Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Stream from the Woods

It  was growing late in the afternoon before I had a chance to go paint.  Another day at 60 degrees could not be wasted, so I grabbed my smallest Guerrilla box - my 5x7 thumb box, and hit the road.  It was heavily overcast with a light drizzle, but still warm as I reached my destination.  I love all the angles here - and especially how rich and dark green the water is in back.  Dramatic.  So, I started by painting my darks, and next with lights.  The light is fleeting here in the woods this late, and I've found that if I don't get that color marked, it's gone with the sun in the blink of an eye!  This was a quick paint, the clouds growing heavier as I worked.  As I packed up and hiked to the car, the drizzle increased.  Looks like I timed it just right.  Painting number 1867 in 1867 days.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Still Water in the Creek

My calender was completely full today, but I simply HAD to squeeze in a painting on this gorgeous spring like day!  I could not pass a day in the 70's without getting in the field!  The winds were strong today, but down by these low lying creeks it is always comfortable.  In fact, the water was not even rippling in this stretch.  I love all the angles here, land masses, creek banks and water all converge as the water winds along. There is something very therapeutic about standing under the trees, at water's edge.  The sound of the wind in the tree tops and songbirds serenade me as I paint.  I become one with nature for a little while, and that is a very good thing.  Painting number 1866 in 1866 days.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Solitude at the Creek

Oh the beauty that surrounds us every day!  I could spend the rest of my life just trying to do the landscape justice.  An artist friend joined me by the water for this late afternoon paint, and we shared the scene while we worked.  It was warm today - in the 60's, and a gorgeous day to spend outdoors!   The strokes just fell off the end of my brush, and the painting came together effortlessly.  The days are getting longer, and before I knew it, the sun was setting and the light was lost.  The chill was setting in as we packed up our gear to hike back to our cars.  I think I will be spending many such days by this water.  Painting number 1865 in 1865 days.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Unfurling Impressions

My red roses are unfurling beautifully, their many petals beginning to separate.  Although the warm countryside and a gorgeous sunset fought for my attention, these roses hooked me.  I first begin by loosely brushing in a bowl, the shape of each rose, facing as they face.  To this, I add stems, loose shaped leaves, and fill in the negative space.  I do all of this first layer quickly, and with a light touch.  Next, I pull out various palette knives and begin the first marks, starting at the back of shapes and overlapping the front petals.  The idea is to shape each petal, leaf and mass with the strokes.  I continue to look at my roses to determine where to place my marks.  I do this loosely, as I'm for the mood of the roses more than photographic likeness.  If I want a photo, I'll simply take one, after all.  Once my areas are filled in, I check for color harmony.  I think this one is finished - an hour well spent!  Painting number 1864 in 1864 days.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Rainy Day Barns

Starting my morning out with a leisurely cup of hot tea, I noticed how foggy the pasture was becoming.  Rain was not expected until after noon, so said the local meteorologist.  Pulling up radar on my phone, I could clearly see a large area of rain not far from me!  Jumping into action, I first donned running gear for an outdoor run with my trusty companion, cooling down with my quick paint in the field.  The run invigorates me - and really warms me up for the painting time to come in the cold and wet.  Worked like a charm, but the rain was already beginning by the time I started.  Well, I was plenty warm, so I forged ahead knowing I would have to stop if my panel got wet.  When in the rain, I tilt it downward, which keeps the water off until I can get that surface covered with paint.  Once covered, the oils paints repel the rain.  Uncovered, the rain repels the oils, and I'd have to give up or start with a dry panel.  The rain steadily increased, but I had plenty of time to get my painting finished before calling it quits.  Two rain paints this week - and I loved it!  Love capturing the mood of the day while standing in the midst of it - THIS is plein air!  Painting number 1863 in 1863 days.  Now for some hot tea, a warm blanket and watching the Olympics!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Crimson Impressions

With such a drab, rainy day washing all of the icy beauty out of the landscape, I turn instead to my palette knives and roses for my daily fix.  I love to play with these knives - each painting an experiment in mark making!  Today, I start each petal at it's outer edge, pulling the paint toward the center.  This leaves the thickest paint at the edge, giving the petal dimension.  Further knife play is in order - but the warmer weekend temps may just get me right back outside!  So many things to paint - so few hours in each day!  Painting number 1862 inn 1862 days.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Winter Osage Orange

