Saturday, December 31, 2011

Searching For Quails

I HAVE this idea if I sit under a sheet that is painted like a rock, I can take better bird photos. What started out as a search for quail pictures ended up as a drive down memory lane today.

DRIVING up the South Fork, I passed the first house we lived in here in Three Rivers, oh, about 35 years ago, and then I passed what I call the Wells Ranch, when a memory flashed of my youngest daughter walking down the driveway to catch the bus, only to be met by 30 wild pigs. A little farther up the road I drove up a driveway to see the barn where Bron and I lived for 2 years, artwork screwed into slanted walls, surrounded by the quiet beauty of the hills.

BY NOW I felt I needed to complete the journey. Cherokee Oaks turnoff led me to the house on Elk Street, where my 4 daughters and numerous foster children thrived on puppies and kittens and Star Wars for 13 years. It was here that I decided I needed to be an artist. It was here that I left my husband to do so, continuing on with 4 children, 6 dogs and 11 cats, a mortgage and an art business that ended with the split. It was here that I raised my fist (in a tribute to Scarlett O'Hara) and swore I would survive on my own.

I FOUND the house on Ferndale with a letter to Santa. It said "All I want for Christmas is a house to rent. Your elves can call me at..." An elf did call, and Bron and I moved in. Here we discovered if the TV was in a certain spot in my bedroom, we could get "Friends" every night at 7. We also discovered how rich we were in real friends, when so many showed up on my birthday to fence a dog yard.

I WAS crying by the time I finished up with the 2 houses on the North Fork. I have loved every home and almost all of my memories were happy ones. My heart is full today as I remember how rich I am – with family and friends, 2 dogs and 3 cats to share my life, in a great house, in this most wonderful little spot on the earth.

I CAN'T wait to get started with 2012. I wish for everyone a prosperous year, and one filled with the stuff of dreams.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Persimmon Turnovers

10x14 watercolor, unframed. $200.

I LOVE persimmons. For my December recipe card this year I decided to make Persimmon Turnovers. I came up with the recipe, which includes zucchini and onions as well, because they were the only 3 veggies in my refrigerator. Sometimes the best recipes are that simple.

FOR A SPECIAL holiday treat I painted a watercolor of the ingredients instead of the usual photograph. I left off the logo with "recipe inside" and instead put a sticker on the clear envelope- that way you can frame the card as a print if you prefer. The painting is available below. Recipe cards are HERE.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Aengus and Caer 7- Solid colors

BLOCKING in solid colors is next. I still hope to finish this by Saturday. 3 more days to go...


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Aengus and Caer 6- Black Lines

BLACK lines are painted on bright orange canvas. I buy my acrylic paint from Artex Manufacturing in Los Angeles. It's called Nova Color and most muralists use it. I love it- and shipping time is amazing. If I order before noon,I always get it the next day. And that's fantastic when you're working on a mural at another location.

TOMORROW I will start painting. I love this part the most...


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Aengus and Caer 5- Swans

THIS is my finished design. I'm going to enlarge it to 36x48" and print it out in 8 1/2" sections on my b/w printer, then trace onto 36x48 canvas that has been painted bright orange.

SEE you tomorrow...


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aengus and Caer 4- Background

I NEED a background. I searched my DVD of Early European Photographs 1890-1915, Stock.Xchng online, and my reference files for lake pictures in Ireland. I dropped them behind my figures to get a feel for what I'm looking for.


Not quite.

I LIKE the lake.

I LIKE the trees, but...

REVERSED is better. I think I want to combine the lake from pic 3 with the trees surrounding the figures. So I drop out image behind the trees and drop in lake picture behind trees.

THIS WILL work. Now for the other swans...
SEE you tomorrow...


Monday, October 17, 2011

Aengus and Caer 3- Swan and Birds

HEY – I really like my first shot so I'm leaving this. I wasn't sure what to do with the bent knee but it worked. All the parts of the swan are from different photos. They are scanned in to my computer, the backgrounds are cut out and then each piece is placed around and behind the girl. Each piece is on a separate layer, which lets me move them around until I like the fit. All of this is done in Photoshop, which cuts my designing time into 1/10th the time it would take without Photoshop.

4 BIRDS added to Aengus. This is done the same way as above. Each bird is drawn, scanned in, put on its own layer, and moved around until I'm happy.

WHICH makes it easy then to place him in front of Caer. This is my basic design. Not sure where to go from here.

TOMORROW I'll figure it out. See you then...


