Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day 29 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Beau & The Oak | Pastel | 9x12

This is something I have long wanted to paint.  Met Shannon Martinez of Winters told me about this huge oak tree in her family's vineyard over a year go and she kept mentioning it.  Tried two times to capture the huge span of this oak but just couldn't find the right angle.  A month ago, she sent me several pictures of the oak but more importantly, the Lab named Beau.  He's a little bigger in this rendition, or maybe the Oak is a little smaller, but none the same, they seem happy with each other in this painting.

Day 29 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Beau & The Oak | Pastel | 9 x 12

Too Bad, so sad...can't upload my painting photo.
Took a 6 day hiatus - not really!  Just had 2 competitions, 1 ARTIST IN RESIDENCY application, and a rental inspection to deal with.  Oh well... Such is life.

If ever I can get this painting to upload, it is something I have long wanted to paint.  Met Shannon Martinez of Winters over a year go and she kept mentioning the magnificent oak on the top of the family's Winters property filled with vineyards.  Tried two times to capture the huge span of this oak but just couldn't find the right angle.  A month ago, she sent me several pictures of the oak but more importantly, the Lab named Beau.  He's a little bigger in this rendition, or maybe the Oak is a little smaller, but none the same, they seem happy with each other in this painting. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 21 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Ozol on Carquinez Straits | Pastel | 9x12

I delivered painting to Epperson Gallery in Crockett two days ago.  It was a lovely sunny day and, after visiting the gallery, I drove out to Port Costa where I'll be stayng overnight with my arty buddies, Suzi Long and Sterling Hoffmann after the Opening Reception of the show 'Small Works - From the Heart'.  Drove out a bit further along the road that Port Costa turns off of and revisited this pull out on a curve above a defunct industrial site just below this view.  I recalled a lovely day spent painting this and came home to revisit it as it was only 65% complete.  Took it out, pulled the photo up on my iPad and set about finishing this up.  That's Mt. Diablo in the distance.  The long pier with the ?fishing boat? at its end is an unincorporated area in Contra Costa County called Ozol.  Doubt many people know this is its name!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 20 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Saturday at the Barbershop | Pastel | 11x14

Tidied up this painting today in order to deliver it to Epperson Gallery this afternoon for the upcoming show 'Small Works - From the Heart'.  Delighted to be a part of this juried show as such greats as Brian Blood and Laurie Kersey, Sandy Delahanty, and my best buds Suzi Long and Sterling Hoffmann are going to be in it also.  In fact, the three of us plus one are rendezvous-ing in Port Costs that day to do some plein air painting, then on to the Reception (January 31st - 4-7 pm at the Gallery, followed by dinner and a raucus slumber party with Suzi's friend Teresa who is coming from New Mexico to play with her/us!  For me, it's the kick off of the art season!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Day 19 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Knarly Dude | Pastel | 12x9

Reworked this painting today as it's on its way tomorrow to Epperson Gallery in Crockett where it will be a part of his upcoming show: "Small Works - From the Heart".  Added more branches, made the rocks rockier, added more sky holes for a more see-thru look and highlighted the sunlight by adding some purpley shadows. I like it much better now and am ready to pop it into a lovely frame!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 18 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Under the Waterfall | Pastel | 8x6

A quickie tonight as day filled with framing for 3 upcoming shows.  Love the murky mystery of the deep back part of this waterfall.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 17 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Heavy on the Branches | Pastel | 4x6

Cheated today - spent my painting time on refining yesterday's Lost Trail Lodge painting as it is destined to be delivered to Rootstock Gallery on Tuesday when I make a sweep of deliveries - Davis, Winters, Crockett - all my upcoming shows.
Like the refinements so much more and had a real kick painting snow on trees!
These branches are so heavily laden with recent snowfall (2010) than they merge with the ground snow.  What is so grand about conifers is that they spring back up; measurably in their thaw and yet look so magnificent when weighted down.
Like painting any object, the 'rule' I try to follow is: Use three similar colors for every major value change.  This is simplified here - 3 shades of snow - mid-blue, light-blue, white; 3 shades of dark - black-green, forest-green, dark olive green. 
Oh what fun!  Do wish someone was reading this!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Day 16 - 30 paintings in 30 Days