Dressed in layers, with a hot mug of tea at my side, I was toasty warm as I captured the icy landscape in oils!  The subtle color changes in the frozen pasture were a study in grays!  I first marked my scene with my brush - and realized I had not allowed my paints to thaw up in the house before heading out!  My white, which is thick anyway, was hard to move even with my stiffer brush!  I don't use mediums or turp, so with no way to thin the paint, I could only persist in the working of it, until it moved enough to fill the masses!  It worked out, it just took me longer than usual.  Now that I'm in the house, I see a couple of marks on that tree that should be tweeked.  Sometimes, I am SO mesmerized with my surroundings on site - I miss those little things!  What a gorgeous day!  Painting number 1861 inn 1861 days.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Creek Bend

I couldn't resist getting out in the icy wonderland again today!  Another front was expected at 6:00, so I sandwiched all my errands, chores and painting into one window of time!  It felt pretty warm when I started out in the sun, but soon clouds filled the sky, and I wished I had another pair of leggings on.  There was so much wildlife out today, though not a single person did I see.  About 100 Canadian geese landed on the lake, and I startled five deer as I approached the creek.  One little bluebird flew along side me as I  walked back.  Could there be a better place to capture this winter beauty?  Painting number 1860 in 1860 days.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dressed in Ice

Staying home on an ice day offers me such complete freedom to paint this icy wonderland at will!  The colors change every moment like a prism.  Heavier clouds, more violet, thinner clouds pushed pink and peachy - and the ice, like glass shifted.  I stayed close to the house, as the freezing rain shifted back and forth to sleet. So still it was, with the gentle pelting of ice.  I love this kind of landscape so much that Beau and I went crunching all over the fields when I was finished!  And then I started another one!  Painting number 1859 in 1859 days.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Turning Creek

When I realized the 67 degree morning was not going to last, I hightailed it to a favorite local painting spot.  Little did I know I would get caught in a deluge of rain - far from the car and without my rain gear!  I tried holding my palette cover over my palette to keep the rain out, but failed!  Thank goodness I was almost finished and the whole panel had paint on it!  Otherwise, I could not have continued!  Already wet, I pulled up my lightweight hood to keep the rain out of my eyes so I could quickly finish.  It had suddenly turned so dark, it was hard to see!  That cloud bank had come up behind me, and I was so tuned in, I never saw it coming!  It has been a long time since I've been caught in the rain - and I loved every minute of it!  This view was SO worth it!  Painting number 1858 in 1858 days.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

February Cloudscape

The winds never let up today!  Sundays are always filled with family activities, so I didn't find my painting window until the light was beginning to fade.  The clouds made for some excellent color shifts, and I had to be fast with that brush!  Without time to dig out my best brushes for soft edges, I used my workhorses - Princeton's polytips angled.  I can handle them with vigor, and they stand up beautifully with that thick paint.  I used only one of my Silverwhites to soften edges, adding a little warmth as well.  A large bristle brush softens big masses, and my finger is always one of the best ways to soften specific areas.  Just like those days of finger painting - who doesn't remember how that slick paint felt on the fingertips?  Painting number 1857 in 1857 days.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Down at the Pond

Once the sun came out, it was very pleasant down by the water.  Two of our grandsons were over for the day - so we went exploring (with my easel, of course)!  Climbing trees, finding secret hideouts, squishing in mud and tossing sticks were the order of the day, and I painted right in the middle of it.   As I took a quick video, I looked over just in time to see Alastair sinking in mud in his brand new shoes!   Almost recorded it!   Never a dull moment around here!  Painting number 1854 in 1854 days. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Home Before Sunset

I could see the light starting to change as I ticked off chores on my "to do" list.  Always an eye to the sky, I just could wait no longer.  I put dinner prep on hold, and headed outside with my 5x7 thumb box.  This is the perfect size for those quick paint windows!  I simply hold it with one hand as I paint with the other.  My palette for this box of an Altoid tin!  No kidding!  I started with only the Zorn palette colors on this, but transferred many other colors to it when the glass broke in another palette.  Not willing to waste that paint - I dropped them into this tiny one!   As a result, my paints are NOT laid out in the same manner as every other palette I have.  It does not hinder me in the least.  When those little puddles are used up, I will not replace them.  Only my core paints will remain in the end!  Painting number 1853 in 1853 days.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cedar Creek in February

