Sunday, December 28, 2008

Harvest Wind

Power of the Wind
Lower Columbia College Art Gallery
Rose Center for the Arts
January 8 - 23, 2009
Opening Reception, January 8: 4:30 - 7 pm

Harvest Wind
oil on canvas
30" x 40"


Study for Harvest Wind
8" x 10"

Last August I read a Daily News newspaper story about the Harvest Wind power project the Cowlitz PUD and other partners plan to build. I wondered how exactly they’d come up with the name ‘Harvest Wind,’ and how this project tied into their earlier project, ‘White Creek Wind.’

Since the project doesn’t exist yet, I had no photo references, so I decided to create my own landscape. I turned to Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, Wheat Fields under a Clouded Sky for inspiration. It reminds me of the wheat fields in eastern Washington glowering under a storm-brewing sky. You can just feel the wind.

Allan and I both love Vincent Van Gogh. He painted fields of harvest and clouds moving in the wind. A few of his paintings include the windmills that were used to power grist mills. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’m convinced that if wind turbines had existed in his time, he’d have painted them with gusto!

See this painting in progress.

This painting will be on display at Power of the Wind in January.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Holiday Sunflower Wish on this Wintery Weather Day

Holiday Sunflowers - 9" x 12" - oil on panel by Allan and Marie (top)
Wintery Weather Scenes from our Deck (below)
A holiday sunflower wish to you and yours!
Allan and I chose an artistic holiday card this year. Inspired by husband-wife artists, we decided to make a painting together! Allan selected the sunflower theme, based on our summer sunflower garden, and drew the design onto a panel. We took turns painting it. Our strengths compensated for each other's weaknesses, mine being too much fussy detail. All-in-all, we like our painting, had it printed onto a card, and mailed it to our friends and family. Voila.
This week a storm descended on the Northwest. We are snug and safe in our house, with nowhere to go and time to paint! The winter vista is Zhivago-ish in its serenity, but baby it's cold out there! Yesterday I put my car into the ditch. Fortunately there was no damage except a small scrape on my front bumper, in spite of landing just two inches from a city fire hydrant! Thank goodness for the local towing company.
Allan shared on his blog too. Happy Holidays to you and yours! Don't forget my January show:
Power of the Wind
Lower Columbia College Art Gallery
Rose Center for the Arts
January 8 - 23, 2009
Opening Reception, January 8: 4:30 - 7 pm
Sincerely, Marie
Paint the Wind!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

starting a new painting: Harvest Wind

from the top
Harvest Wind - 30 x 40 - on the easel in my studio
Study for Harvest Wind - 8 x 10 - on the mini easel in my studio
Harvest Wind - up close
Harvest Wind - with the first coat of sky colors
Whoa. You're probably looking at this and going--what is that! I admit, I got a little carried away with the red underpainting. My book on classical painting techniques says underpaintings should never be darker than a Level 7, which is equivalent to a pastel pink, not a screaming scarlet. Unfortunately, I read that after I'd put on the underpainting. So carry on I shall.
This is the last painting I'll finish for Power of the Wind. The inspiration came from Vincent Van Gogh's Wheat Fields Under a Clouded Sky, which reminds me so much of the wheat fields in eastern Washington glowering under a storm-brewing sky. It's also inspired by the Harvest Wind project, a Cowlitz PUD wind farm project that if built, will expand the White Creek project near Roosevelt, Washignton (which also inspired my paintings White Creek Wind and Green Wind).
So several of my paintings have ties to Van Gogh, as well as Cowlitz PUD wind farm projects! They will all be on display at:
Power of the Wind
Rose Center for the Arts
January 8 - 23, 2009
Opening Reception, January 8: 4:30 - 7 pm
Sincerely, Marie
Paint the Wind!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Morning Wind

Power of the Wind
Lower Columbia College Art Gallery
Rose Center for the Arts
January 8 - 23, 2009
Opening Reception, January 8: 4:30 - 7 pm

Morning Wind
oil on canvas
48" x 60"


Morning Wind - detail

My latest wind energy painting. The inspiration came from several sources: a painting of a magnificent sunrise I saw in one of my art magazines, the magnificent sunrises we see here in Riverwatch, Allan's heron, and my fascination with water reflections.

