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Friday, July 31, 2009

Orange Teapot is finished!

I'm happy how this came out. It was a fun project. The black art board made a wonderful texture for the pottery planter in particular. I have to tell you what happened the other night in our own garden. My husband was grilling steaks for dinner with spatula in hand, when a very determined quail kept coming into our yard. Thinking the bird came to eat my petunias (or was volunteering to be quail dinner), my husband chased him off. And the bird came back in, and he chased him off. And the bird came right back in! I heard multiple peeping sounds and went to investigate. Papa bird was trying to come to the rescue of two chicks caught in my strawberry netting. I helped the day-old peepers out of the netting, but one needed scissors to cut him free. It was so fun! They were as big as my thumb and their feathers were more like soft fur. I hope my handling them didn't deter momma bird from taking them back into the fold...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Orange Teapot

While at my Mom's, I took some pictures in her lovely garden. I love the teapots on the retaining wall. I started this on a black art board. It doesn't have any grit, so I stop frequently and spray with a workable fixative. This painting is going to take many, many layers, and it may take a few days to complete.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two Sedona Paintings

I finished the Sedona Painting I started at my Mom's house. This painting was done on a green La Carte paper. I brought out an older painting of the same scene that I did on salmon colored La Carte. Thought it would be fun to compare them side-by-side.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Zinnias are ready for picking!

I'm done with the Zinnias. What fun to use all those intense colors that are normally too much for a landscape.

Now that I've shown two of my bunnies, I have to include Marshmallow. He's getting old and slowing down. He enjoys hanging out behind the broom.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Adding shadows to the Zinnias

Wherever one zinnia is close to another, it has some reflected color of it's neighbor on it. I also added shadows and deeper colors. That white outline is the liquid resist. That will be removed soon.
Remember Pixie Dust? She was a stray picked up by a friend and came to live with us. She was weak and didn't jump, and her bones made noise when I picked her up. The x-ray showed she had a dislocated hip! Before jumping into a surgery, I just thought I would let her have free choice to come out of her cage and run around the upstairs twice a day. She got stronger and more athletic. She jumps over my legs and does "binkies" (joyful bunny hops), and can run very fast. I only pick her up when necessary. She loves being petted when let out of her cage. She will stay there forever, so that I have to do something else at the same time (I just have to multi-task!). So I have started a new thing "Pixie Yoga." (Downward dog - hold while petting with one hand, plank, chataranga, pet Pixie, cobra, downward dog, pet Pixie, walk feet in to forward fold, pet Pixie, triangle pose, pet Pixie....) Sorry, got off the art subject here...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Painting Zinnias and Multi-Tasking

Summer Saturday mornings at 8am we love to go to our Farmers Market. I love the Zinnias. Zinnias are summer to me. I begain with looking at my bouquet and sketching it out. I took a photo and printed it right away, so I have both that an the real thing to paint from. Here are the various stages: First liquid mask put in with a toothpick, then yellows. While drying, I spin more at my spinning wheel (gotta do something!). Then, the red & fuschia, and more liquid mask on top of yellow. Dry (and spin wool). Then light green on the white flowers. Then more mask on the reds. Dry and spin again. More on this tomorrow....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Morning Skies

Hey! I painted today! Actually, I wasn't planning on it. Went to meet a lady who did a group art supply order to pick up my stuff. She was coming by the local painting club at a little lake in the middle of town for a paint-out (since many of the people there were going to be in the workshop). That was the nudge I needed.

I said I would post some pictures of my fiberwork. So here they are. The beige, brown and grey are shetland wool. I have a beige and grey sample of the fleece with the prepared "rologs" next to them. The grey is being spun on the wheel, as seen on the bobbin. The brown is being spun on a handspindle. I even ply on the handspindle, as seen from the yarn sitting on top of the brown rologs. Next to them is a beautiful soft white "cria" (baby alpaca) yarn, and next to them is a mult-colored purple wool that was already hand-dyed and I spun and plied that while at my Mom's house. And lastly, a bonus picture of my angora bunny "Miss Lucky" with a pile of yarn I spun from her soft bunny hair. (It falls out when full length grown four times a year!)

Class Painting of Oregon Coast

Here is another painting I did in Reif's class. This is from one of his travels up the Oregon Coast (or Washington Coast?). Anyway, it was good to learn about sandy, pebbly beaches and water reflections. See to see his work. I am still doing fiber work. I have spun several skeins of yarn. Maybe tomorrow I'll take a picture of them and post it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mountain Study

Here is another class painting in Reif Eriksen's pastel class. See to enjoy his works. I still haven't painted! My husband is thinking maybe he should nag me a little to get me started. I don't want to sound like I'm making's my excuse: I felt like working with fiber! We have had a heatwave (upper 90's and today maybe 100). Here, we don't have to deal with humidity, but that is still pretty hot! Summertime and heat are the perfect time to wash wool fleece and lay it outside to dry, pick out the seeds and grass, and card it into clean, spinnable rolls. The fleece dries so fast in this heat! And carding and picking outside means clean carpets inside. This is kinda no-brainer work which rests the creative right-side of my brain. Go ahead and laugh, but creating does take a lot of thinking and energy! OK, I'll stop while I'm ahead....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another Paint-Along Class Painting

It always takes me longer than I think to get caught up when I get home from being away. And I was really more tired than I knew it. So here is another painting from one of Reif Eriksen's class. This is a field of lupin somewhere in the Sierras. Visit Reif's website at to see more of his works.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Class Paintings with Reif