Cedar Creek is beautiful even in the dead of winter.  Birdsong and the babbling of the water created a peaceful ambience for painting.  Joined by two of my plein air artist friends, we caught up with one another as we worked, capturing the scene before us.  The warmest day of the month so far - it was a delight to be emersed in it!  A little taste of spring to relish when it turns cold again tomorrow!  I'm using the cool blue underpainting today - and it feels good. I had a warm one with me, too, just in case the landscape called for it.  I think I'll prime a few more in this shade for the next month or two. Who knows?  It might just become a regular thing!  Painting number 1852 in 1852 days.  And now, my son has made tilapia for dinner - SO AWESOME!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Baked ATC

Working in miniature on this interior scene at the Roasterie.  "Baked" is behind glass, and it is such a convenient place to watch AND paint!  This tiny painting was the roadmap for a larger piece, executed with more detail.  I had intended some of these for a city show, but alas, was just too busy to apply.  Oh well, it is all about the process, and this is something I really want to explore this year!  Painting number 1851 in 1851 days.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Baked in Ink

The Roasterie is such a wonderful place for a hot beverage, a bite to eat, and glorious sketching!  My first time here, it surprised me that this iconic building with the airplane on the roof is tucked right into the heart of the city!  What a treat to find George inside working his magic with bread and pastries!  I love being able to capture this kind of scene on site!  He was a wonderful subject - and really needs to be painted in oils as well!  Painting number 1850 in 1850 days.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Tucked Behind the Hill

Oh!  I am having fun exploring the winter landscape in oils!  The dark clouds dissipating from shades of plum, are striking against the sunkissed ochre in the tall grass.  Yellow ochre, raw under and burnt umber are my friends in that grass today, with bits of sky color reflecting throughout for good measure.  The barn is not the star here, just part of the hillside mass, a little eye candy for those who take a closer look.  This is the quiet part of winter, full of changing light and temperatures, with foliage still in their winter slumber.  There is SO much peace to be had in a quiet pasture!  Now, if I could only get those Herefords to walk into my scene!  They are playing "aloof" with me, and I've not caught them yet!  Painting number 1849 in 1849 days.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Making Truffles

The light was stunning as it poured in from the window, illuminating this baker as she dipped truffles in chocolate.  I walked up on this scene with only enough time for a quick sketch on site.  After leaving, and busy with the everyday events of life, I kept thinking about it.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  So, today I had to put that scene down in paint.  I used my sketch, my very fresh memories, and a photo I took before leaving to assist me.  I'm not sure if it's finished or not, I've lost the daylight now.  So, I will check it in the morning and see how I feel about it in the light of day!  Painting number 1849 in 1849 days.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Messenger Coffee

What a treat to spend a morning at Messenger Coffee in Kansas City!  From coffee roasters, bakers, fireplace going on the upper terrace outside, to the bustle of people in the lobby standing at the counter, this place is full of painting opportunities!  The only place I could grab a chair offered me this painting vantage. I liked capturing the patrons as they came and went with their coffee and pastries.  I sketched the structural lines first, to give me a map to drop the people in, one at a time.  Once the drawing was complete, I started with the watercolor.  In a place like this, speed is key - so I painted fast!  Sketching with friends is certainly a wonderful place to explore places I would not otherwise see!  Painting number 1848 in 1848 days.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Beau in Profile

After a busy day, I settled down to paint something "easy".  Well, this was anything but easy!  Beau is such a beautiful dog, he could be painted many different ways, but I chose this position.  He holds his head like this SO often, with just that expression - I had to paint it!  In such a close up, I found the planes more difficult.  I pushed them one way, then the other.  With the light behind him, it cast many subtle color shifts in that shadow side - and I found them tricky!  I ended up spending way more time on this than expected, but I think I'm happy with it.  I'll check it again in the morning, and see if anything jumps out at me.  Painting number 1847 in 1847 days.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Looking Down 17th Street

