Monday, August 23, 2010


Brown Turkey Figs. Oil on Linen. 4 x 6. SOLD

I went to the food coop on Saturday to pick up some bread and coffee and they had figs. So I painted them,  then served them for dessert.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


August Peaches. Oil on Linen. 6 x 8.

This week has been fun because my son has been painting with me in my studio! He asked me to teach him to paint, as his drawings have always been prolific and exceptional, and he's considering an application to art school. We decided to try a still life first so we went to the store to find beautiful fruit. We brought back peaches and plums and set up a few peaches in the studio.

I'd love to show you his work in progress, as it's really good, but he asked me to wait until its finished. Even though he'll never in a million years look at his mother's blog, I'll wait. But I do think it's brilliant.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Slough. 9x12. Oil on Linen Panel.

Last Friday I went out painting with Karen Epperson, who I met in the workshop I took in July. We had a lot of fun painting from one of the docks in La Conner.

The downside of painting on a dock? Things can slip through the slats to the slough below. As I immediately discovered, the helpful gray plastic viewfinder for plein air painting fits between the boards.

Since we were next to downtown La Conner our easels added to the ambience but it did remind me of this hilarious tshirt,  'Critic Be Gone.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Mill Creek Field. Oil on Linen Panel. 9x12.

This is the painting from my plein air session along Mill Creek Road near Walla Walla last week. What was most instructive to me about this session was watching the light change in the furrows in the field. Depending on where the sun is, and the angle of the shadow, the furrow can be the brightest point of the landscape, after the sky. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beyond Dixie

Beyond Dixie. Oil on Hand Primed Linen. 30" x 36".

This is nearly finished. It's a painting I've been working on for a couple of months now in the studio. While I had confidence in the overall composition of the painting, I've strugged with details: leaves, field.

I'd welcome ideas on what's working and what's not. I've looked at it for awhile now and it's getting harder to see it with fresh eyes.

This is located in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, past what was once the town of Dixie. Today there's just a small general store where you can get a cold drink on a hot day of painting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Painting in the Palouse

Near Starbuck. 
Back from 3 days of meandering around southeast Washington State, painting and taking photographs. The top one looks very much like my larger paintings, only with my easel standing in the painting. Doesn't it look lovely? It was hot and so windy that I had to tie my palette down with a bungie cord.

My easel in a field of chickpeas, Mill Creek Valley, the Palouse
This was this morning, just outside of Walla Walla in a gorgeous spot. I painted a wheat field while standing on little chick pea plants. They popped when I walked!

The backstory:
Sunday we had a family gathering at my cousin's wheat farm outside of Connell. I was eager to go, to see my cousins and to see the light and the wheat fields. Since it's harvest, the light in the area literally glows from the yellow of the fields. My husband, a geologist, and I planned to paint, see geology and camp. Fun! But there was a slight glitch. Well two. First, we took a remote gravel road on our way to the gathering (cool geology) and a tire blew out. No phones, and it took an hour to get the tire off. Then we discovered that since I'd packed our camping gear AFTER getting home from the opening night party at Smith and Vallee Gallery in Edison, I had packed the wrong tent. Or the wrong poles. Anyway, parts of two incompatible tents! So instead of camping, we ended up staying at my cousin's lovely home Sunday and in Walla Walla on  Monday. That was fine too. Because everywhere we looked it was stunning. The light, the fields, the skies, the stars, all beautiful.

My highlights:

  • Palouse Falls State Park. I plan to paint this, as it reminds me of a number of Hudson River paintings of a falls. Very similar, but a higher fall. And with rattlesnakes, but those won't be in the painting.
  • Highway 12 between Waitsburg and Walla Walla. To me, this is simply beautiful. Everything about it. The fields are lush and yellow and the side views with the poplar trees all remind me of Umbria, but better.
  • The wheat fields perched high above the Snake River Canyon in Columbia County, especially at Tramway Road. It was shocking, the stark beauty of it. They grow winter wheat there which means that each year, half the fields are fallow. I'm used to that, I've seen it all my life. But here they leave the stubble and it's silver. So the fields alternated between a deep gold and a bright silver. Above a deep canyon formed by the Snake. Wow. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunny afternoons at the Skagit Workshop

Mt. Baker from Margaret's. 9x12. Oil on Panel. Lisa McShane
On Monday and Wednesday afternoons we painted at Margaret's house, near Conway. There were a number of great views and I painted northeast, towards Mt. Baker. I especially like the gap between the trees on the Skagit dike. Through that gap you can see the layers of the foothills.
Skagit Fields and Poplar. 6x8. Oil on Panel. Lisa McShane.
Friday afternoon we painted at Terra Bella gardens. We were there painting several times and the afternoons were challenging. It was sunny and the views there were towards the south or west. I ended up both afternoons painting the view west simply because I could park myself under birch trees in the shade. This one, above, was an assignment to paint using complementary colors. I toned the canvas pink, my underpainting was purple and I added yellow. Then green to set it off.

Poplar in Skagit. 6x8. Oil on Panel. Lisa McShane.
This painting was an assignment to use analogous colors. I used blue, green and yellow, starting with a panel that I toned in a vivid orange red. It was my last painting of the workshop!