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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Another View

This is another view of Lake O'Hara in the Canadian Rockies.  I would LOVE to go back there again!  I feel peaceful even when painting from photos I took.  The water is this amazing color of green with bits of the sky reflected into it.  I'm told the green comes from the minerals in the water.

"Another View"
20"x16" oil on board

Monday, November 28, 2011

Devil's Garden

One of the great benefits of living in Utah is our beautiful national and state parks.  There is something spiritual that happens when you hike through these parks.  I never tire of visiting them.  They change with the light of day and also with the weather.  Rain, especially intensifies the color.  This painting was inspired by a photo I took while hiking in Arches National Park.

Devil's Garden Trailhead
20"x16" oil on linen

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall or Winter?

"Season's Change"
11x14 oil on board

This is the time of year that Mother's Natures seems unable to decide if it is autumn or winter.  Some days the temperature drops, the winds pick up and the snow begins to fall and I'm convinced it is winter.  Other days I look around and discover some trees are holding on to their leaves as if they too don't want winter to begin.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Autumn into Winter

I never tire of the view out my studio window.  The Wellsville Mountains are in a distance and they change on a daily basis.  Early morning they are pink into orange and the sun hits them.  Sometimes they are hidden in the clouds with only a part being lit by the sun.  Today the contrast of the remaining autumn leave against the white snow of the hills in the distance let me know that once again we will be fully into winter.

This is what is on my easel today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Standing Watch

I love evergreen trees as they always give color to the landscape no matter what season it is.  This painting was done plein air (on location) with finishing touches done in my studio.

"Standing Watch"
11x14 oil on panel

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lake O'Hara

There is a pristine lake hidden on the back side of Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies.  A number of years ago a good friend invited me to travel with her through the northern Rocky Mountains into Canada and back to Oregon.  We were on the road just shy of a month and that trip was amazing.  Although I had heard of John Singer Sargent, I was not familiar with much of his work.  I know!  I missed out big time.  Little did I realize the history behind where we stayed.   We were fortunate to stay in a ranger's cabin right at the very spot that Sargent painted many years before.

"Sargent's Point"
20x16 oil on board

Zion Park

One of our favorite places to visit is Zion National Park.  I still remember my first time there and how the amazing canyons and towering rocks took my breath away.  No matter how many times I visit the park, I still find myself filled with awe.  The rocks change right before your eyes.  One time they are dark and almost without color and a few minutes later, they glisten and sparkle with color.  If you wait and are lucky, you might have a gentle fog roll in or a few snow flurries, depending on the season.  All are beautiful and remind me to stop and just enjoy this place we call Zion National Park.

"Zion's Fog"
11x14 oil on panel

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Zion National Park

I never get tired of visiting the beautiful national parks that are here in Utah.  Nor do I get tired of painting them.  This is of Zion National Park after a dusting of snow.  Like the season now, it is a taste of what is to come.

"Early Zion Canyon Snow"
11x14 oil on panel

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Still life or real life?

I've been enjoying setting up some still life's in my studio.  My studio isn't very large so I have to limit the size of what I paint.  These are two of the ones I've done this week.  Ok, I admit it, I didn't paint the kitten from life.  My husband is allergic to cats so having one in the house would be out of the question - unless it's a painting.

"Here Kitty Kitty"
11x14 oil on panel

"Blue Vase with Apple"
11x14 oil on panel

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Plein Air, Not!

This past week I joined a group of artists in Spring City, Utah to take a plein air workshop with artist Paul Davis.  Previously, the weather had consistently been in the mid 80's and sunny so I packed for those temperatures.  Fortunately I did pack a rain jacket and a fleece jacket.   The first two days we began painting outside when rain storms rolled in and shivering with cold, we had to cut each day short.  The third day the rain mixed with snow and the plein air workshop was moved inside.   We each set up some still life subjects and enjoyed the warmth of being inside.  These are what I painted.

"Blue Jar with Apple"
11x14 oil on panel

"Pewter Mug with Apple"
11x14 oil on panel

"Flowers in Blue Tea Pot"
11x14 oil on board

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oil or watercolor?

People ask me what I prefer, oils or watercolors?  I love both.  I truly do!  Each have their own unique characteristic.  I never know when I wake up whether I'll feel the urge to paint with oils or watercolors.  Here is a watercolor that I'm entering in the local chapter of the Utah Watercolor Society.

