Nizhoni Landscape

This summer, we migrate to New Mexico to beat the heat. I find myself at about 6,000 ft. living in the middle of a grassy pinion forest near Silver City. A perfect place to immerse in plein air painting. Nizhoni translates to “beautiful”.

IMG_7990

Here are the fruits of the first week on the hillside.

As you can see, I like plants. In the wild, plants need each other to get started and mature. Groupings like this are called “guilds”. In the Sonoran desert we have the Saguaro Guild, which combines a palo verde tree and a saguaro and other smaller shrubs. The saguaro seedling uses the shade of the palo verde to get started and eventually grow up through to direct sunlight.

I use my plein air painting skills to observe plant relationships. Here I see guilds, not with saguaros, but pinion and oak trees. While observing plants, many wonderful animals drift through: elk, deer, turkey, many birds, lizards etc. definitely not lonely here.

IMG_8007

IMG_7918

Even though the temperatures are cooler, the sun is still pretty intense.

Sunny selfies for ya!

I can’t end this post without a plug for the upcoming Silver City Blues Fest, memorial day weekend. http://www.silvercitybluesfestival.org.

The Mimbres Region Arts Council (MRAC) and Silver City Arts Association (SCAA) are putting on a plein air painting competition during the blues fest and I signed up!

Find out more at http://www.mimbresarts.org

It all takes place in Gough Park, 1201 N Pope St, Silver City. Gough is pronounced goff.IMG_7936

Here, I’m practicing on the pagoda, and liking more the morphology of the Park’s trees:

But I really rather prefer the view behind me for the quintessential New Mexico feel.

IMG_7938

Hey, wish me luck!

IMG_7961

 carpe mañana

 

HOTA Tour Sat/Sun April 14, 15 10-4PM

Hello All!

I’m on the Heart of Tucson’s Artist’s Studio tour this weekend. Please stop in to see the latest. A lot of new creations; small plein air oil paintings, colorful collage, large oil and acrylic abstract paintings, and encaustics, all priced reasonably!

Bush in Bloom, Cornville, AZ, plein air, oil on linen, $50

Bush in Bloom, Cornville, AZ, plein air, oil on linen, $50

See the add in Zocalo magazine and online for my location.

I look forward to seeing you and catching up!

Meredith

 

Springtime in Sedona

Now is the time for a quick trip to the Verde Valley and Red Rocks of Sedona. I (we) hit the road, yay!

IMG_7647

The weather is perfect for outdoor painting.

(Snake-boots, in case you were wondering:)

Lately, I’m making small plein air paintings on linen. Small so I can make several studies of a scene in a couple of hours. This quicker work sets me up for studio painting later. I appreciate the freshness of the small works and love the swishy-scrubby brushstrokes and transparent to opaque layering.

Here are some examples of the weeks work:

While in Sedona, I stop at the Art Center, where the Arizona Pastel Artist’s Association (APAA) is having their National Show. IT IS Fabulous!

Pro Pastelist Aaron Shuerr gives a great demo on his red-rock country pastel painting process:

It’s an exciting week, actually get work done and have a blast, now to keep up with the plein air “quickies”.

Ciao!

P.S. Open Studio is April 14 &15 from 10-4pm. My home studio will be open. These and many more works will be on display and for sale. Please stop in.

Painting in San Miguel de Allende

Workshops are an important way to improve all around; new place, new people, new ideas…all coming at you super fast. It all works its way into the psyche and comes out in new and exciting ways…and continues to influence work miles ahead.

Here is a quick recap of my recent Art Travel Trip to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico this winter. I love this workshop because you get an awesome good deal with three amazing artist instructors: Anne Blair Brown, Thomas Kitts and Frank Gardner.

 

Before the workshop starts, I tour around San Miguel. There are botanical gardens, courtyards, easy-to-read-signage. The city is a colorful, magical place.

We begin most days in front of Frank’s Gallery.

