I am not a dedicated blogger but now and again I am inspired to share a few random thoughts, reveal my inspirations and announce upcoming events. Don’t hold your breath, but do come back to visit from time to time!
November 20, 2019 Here is a series of photos (please excuse the casual quality) of my most recent mulit-layered painting titled Aspen Gold. It is an unusual process so I thought you might be interested in the “building blocks” of this piece. The finished painting is the last image. Some general notes: wherever the background is wet the fluid watercolor will flow and blend. Once it hits a dry edge the flow stops. It doesn’t seep into the dry area. This is how I manage to create tree trunks, or mountain skylines, or round moons. Enjoy.
Completed top layer:
Completed bottom layer:
Finished painting: Aspen Gold 16 x 24 watercolor and gouache on multi layered silver shikishi boards
July 29, 2019 First Place Award in the Lynn Thomas Memorial Art Exhibit at the Sublette County (WY) Fair.
I entered a few paintings in the Sublette County Fair art show (which is a memorial show for an artist named Lynn Thomas, whom everyone who knew her loved. I unfortunately never met her.). One of my former students, and fellow painter, from Big Piney asked me to submit work several years ago and I wanted to support her efforts organizing the show back then, so I have entered each year since, but never gone there for the event. So I get an email two days before the reception telling me that I won first place! I thought it would be fun, and a sign of respect and gratitude, to go to the reception, which I hadn’t planned on attending. My husband and I drove down there (1 1/2 hours away through beautiful Wyoming landscapes) and were so impressed with the quality of the art show, and the welcoming atmosphere as well. The draw was region wide. I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting the talent, organization and audience that this show received in a county of just 7,000 citizens. The event had some impressive sponsors, including the National Endowment for the Arts. Along with a handshake, came a nice check and a beautiful hand made ceramic plaque to commemorate First Place. A good lesson in keeping your mind open to big and small.
The painting is ORANGE SPRING MOUND study, watercolor on gold shikishi board, 7′ x 10″ (still available!) It was a study for a commission earlier this year. The subject is a geyser in Yellowstone and was quite a challenge.
May 21, 2019 I’ll let you in on a little secret – not every attempt at a painting is successful. Usually it is. But there are mishaps along the way. I have stashed many a painting in a special drawer because there is just something I love about it, but something irreconcilable happened to it. Usually it is a paint brush dropped by accident into a wet puddle of drying paint, or a splash from working on a different area. Because of the nature of my technique and unique combination of materials, most mistakes cannot be undone. But I just can’t give up on something that was working out until disaster struck. SOOOOO – I have created a line of paintings – a special type of presentation – that allows me to recover those smaller “happy” areas. You may have seen my “minis” which are deliberate studies that become larger paintings. This new series is a bit different, though still small. They are all unique and not to be repeated subjects – special closeups that I extract from this larger work that will never come out of its drawer otherwise. I find a 6″ x 6″ area that is a painting unto itself, although the perspective or view is close in rather than zoomed out, making them a bit more abstracted and contemporary than my usual landscapes. These little gems are mounted flush onto a black or natural wooden box and can be collected one at a time or en masse. Available pieces are included on my “Small Works” page.
April 12, 2019 Most of my paintings are of vast landscapes but now and again I choose to focus on just a portion of the whole view. This is one such painting. I love the interaction of the fluid paints melting into each other and the textures created by watercolor crystals. This is not and abstract painting, but it appears to be.
FANTASTICAL: YELLOWSTONE HOT SPRING 11 x 10 watercolor, gouache and watercolor crystals on silver shikishi
February 18, 2019 Most of you know that I usually paint very colorful paintings, usually landscapes. But sometimes it is very soothing, calming and tranquil to paint (and view) a monochromatic painting. Winter of course is the best time to experience such a landscape in real life. And I know for many of you you don’t want to be reminded of shoveling feet of snow and experiencing below zero temperatures. But I have discovered, since I live in the mountain west now, how beautiful the subtle colors are. In fact, there seem to be many colors of white, and many colors of ‘dark”. My recent painting, Let It Snow, was a lesson in just that. Take a moment to see all of the delicate colors, both in the snowy foreground, and in the dark mountain in the background. I will point out that the background is painted in indigo, with a slight hint of dark green in the lower left area as well. If you could see this painting in person you would enjoy the sparkle of the silver shikishi board showing through the paint in some areas and completely exposed in others. I marvel at the diamond sparkle on snow at certain times of day, which is impossible to photograph (both in real life, and photographing the silvery painting). Let It Snow is on display at the Jackson Hole Land Trust and you can see it there – sales benefit the Land Trust and the artist. Call them at 307.733.4707 and visit the catalog of work they have online.
I think I may continue with a series of monochromatic works, though monochromatic does not necessarily mean low key colors – they could be brilliant shades of blue mountain lakes, red rock country of Utah…. Check back to see what I have accomplished.
