Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The one problem I can foresee with my new daily painting venture is what to do when I really don't have time to paint. Yesterday I devoted almost the whole day to running errands for my mother. When we finally got home I realized that I needed a daily painting. I didn't want to fail to do one at least daily on the second day of my membership, so to work I went. I made the mistake of asking my husband what he thought and he made his usual comment about perspective (I should know better than ask him). Anyway I reworked the painting, photographed it and then realized the colors were off. Reworked again and messed up the window, reworked again etc. Finally too tired to continue I photographed it and turned it in. You guessed it - I think it looks overworked. Well lesson learned. Next time I won't ask. I believe the original version was the best. I should have left it alone. Sometimes the most important thing is knowing when to stop.  "Canyon Road Entrance" oil on board, 6" x6".

Daily Paintings

My first official daily painting done on August 29 was meant to be a challenge painting. The challenge was to create the painting with all rectangular strokes. It was a very challenging challenge. I had never tried to do anything like that before but I found it great fun and although not every single stroke turned out rectangular the vast majority did and I discovered a much looser style that I hope to use more often. The comments I received from the posting on Daily Paintworks were all so kind and encouraging. It made me very happy that with my decision to join. Painting is "West Texas Wayside" 6"x6" oil on board.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daily Paintings

Every one tells me that in order to make major improvement in my skills as an artist the most important thing I can do is paint more. I just read the same thing in a book I'm reading, so maybe they're all on to something. Many artists I know have already committed to painting at least one painting a day and have found great benefit from doing so. I have made up my mind to join them and paint at least one a day for at least the next 3 months as a test. After that I will re-evaluate and see where I am. There is a wonderful website for daily painters which works as an E-bay for only paintings. It seems to get good traffic and many of their artists have made a number of sales. The price to join is very reasonable and if I join I will feel even more incentive to paint daily and continue to improve. So here I go. Today was spent running around doing errands, not much time to paint, but I did knock out this little still life of 3 cherries. It's not perfect but it's a start. Once again I used up a piece of clay board I had on hand. I really don't like the way it soaks up the paint and leaves the surface looking a bit chalky. I plan on making my own boards since I can't find my favorite boards at Jerry's anymore and I will be going through a lot of them. I got a new battery for my saw and stocked up on masonite and gesso. Hopefully I will prefer this painting surface to the clay board. Wish me luck on my new endeavor!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Challenging Effort

Yesterday and this morning I struggled to make a painting of the front of the building I worked in for over 30 years. I wanted to make it as a retirement gift for one of my favorite managers whose last day was today (Yikes! I had thought I had until the end of the month but found out Tuesday that was not the case). Nothing like deadline pressure. As I was noodling away at it I got a call that she was actually leaving early today so I needed to get down there to give it to her before she left. Mad dash to pick up a frame. Slap it in the frame and mad dash downtown to present a barely finished still very wet painting. Not my best work but considering the difficulties of the architecture (perspective not being my forte), not too bad.  This is my third retirement picture of the building. Think I'll try to find an easier angle next time. This was torture.
"Statesman Sunrise" 9" x 12 oil on canvas NFS.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

More Challenges

I was noodling around on the Daily Paintworks website and found that they have weekly challenge paintings. I can use all the challenges I can get when it comes to painting so I checked out this week's topic. It was superstition. Lots of folks had painted their black cats in various situations, but I decided to try to get my cat to pose with a broken fortune cookie. Mission accomplished. After several minutes of having her ignore it completely, she finally started playing with it and licking it. I took a few photos and then painted this very quick oil sketch on clayboard. I was pretty pleased with the outcome although my husband immediately pointed out that the cat was fatter than that, but when I showed him the photo he had to admit that from that angle I nailed her. I call this one "That's How the Cookie Crumbles".  6"x6" oil on clayboard panel.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Workshop Products

I was fortunate enough to take the Dinah Worman workshop recently offered through Central Texas Pastel Society. I have found that workshops of all varieties are a wealth of inspiration and no matter the artistic or teaching style of the instructor much can be gleaned from their presentations. 

Dinah gave a demonstration and talk each day followed with lots of time for us to use the concepts she outlined in our own works. She prefers to work fairly quickly and stops before she begins to overwork her paintings. This is something I have struggled with. I always seem to miss the perfect stopping point only to overwork some passages that would have been fine left alone. 

Since I was able to knock out four paintings (all on 8x10 surfaces) in the two day workshop I felt that I was beginning to get the concept that less is more sometimes. The four paintings all turned out better than I had hoped however the last one is not really finished. The cacti in the foreground need work but since it was the last one I was tired and unable to resolve them properly.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Retirement Painting Opportunity

Now that I have finally retired from my day job, I am finding a lot more time to paint. I have been so busy painting and traveling that I haven't posted recently so this post is to allow me to catch up. I have attended as many PAA paint outs as possible and also painted with my friend Susan Anderson who I met through Laurel Daniel's Plein Air Class at Laguna Gloria. Here are a selection of paintings done in the past couple of months. I also just returned from Colorado where I managed to paint four more 8x10 plein air studies. In addition to all this I also knocked out a new pastel studio painting of my cat CK which I titled "Who Me?" because he always has that innocent of anything look on his face. Let me know what you think of this selection of recent work.

This is the series from Colorado. The first three from camping at
Chapman Lake Dam and the last one from my mother-in-law's deck.
These two from separate visits to New Sweden Church out East of Austin near Manor.

Cypress Creek in Wimberley, a view at Green Gate Farm, and the view from the gardens at the French Legation.

Elisabet Ney Museum, and two from separate visits to Boggy Creek Farm

a view of the barn at Commons Ford Ranch and my cat CK in pastel.

I have also done quite a bit of watercolor sketching and created dozens of abstract artist trading cards. I attended the first of hopefully many artist trading card swaps at Jerry's Artarama last month and was able to trade many cards and add to my collection. I'm really enjoying creating and collecting these wonderful miniature original works of art. If you're not familiar with them check them out. They can be made in any medium. The only rule is that they must be on heavy paper or card stock and must be 2.5" by 3.5" (like a baseball card). There are online groups that trade them and both Jerry's and Asel's offer bulletin board space in their stores for you to trade them. You simply bring one in and pick a new one you would like to have in return.