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: