Sunday, March 8, 2015

Painting Powerful Experiences (Blood Moon 2014)

Have you ever had something happen to you that you couldn't explain? Maybe you were afraid to talk about it because people might think you're crazy? (heaven frobid!) Well I had a very wonderous thing happen to me awhile back and I decided I would do a painting of this event.
I have always liked to go out and look at the stars or the moon at night. I would sometimes stay up late to catch a meteor shower with my kids when  they were little. So when I heard about the Blood Moon coming on October 8, 2014 I was intrigued since I had never witnessed one before. The Blood Moon is a special lunar eclipse which turns the moon a beautiful orange-red color. I won't go into  the scientific explanation for that here but you can find out all the details if you like. 
The peak of the eclipse was supposed to happen at 3 am that day. The night before I just said to myself that I was too tired and decided to skip the event, telling myself I can look up pictures on the internet tomorrow. So I went to sleep and didn't give it much thought.
 I woke up the next morning at exactly 3am! Well I just had to go outside to see if I could see anything. I stepped outside and was immediately struck by the absolute silence there.
No dogs barking in the distance, no owls hooting, or frogs singing. It was absolutely still. Up above the tall trees I could see the moon glowing a beautiful red orange. I was in awe of the beauty of this amazing event and stood for a long time staring at it. As I turned to go back inside my eye caught the shape of a person standing at the edge of the woods. She looked like a young Native American woman and the vision of her slowly faded away. Was this a wrinkle in time? Who knows but the whole experience was amazing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Today I was working with a group of artists on a project and we started talking about what inspires us to create art. There were many different answers. For some it was about light and shadow, for others the impact of colors. Other artists mentioned how certain shapes caght their eye and inspired a painting. Sometimes a painting may start out a certain way and end up totally different than what the artist had planned when starting out. Some paintings are totally spontaneous and their is no plan! Sometimes they turn out very good. Sometimes they don't. There really isn't a right or wrong answer here. It is an interesting question and one you might want to ask your fellow artists. To find out what inspires artists in Clark County, I invite you to go visit some in their studios during the Open Studios Tour on Nov. 8th and 9th from 10am-5pm. Visit  for more information and inspiration!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Looks like I'm a little behind in my posting again! I have been busy this summer as usual but still finding time to paint. I am working on new paintings for the up coming Clark County Open Studio event which is November 8 and 9th this year. I have done several sunset paintings as well as many other outdoor scenes. I never run out of inspiration around here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest!
Here is an acrylic painting I just finished. It features Mt. Hood silhouetted in the distance and the first star of the evending (or maybe I should say planet?) I think Venus is the first "star" to appear.
Anyway, enjoy the painting and I hope you are all having a lovely summer!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Crazy Weather!

The weather in the pacific northwest can be crazy in April! It can be nice and sunny one minute and then suddenly the skies are dark and stormy. This is how it was one day when I was driving out in north Clark County. The clouds were gloriously striking! I don't know why but I really love looking at thunderheads. They are fun to paint also! I used mostly wet into wet watercolor and dabbed some areas with a tissue to get some harder edges in spots. I added white gouache to the darker blues while they were still wet to form some softer clouds. I also saw a flock of geese flying at the time so added them to the painting as well. The fun part of being an artist is the freedom to create the scene you want. I have no shortage of inspiration here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! Happy painting!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Starry Skies, City Lights

Time for a fun quick painting! The first step is putting paint on paper and for this step I chose some blues and a shot of green. This will be the under painting so I do not have a subject in mind yet for this painting. I throw some kosher salt on the wet paint and let it do its thing. This is what it looks like when it is dry:


As I look at this later, I decide this could be a sky (with alto cumulus clouds) or maybe stars? I turn it upside down and add some raw sienna to a few spots to give some variation  to the sky color and then add some hills on the bottom left. The raw sienna on the bottom part of the sky gives it a nice glow. I darken the top a bit. Here is the finished painting:

The more I look at it the more it reminds me of a starry night with the glow of city lights in the distance.
Sometimes I will do several under paintings at once and keep these for working on later. It is always fun to see what you can come up with. Happy painting!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sunlight Mysticism

Here is a new painting I finished recently. I was at a park eating my lunch when this scene caught my eye. It was in September and the end of summer was near. Some of the leaves were just starting to turn. There is something bittersweet about the last days of summer and the beginning of fall. The sun broke through the leaves and beautifully cast this scene of the magic of summer turning to fall. I used light, warm colors to start with, all mixed wet into wet. I added some kosher salt for texture. When this was dry I splatted some paint( greens and blues) and while they were still wet I sprayed the painting with a spray bottle and tilted the paper to produce the beautiful leaf effects. When this was dry I added branches and final details. My son chose the name for this painting, Sunlight Mysticism, and the more I though about it, the more I liked it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

This is a painting I did last year and just never got around to posting on this blog. I started with an under painting of yellows and blues and then tried a new technique that I heard about from a member of my art critique group (thank you Patty!). This technique consists of painting sheets of rice paper with watercolor, then tearing it into various size pieces and using the pieces as a collage for your painting. I used a lot of blues, yellows and greens and even included some pinks and purples. Let the rice paper dry after painting it. The pieces of painted rice paper are held in place by using acrylic gel medium on the back side and also brushed over them after they are set. I diluted the gel medium with some water first. I really like this look. It reminds me of stained glass. Try it and let me know what you think!