Wednesday, January 30, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 29 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Among the stacks of photo reference that I've been meaning to get to, are bunches of photos of the Grand Canyon. A quick stop there was part of my cross country trip 3 years ago. Though it was May first, it was snowing as we set up the camper. This was the inaugural trip for the camper. We had gone from summertime heat in Texas to high wind and snow at the Grand Canyon. On the first night in the canyon, it was 28 degrees, and the heater broke. Ah well. What's a trip without a little adventure? It was pretty hard to get out of that nice warm sleeping bag the next morning but I had never seen the Grand Canyon and I was ready to hike! I spent the next day and a half absorbing as much of the incredible scenery as I could.
This is a little painting of trees on the South Rim, a short walk from my campsite.

Trees on the Rim - oil on linen panel - 9x12
click here for purchase information

From the Back Burner -Day 28 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

 I might need to change the title of this post since I'm not going to make it to 30 paintings. This painting actually took 3 days to complete. I felt like working on something a little bit larger so, this one is 14x18.
The place I painted is almost magical to me. It's of Mission San Antonio de Padua. We took a back road to reach it on a rainy April day. From highway one in Big Sur - my favorite place to be - my husband and I traveled up a road that led over the coastal mountain range. What an amazing drive! You climb ever higher on a narrow dirt road with no guardrails, until the ocean and the highway are small and far below. I envy that lucky person whose home we passed high in those hills nestled between mountain tops. As we reached the summit of the range, it began snowing.  It's hard to describe the sensation of standing mountain-top in snow and swirling clouds, watching as bits of jewel blue ocean appear and disappear in the mist. It's so quiet up there!

As soon as we crossed over the top, it was full spring time in the valley on the other side.Trees were in flower and everything was a soft green.The mission itself sits on such a pristine piece of land, that I could really feel the sense of walking the same ground and seeing the same mission and mountains as the people who lived and worked there long ago.

April Rain in the Valley of the Oaks - oil on canvas panel - 14x18
click here to purchase print and help preserve this mission

Friday, January 25, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 24 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Well, on challenge day 24, I have just 20 paintings. But I'm not going to beat myself up too badly. That's 20 I didn't have a month ago. Participating in this challenge is one of the best things I've done for my art  in a while.
 Today's painting is from a spot in my neighborhood. In fact, it's right on the other side of my backyard. The house that overlooked this view, was destroyed in a hurricane. For years the lot stood vacant and was a routine stop on my evening run. The sunset over the bay can be spectacular! The painting below the challenge painting is one from the same spot that I painted a few years ago. The challenge painting is a tiny 6x8. The other one is 30x40.

A Quiet Evening - oil on canvas panel - 6x8
click here for purchase information
purchase a print!

Sunset Over the Bayou - oil on birch panel - 30x40
please contact me if interested in this painting

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From the Back Burner Day 22 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

My challenge painting today is again from the California Coast. Every time I visit, I take a drive on highway one through Big Sur. I like to leave early to make the most of the day outdoors. The road is very winding and hilly and around each bend is a vista more beautiful than the one before. In the morning a dense fog hangs over the coastline and roadway. Gradually the light becomes brighter and finally you're rewarded with a glimpse through the fog of an impossibly blue sea far below sparkling like crushed jewels. By noon the fog is gone and the views are a painter's paradise. I could spend years looking at the ocean from these mountainside perches and never grow tired of it.

Morning Fog - oil on linen panel - 9x12
click here for purchase information

From the Back Burner - Day 11 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

The gymnastics I went through today to photograph my challenge paintings, would have done Bela Karolyi proud. The light has been throwing so much glare on the paintings that the colors don't show up properly. Today I found myself balancing atop a chair, while clutching the tripod and trying to shoot the work flat on the ground. Still no luck. So until I set up a new photography station, I won't be posting these paintings on my web page.
For today's challenge painting, I chose a photo from my absolute favorite place to be - the central California coast. It's a different experience for my east coast eyes, to see the sun set over the ocean. Another thing that fascinates me is the way the waves come in from way far out with a lot of space between them and over such a far reaching expanse of sand, that you can walk way out and still be only ankle deep in water. At sunset, the show is especially spectacular. It's like walking through liquid jewels in a dazzling light. Magical! What I would give to be able to spend months out there!

