Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Looking Up"

14"x 11"  Oil on board

You'll be seeing a lot of "Skyscapes" in the next few posts.  These will be on exhibit and for sale at the up and coming 2 Person show titled "Of Earth and Sky" at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa.

Accomplished Metal and Glass artist, Mika Sorak (who happens to be my daughter) is the other artist represented in this show.  Her work can be found in a few galleries and floral shops across Iowa and is in private collections across the United States.

The Show will be hanging Feb 1st - March 7th, 2016

Friday, December 25, 2015

Bentonsport 2016 Brochure Cover

I can now announce that the Van Buren Conservation Board approved the use of my painting shown here as next years cover for our 3 fold flyer on Bentonsport's businesses, B & B's and Campsite/Trails.

Soft Pastel on LaCarte Sanded paper.  I donated the original to the DNR.  It's size is 25"x 11.5"

Businesses shown here are all along Hawk Dr., across from Riverside Park and the Des Moines River. The building at the top is known as the "Odd Fellows Hall".  The second floor is set up as a museum showcasing ritual memorabilia and meeting room of an "Odd Fellows" chapter.  The organization is much like the Masons.  NEW IN 2016 the main floor will house the business 
"Paddle, Pedal, and More".  A kayak, bicycle rental  and gift shop.  Odd Fellows Hall is located near the boat ramp to the Des Moines River.  The business owns a pontoon boat in which they plan to give tours on the river. 

Next is the front of "Iron & Lace"store.  Below it is a street scene  - left to right - Iron & Lace, The Quilt Shop, Greef General Store, and Artisan Coop.  Below it is "Forever Sweets Creations" fudge and sandwich shop.

All the businesses are closed now (except for the B & B's in town.....they're open year around).  The retail shops are open Mid April through October during the week and both Saturday and Sunday.  November and December All retail businesses are open Weekends Only.

In 2016, I plan to have the "Parlor Room Studio"  (located in the Herman Greef House shown above) open to the public most Saturdays  10am to 4pm  April through November when there isn't a workshop going on. 
 My dear friend MaryBeth Heikes, who is an established nationally known watercolorist, is planning to be in the studio two Saturdays a month giving demonstrations.

Here's a picture of MaryBeth working on a collage in the studio.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Largest "Skyscape" so far.....

Here's how my  palette has looked through out the process of creating the "skyscape" you'll see in this post.

Above is a view of the work showing the red underpainting and where my palette sits to the right.  Working from my plein air set up has truly become habit...indoors or out.  After seeing how sturdy my friend Jessica Kirby's tripod is that she uses with the Lammert plein air set, I had to order myself one and I've fallen in love with it.  The painting box my husband makes works GREAT with it.

 Oil on 3- 36"x 24" Gallery wrapped stretched canvases. (36"x 72" shown here). 

 I've painted the sides so the canvases can be hung with space between them or as shown here.    The camera really doesn't give this piece justice.  The magenta color and blues near the horizon line aren't as out of focus and as bright as they appear here.  No matter how I adjust the camera or try adjusting the image on our computer, it still reads as you see above.

This painting will be part of a group of skyscape works I'm creating for a 2 person art exhibit  Feb. 1st -March 7th at the Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, IA campus.  The other artist is my daughter, Mika Sorak.

  IHCC has a fabulous high end gallery that can easily showcase up to 120 or more paintings plus sculpture space.  Hopefully I'll remember to take a few snapshots when we have the artist's reception when the show opens.

Friday, December 11, 2015

2015 Plein Air Paint Out in Bloomfield, IA

Here's a close up of my friend Jessica Kirby painting during the 1st Plein Air Paint Out in Bloomfield, IA during the communities Special Christmas Day, Dec. 4th. 

The event was sponsored by the Davis Co. Arts Council and 9 artists from all over the state and one from MO participated.  Sign in and reception was held in the Courtyard Gallery & Studio  where we were treated like royalty. 
Here's what Hans Olson from Fairfield, IA was working on.

John Preston created 2 outstanding watercolors....took 1st place purchase award and an honorable mention.  In this photo, he's standing on the SE corner of the Courtyard lawn looking East.

.....and another view of Jessica that was set up in front of the Gallery/Studio.  I was actually parked in the middle section of the road just left of her.  I sat up my easel next to my car and was surprised at how many people walked over from the sidewalk to visit and view what I was working on.