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Aengus and Caer 2- Models

STARTING a design is fun. I have my story and now I need to decide how I will tell it. I can't say everything – I must pick elements that will be exciting to look at and at the same time depict this specific story. I can visualize a man holding a swan while becoming a swan; I can also see two swans in flight. But I think I want to show the moment when Aengus reaches for Caer, that split second before she vanishes.

will be necessary. I've been told I lead a charmed life. Whenever I need something, I find the universe to be very generous with her gifts. Yesterday, my daughter and her boyfriend, world-traveling trick-riders in the e
quine show Cavalia, arrived for an all-too brief and infrequent visit. Landon is beautiful with long blond hair and Alex has an athlete's body with long curly hair and beard. Serendipity.

of every kind are found in my reference files. I've been collecting pictures for 4o years and, even though the internet is amazing for research, I still like to browse through hard files. There's something about the smell and feel of 40 year-old pages. I have hundreds of swan pictures – I really liked the pictures with wings out-spread. And now I can see Caer in a similar pose, maybe with a swan behind her. And that's i
t – I see my painting. Not complete, but Landon and Alex leave tomorrow so here goes....

I will show you how I meld the swan's figure with Landon's. At least that's what I think will happen. See you then...


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Aengus and Caer 1- The Story

REPOST from 2 years ago!
ON 1ST SATURDAYS, I participate in a town-wide art festival here in Three Rivers, CA, opening my studio to visitors to eye my latest project, enjoy food and drink, and listen to story-teller Rae Ann Kumelos tell a tale from her radio show "Voice of the Animal."

is the theme this month. Passion for art, passion for people, passion for life. This is a month to celebrate those you love – to call a faraway friend – to send candy and flowers with a heart-felt missive. So, I'm trimming my studio in red, white and black and looking for a story to paint. Rae Ann has chosen "Mating For Life," accounts of monogamous animals, and one segment is the Celtic myth of the passion of the love god Aengus for the swan-maiden Caer. It goes something like this...

AENGUS was the god of love. He was very handsome and about his head flew 4 of his kisses turned into birds (some say that's where the XXXXs at the end of a love letter come from.) Aengus was adored by many women and he was happy with his love-life until, one night, he had a dream in which appeared the most beautiful woman in Ireland. But when he reached out to touch her, she disappeared. A year went by and every night the woman appeared, sometimes playing beautiful music on a harp. And at the end of a year, she vanished.

AENGUS was by now in love with the maiden and grew despondent. He stopped eating and became very ill. Many physicians tried and failed to cure him until, finally, he was diagnosed with love-sickness. After searching Ireland for 3 years, his parents found the girl Caer, discovering that she was a shape-shifter – living alternate years in human and swan form.

AENGUS was told by Caer's father that he could marry her if he could identify her as a swan. He was sent to the Lake of the Dragon's Mouth where he found 150 swans. He stood in a man's form at the edge of the loch and called out to Caer, who answered him, saying she would come to him if he promised to let her return to the water.

AENGUS kept his promise, turning into a swan as he held her in his arms. They returned to the water and then flew into the sky together, singing a song so sweet that all the people of Ireland fell into a peaceful sleep for 3 days and 3 nights.

Hmmm... I think I have my story. For my next post, I will show you how I develop a composition.

SEE you tomorrow-

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Final Painting

I got bored with the individual posting of each section (as I'm sure you did), so I finished each of them but waited until now to post the finished painting. That was a blast!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Eight Makes One

OK- Family holiday was great and now I can't WAIT to get back to work. MY NEXT CHALLENGE (these are really keeping me entertained) - I am going to paint 8 paintings, using only blue, brown, black and white. They will all be painted on one canvas, and when finished will become 1 painting. Sounds like fun, huh?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Yay! Mission accomplished!

I DID IT! 80 paintings in 80 days! I wasn't sure I could, and there were times I wanted to just watch TV and NOT paint. The art was posted daily on Facebook - the response amazing! It turned out to be a wonderful learning experience.  I was able to see Three Rivers (and Exeter) with new eyes, I was able to make instant decisions, and I have a new respect for Facebook.

TO THANK everyone who purchased one of my "paintings -a- day", I had a drawing to give away paintings. I went to Colors Art Gallery, where I found Anne Haxton, who offered to draw the winning names.

$100 painting - Debbie Jo Byrd.
$50 painting- Nancy Schroeder.
$25 painting- Carol Greninger.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Painting A Day

WENDY McKELLAR of Colors Art Gallery and I have an art show running from June 1st to August 19th at the Creative Center in Visalia, CA. Just for fun, I challenged myself and her to create a painting a day for the duration of the show That's 80 paintings. For my part, the paintings will be painted either en plein air or in my studio. Either way, each piece will be a scene captured in the 2 miles between my studio and my home. I will post here daily. Enjoy my home town!

All paintings are acrylic on canvas unless stated otherwise.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Painting at William Shatner's Hidden Garden

I JUST had a fabulous opportunity to paint at the site of William Shatner's riverside retreat here in Three Rivers, as part of an amazing garden tour held on April 16th. The Hiddens Garden Tour of Three Rivers was sponsored by the Three Rivers Union School Foundation, as a fundraiser for the local school. Six foothill gardens were open to the public, along with food catered by local restaurants, music, and art.

THANK YOU, William Shatner, for graciously offering to share your beautiful Belle Reve Ranch for this one day special event.