West Coast Sunset - oil on canvas panel - 11x14
Here is yesterday's challenge piece. Please contact me if you are interested in either piece.

Afternoon Shadows - oil on canvas panel - 7x9
purchase this painting

Monday, January 21, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 20 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

For today's painting, I chose another photo from Perdenales State Park. The basin that the Perdenales River runs through is wide and full of the most amazing rock formations. I spent hours climbing over huge boulders, and discovering little ponds and waterfalls among the rocks. There are warning signs posted telling people to leave quickly in stormy weather, because flash flooding can fill the basin in minutes. I've never seen a flash flood but the pictures of this very wide and deep basin completely filled with rushing river water are dramatic. Later on while hiking a trail in the campground,  I was amazed to see flood debris high overhead in the trees. On this sunny warm day, the weather couldn't have been more perfect.

River Basin - oil on canvas panel - 11x14
buy now


Sunday, January 20, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 18/19 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

 This challenge painting took two days to finish. It's a painting I've had in mind for a while.Two years ago, I had just made my first and so far, only trip to Monterey and Carmel. After a day of touring these two spots, my husband and I had just enough time to stop briefly in Pacific Grove. This beautiful town has stayed vividly in my mind ever since. The waterfront is a painters dream with rocks, jewel-toned water and carpets of flowers everywhere. Craft style houses, my favorite architectural style, line the coastal roadway. The late afternoon light on that day was warm and inviting. Another California Paradise!

Pacific Grove - oil on canvas panel - 12x16
purchase this painting

Friday, January 18, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 17 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

One of the many things I like about central California is the eucalyptus trees. They're unlike any tree on the east coast. They look green, silver and red all at the same time and the rustle they make in the wind is almost musical. I discovered that there are a few different kinds. My favorite have long oval leaves like the ones at William Hurst Memorial Beach which inspired this painting. As soon as I got out of the car there, I asked what is that amazing scent? They have an unusual scent as fresh as the ocean. I wanted to take a piece of that home with me to Florida so I went to a plant store to try to buy one. I could have spent all day there wandering among the flowers and plants that don't exist in Florida. When I found the plant expert and asked about buying a eucalyptus tree, he laughed and said they grow like weeds. No one buys them. I carried some cut branches home with me to paint but away from their home, the magic was gone.

Eucalyptus Trees - oil on canvas panel - 11x14
Buy this painting

Thursday, January 17, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 16 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Three years ago, My husband and I drove from Florida to California.This trip gave me my first view of California and my first drive through the western states. I couldn't believe  how much space there was out there and I promised myself my next home will be somewhere in the western third of the country. I saw types of land I so different from what I was accustomed to that I took a zillion pictures to try to remember it.
 We left the Florida Panhandle at the end of April, which is already beach weather there. We didn't pack any winter clothes thinking we wouldn't need them in sunny California, but once we'd passed western Texas it became so cold and fiercely windy that I had to stop to buy a winter jacket .Somewhere between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon it began snowing so thickly you couldn't see through it. Snow on May first! I loved it! This little painting is from the shots I took that day.