Next time I'll remember to take more photos of everyone.  We were all in short walking distance of each other.  By the time I got around to thinking of documenting the event, most the artists had already headed to the studio to frame their finished works.

For December, we had FANTASTIC weather to work by.  It was arranged for us to work from business windows if weather had turned sour.  As it was, temp was high 40's and the wind didn't pick up until mid afternoon.  We were to be done...with work hanging by 4pm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

At Rest

Oil on 20" x 24" Stretched Canvas

Here's the last of the Civil War themed works that I'm painting for awhile.  I accomplished to get 9 paintings done in the last 3 weeks.  That's a record for me, unless you count the small 6"x 6" daily paintings.  Most of the works I've been showing of late are 20" x 24" in size.  

I've used the same approach to detail in all....leaving them like a "vignette" style where I place no detail in the background, only on what I want the viewer to focus on.  Even that area is created with a "painterly" flare.  

One more thing....I have to thank artist John Preston for introducing me to  the Turquoise color.  I'm using Turquoise Light more and more in shadow areas of my work.  It was used in this painting on the horses.  Absolutely LOVE the color when I'm using earthy shades. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Strategy Meeting"

20"x 24" -Oil on gallery wrap stretched canvas

There's actually richer color on the right side of this painting then what this photo shows.  I think I had some glare when photoing the oil. I tried a do over and still wasn't giving the original justice.
 My reproduction skills are still a work in progress.

This is yet another in the Civil War reenactment series. These guys were having their own little "pow-wow" during the fight.  Awwwhhhh....to eaves drop on the conversation....maybe discussing plans to hit the local coffee shop after they tied the horses up?  Hmmmmm more like  discussing plans  for supper.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Messenger

24"x 20" Oil on gallery wrap stretched canvas

As in the previous works I've been posting.......my approach to "zooming in" on the focal area is by leaving out all the detail everywhere else.  This almost gives a "ghostly" feel to the people standing before this young man. 
 Because of his youth,not just the bag he's carrying,  he seemed so important at being there right at that moment.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Watching the Battle"

16"x 12" Oil on board

Simple shapes is what this painting is about.  I wonder what they were thinking?.....always questions and those viewing the work can come up with their own answers.

I titled this piece "Witnesses" since they were watching the reenactment battle that was going on to our left when I snapped their photo.  I think I took around 400 pictures that day.  Two of my artist friends were there as well and I believe between the three of us we had over 1,500 snap shots.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

In Charge of Chow

Here's another to wet your  appetite for the coming exhibit in Keokuk, IA.
16"x12" Oil

I've been using artistic license with all the images I took at the last reenactment this past April in Keokuk. By leaving out all the "background noise" in the pictures, I've been focusing on what that moment meant to me......what drew my attention in the first place.

I feel by painting "just that" and using the toned canvas as the background, it gives a sense of movement to the images.    I also see myself coming full circle with creating works that are like vignette's (fading out along the edges of a work).  This was my signature method when creating pencil drawings years ago.  Now I'm applying the same in my paintings.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Another view.......

Here I was able to get a shot of the painting I posted yesterday but looking straight at it verses the angle.  My friends made comments on the other photo, that it looked like I had "pinned" the bag on the board.  I hadn't noticed that .....the effect being from "spilling" over on to the frame when I paint.

You can better appreciate the loose brush work in this shot.  I have to admit, I had fun painting this one.  Now on to more...more...MORE painting for the show hanging next month.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Buckskinner's favorites!

18"x24" Oil on board + frame

I'll post another straight on shot of this work when I have one.  For now, this shows the finished work on the easel at the Iron & Lace store.

You can see the edge of the photo I was using as reference.  Again, I prefer working from life, but that isn't always a convenient thing for me to do.  So, I'm soooooooo thankful for the digital camera.  I'm discovering my new phone can take some pretty decent shots too.  ( I have a Nikon L830 I carry around too)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Awaiting Orders"

Mixed Medium - 24"x20" stretched canvas

For future reference, I may have to take pictures of the acrylic wash I apply on the board or canvas before adding the oil painted subject matter.  The strokes of Burnt Umber color in the background aren't all visible here.  They help create the illusion of movement in the painting.  