I went through my file of finished work and pulled out all the paintings I did in Reif Eriksen's classes. It was really fun to see them again, and I took pictures of them. Those were really fun classes. I can't sell any of these works (or publish them), because they are done in class in a paint-along-fashion. These are really Reif's photographic references which he copies for us students, and then demonstrates each layer of the pastel painting, and then we paint the same thing, and he goes around and helps us with corrections and pointers. I especially love his subject matter - the Sierra Nevadas and pastoral scenes. So, when I don't have something of my own to post, I will post a Reif class painting and plug his website: . Please visit his site and his blog which has a link from his site. He has some beautiful paintings.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Home Again

I got home from my mom's yesterday. After my last post, I was unable to paint. Things got really busy - therapy almost every day, meeting with care-givers, making lots of phone calls and setting things up. My brother is going to help mom manage her finances to take the burden off her. Towards the end of my stay she was doing very well. My brother and his wife are there now for the next week, then the caregivers take over during the day. I am emotionally and physically exhausted. I will get caught up at home, check on my horse, and maybe tomorrow I can start painting again. While driving home over the sierras, I longingly gazed at the gorgeous mountains and granite and rich blue sky and puffy clouds....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Continuing with the Sedona Painting

I did a little more on this painting ... need to do more with the trees in the foreground. It is way too hot today. Mom doesn't have air conditioning. I'm trying to keep everyone cool - including my angora bunny that I had to bring with me (to give her antibiotics from an abscess). I have her outside on the lawn in a patch of shade in a puppy pen with towels clipped over the top for more shade and shelter. Mom's silky terrier really likes the bunny. She wants to play with her, but, like a dog plays - like, jump on their head and then run away. The poor bun doesn't see it coming and gets bonked. After three times, bunny said "enough" and went back into her puppy pen!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Sedona Landscape

I am at my Mom's house now. I took her to physical therapy this morning. She is having a "tired" day. This afternoon I began painting this Sedona scene in the shade outside. It is from a photo I took a few years ago. I'm trying to arrange them step-by-step in this blog entry, with the start of the work at the end this time.
I actually did a painting of this scene a year ago, only on salmon colored La Carte paper. Today I'm using a soft grayish green La Carte. I think it will be fun to compare them side-by-side when I'm done.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rose Painting in Pastel

I didn't get to paint yesterday or today. I'm trying to get ready to go to my Mom's for a week's stay. As you may remember, she had a stroke a month ago. She is doing really great. I suspect my visit will be very enjoyable, and all I have to do is be her personal "driver". This painting is a few years old. It is a pastel of the same rose study I did in watercolor.
Today I went to our monthly Spinners and Weavers meeting. It was held at my friend Mim's house. We enjoyed spinning and other fiber activities outside on the lawn under the trees. Mim raises shetland sheep. I bought little bags of three colors of fleece. I love spinning her shetland - and the different natural colors are fun to make fair isles knit socks and mittens and hats for gifts.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Peaks of Zion National Park

I cannot do anymore to this painting. I guess that means I'm done. It was an interesting project, full of problems I had to solve along the way. Some paintings just paint themselves. And some, like this one, is a learning experience!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Backside of Zion National Park - a pastel painting in progress

I have always been intrigued by geological formations. As you drive out of Zion, you come out up high on the otherside of the cliffs. The rock swirls and folds and domes are here and there. I begin with some sketches and decide to narrow the large peak and simplify some of the foreground. I love the peach colored La Carte paper for the red rock landscapes this area. Next, an underpainting with the shadows in blue-grey. Then I begin to put in contours of the swirling rock shapes. Technically speaking, we painters are not supposed to use lines! But I don't know how else to depict the flow of the layers or rock, and that is what makes this picture different from other rocky mountain landscapes. So, I'll just have to bend the rules until an artist aficionado gives me an alternative! Next, I add some medium values and dull highlights for the sunlit areas - for now. I like to do a clear blue sky in dabs of multiple blue colors. It looks spotty now, but with more and more added, the sky will fill in and look luminous instead of flat and dull.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Trail Ride to Marlette Lake

I didn't paint today. Instead, I took in Nature's beauty, and tried to capture it with a disposable camera, while riding my horse from Spooner Lake (near Lake Tahoe) to a small alpine lake named Marlette Lake. Since I haven't finished the roll, I am posting photos from a previous year. The quality is not as good as a digital, but I didn't want to break an expensive camera! The ride was 10 miles total. The weather was perfect, wildflowers out, and butterflies floating around. One of these days I will paint from photos of this area.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Donner Party Camp - Truckee, California

We went to stay at our Truckee house for the 4th of July weeknd. I did this painting yesterday. In past summers, I used to ride my horse all around the Truckee area. One favorite trail is the Commemorative Emmigrant Trail. Very popular with mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians, the trail begins at Donner Ski Area and goes all the way to Stampede Lake. This painting is from that trail, near the area where the Donner Party camped before they took the last fatal climb up the mountains. The mountains in the background is Mount Rose and Slide Mountain. The terrain is a mixture of sagebrush, bitterbush, wildflowers and grasses and reeds in the boggy areas from snow runoff.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

We are going to our Truckee house for the weekend. We no longer pay for internet there, so I'll have to post an old painting today. This was done the first year I started with pastels, and it was the first painting worth framing! I was so excited! I want to give credit to my friend, Diana, who took the reference photograph and gave me permission to paint from it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home Grown Strawberries - Done!

OK, I'm done with this. (Finally!) There was a white tablecloth with a brocade texture, so I hinted at it here. I also used this painting to practise with a scrubber brush, to soften the highlights around the bowl. I also practised the 10-second lifting out color technique for the highlights on the berries. (Basically, you drop a bead of water on the berry, wait ten seconds, press with a paper towel, then immediately rub with a kneaded erasure).