Here are pics of my fave morning vistas from the short walk there:

And coffeshop stops:

During the program, we divide into three groups and rotate. Each day a different instructor teaching a different aspect of plein air.

Thomas in the Garden; cast shadows, pedestrians and architecture.

Anne in a quiet courtyard; warm imprimatura (underpainting), loose brushstrokes, composition and perspective.

Frank at his land off the Old Camino Real; forced perspective, cactus, animals and tack.

There isn’t a lot of down time, but I manage to work on Tiny Sketch San Miguel, 100 pages almost!

Paint a few studies:

IMG_7365

Meet critters…

 

…and great people!

 

Viva Plein Air!

 

 

 

 

Painting Process and Series: Examples for Independent* and Self Directed Projects*

*Oil Painting classes offered now through The Art Verve Academy:

http://www.ArtVerveAcademy.com

Figuring it all out takes time.  Process is important, you don’t always know where it’s going to take you…then, surprise!

The following 7 examples of process and how series can develop are meant to get you thinking about what might go into the creation of an image, where it comes from and where it (might be) going.

 

Egg and D-Art*

(*after egg and dart, a neoclassical motif)

It began with a pastel sketch of an abandoned beaver dam full of small beaver gnawed branches, some of which I collected. Later, in an oil painting class, students worked from portable still life’s which I made using the gnawed sticks, painted egg-orbs, and other collected material. After the class was over, the little dioramas sat on a shelf. Eventually, on their way into storage, I made some drawings, for the beaver dam memory, and now, the drawings are becoming paintings.

The Hawaiian themed backdrop is for fun (variety).

First painting pass: Tone (colored background) and roughing in shapes and general colors.

2nd painting pass: Glazing (transparent layering) and scumbling (opaque layering).

Continuing on: Glazing and Impasto ( impasto means “like paste”, in other words, thick paint.) In process.

Sanctuary Cove

On a recent Plein Air outing with The Pastel Society,  we discovered this wonderful piece of the Tucson Mountains. To explore this new place, I opted for a series of color sketches of some of the things that jumped out first time through. http://www.tucsonpastelsociety.org/paint-outs.html

This feels like a place to explore more. http://www.sanctuarycove.org

Such is the process of Plein Air.

Vingettini Italia

(tiny vignettes of italy)

On a recent trip to Tuscany, Italy we had a good time living it up, eating and traveling. It was so good, I almost forgot to paint. Work needed to get done, fast. My friend pointed out tiny sketchbooks for sale at a local market. How about that?! The tiny sketch allowed for a composition, including colored pencil, to be completed in less than 20 minutes. 90 tiny pictures later, my mission to make art in Italy was satisfied, without regrets.

Two tiny paintings inspired from tiny-book, so far.

At this point waiting for paint to dry so painting can proceed. Just because they are tiny doesn’t mean they take less time to paint.

L’Accademia

While in Florence we visited the Galleria dell’Accademia where Michelangelo’s David is displayed.

IMG_5688.jpg

In a adjacent room are many plaster casts of original sculptures. Determined to bring something useful back, I made quick, near blind-contour pen drawings of a few, capturing gesture, if not proportion…managing one color sketch and a few photos too. Time constraints can be very beneficial.

The freshness of the drawings and the rainbow gradient of natural light over the white forms will make interesting paintings.

Charmed 

A friend showed me her charm bracelet of 40+ years…

IMG_6139_2 3

I borrowed it thinking it would be a challenge to figure out a way to paint it…after several trials I’m combining 5 charms next to each other for each painting. Something like this…6×6 inches. Puzzles.

IMG_6150

There are 60 charms on the bracelet. If nothing else, this will be good composition and painting practice…

99 Bottles of Beer

Marketing can be pretty colorful. I am naturally drawn into the clever illustrations that adorn some of the craftier products, in this case beer.

DSC_2046

This particular sketchbook is dedicated to this sort of thing. One good reason to keep a sketchbook, or two. Here is a spin on bottle(s) labeling, so to speak.