I wanted each element of this painting to have equal billing, so I divided it into thirds (sky, sunrise, landforms). Allan's idea to add a heron in the foreground matched my focus of showing wind turbines in the natural environment, and he found the picture of a heron to use for reference.

Below is a detail from the painting, so you can see how the darks morph into reds and greens.

This painting has a lot of layers, and took more than a month to finish. It's the second of what I hope will be three paintings showing turbines at different times of the day: morning (this painting) noon, and sunset (which I haven't completed yet, but here's a small study). You can see preliminary stages and studies for this painting here.

Thanks for sharing!

Paint the wind !

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thunderhead Wind

Power of the Wind
Lower Columbia College Art Gallery
Rose Center for the Arts
January 8 - 23, 2009
Opening Reception, January 8: 4:30 - 7 pm
Thunderhead Wind
oil on linen panel
9" x 12"
On November 12 Allan and I took our weekend walk through Riverwatch. The weather man had reported that a big rain storm was coming so we figured we better hurry. As we were walking on Eli Avery I looked west over the Columbia River and there was this huge thunderhead cloud in the distance. I couldn't help but wonder how a wind turbine would look against that cloud. Allan and I talked about how exactly an artist would mix the gray colors we saw in the sky. When I got home I couldn't resist the challenge, I mean, how badly could I mess up a small painting? So I mixed up a bunch of piles of gray and then added different colors, like ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, or yellow ochre. Then I underpainted the canvas a bright pink, and laid on the grays thick and juicy. This is it. Turns out it's one of my favorites, becuase of the brush strokes. I always try to paint like this, but because I try so hard, it never works out. This time I didn't try, and voila! I think I'll frame it for the show.
Paint the wind!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Power of the Wind - January 2009 - #2

Lower Columbia College Art Gallery
Rose Center for the Arts
January 8 - 23, 2009
Opening Reception, January 8: 4:30 - 7 pm
I spent the day attempting to get organized for the holidays, and making lists of everything I have to do before my Power of the Wind show.
I gessoed a canvas for the final painting, and started varnishing the finished paintings. Allan's been busy cutting mats and framing the gouache pieces, and he attached the hanging hardward to the back of the big paintings. He had to buy special hooks and wire at Home Depot because they are so heavy. He also got a really good deal on frames at Utrecht - they were half price!
There is so much to do. I want to have cards and posters for sale and my inventory is low so I'll have to make more.
On top of that Allan and I are working on our holiday card painting. This year I had the idea to make a painting together for our Christmas card. He wanted to paint sunflowers, since we love them, so he sketched some onto a small panel and I blocked them in. We're taking turns adding paint, and when we both feel like it's done we'll get our cards made.
I hope we can get everything done! I just need to relax and focus on painting. That's the fun part!
Paint the wind!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Power of the Wind - January 2009 - #1

Lower Columbia College Art Gallery
January 2009
The holidays are approaching fast, and I'm going to be really busy!
I just found out my Power of the Wind show proposal has been approved by Lower Columbia College, which means I'm scheduled to show my wind turbine paintings in the Rose Center Art Gallery in January 2009.
I've been working on a way to show these paintings for so long; it's exciting to know it's actually going to happen! I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a show devoted to wind energy by a single artist, anywhere in the nation, ever. So this is very unique!
I'm planning to blog frequently as I get ready for the show, so stay tuned and feel free to tell your friends and sign up on my e-mail list.
You can preview the paintings in my Power of the Wind e-zine, or view them on my website.
Paint the wind!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Figure Paintings at the Naked Winery

