Saturday, March 22, 2014

Alaska's Night Sky

Sometimes I complain a little about sleepless nights.
Not this week.
This week I've watched a beautiful moon rise slowly over the not to distant range casting warm glows on clouds and mountains.
I watched the Aurora Borealis dance it's ribbony curtain just above our house. 
 Last night a 1:00 in the morning we made a quick run to 
Hatcher Pass that lasted three hours!
A bazillion or more stars twinkled in delight above the jagged snow capped peaks.
I do believe, there, I could see the speed of light.

So at 17 degrees and quite windy I decided not to set up my easel and attempt plein air, although there will be a day... no night... that I will!

Instead, I set my camera up.  Finally giving into the fact that a tripod does wonders!
I am still in the very early learning stages of camera use and learning by experimentation but they are still worth sharing because if you haven't ever experienced something like this for yourself, I want you to at least see it through my eyes. 

And so the first little study for my Alaska Nocturne looks like this...

This is just a little 6x6 sketch to begin the process. 
I always enjoy watching other artists journeys and thought you might enjoy this one too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Road to Achham

"The Road to Achham"
Helping Hand Nepal

There is a wonderful soul who spends her own time, finances and heart with those less fortunate.  She flies to Nepal and lives with the locals.  Her job there is to help those in need of medical help that have no other way to recieve it.  She encourages and returns living with families like any other local.   Thank you Linda Jay Jackson for all you do.

There is another wonderful lady who continues to give back to the community.  She doesn't fly to faraway countries but opens the door over and over again to help the local neighborhood.  Although her business is sales of art supplies, she does much more than sell,
she encourages and offers opportunity for artists over and over again.  Thank you Rene Haag of Blaines Art.

Together they are doing wonders.  Every day in the month of March floor space is made available for an artist to promote and paint.  Each artist donates a painting to be auctioned off.  All of the money raised goes to Helping Hand Nepal and all of the money HHN recieves, goes directly to the people in need. 

Follow Blaines Art Supply on Facebook 
or check out the website
or just let me know if you would like to bid!

Bidding will be available online and closes May 2, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Above All Else

Painting Air!
"Above All Else"

An exciting an exhilarating challenge for me once... but twice? 
I had to do it!

The first "Above All Else" was painted from a beautiful morning out my bedroom window.  It felt like one of my favorite artists of the past, 
Maxfield Parrish, was showing me his inspirations. 

 Okay, well it may not be a Maxfield Parrish piece, but his adaptations of warmly lit clouds clearly inspired me to no end on this one.  
I have to say though, when I finished this 11"x 14" there was a little part of me that felt some disappointment.  It's not that I wasn't happy with the final painting, it's just that   
I wanted to hang it over the fireplace and revisit that feeling of 
awe, taking in God's beauty...but it was too small for that space.  
(Although I'm sure there's a perfect space somewhere for this size)

 So, bigger I went!
The larger canvas that I chose is 24"x36".  It's a 2" deep gallery wrap canvas that's edges are painted so the cloud scape wraps all around.   It can be framed or left unframed, but let's get back to the painting part!... the good stuff!
Painting the air filled with water, reflecting the setting or rising sun, finding the enormous mountain ranges as a sliver of a serving plater for what the sky has to offer was for a second time a spiritual journey in painting.  

But a different journey.   For both paintings I chose to use primarily transparent colors.  Occasionally a cadmium red was added to help neutralize a blue.  The biggest difference in application was the first and smaller artwork was painted in an Alla Prima style.  One stroke of color laid next to another, building the scenery one stroke at a time.   
The second and larger piece was a process of many glazes.  Painting a colored area and letting it dry a bit, then lightly painting over the same area with a warmer or cooler color.  A little more time consuming process but each canvas seems to speak it's own life.  I am happy to take part.

Hope you enjoy.

"Above All Else" 11x14 Framed

plus actual shipping charges

"Above All Else" 24x36 Gallery Wrap

plus actual shipping charges

Monday, March 3, 2014

Reworking the Land

Reworking the Land, Larsen's Place

11 x 14
Oil on Linen Panel

A family friend has recently retired.  He worked for about 30 years with every drop of being he has.  He reworked raw land in the Matanuska Valley, Alaska year after year.  
Kent always had the most beautiful cut flowers and the most fragrant herbs.  Florist and fine chefs would scoop up most of his jewels before any had time to reach the public.  He catered to perfection. Businesses and locals reaped the reward.  Fresh tasty veggies that hadn't sat on a barge before reaching Alaska, succulent tomatoes and the most bountiful flower baskets to be had.   
You have to understand that although Alaska summers can be beautiful, they can also be harsh.  Even though the days are long, the summer can feel quite short.  
Kent would start in the winter months choosing seeds and starting them indoors.  His home is one that was shared with all the seedlings, like a parent raising young with hopes of them going out one day and beautifying our world.  Through rain, cold, sun, and even moose chomping away at his crops he persevered and continued his passion to perfection.

I painted this scene a couple of years ago.  Today I reworked it a little and as I did I was reminded of countless days my friend Kent reworked his land.  
I am so thankful for people who live with passion.
Thank you Kent, and enjoy your retirement.