Saturday, August 29, 2009

After Pissarro: Yakima River, Prosser

After Pissarro: Yakima River, Prosser. 18 x 24. Oil on Canvas. $570-

This is the larger painting - the study was posted yesterday. This is an area along the Yakima River south of Rattlesnake Mountain near Prosser, Washington. Beautiful area, I've always loved it.

It's an agricultural area but still retains some of the shrub-steppe landscape at the edges of the farms.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Study for After Pissarro: Yakima River, Prosser

Study for After Pisarro: Yakima River, Prosser. Oil on Canvasboard. 8 x 10. $150-

This is a small study for a somewhat larger painting.

There's a Pissarro painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York that I love. I noticed it for the first time last February and it stopped me in my tracks. Wow! It's 'Jalais Hill, Pontoise (La Cote du Jalais a Pontoise)' from 1867. The size is 34 x 45.

For decades I've loved the view of the Yakima River driving west from Kennewick. This last time I drove by I was struck by how similar it was to the Pissarro painting.

You can see the Pissarro, plus a closeup of the luscious brushwork, just below my painting. When I'm at a museum I take lots of photos: a bigger one, one of the name/title, and if I love the painterly quality, I then take closeups of choice areas. My daughter laughs at me but hey - it's great to look at this later and oddly, art books just don't have these extreme zoom images of texture.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Similkameen. Oil on Canvas. 40 x 36.

This is a painting I've been working on since late May. In between working on this, I painted another 32 paintings.

The Similkameen River flows from Canada into the United States in the Okanogan. You can see the many oxbows as the river bounces against the Okanogan Range to it's east. This is an area rich in wildlife diversity and Conservation Northwest, Washington State and others are currently working to keep this important landscape in existing ranches to protect the region from being carved up for development of second homes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Plein Air Paint Out in Bellingham, Part Two

I was back out painting at the corner of C and Holly in Bellingham this morning. It was a busy day for folks who live outside in Bellingham, as the mission has a free lunch just up the street. Many of the people passing by recognized me from yesterday and stopped to check out today's painting.

Yesterday I was struck by the number of homeless people I chatted with while painting, including many young teens. I was surprised how many stopped to say hello, see what I was doing and talk about drawing and painting. A number of them said how much they used to like to draw. Last night, in talking over my day's painting adventures, my husband and son suggested I do a portrait of the homeless people in the park. It's a great idea and I'd like to do that. I asked one young man, Kin, if I could paint his portrait. He said he didn't think he could sit still for that long but that I could take his picture. That's him, above. He said everyone calls him God. And indeed, a group walked by while we were talking and said "Hey God."

So this morning I decided to zero in on the window from yesterday. This was snapped early in the day and the painting received (and still needs) more work. You can see my new painting essential on my easel: the can of repel. Those yellow jackets were out for blood!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Plein Air Paint Out in Bellingham

Today was the Plein Air Paint Out in Bellingham. This was organized by Trish Harding of Studio UFO, the Blue Horse Gallery and the City of Bellingham. It was lots of fun.

The top painting is mine, and you can see the building I'm painting. When I heard about the Plein Air event I knew instantly that I would paint this building. There's a story, of course. Twenty years ago my husband and I moved back to Bellingham so that he could pursue a Masters of Science in Geology. I worked at the local building supply store for 2 1/2 years, selling kitchen cabinets, to support the family. When it was quiet in the showroom I'd gaze out the back window and look at the brick building and the windows with geraniums on the sills. I was fresh out of art school and thought often of painting the window. Finally did that.

The bottom painting is of Cindy and Charles, my plein air painting neighbors. They were great and were both painting the most interesting old building on C street. Cindy's is watercolor, Charles' is oil. By the way, Charles has the best gorp. M&M's and salted cashews. None of that healthy filler that gets in the way of the tasty M&M's.

