Friday, March 31, 2017

Kelso Family Llamas

I had the pleasure of painting on the farm of a childhood friend in Eudora, Kansas today!  What fun!  My daughter was able to go paint with me,  as she is still home on siding break.  Spirit,  Hustler and Adelaide were at first aloof, but soon warmed up to me and got close enough for me to really paint them.  This was so much fun, and my first real experience to paint them.  The dark,  overcast day was a perfect backdrop,  saturating all color.  I pulled out my viridian green for the first time today - a sure sign of sorting!  I have a feeling these beauties will be immortalized in paint many times!  Painting number 1543 in 1543 days :)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring on Main Street

This dark and rainy day is the perfect backdrop for spring flowering trees!  I had circled past a few places that I'm keeping my eye on for peak color,  but this scene drew me in twice before I submitted to it's call!  I have a crazy mix of paint in my tin,  because I scraped it from another palette (waste not,  want not)!  The background buildings along Main are a law office,  Belton Glass, and Whistle Stop Antiques, and I'm painting them from the Bank of Belton parking lot.  I love the way those pinks vibrate against the green paint of the Whistle Stop - and those wet roads are definitely a bonus,  where color reflects loosely.  My paint is getting a little tacky (I keep forgetting to put it immediately in the freezer,  in fact it's in my box right now) and I must get this loaded with Gamblin solvent free gel!  This gel is amazing and will bring the flow right back.  The safflower oil I use to clean my brushes just is not a good thinning option.  I'm a green painter,  no turps or solvents,  so I really need this morning "go to" medium in a pinch.  Time to pack it up,  more rain is coming!  Painting number 1542 in 1542 days.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

JC Nichols Fountain in Ink

There is nothing as invigorating as first strokes on a new,  decadent paper!   This special paper just arrived from the UK - and I am going to reserve it for Kansas City's historic fountains!  This paper is thick, rough textured, and feels velvety to the touch!  If I leave my pen touching the surface,  the ink absorbs to a deep,  rich black.  I wonder how it will behave with watercolor.....dare I try it?  The edges are so beautiful,  it really should be framed floating,  for all to see the handmade artistry of this paper.  There are times when pinching pennies may be practical,  but skimping on paper is not one of them.  You definitely get what you pay for.  I love these 100% cotton khadis from India!  Drawing number 1541 in 1541 days.  So many fountains,  and only 20 sheets of paper.....

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Looking Across Broadway

Finding a scene where there are plenty of cars is harder than you might think - especially if you live in the country!   I tried several local grocery stores, but the view just didn't strike me as "painting worthy".  The Country Club Plaza,  however is a mecca for this subject matter, and the backdrop is always amazing.  I have started hiding a tiny plein air artist (me) in these pen and ink street scenes!   I may be talking to people, or maybe I'm alone,  but I'm always standing in front of a painting on my easel, with my hat on!!  There are 24 cars and 50 people in this drawing......can you find me?  Drawing number 1540 in 1540 days :)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Rainy Day Redbuds

Dark,  rainy days are the perfect backdrop for spring flowering trees!  The redbuds almost glow in such a landscape!  I added permanent rose to my limited palette today,  solely for the redbuds.  I think the color is more true,  with a touch of ultramarine,  to the actual bloom color.  Alizarin alone is not the right shade,  although I have used it when no other color was available.  Spring is definitely the time to pull out my regular palette.  I didn't even miss it most of fall and winter,  but now the color is calling!   It's going to be a little tricky to get all that color on my tiny Altoids palette!  Painting number 1539 in 1539 days :)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Starry Night on the Plaza batik

I really like the way this batik method works with cityscapes! As always,  the results are unpredictable and paint moves freely on the rice paper,  but oh the rewards are many!  The striking thing about batik is how dramatic it can be!  In a few steps,  a simple scene can become magical.  The stars are knocked off the tip of a bristle brush dipped in hot wax at the very beginning!  I can't wait to teach these upcoming workshops!   Painting number 1538 in 1538 days :)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Barnes and Noble on the Plaza

