Wednesday, July 29, 2015

California Colors

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This is another scene from a the Sunol Wilderness area near Pleasanton, CA. I did this one from a photo, but I painted a lot in this area from life a few months ago. I realized however, that the colors should really be my interpretation, whether from life or a photo. I think I'll get better and better at harmonizing as I go.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Glass Gathering

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Painting glass always reminds me what an illusion my job is. I take a stick, with little hairs on it, rub it around in piles of goop, and create a 2-dimensional illusion of 3-dimensional glass. Crazy.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Nina's Sunglasses

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I did this one in honor of Nina, my granddaughter, who recently came to visit us here in Oregon. She is one and so I was searching the house high and low to find things she could play with. I have a bowl full of sunglasses I found (cheap) at a flea market in California last year. She got a kick out of them for a while (success!), and then abandoned them in a pile on the floor. I tried to recreate the mess she made for this painting. Thanks for the idea, Nina! (later we had fun outside with water ->)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam

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I had the still life hankering again! I gotta say (again, probably) that it's really nice to have a variety of subjects to paint. : )

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Earth Mover

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This is from a photo I took in California, in the Redwoods near Mendocino. My friend Erin and I were painting nearby, but every once in a while I would stop and take a few pictures of this big guy, as the light changed.

Recently I was interviewed for an article in Professional Artist magazine, and it just came out! If you're interested, you can get the issue here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


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I photographed this old guy in Mendocino, CA this spring. The color was a bit boring in the original photograph, so I pumped it up a bit. I'm kind of intensely happy with how it translated to paint.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wallowa Farmland

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This is another one of my favorites, and the last one from my trip. While we were camped at Wallowa Lake State Park we met a nice fellow who grew up in the area. He told us about a cemetery north of the nearby town of Joseph, and how it had fabulous views. It did, and it helped me discover this area, but I actually painted this one from just down the road. If you were to drive down this road and turn left at the trees, you'd get to the cemetery shortly.

Monday, July 20, 2015

John Day River

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I apologize for being so slow posting paintings from my (Eastern Oregon) trip. We've had house guests the past couple of weeks, and I've barely opened my computer (or painted) the whole time.

This one is possibly my favorite from the trip. We were camping at Clyde Holliday State Park, and this was a little scene I found along the John Day River near our campground. While I painted this, my son sat near me drawing and reading, and my husband went for a bike ride. I had a little time left after I finished this one so I asked Jacob (son) if he'd mind waiting a little longer. He said "I'd be delighted!" What a great kid I have.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Strawberry Valley

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About the middle of our trip we stayed at a little place called Strawberry Campground for several days. It was pretty remote, at the end of a long gravel road, up in the mountains you see here. A couple of times we hiked about 2 miles up from the campground to Strawberry Lake. I did a painting there, but I think I'd like to do it over before posting.

One day I drove down into the valley (just south of Prairie City). I did a few paintings from the side of the road, including this one. At one point a car stopped beside me and an elderly woman stuck her head out and suggested I come back later to paint Strawberry Mountain when there was snow on it. Yep.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fall River (twice)

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Click Here to Bid (6x12in. - starts at $1)

I'm doing a cheap two-fer today and I'll tell you why. This the same scene done twice. The top one was painted on location, with the sun shining bright. The bottom one was from a photo taken when there was a cloud blocking the sun, painted back in my studio, with a different crop and no bridge. There are a good number of paintings from this trip I deemed not worth showing. I was on the fence with these two. And when I'm not sure I start the bidding low.

Fall River is pretty cool because the whole thing comes right out of the ground. We didn't get far enough upriver to see that, but I hear it's pretty awesome. This was near our second stop - south of Bend. We camped at McKay Crossing for 3 days, which was lovely.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Carved Cliff

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This is my last one from Cove Palisades. There was a waterfall just to the left of this scene, but I decided it would be way too cliche to include. Plus it was all in shadow. Plus I liked it better this way.

I ended up mostly painting over what I painted in the field. Again. I like it a lot better now. I would love to paint cliffs again. All the little bits in light and shadow are fun to interpret with paint.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


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This is probably the most spectacular (large) scene I painted on this trip. If I had painted any of the boats down in the river they would have been tiny specks.

To get this view I had to be up on the opposite canyon edge. Where it was windy. And when I say windy, I mean I pretty much had to strap myself to the jeep to remain in one spot. Which means I couldn't use my umbrella. Which means the painting turned out too dark, which it always does when that happens. So I had to repaint it when I got home. I liked the composition, so I just repainted over what was already there, basically lightening and refining each part as I went.