Lost Trail Lodge Greeter | Pastel | 9x12

My Christmas present to my husband, Collin - a night together at Lost Trail Lodge this winter + cross country skis to get there.  Can't wait for him to experience this magnificent wilderness lodge that is One Man's Dream - he has built a magnificent, off-the-grid lodge with 6 rooms and a cabin.
Went there 7 years ago with best adventure friend Anna.  Requires a several mile cross country ski in (brilliant!!), bring your own food (leave it at trail head and they will ski-do it in for you along with any gear needed), then give yourself over to the experience which includes great (new) friends, snow shoes to play with, and, at least when Anna and I were there, this magnificent white Bernese Mountain Dog!  There is no better mountain experience you can have!
I lived in Switzerland as a teen (12-15) and will never forget the beauty of these special places. The single notion/dream/reality that this man has conceived/realized/created is amazing! 

Day 15 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Little Bear | Pastel | 6x6

Our dear friends Janet & Bernie adopted this little furball of love this past year and took photos of him his first day at their home.  'Little' Bear is just 'Bear' now and has grown into a large lovely animal and friend and plays constantly with a soon-after adoptee named Tiger.
This is painted for another dog themed upcoming show - this one at Rootstock Gallery in Winters, a show held in conjunction with the local SPCA.  Its always fun to see the plethora of doggie paintings that everyone does. I always see the connection and love that each artist has with the pets they paint.  Little Bear is a favorite of mine too!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 14 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Autumn on the Lake | Pastel | 6x8

For the first time, hopefully so far, I didn't finish my painting yesterday and has to this morning.  Not berating myself as some nights, one is just more tired than others, and I took a lot of time on this one, small tho it is.  I love the results as it feels jewel-like in its colors, which is what drew me to it to begin with.  Amazing that a little 6x8 can take 2 1/2 hours, which is the usual amount of time I spend on a 9x12 but there's a lot in this painting.  I love it so much that I'm putting it on my very short list of paintings I'd like to do bigger!
Now off to chores and back at the easel to whip out another this evening.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 13 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Looking Out | Pastel | 6x8

Just before Christmas, our dear friend Jennifer Hayes came by to visit and brought with her this little nugget of love named Eloise.  Jennifer volunteers and supports the First Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento.  At home, she has the loveliest of canines, Olive, a doberman par extraordinaire.  But we could tell immediately that Eloise has also stolen her heart!  As Jenn came inside to share a bit of Christmas greetings with us, she left Eloise in the car.  The whole time, Eloise, a tiny one, had her paws up on the window sill and was looking out the whole time for Jennifer to come back.  Must admit, I fell in love also and promised myself I would paint this sweety.  A labor of love!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 12 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Winter Wonderland | Pastel | 9x9 | $300 framed

Started this in the afternoon and became increasingly excited about it as it unfolded into just what I wanted to achieve.  So blissful when a paintings goes where you want it to go!  On black paper which is perfect for this high contrast, predominantly dark in the darks painting!  
Feel the pressure to paint more dogs as 1 show prepped for but another needs 3-4 paintings by the 19th. Yikes! That's a week away!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 11 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Tower Bridge | Pastel | 6x8

And now the Thirty/Thirty Challenge gets tough.  Everyday, time in the studio - often after dinner, increasingly, long after I should be sleeping.  Walked 4 1/2 miles today as hips were freezing up.  This could get wearisome!  Be I remain Determined!
Again, I was motivated today by seeing a 'nocturne' online.
Didn't render this as dark as I'd wished but nonetheless, like the fresh illumination of our iconic Sacramento bridge. Please note, Our bridge splits open in the middle to let till masted ships through - that's the black mass with the lit point in the middle.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 10 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Jackson | Pastel | 18x24