I find I'm wanting to draw constantly!  Michaela is home for spring break,  and we picked up some sweet drawing supplies!  I LOVE drawing journals from India!  The quality is superior in all materials.  I can't wait to start them!!!  But for these study works,  I am using my original sketchbooks (which I once bought because they were so cool).  Just like every other media,  once I really dive into what I'm doing, I zero in on the tools I really love.  This smooth paper is well suited for this kind of drawing.  I'm using a medium sepia Pitt pen, only because the fine and superfine are running low on ink!  It actually works well as long as I use a light touch.  These cars are still a little forced,  but the lines are getting a little easier.  I love how this challenge makes child's play out of hurdles!  Drawing number 1537 in 1537 days :)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Artists Painting the Plaza in ink

Painting cars in the landscape has always been a challenge.  I tend to avoid them,  or better yet,  ignore them completely.  So,  they are my self imposed challenge of the week.  100 cars in one week.  I begin by drawing them,  because the media is less forgiving than paint.  I need to be held to the line!   Even though this is focused study,  I want it to be strong compositionally, not just 100 cars lined up hood to bumper.  What better place than the Country Club Plaza for an amazing backdrop for all the mundane cars?  I look at the shapes that make up each car individually,  and draw just that shape.  I start with front of car,  then the angles of hood and wheel,  next the roof,  finally the back,  treating it like I would a figure.  All figures are angles,  get the angles right and the figure is right.  It's a struggle,  but I'm hoping it will be a breeze by 100!  Drawing number 1536 in 1536 days :)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Food Line at Rozelle Court

Time is not a thing to be squandered,  so when I saw how long the lunch line was,  I took my sketchbook with me!  With limited time,  I had to make fast decisions,  and the first was my composition.  It did seem a little crazy to draw the whole scene - but that was exactly what caked to me,  so I did it!  The first few marks were the central hall, people ahead of me,  and then the structural lines spreading out to the right.  Loose and fast,  I dropped in people,  tables, plants,  until the composition was finished - and it was my turn to grab a tray!  After enjoying soup and a croissant,  I added the color.  I think this very fast piece is my favorite of the day!  I love getting together with fellow artists at the monthly Art Mob event!  What better way to improve your skills than with friends?  Painting number 1534 in 1534 days  :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Eiffel Tower in Batik

I love the unpredictability of watercolor batik on rice paper.  Every stroke moves and mingles at will.  For this painting,  I've used masa paper,  which is a heavier rice paper.  It has a slick side and a lightly textual side  - and that is the one you want to paint on.  I start with my Pitt pen by drawing out the composition.  Pitt pens are India ink, so they won't run when paint is applied.   All light values were painted first,  then hot wax was applied over these areas with a natural bristle brush.  The rest of the color is added,  then waxed,  then all is crumpled up.   Into these cracks in the wax more watercolor is applied,  I used sepia.  All wax is then ironed off between layers of brown paper,  or newspaper.   Voila!  That completes the process!   Painting number 1533 in 1533 days.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Red Fox Sketch

Who knew it would be so fun sketching at Scheels in Overland Park for our monthly Art Mob event?  It was so fun - I could hardly stop sketching!   I worked on three ink drawings, filling in with watercolor, and I barely scratched the surface of their subject matter!   The best part of being involved in various art groups is the unique painting opportunities I'm exposed to!  I would never have done this on my own, and now several of us will be going back for wildlife studies!   Painting number 1532 in 1532 days  :)

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring

On this first day of spring,  the temperature soared to 87 as I arrived at a friend's house for a little plein air after painting class!   Her land is wooded with many oaks,  and there was little shade to be had.  It was surprising to stand in the woods, in full sun!  After checking the lake,  we decided to venture to the creek.  The bend of the creek was perfect - and the high banks,  a bonus!  Looking towards the west was fine at 4:00,  but I was painting into the sun by the time I finished.  Even with my wide brimmed hat,  my eyes were burning as I packed it up.  It was so peaceful down by the water,  and pretty cushy with her husband playing "cabana boy" and delivering cold drinks as we worked!  If only every day could be so sweet..... Painting number 1531 in 1531 days.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Milk Barn Forsythia