ARTISTS of the area were invited to be part of this tour, offering an environment where guests could watch us paint on site. I jumped at the chance. I had seen the river space before, but never in this capacity. Two weeks before the event, I took my camera to get photographs for local advertising, and spent an hour soaking up the beauty and serenity of this magical place.

THE PROPERTY is located in a little valley created by Salt Creek Ridge and Dennison Mountain. Most of the flora is native to the Sierras, boasting oaks, sycamores, grasses, ferns, and even a grove of baby giant sequoias. All the paths, which eventually lead you to the river, are donned with life-sized redwood sculptures crafted by R.L. Blair, the artist who created Country Bear Jamboree at Disneyland. He designed his statues of Yokuts men, women and children, just as if they were alive today – weaving baskets, carrying wood, and passing on tribal stories to the young. Prehistoric mortar holes, in granite slabs overlooking the river, further enhance the feeling that you have time-traveled. I was so inspired that I decided to paint these Yokuts – as real as they appeared to me that day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Basket Maker

Here is the original photo.
I design most paintings in Photoshop. I removed the large tree, which was a distraction, and I already had this picture of my friend Fabi, from another project I worked on several years ago. Same position!
The 22x28 canvas is then painted bright orange, and black lines added.
Colors are filled in. And details added. I had intended on just starting this and finishing it on the day of the event, but it was decided that the artists could sell their work, so if I was to have a booth, I couldn't paint as well. I ended up finishing 3 paintings in advance, and worked on one at my booth. And by working on, I mean talking to guests all day.

This painting SOLD, 5/7/2011, $450.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yokuts Woman

Original Photo.

Fabi's sister Marilu poses for this.

Orange and black....

Colors filled in....

Finished. This painting is also available at $450.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yokuts Story

This was painted on a 36 square canvas.

Josephina Belman and her grandchildren Jamie and Fabilu, along with my grandson, were my models.
Almost done.
Finished. On the day of the event, I had all 3 finished paintings on easels set up at the spot where I painted them. I sold this one at the event, $650.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Robin Eggs

ROBIN EGGS are warm and comforting. It might be their color, or tiny size, or maybe what they represent – new beginnings. For me, they are a means of time travel, an instant journey back to a 10-year old me.

I GREW UP on a vineyard. Each spring, my brothers and I would grab our little notepads and, in my organized manner even back then, traverse the rows, searching for birds' nests. We very carefully peeked into each vine, documenting each find, and then following the progress of each nest until, at last, all the baby birds flew away.

SOME EGGS didn't hatch, while others were eaten by small mammals or other birds. And it always broke my heart to scribble, "Dead hatchling– not strong enough." Occasionally we got to see the parents feed worms or bugs to the babies. It was so exciting I couldn't sleep some nights.

SOON the nests were empty, and we moved on to new adventures. We ditched our notepads and found other ways to amuse ourselves, not giving nests another thought – until the next year, when it would seem like just the best idea all over again.

I painted Robin Eggs on 16 x20 hardboard panel, which I cut with a jigsaw.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blue Window 4

Well, finally – here is the finished painting. I finished it 2 days after the last photo, but it's been raining ever since! I like to take my photos outside. While shooting this I leaned it up next to a wall and I liked how it looked, so tomorrow I am going to shoot it hanging on the red shed next door. It needs a background in order to make prints. Thank you Jerry Jonnum for the hook- I love it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blue Window 3

To do the lace, I printed the lace exact size and taped it over painting – placing a sheet of carbon paper between print of lace and painting. With a ball point pen I marked the dots. To paint the dots with acrylic paint I use a #1 point brush that I have let paint dry on. The hairs are stuck dry and only the tip touches the painting. (I discovered this great use of a ruined brush because I am quite lazy when it comes to clean-up time.) The lace you see so far took a whole work day to complete.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blue Window

WINDOWS intrigue me. They can invite you in or shut you out. They can brighten your day or leave you feeling lonely. From either side they give you a glimpse into another world.
LAVINIA MARIN of Bucharest, Romania shows her photos on Stock.xchng and has graciously given me permission to paint her photograph of a blue window. I love the bright bold paint colors juxtaposed with lace. I am going to paint this on plywood that has been cut to the shape of the window in the Trompe L'oeil style. The overall size is 36" x 48" so it will give the impression of a real window when hung on the wall. I am using 1/2 inch plywood cut with a jigsaw.

I CUT the shape, puttied the edges with Elmer's Wood Filler and then painted with a thinned Nova Color acrylic wash, using various old-wood colors. I then painted on 2 coats of Clear Protector sealer on BOTH SIDES of plywood. I can now paint my picture.

TAKING FROGTAPE, I mask off the most obvious black lines. After painting in the areas black I mask off other obvious sections. I need to section off the parts of the painting so I can see what I'm doing. GETTING BORED with straight lines so I played with the lace for a while. I'm a little nervous about the lace. There's a lot of detail and I have failed with lace in the past. Wish me luck. OOPS! I forgot to pick up my grandson Miklos at school. See you after lunch!