I spent about an hour at Pike Place Market yesterday looking for flowers for new still life pieces, and made a definite spectacle of myself on the ferry ride home trying to keep too many bouquets and bunches upright. There had to be thousands of daffodils and tulips, cherry blossoms and hyacinth to choose from - it's impossible not to leave there happy!
Some people write journal entries; I keep a recipe book... paint recipes. This comes in very handy when I need color inspiration, or when I'm working on a larger piece and need to remember how to mix a certain color. I'd love to be able to write that these formulas just stay in my head, but that rarely happens!
Lately I’ve been painting playful landscapes in heightened colors that are designed to help the viewer feel like they are in an environment completely void of anything serious. Stepping into these scenes erases all responsibilities to bills, schedules, emails, and people duties. The brush strokes are largely unblended and the fine details have been omitted to give the eye a break. We have enough figuring out to do – my hope is that everyone who takes the time to stare will leave the painting feeling light-hearted.
However, not every day is a bright, primary palette, and yesterday I decided to do a raw umber experiment. Raw Umber, cool brown, or blah brown – they all mean the same thing and are a perfect way to dull the brilliance of any color you’ve mixed.
In this palette raw umber is the base for each color and I chose a simple reference image for the color study. This photo was taken in California on the freeway to Monterey out the window of a moving twelve person van that included four kids. No, I wasn’t driving:) I’ve included the picture here. It’s really amazing what paint can do to change a scene. The result is a quieter, less bossy painting, and I'll definitely use this palette on a larger piece.
It has been two months since I've picked up a paintbrush, so this little study was to get me back in the swing of things, and it took a loooong time. The move from Calgary to Bainbridge Island went surprisingly well - furniture showed up, car showed up, paints showed up, and they didn't leak all over the place. We're back in business! Waves of homesickness come and go, especially for the kids, but exploring and discovering has been the medicine. Places like Bloedel Reserve and Fay Bainbridge Park are a painter's toy store - there is new inspiration everywhere. It will be really easy to come up with a new series:)
The birds in this 12 x 12" piece are grittier than the ones I usually paint. They could have just stumbled out of the pub. To achieve the look of an unpampered bird, I blended less, added more thick layers with a palette knife, and kept the brilliance of the colors to a minimum. The photo I've shown here is a detail shot of the listening end of the duo.
In other news, I will have a few of my pieces in Clawhammer Letterpress and Gallery in Fernie B.C. very soon. Visit their website by clicking here. You'll love the feel of the place when you walk in - it's casual, creative, and welcoming.
(Roll over the image to pin it)
I decided to name this piece "Gathering the Courage to Ask", but it was originally going to be, "I'll Think About It" and I went for the kinder option.
Most of my birds look very whimsical, like they are painted quickly, but you'd be surprised at how long I take to complete one. I try to consider each stroke of my brush but am less careful with the palette knife. One time I posted a video of a bird in progress on Instagram and I removed it within a day because it bothered me that it looked so rushed - it wasn't a true representation of how I paint. The video turned out that way because of the pressure to fit as much information as possible into that short, timed clip. So I was hurrying and won't post a video again unless I feel viewers would like to see three brushstrokes and a bristle-dip in some linseed oil!
Over the holidays I managed to work on three small still life pieces, in between playing hostess, laundry lady, and Santa's personal assistant. My son still believes in the big guy, who somehow gets through the pane of glass on our fireplace every year. The lies we tell!! He's catching on, though, and I'm sure that this will be the year that the older kids at school break the news to him and he comes to us for confirmation.
Once these paintings are set I'll go in and tweak areas with dry-brush strokes. Until then it's back to work on a winter series of birds for Sagebrush Fine Art. I'll never tire of painting these adorable creatures! Happy New year!
This is a head shot of my most recent subject. He's bold, wise, and a little stubborn.
If you're on Instagram, you can follow me at Nineart, and if you enjoy perusing through images of birds, you'll want to follow Adam Goldberg at ajcgoldberg. He's amazing at catching them in action!
Please click on each image to see the next one....
I recently signed with Sagebrush Fine Art Publishing, and they have been really wonderful about promoting my birds!
All of my feathered friends as well as a few floral pieces will be included in the Surtex
art and design show in New York in May. Prints and mock-ups for potential licencing will be included in this show.
The composition of this piece chose the title. Their branches will be the same color once the dust settles.
This robin was not only huge, but brave. I was able to get very close to him as he perched on the side of our birdbath. When I finished the piece I wanted to give it a noble title to represent the personality of this guy, so my kids and I looked up the species name which sadly turned out to be "Turdus Migratorius." My seven year old son thought Turdus was the funniest name for a bird he'd ever heard, and all of the nobility of the title went flying right out the window. I decided to go the more simple route, and just name the piece "Robin."
Exciting news pour moi - my piece titled "Salad" was chosen for exhibition by Linus Gallery in Pasadena, California. It will be a part of the Slice of Life show on April 26th under the category of Fork & Knife, so if you happen to be in Pasadena on that day, say hi to "Salad" for me, and enjoy the event! Many beautiful and creative paintings will be displayed, so I feel very grateful to be included in a show beside that kind of talent.
When it starts to snow here, I usually start painting either beaches or flowers. This is the demo piece I didn't complete when I painted at Cabin Cafe last weekend. I was having too good a time chatting with coffee drinkers to focus on brush strokes. In this piece I concentrated on the basic shapes and left out a lot of details, remembering that the colors are the stars of this show.
My husband has a friend who is fond of Instagramming his sandwiches, and the caption usually lists what the contents are. He makes plain old sandwiches look like works of art somehow, so for a host & hostess gift for a party he held last weekend, I painted one of his creations, and my husband had the caption etched at the top. So fun to paint a sandwich!
I'll be painting at a local coffee shop - The Cabin Cafe - on Sunday the 13th if you'd like to drop by. They have great coffee and lots of seating, not to mention the rustic wood burning fireplace for wintery days. They're on Bow Trail and 45th Street in Calgary.
A close-up of a made-up and therefore unclassified species of bird.
Nest Study III Oil on Board 9 x 9"
This is the tidy, single person's nest I was telling you about a couple of blog posts back. It may not seem so when you look at it now, but that's because I went back in a messed it up a bit to create interest. It was just so "formed" before... so perfect looking. Made me nervous.