Finally, this painting is finished and right at the deadline to send the image in for an upcoming show, BARK!, at The John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis (Feb 4-March 7, 2015).  This labor of love is a portrait of my friend Anna's lovely dog, Jackson.  Most a border collie mutt, Jackson has the coloration of a coyote.  In fact, on a hike with us years ago, we came upon some hikers who were oohing and aahing over the coyote they thought they'd spotted...until he ran back to us and started licking us!  I refer to him as the "Brad Pitt of the Dog World".  He is not only spectacularly handsome but is the sweetest, smartest, all around great dog!  Second in our hearts only to our recently deceased Candy.  Special glass is ordered and this beaut will go into a gorgeous mat and frame in shades of tan and sienna, then off to the gallery for the month of February.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 9 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Snowy Bank | Pastel | 6x8

Really didn't think I had it in me today to do another painting!  Spent the day trying to finish up a painting whose image is due tomorrow.  Craved sushi and left my poor sick husband watching TV while I jetted out for the local (and best quality A grade fish in town) sushi bar where the seats were full and the fish was flying!  So was the sake at my station (Kanpai! - bottoms up when drinks for the chefs and the guests go all around).  Came home to face the daunting task of, more!?!!  But it went well and fast.  Picked a quickie scene I'd started in a Kim Lordier workshop . No references, just freelancing what I thought it needed.  Yeah, there's a stroke or two I want to change/add but for midnight, I'm done!  Bon nuit a tous - and in memoriam for the slaughter of the Charlie Hebdo staff - NOUS SOMMES CHARLIE!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 8 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

The Church on the Hill | Pastel | 9x9

Tonight, I revisited one of my favorites starts. In 2013 at the Mendocino Open Paint Out's first event, I started this from a visit to the beach after the Quick Draw.  I am so pleased it turned out ever so much better than I had started it!

First, I used compresssed air to get rid of the whole bottom 60%.  Then, a quick underpainting with isoprophyl alcohol was applied, oranges going to purple. From there, it was a weaving process in each area of the painting.  Had a grand time doing it - and that's the point, eh?  Tried to place the driftwood so it leads your eye in and points to the steeple. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 7 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

The Old Vine | Pastel | 4x6

My favorite time of year is what I call 'mustard in the vineyards-time'. Early spring begins in late February for us here in northern California.  I always plan on my first plein air (outdoor) painting venture to begin at this time by taking a trip over to Napa Valley, just 45 minutes away.  There, the special color of mustard is growing high amidst the vines.  You have to look further and further to find old vines but there are still a few fields of them along Route 12 near Glen Ellen. Savagely pruned every year of their life, these knarly dudes are like bonsai trees.
Painting every day is becoming a rhythm.  Early afternoon finds me choosing what I want to paint, then squeezing in a quick thumbnail.  After watching the 5:30 news and eating, it's off to the studio to set about the task.  Breaks are between commercials when I'll venture into the family room to catch a snippet of a TV show.  I've always been a night person and the fact that this is the time of day I gravitated to do my 30/30 is no surprise, and yet it was a surprise!  I thought I'd get myself into the studio bright and early but the luxury of retired life, which I'm still new to, begs me to linger over my coffee (peppermint mocha, in honor of the season), do the crosswords, check the garden, etc, etc, etc. Afternoons are spent painting big stuff for upcoming shows.  Evenings are for my 'quickies' - with a whole new meaning in these later years! Ha!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 6 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Cresting Wave | Pastel | 6x8

My friend and fellow artist, Sterling Hoffmann sent me beautiful photos of wave action along the shoreline in Shelter Cove from when he was there (and won Best of Show!) at inaugural Lost Coast Plein Air event in September.  This painting is from a small part of one of those photos, going from here where it is cresting to the pour over beginning and then crashing down.  

Spent most of the day working on a larger painting for the upcoming BARK! show at Natsoulas Gallery in Davis.  This will be the 4th year of painting homage to man's best friend and an image of what I will submit is due by this Sunday. 

Thus, the painting a day is pushed back to become the midnight painting.  I am one exhausted artist tonight, but still loving it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 5 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Valley Sunset | Pastel | 4"x 8"

Looked forward all day to getting to paint tonight!  Chose a sunset scene that I photoed from West Sacramento one evening when it was so brilliant I had to pull over in the car and snap away.  I love the 'gloaming' time of sunset, when all the close objects are black against the raging colors in the sky.  
For this painting, I used my finger to smush colors together, then lay in brilliant calligraphy at the last.  This one is inside my comfort zone and so was super fun to paint.  Tomorrow and in coming days, I will continue to try some things that push me outside that zone and see where it takes me.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 4 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

River Willows | Pastel | 5x7

Another inspiration from our Cod Fish Falls Trail* hike on Friday.  

