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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sometimes people really like the underpainting!

I painted this on location near my home.  It is an old ranch land that is across the street from the library.  Some neighborhood people like to walk there dogs here.

So we were painting (our group) and dog walkers came by and some people really loved the watercolor underpainting I did here!

Sometimes I feel bad that I am going to cover it up with pastel!  But that is my plan!

Here is the finished painting:
"Whites Creek Lane" 9x12 pastel

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pastel painting en plein air - and finishing at home

pastel over watercolor underpainting

I was on a trip last month to Phoenix.  I hiked along a horse trail with my painting gear in a backpack.  The trail dipped down and crossed a dry creek bed.  Knowing that a horse rental stable used the trail, I stepped into the dry wash and set up to paint this view.

This was the first time I used my small oil painting tripod and pochade box for a pastel painting.  The kitty wallis board fit down into the tray holder, but blocked my use of pastel down at the lower edge.  So, if you look closely, you can see the watercolor underpainting of rocks down there.

When I got home I really wanted to finish this.  Finishing to me means more layers of pastel and adjusting values and colors and edges.  So here is my final version:

"Desert Horse Trail"  9x12 pastel

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Second time around

8x10 oil "Tracks in the Snow"

This painting was started last winter at Spooner Lake.  It just wasn't right.  So I came home and painted out a big bush in the front with grays.  Then, I did not get around to finishing it.

Last week I went up to Mount Rose Summit - to the Tahoe Meadows area.  It was a grey sky day, but lots of new snow.  The best part was no wind.  Although it was cold, I had brought out my old ski clothes from storage and the snow shoes.  I snow shoed up the hill where the families were sledding.  In an area of willows, the scene was similar to my old painting (which I brought along just in case).  So I set up and started painting over my old painting.

I had forgotten how cold weather stiffens up oil paints.  But I just thinned it down with turp.  I really enjoy painting snow.  There are so many colors in snow and it is fun to try different combinations of warms and cools.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Cave Rock Beach" a new painting

This painting was from an onsite paint-out at Cave Rock State Park at Lake Tahoe.
9 x 12 pastel painting
Although Cave Rock itself is quite impressive, I liked the morning light coming over the ridge and hitting parts of the beach and the aspen in gold.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bringing a plein air painting to completion in the studio

"Luther Pass Ranch" 9x12 pastel - the finished painting

I have been painting plein air for about 3 years now - almost every Monday - year round.  About 10% of these plein air paintings I feel are completed right on location.  That leaves about 80% I need to do a little tweeking at home...or maybe an hour's worth of work...or maybe just a do-over.

Here is a painting done in November and just finished the other day in the studio (above).  It is done in pastel on white Kitty Wallis sanded paper mounted on museum board.  This pastel paper is no longer available.  I really liked it, so I went in my stash of older "disaster" paintings and took them out in the backyard and rinsed them off with a hose.  There was a ghost of the painting left.  Especially a ghost of the watercolor underpainting I did.  Even a soft brush could not get it all out.  No matter.

I then layered these wet papers with paper towels and towels under and over the top and weighted them down to dry with heavy books.  Once dry, I put them in my plein air kit to take out in the field.

Here is the plein air painting:
plein air painting
With this painting I also did a watercolor underpainting.  Fortunately the ghost painting was not too strong to confuse me.  It was a blustery day and getting windier so I just did a light sketch of the lower half.  The paper is really showing through.

So in the studio I wanted to do more refinement of the dark evergreens and soften the background with greys and violets.  I wanted the foreground to still be loose, but more pastel coverage.

Now, I have a stack of about 12 more paintings to finish....onward!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Special Holiday Sale

Holiday Collection:  "Ranch Road" 6 x 6 oil

I am going to have an Exclusive Holiday Sale from November 9 - 22, 2014.  There will be 25 small works - 6 x 6 and 8 x 10 plein air oil paintings on panel, without frames for about 60% off my normal prices.  

