Saturday, May 24, 2008

Green Wind - gouache studies

Two studies in gouache for Green Wind - 10 x 14 - on paper.

These are the compositions I'm working through for my next painting called Green Wind. I have several ideas I want to incorporate, but I've had some challenges and "start-overs." Fortunately, these little paintings don't take long, and they give me an idea of the values and balance of the composition.

What I want to capture is the essence of green and wind. The painting by Vincent Van Gogh called Mountainous Landscape View from St. Pauls Hospital originally inspired me because I can just feel the wind moving through the field in the painting.

Plus, I want to capture the symbolism of "green." So the placement of the turbines is really important for balance. This will also be a pretty big painting, so I have to make sure the composition sizes up to 48" x 60".

I ended up discarding my first idea (above) because the fields don't seem to work and the greens will be hard to capture on a big canvas. The turbines are too little and there's not enough movement in the clouds. It looks like a storm is brewing, which is not what I want to say.

This second study is closer to what I want; waving fields of green, turbines moving in the wind, and clouds scuttling across the sky (which they can only do if there's enough wind!)

If you look closely, you can see some of Van Gogh's mountains in the background. These will probably be more prominent in the full-size painting, becuase I love them and don't want to lose them.

Green Wind is a continuation of my Primary Wind series: Red, Yellow, Blue. Does wind have a color?

Allan has been busy ordering frames for a whole bunch of new paintings, and he's doing the framing. In addition to getting paintings ready for my Power of the Wind show in September at the Rake Gallery, both of us are going to feature paintings at Anne and Michael's studio, and Cowlitz Bank. It's just a matter of pulling everything together.

Also, I was honored to have a painting selected for the cover of Lower Columbia College's Salal Review, a literary magazine featuring local artists and writers. My pastel painting Water Reflections #7 was chosen by students to be on the cover. I'm honored!

Stay tuned for progress on Green Wind!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Orchid - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas
I've been painting wind turbines for so long I needed a break. A story in The Independent about orchids flourishing because of warming temperatures inspired me to paint it. Why? I love the colors and shapes, like an O'Keeffe abstract floral. It also made me think about global warming and all its ramifications. One of which is more orchids! A strange connection; that something as scary as global warming could cause more of these beautiful flowers to bloom.
I have to give inspiration its due, and tell you that I found the reference photo for this painting on flickr. The moment I saw it I knew I had to paint it. The photographer is from Rotterdam.
PS: The Independent is a London publication about the environment. I stumbled across it in a keyword search for "global warming."
Now it's time to get back to the wind turbine paintings!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blue Wind - here's the gouache study

Blue Wind - gouache study - on paper - 11" x 14"

This is the study for Blue Wind. I wanted to get the feel for the colors and composition.

Lots of people ask, what is gouache? I like to use it because it's opaque and I can cover up my mistakes! I never mastered transparent watercolor, and the gouache is almost like acrylic. It dries very quickly, and I can complete a small painting in as much as an hour.

When I finish Blue Wind, I'll have Primary Wind: Blue, Red, Yellow.

Can wind have a color? Can anyone paint the wind?

~paint the wind~

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blue Wind - idea and study

I'm getting ready to start on the third Primary Wind painting - Blue Wind. Here's the gouache study (top), the two reference photos, and the white panel where you can just see the outline.

Well, if I wasn't spending so much time blogging, I'd get more painting done!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Red Wind

Red Wind - oil on panel - 12" x 16"

This is the second in my series: Primary Wind. This time I used only reds, in fact every red in my storage caddy. Cadmium Red, Cadmium Scarlet, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, and of course, Titanium White.

Can wind have a color? Almost every Van Gogh painting I have seen has fields of waving grass and wheat. The colors are greens, yellow and blues. His brush strokes mimic the movement of air. A couple of years ago I saw his paintings in the Seattle Art Museum. On close examination, I saw a brush hair embedded in the paint. I almost cried. It was like he was right there! The movement in that painting was phenomenal. Like he captured the wind.

Check out the paintings of another blog artist, Dar Presto. I like her style.

On to another painting, Blue Wind?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yellow Wind

Yellow Wind - oil on panel - 12" x 16"
I got to thinking about primary colors: red, yellow and blue, and how cool it would be to paint "primary wind!"
So this is my first primary: Yellow Wind. I used every color of yellow oil paint in my painting caddy, and that includes colors bordering on orange. Some of the dull tones that look almost greenish came from Yellow Ochre, which when you layer it on orange or cool yellow, looks almost green/brown.
It was lovely to paint on this panel, the paint blended like silk.
I hope to complete Red Wind and Blue Wind soon!
That will round out my series on primary wind! Then maybe I will start a series of secondary wind, which naturally would include green wind!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Noon Clouds and the Wind

Noon Clouds and the Wind - oil on canvas - 48" x 60"
Have you ever stood at the base of a wind turbine and looked up? I have. This is what you see.
Sky, clouds, behemoth wind turbine.
Whoosh, Whir, Hummmm. The sound of power, energy, electricity.
I tried to capture that in this painting. Just sky, clouds and turbine. Powerful!

Here are some progress pictures as the painting developed over a month's time. Sometimes I have to turn the painting sideways, or even upside down while I work, because it's so big.

This is just bare canvas with a burnt umber wash, and the charcoal drawing. That's how I start a painting. You can see my previous painting, Bats, Butterflies and the Wind, leaning against the wall in the background. Usually I cover up finished paintings, so they don't get splashed with paint from the painting I am working on.