Thursday, January 31, 2013

Morning Shadows - Day 30!!!!!

Oil on Linen on Panel
Painted on location at Paramount Ranch

Day 30 of
Taking stock of this challenge and what it has done for me
I feel that the biggest thing painting
                                                30 paintings in 30 days has given me is:

To build my confidence!

Several times I've been told that..."to get better, all you need is to just paint everyday"...And now I see, now I feel that I know from experience why they say that:)

It's a numbers game!
Not every painting is a winner and having to move on, (because I have another painting to paint
tomorrow), means:

I'm working faster.
I don't have the luxury of time to second guess my every move and get stuck on details as much.
I've had to leave good enough alone and move on.
I've put down a few more strokes and then left them alone.
I've been more willing to wipe things off, not as attached to every piece.
I've given up on "getting it right" and have followed my instincts more.
I've listened within and have gotten more in touch with what I like and what I'm drawn to paint.
I've found a few of my own personal shortcuts that work for me to get the drawing right and figure out angles etc.  (turning my reference and my painting up-side down is one of my favorites)

Simply said, if one out of 5 is a winner....I'm more likely to have 5 winners after 30, than 5 winners after 5, and hopefully improve that much faster:)

I just realized that in 2012 I had 34 blogposts the whole year and now I will have nearly as many (30) tomorrow, after only 1 month in 2013 woooohoooo!

I want to thank Leslie for getting me and all the other artists jump-started in this way.
I'm ready to tackle bigger paintings and new ideas with momentum.
I've connected with some great artists that I didn't know before, even one painting as close as 50 feet away from me!!
I now proudly have 14 followers as opposed to 3 before (little by little:)
I've gotten great feedback - and comments, - wow what's that?!!
I've even been told that I've inspired some other artists to paint more.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yellow Watchers - Day 28

Oil on Linen on Panel

Day 29 of 

Caught the last rays of sun, at the last car show of the year and I was happily snapping away.   Wanted to paint this on in the square format which meant a lot of ground which I'm still wondering if I kept it simple and abstract enough...
I loved the shadows of the people casting on the VW...Can you find me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dinner time - Day 27

Oil on Hardboard

Day 27 of 
30 Paintings in 30 Days

I looked over the list I made for myself on the first day of the challenge and this is what I set out to do, with the results in parenthesis:

As a theme for myself I will be painting
Everything that's been on my list to paint, which means:
At least 5 paintings each of
 cars  (3 so far)
kids (2 so far)
toys (4 so far)
animals (7...)
Cape Cod and urban scenes (2 so far)
and I will plan to paint on location/en plein air at least once or twice a week
plus do some abstract explorations and playing with a palette knife
Painted (5 Plein Air paintings)

So it seems the animal category won out and I have a few more days to fine tune or add to my list.

If you did the challenge - How did you do on reaching your goals?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lookout Crew - Day 26

Oil on Gessoboard

Day 26 of

Painted this little sketch of goats this afternoon.  I was drawn to the way they were standing, touching and twisting, and how the shadow was falling, creating a nice abstract shape.   The left goat fell into place, but I struggled a little more with the black one.  It helped turning my reference photo upside down.  It's a bit of a weird angle looking down on them and my brain was telling me that "oh no, the feet couldn't go this way"   It seems to help to detach from what we know sometimes, especially painting perspective and angles.  Measuring and looking thru a mirror helps .
It feels nice to be caught up.  
A big thank you to all of you that have stopped by my blog, who've made thoughtful and encouraging comments and signed up to follow me during this challenge with Leslie Saeta!!  It's been a great way to connect.   Hearing the feedback has been invaluable; checking out everyone's work has been inspiring and being part of a community of artists who love painting just like me is just great and I hope these connections will go on as we continue on our journey making art!

