Sunday, December 27, 2009

Looking The Other Direction

Painting backlit snow is very difficult, as I discovered today. It is troublesome to judge color or value when one is looking into something so bright. I think I have exhausted this subject for a while, and will try something else tomorrow. The ice was cracking all around me as I was painting this, but I managed to stay dry. This view is looking the opposite direction from the one I painted yesterday. The colors look better in person than they do here on this post. Overall, it was a magical day, yesterday's heavy fog combined with a zero Fahrenheit overnight temperature creating a thick flocking on everything in the valley. A very gentle breeze blew the crystals into the air where they seemed to hover and sparkle like diamonds in the sunshine against the deep blue sky. It was very Doctor Zhivago. Study 6x8 oil on linen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day Bliss

There is nothing I love more than going out on a beautiful sunny, snowy day to paint. And this week I can't seem to get enough of trying to paint this creek. Today I braved the slippery wet rocks to get a view from the middle of the streambed. This study is my favorite one so far; I am not tired of trying this subject matter yet. There is another view I want to try, but I haven't found the right lighting conditions for it yet; maybe tomorrow. I arose before dawn today and it was crystal clear, but quickly the ground fog moved in and it became as thick as pea soup, and seems to be lingering all day in the valley. You can practically watch the hoar frost form on the trees; flocking everything, including the downy winter coats on the livestock, into barely discernable tints of color. It was tempting to try a fog scene, but since the weather looks like it is going to become overcast soon, I thought I'd drive up above the fog to paint the creek again. Study 6x8" oil on linen.

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Christmas Wish

All I wanted for Christmas was sunshine, snow, calm winds, time to paint, and World Peace. Four out of five isn't too bad. It couldn't have been a more perfect morning to paint. If this weather holds, I'll be heading out again tomorrow. Both studies are 6x8 oil on linen. The snow wasn't super fresh, but there was a lovely inch or so of feathery hoar frost on everything which made the snow extra sparkly and lacy (see below), definitely a winter wonderland. The second study here is the one I painted first, fairly early in the morning, and I could hear the coyotes yipping in the distance. Merry Christmas one and all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Serenity

I finally had a chance to get out and paint today in the snow. It was overcast, but otherwise a beautiful morning. Twenty degrees and absolutely calm. I managed to find something I wanted to paint and found a nice, quiet site to relax. I really liked the location so I may try to return later in the week and try it again, hopefully with better results and maybe a little more sunshine. Study 6x8" Oil on Linen.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

June Pasture

I finished this painting yesterday, although I painted the study for it on a beautiful early morning in June 2008 in northeastern Oregon. If I could begin every day like that, I would be a happy girl. I was thankful for Gore-Tex boots since I was half-standing in the chilly flowing water of a runoff ditch. Across the road were some long-horned cattle with the biggest horns I have ever seen (see below). I kept imagining what it must feel like to go around all day with the weight of a bowling ball on each side of my head. Of course if I had tried to paint one of those beauties into my painting, it would have looked like a cartoon. The steer I did paint are the more ubiquitous Hereford breed raised for beef. They seemed to graze in a synchronized languid pace, wandering in the same direction down the long pasture, turning as a group and leisurely ambling and munching on the way back. I am happy with this piece because I think I managed to capture the mood of that bucolic morning. 40x20", Oil on Linen.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Aspens Glowing in the Afternoon Sunshine

I also painted this one a little while ago, but I'm unsure how I feel about it. I had fun painting it though. It was painted from a couple of studies I did a year ago. I had hiked up into a remote spot to paint, and as the sun became lower and lower, I became more and more paranoid about grizzly bears since they were very active getting fat for their winter hibernation. 24x18 oil on linen.

Autumn Hillside

I painted this from a study done a year ago in eastern Idaho, near Wyoming, in the Victor Valley. I painted it a while ago, but I keep fussing with it. 30x24 oil on linen.

Pass Creek

I painted this one a while ago, but never got around to posting it, probably because I wasn't sure if I was done with it. I'm still not sure. The study was painted in eastern Idaho last September, a year ago this week. When I was painting the study, I spotted what I believe was a beautiful North American Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata). 36x24 oil on linen.

