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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Frosty December

This is what caught my attention this afternoon when I took off to the gallery to switch out some paintings. Once I was back home, I had to grab my little camera and see what I could capture of the lingering frost from the thick fog that's enveloped our valley this week.  Beauty discovered during these dark days of December. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Fall Y'All!

Two photos taken this week 
Two trees in our yard
Two brilliant leaf colors
Two weeks into November.

Happy Autumn!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

TTV - Through the Viewfinder photos and friends

This past Wednesday we had our last plein air adventure of the season at Paradise Springs event center outside Monroe Oregon. Instead of painting I wandered and collected images with my digital camera and my vintage kodak duaflex camera, shooting images thru the viewfinder of that camera. Below are some of my favorite TTV photos from that morning along with some regular digital photos.

Does anyone have any idea what kind of plant and berry this is below? Yes, they are bubble gum pink.

I'm also wondering what this plant is below. The leaves are quite large and they change into many different colors this time of year - purples with burgundy, yellow, and orange!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A day at the Oregon Coast Aquarium

A couple of weeks ago our plein air group enjoyed a day at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport where I shot over 350 photos, painted a small pastel of the tidal flats, and enjoyed an hour of having the place almost completely to myself! Our aquarium connection used to work there and she was able to gain us entrance an hour before it was opened to the public. After that we had to work around the crowds of people jockeying to see the exhibits. 

Here are some of my favorite photos from that day: 

And last, but not least, the otters---I have a ton more besides these three, but thought I better post just a few this time. The silver faced otter in the first two photos is Aialik, he's 13 years old and weighs 82 lbs. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

From the Garden

Last week, I spent some time in our little garden harvesting some of our bounty, and was blown away to be picking ripe strawberries still in September! These are not everbearing strawberries but are Hoods, a variety that produces amazingly sweet strawberries, but just during a few weeks, usually in June. This is an example of what an odd season we've had this year for growing produce. There were more strawberries than what you see in the photo below, but they never made it inside for some reason...

Another oddity, but maybe less so, is we still had pea pods to pick! Considering how it was probably July before I planted the seeds, that's more my fault so I can't really blame the late season. Time to pull up those plants now. I wonder if it's too late to plant peas for a fall crop? Anyone know? If you're thinking those littlest tomatoes look really small, that's because they are! They're current tomatoes, and are about the size of a small blueberry, and bursting with flavor! There are more than 150 current tomatoes in that bowl---just from one plant.

This is summer to me: home grown tomatoes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New favorite flower photos

These beauties were from a bouquet I purchased at Trader Joe's. Not to sound like an advertisement, but they lasted almost 3 weeks! I LOVE flowers... Here's three of my favorites from a photo shoot earlier this month---straight out of the camera:

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fast portraits

This weekend, our community celebrated the Arts & Sciences with their annual da Vinci Days festival, and I was invited, along with other local artists to draw portraits at an art booth on site. It was a great experience working with willing models, happy to sit while we sketched quickly before they lost interest! The first day I worked with pastel pencils and a set of Hi-Fi Grays. I'd practiced on a couple self portraits at home the night before, timing myself, trying to complete a finished-enough portrait within 10 minutes. Though I didn't manage to keep under my imposed time limit, I headed off Saturday morning with my supplies, and did a few portraits before leaving to catch the Kinetic Sculpture parade.

Here's part of one of the portraits I finished Saturday - a bit distorted since it was laying on the table when I thought to take a photo.

Another artist that had been working with a ball point ink pen was just racing through his portraits, so that night, I practiced again, using a papermate profile black pen, working light and loose, pressing harder with the pen to add more detail once the "bones" of the drawing were complete.

Here are 3 of the portraits I finished and gave to my willing models Sunday:

This was a terrific experience and I wished I'd taken more photos of the finished portraits and the models on Saturday. There was a sweet little girl, about 4 years old that would only sit for a portrait if she was in her Daddy's lap. I had fun drawing the both of them, she sat surprisingly still! The little boy, above - the first ink drawing, was a squirmer --- though he requested we draw him, he kept sinking into his jacket, covering his mouth, chin, while his older brother sat still as stone right next to him. I was all set to draw the older boy when this little guy showed up & personally requested I draw him! He had fun taking his turn drawing the fella next to me once I finished. It was a good place to work, under a canopy during the multiple rain showers that dampened the festival, but didn't seem to discourage people from attending.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Poppy Step by Step

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting one of the coolest nurseries in Oregon - Dancing Oaks Nursery with my friend Laurie. This nursery was the plein air Vista and Vineyard site for this week. We wandered the grounds, admiring and photographing the lovely flowers, then I settled down in a comfortable spot to paint one of the poppies. Once again, I was captivated by the intense reds, and a whole new variety I hadn't yet explored with pastel. This photo below shows the my preliminary drawing in red pastel pencil on a 12x12" primed and watercolored canvas I prepared ahead of time.

This next photo shows the first layer of pastel just before I sprayed the canvas with diluted pva size which helps adhere the pastel to the canvas. Behind the painting you can see my poppy model. This bed of poppies was just humming with bees!

This last photo shows my painting about 95% finished. After studying it for a bit I'll correct a few minor issues that are bugging me. As much as I adore this red, I'm sure this won't be the last poppy I paint this year... especially if I can get back out there before they're through blooming!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


After taking a firework photography webinar from creativeLive last Friday, I had to try out some of the tips and tricks I learned last night! Here are 12 of my favorites---right click and open in a new window or tab if you'd like to see any of them larger:

This one I especially love!!

Monday, June 06, 2011

From Start to Finish

This past weekend we painted a billboard.

Several of us from Portland, Corvallis and Eugene gathered at the Oregon Country Fair and started painting Friday. When installed the sign will be visible from highway 126, the coast highway connecting Eugene and Florence, on the property of the Oregon Country Fair. On Friday, the sign looked like what you see above. My daughter painted with us Friday and Saturday - above she's just starting to paint the top yellow border. When we arrived, the background sky had already been sprayed and the design had been "pounced" on top. ("pounce: a fine powder, often of charcoal, used in transferring a design through a perforated pattern.") The artwork was created by Justin Riede, a terrific sign artist that lives in Portland. He was basing his design on vintage fruit labels. If you'd like to see any photos larger, right click on the photo and open it in a new window or tab.

I'm helping to paint the top yellow border with my daughter (above) and another sign artist, Pat Carson is working on the lettering. In the photo below I'm working with both my daughter and my husband! How cool is that?!

The rest of the photos show the progression as more and more paint is applied, all without a lot of direction aside from the original colored in sketch. Many times we'd stand back and discuss what color might work here or there, whether a shadow was needed, was there a light source? (yes - top left) if so, then shadows needed to be related to that light source...

Below is a group shot of the painters on Sunday - my daughter is missing since she had to return to college to study for finals.

Here is Justin Riede, the sign designer/artist applying imitation gold leaf:

Below, Glen Hitzeman is painting some of the lettering.

Brad, my husband is shading the drop shadows.

José Solis, is painting some of the landscape. We enjoyed working together since we both have a looser painting style which compliments the other sign artist's linear painting style!

Here I'm on the other side of the sign from José.

The finished billboard! Truly a group project, sporting multiple layers of paint, aluminum leaf stars, glazed imitation gold leaf, a removable date panel, and lots of cooperative artistic talent. Look for it on hwy. 126 - it should be going up this coming Wednesday.