Monday, December 8, 2008

Sun on Sand and Snow - North Bar

Finally, the illustration projects are wrapped up for now and have had some time to get back in the studio. Am posting another 6x12 image in the canvas reclamation project. This is a study done for a larger painting (24x48) that I'll eventually be posting as well. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Three Small Gouache

alla-la-la-la-la prima. 5 minutes x 3 = 15 min.; mix, decide, apply, finish. breathe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

God Helps Those....

who help themselves. After all, dog is God spelled backwards. In a weird way I'm sort of proud of him. I guess all those agility classes paid off.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Eight Days to Dry

Old Mission Peninsula, a little different format. Must remember to bump up the drier in the medium as its been 8 days and still not completely dry. Oil on a reclaimed panel.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Watching Paint Dry

Finally dry. I have a number of new paintings kicking about the studio as part of my "Save the Canvas" campaign, but in the category of nothing ever goes as planned, this group of work is being a bit temperamental about drying. Apparently I must of not added enough galkyd to this last batch of medium.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bad Paintings of the World.....

Unite! There is hope for life after bad art. Presenting painting number 2 in the canvas reclamation project; The End of Old Mission in October. The painting that is now securely entombed forever (hopefully) under this new offering was an abomination, an affront to my own artistic ego, i.e., it was a painting that for various reasons DIDN'T WORK OUT. Paintings that don't work out can be problematic. After all, just what do you do with them? I mean I really don't want them hanging around my studio bumming me out, providing me with tangible proof of that day's particular artistic ineptitude, nor do I want to lavish them on friends & family who will gasp at the magnitude of such an extravagant offering and then promptly stash them in a closet or worse yet become garage sale fodder. So just what becomes of those "process" pieces? I have it on good authority that one nationally known (who here will remain unknown) painter was cavalierly just throwing his "process pieces" in the trash, only to one day find the garbage man rifling through the best of the worst paintings! Hello EBAY. Said painter has found one more reason to love his table saw. Other painters archive and store the stuff, I choose to reuse, much to the horror of my husband. SO that conversation went kind of like this...Me -"blah, blah, blah canvas reclamation project." Husband - "You are DOING WHAT to finished paintings???" In his ever optimistic way he suggested that a mythical someone, somewhere, just might want to buy one of those process pieces. To which I suggested to him that he sign HIS name on them. And I see he has yet to take me up on that! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The 15 Minute Oil

This painting is part of what I am now referring to as the "Canvas Reclamation Project". Canvases, that for one reason or another, don't really like the painting they've been presented with. Underneath this study was a painting of the lake Michigan shore line. While the actual scene doesn't include any lake view or tree line to the right, I liked the way these parts of the underpainting came through and decided to let these sections stand as they were.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The People You Meet at Lunch

Just another day in the life. We headed out today for lunch to Ada Bike and the Schnitz Deli. On the drive out we started noticing a huge police presence down the entire route. Annoyed by all the road closures we took the back road into Ada and pulled into the bike shop. Where we were met by....more-better-serious police, bomb sniffing dogs, metal detectors and my personal favorite, a handbag search. After the Secret Service liberated a wine opener from my bag we were allowed into the Great Hall of Bikedom. As it turns out, we weren't the only ones in Ada for lunch, as evidenced by the Presidential Motorcade's arrival some 10 minutes later. And sure enough there is the Leader of the Free World heading up to the Schnitz Deli for lunch. So I see where my lunch is heading and it no longer involves dining at the Schnitz. I'd like to take this time to thank Ada Bike for the Bag of Starbursts I had for lunch. But I digress. Anyway, after his lunch GW made his way down to the bike shop where he shook hands & chatted us all up. Note on meeting the President: my biggest regret was that I wasn't wearing my "Hot Chicks for Obama Pin". It was on my other coat. Damn it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 15 Minute Gouache

Time to post something from the art category. This is a 15 minute gouache study from yesterday. I actually did two paintings - the gouache and a small oil, of this image. Will post the oil once its dry enough to move. My focus right now is - the bravado of the start & knowing when to stop.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Podium Girls-A New Twist!