High Desert Snowstorm - oil on linen panel - 6"x 8"
click here to purchase
purchase a print of this image

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 15 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Here in the northeast, I haven't seen the sun for more than two weeks. Maybe that's why I'm dreaming of sunny California. Today's painting , A Piece of the Rock, is from a photo I took in Morro Bay. There's a huge rock there sometimes referred to as the Gibraltar of the West. You can see it from miles away. In fact, I frequently stop at a high point on the way back to Templeton, to see Morro Rock in the distance bathed in mist and the pink light of sunset beyond ridges of green hills. But that's another painting waiting to be made. As large as Morro Rock is - my painting shows only a tiny piece of it - It's actually the relatively small plug of an ancient volcano. The remnants of part of that volcano form the shape of the coastline of Morro Bay. At one time, the rock was quarried. Now it's a sanctuary for sea birds. A narrow drive goes about three quarters of the way around the rock. It's amazing to look high above and see hundreds of birds perched on ledges like people on the balconies of a luxury high-rise. 

A Piece of the Rock - oil on linen panel - 9x12
click here to purchase

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 14 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

It's day 14 of the challenge and for the first time, I've fallen behind. I finally crashed after 13 days of painting til dawn. I made it to 3 AM and with my painting only half done, I went to sleep.
Managing my time is turning out to be for me the most difficult part of this challenge.
I'm still playing with the store-bought linen and canvas panels that I was getting ready to throw in the garbage early in the challenge. I won't buy them again but I have found that they are much easier to work with by using soft sable brushes instead of bristle brushes.
Today, it was dark and grey as ever, but I made an interesting discovery. I took day 13's painting outside to photograph it, and was surprised to find that the colors showed up as well as on a clear day. So, here it is. The photo reference is from the town of Cayucos. Every chance I get to visit the family house in Templeton, I make sure to include a visit to Cayucos and Morro Bay. Have I said how much I like it there? - I'd have moved to the coast yesterday if I had no ties or duties.

Cayucos Sunset - oil on canvas panel - 12x16
click here to purchase

Monday, January 14, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 13 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Day 13.  Different day, same story. I couldn't photograph my work. It was so dark and grey today that I've had lights on inside all day. I've never lived in a place that is grey and overcast the majority of the time. No wonder everyone here is on vitamin D. I miss my Florida sunshine!
 For day 13, I did another painting of the west coast. I chose a scene with buildings, a feature I don't paint very often. Also different in this painting is that I used a sable brush for a lot of the painting rather than the usual bristle brush. The soft brush glides over the surface in a really nice way  but It doesn't create the same textural effects that a bristle brush does. The surface is definitely flatter. Hopefully I'll get enough light to shoot the painting tomorrow.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 12 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Day 12 found me with very little time to work. Managing time is turning out to be the biggest hurdle of this challenge. I did have a tiny canvas on hand though that I haven't used because it  seemed too small for anything. Last night it was the perfect size.
This little scene of a pond in an old neighborhood near my Florida home, is a spot I've brought my students to. They painted in the morning light of a tropical summer day while I snapped a few photos of reeds and waterlilies.

Reeds and Lilies - oil on canvas - 6"x6"
click here to purchase

Friday, January 11, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 10 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Today was one of those brown and grey winter days in the north. In the country, a day like this can be beautiful  with the shapes of bare trees silhouetted  along hill tops. But in suburbia, it's just plain dreary. It's been so dark all day, that there wasn't even a chance of photographing my day 10 painting. For day 10 of this challenge I headed out yesterday to a nearby park to work plein air. My usual method for plein air work is to work large, getting as much of the scene down as I can and returning as often as I need. Then I finish it to my satisfaction in the studio. It's a method that has worked for me since I first began plein air painting many years ago. But lately I've become dis-satisfied with the amount of time it takes to finish a work. Sometimes I even lose enthusiasm for whatever it was that inspired me in the first place. So I've started to work  more quickly entirely on site even if that means having to work smaller.There's truly no substitute for working from life. Everything is different. There are subtleties of color and light and shape that photos just don't capture. My painting which hopefully I can post tomorrow,  is a study of trees on a lake edge in the late afternoon light. The water kept changing every two minutes and each change was more interesting than the last. I finally had to choose just one option and stick with it. 

