Sunday, December 30, 2007

Much More to Learn!

Well, here is my first attempt to learn "Plein Air" from Tom Brown's CD "Plein Air Painting Made Easy (for absolute beginners)". I tried to copy his, and made a mess of the colors. Also felt a little weird, since I would never see this scenery around here.

Hopefully, I learned a few lessons (especially about using darks!), and I've worked on a few more -- you know what they say: "Practice makes Perfect"! Yeah, we'll see! I don't have the equipment yet to actually work outside, so I'm using photos and try to imagine that I'm outdoors!

I've ordered another DVD on Plein Air - in this one, I can watch the artist work -- I think that might be better for me. I really learn better by watchinng than by reading.

And, I finally figured out how to resize the photo so that when you click on it, it isn't the size of Texas! (Hopefully!) I'm using a new photoshop: Picasa from Google. I really like it, cause you can change the lighting, and the intensity of the colors. I suppose all PhotoShop programs can do that, but I've never had one.

Well, back to the easel to try, try again!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Learning Something New

"Garden Gate"
8" x 10" Oil on Stretched Canvas

Do you believe that I tried flowers again? I like the flowers a little better here, but not too sure about the rest of it! Oh well -- I'll keep trying!

I bought a CD from artist Tom Brown on learning about "Plein Air" painting. So, I spent the better part of yesterday and today practicing his demos, and actually did one of my own (from a picture, though - not outside) This is what I've been dying to try -- I really like the looks of the "California Impressionism" that I've seen on the internet. Just wish I lived in California sometimes - they seem to have an endless supply of beautiful vistas to paint! Believe it or not, Florida is not the most scenic place on the planet!

I'm not sure yet how I like the ones I painted -- I think they look a little childish yet. Still working on depth of color and composition. I'll post some when they dry. They really do look different than my other paintings. I think I'd like something between the two.

Time to referee -- Barney and Penny are blitzing!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


"Monterey #1
8"x10" Oil on Canvas Panel

Actually, the title of this post should read: Rats!

You know, rocks are hard to paint! Luckily for me, I have 2 great instructors who helped me through this (I had already tried and failed at home) -- so all credit must go to them! I was a total mess at workshop yesterday -- I had a really hard time with this painting. And, of course, they kept telling me to remember that I haven't been painting very long, so I need to slow down and not to expect perfection yet.

Well, that's something I never use as a description for me: Perfectionist! I think I must have a different definiton of that word than everyone else. To me, it means that you MUST have everything perfect and in order. Truly not a definition of me! I think the word that most describes me is : Impatient!

Yes, I think that I am in a hurry to learn something new. After all, I am now at that age where I don't have all the time in the world - it's all downhill from here! I do expect that I should be able to learn certain tasks quickly, and paint pictures that are decent (and not too terribly embarassing!). But perfection -- I think not!

So, for now, I will continue to practice and hope for improvement!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

9" x 12" Oil on Canvas Panel

Flowers are not my friends. This is my first attempt to paint them. Looks like I have a lot to learn about painting them -- so now, the hard part is to continue to paint them. But that's what learning is all about -- trying and trying again!

Christmas is upon us! So, we are taking off in the morning to travel to Tallahassee to be with Bill's kids and grandkids for the major eating and exhausting opening of gifts! We'll return home on Christmas Day to rest!

I hope you all get what you want for Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Morning Walk

Morning Walk
9" x 12" Oil on Canvas Board

I find it quite interesting how my thought processes have changed since I started painting. Every morning for the last year, I have taken my dog, Barney, out for our morning walk. I used to see how gorgeous it is out here -- we live in a development where all the homes are on 1+ wooded acres -- and how happy I am to be living in Sunny Florida. I would spend my time thinking about work, and what I had planned to do that day.

Now, I notice that I'm looking at the cloud formations, the way the sun shines across the road, and always trying to find a great composition to paint! In my mind's eye, I wonder how to achieve that perfect color in the sky or on a tree. I am seeing things in a whole other way -- and I love it!

Barney says:

Going for a walk with Mama is the best part of my day!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Take Deep Breaths!