Those are the Three Sisters mountains in the back, which my husband and I hiked around (all 50-some-odd miles) a couple of years ago. They were much easier to paint than to hike around!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Juniper and Cliffs

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This is another plein air painting from Cove Palisades State Park. I struck out on a hike from the campground up into the hills around the river. I knew there were a bunch of Juniper trees there with great shapes because the boys and I had explored it the evening before.

I fell in love with this spot because of the cliffs in the background. Unfortunately there was a big gnarly sage bush in the foreground. Normally I love sage but this one was just plain ugly. So I decided to take it out of the painting. It worked just fine until I got to the ground. There were a bunch of little rocks lying around, and various patches of dead grass, so I did the best I could trying to "edit" it all into a better design. I feel like I get a little better at this every time, but editing certainly doesn't come naturally to me. Just another one of the many challenges of plein air!!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Morning Light and Shadow

My last post was about glare when I'm plein air painting. I got a number of emails afterwards about umbrellas and I just want to clarify that I have one that I love - a Best Brella. I use it every time I paint outside, unless it's too windy. It does a great job shading my painting and palette! But sometimes, if I don't have something solid behind me, there is still glare on my painting. Which makes it hard to see any kind of subtlety. Maybe I'm expecting too much? I don't know. At any rate, please pardon my bumbling. I'm still trying to figure out this whole plein air thing.

Meanwhile, backing up, this is a scene I painted a few weeks ago but didn't post because I hadn't gotten a good photo (still didn't get a great one!). It's from Clearwater Park in Springfield, 8am. I did this square one on site, and then the one above at home, from a photo and the study. The dark paint didn't photograph well. Alas.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Three Trees in a Field

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I'm going  a little out of order here and posting a painting I did about halfway through our trip, in a field near Prairie City, OR. I've been doing some work on a lot of the other paintings, fixing some issues and figuring out what is salvageable and what needs to be re-done from scratch. What I found is that only a few worked out "in the field," and the rest needed some work. For me this was most often because I couldn't see what I was painting very well, because of glare. I realized that if I had something solid behind me, like a bunch of trees or a well-placed jeep, I could see much better. Which, makes sense because it's the same thing I experience when I take photos of my paintings. When the painting is pointed towards sky (a huge source of light), there is glare on the painting. The problem is, when I find a paintable scene, there isn't always a good place to paint it from, much less a solid object to position behind me. As if plein air painting wasn't hard enough!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Crooked River Canyon

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This is the first painting I did on my trip to East Oregon with my family. We were at Cove Palisades State Park, where we camped for several days. The water in the river was particularly green, though you can't see that here because of the intense reflections.

When I set up to paint this in the late afternoon light, I figured the scene was going to change fast. So I painted fast! But the only thing that changed dramatically (the whole freakin' time) was the water. The wind (slight breeze) affected how the water behaved and where/how much it reflected the sky vs. the canyon wall. I actually painted it twice, on 2 different panels, and kept my favorite. Which just happened to be the first one. Go figure.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hello from the road!

We are having a heck of an adventure here in East Oregon! I am posting photos on Instagram, but otherwise I've been almost completely unplugged.

I would like to remind anyone interested to enter the Daily Paintworks Monthly Contest. We have a surprisingly low number of entries this month, so your chances of winning are great! First 3 prizes are $500, $300 and $150, and the top 15 artists get a free month and "featured" status on DPW, which puts you up at the top of the page for a month.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sparkling Water

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Pre-posted while I'm on vacation. I won't be able to ship anything (paintings or books) until I return home (at the latest) July 8th. My apologies!

This is another painting I did (from life) at Clearwater Park here in Oregon, of the Willamette River. To get to this spot I had to walk along a narrow log over cold water. I was with 2 friends and was able to convince only one of them to come with me. But Patti got a great painting out of it! So I think it was worth the risk.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Clearwater Creek 2

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Pre-posted while I'm on vacation. I won't be able to ship anything (paintings or books) until I get home (at the latest) July 8th. My apologies!

This is the second one from Clearwater Creek. I painted it from a photo I took a little earlier in the day - around 8am. You can see the shadows are longer, and there's more dark in the grasses and trees. But over-all things are darker, and I think that's because of the photo. I especially didn't get as much life/color in the creek bottom. BUT, I feel like I designed the whole thing a little better, and arranged the rocks more artfully. And there is more contrast where the sky reflects in the water.

I would probably learn a TON if I painted this one over and over about 100 more times. Like Monet and his water lillies.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Clearwater Creek

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Pre-posted while I'm on vacation. I won't be able to ship anything (books or paintings) until I am back home (at the latest) July 8th. My apologies!

This is the first of two paintings of these scene. The location is Clearwater Park in Springfield, OR. This first one was painted from life, at about 9am. I'll post the second one tomorrow.