Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And more figs!

4 Black Mission Figs. Oil on Gessobord. 5 x 7.

I have an entire box of figs for painting! Figs and red pears are currently my favorite still life subject.

Two Bosc Pears

Two Bosc Pears. Oil on Gessobord. 6" x 6".

Some paintings flow and some are a struggle. This one was repainted 4 times.

I was most interested in the space between the two pears and wanted to focus on the movement between the two. So I started with optimism and two underripe bosc pears against a medium blue background. The background was all wrong. So I painted it dark purple and repainted the pears. Even more wrong. Then I painted the background red, twice, to make it the color of my bathroom wall. And repainted the pears two more times. Each time I liked the pears less. A lot less.

Then the painting sat, forlorn, on a side easel for a week or more. I thought about putting it in the garbage can. Meanwhile the two bosc pears continued to ripen, I used them in another painting, then moved them back to my kitchen windowsill.

This week dozens of delicious pears have come and gone from my kitchen. I put pears in a spinach salad dressed with olive oil, sherry vinegar and pink Himalayan salt. Sunday evening I made the world's best pear crisp. Last night my cousin's daughter cooked pears to make a cake. But these two sat, still ripening, untouched.

So this morning I carried them back down to the studio and painted them one more time. This time I left the tomato soup background alone and tried to bring the pears up to the intensity of the red. The pears had ripened and lost their undertone of green and have a deep, vivid undertone. I mixed golden ochre, cadmium red and cadmium yellow into various combinations and repainted the pears one more time.

This may not be my best painting, but it's done.

Monday, September 28, 2009

3 Black Mission Figs

3 Black Mission Figs. Oil on Gessobord. 5" x 7".

Fig season continues in my kitchen. These join colanders of tomatoes and baskets of pears on the counter.

I've been interested in the shifting colors of figs as they ripen. These are much bluer than previous paintings simply because the figs are bluer. Less black, no undertone of red.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Open Valley 101

Open Valley 101. Oil on Canvas. 14 x 28.

This painting was fun to paint.
First: I love roads and road trips.
Second: I like painting fog.
Third: the fields and hills are interesting.
Fourth: I've been painting the small paintings in one sitting and it was nice to get back to layering.
Fifth: it has lots of browns and ochres and was able to use some of the delightfully gritty Williamsburg oils.

That's all I've got. I do love the central coast of California.

Friday, September 18, 2009

3 Different Pears

3 Different Pears. 6 x 8. Oil on Linen Panel.

Well, I've been finding and painting more pears this week. In this painting are two bosc pears and an almost-ripe bartlett. I struggled with this one a bit.

Not really sure yet what I think of it except that I cannot love every painting equally.

But this one answers a dear friend's question of whether or not I would support integration of pears. Apparently yes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Three Figs

Three Figs. Oil on Linen Panel. 5" x 7".

This one is dark, and the difference between the blue and purple of the fig and the olive green of the background is subtle and hard to see on a computer monitor. But I do love this painting! Funny how we have favorites.

Part of it is that I love how figs look. What beautiful fruits! I live at the far north zone for growing a fig tree but I'm planting one next spring. I have the spot picked out. When an arctic blast is predicted, I'll have to cover it, but I'll happily do that to grow these gems.

This one is Black Mission, and they came to me from California. I picked out a little basket at the Food Coop, carefully selecting the one that had the most green on the figs. Painted them that day and by the next day, they had lost their luster. I'll bake them for dessert tonight.

Another reason I love this painting is that I love to paint on linen panels. I'm switching to all linen panels soon. These are by Art Board and have an oil primer. Fantastic. The olive green color is Turkey Umber by Williamsburg Paints. It has a gritty texture that is completely captivating.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom Tomato. Oil on Gessobord. 5" x 7". SOLD

We have had a bumper crop of tomatoes in the garden this year. Yesterday evening I went out to pick a big bowl of them to make sauce and found this giant one dangling from our heirloom vine, hanging over the alley. I had to paint it. I love the satin smooth skin with the bulging sides.

I'm planning to have this one for lunch.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Highway 101, Fog

Highway 101, Fog. Oil on Gessobord. 12" x 16".

I've started painting several landscapes based on the trip we took up Highway 101 in California this August. The drive was all too quick (we were accompanied by two 17-year old boys) but it was beautiful.

We saw dozens of elephant seals (crazy!) and miles of gorgeous coastline. The fog moved in and out during the drive and sometimes we couldn't see far at all. For miles we were behind 4 motorcycles and the passenger on the one in front of us was holding a video camera above her head the entire time, filming the trip. Her stamina was impressive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vancouver Art Gallery and the Dutch

Saturday I went up to Vancouver to see the exhibit Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch ArtMasterpieces from The Rijksmuseum. This traveling exhibit contained art from the 17th century in the Netherlands. For me the highlight was Vermeer's painting The Love Letter.

I really enjoyed the exhibit of a series of apartments - from the 1950's to today - as it was great fun to see the design changes and how easy it is to visually understand what decade an interior represents by the objects inside. This was an exhibit by Reece Terris called Ought Apartments.