Afternoon Shadows - oil on canvas panel - 7"x 9"
Buy Now!
Buy a print of this image

Thursday, January 10, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 9 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

A couple of years ago I visited  Fairmount  Park just outside of Philadelphia. It's a hilly, wild park with rocks, woods and ravines and a landscape vastly different from where I live in Florida.  At the entrance to the park were 3 or 4 small buildings set back a bit from the roadway. They sat  quietly in the winter day like dignified relics of a time long gone. I began to read about them and sure enough the buildings were what was left of a tiny settlement dating back to the early 1700's, and are the site where the country's first paper mill was built. The woods had grown so thick around them that it was impossible to get back far enough to get an unobstructed  photo with all the buildings in it. Even so, the photo interested me enough to try it as a painting with the quiet feel of a winter day and a time past.

An Old Homestead - oil on canvas panel - 14x11
click here to purchase

The past two days have been difficult for photography. Both this painting and the one below from yesterday, have some interfering glare. I've posted them anyway to keep up with the challenge. When the weather permits, I'll re-shoot them. The scene below is another one from Perdenales State Park.

Winter Meadow - oil on canvas panel - 11x14
click here to purchase

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

From the Back Burner

A few years ago I went camping with family members who live in Austin. They took us to Perdenales State Park to a campground with the most spacious sites I've ever seen. As with all places I've never seen, I was wide eyed with appreciation for the beauty of the land. Every place I turned, was material for a painting. I came upon this little cave while climbing through the rocky basin that the river runs through.  It looked like it had just enough head room to carefully fit a kayak under. I'll bet there's a story too behind the branch that looks it's propping up the boulders. I have no idea how far back the opening extends but it had enough mystery to excite my imagination.  I know I'll get back to that park with more time and a lot of canvasses.

Water Cave - oil on linen panel - 9x12
click here to purchase

Monday, January 7, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 6 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Continuing my experimenting with painting panels, I tried a canvas panel for this painting. This panel worked a little better than the linen one I tried the other day, but it's still too thin and smooth and without enough tooth. I'll stick to making my own. They're a little heavier but the painting surface allows for a better more interesting layering of paint. I also worked larger for today's challenge. It's 12x16. Too me, that's a pretty small size yet I wasn't able to finish it in one sitting. I'm also finding that the earth brown I've been playing around with is a bit too warm for my liking. It's a version of pigment red 101 that has somehow been turned into a dark warm brown. I use browns mostly for making greys by mixing them with blues. I like the burnt umber I usually use better. It's a little bit cooler.
This week the weather is expected to be unseasonably warm here. I'm going to take advantage of it to do some plein air works.

Backwater - oil on canvas panel - 12x16
click here to purchase

Sunday, January 6, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day Five - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

I had a bit of excitement in the "studio" yesterday. I'm caring for family members in their home, so my studio is usually the room I sleep in. For this 30 day challenge, I've been painting instead in the family room close the the computer and my photo source. It's been pretty nice. The room has a gas fireplace which, of course, I turn off when I'm painting. I wait til family members have gone to bed, turn a movie on low and paint away! Well, for the last two mornings there's been a really strong gas smell in the house. The first day, I opened windows and ignored it though I must admit I had visions of the house going up in smithereens. On the second day my brother walked in and said you know it smells like gas in the street- you better call the gas company. My brother has a  creative nature. His photographs are gorgeous and in demand. But he seems also to have been born with both his and my share of logic and horse sense. So I was on the phone to the gas company before he had walked out the door. A very patient fellow from the gas company came over and spent more than an hour checking every single gas appliance in the house. I'm relieved to report that the smell was nothing more than the solvent fumes reacting to the pilot of the fireplace. He said there is no danger of anything igniting but each time the fireplace is turned on it's going to smell funny until all traces of the solvent are gone.
With all that excitement, my painting from last night isn't quite finished so today's post is actually the first painting I made for this challenge. The title reflects my intent for this challenge to just keep moving onward.