Late Light - Day 25

Oil on Hardboard

Day 25 of

This is the light I saw in the parking-lot of a Panda Express that we stopped at on the way home from a trip.  I grabbed my trusted paint-stained camera and got a few shots.   I wanted to get a little more experimental, simplified and more messy with this one...not sure I didn't get more complicated than intended, but it's a step in the process.   I liked the way the light from the sun passed thru the car's window.

This one is a day there's only a few more days to's kind of weird to think the challenge is almost done.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hang Ten Stuffy! - Day 24

Oil on Hardboard

Day 24 of 
30 Paintings in 30 Days

It was quite comical this morning, me trying to talk my 3-year old into letting me bring Stuffy to the studio so I could paint him and my son being adamant that I paint Bolt instead.....after some tears and turning the car around....Sounds crazy I know:-)  He let me bring Stuffy, as long as I promised to paint Bolt and I relented, as long as Bolt was going to cooperate.
....I still have to paint Bolt cause he wasn't quite in the mood?!...

I love the shape of this dragon and the way he naturally leans towards surfing.   Painting on this surface is interesting as it stays on top and it helps if you heap on more paint to get it to stick.
Getting a photograph was a whole other challenge as it rained most of the day, so I might just take another one tomorrow.
I ended up making some adjustments on this piece simply because I realized that the biggest value contrast was down by the leg and tail of the dragon on the lower right and that wasn't exactly the focal point so I changed it so that hopefully the viewer's eye is drawn to his head more than his feet.  Let me know what you think!

Happy Painting!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Summer fun Beach run - Day 23

Oil on Linen on Panel

Day 23 of
This is from another photo I took last summer on Cape Cod.   I would drive around and be mesmerized by all the quaint houses, the light and the feel of summer.   I wanted to work on paint application with this one and started out with a little palette knife, but then I wasn't able to get the result I wanted so I went back to brushes.  I enjoyed playing around and got what I wanted in some areas:-)
Check out Catherine Kehoe for some great still life paintings with great abstract shapes and bold colors.   A direction I'm working on going towards.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Violet and succulents - Day 22

oil on linen on panel

THis was the first painting I did on location yesterday.   I was drawn to the color combination of the warm violet in the background and the cool succulents in the foreground...a little opposite of how things work with atmospheric perspective most of the time so it provided a nice challenge.  I still feel like I need to do something with the warm pillar moving into the background, but looking at it now I do like the tree.  How it reads with all the color and reflective light.   I always learn something new.

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Historical Victorian - Day 21

Oil on Linen on Panel

Day 21 of
30 Paintings in 30 Days

It was nice to be outdoors painting again today after feeling a little burnt out this weekend.   There's something restorative about being outside and making observations from life.   This was painted in Oxnard at Heritage Square.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thinking Duck - Day 19

Oil on Gessoboard

Day 19 of
30 Paintings in 30 Days

Had a tough time painting flowers today so I moved on to painting this Ducky.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Reaching High - Day 18

Oil on Linen on Panel

Day 18 of
30 Paintings in 30 Days

This is probably the first time I've focused on clouds.   I did one where I started with the darkest value and then this second one where I started with the lightest value.   Good practice and I could use some more when it comes to the edges.

Happy Painting!

Couples' Counseling - Day 17

Oil on Gessoboard
 Purchase info

Day 17 of
30 Paintings in 30 Days

These birds inspired me today as a visual of the not always easy feat of communicating and moving closer.    I like it when life inspires painting.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shadow and Play - Day 16

Acrylics on linen on panel

Day 16 of 
30 Paintings in 30 Days

Hmmm....this painting was done in acrylics and I've been working on it off and on during this challenge.... 
I usually paint in oil and the other week I was so excited to get started I didn't even turn my fan on.  Well, what happened was that I developed a cough.    I believe, after inhaling too much of the mineral spirits.   So needless to say, after that I found a way to open the big windows in my studio (which is in a class room in an old elementary school).  I also have a fan blowing on me and crossing my palette to blow the fumes away from me and keeping the air ventilated.   I've been reading up on alternatives to mineral spirits because I think that even though Gamsol is safer than Turpentine, it still affects me.   
One would think that it would be so much easier if I could just work in Acrylics?  Well, one would think, yes.   
But, after sort of fighting with this painting for more than a week, which is not because I had problems with the composition or subject matter so much, but simply because I felt like I was fighting paint drying too quickly, not being able to mix the colors to get the colors I wanted and also not being able to manipulate the paint to do what I wanted it to do.   I'm giving it up:-)
Unless I can figure out a different way to work with acrylics (Golden Open Acrylics) I'm sticking to oils.