I rarely paint on a pure white canvas.  I create some color wash and usually paint over the entire surface to cover it.  More  of my work of late seems to include the initial underpainted wash of acrylic or oil showing in the final piece.  Because this one was done with acrylic, and just as much surface shows as the oil paint applied after, I thought I should consider it a "mixed medium" work.

Subject? :  Another photo I took of the Civil War re-enactment in Keokuk, IA this past April.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Among the Smoke

Oil on board and frame....18"x 26"

I'm not very good at "centering" a painting when photoing it.  This is obvious to see when I add the frame as part of the composition.  So, I apologize for the distraction of not getting straight lines here.

That out of the way...... as most my students and friends know, I like adding the frame to be part of the over all composition.  The next several works I'll be showing here will be done in this manner.

In April, I traveled to Keokuk, IA and was able to witness the last Civil War re-enactment  (after 28 years)  and was amazed with the numbers of  participants and size of the audience to this event.  The BOOM of the cannons was phenomenal.  I didn't know what to expect but now I see the draw to recreating a part of history.  I have abundant respect for those that are passionate about doing so.

This month, I'm scrambling to paint as many works with the Civil War theme as possible.  They will be part of the one person show in December at the Keokuk Art Center...hanging in the round room just off from the public library.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Working from Home.....

I thought I'd share where I'm working this weekend.  I've taken my wood easel over to Bentonsport to be in the studio there in the Herman Greef House so, I've gone back to my old metal Standrite to work off of at home.  Because I like to have my easel level upright or leaning slightly forward, I use a 12 lb dumbbell sitting on the back leg to "balance" the easel.  Keeps it from tipping on forward.

I never lack for company either when working in this space.  There's usually all 3 cats occupying the chairs. So far, I'm lucky they don't try and walk across my paints or pastels.

Here you can sorta glimpse at how I've arranged my pastels in my Lammert Paint Box.  I have so many boxes from pastel sets that I've purchased over the years that I decided to  modify a few to create my set up as you see here.

  These are the lids to a couple of Terry Ludwig boxes.  Plastic inserts are from another set of pastels and in the center of the box, I'm leaving my 120 half stick Sennelier box in place.  I've glued the foam covers to a foamboard cut to lay directly on top when packing.

I then place the pastel boxes at the sides on top,,,,,centered so the doors will close.  Everything sits firmly in place when I travel holding the box vertically.

I had thought of creating dividers and laying my pastels next to each other (a set up I had in my easyl plein air box), which would allow for more pastels being with me at all times, but softer pastels tend to break easier then the semi-soft and I like to have the variety of hard to very soft and hand made pastels with me at all times.  I use them all when creating a painting.

In case you're wondering about the orange bungee straps, they're fastened on the box and I can carry my pastel pencils in a canvas brush holder on the back side .  It's an option to strap on my tripod and canvas holder on the top.  I couldn't find straps the exact length I needed to keep everything snug when fastened, so I tied knots in the chords to shorten them.

I've become so used to working from the tripod, I now prefer setting it up like this instead of using my side table, you see here, to lay out a palette.  AND....depending on the size of a work (this one pictured here works fine on the tripod canvas holder) and light source, I set up the tripod as close to being directly under the metal or wood easel I'm using in the studio.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Wabbles at Play"

10"x 8" watercolor

I've been hanging on to pics I've taken of my cats playing and napping to use as study references.  It's about time I start creating something with them and here's a quick watercolor sketch of our oldest kitty Wabbles.

She was born with no sense of balance so she spreads her back legs out to catch herself.  She is so much fun to play with and sooooooooooo happy.  Our vet is amazed she's still going strong at 11 years old.  She's banged her head a few times where we thought of inventing a "nerf" helmet for her.  

Now she spends more time watching the 2 young boys, Obie & Zeus, chase each other around the house.

I did this sketch on matboard covered with Clear AS Colourfix Mult-media Primer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Plein air in Amana, IA

8"x10" Oil on board

Above is one of 7 paintings I was able to complete during the "Catiri's Fresh Paint" paint out during labor day weekend.  I'm not exact on numbers, but I believe around 35 artists participated this year. We were literally  treated as celebrities with the red carpet rolled out and photo shots as we entered for the revealing of finished works/awards banquet.