Busy, busy, busy

I have been busy - all art related - although not painting.  I, as you might know, have chosen not to participate in art shows and exhibits during the last year or two.  I wanted to focus on painting and getting more comfortable with all that oil paint has to offer.  I did, though, decide at the very last minute to participate in one of our local gallery walks.  This decision snowballed to the point where I was framing two dozen paintings with only minutes to spare before the show.  After framing came the decision as to what to put in the show as space would allow for only 9 or 10 paintings.  We hang the show starting at 3:30pm and the doors opened at 6:00pm  Phew!  What a race it was to set up as the room had previously been used for a banquet and that had not been taken down.  But, we did it and the show was a success!!  Three of my paintings now have new homes and I have more space in my studio to produce more work.

This past week I've busied myself with designing a lightweight wet panel carrier as I'll be plein air painting for the next week and need a place to put a dozen wet oil paintings other than spread all over the seats of my Prius.  That done, now it is whittling down my pile of "must have" art supplies to bring only what I absolutely require.  HAH - easier said than done.  Second will be pack clothes and lastly, food for a week.  I wish I could say I can survive on paint fumes alone but there comes a time when even an artist must put down the brush and pick up a fork.

As luck would have it, the weather is about to turn.  I've not seen more than a few rain drops since early June but storms are in the forecast for this next week.  I wonder where my umbrella is.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Storm's Coming

I love summer storms that bring rain to help cool down the hot days.  I especially love looking at clouds as they build and the sheets of rain that follow.

"Storm's Coming"
24"x36"  oil on canvas

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Starting to cool down

The temperatures are beginning to cool down with the turn of the calendar.  The high today was 80 and evenings seem to cool off earlier.  This has been an amazing summer once it got started.  We had some days in the low 90's but most were in the 80's with low humidity.  I could adjust to living in this type of weather year around but when living at almost 5000' I know cold and snow are just around the corner.

This small painting reminds me of the color of the season and the darkness that is ahead.

Monday, July 18, 2011


The last of our Iris finished blooming today.  We brought some of the rhizomes with us from Portland.  They stayed in a bag for the first year or two before planting them in our garden.  They are blooming here as well as they did in Portland, sometimes standing almost five feet tall.  I especially love the bearded iris as they continue to produce blooms for quite some time.  I painted this to help keep bring a little of summer into the coming seasons.

Last Iris of Summer
16"x20"  oil on canvas 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Barn Yard

Can you tell I'm enjoying summer painting?  The Cache Valley offers spectacular view in all directions so one is never for lack of things to paint no matter what the season.  There are times I wish I was ambidextrous so I could put a brush in each hand.  That might calm all the visions that constantly run through my head.

11x14 oil

Friday, July 15, 2011

America West Heritage Center - Little Pioneer

Recently a friend posted a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page.  I couldn't help but be inspired and couldn't wait to paint her.  She is one of the many volunteers at the America West Heritage Center in Wellsville, Utah.  As usual a little tweaking but I'll leave that to another day.

"Pioneer Girl"
12x16 oil on canvas

This is a close up of "Pioneer Girl."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

America West Heritage Center - Another View

"Man With Cart"
11"x14" oil

This past weekend I did some plein air paintig at the American West Heritage Center here in the Cache Valley  The top painting was 90% finished on location before the sun became too flat.  After I got back to my studio I added the man and the handcart.    The second painting was done from some photos I took of children playing at the center.  It was hot enough where I wanted to go over and stick my mouth in there too and get a cool drink of mountain water.

Monday, July 4, 2011

America West Heritage Center - Smitty

Utah State University runs an American West Heritage Center here in the Cache Valley of Utah.  It is a way to sample what life was like during the days that the pioneers traveled west.  I don't go there nearly as often as I would like to but the times that I have gone, I've left inspired.

10"x12" oil

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Addicted to painting

Hello my name is Sue and I'm an addict.  I'm addicted to painting.  It not only takes my daylight hours but I dream about it at night.  It's all I can do to not run into my studio when I awake in the middle of the night.

"Iris on Gold"
12"x16" oil on canvas

"Red Rocks"
12x16 oil on panel

Friday, July 1, 2011

So many subjects - so little time

Every where I look there is something I'd like to paint.  I especially love the central and southern part of Utah where beauty is everywhere.  This is Wilson's Arch, on the highway south of Moab.  I'm still fiddling with it, as usual.  I had done a smaller version of this scene a couple of years ago and that painting is now hanging on a wall in India.