IMG_6064

Parts of these may be incorporated as tertiary aspects of still-life paintings, virtually unrecognizable and significantly out of context enough not to infringe on copyright.

Fruits

Fruits are most beautiful and colorful; wonderful inspiration. I take a lot of pictures, mostly of stuff that looks interesting to me. When reviewing photos, themes become apparent. Sometimes these themes prompt more observation in the form of drawings and paintings, sometimes, they are just pretty pictures that go nowhere.

This smoothie chronicle honors the fruits of life, (not the nuts…although a mixed-nut job might be an interesting challenge…who knows).

Pay attention to the stuff in your life. Draw and paint it. Use variations on a theme to get inspired and motivated to do the work. Have fun with it!

http://www.ArtVerveAcademy.com

 

Adventures At Altitude

During the second leg of our journey, the sky is the limit.

Sneak peak of our greatest heights (with Chihuahuas for scale):

Melting snowdrifts make the best patterns, so amazing. Todd is cool…

Actually, the more shapes in your composition, the easier it is to get the proportional relationships right (if you are measuring).

Our route takes us from Durango to Pagosa Springs, over Wolf Creek Pass, to Creede, through Wagon Wheel Gap, over Slumgullion Pass to Lake City.

We camp above the Gap. Quick Gorge sketch.

This eerie landscape is created by massive spruce beetle kill. The forest will always be an inspiration to me, no matter.

DSC_1031

I make a transparent tracing of the scene I want to paint. I let the sun shine through it onto the paper and trace over the projection with charcoal pencil. Then, using the traced lines as guides I mix up hues and lay down the paint with a bristle brush.

IMG_5005

Palette: Titanium White, Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Scarlet, Magenta, Ultramarine and Cerulean. This palette is cool in the mountains.

Near Lake City is Lake San Cristobal, created by an earthflow eons ago. A little icy still for swimming…

Up from Lake City are two high passes, Cinnamon and Engineer. We take Cinnamon but first camp at Mill Creek Campground, where it is warmer and less windy.

Gorgeous spot, so I paint. (watch out for ticks…eek!)

DSC_1132Oil on Arches.

DSC_1136Palette: Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Ultramarine, and Magenta.

Mill Creek feeds the campground faucets-good water.

DSC_1142

At the pass, me and Jack take a roll in a meadow, (again, watch out for ticks…eek!)

DSC_1321

…and meet Mr. Surly.

DSC_1381

DSC_1373

DSC_1392

We leave you here for now.

More Adventures At Altitude to come.

Travel-Trip-Trace

IMG_4808

We are traveling. Pepe is a veteran. Best travel dog ever! (Jack is a mess…)

First stop, Vallecito Lake, near Durango, CO.

Forget painting, let’s go sailing!

This post explores quick ways to get oil paint down outside/on the road/en plein air with minimal materials.

First, a “dry run”, walking the lake paths making tracings on a transparent film for composition and scale/perspective. After a trace,  I make a detailed drawing with line.

While away from the lake, I daydream about it, remembering the colors and qualities of the trees, rocks and water.

Working with the sun is fun! Speed things up with this trick: Project the trace right onto the canvas or paper, then, trace the projection, fix it, and paint over it. This takes the pressure off when measuring proportions or drawing is not your forte or just to get a really general outline, or map, or composition.

DSC_0985

The projection can be distorted, fun!

DSC_0996

Accomplice, Mr. pepe.

A lightweight and space-saving alternative to canvases/canvas boards is paper. Try out different “mixed media” papers. So far Arches Oil Paper is my fave because it doesn’t soak up the color.

IMG_4998

After drawing, when I go to paint, I can simplify, focusing on formcolor temperature and value contrast.

Palette: Cerulean blue, cadmium scarlet, indian yellow, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and titanium white.

Try It!

 

Steps:

  1. Trace
  2. Transfer
  3. Fix the Drawing

4. Limited palette of red, blue, yellow and white:

IMG_4909

5. Wash of tones

6. Apply layers of thicker paint

See you in a week!