It's Water Under the Bridge - oil on canvas panel - 6"x8'
click here to purchase

Saturday, January 5, 2013

From The Back Burner - Day 4 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Continuing my exploration with things I've put off, I treated myself to a new work surface. Or at least I thought it would be a treat. Usually I work on a rather heavyweight canvas with a bit of tooth. When I want a panel, I make my own archival product. But I've heard such great things about working on linen, I'd thought I'd try some linen panels. I bought 6 oil primed linen panels after reading rave product reviews about what a pleasure they are to work on and how well they hold colors.
Well, I couldn't have been more disappointed. The panels are so smooth and slick that it's like painting on a sheet of waxed paper. The key words in the product description were "non-absorbent surface". I can see them working quite nicely for someone who paints in thin layers. I work by layering on top of the underneath strokes. Since the paint skims the surface of these panels, there is nothing for the next layer to react with. I found myself painting on top of un-anchored strokes and fighting the surface the whole way. I kept persevering though and this day 4 painting is the result.

The Sound at Night -9x12 - oil on linen panel

I know I will not be using the other five 9x12 panels. If there are any artists out there who want to conduct their own explorations with these panels, I purchased them on sale and will pass the savings on to them. For today's painting,  I'll be trying yet another panel. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 4, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 3 - 30 paintings in 30 days

Everyday at sunset, people gather near the point of Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola to watch the sunset. The sailboat resting peacefully, seemed to accent  the calm beauty of the evening.

The photo reference for this painting was another from the pile that I intended to get to "one of these days". I'm still playing around with a palette of Ultramarine blue,  Alizarine, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre , a muted dark orange and an earth brown. I also threw in Viridian Green for this one.

Resting - oil on canvas - 12x12
click here to purchase

Thursday, January 3, 2013

From the Back Burner -Day 2 0f 30 paintings in 30 days

Life can take you on unexpected journeys. My life has landed me unexpectedly up north away from my home and husband in Florida. Every two months I go home for a visit. Last October, I was just in time on my visit to catch the very last of the swimming weather. While exploring the dunes near Pensacola Beach, I came upon a patch of beach scrub topped with bright yellow flowers. Against the dark green of the holly and oaks that covered the dunes, the bright yellow made an intriguing patchwork of light and dark shapes. It's funny how something will trigger long dormant memories, but the colors and shapes reminded me of a favorite set of wooden blocks I had as a young child that were exactly those same colors. Happy colors, happy sunlight and the pleasure of strolling though a beautiful place on an autumn day!

Sundrenched Dunes - oil on canvas - 11x14
click here to purchase

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

From the Back Burner - Day 1 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

This is my first painting of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge! I used a photo I took in Pensacola Florida. I liked the pattern the rocks made and the pensive simplicity of the scene. 

Waiting - 6x8 - oil on linen panel
click here to purchase
purchase a print


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

From the Back Burner

Tomorrow begins a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. For artists reading this who would like to join in, here is the link.
I am typically a slow and thoughtful painter. I build my studio paintings up in layers,scraping off and adding until I get the effect I'm after. Even in my plein air works, I'll return to the site as many times as is needed to finish. Or, if the painting won't benefit from a return visit, I'll finish it to my satisfaction in the studio. The painting below is an example of that approach.

October Gold- 16x24- oil on canvas
to purchase, contact Patina Art Gallery- 215 327 7387

To paint 30 paintings in 30 days means a complete departure from my usual working method. Will I have to work smaller? Sketchier? Faster? I don't know. I do know that I'm going to use this opportunity to explore ideas I've left on the back burner. Photos I've taken that I thought might make a good painting and then forgot about, are on the easel. Paintings I've started then set aside are also candidates for the challenge. Finally, those interesting spots I've driven past so many times and thought someday...
So, starting tomorrow,  these paintings will appear daily on this blog and on my website For the month of January they will be available for purchase. After that, who knows.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...