I always wanted to be a Podium Girl! I did, I did, I did. I got my chance a little belatedly Friday night at the "Welcome Home & Medal Viewing" party for our friend Mackenzie Woodring. Mackenzie was the eyes for fellow cyclist Kara Whitsall at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. How cool is that??? Even better, look what they brought home:
Gold - Women's Individual Time Trial B&VI 1-3
Silver - Women's Individual Road Race B&VI 1-3
Bronze - Women's Ind. Pursuit (B&VI 1-3)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Making Special

Its hard to believe its been a week now since the Parke-Kooyman Painting Retreat (a.k.a. Painting Camp) has ended. Painting Camp was held in the form of a 3 day/4 night plein aire workshop in at Camp Tosebo in Onekema, MI hosted by Painters Melanie Parke and Richard Kooyman. See link for their website.

This was definitely the gold standard of workshops. First of all, Camp Tosebo was a perfect place to hold an art intensive. The main lodge, outbuildings and and the grounds are absolutely charming and meticulously maintained. There were 11 of us in attendance and I would have to say that the team of Parke-Kooyman, Cre Woodard, and Carol Spaulding didn't miss a thing when it came down to even the smallest details. We were all greeted by fresh flowers, not only in the public rooms of the lodge, but in our separate accommodations as well. Meals were an art unto themselves with Chef Cre and Woman-of-Many-Hats Carol (Assistant to the Chef, Wine Pourer, Bottle Washer & most importantly Art Camper) manning the kitchen. The food was fresh, local, and non-stop. Got to LOVE a woman who serves cake for breakfast - a cardamon cake to be precise. This was some seriously good slow food. Fresh Corn Chowder, Rustic Goat Cheese & Squash Pizza, A Creamy Cauliflower Fettuccine, Key Lime Pie, Brownies, Gallettes, Sesame Cookies and blueberry pancakes! And wine, lots of wine! Who cares if we ever even painted!

Paint we did though. Three solid days from 9:00 to 5:00 with a short lunch break. We filled what seemed like miles of surface! We worked quickly through several small studies. We worked even more quickly trying to capture the essence of the essential on larger surfaces. Under the guidance of Melanie and Richard it was if we were all learning a new language. Part of my language is learning to speak with a bigger brush in broader volumes. On day two, my dear Melanie, who I now refer to as the "queen of all painting evil" walked up to where I was painting and handed me this monstrous brush ( think blush brush for an elephant). Of course, I am working on a little canvas and was like, "just where do you expect me to use this?" She just smiled and walked away. However, I am now having a big brush love affair!

Both Melanie and Richard are extremely talented painters. In addition, they both have the gift of being natural teachers. Being able to support and enhance the positive aspects of their student's work seems to come very easily to them as a team. In addition to freely sharing their wealth of personal knowledge, they shared a library of catalogs, books, dvds and spirited discussions during our daily evening fireside "wrap ups".

One of the highlights of camp was the Wine & Cheese Field Trip to Parke-Kooyman Studios. Richard and Melanie graciously opened their studios and home to us for hors'd ouvres and wine. Yes, this is how a field trip should be. I have some serious studio envy. Both studios are light and airy, plenty of space. Melanie's is in a beautifully updated old store front and Richard's space is literally a stone's throw away in a restored barn. Both spaces held many framed and "in progress pieces". It was interesting to see the progression from the unfinished to the framed. I think its pretty safe to say we all came away from the outing visually enriched.

