Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Painting a Fishing Boat is Getting Me In the Mood for Summer!

"Tied Up in Newport Harbor, Oregon"  14" x 11", oil on linen panel

This spring, I haven't been painting as much as I did last spring.  So to get in the mood for summer, I painted a commercial fishing boat that catches crab in Newport Harbor, Oregon.  This painting was done from a photo that I took last summer when I was there and was painted in my studio over two days, about five hours total I think.  Another reason I painted this is that, in a few days, I'm going to Seabrook, SC with a couple of painting buddies (Therese Lynch and Margaret Hanke) to paint (of course).  I suspect there'll be lots of boats there, and I had never painted a real, traditional fishing boat so I thought I should give it a try before I get to the ocean in South Carolina where we'll be painting plein air.  I loved the reflection of this bright blue boat in the water and its juxtaposition to the yellow and orange boats.  Never knew commercial fishing boats were so colorful!  Life is Art and so is fishing!

Several people reminded me that, in my last post, I raved about Twinrocker Handmade Drawing Paper but didn't include the link to their web site.  Here it is:  If you want to get a swatch set, ask them questions, or place an order, their toll free 800 number is on their web site also.  Paintings and drawings on my web site are now for sale through PayPal and include packing and shipping.  My next post will hopefully include some paintings from Seabrook, SC---sun and sand, oh boy!  Thank you for your comments and for viewing this blog.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Drawing the Figure at the Lafayette Art Museum

11" x 14"
It's difficult to explain to a non-artist how intensely enjoyable it is to look (gaze, stare, scrutinize) an object, landscape, or figure for an hour or more without stopping.  However,  it's almost unimaginable how FAST the time flies by when I'm drawing or painting it. That is interpreting the subject on paper or canvas with pencil marks or brush strokes,.  If I wasn't drawing the subject, it would probably be impossible to sit and just look at a figure for an hour. But when you draw or paint it, you're constantly comparing, adjusting, asking yourself, "Is it too big or too small, too high or too low, too dark or too light?  What part do I want to emphasize?  How will I lead the viewer through this?" and on and on...

10" x 7"
12" x 12"
Then there's the beauty of the mark itself to consider, i.e. the calligraphic stroke, be it pencil, pen, or brush and the sweep, looseness, pressure on the paper.   
10" x 7"
10" x 7" 
In the beginning, there is the gesture of the figure to consider, especially in a quick 8 minute study as in the two figures above.
11" x 14"
14" x 11"
And one of the MOST IMPORTANT things to choose are the MATERIALS AND TOOLS I'm going to draw or paint with.  After all, the materials I choose are what the viewer will actually see and possibly own and live with.   When drawing, the pencil and especially the paper is crucial.  The paper needs to be responsive to my touch, beautiful to see (as the drawing itself will cover very little of it) and yet tough and erasable.  That's why I always draw on Twinrocker handmade paper.  This paper has a sensitive, natural look like the marks I'm making on it; it's not mechanical looking like machine made paper.  Consequently, it's much more fun to draw on than machine made paper, and the result shows it.  Twinrocker paper is also completely archival, cotton rag, and light fast so the drawing on this paper, colored with pigments, can hang in someones home without ever fading.  Sometimes artists think handmade paper is too good for them or too expensive, but a large sheet of Twinrocker drawing paper, in a Text or Heavy Text weight is about the price of  lunch.

Well, I guess I sound like an advertisement, but if you purchase one of these drawings, you'll see what I mean.   All these drawings are priced at $45 which includes packing and shipping in the lower 48 states.  You can see them in a larger format and other work as well on my web site  .  I'm happy to  say that soon, all the drawings and paintings will be available for purchase on my web site with PayPal, hopefully within the next few days.  I'm trying to make it easier for people to purchase works without having to contact me.  Thank you for all the comments and thoughts you've sent.  I enjoy them very much, and remember I'm happy to answer any questions whether it's about art, ideas, materials, or techniques.  Please share this with friends who may be interested.  And thank you for viewing this blog.   

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Paint-Out in New Harmony, IN

There were about 150 artists at the Paint-Out in New Harmony, IN, "The First Blush of Spring", perhaps the most ever, and the weather was predicted to be good and bad.  The tiny historic town near the tip of the boot of Indiana sends everyone who visits back in time, and spring is a lovely time to be there.  The first day was sunny without a cloud in the sky.  I painted along a little wooded creek just behind the New Harmony Inn, a little 8" x 10" oil supported on my "Easy L" pochade box.
I love the delicate pale green color of spring leaves as they begin to leaf out along with the color and reflections of the bridge and trees in the creek.  The New Harmony Paint-Out has an event called "From Field to Finish" in which the artist paints a small "field study" (no bigger than 12" length) during the paint-out and then paints a larger, more developed painting at home in the artist's studio from the field study.  Just before the next year's paint-out, the artists send their field study and the larger, finished painting to the Hoosier Salon Gallery in New Harmony to be exhibited and possibly to receive a prize.  I plan on painting a larger, finished painting of this image from this field study for this competition.
My husband, Howie, entertained me and other artists as we painted.  He plays in two bands and needs his practice time too.  It made for a very pleasant afternoon.  The next day, we woke to rain and wind with a miserable forecast but went ahead and set up our easels under a very large awning in front of a great coffee shop in the center of town.  The coffee warmed our fingers and dispositions.

Slowly, the temperature warmed too; the rain stopped and the clouds even parted occasionally to let the sun through in the afternoon.

 Another artist and musician, Rick Wilson from Edinburgh, In, joined Howie who was playing banjo and another visitor joined the jam session with his banjo.  Several of us were singing harmony as we painted, and all of a sudden four more artists showed up to paint the musicians.
This is what "paint-outs" are all about, painting little plein air studies of the landscape and having a great time with other painters, meeting people and making new friends.

Now I'm home and trying to get my vegetable garden in if it will ever stop raining.  One note that is a follow-up from my last blog:  my painting "Winter in the Lilly Garden" which is in the Indiana Artist Club competitive exhibition at the Indianapolis Art Museum won an Award of Merit which made me very happy indeed!  You can see that exhibition through June 5th.  Also, the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette just had their paint-out this past weekend with perfect weather.  I was on the paint-out committee but managed to finish one painting which I'll post in my next blog after I photograph it.  More about that event then, and that's all for now.   Stay tuned...

Please share these ramblings with whomever you think would enjoy them, and you can see more of my paintings on my web site at  As you know, your comments are always appreciated.