Tulips are not easy to paint. Flowers in general are not easy to paint. I had a tough time this year doing any still life with tulips that I was very happy about. I did end up being pretty happy with this one.
Way back in February, my dear friend and past student, Peggy, invited me down to California to teach small painting workshop. What an amazing treat! It was the perfect break from all the Northwest cold and grey. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Not only was teaching the workshop fun but Peggy took me out to do a little local plein air painting too. Thank you again, Peggy, from the bottom of my heart!!
Palm trees are so cool.
Me holding fresh picked grapefruit right off the tree! I'm still amazed!
Oh, my poor neglected blog! Thanks for hanging in there with me. Things have been beyond busy around here, in a good way though. The Mt Vernon show way exceeded my expectations. Don and I went on a great PAWA trip to the eastside of Washington. We've had lots of plein air field trips in class. Last but not least, four of my paintings have found their way into local art shows.
"Charmed by Charles", a fabulous rooster I met at Bothell Country Village, is one of two paintings excepted into the Little Gems Show in Anacortes next month.
Oh, my! We had some terrific bird paintings come out of class last month. Yes, our theme was chickens. I found this fellow calmly dodging a toddler at Country Village in Bothell.
On a separate note, after weeks of feverishly working on paintings for the Rexville Grange show, I'm happy to say they are done and delivered! For those who are interested in attending this great little show while they are checking out the daffodils or tulips in Mt. Vernon...
It's that time of year! Spring has arrived and the tulips are poking their heads up in the garden. For me that means getting ready for the art show in Mt. Vernon. I really enjoyed getting to know the local artists there last year and look forward to hanging out with them again.
I'm giving you guys first shot at my newest collection of tulip field paintings before I take them up to the show...
The last of the January primrose paintings. I found this old Coca-Cola tray at an antique store in Snohomish. At the time I felt a little guilty about buying it. Guilty no more! I LOVE those primroses in that old tray. They make me smile every time I spot them outside the front widow.
Two of my favorite subjects this January- together!
This is my favorite winter plein air painting layer. It's a second hand cashmere sweater - soft, thin, warm, colorful and wonderful. I purchased several of them from Thredup.com averaging about $20 each.
I've spent a lot of time here during the fall but never in the winter. It was a windy, rainy day. I was super lucky to get permission to set up under the eave of the closed vegetable stand where it was dry and wind free. Few! What a difference!
Another important piece of my winter plein air gear. Layering is key and this Odlo insulating base layer made a big difference. Also purchased on sale via REI.
The next benefit from painting outdoors in January is freedom from cabin fever. I had never really noticed how trapped I was feeling until I no longer felt that way. Good clothing really goes along way in this department. Actually I was inspired to do this whole painting outdoors thing by a Norwegian saying, "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes". You may want to argue about this but I felt there had to be something to it.
So in December, when all the good sales were on, I invested in a NorthFace coat from the garage sale department of REI. I'm telling you right now, it made all the difference!
This mid calf length down coat was secret to my winter outdoor painting success. Sure I looked like a small round abominable snow person but I was warm!
When a person has been in my class for awhile I often have them tell me how much more they see in everyday life since starting class. Everywhere they go they see more color than they ever did before. I think it is a particular gift of being an artist. It's like layers of veils being removed from our eyes. So exciting!
Well one of the best gifts of painting outside this January was having a few more veils removed from my eyes. It took a bit more time to notice the beautiful colors everywhere but they were most definitely there!
This one is part of my January painting challenge. I was really happy to complete the challenge painting outside every day during the month of January. I made lots of great discoveries and will share those with you in the following days.
Almost immediately after the challenge I was given the opportunity to teach a small workshop in southern California. How cool is that? I'll share more about that very soon too!
Most recently I've been having a blast watching the Olympics with my family. I thought this painting of a pair of ice skates was timely. :)
It's always so wonderful to see those first primroses show up in the stores. These three are from a flat of 12 that I got at Costco for only $11! I might have to head back and see if I can snag another flat...
I discovered this place close to my home on a bike ride the other day. I was totally surprised and had no idea there was public access to this little gem of a wetland. I hope it survives the nonstop development in this area.
While I continue to paint outside everyday, I've not been so good about posting. Few of the paintings are finished outside because it's just too cold and wet but this past Sunday was a different story. It was a flat out gorgeous day and a perfect one to visit Coupeville on Whidbey Island.
Morning ferry ride.
Looking back from the ferry to my home town of Everett.
Calm waters at the wharf in Coupeville. Gosh I love that little town.
Diana and I were excited to get permission to paint at the Harvey Field airport in Snohomish. Not only is it filled with all kinds of interesting things to paint but the hangers provide great shelter from the wind and rain.
Heck of a Hellebore #2
Oil on Gessobord
6" x 6"
Taking another crack at this lovely hellebore in my backyard.
Not just soggy but a super soggy day. I got three quarters of the way done with this painting before I had to call it quits and finish it at home. Next time I'm going to use two umbrellas instead of just one! And I think it's time to pull out my snow boots...
A return to the backyard painting a hellebore I picked up the previous day at the nursery. I've been surprised at just how peaceful it can be painting outside on these grey, wet days with the rain pitter-pattering on my umbrella.
It was so, so soggy yesterday. I looked all over Snohomish for a dry, interesting place to paint outdoors. I was seriously doubting the wisdom of this whole project when I happened upon McAuliffe's Nursery. It's a really great nursery by the way. They were kind enough to let me sit under cover among the plants and paint some of their pots.
January bums me out big time. Every year I try something new to cheer myself up. The only thing that seems to work is a trip to sunny Colorado. Alas, that isn't always possible. This is one of those years.
My newest attempt to evade the winter blues is to do a plein air everyday in the month of January. I'm hoping all that time outside and a challenge to focus on will do the trick. So this is my first. It's a close up of an old toolbox I normally have flowers in during warmer, happier times of the year.
I have a difficult time convincing my students and, lets face it sometimes myself, the extreme value of doing a value study as a first stage to developing a painting. Values are so important to creating a strong design and sense realism. Doing a value study helps you focus on this important aspect before adding the complexity of color.
Created as a demo in class, I'm sure this value study had everything to do with the success if the painting above.
Speaking of class, there are openings in the Wednesday morning and evening class for anyone who is interested. The focus in class this month is skies, big glorious skies!
Oh yes, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Wishing you all the very best this year!