Today's painting adventure took me to Messenger Coffee House for an impromptu gathering of artist friends capturing the cityscape!  I started painting in the crowded lobby, catching the hustle and bustle of this busy coffee shop.  For this one, my second of the morning, I moved to the second floor with a bird's eye view of 17th and Grand.  Feeling "black and white", I used my favorite fountain pen (TWSBI mini) filled with cosmic black ink.  I love the velvety feel as I lay down those marks.  A little water to soften that rich black, and I was out the door to beat the meter!  Really, artists should get a special tag, allowing us to park as long as we need, to finish those masterpieces.  No telling how many paintings will never come to fruition, because I'm limited to 2 hours only.  Painting number 1846 in 1846 days.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Have I mentioned how much I LOVE painting children?  From graphite and ink to acrylic and oils, the possibilities are endless!  I forgot to post this commission when I painted it (in the thick of plein air season) so I'm doing it now.  Here, I have started with a white, slightly textured surface and painted her with acrylics.  This is the ONLY time I start with a white surface on my panels.  Only portraits in acrylic.  I prefer it due to the translucent nature of acrylics.  Even the heavy bodied do not seem as opaque as my oils when applied in the same way.  So, I start by pretty much saving my whites, and brushing in my darks.  The loose brush work only adds to the drama and impressionistic feel of the piece.  Another important part - I never thin down my acrylics.  Not with mediums and not with water.  I use a rather dry brush technique, only washing brushes when done.  I keep them in a damp paper towel between uses.  I know it sounds kind of crazy, but after many years of using acrylics, I get the best results this way.  Painting number 1845 in 1845 days. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Barn in the Snow

This barn remains as "civilization" crowds in on three sides.  This is the first time I've painted it from the back side.  The distant color in the sky made this decision for me, as it was growing dark and moody behind me.  Snow was expected, so I painted right after the gym - my easel always at the ready in the trunk.  When I opened it up, I found my sediment filled safflower oil frozen!  I use that to clean my brushes since I'm solvent free.  Who knew this freezes at 16 degrees?  It warmed up in my pocket, so I was able to clean my brushes before leaving.  Painting number 1843 in 1843 days.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Winter Road

A beautiful, heavily overcast day for a landscape paint, the snow started falling while I was out.  The wind is so still now, I hardly feel the cold.  It has warmed up to 23 degrees!  This is my maiden voyage with this new Guerrilla Painter 8x6 thumb box.  I like this size!  It is not a size I paint often, but really perfect for a cold day with a small painting window.  I used the blueish underpainting for this, and it was certainly quieter on my eyes than the pumpkin shade.  I like it for a seasonal change, the jury is out on whether I'll keep it around for the long haul.  Only time will tell.  I used a pale yellow for the early plein air years, this burnt orange tone for the last 8 or so years, but this is a change in temperature from warm to cool.  That is different indeed.  Painting number 1842 in 1842 days.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Yellow Rose ATC

This is the perfect time of year to brush up my painting skills on specific subject matter.  I love roses, and their complicated planes can be challenging.  So, I want to study them until they are easy - and in various mediums, too!  In already thinking ahead to easier ways to approach the composition next time.  Since they aren't blooming outside, I guess I'll have to pick some up at the store next time!  Painting number 1841 in 1841 days.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Roasterie Roaster

What a fun urban sketching event!  This morning we all met at the Roasterie in 27th Street for our monthly sketch crawl.  SO much to paint!  The cafe, the bakery, the cupping room, and this big, beautiful roasters - wow, what a treat!  I could have stayed all day to capture all the wonderful equipment and bustle!  Painting number 1840 in 1840 days.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Shades of Winter

Today I tried a new tone for the underpainting of my landscape.  I washed a cool blue (with shades of blue violet) over the gesso prior to taking it outside.  There are so many  warn browns in the landscape now, I wanted to add a little contrast below the paint, both in hue and temperature.  You can see little bits of it popping through - especially at the edges.  I pushed that color with added paint when dotting it around the landscape.  I like the energy!  Switching up a detail like this really allows me to stretch, pushing me to see things with fresh eyes.  It's ALWAYS a good thing to get out of one's box!  Painting number 1839 in 1839 days.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Early to Bed

I've been wanting to paint this little beauty for some time, and I finally got to it today.  After a busy day of the gym, shipping paintings, visiting my daughter - the biting cold winds were less than appealing to this painter!  Taking care of those necessary computer chores, I turned my attention to the easel.  Oh, it felt good to pull my brush through my paint, even if some of that paint needs to be scraped.  I'll clean that palette another day, when I'm not chomping at the bit to paint.  I primed this panel in a different color - a grayed down plum shade.  I've been wanting to try it under my winter landscapes, but I just happened to grab it for tonight as well.  I like it.  I think the orange I use in the summer months is just too strong for the subtle colors of winter.  I also brought my favorite palette knife out to play!  I love the fresh marks this knife leaves in it's wake!  With this old cat's beautiful coloring, I will definitely be painting her again!  Painting number 1838 in 1838 days.