Thursday, February 25, 2010

My first painting of cactus.

I never finished this painting because I kept having to scrape away my starts. My values were too dark. I was surprised at how much lighter on the gray sky I need to work. I think in the end I'm fairly happy with my value study.

Notice the blue skies. After painting in Sedona we headed to Scottsdale area, left our winter gear in the hotel and worked on painting light-filled paintings.

These foggy photos means still in Sedona. I was going to paint a vista view of this huge ridge of mountains way in the distance but the fog was rolling in too fast so I just sat munching trail mix, watching the show.

One last posting about our painting trip to Arizona. I quickly snapped this photo during a break from the rain. I love the rich warm colors. This is still Sedona. I took a zillion photos and this is probably the only one that sort of feels like being there. I'm disappointed in my photography skills. I just can't get inspired to paint from them. Oh well, guess I'll just have to sell a few more paintings so that I can go on another fact-finding trip. I would love to paint in/near the Grand Tetons. I've never been there other than in my dreams.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sedona Plein Air Trip

As mention in my last post, Karen ( and I took a plein air painting trip to Sedona and Scottsdale. We started in Sedona and painted in weather we're quite use to, snow storms, rain, and then something new, hail storms. The trip was everything it should be; adventure, battling extremes in weather, extremes in lighting=dark gray days to bright sun (did you know the sky is blue during the winter in some states?), and of course our trying out every raw restaurant we could find.

The painting I'm posting shows what happens when you paint in hail and can barely see. A smart person would pack up and leave, which we did once we heard lightening, but since we traveled over a thousand miles to paint in Cathedral Park, why let a bit of weather stop us. The pock-marks are were the hail stuck to my painting. My hope for the trip was to be able to accurately find the big shapes and values, not create finished paintings.
The last two photos shows Karen painting in Sedona. I think we both are scheming to go on another fact-finding plein air trip.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

8"x8" "Sweet Bite" sold on

I've been away from my home, my family (including 5 pets), the cold, and my computer because the opportunity to paint in Sedona came my way thanks to Karen. And thanks to painting year around in Chicago, we had the gear necessary to paint in Sedona winter. Each morning we woke to a snow storm which turned to a rain storm which turn to hail. Fortunately the temperatures were mild to us. I think we both derived an off-beat satisfaction of being able to paint in their crazy weather. At one point so much hail and sleet was coming down that they closed the roads but we still manage to paint. Once I figure out how to down-load my pictures from my new camera I'll show some of my plein air paintings of the red rocks as well as several of Karen painting in the storms. I think it was everything a plein air adventure should be.
So why am I showing this painting of a pepper. I'm showing it because I'm attempting to clean up my life style and eat in a healthy manner. Sedona host several excellent raw/vegan groceries and cafes. I use to tease that I was a morning vegan because by the end of the day I'd fall into bad habits, chips, licorice, etc. But now I've discovered green smoothies (which are really yummy and have taken my craving away for the crappy food groups) and juicing. So after shopping for produce I can't help but paint them. Their colors and textures are so inspiring. And after I've painted it,... I can eat it!!!!! (p.s did you know watercress is 84% protein)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

"Mac Red"

This was a temperature study. And I took artistic license by amping up the "heat", the temperature, of "Mac Red."
8"x8" ($149.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Linda, a fellow artist friend, posed for us because the model did not show up. Thank you Linda. You gave up your paint time so that we would not have to and, you gave us a very interesting yet natural pose from all angles.
I love painting during open studio and seeing how each artist approaches the problem of painting a figure in their own way. The results are all varied. I started by trying to find the lightest value in the shadow under her chin and the darkest value in the lit part of her face. Those became my two mother piles. I wasn't concerned with the rest of the issues on my list such as edges, brush stroke, proportions, getting a likeness etc because I really want to accurately find the correct values. I think if the value is off it won't matter if I get the other things correct.
This is a 9"x12" oil on linen study