Finished piece, framed. Meg’s Tree, image size 10 x 33, watercolor on gold shikishi board
As one of 19 artists invited by the Jackson Hole Land Trust to interpret one of their conservation properties in Wyoming I have already been blogging about my periodic hikes on the property I was assigned, which is adjacent to and just north of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. As the finish line gets closer now I am tucked away in my studio for some serious painting. The title of this Land Trust project is “WyoView: Four Seasons” and I am taking that title to heart. All of my four seasonal paintings will be of the view FROM this property. The views I am painting are of Flat Creek in the Elk Refuge, the Sleeping Indian to the northeast, a peak at the Tetons to the west, and Snow King and town to the south. Each painting will include a glimpse of the actual conservation property with something special visible – brilliantly colored lichen rocks, a herd of mule deer with blooming branches visible, a copse of bright yellow aspens and a serene snow field. You will have to spend some time viewing each piece to find some of these “glimpses”.
Pictured here is a 10″ x 33″ watercolor triptych titled Meg’s Tree: portraying Flat Creek and Meg Raynes’ tree in the center panel. Beloved local naturalists and conservationists Meg and Bert Raynes were instrumental in saving this tree from death by elk browsing, and everyone in the valley recognizes this tree as they pass by.
I have included photos of my step-by-step process as I created the piece. Several reference photos of the landscape (I know, a panoramic would have worked but I took these photos on several different occasions and used my artistic license to stitch them together.)
Painting all three panels both at once and then each panel receives individual attention:
September 15, 2018 The weather was uncharacteristically fabulous, and I was pleased with my painting as well. (I thought it got away from me a few times but I “reeled” it back in.) And it got a good price at the auction following the event as well. A good day.
The title is Song of the Sandhills, and is a depiction of sandhill cranes migrating. If you have never experienced a sandhill crane migration, you should put it on your bucket list.
VERY excited to share: After 11 days off-grid I read an email sent 10 days previously, from the Wyoming Watercolor Society that tells me my painting – The River Runs Through It – won the Best Wyoming Artist award in this years 33rd national exhibit!!! So honored and happy. It was inspired by the view from the top of East Gros Ventre Butte, having cocktails and dinner at the Granary Lounge, as a storm blew over the Tetons.
The River Runs Through It 16 x 24 watercolor on silver shikishi
July 18, 2018 Once again I am honored to have been invited by the Jackson Hole Land Trust to paint one of their protected properties in western Wyoming for their project called WyoView: Four Seasons, which includes 21 artists and 18 properties. My assigned property is in Jackson Hole overlooking the Elk Refuge to the east and the Tetons, at the crest of the butte, looking west. I am very confident I will have lots of reference for paintings throughout the seasons, see above! An exhibit will be held in December, so I will keep in touch with more posts and specific dates. (On my first exploratory hike up the butte I encountered 39 ticks, and on the second only 18. Easily picked off my pant legs. In 11 years of living and hiking here I had never seen a tick until this experience. What we artists will do in pursuit of our profession.)
February 13, 2018 I’m a movie star! Just kidding. Only in my dreams and in my self-produced short video of me creating a painting from start to finish in my studio. I chopped and edited considerably so the watching my process is significantly shorter – I don’t ask you to watch paint dry! (Well, maybe once.) The painting, titled Dawn Breaks on Pelican Lake, is one of the largest I have done at 24″ x 48″, across three silver shikishi boards. The concept was inspired by a photograph by good friend and artist Cheryl Ingberg and the accompanying music is Ode to Joy, played on guitar by my talented friend Marco Soliz. Since the painting is so large, if you have the chance to view the video and these photos on a larger screen than your phone, you will see much more detail.
Here I want to share with you a little more about the concept, and how it evolved and changed. My friend Cheryl lives on a beautiful lake in northern Minnesota called Loon Lake. She posted a stunning photo of an early morning complete with loons in the foreground. Voila, perfect start for a painting. I did a few small paintings (6 x 5 and 11 x 10) to work up colors and technique. I decided to paint the largest painting I have done to date – a triptych 24 x 48 that spans 3 silver shikishi boards. I took a photo of one of the sketches, loaded it into Photoshop and literally stretched it from its vertical format to a very horizontal image, and that is what I used to determine where the breaks would be (for each panel.) Half way through the now VERY wet and large awkward painting I splashed brown paint in the sky. AAAACCK. Disaster, right? Well, I decided I would continue until the completed painting dried, remove the specks (lifting the paint back to silver background) and make them into stars in the early morning sky. Then I decided that a few pelicans lifting off of the surface of the water would blend in nicely into the starry sky. So Loon Lake turned into Pelican Lake with no turning back. I am very excited by the result.
Unfortunately, photography can’t capture the sheen of the silver in the lake or sky. (It looks like white in the photos, but imagine shiny soft silver.) I guess you will have to come see it in person. It will end up in one of the galleries that represents me – stay tuned.
Another closeup to show the (usually) intentional water marks I use in my paintings:
Here are the two smaller studies, giving you some scale for the large painting: