all the supplies I need and two wet paintings, too!  SO convenient for everyday use!  Painting number 1468 in 1468 days.
Oil on panel, 7x5
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Moody Winter Creek

Rain threatened all day as the temperature rose.  Although January, the local creeks are taking on the green tint of spring.  I love the dark, cloudy days, and I think there is much beauty in the close values. Color is more saturated, richer. I hope the warm days continue - I can't wait to get back in the field!  Painting number 1467 in 1467 days.
Oil on panel, 10x8
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Abstract Moon

This little bit of craziness was SO challenging!  The moon has been out in full force lately, so I've chosen a spot at the pond for an abstract nocturne!  I am SO not abstract by nature!  Pushing the masses into broken spots of color sounded like an easy thing to do....but I had to keep laying paint, overlapping and abstracting the shapes that constantly kept emerging!  This required so much thought, whereas my normal paintings slip off the brush with very little "brain engagement".  I guess this is part of learning, a painful, time consuming part.  I could have painted three paintings in the time it took for this dip into madness!  Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I did sign this, but nobody will believe I painted it.  I will now return to my sketchbook for a little normally to restore my soul!  This crazy painting is the 1466th in 1466 days.
Acrylic on panel, 9x12
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Snowy Road through Town

On this cold winter's day, I have my hot tea close and Game of Thrones playing.  Since I was a child, I have been drawn to the warm, pastoral scenes of Currier and Ives.  Today, I am channeling that love into my handmade watercolor sketchbook with pen and ink.  Once the India ink is good and dry, I flow the watercolor over the top.  I have all four of my Watercolor Confection pan sets out - and I jump between them with my brush pens.  I am laying on stronger color and deeper values, as the whim takes me.  This is the first day I've dipped into the "pastel dreams" and the "tropicals". I am REALLY enjoying these paints!  I so seldom have a day when I can get lost in my artwork, and I am seizing this day!  This is painting number 1465 in 1465 days :)
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Into the Winter Sunset

I had a larger painting window than normal today, so I chose a wonderful 16x20 canvas.  My intentions were to paint something bold and very abstract, but as happens so often, the painting took on a life of it's own.  I blocked in with acrylics using a large brush.  I allowed this to dry while preparing for "game night". After most of my work was done, I started with my oils, using my softest brushes - and Bristlons and mostly Silverwhites.  I love the way the Silverwhites lay down strokes on top of my previous layer, without disturbing that wet paint.  Perfect for finish work.  I feel like this one is done and I'm going to let this one rest - someone is pulling up the lane right now!   Painting number 1464 in 1464 days :)
Oil over acrylic on panel, 16x20
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Milk Barn - watercolor journal

All those chores left undone yesterday, had to be tended to today.  With no daylight left, I am sketching late in my special watercolor journal.  Once the pen and ink is finished, I try out my newest Watercolor Confections pan set of "Decadent Pies"!  This selection has the perfect color palette for this time of year.  Well suited they are for the winter landscape.  I was especially surprised by the wonderful shade of the dark blue - very nice for the shadow work, and a good complement for the warm yellows.  I really do love using this ink and watercolor combination for architecture. Perhaps tomorrow, I'll be adding some ice to my painting!  Painting number 1463 in 1463 days :)
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winding Creek in January

How could I not take advantage of this beautiful, warm day?  Yes, I really should have been doing housework, and I still have ornaments to put in the attic.  But, I only had two and a half hours left of this glorious afternoon to paint - and I just couldn't waste it!   After getting chicken and dumplings in the crockpot (by special request), Michaela and I headed out to this winding creek which crosses 175th street between Mission and Nall.  I have wanted to paint this location for years!  I used my french resistance easel, which I've not set up since my last event.  I didn't even check the palette I pulled from the freezer!  I really need to scrape the dry paint off this one - and reload some of the paints!  As always, I just make due with what I have, although it would have been easier with a few of my favorites to dip into.  It felt just like spring or there!   I am going to remember this day when the ice storm rolls in!   Painting number 1462 in 1462 days.
Oil on panel, 14x11
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sunset from the Pasture

Keeping an eye to the sky, I prepared dinner.  Everything about painting a sunset involves timing.  I put the fresh vegetables in the oven to roast, and popped out to the pasture to catch the sunset!  I should have been out there 5 minutes sooner.  The light was soft and fading.  I am making an effort to capture the sunset in all of it's moods, so I brushed in the masses with my very limited palette.  I really should add another color or two to make the most of the fleeting light - if I am to continue painting sunsets!   I had a little trouble with only Indian yellow, perm crimson and ultramarine blue!  I would have loved some Naples yellow pale and a little alizarin crimson.  This painting makes 1461 in 1461 days :)
Oil on panel, 7x5
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Monday, January 9, 2017

Sunset on the Snow

As I finished the painting yesterday at the milk barn, I turned to see this beautiful scene over my shoulder.  How could I resist?  The trick on this one was to lay in that gorgeous color around all those branches!   I prefer to paint the trees negatively, as it gives them a rougher, more realistic shape.  With so many branches, this means lots of little strokes of color to make up the mass of the sky plane.  The varied strokes also give an energy to that mass, as well as the pasture plane.  The sun sets so quickly that getting down the paint must also be fast, or the moment is lost.   I like the quick brushwork on this one, I think I'll leave it loose.  Painting number 1460 in 1460 days.
Oil on panel, 10x8
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Snow at the Milk Barn

Well, I had a little trouble with this one.  I started late, already in the golden hour.  I didn't load my palette, as I have been keeping it in the car, so I was out of the tiny bit of viridian, and black (which I use to mix greens). When it came to making a good, strong dark, all I had was ultramarine blue, permanent crimson, Indian yellow and white.  As you can probably guess, getting a strong shadow color out of this was a challenge!  Challenge aside, I do really like the color harmony achieved by using so few hues. As I finished this one up, the setting sun in the west was calling my name......!  Painting number 1459 in 1459 days :)
oil on panel, 10x8

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Grandpa's Old Seeder

I can remember climbing on this antique seeder when I was very small, as my brother and I did with all the old farm equipment.  Now, I am painting it as it rests in the snow.  Since it is so cold out, I have been leaving my palette in the car, rather than putting it in the freezer each night.  At 25 degrees, my Williamsburg oils were creamy at first brushstroke.  I chose my brushes for my 7x5 Guerrilla Painter thumb box according to which ones would fit!  This is a small box, for small paintings, so supplies are minimal when taking this baby into the field.  I load it so that I will need nothing but the box, for the two paintings it will hold inside.  I love it!  Painting number 1458 in 1458 days :)
oil on panel, 7x5
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Friday, January 6, 2017

First Snow at the Milk Barn

The sun is shimmering on the snow this afternoon, and I have waited until the warmest time of this day to paint!  Mind you, that is only 17 degrees, but it beats the 1 degree I woke up to!   My grandmother used to milk her cows here every morning and night for many years, and now I paint here.  I love this place, and I've always loved this place, I wrote about it in my diary as a child.  I am using Williamsburg oils with this easel, and they are still smooth and creamy at 17 degrees.  I use no solvents, only safflower oil to clean my brushes, so this is am important fact for me.  I wonder how cold it can get before they start to show it!   love my Gamblins, but they really start to tack up under 25 degrees.  Who knew this would ever be important to me?  Sane artists don't paint in weather like this!  Painting number 1457 in 1457 days :)
Oil on panel, 7x5
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gate to West Pasture

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My schedule is a very fluid thing.  Often, things come up at the drop off a dime.  Today was such a day.  After finishing too many chores to count, I was finally layered up and ready to go paint by the pond.  The next minute, Michaela needed a ride to her eye appointment since our roads were still slick from the snow.  Arriving home with little daylight left, I turn to my ink and watercolor.  The subtle color shifts in this snowy scene are added with my brushpens and tiny travel pans.  I never would have imagined that I would like these brushpens so much.  They are right up there with my Raphaels.  Who knew?  Painting number 1456 in 1456 days :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Cedar Creek in January

Sometimes, I wake up with a desire to paint a certain place.  Whenever I stop by the gallery in Lee's Summit, I make it a point to head to this creek on the way home, painting gear in tow.  It was certainly cold at 17 degrees, but I had dressed in layers, armed with hand warmers. Using my newest easel, the 5x7 thumb box by Guerrilla Painter, I was able to get this small panel covered in under an hour.  I didn't even get cold until I had finished, and was walking briskly along the creek in search of other painting locations.  My limited palette today includes Indian yellow, red oxide, white and black - and for now, my palette is an Altoids tin!  I know, it's kinda crazy, but I just can't get paint on any easel if I can help it!  Painting number 1455 in 1455 days :)
Oil on panel, 7x5
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January Sky

The late afternoon sky was beautiful and begged to be painted.  In this painting, I have tried a new color - Sevris Blue by Williamsburg.  The color is rich and the pigment is strong, much like their Indian Yellow.  It bends towards the turquois, and is the middle sky color in this painting.  The Williamsburg paints are creamy and richly pigmented.  I have nine of them, and have yet to try two of them.  On the landscape I painted a few days ago, I used them exclusively. It is so fun trying out new supplies!  This painting makes 1454 in 1454 days  :)
Oil on panel, 7x5
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Monday, January 2, 2017

Little Mackinleigh

Today, I'm switching gears to the soft, impressionistic brushwork of sweet baby flesh!  I am using the limited palette yellow oxide, red oxide, cad red light, cad red medium, indanthrene blue, ivory black and titanium white - all Liquitez heavy body.  I start by laying in the background, allowing the baby to emerge.  In this case, I had all masses in before I even started the flesh tones.  Not my normal method, but I always let the process happen organically.  After a little push and pull, I am going to let this one rest.  I'll take a look tomorrow with fresh eyes, and decide if I need a little tweaking!  Painting number 1453 in 1453 days and day 3 in the current 30 day painting challenge!  :)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Pickering Farm

After breakfast with my parents this morning, we drove back to the horse barn at the Owen Good Farm, originally the Pickering Farm.  It's been awhile since I've been back there, and it is slipping into ruin.  Once a grand stable, there is even a ballroom on the upper level where parties were held.  I plan to capture many drawings here while it still stands.  I get my lines in with a Pitt pen, and then wash with a light coat of watercolor  - the classics by watercolor confections in this case.  What a beautiful barn, rich in history, and this is my 1452nd painting in 1452 days :)
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