Sunday, October 22, 2017

Painting at Sundown Mountain Resort

11x14 Oil on board

View of what I was painting

Candid shot of artist Carlene Dingman Atwater painting on the ski resort's lodge deck.

October 8th thru the 14th was the "Bluff Strokes" Plein air competition in Dubuque, IA.  I, along with 59 artists, had the opportunity to paint where ever we wanted in Dubuque County.  Of course, there were suggestions from the sponsors where certain locations would award us with cash winnings.   When Carlene and I happened to stop at this ski resort.....yes, Iowa has a place to snow ski ......our view was too rich in farmland  color on a dreary, rain laced day to pass up.  I'll be posting more from this event soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Nocturne at Paint the Point

Well, here'so the scoop on my Nocturne adventure as requested by my friend John Preston.   I began the above work when most fellow artists were finishing up on the main street just South of this location.   I've yet to master getting a plein air painting done in 2 hours, unless it's 8x10 or smaller.  That said.....on with my story.

I drove around seeing where everyone had set up.....most in well lit areas or where there would be main flow of traffic ( no hidden dark corners for monsters to jump out).  Yep......I wasn't thinking of safety when I chose this location.  It looked harmless enough ( and actually was) but what you see here was about all the light available.  ( I have orchestra pit clip lights that just shine where I need to see canvas & palette)

I didn't think to take a panoramic photo sweep when I had my easel in place so you can better appreciate my story. :(    To my left was a very dark lot that looked overgrown in the shadows.  I could hear voices/conversations as if people were standing directly behind me after i started painting.....time frame......10pm to a bit after 1am.  The requirements for this part of the competition was to begin no earlier then 8pm & hand in framed work between 7-8am.

Shortly after I had my initial sketch done, I guy started walking up from behind me and asked how I was doing.  Here's where my husband's advice kicked me in the head..." just PAY ATTENTION ".  I can become so absorbed in what i'm doing sometimes...hmmmmm....needless to say, this guy sorta/ kinda startled me.

I was holding an umbrella over my work because it started to sprinkle pretty good....this guy gently but firmly took it out of my hand and politely offered to hold it for me saying he'd give me 3 minutes of his time.  No thank you seemed to not be an option.

We struck up a conversation while he watched me work ......asked the usual questions about what all these people were doing painting around town, gave compliment on me  not being an ugly toad , then popped the question if I was married.  ( i'm sure he was leading up to it ,anxious to ask personal information. )  

After I answered "Happily so" , he stated.."lucky guy" and continued to hold my umbrella for another 5 minutes , being polite & giving me a bit of a history lesson of the area.

As he walked away, back the direction he came from, he let me know the sound of voices were coming from a bar a few feet away where people were slipping out the back door to have a smoke.

The moisture in the air moved on so no need for an umbrella most the time I worked.  Closer to midnight, it became deafening quiet.  The breeze gave a gust now and then.......I was increasingly aware of being alone......and started asking myself why I chose to stand where I was.  IT WAS THE STREET LAMPS IN FRONT OF THE BUILDINGS dummy.

After I dropped off my painting for the Nocturne competition, I drove back around where I spent most of the night.  The street is called Jail Alley and the dark ominous lot that was to my left was a beautiful peaceful garden.  The back entrance to the bar was 2 buildings away from where I was set up.

I ran into our hostess back at the Dairyland Motel and shared my evening happenings with her.  I told her that "Carl" mentioned he knew her.......she immediately asked if he was polite or not.  I said he was & she gave a sigh of relief.   Stated it's a small community where everyone pretty much knows everyone and said this guy was a good man but could be a bit hard to handle after a few alcoholic refreshments.

There John, is my story.  And yes, I learned a lesson here.  Either brush up on "self defense " moves to remain confident when painting alone at night or always partner up with another artist.

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Paint the Point" last week

"Paint the Point" in Mineral Point, WI was an event I participated in for the first time.  It was held this past week Tues., thru Sat.  An artist gathering was held on Tuesday evening with some wonderful appetizers complimented with local brewed beer.  We mingled and introduced ourselves to new paint buddies and sponsors of the event.

This being the first time being in Mineral Point, I had my friend John Preston, (which has participated  the past 3 years ),  take the wheel and drive my friend Carlene Dingman Atwater and I around Tuesday evening to check out the vistas and town of Mineral Point for potential painting compositions.

After having panels stamped at 7am on Weds., I headed out East of town to park along highway 39 and paint this view looking NW.  Photo's a bit washed out but you get the jest of the 14"x11" panel.  This work, along with the one below, SOLD during the Public viewing and sales on Saturday.  WhooHoo!

 Thursday I decided to hang out on Mineral Point's High Street which is the heart of some pretty awesome stone built buildings that house artist Studios, Deli's, Boutiques and other fine businesses.  If you're not familiar with the community, it's mainly an artists haven for potters, contemporary painters, and creative souls in general.  Mineral Point is approx. 39 miles SW of Madison, WI.

Below is the shop of a very talented weaver that specializes in high end fine scarves and clothing.  The owners did most the restoration work on the building themselves....including the removal of asbestos tiles on the floor. They hired a local carpenter to recreate the store front to as close to the original look as possible.  The doors alone are a solid 3 inches of beautiful Oak.  Glass in the windows have waves in it to look as authentic to antique glass as possible.  It was fun painting the reflections as wavy water. was the colorful wind socks that drew me in......they screamed to me..... "You W-A-N-T to paint me"!    I started this 12"x 9" oil one day and came back the next morning to finish it.

I've gotta learn to talk and paint at the same time.  I had a GREAT time visiting with passersby and overall this week, I've learned a lot about the origins and happenings of this historic town.

