Winter Walk: a revamp

My new painting Winter Walk is complete:

Winter Walk, Oil/Canvas, 16 x 20"
Winter Walk, Oil/Canvas, 16 x 20″

If you recall, last week I decided to re-work a painting I made earlier this year. I tried to document the change so I could show you on the blog… but half-way through I became too immersed to take photographs. Oops. Hopefully you can still see how the old painting acted as a foundation for the new one:

Winter Desert (title before piece was entirely re-worked)
Winter Desert (before piece was entirely re-worked, and re-named)
in progress 01
in progress 01
in progress, 02
in progress, 02
in progress, 03
in progress, 03
in progress, 04
in progress, 04
in progress, 05
in progress, 05

Faded in Sun

This painting has been a few weeks in the making. I took some progress shots along the way and made them (the technical genius that I am) into a small video of sorts. Enjoy.

Me at work
Me at work
Faded in Sun, oil on canvas, 2 x 4'
Faded in Sun, oil on canvas, 2 x 4′

Cat on a Quilt on a Wall

Hello again! It has been a productive week in the studio, what with finishing Quilted Lake and now getting to complete a second painting.

This one was started  a while back  and wasn’t working for me so it was set aside and stared at it with a gloomy expression for a few months. In that time ideas popped up and swam around with all the other detritus in my brain until finally something more solid was able to form…

I knew I had a few pictures somewhere of an outdoor cat named “Butters” sitting on our neighbor’s roof. I had taken them over two years ago when we lived in a different neighborhood and Butters and I spent a lot of time together. (Some of you already know of Butters. I’ve posted some photos of him on this blog before. I pretended he was mine, but he was owned/fed by some people a few houses down. I’m not sure how much affection they gave him though because he would come running down the road when he heard my car or bike and demand pats.)

I dug around a bit on my computer and found the photos I remembered. Then I did more digging around and found about five or six other photographs to use as resources to invent this landscape as it had formed in my mind.

Here are some process pictures from yesterday and today:

Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, in progress
The canvas before becoming “Cat on a Quilt on a Wall”
Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, in progress 2
Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, in progress 
Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, oil/canvas, 16 x 20"
Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, oil/canvas, 16 x 20″

Quilted Lake… finally.

I am happy to say today is the last day of work on Quilted Lake. I’m pleased with the outcome and eager to move onto creating the paintings that have been accumulating inside me. If it weren’t for my tennis club meeting in an hour I’d start another painting right now!  I’ve got some serves and volleys inside me too though, and they need to come out just as badly as the paintings.

I hope everyone enjoyed their labor day weekend and that you all have a great short week!

Quilted Lake, oil/canvas, 24 x 48"
Quilted Lake, oil/canvas, 24 x 48″

Blanket Landscape Study 1

I don’t know if you realized, but I went missing for a few weeks! I had my brother-in-law and his new wife visit us in the middle of their Southwest USA Road trip extraordinaire! We enjoyed dining on a balcony overlooking the plaza in Santa Fe while a mariachi band played and people strolled with dogs and lazed with family on the grass. We then drove south to Cloudcroft, New Mexico where we camped for two days in the wooded mountains. A day trip to White Sands National Monument provided many beautiful photographs and I came home inspired anew.

Back at home I struggled to get myself back in the studio. It is so easy when one is sans-structure to find a million other things to keep oneself busy. Cleaning, cooking, and recovering from a five-day bout of poison ivy or poison oak or poison something (argh!!) filled my time.

I finally realized that it was the big half-finished canvas that was keeping me out of the studio (see Quilted Lake post). A project of that kind is daunting to me and can freeze me up if not completed within a few days of commencing. It’s not that I don’t want to be painting, it’s just hard to find that freshness that the work had in the beginning.

I did some research on the web and discovered there is a term for the way I like to paint. “alla prima”:

Wet-on-wet, or alla prima (Italian, meaning at first attempt), is a painting technique, used mostly in oil painting in which layers of wet paint are applied to previous layers of wet paint. This technique requires a fast way of working, because the work has to be finished before the first layers have dried. It may also be referred to as ‘direct painting’ or the French term au premier coup (at first stroke).

Thank you Wikipedia.

I know you’re probably shaking your head at me because someone who did a Bachelor of Fine Arts should really have already been familiar with the term, but somehow I missed that one… whoops.

Anyway, learning this term somehow brought validity to my preferred painting habits and I’ve plotted a way to keep myself painting, and ENJOYING painting in the near future.

In terms of today’s work, I feel that my recent traveling and sight-seeing has informed my painting and that the landscape is finding its way into my small world in the studio.

That’s all I’m going to say for now and before I sign off I will give you the option of seeing images of:

a) the gorgeous desert area in Southwestern NM called White Sands

b) the evils of poisonous plants

c) today’s painting progress

JUST KIDDING! I’ll pick for you and I’m picking “a” and “c”. Count yourself lucky.

White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument
Blanket Landscape Study 1, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Blanket Landscape Study 1, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″

I’m back! And I have a new friend…

Okay people. It’s been over a month since my last post and I sincerely do apologize. Life has been busy, life has been full, life has been beautiful.

Here are some excuses:

1) I moved to a new home and set up a new studio and am as pleased as pie in the new, well-lit space.
2) I adopted a kitten I found on the road dying in the hot desert sun. Her name is Dragon and she is very distracting with her cuteness. See?

sleeping kitten
Dragon snoozes

Despite these big life events I have been painting and crafting up a storm. So sit tight and enjoy the more frequent posts for the rest of the summer!

Here is an oil painting I finished last month for my brother-in-law’s wedding. It depicts the countryside north of Bakewell, England where we all took a hike this past year. Monumental memories I tell ya.

oil painting of england, bakewell countryside
Hiking North of Bakewell

Snowy desert

In the past three days I’ve driven over 12 hours in the desert. I went west to Albuquerque over the weekend and to Lubbock, Texas and back today. Some say the drive is dull, “in the middle of nowhere…” but I have to remind myself I’m driving, to look straight ahead now and then, and not let my eyes wander so long in my surroundings. It is exhaustingly full to me, so much sunlight where nothing can hide behind anything. I love it here.

It is fitting that I painted a landscape this afternoon. The snowy desert.  It was inspired by my adventures this week, driving through snowstorms, only to be in a t-shirt two days later… It is a sibling painting to an oil I made last year (on left) and I thought you might like to see them together.

photo of two oil paintings landscapes of new mexico
Snow over Santa Fe part one and two