Monday, December 21, 2015

Plein Air Painting

It is never too early to start painting.  This painting was done from another photo, but I wanted you to see how Hannah, my granddaughter, saw color and painted with such concentration (her dollie was there as company).  It was really fun to watch her paint with such freedom and focus. 

My husband made this set-up by attaching a very small palette box and some watercolors that I bought from jerry's artarama to this tri-pod. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fall Colors

This painting was done from a photo that I took while painting plein air at Mott's Reservoir.

Check out the serious painter in the right lower corner. 

Although I didn't paint this while at Mott's, just being there inspired by the color made me want to paint this in my studio.  I painted a small study of the boathouse while there. 

12 x 16 oil with lots of palette knife work. 

Large paintings are listed  on my website and are available at Heather Boutique in Fredericksburg, VA.  This one isn't framed yet.  I am looking for a new source for plein air frames. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Student Show
I am so mama bear proud of my students.  Here are some of their paintings in the show that starts officially tomorrow.  We did the "hanging" yesterday thank you to my husband, John, and Elizabeth and Lynette at Water Street Studio.  Elizabeth took a photo of us after the "hanging" which is on their website, happy and tired.  I can't figure out how to put it here since it is on Instagram, but here is a link to their website.  link to Water Street Studio - our photo is on the right
Thank you also to the students for their dedicated work.  I am so proud of your accomplishments. 
 (poster made by Water Street Studio)  Thank you for making it.
Nancy Bradley

Ginny Lewis
Dee Antil
Don Carnohan has paintings in the show, but I don't have photos.
There are more paintings in the show by these talented artists. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lost Edges


I am always looking for insights from other artists about edges.  Whenever I feel that I am not thinking about them enough in my paintings I re-read the articles I can find by Carolyn Anderson.  A lot of them are posted on her website.  Here is a link:

There is a artist profile about Carolyn Anderson in the Feb-Mar 2015 Plein Air Magazine. 

The last three pumpkin paintings I have done were efforts to remind myself about hard edges, soft edges and lost edges. 

It looks like I paint a lot of pumpkins.   All of the pumpkins are from Snead's Farm, a place in Fredericksburg that I love and one pumpkin was picked by my granddaughter Hannah, painted in two of the paintings.  Both very good reasons to paint pumpkins.

Carolyn Anderson was also interviewed on a radio show.  I'm pretty sure it was "Artists Helping Artists".

Sharp edges here and soft ones in the background and shadow side.
 Especially soft edges on the shadow side.

This one has hard, soft and lost edges plus use of the palette knife.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Photos or Plein Air
 My husband and I visited a beach in Virginia and took this photo with Ken Auster's comments in mind.  We watched his DVD before our trip.  This wasn't the most magnificent house in the area, but it had a charm all its own. 
I love painting outside, but once in awhile a photo will work. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Gone But Not Forgotten
This house was knocked down recently.  I don't really have all the facts, but it was called an antebellum house. When we first moved here a nice older couple lived in this house.  The husband was often outside tinkering on the house and was very friendly.  He used to say hello to us whenever we walked by. I took quite a few photos because I liked the red roof and picket fence.  It just called to me to be painted and remembered. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Daily Paintworks

Thank you Daily Paintworks
This painting was chosen as a "Judges Pick" for the month of October so this means my paintings are shown at the top of the gallery page for this month.  I feel very honored to be chosen for this.  Thank you.  It is a good idea to enter this contest.  If you aren't a member of DPW, I encourage that, too.  It's really given me a more disciplined approach to painting by painting every day and posting each day on the website.  Here is a link to Daily Paintworks.  Plus I have had to become more organized with record keeping and filing my paintings.  My spread sheet is nothing to write home about, but for the most part I know where each painting is.   

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fredericksburg Plein Air Artists  (link to our facebook page)

Our leader,  Patty Obrien, submitted a photo to Plein Air Magazine that she took at Snead's Farm when we were on one of our weekly plein air trips.  I call her "the wind beneath our wings".  Gregg really did put his chair out in the field and had these visitors who were very interested in art. 

Gregg Holmes  (link to article)


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Palette Knife Painting

I been trying to figure out the steps for doing a palette knife painting that I like. First,  I do an underpainting emphasizing the darks.  Then I go over that with a palette knife letting some of the underpainting show through.  I think it would be interesting to use complementary colors in the underpainting which I am going to try today. 

Here is my recent palette knife painting.  I like the way the underpainting shows through. 

(I done this before and try something new every time.)

A lot of palette knife work used here. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Another painting for the Food Bank mini fundraiser.  I didn't put this one on the auction because the first two have no bids.  Maybe using the auction feature of Daily Paintworks doesn't work for me.  I did post it on my Gallery page.

JUST SOLD - thank you

The monthly(September) give-away painting is one of a pear done with a palette knife.  I haven't taken a photo yet, but will post it tomorrow.  Just send me an email ( or message me on facebook to enter. 