Lakeside Park #2
12" x 16" Oil on Canvas Board

I received a wonderful comment yesterday from an artist whose work I truly admire! He gave me such great encouragement, and helped me to relax, and not worry so much about my "style". I guess it's really easy to get all caught up in "art" and forget that it's all about having FUN!

I did this same thing when I started quilting. Worrying that my quilts wouldn't look as good as someone else's -- worrying that I wasn't trying to do really hard things to prove myself (after all, I do own a Quilt Shop!! - I should know it all!!).

So, for my next trick, I will take deep breaths, smile a lot, and remember that it's only paint!

And, be happy that my dear daughter came through with several beautiful photos of the Monterey coastline for me to paint! Can't wait!

Penny says:

Oh Goody! Mama brought all these new toys for me!

Until next time - Relax a Little!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Same Song, Different Verse

Rainbow River Palms
9" x 12" Oil on Canvas Panel

Don't you ever wish that you could start something new, and be instantly great at it? I look at the difference between my very first quilt and my very last quilt - WOW!. what an improvement! Same can be said about my first pair of socks and the last!

But, with sewing and knitting, you can follow a pattern and even use the same fabric or yarn, and end up with something that looks a lot like the pattern cover. Not so much with painting, I'm afraid! You give the same photograph to 10 different artists, and you will get 10 very different paintings. Everyone has a different "style". So, that should be good for us, right? Maybe so, but it's still a little frightening to put your stuff out there, knowing that a lot of folks who look at it will think that their dog (or their 1st grader, or the neighbor's parakeet) could have done better!

I've been doing lot of reading of artists' blogs, books and magazines - trying to come up with my "style". All I have found is that while I know what it is that I like to look at, I have no earthly idea how to do it! So, for now, all I can do is practice - learning about color, shapes and shadows, perspective and composition -- knowing that as I keep putting paint on canvas, my own personal "style" will emerge and not look like anyone else's. Now that's really exhilarating!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ahhh - Inspiration!

Lakeside Park #1
12 x 16 Oil on Canvas Board

Great workshop today! One of the biggest challenges for me as a painter, is to have plenty of Inspiration -- so that I can always find something to paint. We're advised to always take our own pictures -- never to copy someone else's photos or paintings.

So, now that I'm excited and determined to do just that -- where is the Inspiration? Right now, Dunnellon is flat and brown, and the only photos I've been able to take are at the Rainbow River, where all the trees are dead looking and covered with moss! Even the sunlight is different this time of the year.

The painting above came from a series of photos I took over Thanksgiving when we were in North Palm Beach with Bill's daughter Cathy & her husband, Eric. This park was just a few blocks away from their home, on the Intercoastal Waterway. I got maybe 3 decent photos that would make good paintings - and I'm working on #2 now. Then what????

So, I'm sending out an SOS to all my friends and family -- PLEASE -- if you have any great photos that you think would make great paintings (preferably landscapes - maybe a few buildings - but no people), could you send them my way? Please comment if you would be willing to help!

One of the other artists in my group today promised me that we would go on a field trip in January to get some new shots!! And, she seems to know just where to go - so I am anxious for that to happen. In the meantime, I'm going to have to turn this house upside down and try to find any photos I might have!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Here I Go!

"To the Beach!"
9" x 12" Oil on Canvas Panel

After many years of quilting and many months of knitting, I decided to pick up a paintbrush and learn to paint with oil! And, of course, along with that I decided to learn to BLOG! Here goes.....

It all started innocently enough with a trip with some friends to a fun Antique Shop/Art Boutique. We met a lady who gives lessons in the "Bob Ross" style of oil painting, so 4 of us went and took a lesson. Now, I'm one of those people who say, "I don't have any talent, so I can't _______ (fill in the blank!) -- but once my brush hit the canvas, I was a goner!

So, after a few landscapes, I figured it was time to learn more -- a read a lot of books, and finally found a couple of angels - instructors at my local art supply store (They're even published, for cryin' out loud!) They invited me to join their weekly workshop, with many talented (there's that word again!) artists who create beautiful things in many different mediums. What a godsend!

I hope you will peek in from time to time and watch my progress.