Friday, June 24, 2011

Pinot in a Row and another from Sonoma

"Pinot in a Row"
9" X 12" oil painting on canvas panel.

This is another painting from the Sonoma Plein Air Festival. I literally pulled my car off highway 12 just north of Sonoma, set up my easel and went to work capturing this view. Since it was early spring, the grapes weren’t hanging from the vines yet. What drew me to this scene was how the morning sun kissed the vines, background trees and created that wonderful shadow shape you see at the bottom of the canvas.

The challenging part was dealing with all the different shades of green. Keeping the foreground greens warm and background greens cool created depth and helped differentiate the forms. I added hints of pink and yellow near my background trees to draw the eye deeper into the painting.

After putting in my earphones and getting my iPod going it turned out to be a great spot to paint, in spite of the traffic whizzing by my back. After this one was finished I rolled my gear down the road a little ways, found a shady place to set up again under a tree and painted the painting you see below. A few times a tractor drove past me down the dirt road, hence the title.

"Tractor Trail"
8" x 6" oil painting on canvas panel.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Demonstration for Orange County Fine Arts

Tomorrow night I'll be doing a demonstration painting for the Orange County Fine Arts group in the Showcase Gallery at South Coast Plaza Village. Join us at 6:30 for light snacks and the demo. will begin at 7:30.

Showcase Gallery
South Coast Plaza Village (across from South Coast Plaza)
3851 South Bear St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Phone: 714-540-6430

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Feature Article in Informed Collector

Today the Informed Collector did a feature article about me and my artwork. I was pleasantly surprised when I finally found out. Of course, I had no idea because the kids kept me so busy this morning that I didn't check my email until late afternoon. Because the rewards of being an artist don't include swords, shields or superpowers my kids aren't impressed and don't feel inclined to dismiss me from my snack-fetching duties so that I can read my emails. Luckily, an artist friend told me otherwise, I might have missed it entirely.

Artists who have won awards or placed in the top 15% of the Fine Art Studio Online monthly contest are informed that we might be chosen for a feature. While I haven't won an award from FASO, two of my paintings did make it into the top 15% recently. The paintings were Duomo View and Jewel of the Coast which you can see by clicking on the titles.

To read the entire article click here. A quote from the article, "Plein air work with a lyrical quality and energetic brush work, drawing us in for a long, lingering, introspective visit." They are talking about my artwork, how cool is that?!

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Documentary About Being an Artist and Mother

Who Does She Think She Is?

A few days ago I shared this movie trailer on my FaceBook page. There was such a huge response that I thought I'd share it on my blog as well. This documentary follows several artists who are struggling to balance their lives as both mothers and artists. While I haven't seen the film yet, I am anxiously waiting for the movie to be released on DVD because, as you know, it is something I struggle with myself.

One of the questions asked in the video is, "Can you name 5 female artists?" Without using Google I came up with 3, that wasn't including all of my artists friends, of course. I was trying to remember all the women artists named in my art history classes from college. How sad is it that I only remembered 3. Without using Google how many can you name?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Country Lane

11" x 14" oil on linen panel

When I arrived in Sonoma for the plein air festival a few weeks ago my plan was to complete 2 paintings every day so that I would have a group to choose from for the both the gala dinner and art sale at the end of the week. I was lucky in that my first painting, which you see here, turned out well. It ended up being sold in the silent auction at the gala dinner (I apologize for the poor quality of the photo, I didn't get the best shot of it before it sold). 40% of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork go toward funding arts programs in Sonoma County's public schools which, like so many schools here in California, have had their arts programs cut.

Here is a photo I took from my iPhone while I was painting the scene. As you can see I began my sketch with paint - ultramarine blue that's been thinned with Gamsol. Often I will do a small value sketch in my sketchbook before I start which helps me develop my plan of attack and see any potential pitfalls before I'm too invested in the painting.

Above is a shot of the actual scene. This was a nice quiet spot that I shared with local cyclists who would periodically whiz by. Just to the right is a protected wetland that is home to many birds.

I chose this scene because I'm a sucker for a good strong lead into a painting and the road here provided just that. Having a few distant trees helped add interest to the focal area once your eye traveled down the road. The telephone poles also added interest and kept your eye from leaving the painting on the left side. As you can see I edited some of the trees on the left too. In life they were much larger and didn't have a very pleasing shape. I edited them down to one tree to keep the painting balanced but reduced it's size so that it didn't compete with the large tree on the right. I also changed it's color temperature to a cooler set of greens compared to the tree on the right. It's hard to tell from the photo of the painting but, the larger foreground tree is much warmer with lots of olive green and alizarin. The hills in life were much more golden than this photo shows and I kept that feeling in my painting because I liked the contrast with the color of the road. Overall I was pleased with my first painting in Sonoma.

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