With each day,  the forsythia blooms open even more!   Their spring glory is so fleeting,  that I feel duty bound to capture them while I can!   I love their sunny yellow cheerfulness - and am already planning on new places to plant the new babes.  The dogs have gotten quite used to me painting in the pasture,  and are my constant companions.  I added a new color to my palette today - raw umber.  I rarely use it,  but have lately thought how perfect it would be for the dried grasses in the pasture.  I like it!   I'll see how much I use it before deciding if it is a keeper or not.  Painting number 1530 in 1530 days,  and what a gorgeous day it is!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cattle Study in Ink

Tonight finds me finishing up my 100 cows for my self proclaimed "cow week"!  I love this concentrated study!   The watercolor painted cows seemed to roll off the brush,  but the first 20 inked cows were more of a struggle.   So, of course I returned to the ink to finish them up!  They were easier tonight from the very first one.  There is something to that cell memory theory!   The lines flowed more easily,  and the forms came more naturally,  which is all I'm after in these studies.  One good idea leads to another,  and this study had led me to think of another rather unnatural subject for me - cars!   I started with a few on the sunset paint a few days ago,  and I will continue in that theme during the upcoming week.  One by one,  I am going to face those challenges  - and show them who is boss!  Painting number 1529 in 1529 days  :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Creek in the Woods

I found this creek a month ago while out on a run, and I've been looking for an opportunity to paint it!   I met Diane and Sandy there,  and we hiked into the woods.   Finding the perfect spot,  I set up my easel at the edge of an embankment,   with a bird's eye view of the winding creek.  For the second day in a row,  I recorded some of the plein air experience on Facebook live.  Ten minutes from afar,  to soak in the surroundings,  and again at the final minutes of finish work.  You can check my Facebook page to view.   It was such a beautiful spring day to spend en plein air,  truly a gift.  Now it's time for a little r&r with the family!   Painting number 1528 in 1528 days.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Forsythia by the Barn

It was sheer joy to spend an hour in the pasture putting paint to panel this afternoon!   Warm and a little windy,  I set up my camera to record a video of this painting.  First thing I learned - I should have had my phone fully charged!   When it blew to the ground from a tripod behind me - I realized it was completely dead!   I haven't looked yet to see if there in anything to salvage,  perhaps how I start a painting?   Oh well - I was far too involved in the process before me,  to think about anything else!   I planted this forsythia years ago by the barn, and each year it grows more lovely.  What a joy it is to paint again each spring!  I've also planted it by an old gate, and at the back corner of the house - I hope to get those paintings done before these beauties fade.  Painting number 1527 in 1527 days.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Old Red by the House

I had already passed a herd of cattle on the way to pick up some plexiglass, intending to return and paint them on the spot.  Then,  I saw this fabulous old truck parked at the side of the historic home which is now Woodson Antiques and Interiors.   With the late light - the whole landscape seemed luminous beneath the dense clouds.  I had to paint it!  There was a steady stream of traffic crossing between the scene and I, but it did not distract me.   Tucked back in the parking lot,  I worked unnoticed.  The painting just fell off the brush,  and I needed this creative outlet today!   After two days of intense housework - I needed therapy!   I felt so much better after painting - I  could actually enjoy dinner out with the family!  It was so nice to have Michaela and Cooper join us for the night!   Painting number 1526 in 1526 days :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cattle in Ink

As I have proclaimed this my week of 100 cows (!), I have returned to my sketchbook with pen in hand.  The last 50 cows were painted in watercolor without drawing,  and they became very easy by the 50th.  I never thought drawing them would be harder!   I'm just not yet familiar enough with their forms,  to draw them with ease.  In fact,  if I'm not careful,  I slip right into drawing horses!!  I think I'd better draw the remaining 30, too - just so I can really get a handle on them!  This piece makes 1525 in 1525 days :)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Rush Hour Sunset