Temperatures soared in the 90's all 3 days of the event.  It was definitely a learning experience for me. WATER! WATER! WATER!  I hate to admit it but my body took a day and half to recover from the pace.  Soooooooooooo out of shape!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

View of the Iron Bridge

Oil on panel 8"x10"   SOLD

This is the second oil I've created with having the old iron bridge in Bentonsport, IA as the focal point.  It's a view from the front porch of the Iron & Lace store.

Here you can see how I like to create works sized 8x10 and smaller on a support made out of foamboard.  I glue and tape layers of board together to give it strength.  It's much lighter to carry then something made out of wood.  Lately, I've been using cardboard instead of the black foamboard shown here.

Using black or the "brown" cardboard creates a neutral middle value tone that surrounds  a work.  Working on a surface like this helps me keep my easel clean from paint.  A support panel like this also provides a means for me to transport a finished painting without worrying about smearing the wet paint.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

All about Lace

~click on image to enlarge~

7"x 5"  Watercolor on paper

This is one of the pitchers that Betty Printy creates and sells in her store "Iron & Lace".  She takes the actual flower "Queen Anne's Lace" and presses it on to the leather hard clay.  She then applies her glaze and the flower turns to ash when the clay is fired in the kiln.  

This design has been Betty's signature work since 1986.  I have endless still life arrangements around me when I'm watching the store for Bill & Betty Printy.  

This is "officially" the second watercolor painting I've ever created.  I say officially because I've used watercolor off and on to create sketches/renderings for clients in the stained glass industry.  Now I'm having fun learning about this medium.

It's different then Oil and Pastel in that you basically layer going light to dark in value.  Where, in oil and pastel, I establish my hottest highlight and darkest dark on a mid toned canvas, or paper.  Then work dark to light for the most part.

Here's my little corner of the Iron & Lace store where my easel is mounted on the wall,  Betty's Raku fired pottery is all around my paintings.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"The Painted Lady"

Click image to enlarge
24"x 20" Oil on stretched canvas

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post. (I've been spending most my time in the garden when not teaching, demoing, or watching the Iron & Lace store.)   

My, how time fly's.....much like the dream state of this painting.  The building in this work will soon be a Bed & Breakfast in Brooklyn, IA.  The owners were pleased with the composition.  It evolved from the description of what they wanted as an image for note cards, business cards, etc.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Buckskinner Measuring Spoons

~click image to enlarge~

6"x6" Oil on panel

This was a fun exercise in using a limited palette as Burnt Sienna being the dominate color.
These spoons were created by artisan Steve O'Grady of Bloomfield, IA.. He supports and participates in Buckskinner (Mountain men) Rendezvous through out the Midwest.

A small group sets up camp every year in Bentonsport along the Des Moines River during the villages open business season.  I couldn't resist this set of measuring spoons hand forged by Steve. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Field of Lace

~click on image to enlarge~

14"x 11" - Soft Pastel on Board

I had the opportunity to take several pictures of one of my friend's place where they turned 80 acres back to prairie grasses and other plants.  A beautiful place in the NE corner of Van Buren Co. Iowa.

This was a foggy morning that she invited local artists to come paint.  I wasn't able to set up on location that day, but loved all the Queen Anne's Lace in bloom so thank goodness....camera was in hand.

I started this work with a watercolor underpainting over AS Colourfix Multi Media Primer on a masonite board.  There's a few places where you can still see the watercolor wash.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In Van Buren Co.

My plein air painting buddy, Jessica Kirby, gave me permission to use some of the photos she had taken on a painting trip I missed.   Here's the set up...looking on my computer screen at one of the photos she took while in Lacey Keosauqua State Park, Van Buren Co., Iowa.

Quick sketch in to lay out my composition
Starting to block in some color (and I have to say, I rather like the abstract look going on here too. Hmmmmm......this may be a direction I go in the future.)

and the finished work below.
~ click on images to enlarge ~
9"x 12"  Soft Pastel on Wallis paper.

I believe the time of year in the photo was Fall.  I need to visit this spot now (early Spring) and check it out.    

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tony's Medicine Shield

Click on image to enlarge
8ft. x 8ft.  Acrylic

Here's what I've been working on for several months now.  I can finally say the painting part is finished.  Now on to several coats of varnish. 