I might even try painting this painting again with oils to compare. 
Has anyone else had this experience with mineral spirits?  Or has anyone figured out a better alternative?

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Classic Shine - Day 15

Oil on Linen on Panel

Day 15 of

I'm glad Leslie was mentioning giving ourselves a break with this challenge today.    It's so much  more important to have fun than following the specific theme and/or restrictions we set for ourselves    All in all what I come back to on the artistic journey is the importance of listening within.   I do that now when it comes to subject matter.   I want to paint what I'm drawn to and what makes my little artistic soul sing.   It brings out the best in me and it keeps me inspired and growing.   What I was drawn to in the photo this is painted from was the colors of the car, trying to capture the light and the shine of it, the high horizon line and the light going down behind it all.
What inspires you to paint the most?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Avoiding the Dishes - Day 14

Oil on Linen on Panel

Day 14 of

My good friend's husband's Dad :-) has many great collections and antiques.   We spent a girls weekend at his house and I got a few pictures of some of his marvelous collections.   This one had a favorite of mine, a brush to use for dishes, which was in the shape of a funny bird.   I got the picture of it back-lit.   
I got behind on the challenge over the weekend so now I'm finally back on track and I can breathe a little more easily...and then get ready to paint more tomorrow!   I wonder how many of the participants of the challenge have had to catch up?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ojai Valley - Day 13

Oil on Linen on Panel

Day 13 of 
30 Paintings in 30 Days

This was painted en plein air on location in Ojai where I met up with my painting buddies Dan and Bruce.    Together with Dan's wife Sarah and son Ian we all enjoyed the view of the Ojai valley as it warmed up from the early morning degrees in the 30s.   Check out Dan's great website and beautiful work here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Super Sam - Day 12

oil on linen on panel

Day 12 of
30 Paintings in 30 Days

So I'm a little behind and I'm hoping I'll catch up tomorrow when I go painting outdoors.   I did have a lot of fun finishing this little quick study of a little super hero. Even though I used a photo I felt like I kept it pretty loose and simple.   Painting on linen was a nice treat as well.
I'm entering it for the January Bold brush Competition as well.   Just a little experiment.  If you like it and go to my FB might make a difference!  
Thank you and Happy Painting!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Flower Study - Day 11

Oil on Gessoboard

Day 11 of
30 Paintings in 30 Days

I got some flowers from the Farmers Market last weekend and wanted to capture some "light on dark" or back-lit flowers.   I originally tried it with the flower back-lit and a grayish orange background thinking I would have some nice grays to make the colors stand out...but somehow that didn't quite work out the way I wanted so the other day I darkened the background and it made things pop in a way I liked a little better.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Alpaca Bangs - Day 10

Oil on Gessoboard

Day 10 of
30 Paintings in 30 Days

Here's another Alpaca i finished today.   I'm having fun painting them.   Going a little crazy with the color perhaps:-) but it's all part of the process I think.  

I've been thinking about whether doing this challenge is helping me figure out my own personal "short-cuts" or my general process when it comes to getting the drawing down and what steps I take after that in finishing it.   I wasn't sure I even had a process?   Don't I just madly jump in there....putting the paint down randomly and hoping it works?

After paying attention for a few days I think I can now say that there is a process to what I do and that is a valuable piece of knowledge!   For there are many opportunities, whether we teach or demo our techniques where we need to put words to what we do.  