I'll have Ziva do the drawing on October 1. 

This is Ziva.  She is very talented. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Raising Money for Local Charities

I have been thinking about doing this for awhile.  I would like to raise some money for local charities in Fredericksburg, VA.  The idea is to use the auction feature at Daily Paintworks.  I like the idea of using the proceeds from paintings about food for our Fredericksburg Food Bank.    I'll put the link here, too. 

Daily Paintworks Auction

Friday, September 11, 2015

Things I like about painting outside

I like being outside

Doing studies gives me enough drawing information to do a bigger painting in my studio.

You can do a better drawing than using a photo because the angles are not exaggerated the way a camera does.

It's a chance to get better color for a bigger painting.  Even if I get a smattering of the color it helps me when I get back home. 

It helps to paint faster. 

Improves memory because once you paint something you never forget the place.  The first painting was done from the memory I had of this setting when I painted there a couple of years ago.

(Donated to Friends of the Rappahannock event coming up soon)

This 8x10 was my study from the day we painted here.  (I changed this a little at home.  That high contrast are in the middle towards the front was too strong.)

12 x 16 (on DPW and my website)
Painted when I got home using photos and the study done at the location.  I did add color that wasn't there, but I like a lot of color.  Even though I add color being there gives you ideas for later. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Plein Air Painting

Summer of Plein Air Painting

Our day this week on the Rappahannock.  One person even arrived by bike.  

Starting in the spring my husband and I have painted once a week with a group of plein air painters from Fredericksburg, VA.  It has been such a positive experience to be with this group of enthusiastic painters.  Learning from each other and sharing our progress is a big part of painting together.  Thank you to everyone for your excitement and dedication. 

Each week, Patty O'Brien, our leader,  finds a location, calls for permission from the owners,   makes sure there are bathrooms, and emails everyone in the group with details and directions.  All in all, a job in itself, but she makes it looks easy.  Thank you to Patty for being such a great organizer and communicator. 

Here is a link to our facebook page.  If you want to join the group, paint when you can, and post your paintings on the group page, just click on JOIN which is below the banner.

I think my next blog will be about the challenges and benefits of plein air painting. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

  I had a  panel just lying around with an abstract painting on it, one done to see if I liked these colors together.  I decided to use it for this little painting of a salt and pepper shaker, something I have painted before.  Normally, I would cover up most of the underpainting, but the colors showing through gave the painting a lot more personality AND made me think of good titles: 
50 Shades of Gray
Everything is not always black and white....
(check it out:  shadow white is darker than dark light- thank you Kevin McPherson)


6 x 6 for Daily Paintworks

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Paint Strong Darks First

May 3, 2015

Getting the strong darks in first gives the painting a good foundation.  It's taken me a long time to see that the darks hold the painting together. 

The last example of the azaleas started with the darks first (last blog).  I got carried away with the painting and forgot to take a photo of the step right after the darks, but here are the stages of this painting of lilacs.  It is a study, but today looking at my yard I might not have enough for setting up a larger painting and I have three lilac bushes.  I don't have good luck (or know-how) growing lilacs. 

I set this up so there would be sort of an "S" curve to the flowers and put few petal on the flat surface.
Paint strong darks first.

Work all over painting, paint light side of flowers, get in the middle values.  Show reflection of lilacs on vase.

 Final painting.  I introduced more yellow into the background to make the lilacs sing.  The flat surface has some warms, too.  The lilacs have very thick paint on the light sides.  Leaves are very loose, just a suggestion except for the one in front towards the bottom. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mixing Greens

April 30, 2015

Mixing Greens

Whenever painting outside   (and inside, too), I pre-mix my greens.  It is kind of a security blanket for me.   Using a limited palette, I create a super dark, top right, for accents, then three values, warm and cool of each.  I use these as a reminder to stick to the three values and include temperature changes in both shadow and light sides.  I use these as starter puddles and work off of them. 

I didn't take a photo of the mixes for the azaleas, but used the same idea for the pinks and the whites.  You can see how there are temperature changes in each value change of the azaleas. 

It helps me to have a structure on my palette, otherwise I start mixing wildly and lose the value differences.

In the following photos, you can see how I started with the accent color first, putting down the darks, then went to the middle value, and at the end added the lights. 

First steps:  toned with Quinacrodone red ( permanent rose) because I wanted the azaleas to read with the strongest color.  Color on color make for the most vibrant area.  Drawing of big shapes.

Massed in the big shapes, started adding some middle values. 

Ready for final touches that will give it some twinkle, using the lightest values that are pre-mixed. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Benefits of Plein Air Painting

April 20, 2015

Last weekend my husband and I went to Pratt Park to paint.  It was a gorgeous day and, believe it or not, we had never been to that park.  What a great discovery with a playground, picnic area, tennis courts and lovely grounds. 