Rivers are so splendid in the winter! I think they have more color morphs in them than in the summer.  The sage green willows of the spring/summer/fall are now reddish branches, bare and spiky, reflecting into the water colors that are not intent on reflecting the sky in the summer's brilliant sunshine, but rather filled with nuances of the rainbow.  
When we saw this bend in the river on our way back, I was most taken with the reddish reflections in the water, but when I played with cropping my photo, the scene above begged to be painted.

I'm having a blast painting this challenge! For the past 3 years, each spring/summer/fall has been excitingly filled with multiple paint outs - week long events (7 last year!) where I go away and paint with a group of artists in an allotted period of time for a show at the end of it.  This is intense as well but leaves me with time during the day to attend to my 'normal' life. Winters were filled with me kicking back. Now I'm full of energy and can say 'Wow! I've kept one resolution for 4 whole days! Yowser!'

* part of Auburn, Ca Recreational Area

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 3 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Yesterday, we hiked up the Cod Fish Falls Trail in the Auburn Recreational Area. The river was majestic - teal and blue with red willow branches reflecting into it. Quite a flow from recent rains.  At the end of 1.7 easy riverside miles, we experienced the waterfall - not spectacular by Niagara standards, but a fine splash! At the beginning of the hike, under the bridge, we saw a riverwide spillover of water descending to a lower level.  
Especially fun for me to do this painting as I seem to gravitate towards the precise.  I love the juxtaposition of the smooth flowing water going over the rocks , the splashback causing frothy water. Can you believe I'm a Pisces?? 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day 2 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Forest Stream | Pastel | 5x7

Channeling Barbara Jaenicke, master pastelist,  today by trying to recreate a small vignette of one of her paintings. *
What I learned:
1) So glad I am taking a workshop from her at IAPS this June!  Maybe then I'll have an idea how she creates these amazing complex color filled wonders!
2) Used my finger cot (inside out bill counter) to smooth sky and wayback ground; had to stop myself from using it again! and again, and again. Bad habit!
3) She must have a full set of every color in the rainbow! I have lots of pastels but the muted orange/salmons she uses (perhaps)are missing from my thousand-at-my-fingertips!
4) I think she layers and layers and layers and adds strokes and strokes and strokes and at the end it all is together.  I envision her picking up a pastel and flitting here, there, everywhere, like a butterfly kissing each part of the scene for such a brief kiss.
4) When I tried to add her highlights, my mind screamed No! And that's another reason why her paintings are so vibrant and mine so so-so!  
Great lessons will be learned every day from this, I think.  Not only a learning experience but major fun to try to recreate works I admire.  Certainly teaching me my limitations!
*Barbara signed her painting very clearly (good on ya!) so I knew who this was from in my file called 'Other Artists'. Again, anyone who knows how to individually label photos on an iPad (like you can do on a pc) please advise.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

DAY 1  - Marsh Sunset | Pastel | 6x8

Today begins the challenge to paint Thirty Paintings in 30 Days. Run by artist Leslie Saeta, 885 artists are participating in this challenge with her.  There are no set rules other than giving each of us a forum to post our paintings on and a link to our website ( or blog ( where all my paintings are for sale at ridiculously low prices!
I've repeatedly been told by art masters and teachers I have studied with that one of the best ways to learn and broaden your skills is to attempt to render paintings you like.  For this challenge, I am choosing to create works based on vignettes-a small section-of paintings by other artists I follow that I have been amassing in a file.  Each one will be my own take on what drew me to the work.  I'll start with a thumbnail and value sketch and then paint in pastels a small work, probably no bigger than a 6x8".  I would love to print an attribution to whomever'so painting I am channeling but have yet to discover how to individually label photos on my iPad. (If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know!)  So I apologize in advance that I can't share the muse with you! Wish me luck!
All paintings are available for sale, framed or unframed. Contact at my website