Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21

July 21st

Today was a spectacular day.  
It was so beautiful it makes more sense to tell the story with more photos than words.

A 3 mile hike on Archangel Trail led to a beautiful lake.  My friend Laurie stayed with me there while I painted while Sheila and Karen hiked on up to the huts

.  Standing there was like standing in front of a Thomas Moran or Edgar Payne painting.  They would have been right at home here.  

Let's start with getting there!  
Friends and their dogs, flora, creeks, rocks and sunshine = one great day.

Over the River

It was up, up, up all the way there.

What looked like an eagles nest that is falling apart had 3 little chicks in it.
They weren't making much noise and sat tiered as the nest slid down the tree.
Let's hope mom was just out searching for dinner. 

The Girls!  

Four very happy dogs!

The painting....

First, setting up.

The entire view!

Looking forward to more paintings from this location :)

And the painting.  Kind of makes me think about a father and son.  
"I want to be just like him"

8x8 on panel

July #20

July #20

Down by the River

The rush, the roar, the river.

A new perspective.  What felt natural was a wide format but if 
I just keep doing what feels natural, then how would that be a challenge?
So I chose the long format for a wide river and it was a challenge.

The block in...

This 'in-scene' photo shows me that my colors look more vibrant but that 
is the issue painting water on days when the clouds are moving in and out.
In complete sunshine, the water takes on a gorgeous turquoise hue, 
but when the shade takes over it grays down considerably.
Thus said, you have to choose your light and stick to it.

I have honestly struggled with this piece.
First the loss of my darks, and without the darks, 
the light won't shine.  Then, after scraping out lights and revisiting the darks,
I am slowly adding back the lights of the white water.

It has been said,
"That loose painterly, effortless look, can sometimes take a lot of time and work"
I concur.
I like it much more when it seemingly paints itself.

"Change of Direction"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 19

July 19th
Returning to the Challenge.

I find painting the river to be a very natural thing for me.  
I am always drawn to water, 
funny that I'm a "Valley Girl", 
Matanuska Valley that is.

So as my hearts skips beats as I drive parallel the river, I head higher and higher.
And once again, the clouds encase the peaks.  
But THAT is the challenge!

Clouds doing the Two-Step with dollops of sunbeams.
Not only are there areas of clouds covering parts of the ridges, 
but there are areas of earth and rock that glimmer from hints of light.
It gorgeous!!!,
but changing places every minute like a chorus of musical chairs!!

The block in....

Choosing the moment and staying with it is the answer to chasing light.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 18th

Painting 18

Today started out hard for me.  
I am feeling Vitamin D-ficienct.  
The weather has been hanging between 60 and 65 lately but I need a day of 80!

So today the clouds broke!!! Yay! I drove up in the afternoon and as I climbed up the road following the river, switchbacking up the mountain, 
I found the clouds clinging like sticky fingers to the mountain tops.

Striving to learn more and push further, I decided to leave the river for a few days and work on finding a way to speak more emotion in the mountains.  

The clouds crept over the hills, slowly encroaching on my painting perch 
while I painted more green.  You know they say green in nature is the 
hardest color to capture while painting... and there is a lot of it.   
So I painted green hills with mountain peaks that my senses 
told me were there less my eyes.

Then the clouds began to lift!  A bit.  A hole to prove the sky is blue!

So, I will save my cloudy green painting for another day
and today share my second painting...


"Lifted by the Light"

8 x 8

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17

Painting Seventeen

"Speak Softly"

Is sometimes the best way to be heard, 
for how can we hear if we are always talking.

6 x 8

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16

Day 16 

The water pours over endlessly, without tiring... unlike me.
But still I am drawn to the river... endlessly.

The roar, the rush, combined with serenity.
The river is perfect and with one loud voice, it whispers volumes.


Side story... a blast from the past.
The day started with the need for a little bottled caffeine.  I stopped at the local general quick stop and memories quickly flooded me.  
Yes, I know it's an old and very cool truck but that's not the story!
The story is kind of funny.  On my way to use the restroom 
I heard the familiar sound of a shower!
And there, just like 30 years ago when we lived in our cabin without running water, was the laundromat fully equipped with shower rooms.

I'll never forget filling up 5 gallon jugs of water daily to take home, and runs to the Laundromat to shower as well as to do laundry.  Funniest story was how excited my father in law would get when he and the love of his life could choose the double :)   
Sure miss those folks.


Back to the day at hand,
I put about an hour in this piece the day before, took some photos,
and then thought I might finish this at home. 
What I've learned is that photographs don't speak the same language as being there.
So that was my spot again today.  There are so many places to paint there but this is my favorite.  I will move on again soon.  

Here's the start of a very complicated scene.

And another "In-scene shot"
I like shooting these, it's a good way to do a color and temp check.

It's almost time to burn this hat!
If it weren't for a little wind and long bangs, I wouldn't love it so.

At this point, I feel like I have a little work to undo.  
A few areas to simplify and a couple of value corrections.

I was lucky enough to have a couple of models in this one.  
A few red salmon made their way up the river.  
An eddy behind the rock was a quiet place for two and a third 
making it's way up the fall.

Resting Places
12 x 16

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15

Fifteen out of 30!