Holiday Collection:  "Winter on the River" 8 x 10 oil
This sale will be available to my subscribers to my Newsletter only.

If you would like to check out this Holiday Collection, please go to my website and subscribe to my email Newsletter.  Here is a link:

Holiday Collection:  "Boulder Reflections" 10 x 8 oil
On November 9, 2014 I will email a special newsletter to my subscribers with the details of the sale and a LINK to the collection that you can click on to view the sale paintings and purchase if you are interested.  So, you need to subscribe before that date to get the email.

Examples of displays for Holiday Collection Paintings
Also in this newsletter are examples of frames and display easels one can purchase from companies online.  I have included links to these items at these companies.

Purchases will be done online from my website service.  PayPal handles the transaction and accepts all major credit cards.  There will be a shipping cost of $7.00 flat rate.  I will ship immediately.  

This is the first time I have tried an online sale.  I wanted to have an open studio with wine and cheese, but we just didn't have a free Saturday during the fall.  So, I thought I'd try this instead.  I am actually discounting my paintings even more than I would if I had an open studio....  so please feel free to check it out.  (You can always "unsubscribe" to my newsletter later if you wish).

Best wishes to all, Carolyn

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Here are some paintings I have been doing recently

So sorry I don't post much these days!
"Pond at Donner Summit" 6 x 6 oil

I seem to spend more time posting to Reno Tahoe Plein Air Painters blog (RTPAP).  The reason is that I have to post to it each week  - to announce the location of the next paint-out.  We have been painting outside for over 2 years now.  Wow!  It is a lot of fun, but a lot of work on my part to research the locations, obtain driving directions and photos of the place.  I also research links for further information about the place.  If you are interested in looking at this blog, visit it at  Local people can subscribe to it by email so they get each post in their email inbox each week.

RTPAP has given me a lot of practice and I have painted each week!  It has prepared me for the following Plein Air Event and Competition:  North Tahoe Plein Air Event 2014:

"Paige Meadows" 8 x 10 oil
These two paintings are going to be at the exhibit and sale this weekend at North Star Wine and Food Festival in the area of Petra's Wine Shop in the Village at North Star at Tahoe (Truckee).  The top one is being donated to benefit North Tahoe Arts Center (the non-profit organization that is putting on the North Tahoe Plein Air Event).  The second painting will be for sale and perhaps in the competition for the same event.

We will be painting for the next 3 days and entering our paintings in this same event.  We are supposed to paint the North Tahoe area.  It is a lot of fun and a lot of my painting friends are in it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

I'm Back! And here are some paintings!

I have a few paintings to share:

A large watercolor painting entitled "Cliff of Spires" - in case you do not know, this is a very very small section of the gorgeous Bryce Canyon in Utah.
And, I am also back to enjoying pastel painting en plein air with my local group of artists.  This is a painting called "Cabin on Serene Lake".
And this next one I did today at Virginia City.  I call this pastel "The Tree Lives On".  In case you do not know, Virginia City, Nevada, is a wonderfully preserved mining town from the Gold Rush Days (and Silver).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gosh - a month slipped by! Yes - I have been painting!

Wow, life sure gets busy.  Here are some recent paintings I have done in the last month.  These are all on my website now and most are for sale.  The painting "Tracks to Pasture - Winters Ranch" was painted for the Nevada Land Trust and will be for sale at their fundraisers.
9 x 12 oil "Tracks to Pasture - Winters Ranch"
8 x 10 oil "Andreas Canyon Trail"

8 x 10 oil "Winter on the River"
14 x 11 oil "Warming the Snow"
8 x 10 oil "Slowed by Ice"
11 x 14 oil "Lagoon Reflections"

Friday, February 28, 2014

Taking the advice of a master plein air painter

plein air painted in 3 greys, white and black and then just a hint of color started over the top
I recently went to a California Art Club Winter Symposium.  This was my first one and I learned so much.  The keynote speaker and demonstrator was plein air painter, Kevin Macpherson.  He demonstrated one of his methods he might use out in the field, and he recommends this to anyone who wants to nail their values down.  He used three shades of grey out of the tube, chromatic black and white when necessary.  Once he had his base painting done, he then mixed his colors, using the greys as a guide to mix the right value of color.  Then he brushed the color on over the painting (this is all wet-into-wet oil paints) as one would ice a cake.  Lay it down, then leave it alone.

