Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mighty Winds

Oil on Canvas panel
On Location at El Matador

The winds kept growing stronger.  I was freezing and had to work fast, but even with the sun barely making itself known it was still a great experience.  El Matador rarely disappoints.  It's one of the more unusual beaches in Southern California and even on an evening like this there were still several photographers, a bride and a groom plus a handful of models that had all made their way down the steep stairs.   Carolyn Counnas braved the elements with me and we painted away.     
I can always find something to improve in my paintings, (which can be a problem since it can cause me to work on something too long:).  With this painting I felt happy about the fact that I was able to simplify, change the colors I saw slightly to make things read better and all in all design it so that the painting was a better version of what I saw.   Not perfect, just my vision and interpretation of the experience being there.   It's interesting, for me giving up on making it perfect has brought me more confidence in the way I paint.

What has helped you move to a new level in your painting?
(if you paint that is:)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Licorice Left - Fork it Over

Oil on Gessoed Board

This one was all about the composition leading me.    I wanted to have that larger square shape framed on two sides, so I used a plate and then I worked on placing my trusted licorice to break up the straight lines and create some...variety, variety!

Got a great question thru email the other day, on whether my style has changed over the last year?   I wanted to take some time answering it and I will post it here soon...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lighting up the Stage

oil on gessoed board

I'm squeezing all that I can out of this licorice theme:-)  I think it's a good idea to paint several pieces on a subject or paint with a theme.  I don't always do that, but I believe it's a good practice.   It forces me to keep going beyond perhaps the obvious.   I remember hearing somewhere that it takes about 7 attempts before we move beyond the images we have already seen, to get to something more original/my own interpretation.  How many different ways can I find to paint licorice - use this subject to play with values, light and composition?  Here's a little step by step of the painting above, which by the way is attempt #3 on licorice:

Pink under painting with my light colors started.

adding shadows and defining some edges.

Almost finished after adding the light ground.  I then went in and softened some of the edges on the shadows and then lightened them as they move away .

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring Bulbs

oil on gessoboard
To Bid

I've seen some great paintings of light bulbs that I absolutely love, so I thought I would attempt painting some myself.   It' was quite a challenge - lots of measuring and squinting.   

Since we recently moved and we had to get a lot of new lights - and bulbs, I've been a lot more conscious of all the different light bulbs that are available.   The type of light, the shapes, the's quite confusing actually...

And then for studio lighting it seems like a few years ago the only bulbs you could get to mimic outdoor natural light were the day light bulbs.   Today there are all the LED lights, soft, white, cool...but then a lot of them don't seem very strong at all....Can you tell I'm still trying to figure it out?   

To light this still life I used a small light I found at IKEA called Jansjo, that clips on and has a bendable neck.  It works great for getting those strong cast shadows.   Painting the LED light was also quite a challenge, trying to capture the somewhat violet part of the light in the shadow side and the pinkish color in the light that also seemed to have a light yellow highlight at the same time, not to mention the shape?!  I might have to give it another shot with a different set-up.  I like the green transparent bulb the best.  

Here's to spring!'s coming fast.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Regal One

oil on Gessoboard

 I've been wanting to paint this guy for a while and my husband probably even more so, since he was the one who totally connected with this dog at the Carl Larsson Museum last summer.  They just hung out together.   The dog was patiently waiting for his owner and we later found out that he was adopted just like our own dog.  Got a few shots of him and this pose somehow seemed to capture his personality.  I hope I did him justice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lakrits Leende - or (The Licorice Smile)

oil on gessoboard

It must be the uptake in Swedish influence this week, but I'm having an easier time thinking of titles in my mother tongue right now...:-)
These "Allsorts" licorice candy are so fun to paint!   Working with these simple shapes, colors and light reminds me a little of the block exercises in Camille Przewodek's workshop, just on a smaller scale.     I really like the candy pieces on the left in the light, so next time I think I'll set up a still life with light as a dominant value, medium secondary and a smidge of the dark value (like Carol Marine puts it) working with these candies.   A small step forward - when I painted this painting I felt that I was actually able to put into practice (or at least keep in mind:) some of what I learned in both Camille and Carol's workshops, but hopefully doing it in my own way and style.   Reassuring, since I sometimes question whether I should take more workshops or just lock myself in my studio and learn on my own.   I think incorporating what we learn from others as we continue to develop could be the best of both worlds...what do you think?

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Licorice and Lace - and a perfect day

Oil on Gessoboard
Today I kept thinking what a perfect day I was having.   It had such a nice balance of many good things!   I got to paint two paintings at my studio, spend time with the kids and my dad who is visiting from Sweden for the first time - and Yes, he brought some of the yummy Licorice called "Allsorts" with him!  Then we all went to see my son do his Karate test and out to dinner to celebrate that he passed the test.   Just a great day.  And...I even have more licorice left to paint:-)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hot and Sticky

oil on linen on panel

This is part of a series I'm doing of treasured items from the past, (that will hopefully be accepted in an up-coming exhibit, and if not:) I just love finding objects that have some history and painting them.  The old iron I found while up in Oregon in a fantastic little antique store in Springfield during Carol's workshop.  Nothing like adding a little extra weight when your flying...?!  What I did learn is that it's cheaper to check in two smaller suitcases than paying the overweight charge on one large one, just something I'd like to pass on!
On another note, being on the artist's journey there seems to be a constant series of ups and downs. One piece gets rejected, another one wins an award.  There's excitement and set-backs.  Lately I've felt like I'm not always sure what should be a priority to enter and not?...It's easy to question my choices...but, I was awoken by a nice little surprise this weekend after making a late entry.  I found out that I had won a third price in the Daily Paintworks Monthly Contest.   You never know what's around the corner, it keeps me on my toes.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Culture Chat

oil on canvasboard

A juxtaposition of two cultures - A Swedish Dala horse and a "Day of the Dead" ducky.  The duck definitely has something to say and the horse seems to be listening.  It was interesting to figure out how to paint white and still have the value be dark enough to have some room to go lighter with the highlights.   On another note, I've had this dala horse for a long time, but had yet to paint it.  So I think I was inspired now, since my dad will come here for a visit on Saturday.  All the way from Sweden for the first time ever.  I think it will be an adventure for us all:-)  and I'm hoping I can still sneak in some time to paint.