It was a beautiful day in Vancouver and we had a delicious lunch on the terrace of the museum. Good food at the museum cafe. I went up there with another local artist, Ron Pattern. Ron recently had a show at the Blue Horse Gallery in Bellingham with stunning, large watercolor paintings.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Red Pears 3

Red Pears 3. Oil on Gessoboard. 5 x 7.

The last painting of these two beautiful red pears. They've been eaten. By day 3 they were perfectly ripe with small brown spots starting to form.

Friday, September 11, 2009

100 Paintings!

I've reached my first goal of 100 paintings!

I began painting fulltime last November and had a clear goal in mind: to paint 100 paintings. Today I realized that I may have run past that goal in the last few weeks and so I wandered around the house counting up all the paintings. Several no longer exist of course - there were a few I quickly round filed! (Note to self: do not even TRY to paint sunflowers.) My count - and I could be off by a few - is 101.

The photo above is of the shelves where I store my small paintings while they dry. I put those up in July and quickly began to fill the shelves. It was cherry season!

A number of my paintings are larger landscapes. I do conceive of my paintings in series, with a story to tell, and I had (and still have) a lot to say about the stunning and diverse landscape of Washington. Most of those paintings (the ones that survived my winnowing process) are on my website.

So yay to achieving goals! This was a big one for me and now I have:
  • much improved skills
  • greater confidence in my art and
  • some paintings that I love, some that I like and some that you'll never see.
And now? I need a new title for my blog and I need to lay out my next goal to work towards!

(Please let me know if you have any ideas for me!)

Red Pears

Red Pears. Oil on Linen Board. 6 x 8.

The same two pears but in a different location. I'd set them on my laptop for a minute while I moved some books around and liked the dark quality of the blank computer screen behind them.

Last week I'd ordered the book Color Mixing for Artists and I've been playing with the different color ideas I found in there. The dark background, a color I love on the linen, is a mix of Viridian and Cadmium Red.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two Red Pears

Two Red Pears. Oil on Gessoboard. 6 x 6.

It's felt like fall these last few days. The air is cool in the morning and we've had rain. I'm painting pears this week. These are a gorgeous pair!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Figs

Figs. Oil on Linen Board. 5 x 7.

These are yesterday's figs, a little riper today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

4 Figs

4 Figs. Oil on Linen Board. 5 x 7.

Sunday evening we had dinner with friends on Lummi Island. We'd gathered together the makings of a feast. First we drove down Chuckanut Drive to Taylor Shellfish and bought Shigoku oysters and mussels. On the way back to Bellingham we stopped by a shop and bought Breadfarm bread, a lemon, figs and creme fraiche.

It was a beautiful drive to the Lummi ferry and the water was rough enough to make it interesting. Once there we had a meal of mussels in a saffron champagne broth, raw oysters, sole meuniere with fresh vegetables, and for dessert, blackberries and roasted figs with creme fraiche, a drizzle of true balsamic and a glass of Sauternes.

These figs are leftover from that dinner. It was amazing.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Highway 101: California Road Trip

101, Fog. Oil on Linen Board. 6 x 8. $110-

Last August we spent 3 days driving the roads in California. One day on I-5 from Oakland to LA was a clear, blue day. I spent much of the time watching a fire to the west, near Santa Cruz. From where I sat, in a large rental car, the shifting shape of the smoke rising behind the golden hills, outlined with blue sky, was beautiful to see.

We drove back north from LA along 101. The windy road, the fog blowing in and out, the subtle shades of the vegetation - this is what I'll be painting for the next several weeks. Since working on the Plateau in Winter series fog has become one of my favorite things to paint.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

3 August Tomatoes

3 August Tomatoes. Oil on Gessoboard. 5 x 7. $90.

We have a lot of tomatoes in our garden this year. Or at least, a lot for a garden in Bellingham Washington. I have a bowl of plum tomatoes that I'm planning to roast w/ olive oil in the oven to save for winter.

And note to my future self: two plants of sungold cherry tomatoes should be more than enough next year. Five plants is just too many!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Our studio wren

Late July my husband noticed a little wren each evening, just at dusk, next to my studio. It would hop onto the forsythia and yell a bit, then jump onto the wall by my light, then it would tuck itself under the eave. Just its tail poked out.

He tried to identify it and narrowed it down to a regular House Wren or a Bewick's Wren. If you have thoughts on this, be sure to share it with me!

The shot below is looking towards my studio from the garden. The Casa Blanca lillies were in full bloom and the sunflowers just gearing up. If I took the photo today it would be ALL sunflowers. They're making a serious attempt to take over the world. Or at least, this part of Bellingham.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hills 4

Hills 4. Oil on Canvas. 12 x 20.

This is a recent painting from the Road to Asotin series. I remain interested in the sunset light at harvest in the Palouse and the patterns in the wheat fields.

School starts next week for my son and once things are settled I'm planning a trip to Walla Walla and Dayton to paint and another trip to the Similkameen Valley in north central Washington to paint. It will be a busy fall!