The Naked Winery - Hood River, Oregon - First Friday, November 7, 2008
We took a mini-vacation to Hood River to check out the galleries on First Friday, particularly the Benjamin Benjamin Gallery and Naked Winery next door where my figure works are hanging.
The Naked Winery is a family-owned winery in Wishram, Washington that just opened a wine tasting bar in downtown Hood River. We loved the atmosphere and especially the wine and music. My paintings done in warm and cool brown tones displayed very well against the tuscan-orange toned interior walls of the winery. Everything seemed to have a 'golden' glow.
This all happened because my friend Myah that owns the Benjamin Benjamin Gallery made an arrangement with the winery to display figure paintings (because they match the 'naked' winery theme), and I was the first lucky artist Myah invited to show there! Thanks Myah!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

starting a new painting: Morning Wind

Morning Wind - 48" x 60" - oil on canvas (top image)
I started another painting. Here's the preliminary steps, from the top:
  • Sienna tones blocked in, ready for color (this is the 48" x 60" canvas)
  • Sienna tones on small 5" x 7" practice painting I use to test out colors
  • Gouache study (8" x 12")
  • Sketchbook page with idea notes

Originally, my inspiration was to create paintings showing wind turbines at morning, noon and night--or sunset. I finished the noon one, Noon Clouds and the Wind last May. It shows a massive turbine in the mid-day light. This one will be morning. And I did paint a small 5 x 7 study of a wind turbine at sunset, which sold recently, but I want to do a bigger one.

It was Allan's idea to add a Great Blue Heron on the bank in the foreground, and he found a reference photo for me. I think the heron fits nicely with the theme of these paintings--wind turbines in natural environments. Stay tuned for progress!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

starting a new painting: White Creek Wind

White Creek Wind - 30" x 40" - oil on canvas
Here's the new painting I'm working on. From the top:
  • Latest version, with umber tones blocked in on the canvas (it's ready for color now)
  • Preliminary drawing on canvas with water soluable colored pencil
  • Gouache study #1
  • Gouache study #2
  • Sketchbook page with idea notes

This painting was inspired by several sources:

  • Photos Allan took of the White Creek wind turbines from 1-84 in the Gorge, on his way to the Tri-Cities
  • Seeing the components for this wind farm unloaded from ships at the Port of Longview.
  • Seeing the components for this wind farm being transported south on I-5 by schnable trailer for delivery to the construction site
  • An article in the Longview Daily News about the White Creek Wind project.

Stay tuned for more posts on this painting!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Green Wind

Detail from Green Wind
Green Wind, at last! I started this painting last May, and finished it in late August. It took me all summer, mostly because my summer was so busy, including my daughter's wedding!
It was a challenging painting. My inspiration came from the wheat fields in Van Gogh's painting Mountainous Landscape - View from St. Pauls Hospital. I did several small gouache studies to work out the composition. Then I began the tedious process of building up layers of paint on a 48" x 60" canvas that I'd prepared with numerous coats of gesso. You can see the paint strokes in the three detail images above. It was fun to see the depth develop with each new layer of paint.
I kept an extensive painting journal, because often weeks would expire between painting sessions (due to wedding planning) and it would be almost impossible to remember how I'd mixted my blue sky, yellow field or purple mountain!
All the while I was painting, I kept thinking, if wind turbines had existed during Van Gogh's time, they most surely would have been planted squarely in the middle of the wheat fields he so loved to paint--and he would have painted them with gusto!
Feel free to let me know whether my field, mountains and sky resemble Van Gogh's, because that would be the ultimate compliment!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Primary - 36" x 48" - oil on canvas
I stumbled across Madeleine Wood, who does some of the most beautiful interpretations of fabric and fruit that I've ever seen, and her work inspired this painting. I think painting fabric is an interesting concept, given my interest in quilts, and the challenge of reproducing the folds and shadows in the fabric was one I couldn't ignore. Allan wonders why anyone would bother to paint fabric? Well, in college we had to draw fabric, and I recall seeing studies by old masters (Leonardo/DaVinci) in which they realistically drew fabric using conte crayon and pencil. So the concept isn't that foreign. It's just, why would someone like me spend the amount of time that it took to complete this painting, to actually paint this subject? It did take quite a while. All I can say is that the idea of representing primary colors in a dynamic composition took hold of me months ago. And once I started I had to finish. So here it is, at last. I don't know that I'll do another one, but I do feel that I accomplished what I set out to do.
More on this painting:
Now it's back to painting the wind!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Dancer, after Gustav Klimt - fini