This workshop brought together a patchwork of strangers and by the time we were all packed up and bound for home it was obvious that we were all connected by the same sutra. I made many dear friends here and the inspirations that this group generated will be resonating in my work for months to come. To steal a line from Ellen Dissanayake, "Making Special" is an art form in itself and what Parke-Kooyman did exceptionally well at this retreat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The sketchbook

Am in a sketchbook kind of mood lately and its never a bad thing to keep your drawing skills sharp. One of the great things about when I did the Artist-In-Residency (see way back posts) last year, I got back into the habit of keeping a sketchbook. Almost all of the sketching that I do for commercial work is done on tissue overlays, so while I have piles of sketches they're mostly just that....piles of sketches. The sketchbook however feels like a personal record, a diary of drawing so to speak. This little sketch of Bodhi I am posting was done just a couple of days ago. Bodhi, out of all the living, breathing creatures that reside here is always the most agreeable model. Unlike those felines who care not to suffer for art by being imposed upon to model, as they will undoubtedly move when they realize that they are being observed. Ingrates.

Lately a lot of my sketches have been in mixed media - mostly a combination of 30% grayscale markers and a 90% prisma pencil. I like the saturation of the marker as its a bit like painting, plus its about having to get shapes down accurately the first time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Joe's Farm

And just how do I know that this is Joe's farm?
In my quest to connect to the landscape around here, I've been heading east towards Lowell. The attitude of the land is beautiful,
rolling hills peppered with barns. There is a little site that I've been painting at recently in this little non-dot-on-the-map Parnell. Parnell consists of three major landmarks; a church, a convenience store and a cemetery. (Like a weird Bermuda Triangle of sorts!) Anyone who thinks a cemetery is a quiet/lonely place ought to head out to Parnell. So much for painting uninterrupted.
Fellow artist Holli Sturges and I met a number of people while painting in the cemetery. One of which was Joe's brother who promptly called Joe to tell him that I was painting his farm, who then said we were welcome to come on over to the farm and paint sometime. Definitely am planning on taking him up on that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What a Month!

Am finally back in the studio after being gone for almost 3 weeks. I spent a week in Glen Arbor for the opening and the show - which went really well; paintings were sold, people were met! The day I took the show down it was off to Harbor Springs for 5 days for a paint-out & opening at Tvedten. Then home for 4 days, which was just long enough to swap for clean clothes and repack to go to Niagra Falls for 3 days. I know its hard to believe but I think I talked more in those 3 weeks than I would normally talk in a year! Now for less talking and more painting.

Also I want to say mucho gracias to those of you who were able to come up for the opening and or purchased a painting. That support simply cannot be measured in words, but know that it is deeply appreciated.

And to my good friend Chuck - are you sure that painting is unsigned????? :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Countdown has begun

Just a moment for a little pre-show preview. The opening is in 2 days; exactly 48 hours from now. Everything is framed, my artist statement written and pretty much all I need to do know is pack and drive!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thorson Farm Road

Hard to believe that July is almost over. And that the opening at Center Gallery in Glen Arbor is in 12 days. In the spirit of NOT putting off everything off until the last minute I actually have a head start on the framing. I think I have 11 pcs framed out of the 27 or 28 I am taking up for the show. While it may not sound like 11 pcs is a solid head start, in "artist time" it actually is. I have all the frames except for 6 and one that I keep changing my mind about!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I did it AGAIN. Will I ever learn?

I am on my 3rd palette in 5 days. The first one which I used for over a year met its demise somewhere on the East Beltline last week. My last conscious memory of that palette was putting it on top of my car as I was loading up from painting at Meijer Gardens. I replaced it on Monday just before heading up north for 4 days of painting. Long story short, palette number 2 took a flyer at 55 mph on M22 between Glen Haven and Glen Arbor. At least I saw its spectacular connection with the pavement from my rearview mirror, and fortunately for once, no one from Chicago or Detroit was tailgating me. Am now fully committed to not putting anything further on top of my car as I pack up.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Watercolor Waterlilies

Headed over to Meijer Gardens this afternoon for an hour of sketchbook work. They have kind of a cool thing going right now called "Monet the Gardener". While they didn't try to reproduce his garden, they basically drew inspiration from his use of color, texture and plant combinations. Really what Monet themed garden wouldn't have at least a few waterlilies? These lilies were up in the waterfall section of the garden. This all prima sketch was done with minimal drawing; just a few pencil lines to get the lilies in generally the right location.