I've been working on these two 4' x 8' panels in my studio space on the main floor of our home. (I took over the dining room....moved the rectangle table over to the opposite wall that you see here.  It has a shelf unit on it that holds art supplies.)  

The varnish job will happen in the basement where I can lay the panels out flat.   That area is laundry / food storage / art show display storage / furnace / glass kiln area.  Yes.....we tend to "multi task" and use most the house for different projects.

Tony's Medicine Shield is to hang on the outside of the Indian Artifact Museum in Bentonsport, IA.  The business District will be considered "officially" open for the 2015 season on April 18th.   All the B & B's stay open year around.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Plein Air painting....first outing for 2015

Saturday, the 28th, was the first day this year for me  painting outdoors.   First day for trying my new Lammert Paint Box  outdoors as well.  

I had a pastel workshop scheduled for the afternoon at the Fort Madison Art Center and decided to make a full day of painting....starting out by meeting friends that live in the FM area.  We met along the route to Fort Madison from Pulaski.

I followed them to Wilson Lake Park, just off  hwy 2.  We settled on a spot to paint around 9am.   Above is a picture of my friend Carlene Dingman Atwater pastel sketching from her vehicle.

Here is Jessica Kirby in a cozy spot...staying out of the brisk breeze.   Both her and Carlene have been painting outdoors several times already this year.  We thought it would be GREAT to meet up and as I was driving to the park, my car said the temp. was 29 degrees.  I truly had avoided painting outdoors because of the cold air....and here I am....finally excited to be in the sunshine trying out my new paint box and it's below freezing out. (shaking my head here :D  )

....and my set up!  Once I started painting, I didn't notice the cold air.  I had the Sun to my back and the only part of me that became numb was my hand that I was holding pastels with.

The view I decided to focus on.......

......and the beginning.....I'm working on matboard I primed with Colourfix Multi-media fine tooth primer.   

Here shows the "underpainting".  I used Gamsol odorless mineral spirits, brushed on the pastel color you see above.

Here shows where I started applying strokes of pastel over the dried underpainting.  It didn't take very long for the mineral spirits to evaporate.

...and the finished  painting.  "At Wilson Lake Park"  10" x 8"  Pastel on board.

I went on that day to share this technique of applying mineral spirits to pastel with those that attended my workshop.  It was truly fun watching everyone try something they hadn't done before.  One student was so inspired, she's asked if I would come back and give the workshop again.  That was music to my ears.....to be a part of someone discovering a new way to be creative.  She hadn't tried pastels before.   

I was so caught up in the moment, I had forgotten to grab my camera and take pictures of everyone painting.  Next time, I'll do my best to snap a few photos of everyone.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fun with students

~click on images to enlarge~

Here are a few photos that have been taken of students at two of my classes.  This first one is of the oil painting group that's been attending the once-a-week classes this winter at 

Here's a close up of Jeanne Dixon working away.  She's the owner of the gallery/studio.  Jeanne is best known for her high end fine jewelry which she showcases in the gallery.

Below are a few pictures taken at the most recent pastel workshop held at the Art Center in Kirksville, MO.

Here we're discussing the value range in Meg's work.

Yep...this student was "slightly" aware of the camera, but truly absorbed in his work.

I often hold a students work back for them so they can view it from a distance.  Most are amazed and pleasantly surprised at their handwork.  (it ALWAYS looks different from a distance then when up close and focused on a small area.)

.....and last  is the instructor (me, Me, ME :D ) showing my approach to applying pastel to my primed surface. Yes....this is the Lammert Paint Box & Easel I'm working off of.  

Here are dates for upcoming one day pastel workshops....

March 28th - Fort Madison Art Center, Fort Madison, IA
May 2nd - Courtyard Gallery & Studio, Bloomfield, IA
May 16th - Edina, MO (FULL)
July 11th - Pastel 1 & 2 - Villages Folk School, my studio in Bentonsport, IA
July 25th - Underpainting & Pastel - Villages Folk School, my studio in Bentonsport, IA

I offer a 3 hour - 5 hour - 2 day (12 hour) workshop in either soft pastel or oils.  I also offer tutoring for one or up to three people as private instruction.
Currently there is an on going oil painting class offered at the Courtyard Gallery & Studio in Bloomfield,  This once a week class may be joined at anytime.

For more information about classes or wanting to schedule a workshop, please contact me via email through my website ginlammert.com