Happy Painting!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Waterfun - Day 9

Oil on Gessoboard

Day 9 of
30 Paintings in 30 Days

I snapped a bunch of pictures when I went to the Kidspace Children's Museum with the kids last summer and this one has been on the easel a while.   I love the interaction between the mother and her child and the natural composition that was created.   I'm still working on my second Alpaca so I'm posting this one for today.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hanging Out - Day 8

oil on gesso board

Day 8 of 
30 Paintings in 30 Days

Seems like I'm on a roll painting animals doing this challenge....  As the title suggests I also took it a little easy after a few busy days painting and dealing with other busy tasks and I worked on finishing some paintings that have been "hanging out" in my studio.   This one is of some birds we saw when I took my youngest son on a field trip to a fish farm a while back. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Theo Tilt - Day 7

oil on gesso board

Day 7 of
The 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

I love back lighting and Theo is our dog so this was a great subject matter for me.   I did a drawing ahead of time so I think that made it easier when I got started.    I'll write more about the process and add it after this very busy day is over:-)

Happy Painting!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Summer and Sun - Day 6

oil on linen on panel

This is a scene I from Cape Cod this summer and the color of the Scooter Vespa just made me happy.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Cycle of Growth - Day 5

Oil on Canvasboard
Day 5

This painting was done playing around with the concept of seeds as I was trying out several ideas. There's something I really like about it and I think it's the result of doing a whole series of them.
Reading the blog of artist Susan Klabak (check out her great site here) who posted the following article by Robert Genn from his Twice weekly Newsletter I was reminded again why Leslie Saeta's challenge this month is so great!

 Sign Up for the Painter's Key to get insightful twice weekly newsletters like this one!

Two artists
November 2, 2012

Dear Artist,

Because this is a bit personal, I'm not using their real names. They're both about 40 years old.

"Jack" got a BFA and then an MFA from a Midwestern University. He's visited many of the major contemporary art museums and follows the work of several "important" contemporary painters. He's written articles on Philip Guston and others. He subscribes to several art magazines and is "the most knowledgeable art-guy in any discussion." After university he worked for a while in a commercial art gallery. He sometimes writes me long, well-informed letters. He's painted eleven large paintings (two unfinished) since leaving school. He's not represented by any gallery. He thinks you need to move to New York and "get lucky" with a dealer who "really represents you."

"Jill" took two years of art school and then quit. She pays little attention to other artists. She subscribes to no art magazines but has taken several workshops. Her hobbies include bowling and travelling. At one time she also worked in a commercial art gallery. On two or three occasions she's written to me. She's painted "approximately two thousand paintings" since leaving school. She's represented by four commercial galleries in four, well-separated mid-sized cities.

There's a great story in David Bayles and Ted Orland's Art and Fear . Here it is:

"The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the "quantity" of the work they produced, all those on the right solely on its "quality." His procedure was simple: On the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work in the "quantity" group: fifty pounds of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B" and so on. Those being graded on "quality," however, needed to produce only one pot--albeit a perfect one--to get an "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busy turning out piles of work--and learning from their mistakes--the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."

Best regards,


PS: "Artists get better by sharpening their skills or by acquiring new ones; they get better by learning to work, and by learning from their work." (David Bayles and Ted Orland)

Esoterica: Both subscribers Jack and Jill are thoughtful and enthusiastic artists. Art is central to their lives. And while success and "being able to function as a full time artist" may not be important to some of us, their current situations are quite different. Jack rents an apartment and makes $2150 per month (plus tips and benefits) as an airport porter. Jill works daily in her converted garage in a home she now owns. These days she's averaging $18,000 per month. She has "no benefits."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Beyond the Field - Day 4

oil on gessoboard
Day 4 of 30 paintings in 30 days

This is the second sketch I started on location the other day and the one I felt had a composition that I'm usually more drawn to.   I spent a little more time on it today, basically adding some more texture to the grass.   What I learned today is that the cheap painting brushes you can get at a hardware store work well in creating some of those wispy irregular areas.  
Today was a productive day painting and it was also Open Studio Day at Studio Channel Islands Art Center where I'm an Artist in residence.   If you're in the area check out all the great classes they have coming up in January.  I just joined in August and what a great surprise, I got a visit from Sherri Cassell who is also doing the 30 Paintings in 30 days Challenge and somehow I had not realized we both have studios across each other.  Check out her great work at her blog