Monday, July 7, 2008

One Hour Challenge Result Show

Thought I'd post the result of the One Hour Challenge. Even though I lightened the painting up with photoshop in the previous post, the image seemed dark in contrast with the field. Anyway here is the finished 9x12 painting.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The One Hour Challenge

Happy 5th of July. I am happy to report we've survived another summer Holiday without the neighbors accidently torching our house through their use of alcohol and fireworks.

Headed out for a little plein aire today with fellow painter Frank Speyers. In an effort to spend more time painting, less time driving we headed over to Lowell and settled in a farm field along the Grand River for the afternoon. The second painting of the day was a One Hour Challenge. For you foodies, think Iron Chef with paint and no cheesy chairman. The beauty of the one hour format as far as I am concerned is that it takes the pressure to produce a masterpiece off. Seriously, if it ends up being a disaster you can totally wiggle out of it by saying to yourself, "well, I only had an hour." By setting a time limit you force yourself to work quickly and you begin to build a confidence with the brushes and paint, after all you have to cover the whole surface with paint or its a disqualification. I haven't really got the whole self DQ thing figured out yet, like what my penalty should be. Maybe knocking 5 minutes off the next attempt. Anyway the painting shown here in the field was completed in 55 minutes, including talk-time with the farmer who came out to turn the hay over to dry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Trouble with June

is everywhere you look its green, green green! But with my newly honed sense of the careful observation (remember I just did the Shils Guerilla Bootcamp for painters) its not JUST a green field, but a problem to be solved. This particular problem presented itself Sunday June 28th when a group of plein aire peeps headed out to the Saul Lake Bog Preserve. As this was my first trip out there I wasn't sure what to expect. What I didn't expect was all the GREEN. It was everywhere with not a structure in sight. Not even a fence post! My first clue should have been the word Preserve. Duh. Don't get me wrong this is a beautiful site and I've already been back, but I'd just come off of a pretty intense workshop where I was looking pretty carefully at structures in the landscape. My response to all of this green was to make this an accurate paint mixing experience. Once I had the plan in my head as how to solve the problem of all that green, the painting became more about the poetry of paint vs. the image.

I've been meaning to update about the workshop and just haven't had the time. Came back to a mountain of freelance and have been trying to dig my way out ever since. Three Pines Studio in Cross Village hosted the workshop. They arranged housing for those of us who needed it; the place I stayed was amazing. It was a lovingly restored farm on Division Road. The property owners have turned some of the outbuildings into vacation rentals. The building that I stayed in was an old grain mill. Joanne and Gene of Three Pines really outdid themselves as far as hospitality goes. We were greeted on Sunday night with a fabulous dinner of poached salmon, pork tenderloin, a rustic bean salad and my favorite; little red peppers stuffed with blue cheese, and wine. Throughout the course of the workshop, the Condino/Recks made sure we never went hungry or thirsty for that matter.

The nuts and bolts of the workshop started on Sunday night at dinner with intros all around. Right after dinner the Stuart Shils experience began in earnest with a 2 hour slide lecture comparing and contrasting painters throughout history. Monday morning began with breakfast promptly at 8:15. By 9:30 we were in in the field. A short break for lunch and then back at it. Dinner, and then another slide lecture. Shils really "shows up" for these workshops. He is incredibly well-versed in the history of art and art-making and armed with an arsenal of slides/presentations. I would have to say that he sets a high bar for those who step forward. After three days of painting, on the last day at 4:15, he looked at the painting I was working on and said, "You've got a nice painting going there". I wanted to get that in writing. Shils isn't one to give praise arbitrarily, in fact I definitely wouldn't say that he coddles the sensitive ego. But, when he does critique, its always with a fair and objective eye. It is my opinion that he really is looking to help develop the skill of the careful observation and that by being fair in his assessment of the work, he does his participants the biggest favor of all. In short, I would have to say that that workshop was invaluable to me and am ready to sign up for next years offering.

