Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Art Adventures...

I spent the day with artist Susan Mitchell exploring some of the beautiful places
near her area. It was a perfect summer day for it!

She took me to some scenic places to capture some photos
for future painting reference.

Then we set up our easels to get to work.
It was a perfect outdoor studio with 
beautiful views, a light breeze, and shade!

Susan started with a watercolor underpainting,

before applying the pastels in this piece.

I started with a large charcoal sketch on newsprint paper

then moved on to my sanded paper 

 to do a liquid acrylic underpainting.

I will re-visit this pastel painting at home in the studio. 

Thank you Susan for the Wonderful Summer Art Adventure!

Check out her website at

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mood, Magic and Melody....

I recently attended a four day pastel workshop with artist

We explored creating paintings with expressive strokes,
 focusing on shapes and values, keeping in mind a strong composition.
 Listening to music and reacting to it as we became inspired, enabled us to
 add melody to our artwork.

Inviting abstraction into my work is exciting and and new,
so this was a journey that I was moving into with courage!

On Day 1 we started with four charcoal thumbnail sketches 
 working from a photo reference of dirt that we cropped.
I had way too much fun with the mark making, 
and ended up with a really busy painting!

Moving on.....
  trying again with a new view of the same photo reference,
 doing a charcoal thumbnail sketch.
 I seemed to do the same thing again,  
getting into making fun expressive strokes!
 So I simplified by
 using less colors
 to create this painting.....
I think it was more successful?

On Day 2 we focused on creating a mood using a landscape photo as a starting point.
We again did charcoal thumbnail sketches using three values.
We changed things up with each sketch,
 first sketching it as we see it, 
then changing one or more shapes,
then moving some objects,
then using opposite values.
Jennifer provided the landscape photo, so all of us were working with the same photo.
She did the assignment along with us. It was a lesson watching her work!
Here are my finished studies....

 It was wonderful to see how we all
 painted from the same reference photo
 getting so many different results.
 It's that joy of having our individual artistic voices!
I shared this class with so many talented artists!
The afternoon assignment was to use a radish photo as reference.
We started by doing four small color studies...
warm, cool, high key, and low key,
and only using ten strokes on each study.
Then we worked on a larger painting
and got to use 50 strokes! 
To finish the afternoon, we painted it again 
with a 10 minute limit.
What a great lesson....
I'm thinking that I need to take my kitchen timer into the studio and
do more of these timed paintings!

On Day 3 we used our own landscape photos for reference
first doing thumbnails to establish composition.
 We again had a timed limit to complete this exercise.
I was grateful to Jennifer for helping me through this piece.
She came to my easel and helped me simplify some of the areas
with her magic mark making!

On Day 4 we started the day doing a still life.
 Using all the skills we had learned in previous lessons.
All the studies were timed pieces, and we worked on letting go of detail.
After taking a break for lunch we came back ready to begin again.
The final assignment was to do a full size 12x18" or larger abstract piece.
 Everyone in the class was working on their paintings

doing amazing things 
while I was

It seemed I had come to a disturbing creative block
trying to do abstract thumbnail sketches,
once again using the "dirt" reference photo.
After doing four small sketches with no feeling of success,
I had to approach Jennifer and cry out for help!
She joined me at my easel and guided my through
visually simplifying my reference photo.
I decided to once again work on charcoal "thumbnail" sketches,
however this time I opened my full size newsprint pad and went bigger!
This seemed to help me as I was breaking through being stuck.
At last, I decided on one of the charcoal sketches to pursue
for this painting assignment.
Here is my sketch and underpainted paper ready to go
I really wanted to make a "masterpiece", as Jennifer kept mentioning we were creating.
So I "Let Go" and began making marks
reflecting on all that we had learned and practiced
through these days together.
The breakthrough was powerful and emotional!
Who would have thought that
can be so hard,
 so exhausting,
so moving,
so exhilarating,
so joyful,
so magical!
Thank you again
 Jennifer Evenhus 
for coming to Oregon to guide us through this
journey of creating
Mood, Magic and Melody....
Happy Painting!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer Season...

8 X 6"
We are well into the summer season with beautiful sunny days!
There is still time to see all the art on exhbit for Spring-Summer Season at
In addition to what is hanging out in the gallery
I also have paintings on the "pull-outs".

 These works will be available at the gallery through August 24, 2014.

Stop by and visit 
and enjoy a walk in Bush Park.