Today,  I am experimenting!   I want to achieve that "staring into the sunset" feel for this painting,  and I'm using a rather unusual subject for me - a street scene from town!  When I'm in Belton for a sunset,  the best open sky view is from the Kohl's parking lot.  I first underpaint the sky with a cad yellow ball (sun) that gradates out to a cool sienna/alizarin shade at the edges.  I place my sun off center for best composition.  I do all of this in acrylic.  When dry,  I start negatively painting everything by placing in the actual sky color in oil.  In this case I have a Naples yellow/ochre mix.  I scrape back to the wires,  but all else is shaped by the sky color.  I want to add "100 cars" to my monthly goal, so I start here with 4!  I add taillights to the cars,  and - voila - I think it is finished!   I might just go out and paint the windmill in the same way! Painting number 1524 in 1524 days :)
oil on panel, 6x6
purchase here

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dairy Farm

Last week's challenge of painting 100 people in one week was eye opening.   What better way to concentrate on a specific set of skills?   My figure and gesture work has become more fluid and natural - in just one 100 renderings!   With this in mind - I am approaching cattle with the same focus.  I love them,  but have so little experience drawing or painting them that I have to consciously think about their forms as I paint them.  I want them to be fluid, falling off the brush without effort!   I'm watercolor sketching these,  without drawing them first,  allowing the colors to mingle.  I'm using up a watercolor block that I don't care for,  after all,  the focus is the form.  I really only like 300lb paper,  and this is a 140lb cotton rag (artistico).  The texture is too smooth for me,  I prefer the rough.  After about 30 of these babies,  they started rolling off the brush more smoothly.  I'm already more comfortable with their form.  Yay!   I see more of these personal "focus" challenges in my future!   Painting number 1523 in 1523 days.   Perhaps my next focus will be cars in a parking lot!  :)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Historic Presbyterian Church

I had to deliver my son's wallet to him at robotics, just when the snow was really coming down.  This was the perfect opportunity to paint snow!   Grabbing my easel from the trunk - I started painting this historic church on Main Street in the car!   The flakes were so large and heavy, I couldn't keep them off panel or palette!  I have to admit,  it was pretty cushy sitting on my heated seat,  drinking my hot chocolate Chai tea, with my pocket easel in my lap......a girl could get used to this!   As fast as I work,  I still could see the light blanket of snow melting before my eyes!   The street went wet, reflecting the colors of the church,  before it lost it's sheen entirely.   In one short hour,  most of the snow was already a memory. Thank goodness I was here for this exact hour, to capture this illusive beauty!   So glad my son forgot his wallet!  Painting number 1522 In 1522 days :)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring at the Homestead

After the gym this morning,  I drove all over old town, Belton,  looking for a fabulous old house surrounded by flowering trees.  Winter is moving back in,  and I want to capture those blooms before the freeze gets them!   I found plenty of historic homes,  but the trees weren't at their peak,  or the light would be better in the afternoon,  blah, blah, blah.  I wasn't feeling it,  so I headed home.  Well,  this is what greeted me  - perfect light,  perfect blooming trees,  even plenty of daffodils to capture!   There really is no place like home!   Painting number 1521 in 1521 days :)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Spring on Main Street

I love the character and charm of these wonderful old houses!  The trees in the yard had just burst into bloom - and I couldn't resist them!   Having finished my errands after the gym,  I jumped right in.  After all,  that shower can wait,  but the changing light waits on no one!   This couldn't have been more true today.  When I started this painting,  the sun was bright and skies were blue.  As I finished one short hour later,  lightening and thunder rolled in with giant raindrops!   I barely wrapped up in time!   And, I thought I was going to knock out two before returning home......!  Painting number 1520 in 1520 days :)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Plaza Shoppers

This week's challenge of 100 people in one week has me trying all sorts of things.  First,  I drew a bunch in ink.  Next,  I painted 9 in a gallery interior. This scene has 20 figures in it,  and yesterday's painting was really just a sketch in watercolor with no drawing.  In this one,  I've first drawn then in ink and then painted them in with watercolor.  The hard part is getting them drawn before they exit the area, so I'm learning to really look at them before making the first mark. They are getting easier with each one drawn.  I still want to try some different techniques,  negative painting and some loose oil figures.  It is very hard to resist the blooming trees that have suddenly exploded all over town,  just to work on this challenge!  If only there were plenty of people flocking to the beautiful blooms!  Drawing number 1519 in 1519 days.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Main Street Gem

When I headed out to paint this afternoon,  my intention was to paint the shops on Main Street - with plenty of people walking the streets.   Once on location,  I couldn't settle on a view.  The light wasn't right,  or I couldn't set up where I wanted with the extreme wind,  or I just wasn't  "feeling it".  But this house is inspiring.   I remember when it was run down years ago,  and now it is in the glory of it's former days.   I LOVE it when this happens!   I am again using my limited palette,  but I am rethinking that decision for spring.  Many things are blooming now,  and the grass is turning green - so I think I'll need to load a warm and cool of the primaries in my Altoids tin!   It was 70 degrees when I finished - and so windy,  I had to try several shots before I could get one in focus!  My hand and easel were really blowing with the gusts!   Painting number 1518 in 1518 days :)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Opening at the Buttonwood

This week starts a challenge to paint 100 people in one week!  So,  I will concentrate on paintings with lots of people in them,  as well as doing some extra figure drawing!   What better way to improve those figure skills than this?  I'm not even close to the hundred yet,  and the thing is - they are already getting easier.  I'm getting their proportions faster,  the gesture of movement easier,  and it feels like the mechanics are just slipping into place.  Why didn't I do this earlier?  Well,  art is a journey,  and this is just a road I haven't taken before,  like so many others that lie before me.  I can't wait to see what this year will bring!  Painting number 1517 in 1517 days....I think.....!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Starry Skies in Batik

Surprise!   How about a wild and crazy watercolor batik fit tonight's painting?   Inspired by some of the amazing photos of deep space, this painting was a blast to paint!  The stars are flicked on first in hot wax and a small bristle brush.  In layers, I paint from lightest to darkest, allowing the paints to mingle.  This is nothing like my regular batik work - thus making it super fun!  I'll be doing more of these as I prepare for a couple of upcoming workshops.  Painting number 1516 in 1516 days :)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Light in the Water

With only 40 minutes to spare in the middle of this very busy day, I got to work!  The day was so beautiful, I had to squeeze in a painting down by the pond!  I like the very natural, woodsy state of this place.  I am capturing the masses and colors, and dropping in texture where I see it.   Working so fast to get down the info, I will probably do a little tweeking tomorrow.  Painting number 1515 in 1515 days :)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Peculiar Farm Supply

Today is all about time management!   There has been a certain order to everything I've done today, just to cram everything in!   I got to this location directly from the gym, and the light was fleeting!  Working fast, I draw quickly and start floating in paint.  I've only used my "classics" and "decadent pies" watercolor tins for this painting.  While I was painting the uppermost door and windows in that building, a shadow crossed the light path I could see from a window, through the open doorway......yikes!   This place is reported to be one of the most haunted in Cass County!   Perhaps he was just interested in what I was doing out there!   You just don't know what will unfold in a daily painting adventure.  Now, I'm on to an Opening at the Buttonwood Gallery for the Urban Abstract Show! Painting number 1514 in 1514 days :)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Cornerstone Chapel

This chapel was calling my name, long before I got home from the gym.  I've been wanting to paint it, and each time I had a chance, the light was lacking, or time was too short.  With the beautiful sunny day, this was my chance!  I scouted the area a while before deciding on the angle.  I was also tempted by the Feed Store down the street, but it will be best with morning light, so I resisted!  I am using my limited palette of yellow oxide, red oxide, alizarin crimson, ivory black and white, but with the addition of ultramarine blue.  I absolutely had fits last time I was trying to mix green, so I added the blue. This beautiful chapel has 1909 stamped in the concrete over the large window.  I once attended a wedding there, and it was charming inside with the graceful stained glass windows.  I love painting this small town treasure!  Painting number 1513 in 1513 days :)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cattle in the Winter Field

Oh how I love to see cattle in a pasture!  It brings back so many childhood memories of grandma's farm, and of my great uncle Richard's farm, too!  We ran cattle for several years here, and I remember vividly having to chase them back over the fence with a broom in my hand!  These creatures are beautiful and gentle, and so peaceful to paint.  They graze slowly in the field, which is a big bonus when it comes to choosing animals to paint en plein air!  I wish my neighbors had a few of these in their pasture, then I could simply walk to the fence for a good pastoral view!  I simply must do more of these!  Painting number 1512 in 1512 days :)