"Wilson's Arch"
16x20 oil on board

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Painting faces

I'm beginning to realize that I love painting faces whether it be people or flowers.  My first love in painting was flowers but I didn't want to be tied to flowers avoiding what I didn't feel comfortable painting.  So, I stopped painting flowers and began painting a variety of subjects until I felt comfortable with any subject matter.  It's all about painting shapes anyway.  It's all about painting values and shapes not objects and things.  It's also about trying to capture the emotion and feelings I get from those values and shapes.  That said, I'm feeling that old pull towards flowers probably evoked from being out in my garden which is filled with color, values and shapes.  Ah, I love summer, don't you.

"Iris Close Up"
8x10 oil

It was risky

My husband always said he didn't like to fish but that meant that whenever we'd travel all he wanted to do was ride around and explore new areas.  That's fine but it also never gave me any time to paint.  So, as he prepared for a three month sabbatical leave, I presented him and my youngest son with complete fly fishing outfits  - rods, reels, waders, special shoes, flies etc.  It was taking a chance but I was desperate.  I wanted to explore but I also wanted time to just sit and draw or paint.  It worked!!  Bob fell in love with fly fishing and I get to do more painting.  I came upon this young guy one day and knew I had to paint him.

I realized that I wanted to capture for the feeling rather than the specifics of the scene so put him back on my easel.  This is the result.  What do you think? Before or after?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hot days of summer

Temperatures are up into the low 90's today with low humidity.  I can't help but think of the desert when temperatures rise to over 90.  The last two winters, Bob and I spent some time in Arizona taking in the amazing southwest sunsets.  This painting was inspired by those memories.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Almost Plein Air

A little over a year ago, I joined a group of artists painting plein air - outdoors.  For me, it was a combination of painting outside and taking reference photos.  Today, although beautiful enough to be outside, I chose to paint this from one of my reference photos.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Summer officially arrived this week and with it warm, dry, sunny weather.  What else would I be inspired to paint than the coast.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Allowing the painting to speak

The weather is so beautiful that I moved my "studio" outside to paint.  I am finding more and more that I only use my reference photo as a jumping off place and allow the painting to tell me what it wants to be or do.  I know - sounds crazy - but that's what happens when I allow it to.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I love clouds

I love clouds but not cloudy days.  I especially love the billowy white and grey clouds that come with the passing of a summer rain storm.  I don't like the long, grey days that winter can bring.  This painting is what is on my easel right now.  It's close to being finished but not quite there yet.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life gets in the way of painting

Do you, like me, find that often life gets in the way of doing the things we really love to do.  My husband loves to fly fish though he doesn't do it very often.  I love painting.  I've titled this blog Painting Almost Every Day more as an incentive rather than a fact.  I would love to paint every day but life does get in the way so I cherish each hour that I do take.  I'm beginning to let go of the guilt and recognize that like breathing, I need to paint.  Here is a quick sketch from life.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Spring has finally arrived here in the Cache Valley.

I love the way our mountains hold on to the snow while the fields are a study in abstract patterns.

There is never a lack of inspiration when you are living in a lush, green valley surrounded by mountains.

And spring is not spring without flower!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Joy of Both Watercolor and Oil

It's been awhile since I got out my watercolors.  It's not that I don't like watercolors, I do!  I can't even say I prefer one over the other as I love both watercolor and oils.  When I sit down to paint I follow an inner guide that leads me to one or the other.  It is more instinctual rather than a conscious decision to work in one particular medium.  Lately,  I've been led to play with my watercolors.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Just Be"

I have a sign next to my easel that says, "Just Be."  It will often remind me to pause and take a deep breath.     That sign was the inspiration for this painting.

"Just Be"
12" x 16" oil on canvas

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A thousand stories

One face holds a thousand stories.

Something About Faces

There is something about faces that draw me to want to paint them.  I find it hard to believe that there are almost 7 billion people in the world and no two faces look alike.  What an amazing thing that is.  I feel each person carries in their face their life's story and if I can only capture one tiny piece of that story, then my painting is successful.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Back to painting plus some sketching

It is easy to get side tracked because I love doing so many different things - watercolor - oil - sketching - photography.  (notice I didn't say housework)  I've put my pencil and charcoal aside for a little bit and have gotten my paints out again.  Here are a few examples of what I am working on.  None are finished so look for future postings.

These charcoal sketches were done a week ago during a figure drawing workshop.