(P.S.  I took artistic license and added flower pots on the sidewalk.  The owner said she had the exact type of pots on the back porch of the building and offered to move them out front for my.... I met friendly/helpful people at every turn.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ottumwa's "Battle of the Brushes" event

20"x16" Acrylic on stretched canvas

Saturday evening, July 29th, the Wapello Co. Arts Council sponsored a fundraiser called "Battle of the Brushes".  10 artists were chosen to participate.....given a theme to focus on in a 90 minute period.

Paint, brushes (our own were optional), table easels, canvas and disposable aprons were provided.  Our theme was "Riverfront".  Because the event was held in Ottumwa, I chose this view of Bridgeview Center and Wapello Bridge that spans over the Des Moines River.

I tried a new technique for me.......used a plastic grocery sack (wadded up tight in hand) dipped in paint and applied it in an abstract manner to create the sky and water in this work.  I loved the affect.  I'm definitely using this technique again and with oils.  If I had more time on this piece, I would've included palette knife strokes of color in the rest of the subject.

The finished artwork was auctioned off immediately after brushes were set down.  This was a first time event for the arts council.  I hope it will become an annual affair. It was a nice way to spend a Saturday evening!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Among Friends!

48"x 24"  Oil on Canvas
Click on images to enlarge 

Just finished this work.  I'm hoping the paint will be dry enough to take to the next art show i'm scheduled to participate in.    Of course, there's always the possibility I can say SOLD before then.  Otherwise, plan to check it out at the annual event in Reiman Gardens, Ames, IA , July 9th 9-4pm.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Portrait of Iva!

Click on images to enlarge

Finished painting.... Oil - 24"x30"

I was given the challenge to create a portrait of this loved member of the Piper family who live near Pulaski.
I had created a painting of their first home years ago using Soft pastel.  I was honored when asked for my help in creating a beloved portrait.

We decided on using Oils this time to fit the size of the portrait without the need to put the work under glass & keeping a frame as an option.  I painted this work on Gallery wrap canvas ( sides can be painted to match the frame required).

Monday, June 12, 2017

Plein Air painting in Lee Co.

11x14 soft pastel in Wallis paper

Sunday was the Fort Madison Iowa Garden Tour.  I was invited to paint the beautiful Vista from the Rump's home.  In the distance you can see the Bluffs in Illinois.  I can only imagine the gorgeous sunrises viewed from where I stood.

This year's tour focused on homes just North of Fort Madison itself.   Most were near Wever Iowa along the 4 lane highway 61.

I so enjoy anytime I can share with others what soft pastels are & the beauty of this medium.  I had some wonderful conversations throughout the day with people that had know idea what I was painting with.  Most people that aren't art conisours think the medium is chalk that is used on chalkboards. 

I love the expressions when I share I'm working with pure color pigment & how the vibrancy will never change with time if the artwork is properly cared for.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Learning to loosen up

10"x8" - Oil on gessoed matboard

I've actually accomplished what I set out to do in this still life composition.  My goal was to simplify shapes as much as possible and keep strokes of color at a minimum. be as Impressionistic as possible. 

I bought new bristle brushes today  that are very light in the hand. I love the way they handle....they're called..."Pro Stroke 77B Premium White Bristle Creative Mark."  I found the at the Oskaloosa  Art Center.  The center is 56 miles away from where I live.....i'm  making another trip soon to pick up more brushes.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Both Plein air & Studio

This first image shows the first wash of pastels with Mineral spirits  to capture shadows.  My substrate is a primed mat board.  I used Art Spectrum  Colourfix fine tooth multimedia  clear primer.

2nd wash filling in basic colors.

Here's the final painting.  The underpainting wash technique was done on location.  I ran out of time ( had to be somewhere else) to finish the work outdoors.  I snapped a photo  and used it to finish the work in my studio.

8x10 on board

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Let's be Friends"

8x10 Oil on panel

This still life composition was set up by one of my oil students a few weeks ago.  The challenge was to focus on how the light creates shadows with these shapes.  I really liked what she had done and had to paint it as well.

Why all the black around the image?  Well.....I have a new computer and am still learning how to work the programs on it.  No "crop" tool like there was on my old Windows 7.  With a bit of studying, I'll figure this out and know I'll have a better way of filing photos then what I've done in the past.  I have a heck of time finding something right now.  My filing system is....well....there ISN'T a system.  That's about to change!  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

"Rippling Shadows"

Enjoying the warmer Weather!  
We gathered at Indian Lake near Farmington Iowa.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Doc" Portrait

Acrylic on Barn board

This finished piece is a first time  painting for me......first to create on weathered boards that if you saw the back side, you would have no doubt these came from the inside of a barn.

I was asked to capture the likeness of this beloved family member in a way that would reflect him the best way possible.  He has moved on to animal heaven so it was very important for me to create a work that would trigger cherished memories.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

"Walking in South Dakota"

18"x 24" Oil on stretched canvas

The inspiration for this painting is from a visit I made a couple of years ago to my brother's place in South Dakota.  Him and my sister-in-law were walking in front of me, heading back home from a hike we made to see an abandoned Mica mining spot.  Their home (33 acres) sits in South Dakota where 2 sides of the property touch a National park. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Afternoon Light

8x10 watercolor

1st Plein Air painting this new year.  Went out Eagle watching today with fellow artist Deb Baughman.   While driving along the banks of the Des Moines river in Wapello Co., we got all excited about this barn along the side of the road.   

Since it was really cold out, we decided to sit in Deb'S mini van & break out the watercolors.  It worked out Great sitting in the front seats.  Next time, we're setting up in the back where there’s a ton of room.  I told her I'd bring my small foot stools to sit on & i'll probably work in pastels.      

Will definitely get some photos of us hard at work.