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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Warm weather

Warm weather comes with a price, especially if you are in the desert.  Some of you know I am deathly afraid of spiders.  We had more than our share in Portland and in Utah I've only seen two kinds.  The problem is one of those is the hobo spider.  Not exactly one to put out my fears.  Bob and I have been toying with the thought of some day actually retiring to some place warm and spending summers in a more moderate or cooler climate so we headed off to Arizona to check it out.  Below is the first thing I saw in Arizona as we stepped out of the car to stretch.  I don't know if it was real or not.  I didn't want to get close enough to it to find out but the people I've met here in Arizona say it is VERY possible.  Does red and yellow mean poisonous?  I'm trying to convince myself it wasn't real but that the "locals" think it very well could be is NOT comforting at all!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Getting Inspired

Bob and I will be in Arizona until mid-March thawing out in the sun, visiting with friends and getting inspired for the next batch of paintings.  It is so nice to have one of my sons staying here at the house while we are gone.  In the meantime, my days are filled with paying bills, stocking the kitchen with food for Scott and packing summer clothes.

I'll have my sketchbook and camera with me and will post some photos along the way.  In the meantime, thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read and follow my blog.  You are my main inspiration and I thank you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Art Every Day

Rather than call my blog "Painting Almost Every Day" I should change the name to "Art Every Day."  Although I do try and paint part of every day there are some days I find myself yearning to just look at other people's art.  If I lived in a large city, I could browse the art museums in the morning and paint in the afternoon but being as Salt Lake City is 90 miles away, most of the time I have to content myself with browsing art found on the internet or kick back and read one of my many art books.  I can also often be found watching art instruction videos.  Yesterday was a trip to Salt Lake and Park City to get up close and personal with art by visiting some galleries.  

A trip to Salt Lake City wouldn't be complete without a trip to Ruell's and also Utrecht art supply stores and yesterday was no exception.   After a wonderful lunch at Cafe Trio, Bob and I headed up to Park City where we were greeted with great weather for gallery hopping.

Joseph Alleman had a show opening at the Montgomery-Lee Gallery which was a "must see" and although I had been fortunate enough to see his paintings at his studio the week before he sent them off to the gallery, I wanted Bob to see them in person.  We were WOW'd once again by his masterful pieces.  Also having art in Park City were Mike Malm, Doug Braithwaite, Barbara Summer-Edwards and Gary Ernest Smith.  Oh my gosh, I was in art heaven.  

Today's mail brought me a signed copy of Burton Silverman's "Sight & Insight" book and I've also just ordered some art videos that Quang Ho put together.  After church on the 21st,  we head down to Arizona to visit was some really neat friends.  In addition to being with them in the Phoenix area, we are going to spend some days in Tucson and Sedona, Arizona and also three nights in St. George, Utah.  I debated whether to bring my paints with me but instead think I'll settle on just my sketchbook and my camera. 

I might not get much painting done in the next month but I'm sure to be super-inspired by the wonderful desert landscapes and the multitude of galleries found in Scottsdale, Tucson, Sedona and St. George.  It will be interesting to see how this coming month will impact my art. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Be Willing to Ruin Your Painting

Storm Over Zion
oil on panel 12x16

I began this painting in mid-January and just got around to working on it last night.  I'm always amazed at how the colors on the rocks change with the lighting conditions.  The same view can be painted differently dozens of times.  

There comes a time in each painting where you like your painting but know it could be better or you hate it and really know it could be better.  In both situations you must be willing to go ahead and make the changes, taking a risk that you could ruin it totally.  Without that risk your paintings will always fall short of they way you picture it could be.

The painting below is one of those paintings.  I've posted it before but never felt that it was what I wanted.  The main problem is I changed paint brands and have struggled with adjusting to the new feel of the new tubes of paint.   Never the one to want to give up on anything, I got it out and began working it some more.  This is where I am with it right now.  The before and the after.  What do you think? 



The before looked very raw and just didn't feel right.  The after is quite strikingly different.  Neither are an exact copy of the photo I worked from.  Photos, I believe, should be a jumping off spot - an inspiration.  The camera does a perfectly good job so I try not duplicate what the camera sees.  Here is the photo I worked from.  I'd like to do this some day in watercolor.  I'm really interested in hearing your comments on these paintings.  Feedback is very helpful.  Feel free to email me with your comments if you don't have a blogger account. My email address is

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Painting - A remedy for being discombobulated?