And one last thing, it was really inspiring to be in the company of all these talented people who came together for this workshop. Hi to Lori, Patricia, Kate, and Jim. You know who you are.........

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm

Talk about foreshadowing. This was one hour plein aire study was done this past Sunday, right before the Stuart Shils painting workshop was to begin. The workshop or more accurately guerilla bootcamp for painters was a three day affair in Cross Village, MI, wonderfully hosted by Joanne Condino and Gene Reck of Three Pines Studios. More on that later. When I say bootcamp, I mean bootcamp. They were very long, full days. The day started promptly at 8:15 with art theory and dialog. By 9:30 or so we were generally on location to paint. Lunch, then painting until 5. A short break to clean up, dinner and back for slide lectures, discussion and thankfully wine!

Monday, June 9, 2008

In My Own Backyard, Sort Of

Well, not literally in my own backyard but within 4 blocks. I have been on the lookout for places around here to paint and on a route I frequently travel I just happened to catch a glimpse of a few red flowers. I pulled in to investigate a little further; beyond a curve and a hill was this expanse of wild flowers probably about 2 acres+ in full bloom. Pink and red poppies, cornflowers, daisies. It is absolutely breathtaking. Fellow artist Holly Sturges and I spent a couple hours Sunday morning painting at this site .

Friday, May 30, 2008

Burfiend Farm Revisited

The last time I painted at this site was in September. What a difference a few months makes. I painted here at least three times last fall and never saw another soul. I was probably here less than 2 hours on Saturday 5/24 and saw at least a dozen people and assorted dogs. Speaking of dogs, this was the first time I'd taken Bodhi out with me solo on a painting expedition. (Craig has been officially banned from further painting expeditions am sad to report, see earlier post!) I am happy to say that the Beaster is actually the perfect painting companion. He doesn't complain about the site and never really offers criticism on any of the work. He's pretty much happy to just hang out and take it all in. Now if I can just get him to carry some of the gear.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Photos From the Vortex

I'm Baaaccckkk

From 10 days painting in Glen Arbor! Overall it was a really good trip. The weather was definitely on the cold side of the days I was out the temperature never got over 44 degrees, coupled with 20mph+ winds. The saving grace that day was that the sun was absolutely brilliant and tucked up into the dunes it felt like it might have been 46 degrees, really. Good thing I brought the swix XC ski gloves which are now residing in my paint kit. Over the course of the week, I managed 17 paintings, 13 which were done on site.

One of the highlights of this particular trip was that on one of the days, I painted with a group of other artists; Melanie Parke, Richard Kooyman, Margaret Tvedten and Beth Bricker. ( See links) I never get to paint with anyone else, so it was really fun to just be in the company of all this great talent for the day. We hiked up to the top of Sleeping Bear Point, which Richard swears is the Vortex of all creativity! I think I'd have to agree with him. The first painting here is from that morning. The hike was probably a mile and a quarter...up, carrying all our gear. Style points go to Margaret who carried a card table up to the top as she was doing a very long watercolor. Melanie worked in gouche, Beth in pastel, Richard and I both worked in oils. We spent the morning into early afternoon there, heading into Art's Tavern for Burgers and deep fried Tator tots. (o.k. don't knock the Tator tots until you've had them deep fried.) After lunch, we headed up to Bohemian Road for the afternoon session.