Whenever or wherever we go somewhere I take photos of things that catch my eye.  This backloader or backhoe grabbed me because of that great orange color.  It shows how something ordinary can have its own beauty.  Proof that there are things to paint everywhere. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Steps I use in Plein Air Painting

April 14, 2015

These are the steps I use to get to a finished painting that starts outside and is completed in my studio. 

1.  Look for subject that has abstract shapes, contrast of light and dark,  and is interesting.

2.  Do a drawing that just shows you the basic shapes, (no two equal), a balance of lights and darks with a predominance of one or the other.  I use that tiny sketch pad that you see on my easel. 

3.  Photo taken at Chatham in Fredericksburg, Va.  I liked this view because it included a path around the green house,  the fire hydrant was something ordinary, but had nice colors,  interesting shapes and colors in the tress.  (Also, it was so cold that day and we didn't want to venture too far from the car knowing that for the first time out this season we might not last too long.)
 4.  I like to do small studies that give me color and ideas for a bigger painting. 

5.  With the photo and color studies I painted a larger one at home in my studio. 
8 x 10

Friday, April 10, 2015

Good News

April 10, 2015

Good news, my PB and J painting got Second Place in the "Feast for Your Eyes Show" at LibertyTown Arts Workshop.  Thank you!  I did a lot of studies for this one to help decide on the composition and the idea of having abstract shapes to hold it together. 
It's a big painting, 18 x 24

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Plein Air Painting

Getting Ready to Paint Outside - April 9, 2015

Be a Minimalist

When it comes to plein air painting I am a minimalist.  My goal is to take the least amount possible, yet have everything I need.  I keep an ongoing list of what I take.  Here are a few photos and I see I have omitted paper towels from the pictures.  I even cut them up into little squares rather than take a big roll.  Also omitted are garbage bags, one little one for trash and a big one to keep on the ground so my stuff doesn't get wet. 
My list
back pack
paints - small tubes (limited palette) plus burnt sienna and viridian
2 or 3 small panels and/or small pieces of loose canvas
shaper - great for making tree branches and strait lines
brushes - my 5 favorites
1 palette knife, the one shown in pic is most versatile to me
paper towels
big garbage bag
small garbage bag
view finder
tiny sketch pad
water and food (snacks and lunch)
What would you add to this that you cannot do without?

Two additional and big items include the tripod for mounting my M box palette and a chair.  My husband usually comes with me when I paint outside and uses a cart for these things, but if I had to I think I could carry them along with my back pack. 
Book Recommendation
Every landscape teacher ( including DVD's) I have ever had recommends this book.  It is available at Amazon.  Here is the link.  If you have a hardcover, new copy, hang on to it.  I just read that it is worth $999.00.  Otherwise the paperback is only 10.71, one of the best bargains around. 
(I can only read about 5 pages at a time and end up re-reading the same sentence over and over.  It is so filled with information that is worthwhile, but hard to read, maybe it's just me)
 I've read it several times.  The info about planes and light is essential to getting correct values.  The chapter I'm reading now is on composition.  Here is one of the pearls from that chapter:

"A work of art in paint should be beautiful and expressive as abstract color and form and should not interest us necessarily in any "story" outside of itself -- or else it belongs to the field of illustration."
(John Carlson, Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting) - sorry it's been so long I don't even remember how to do proper footnotes. 

Next blog will be steps I use for the painting.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Thank You

April 6, 2015


Thank you for coming to the Trunk Show with Melanie Edwards at Heather Boutique.  I enjoyed talking with everyone.  I learned firsthand how Melanie creates her beautiful collages.  She is overflowing with creativity.  Check out her facebook page to see some of the art she creates.  Melanie's Facebook Page.  I got to spend the day at Heather's, also a treat.  Heather's Facebook Page Thank you,  Heather, for inviting me to do this show. 

Kathy, if you are reading this I bought gifts for the girls' teachers made by Melanie.  I'll  mail them to you. 

On top of this, I got to talk with people about art, my favorite subject.  I apologize if I talked your ears off about the subject. 


My focus from now until next winter is painting outside as often as I can.  So far there about 6 Fredericksburg painters who go out every Wednesday morning.  We've been to Chatham 2 times.  It's a lovely place to paint.  The first time was very cold and my husband and I didn't venture very far from the car.  I still stuck by my plan to do a couple of color studies, then do a studio painting at home. 

In the next couple of blogs, I'll include my steps with photos.  Here is a pic of the painting.  Tomorrow I'll include the studies and drawing. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Trunk Show with Melanie Edwards at Heather Boutique

Heather Boutique
721 Caroline Street
Fredericksburg, VA
April 3, First Friday - 5;30 - 8:00 ?
April 4, all day - 10 - 5:30
I am very excited about having a Trunk Show with Melanie Edwards at Heather Boutique.  I gathered  together every study and finished, but unframed painting to clear out my studio and be ready for the next group.  I just varnished 116 paintings which took a long time.  Now I am ready to paint the next 100 +. 
Please stop by and say hello to Melanie and me and all the nice people at Heather Boutique.  There will be lots to see. 

just a few samples......