I always love setting up a blank canvas to begin a new painting, along with the challenge and satisfaction each new project brings. Now that we are on Day 2 of 2021, I am looking forward to the wonderful new possibilities of this coming year… new moments shared with family and friends, new experiences and yes, the opportunity to be creative.
Looking back over last year, I am so glad to have had the opportunity to paint and be creative, as well as get together with close friends and family – even with this pandemic. I am appreciative of the many positive comments and support this blog has brought and I hope that all who read my blog and have seen my work are able to enjoy a happy “moment time”.
Here is a 9 painting sampling from 2020
No matter your location or hobby you enjoy, I pray 2021 brings you good health and happy times.
2019 was one of those “mixed bag” years of great joy to great sorrow, as well as everything in between.
One highlight of my year happened in the beginning of May. My painting, “Leaf On The Vine” was part of the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition which was a thrill and great honor to be part of. My husband and I, along with our two Boxers travelled to Utah to see the exhibition as well as Zion and Bryce National Parks.
Sadly, a couple of weeks later, my mother passed away. She was 89, a woman of strong faith and was always committed to praying each day for family, friends, acquaintances and our Nation. In many ways she was a great example and encourager and I will always be thankful for her.
As we look back to the memories and accomplishments of 2019, I hope we can use what we have learned, having a forward view of the new year with hope in our hearts for each new day.
I have taken the opportunity these past months to get out of my comfort zone and “stretch” my artistic style with relatively quick oil sketches. These all need adjustments in some way but I have decided to keep them as is with notes to myself of the changes to be made since a few of these have the potential of becoming larger paintings.
I am looking forward to going to the 2019 Plein Air Painters Convention is in San Francisco this Spring and as a painter who enjoys the controlled environment of the studio, this will be a new and exciting experience for me. My hat goes off to all the Plein Air painters that are able to complete a quality painting, in changing light, within 2 – 4 hours. I love taking my time with painting and getting lost in thought, music or a good audio book, so working quickly is definitely a challenge for me.
To avoid any excuse regarding location or weather, I decided to set up my easel in our yard to capture some of the landscape and also set up still life’s in my studio. In order to stay within a 3 – 4 hour time limit per painting, the majority of my paintings are 5″x7″.
I will be heading back outside to work on my landscapes in changing light. For those of you who paint out, I would love to hear how you deal with the light, the elements and mixing colors quickly.
This past month I have enjoyed seeing the paintings posted from two different artists for the Strada Easel Challenge. Each artist faithfully completed 31 paintings for the entire month of January and not only was I impressed by their commitment, but each new painting built greater skill on the one painted the previous day. I would like to see my skills improve along with the confidence of mixing colors quickly in order to build speed, so I have decided to challenge myself in a similar way.
Painting quickly, in a looser style, or outdoors has never been my strength, but I do believe that challenging myself to paint small paintings every day will help me in the long run. Below are the first five that I have completed, 3 outside and 2 in my studio:
I’ve needed to put my sketchbook and paints aside for a short period of time in order to mat and frame quite a few of my paintings for three upcoming art shows. Being an “empty nester” is a pretty exciting chapter in my life and I am able to pursue my art as well as be involved with so many amazing artists. Having 9+ paintings would be a pretty penny to send out to a professional framer so I’ve spent a lot of time matting the artwork myself, having glass cut and this weekend my husband will cut the frames for me., then the final stage will be putting it altogether. It is a lengthy project but I actually love being a part of this stage preparing my artwork for shows.
The Thousand Oaks Art Association is a wonderful group of talented people and I am so pleased to have two of my paintings in this show. If anyone is local, come on by to see all the beautiful work on display.
Now that I am back in my studio, it is time to finish up a couple of watercolor paintings and work out the details for a couple of more. From early in my high school days to now, I have always loved working in the controlled environment of my own room as opposed to “En Plein Air”. Painting outside is fun and though I am getting to paint outside more, the illustrator in me needs to work on paintings at any hour of the day without worrying about the changing light. I also tend to work on several paintings at a time and below is a sketch of a painting I plan to do in watercolor as well as oil.
My husband and I began our road trip starting in Southern California and traveled through Oregon, Washington, Idaho and back home south through the south-eastern corner of Oregon and Nevada. The landscape was so varied and even though it was all beautiful in it’s own way, we loved Idaho the best. Besides Coeur d’Alene, we spent time in the mountain resort town of McCall, Boise and Caldwell. Here are some highlight photos of the different areas…
Our hike in Ponderosa State Park, view Payette Lake
We continued on Lily Marsh Trail
Strolled through the Ann Morrison Park in the city of Boise
Onward home through the Jorden Valley, mountain areas and deserts…
Dove Springs is a favorite area for so many So Cal people to motorcycle ride and as we made our final stop before getting home, we were able to watch the Memorial Day crowd of weekend warriors get themselves settled for what promised to be an amazing time to be out in the desert.
Though we spent a lot of time exploring the many different areas with our two Boxers, I managed to get in a few more “scribbles” in my sketchbook
As we enter the summer months, I wish you all a safe and blessed time no matter where the days find you.
Taft Gardens and Nature Preserve is a local treasure with acres and acres (264 acres to be exact), of plants, trees and paths to meander. There were so many beautiful areas to explore but since time was of the essence to start painting, my friend and I chose a place relatively close to where we parked to start painting.
There are over 20,000 different species of plants and trees and I only captured a very small percentage of them.
The recent California fires were devastating and it seems like no area was left untouched but firefighters were able to save so much of the gardens. The surrounding hills and nature preserve was a different story but thankfully new growth has already begun with the recent rains.
Tomorrow we are suppose to get another few days of rain so I plan to head back there soon to see even more wildflowers and green hills before the summer months turn it golden.
Until next time, take care and take time to enjoy your surroundings wherever that might be.
Tuesday, March 6th, was a windy day but beautiful and the temperature was perfect for painting “En Plein Air” with a group of friends. I am a native Californian but have not been back to this area since I was a child and now that I have been back, I kick myself for waiting so many years to do so. This is a perfect area for so many sports along with photography, painting or just hanging out to enjoy the beauty.
Vasquez Rocks was home to the Shoshone and Tataviam peoples and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. These iconic rock formations known as “hogback ridges” are steeply ridged strata that sit along the San Andreas Fault system and of course, we as Californian’s have to deal with the occasional earthquake now and then because of this fault system.
This area has been used to film motion pictures, television and advertising since 1935 but prominently since 1963 with episodes of the Outer Limits, the Wild Wild West, Blazing Saddles, The Flinstones and Star Trek’s episode “Arena”, where Captain Kirk rolls a boulder on the reptiloid alien, Gorn. The prominent rock formation has been nicknamed “Kirk’s Rock” since it had been featured in a several Star Trek episodes. Taco Bell, Nike and Bank of America have shot commercials here and there are so many more, too numerous to mention but interesting to look up.
I continue to set aside days to paint outdoors and am loving the time but with all this amazing reference material, it’s time to head back into the studio. I consider myself a perpetual student and look forward to the challenge and practice of this technique. I am encouraged by what I was able to accomplish in a few hours and encourage any other studio painters to grab their gear and head outside.
There are so many wonderful sites to visit in Southern California and if you like the desert and are traveling in the area, definitely make a point to explore this area. Happy travels!