It was a good day being joined by fellow artists of the 
Valley Fine Arts Association joined me.
Martha and Maria were great fun to have along and they 
turned out some pretty fine paintings too!
Thanks ladies :)

We first met at the large parking lot but the clouds didn't linger low enough for 
interest nor were they scattered enough to let in any light.  
In this beautiful mountain bowl, I had to go in search of poetry.

It was there on the side of the road, just a little stream, un-assumably meandering through the green. Hopping and skipping along the firmly planted rocks the stream dances like nobody's watching.
Hmmm, I might have to try that one day.
The purple grey at the base of the mountains provided the perfect backdrop.
Muting the grass in the background keeping it cool in the right places 
but warming the edges speak the story of distance.

When the stars line up... or is it the streams?

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14

Day 14...

Would love to see the inside of one of these.
Sleeps two, great way to paint the country I think.

Going to look into this one :)

I'm almost half way through the 30 days and finding old paintings that need new life.
I have some fine memories painting Sedona, but this little 9x12 didn't make the cut.

I was going to go higher up the mountain today, 
but the clouds cooled the air and dulled the shadows...
So back to the river and as you can see, the sun was very good to me.

A few adjustments to make on this one and it did not photograph well but 
tired has taken over on this day.

Until tomorrow!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 13

July 13th
Lucky 13 that is.

Two hours in the sun by the river and done. 
Feeling good about today's work although I started at the top of the mountain but the wind and clouds brought shiver to my bones.  It was the first time I thought about not painting and just going home.  I think I'm getting tired...
But rejuvenation comes to me through living water.
There I found it.

The start.

As I put up this canvas board that had a painting started on it quite some time ago, 
spectators looked inquisitively as there is no calm lake, 
nor is there a house reflecting in it??

Then came the brownish hue paint, 
covering all that was there of an upside down wanna be.

Lucky for me it was all covered and started when my friend 
Carol (photographer extraordinare'!) 
came by with her family and visiting relatives.  
This location is proving to be a great place to run into friends 
I haven't seen for some time!

By now, the canvas is covered. Phew.

And Lucky 13 is done..
Thank you Tina Turner..
Rollin on a Riiiver.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 12th

Day 12
Almost half way there!

So today, I found a spot a little more isolated.  
I was actually in a very large parking area with plenty of other vehicles and people.
There was even a race ending not far from me but with my car backed in, 
setting up between my vehicle and a quick drop in the ground, not many found me.
It kind of reminded me how a person can feel lonesome in the heart of a bustling city.
For today, that was good.

Sometimes our hearts find solace in the company of others, 
other times, quietness stills the heart.

On to the painting.  
Today was about perspective.  If you recall July 5th..
(I'll post a photo here)

This piece was painted standing on the ridge near Independence Mine.  The site is a mix of very old and unsafe buildings and gray buildings that have been saved and restored for all of us to walk through history.   On July 9th, there was another painting, I called it "What was I thinking?!" because of the complexity of the old wood mixed with earth tumbling down the mountainside.  That too, was a closeup view of today's painting.  
Today I looked at the big picture, and it is really a beautiful picture at that.

Starting to look a little ragged, eh :) me, that is!
So, from this....

To this...

It's not completely done here but you can see the little brown chimney
at the base of the mountain, that is July 5th at a distance.

Also, the brownish marking left of the gray buildings...
that is where the railroad trestle and older building trickle down the
mountain from July 9th!

It's kind of fun to share this great place with those of you who have never been.
I hope you do, one day!


Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11th

July 11th

A busy day before getting to the Pass.
It's surprising how much time this challenge is taking.  
Made use of a crock pot yesterday and got a load of laundry done today.
Okay,  clean and fed... ready to paint.

I chose a busy spot to paint.   A famous bridge and viewing area of the Little Susitna River.  
It's really fun to share painting on location with spectators but adds a 
different twist to the challenge.  
I really love people and find it hard to not stop and chat but if you look at that river, 
you might see that it's a little like some relationships...
It's complicated!

Although many of the people stopping by today were visiting the state, friends or family, 
a couple of them were good friends of mine!

Good to see you Alexa and Jen!
Looks like Buddy had fun too :)

In Progress....

And finished for now...
I might follow up with a couple of adjustments,
but another painting beckons.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 10th

July 10th

After painting the tumbling weathered wood yesterday at Independence Mine,
today was time to get back to the river.  

I was happy to see the survey crew back at it today.  
On a somewhat rainy, windy day, there wasn't all that much traffic on the road.  
I really do enjoy people stopping and passing by, especially when there has been a bear spotted in nearby areas.  The rushing sound of the river is a beautiful roar, but I don't want it to drown out the roar (or quietly approaching) wildlife!

Thanks for the photo surveyor!

Oh and I failed to mention that my 30 day challenge has become even more 
challenging with a broken leg.  Hope he can make it another 20!

I was only at the river for an hour.  A quick block in, covering the canvas.
A bit bright in places, but that will change.  
Let's just call these under colors.  I was actually pretty happy with just an hour.
I might have time to fix a little dinner tonight!

Back home in the warmth and dryness of my studio,
I added another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes and
am ready to call it complete.
(At least as far as this project goes!)

Another thing I am learning about during this 30 day challenge is that I'm not hanging on to each piece for too long.   Some are definitely done. Others, I would love to put a little more time into, but, alas :) there is another to start tomorrow.

The Rock

I am pretty happy with this one but I just might have to go back and add a little splash,
softening the line at the bottom of the big rock.