What a small world!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Warm and Cool - Day 3

oil on linen

Day 3 of the challenge.

Got to go painting on location today with my painting friends Daggi and Pam.   We set up at King Gilette Ranch of Las Virgines which is a California State Park that was recently renovated.

I'm so inspired by Mark Daniel Nelson and other painters that are able to abstract the landscape and find great compositions that divide the space in such an interesting way.  That's the kind of art I'm drawn to and I'm working on painting more of what I'm drawn to in my own art....not always easy...
I wanted to fill up the canvas with the building, but I think I could have pushed that further and I was pushing the color, but it was a challenge to figure out how to create the reflected effect on the building and whether to go warm or cool, since I could see both.

All in all it was a really nice day and the second sketch I started captured the kind of composition I like even more, so...I will add a little more detail to it and maybe post it later.
I'm finding that with the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge I need to let go of thinking I have to always finish and just concentrating on painting as much as I can and post my process instead of getting myself stuck.  Paint and move on!

The title "Warm and Cool" also refers to the fact that the temperature today was both warm and cool.  We saw little icicles hanging off the cherry blossom and whereas I got really warm by the end of the session Daggi who was painting in the shade was getting so cold that she was shaking and I suggested that maybe we needed to send in a picture to the Extreme Pleinair Painting segment in the PleinAir Magazine, although we'd have a hard time convincing anyone of the frigid temperatures in Southern California....

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Within kids reach - Day 2

Oil on Gessoboard
to view

Day two and my dear husband got home early so I dashed off to the studio to do some more painting for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge.  I ended up working on 3 different paintings.  This one being one that needed some rework.   I'm working hard :-) at simplifying and I originally liked the contrast of the white "kids" compared to the black adult goat, but the big goat was almost to simple of a black shape so it helped to add some color to describe the "planes" of him a little better and I ended up lightening the background as well.  Tomorrow I'll re-take the photo outside to see if I can get the colors closer to the original and a little cooler.

What is becoming clear to me in doing this challenge is how easily I get side tracked and end up working on something different from what I set out to paint....I wonder if anyone else is facing the same dilemma:-)?
Here's a second camera shot with some additions.
It has a whole different hue than the one with the photo taken inside.
This one feels like a work in progress so it will not be for sale....:-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Alpaca Eyes - Day 1

Oil on Gessoboard
 Day 1 Painting
To Bid

So I might have gotten a head start on my 30 paintings in 30 days by painting today:-) 
This is what I will post tomorrow for the challenge.  It is a painting of one of the Alpacas I saw visiting the Somis Alpaca Farm "Alpacas at Windy Hill" where my sister in-law now owns her own Alpaca.  They are quite interesting animals and I must say that I wasn't that familiar with them before the visit.  Along with the kids I was quite enthralled and took a lot of pictures and something that struck me apart from them being a little skittish around people is how beautiful and intense their eyes are.  
Fur is a struggle and this definitely gave me some more practice.   I'm happy with some of the color and areas where I stayed loose, but that is always a work in progress.  I have trouble not zeroing in on an area and then overworking it...

Hopefully this challenge will force me to move along and leave things alone more.  My intent for my next painting session is to establish 3 values to start, make it read well from afar before adding any detail and all that color I see everywhere...

I look forward to seeing what everyone else paints.  I think we're now up to 222 painters being part of the challenge.  Thank you Leslie for getting me off to a great start, painting more!