Craig and Bodhi joined me almost a week into the trip.Let's say three is a crowd when you're out painting and 2 of that crowd is not painting! Craig had the BRILLIANT idea that he and Bodhi would join me for a morning session. On paper it looked good, really. Bodhi and Craig would sit on the beach, play fetch, etc. while I painted. Right. Lets see....we got there, I started to set up while Craig walked the Beaster to the beach. But no, in true dog fashion the Beaster likes all of us to be together in a pack, so he spent most of his time running between me and Craig, stopping for an occasional swim, then coming up and shaking all over me and my gear. In summary, that morning's painting is not one I'll be showing anytime soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Manitou Music Festival Poster

The Manitou Music Festival is at the printer! I talked to Peg at GAAA and she said that they will be delivered by the end of the month. Am very excited to see the printed piece. The original painting is of the Kelderhouse farm in Port Oneida, between Glen Arbor and Leland just off of M-22. The painting was completed during my AIR and donated to the Art Association as a token of appreciation.

The Kelderhouse farm is located in the Port Oneida Historic District in Sleeping Bear National Park. One of my earliest memories as a kid is spending time at Sleeping Bear with my family. We did all the typical family things; the dune ride (o.k, now that dates me!), the dune climb, and beach time at Glen Haven. As a kid I was fascinated with all the farmsteads that were seemingly abandoned. At the time, I didn't realize that they were part of a large scale preservation project. Even today, I still find all of those farms hauntingly beautiful. The title of the painting "In Between", signifies the emotional space those farms still occupy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

No Escape

I've been painting alot lately. In the last month I think I've completed something like 25 paintings. Varying sizes, varying degrees of success IMO. I've come to one conclusion through it. There is simply no escaping who you are artistically. In my 15+ years as a professional illustrator/artist I've looked at alot of art. In fact recently I decided to stop looking at everyone elses art so I could get a clearer vision of what it was that I had to offer. Its so easy to get caught up in the idea of what the completed painting "should be", rather than what is. I think that for me one of the major distinctions between creating fine art and illustration is freedom. The freedom to choose not only subject matter and content, but the freedom to rest (or not, as is the case sometimes)with the result. In work for hire, the client almost always dictates the subject, the style and to some degree the final art.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Nature Boy Goes Happy.

I swear he is the happiest dog ever, especially when the day includes a trip to water. Any water. Big lake, little lake, muddy pond, swimming pool, yes even semi frozen water. The whining in the car started once we got to Spring Lake. By the time we got out of the car at Grand Haven, we were being dragged down the boardwalk full tilt towards the lake. When 4 paws and 80 pounds is determined there is not much that stops him, except the promise of a T-R-E-A-T.

Flower to the People

Have been working on a new series of paintings. Small floral studies. Motivated in part I think, by not being able to get outside and paint. So just to juice things up, decided to do some observational studies. Small, quick, not too fussy. I have probably 15 of these completed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Snow be Gone for Good

Happy Spring, almost. Since tomorrow is the official changeover of the seasons! Am feeling like a broken record here but I am really ready for some warmer temperatures. At least warm enough to get outdoors and paint. I need another 10 degrees or so on top of the mid 30's we've been currently having. The two images I am posting today are what I call "do-overs". Both of these canvases had prior lives that I wasn't real fond of - so I painted directly over them. It was kind of fun to let some of the underpainting influence the new paintings. Both images are of Reed's Lake and done from digital reference, because it was too cold out.

Am working on a new series of paintings right now, that I hope to post if they ever dry!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Red Barns

There is something about barns in the landscape that has always fascinated me. Perhaps its the sense of connection, of being grounded to nature that the barn represents for me. Interestingly enough, the barn becomes part of the landscape, rather than an intrusion. (think McMansion planted squarely in a field and I think you'll know what I mean)

On another note; Bring on the spring! Am sick of painting indoors. Craig and I headed down to Saugatuck last weekend and spent a beautiful afternoon hiking through the State Park. Even though the sun was absolutely brilliant, it was about 24 degrees and with the wind off the lake, the wind chill was brutal! We spent about an hour and a half on the beach and hiking, but it took me about two days to warm up. Seriously.