Sometimes I am value-challenged.  And out in the field I thought I would try this.  Above is a painting I did at Serene Lake.  I have to admit, I really liked painting a grey scale painting!  It took all the decision making and time to mix colors out of the picture, so to speak.  We had a little time left and I started to lay some color in.  This is where I find wet-into-wet a challenge.  It was time to go, and I happily packed it home and let it dry.  (So much easier to paint over a dry painting).

Here is the next step - laying in the color and moving a snow mound back, and covering up the willow twigs that I no longer liked.
Stage 2
And here it is - done -
oil 8 x 16 "Edge of the Frozen Lake"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nocturnes! A new challenge!

"December Nights" 12 x 9 pastel on black sanded paper

When we visited Florida in early December, a popular area to wander shops and dine in outdoor cafes was so lovely in the evening with all the holiday lights.  I tried to take photos, but it is very hard with a point-and-shoot camera.  But I got something to work from, and my memory.

The top painting was my second attempt.  My first attempt was the entire scene, as seen below:
"Holiday Nights" 9 x 12 pastel on black sanded paper
I've always wanted to try cityscapes, even though buildings and perspective are my weakest talent!  Oh my goodness, and cars are even harder!  Especially when the photographs shows no detail and everything is very dark.

This was a fun challenge and I think I learned something.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Silently Waiting" watercolor painting

12 x 9 watercolor "Silently Waiting"
I'm happy to say this painting is done!  It has been fun taking a break from my other mediums and going back to watercolor.  This project in particular was meditative to do.  All the interesting shapes were painted separately.  Very detailed, very controlled, but done in one small shape at a time....I haven't tried Zentangle yet, but from what I have read about it - it sounds a little like what I did here with the reflections.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A New Swamp Painting in Progress

Here is another complicated one.
First, I did a black, grey and white pattern study.  Then I began the watercolor.  This is so complicated, I started to pencil in the shapes and then soon realized that if I pencil in the entire picture, I would be lost in a maze and I would no longer know what shape was what - what shape was green - what shape was brown, etc.

So I began painting the colors in the shapes after just drawing a few at a time.  I can darken them later with glazing.  At least I know what is what from the get go.
Now, I have most of the shapes blocked in on the upper half of the painting.  My hubby can't wait for me to do the alligator!  Patience....patience....

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Two small, quick watercolors

The second one needs more contrast (some darker richer colors) which I will do later.

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Swamp Tree Garden" watercolor painting

9 x 12 watercolor "Swamp Tree Garden"
I'm done!  I will be doing the pastel painting later.  In the meantime, I will be working on a new swamp picture in watercolor.  See ya soon....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Continuing on with the watercolor painting of the swamp...

Today I added some light blue to the water.  Now, my hubby says it looks like water instead of snow.  "All in good time, I say, it is a process."

I also added a little more color to the green floating plant leaves and the smaller greenish stuff that floats on the water (is that pond scum????).  I also added a little more dark at the base of the branches in the shadow on the water.  The water is very shallow, and I don't quite know how to portray the bottom of the swamp where you can see it instead of the least, I don't know how to do this in watercolor.  But I do know how to do that in pastel.  So, I'm hesitant to try to do it in watercolor.  There are no rocks on the bottom of the swamp - just mud.  So, I might just leave that out in this picture.

Next stage will probably be a little more dark accents and finish out the spider plants growing in the crooks of the branches.  When all done and dry, I might try a razor blade and scratch some highlights in where necessary.....later....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Preparations for a pastel painting...painting a swamp scene from Florida Everglades

I am going to paint a pastel painting....but first I need to work out some issues with my subject.