I awoke this morning all discombobulated and out of sorts.  I felt scattered and frustrated.  The last thing I wanted was to have that energy in my painting so I avoided my art studio.  A good friend though recommended I paint anyway commenting that interesting paintings can come from what I was feeling.  Trusting her advice, I decided to go ahead and work on the painting I started yesterday.  Like my other paintings, I will sit with this before considering it done but she was right.  Painting was very calming and healing.  I am so glad that I listened to her.

Wellsville Mountains
oil on panel 11x14

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fiddled again plus began another landscape

Ok - I did it again but just a little fiddling this time.  See if you can see the changes from yesterday's posting.  I used to love to do those puzzles where you had to find the differences between two pictures.  I wasn't always the fastest but I loved doing them.

Right Hand Fork
oil on panel 11x14

I seem to have fallen into a pattern.  I begin my day doing a little rework of the painting of the day before plus begin a new painting.  I know this seems like I am whipping these out but some of my days are from dawn until dusk - well maybe well past dusk.  Some paintings take a lot longer than one or two days but my goal is to paint every day.  These are the steps I've taken so far on my new painting.  I'll hopefully finish it up tomorrow or later today.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Logan Canyon

Right Hand Fork
oil on panel 11x14

We are fortunate to have such beautiful canyons out our back door.  Logan Canyon in autumn is one of my favorites.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring
oil on panel 11x14

The valley I live in is surrounded by mountains and very beautiful.  I got an early start in my painting today and don't want to put my brushes down.  I sometimes feel guilty because I get so much pleasure from painting.  I wish I could describe the feeling inside but it is like no addiction I've ever had including chocolate!

Friday, February 5, 2010


This is the underpainting I started in the little time I had today to paint for a painting that I hope to complete tomorrow.  I didn't get to paint as long today as my husband and I went out for brunch and to get some more art supplies.  Now (late afternoon) we are heading down to Ogden for the First Friday Gallery Stroll and to dinner.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just Go For It!!

You are probably tired of hearing me say my painting is done only to find it has changed a day or so later.  The portrait I've done of Scott Selfridge is one of those examples.  I asked artist Joe Alleman what he thought of the painting and he it was good but if I really wanted him to "pop" put in a dark background.  I used to find it hard to change a painting because I would worry about ruining it.   I am not sure why but I've reached the "just go for it" stage of my life and it is so freeing.  The paint is still very wet so lots of reflections when taking a photo but I changed the background.  What do you think?  Ruined or better?  The original paintings were done the last week of January so scroll down to compare. Enlarge the painting for more details and color.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Little dab here - a little dab there

I haven't learned to leave my paintings alone so my usual routine after my breakfast is to look over the paintings I've done in the last few days or those that aren't finished yet.  A little dab here and a little dab there and I think I'm done but can never guarantee.  On yesterday's painting I know I needed to fix the sky and adjust some of the rocks and of course sign it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Zion Canyon's Majestic Red Rocks

Earlier today I blogged that I love painting people.  That's true but what did I end up painting today?  The majestic red rocks of Kolob Canyon in Zion Canyon National Park.

Standing Tall
oil 7 x 14

Paint What You Love

"What do you paint?" a woman whom I met at the gardener's market asked me.  Before I could answer my friend replied that I painted flowers with watercolor.  "How do you get the watercolor to stick to the flowers" was her next question.  Some questions just have no answer.

When I started out painting I did paint a lot of close up views of flowers.  They sold very well.  I even tied for second place for the "People's Choice" award at a large group exhibit at Palmer's Gallery in Salt Lake City which by the way was my first experience of showing in a big city gallery.  You would think I would stay with that subject and maybe some day I will go back to painting flowers but I want to learn to be good at painting any subject.  Then I can choose flowers or something else because they are my favorite subject not out of avoiding subjects I might find too difficult to paint.  

It is said that watercolor is the most difficult medium to learn and portraits the most difficult subject.  I started out with watercolors and now I'm trying to master painting portraits.  It might be the stubborn streak inside of me that drives me to continue trying to capture the essence of the person but I don't think so.  For now at least I find that I LOVE figurative painting.  Some like this one that I posted last year are done more completely in watercolor.  And others like the man below are just quick watercolor studies and will eventually turn into a full painting. 

Watching and Waiting
watercolor 11x14

watercolor study

Monday, February 1, 2010

Turning toward greatness

An artist friend sent me an email this morning with words that still play in my head.  He said, "Your limits as you continue to create your artwork will be determined by you alone, as will your greatness as an artist, so turn away from those limits and turn toward that greatness."

WOW - I need to sit with this for a while.