Early Spring in Sonoma County

I painted the study for this painting last spring (technically winter, but to me winter means snow). It was probably January or February, one of those rare pleasant winter days between storms where the radiant heat from the sun is instantly missed as it sets at 4:30 in the afternoon. I was actually painting a different view. It was getting late, I was shivering already and packing up to go home. I turned toward the car and this scene in the last of the afternoon light begged to be painted. My study was very rushed, I just tried to get a few color notes, but it was enough. I spotted the study in my pile and decided it was time to paint it up. I started a smaller canvas and by the time I had finished my rough-in I knew I wanted it bigger, so I grabbed a bigger canvas and started over. I'm glad I did, it is my new favorite. 30x24 oil on linen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sequoia Watchtower

I worked this study up to 24x18 a couple of weekends ago. It was a nice way to keep the memory of the trip fresh in my mind while it was still aching in my joints. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sequoia National Park Backcountry

A few studies from my backcountry painting trip last week in Sequoia National Park. All studies are 6x8", oil on linen. The study above is the view toward Watchtower rock
along the popular Pear Lake trail at roughly 9,000 feet. Pear Lake sits in a deep granite bowl at 9,500 feet. A small group of us painted for three beautiful days this year. We had one day of high clouds, wind and flat light, but mostly it was sunny and pleasant. Coyote, pika, chipmunks, bats, mountain bluebirds, and tiny pearl grey mice with white bellies were abundant. I spotted a large buck and an occasional hummingbird at 9,500 feet. The American Pika is an endangered species, threatened by the effects of global warming, so it was nice to see these extremely cute creatures.

We had mostly crystal clear skies, but one morning was more atmospheric. I could smell blueberry pancakes cooking on the camp stove as I was painting the study below.
On the first morning, after not much sleep, I arose well before sunrise to paint, not realizing that the sun doesn't illuminate anything in the lake basin until later in the morning.
The sun also leaves the lake basin well before sunset.
On the hillside above my tent site there were a few gnarled old white pines in interesting shapes growing out of cracks in the granite.
Most of the Lake was surrounded by these steep granite walls that were streaked with mineral deposits. The lake is not particularly deep, and the color consisted of deep jewel tones.
In a couple of places, the granite was interrupted with areas of vegetation. I thought the shapes in this area were really interesting.

Near Jenner

I hadn't been out painting on location for a while and felt very rusty as I tried this seascape study near Jenner. Of course, when one is feeling rusty, a seascape is probably not the easiest subject; however, it was a glorious evening on the beach, clear and calm. The study is 8x6", oil on linen.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pacific Morning

This painting is 24x20, Oil on Linen. It was painted from a study done last June, near Jenner. I'll shoot a better photo of it when I can varnish it.

Napa November

This painting is 24x18, Oil on Linen. It was painted from a study done last November in Napa County. I'll shoot a better photo of it when I can varnish it. And the color correction on this is terrible!

Boxing Day Breakfast

Another snow painting. This was painted from a couple of studies from last December. I'll take a better photo of it when I can varnish it and make it less shiny. This painting is 24x18, Oil on Linen.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Through The Woods

Oil on Linen, 24x18. I painted the study for this on New Years Day 2008, and have wanted to paint it larger since then. It was a little weird finishing it on a day where my thermometer hit 99 degrees, but it made it feel refreshing I think. The mountain in the distance is Chief Joseph Mountain in the Wallowa Mountains, the location is just outside Enterprise, Oregon.  I want to paint all four seasons of this view at some point, there is something about it that catches my eye every time I drive by. A painting done on location always triggers memories of sights, smells, events. The study for this reminds me that the snow plow drivers in the area are a force to be reckoned with. They fly down these country lanes at top speed in enormous trucks and do not slow for anyone. And there is nowhere to park to be out of their way without getting stuck.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ediza Afternoon

This painting is also 36x30, Oil on Linen. It is painted from a study done last August at Lake Ediza, in the John Muir wilderness in the eastern high Sierra.

Valley Aspen

This painting is 36x30 Oil on Linen.  The study for it was painted in Victor Valley Idaho last September. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

View of Wallowa Lake from the East Moraine

The Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts is June 5-7, 2009 in beautiful Joseph, Oregon. I hope to be participating this year and this is my donation for their silent auction to benefit the festival. It is 12x9, Oil on Linen. You may recognize it from a couple of my studies from last summer, painted on the east moraine overlooking Wallowa Lake. I have lately finished two large paintings that I will post as soon as I have decent photos of them. I also hope to rework and update my web site soon, it is long overdue. I have several other large paintings in the works, with one getting very close to completion. And I hope to get out on location soon, I'm overdue for that as well. To paint this scene, I had to get up at 4:30am and hike up a steep hill for an hour to catch the early morning light as the sun peeked over the moraine. It was an excellent way to spend the morning before breakfast. 12x9, oil on linen.

Monday, February 9, 2009

In Case You Are Wondering...

Yes, I have been painting, I just haven't been out plein air painting lately. I've been working on a couple of studio paintings based upon my summer studies and hope to have one completed soon. Stay tuned...