I was painting near a yellow jacket nest, as I quickly learned when one stung my hand, but a wonderful man in a truck stopped, saw me dancing around, and left me with a gift: a can of Repel. What a lifesaver. In all, a fascinating day of painting my brick building, and chatting about art with passersby and the homeless people and kids who frequent Maritime Heritage Park.

Friday, August 21, 2009

French Landscapes at the Getty Center

Landscape with a Bare Tree and a Plowman. Leon Bonvin. 1864. Brown ink, watercolor and gum arabic on paper.

The Getty Center has a special exhibit right now of French Landscapes. Among them was this remarkable gem. It's the painting they use on the exhibition posters and book cover.

Their description is wonderful and at the end it says that Leon Bonvin committed suicide at age 31 after an art dealer deemed his works "too dark, not gay enough."

I apologize for the off-kilter photo. I didn't want to disturb the person parked in front of the painting but I'm not sure why, my husband would have stepped aside for a moment for me!

Matisse in San Francisco

Matisse, Girl with Green Eyes, 1908, at the San Francisco Museum of Art

We're back from a 9 day trip to California where we visited family and looked at art. This is a painting I've always loved and is so familiar. It's the cover of my 1985 edition of Modern Art by Hunter and Jacobus.

I'd hoped to see paintings by Wayne Thiebaud at the San Francisco MOMA but alas, there was just one thing by Thiebaud and it wasn't a painting.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Diebenkorn, Park & Thiebaud in SF

We spent a day in San Francisco visiting the SFMOMA, eating mussels and tarte tatin at a French restaurant (Le Charm, lovely) and going to galleries. San Francisco has a nice, dense cluster of galleries just north of the Museum of Modern Art, including many in one building, and we had a great time stopping by to see.

Our last stop was the John Berggruen gallery. We walked up the stairs but the glass door leading to the gallery was closed. Fortunately a young man working there came, opened the door and said they were hanging a show but he guessed it would be all right if we looked around. Leaning against a wall nearby was a small Thiebaud painting. A recent one, dated 2009, of a box of chocolates. Heaven! Upstairs were 2 Diebenkorns (pictured above) a David Park painting and a Bischoff. More heaven!

They were busy figuring out the hanging details so all the pieces were leaning against walls. It was bliss to squat down in front of these and look carefully at each one.

This gallery stop was a highlight of our trip.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Last of the Cherries

Five Bing Cherries. Oil on Linen Board. 6 x 8. $110-
Three Bing Cherries. Oil on Gessoboard. 5 x 5. $80-

I bought a bag of bing cherries at Fred Meyer last night. They're less juicy, smaller and more blemished than the lovely gems of early July. This has been the best cherry harvest in Washington State and I've loved painting them. They seem to dance across my kitchen windowsill.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Three Different Tomatoes

Three Different Tomatoes. Oil on Gessoboard. 5 x 7. $90-

Tomatoes are starting to ripen in our garden which is always a cause for celebration here in the far northwest. Sungold tomatoes are coming along, the mystery tomato on the right produces a fruit about once every 4 days and then the 'Early Girl', the green one, has not been early.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Study for Night Highway, DC

Study for Night Highway, DC. Oil on Wallis Archival Sanded Paper. 9 x 12. $150-

This is a quick study for a larger painting, and the beginning of a new series. I've always been intrigued by the play of light on the road ahead during long night drives.

The color of the sky at dark with the black outline of trees is magical and always lighter and more vivid that I think it will be.

When I visited Philadelphia and DC with my daughter in June I bought a packet of sanded paper. It's gessoed once on the back and twice on the front and it's sanded. It's made by the Wallis Corporation in Portland, OR. They say it's archival. So far I like it a lot and it seemed perfect for a study with deliberately indistinct edges.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Five Sungold Tomatoes

Five Sungold Tomatoes. Oil on Gessoboard. 5 x 7. $90-

I've been working on two large landscapes this past week, but did pick some sungold tomatoes from my garden for a quick painting. I like to finish things and sometimes just need to complete a painting. For that I can turn to my garden and my stack of gessoboards. I'm happy with the translucent look of these little gems.