The Dancer - after Gustav Klimt (top) 24 x 36 - oil on canvas
Detail from The Dancer (second) 5 x 7 - oil on panel
The Dancer hanging
Here she is, come alive at last. The Dancer. She took me on a unexpected journey, from which I learned a lot about subtle and delicate flesh colors and layering strokes of paint. She's given me inspiration to try another one, only my own composition this time.
The second painting is the little study I worked on at the same time. I tried out colors and strokes before I used them on the bigger canvas.
Below the study are three pictures of her hanging in my bedroom. In the first one, you can see my painting of Danae on the wall above my bed, with The Dancer on the right. I have a Klimt bedroom! I realy love the way Gustav Klimt painted women.
So you can see the progression, here's my blog post on the underpainting of The Dancer and the smaller one

Friday, October 03, 2008

my vacation: Santa Fe - The White Place

The White Place - 7 x 10 - watercolor
This is my last plein air painting done near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The White Place is also called 'Plaza Blanca.' Georgia O'Keeffe painted it many times. We figured out how to get there by asking the tour guide that showed us through Georgia O'Keeffe's home in Abiquiu. Plaza Blanca is also associated with the Dar al Islam mosque.
We painted for about an hour in a sheltered area, then hiked into the canyon to see the full glory of the hills. It's no wonder Georgia painted this geological wonder so many times. I've never seen anything like it. Here's some pictures from our trip:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

my vacation: Santa Fe - Pink Adobe

Pink Adobe - 7 x 10 - watercolor
This building had a sign that said 'Pink Adobe. I think it was a little restaurant and gift shop. It was directly across the street from San Miguel chapel, the oldest church in America - right in downtown Santa Fe. We sat on the concrete embankment next to the old church and painted Pink Adobe. It was fairly early in the morning and the sun was shining on the building. It seems so many buildings in Santa Fe are this lovely pinkish red color. I mixed Burnt Sienna and Alizarin Crimson to get this color. Here's a photo of the actual building. Here's Allan's painting of the building.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

my vacation: Santa Fe - another Pedernal

View of the mountain next to The Pedernal - 7 x 10 - watercolor
This isn't The Pedernal, it's a mountain just south of it. I tried to capture the evening colors but the light was changing very fast. The location we were painting at was the same one we'd painted the previous day, when we painted The Pedernal. As evening drew near, the sky began to change into beautiful colors; oranges and purples and greys. We snapped some pictures. This painting doesn't begin to capture how beautiful it looked. I wish I could go back there. New Mexico is a magical place.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

my vacation: Santa Fe - Two Pedernals

The Pedernal - 5 x 7 (top), 7 x 10 (bottom) - watercolor
Here's my next post on my painting vacation to Santa Fe, New Mexico. On our second day we visited Abiquiu, the small town where Georgia O'Keeffe had her winter home. We met Leo Garcia, whose father was Miss O'Keeffe's chaeuffer and gardener. Leo is a woodcarver with a small gallery in Abiquiu. He gave us directions to Abiquiu Reservoir, with one of the most magnificent views of the Pedernal.
The Pedernal is the flat-topped mountain that Georgia O'Keeffe painted over and over again. According to the book I bought, The Genizaro & The Artist, by Leo's father Napoleon Garcia, Miss O'Keeffe believed that if she painted The Pedernal enough times, she could have it. As it turns out, when she died in 1986 her ashes were scattered across the top of this mountain. (I wonder whose job it was to do that?)
We returned several times to paint at this location. The Pedernal was very beautiful, and Abiquiu Reservoir had a covered picnic table (very handy for painting) and restrooms. These are two small paintings I did of The Pedernal, en plein air, at Abiquiu Reservoir.
More Links:
Thanks for sharing my vacation!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