Here is my photo of a swamp in Florida we visited.  It is very, very complicated.  I did a sketch with pen and ink and watercolor, trying to simplify it into a composition of a few of the elements in 4 values and a few shapes.
Next, I put my sketch out as my reference and started a watercolor on Arches coldpress block, using the sketch and making a few refinements of the shapes and began putting in the lightest colors.  As you probably know, when working with watercolor, you work from light to dark.
More color, more values, shadows of the branches more refined than in the sketch.
Doing refined darks of many colors of the branches.

If this painting comes out well as a watercolor, I might have to enter it in a show!  But my intention is to paint a pastel painting after I am done with this and work out all the composition, color, reflections, and issues that might arise - in watercolor first!   But, so far, this is looking pretty nice!

As an aside, I want to mention that I always wanted to visit the Everglades in Florida.  Last month we went to Florida for a week - our first visit ever.  I took many photographs and enjoyed my hikes along the trails and boardwalks of the various parks and nature preserves.  Swamps are very complicated scenes to paint though.  Every picture I took is of thickets and plants choking every available space.  So, it will take some thought on my part to eliminate a lot of extraneous information that is just too much for a painting.

Also, I must note that I am not familiar with this plant life.  I feel better doing drawing and sketching first to see if I can portray these subjects well - before I paint them.

The next post will be a continuation of this one.....stay tuned....

Watercolor Plein Air Painting

about 3 x 5 watercolor "Maui Palms"
A small watercolor kit is so easy to take anywhere, anytime.  I can paint a little scene in 30 min. or so from a chair or sitting on towel.  It helps to keep my "eye" trained to seeing the landscape as an artist.  I can always use these little watercolors as a springboard from which to do an oil or pastel painting in the studio.

Monday, January 6, 2014

I am in a 2-Artist Show in Virginia City, NV!

My plein air oil paintings on the old rock wall

Thanks to my friend and painting buddy, Monika Johnson, I was invited to do a two-person art show with her at a charming new restaurant in Virginia City for the months of January, February and March of this year!
Monika and her beautiful plein air landscapes done with palette knife

The name of the restaurant is "Core at the Cider Factory".  It is located in an historic old building where the apple cider factory was.  It is one block up the hill from Main Street at the north end of town - at 420 South B Street, Virginia City, NV.  Here is a link to reviews of their restaurant.  They are open every evening from 5pm to 9pm except (Tuesdays and Wednesdays).  This restaurant was ranked #1 out of 22 in Virginia City.  I was so impressed with the ambiance and the menu that I will be heading up there for dinner with my husband real soon.  

The restaurant will be hosting an Artists' Reception for us on February 22, 2014 at 5:00pm to 7:00pm.  My husband and I plan on staying for dinner afterwards.  For folks driving up from Carson City, Reno, or Incline, you might want to consider booking a night at the Country Inn B&B next door.  It looks very charming in Victorian decor on their website.  

Hope to see you there!
Entrance to Core Restaurant
Core Restaurant
The Country Inn next door to the right

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

"Aspens in Snow" 10 x 8 oil
Happy New Year everyone!  We have been enjoying sunny, calm and relatively warmer weather!  But the snow still lingers!  This was painted a few weeks ago up at a small ski training area when closed for business.  Three artist friends and I went up there to paint and then had a friendly little critique afterwards over a warm lunch at a painter's home.  What a great day!

New Years is a time when I sit down and start making plans and goals for the new year in my art business.  I just finished 3 pastel paintings that I plan to enter in a pastel show.  I'll be showing them to you later.

Next I will be painting 3 more new paintings in the studio for another pastel show. Meanwhile, I will be painting every week on location somewhere in oil paints with the Reno Tahoe Plein Air Painters.  It is a lot of fun to paint with others and to paint outside.  When I'm not painting with them, I'll be painting in the studio - and that is nice too - painting to my favorite music....