my vacation: Santa Fe - view from Abiquiu Reservoir

View from Abiquiu Reservoir - 5 x 7 - watercolor
I promised you artwork from my trip to Santa Fe, and here's the first one. Allan and I spent a week touring Georgia O'Keeffe country in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is surely the most beautiful place in America. One of our favorite painting spots was Abiquiu Reservoir, a scenic lake maintained by the Corps of Engineers, and the location for many of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings of The Pedernal, a majestic, flat topped mountain she loved. This view is opposite of that view.
If you're wondering who Georgia O'Keeffe is, here's a Wikipedia article. She is an artist I greatly admire. We enjoyed a tour of her house in Abiquiu, visiting her museum in Santa Fe, and painted at some of the scenic locations she loved, including Ghost Ranch (all referenced in the above article). She died in 1986.
So all-in-all, it was the best vacation of my life. Here's the photo I took of the location where I made this painting, and all my Santa Fe photos.

Monday, September 22, 2008

my vacation: Indian Beach - Ecola State Park - Cannon Beach

Indian Beach - watercolor - 5 x 7 (both)
I had a well-deserved week of vacation and Allan and I went to Indian Beach at Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach (Oregon) for one day. We wanted to practice with our paints in preparation for our trip to Santa Fe. These are the two small paintings I did that day. My watercolors consisted of a new mini-set of Winsor Newton Cotman travel watercolors especially for travelling. They turned out to be pretty handy for small paintings. Afterwards we ate clam chowder and drank beer at Mo's!
Stay tuned for the paintings and photos from my trip to Santa Fe. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

View from Martins Bluff Cemetery

View from Martins Bluff Cemetery - 11 x 14 - oil on panel
It's been about three weeks since Allan and I visited Martins Bluff Cemetery just south of Kalama and painted the view looking towards Portland. This is my painting from that day. In the foreground you can see I-5, with a little car whizzing by. The only thing I didn't include is the big ship that went by while I was painting. It was hard to capture (I can never get the ship's shape correct). So I left it out.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Dancer, after Gustav Klimt

The Dancer, after Gustav Klimt - oil on canvas - 24" x 36"
Tiny detail from The Dancer - oil on panel - 5" x 7"
It's funny sometimes how paintings are born. For months, I've had all these wind paintings swirling around in my head, just itching to get started: Harvest Wind, White Creek Wind, Morning Wind. All I need are more hours in the day, or maybe to give up sleep. I've been frustrated over when exactly I'd feel motivated enough to get started. Then the weekend after the wedding I walked into my bedroom and noticed a blank spot on the wall where Allan had hung a painting then moved it away. The hanging hardware was poking out and it came to me--bam--that spot needs a painting. In keeping with my Klimt bedroom theme, which already has 'Danae' above the bed, I realized I had to paint The Dancer. And fifteen minutes later I was laying it out on the canvas and roughing in the values. Switched gears, just like that, after agonizing for months over which wind painting to start next, and how big, and which colors to use, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes you can't plan a painting. It just has to happen. So here it is, stage one: values. When it gets some color, I'll post it again and you can decide if switching painting plans at the speed of light was worth it after all.
Oh, the little one is a 5 x 7 study of a small portion of the painting. I like to try out colors and brushstrokes on a little study while I'm doing the larger painting. I end up with two-for-one, and sometimes the little one turns out better than the big one!