Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wave Study #50: Blown Away

©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study#50, Blown Away
Strange title for this painting I know. It looks fairly calm but there is a story behind this title. First, I am happy to finally post Wave Study #50! Half way through that first one hundred. 
We have been having lovely sunny weather the past few days. For the most part, it is a pleasure and those of us that live here do our best to enjoy these sunshine breaks as much as possible since the default weather here is wet and gray.
There is a drawback for me personally. It creates all kinds of havoc while trying to paint on the beach. I painted this a couple of days ago. I went out right before high tide and there wasn't so much as a puff of air moving. Perfect! I could set up with my umbrella and enjoy the warmth of the sun. I was both optimistic and prudent and only brought one of my jackets and I stowed it with my pack higher up on the rocks.
I got the sky painted in and about a half an hour after getting to the beach my senses alerted me that something was up. My head snapped up like a startled deer and I looked out at the water to see the evidence of a huge gust of wind about to hit me. I had time to grab and hold my umbrella and easel before it hit. Wow! It wasn't a hurricane force wind but it was pretty strong. I managed to get my umbrella down before it got any more damaged than it already is. I had to do everything while keeping a hand, foot, and hip on the easel to keep it from blowing down the beach. The wind slacked off a bit and I thought I could keep painting without the umbrella and all. I was wrong. It kept slamming into me stronger and stronger with each gust so that I was being blown around as much as the easel! I finally decided it was not going to work when the wind managed to get behind the canvas in spite of being somewhat protected in the painting box and smeared the paint on my brush all over the painting. The wind was painting as I was holding the brush still while trying to anchor everything to keep it from being blown to bits!
I made it home just fine. I was glad I had my jacket as the temperature drops rapidly in the wind. It was much calmer the four blocks away from the beach where I live. I got enough of the painting in to finish it somewhat in the studio. One of the disadvantages to painting on sunny days is the waves are usually rather disappointing. After checking the wind and surf charts, I decided not to go out and paint again until conditions change. They are changing today so we shall see what tomorrow brings.
My new plein air system has arrived and I am conditioning the paint box with linseed oil. That will take a few days to get enough coats on. The backpack I ordered for it arrived today and I packed everything I usually take up and tried it on. It is lovely! It seems much lighter and the pack is very efficient with a lot of room and many pockets. I will take pictures on its first day in action.
I will be getting that park pass on the first of May since the pass will be good for a year until the end of the month it was purchased in. My plan is when conditions on the beach are like what they were the past few days, I will head over to one of the many nearby state parks and paint and the days when it is just too nasty to get out, I will work in the studio.
I am ready to go!
I thought I would end with three positive thoughts about my art (thanks to the recent podcast from Artists Helping Artists for that idea):

  1. I absolutely love what I do and am so excited to have found the joy of painting the sea and out of doors.
  2. I really love the challenge of building my skills and seeing evidence of my personal artistic growth. It is highly satisfying work in spite of being hard and very frustrating at times.
  3. I am so honored to have met and to continue to meet so many wonderful, interesting, creative people simply because I have chosen to become an artist. I have met so many teachers, new friends, artists that inspire, and fellow art lovers and creatives. I am truly humbled and am grateful to all who have reached out to encourage a total stranger to create her version of beauty. 

I post these here and also in my studio so that when those negative thoughts and feelings come crashing in I will be able to read these and remember the positive.
So to all of you out there, what are three positive thoughts about what you do be it art, sewing, weaving, computer programming, or...? Feel free to share...or not but at least put some down for yourself. 
Now, getting ready to paint the second half of the hundred wave studies.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wave Study #49: And then the Sun Came Out

©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave study #49, 6"x8", oil on canvas
This was challenging for me to paint for several reasons. The sun being out is one of the biggest challenges for me! I am so used to painting under gray skies. When the weather is nice, the waves get very small. Today they were only about a half foot high. The sea calms and the waves are fewer. I also have to deal with the sun on my palette and painting. The umbrella doesn't work in windy conditions and the sun usually brings on the wind.
On the plus side, I get get to paint a lot more blues!
I had considered packing up and just painting in the studio but it felt so good to be out in the sun. I was even able to take off my jackets (yes plural, it gets cold on the beach in the wind and wet!). I am glad I stayed as this challenging situation was good for me. I can't say I am entirely happy with the painting but that is why I go out to practice and paint these wave studies, I want to get better.
If all goes well, I will be heading out again tomorrow to paint....wave study #50! I will be at the half way mark for this first 100.
I am also excited as I have a lot of packages headed my way that contain a new plein air system, new brushes, copper panels, and a new ramp for Twill so she can come with me on future painting excursions!
As the weather improves the waves will be a lot like what I saw today. The painting conditions aren't my favorite as I like the seas on the wild side. That means I will be popping to the local state parks, both north and south, to do some landscapes as well as seascapes and with the ramp, Twill will be able to come with me too.
This summer, I will be putting some of the paintings up for sale and posting them on the Paint the Parks site. Ten percent of the proceeds will be going to the Oregon State Parks Foundation. 
It has been a busy day and tomorrow will be too. I am off to clean up my gear and practice my cello.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Painting on Copper, the Verdict.

© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #48 in progress
This is Wave Study #48 from yesterday. I decided that I wanted to paint a little bit more on the copper to explore how it handled with an existing painting so I took another hour and "finished" the painting. Here is the finished wave study.  I wiped some of the sand wiped off too:
© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #48, 4"x6", oil on copper
I am not used to painting the ocean in the sun! It was also later in the day and the sun was in my eyes. Too windy for the umbrella. There was a lot of dazzling light and the values where hard to nail down due to the sun in my eyes. The sky should probably be completely cleaned off to get the sand and repainted. If this was a painting I planned to sell I would do that.
So my verdict on painting on copper? I believe I am going to like it a lot. I love the way the colors look. I will have to make adjustments to the intensity and value of the colors when I paint on copper. They seem to work differently than when I paint on canvas. Holding this painting up to the wave studies I have done on canvas makes them look dull. It will take a little practice to get the painting technique down but I think I will be able to make the adjustment fairly quick.
I thought I would wrap up the post with a teaser of sorts. I am planning to paint two self portraits. I am painting self portraits because the model works for chocolate and, while she is not always patient, she is willing to keep showing up. I needed a reference model for an element in the painting I am planning. I thought I would show it here:
Sea Dragon
She is about the size of my hand. I plan to start work on the painting next month, at least the sketching phase. Now do you see why I love being an artist? You get to order toys for yourself and no one questions since they figure it must be an artist thing!
One last picture of my mate and my sweet girl Twill waiting for goodies from our UPS delivery guy:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wave Study #48: An Unexpected Adventure and Painting on Copper

© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #48, 4"x6", oil on copper
Hoo boy! Do I have a story with this one! I will begin at the beginning.
I have been inspired to try my hand at paint on copper again. I did a small 6"x6" still life last fall and then never got back to it. I started painting waves not long after that first copper painting. This is the first plein air seascape I painted on copper and it isn't finished. I was pleasantly interrupted before I could finish.
When I started sketching and painting on the beach I would occasionally run into an older woman at the North end of the beach. I was instantly fascinated by her for some reason. She always had her Airedale dog, Megan, with her and she was escorted by a pair of crows she calls Click and Clack. I kid you not! They fly and walk with her on the beach every time. She feeds them and they know her well. It is really funny to see them walking their crow walk on the beach with her.  They also know where she lives and will go to her house to coax her out. How could I not be fascinated? Turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.
We struck up a conversation. That is, I deliberately went up to her and started a conversation. I am very much an introvert but every once in a while I meet someone that I know I just have to talk to.
Over the past two years I would run into her while I was painting or sketching at the beach and we would chat. She mentioned her husband was an artist, a sculptor, whose work is in public places all around Honolulu. She gave me her number and told me to stop in for tea. She was only available a couple days a week as she is an avid horsewoman. I am guessing she is in her late seventies or early eighties. I hadn't taken her up on her offer as I am a bit shy about inviting myself over to the house of a casual acquaintance. She was very kind though and I was definitely intrigued.
I haven't seen her in a while and I was delighted to see her walking toward me this afternoon while I was working on this painting. The sun was out but there was a stiff wind blowing from the Northwest and I was starting to get quite cold. She stopped and we chatted and when she noticed me shivering slightly she promptly invited me to tea.
Well, I couldn't refuse such a generous offer now could I?
I quickly packed up and we walked the short distance to her house. I was very impressed. The house is very beautiful, not in a grand way, but in a elegant, Asian meets Pacific Northwest, way. The house has beautiful natural elements of wood and stone. It sits snugly amongst some shore pines which serve to break the prevalent wind. The view is breathtaking.
It turns out that Phyllis is an interior designer who has done interiors of homes, ranches, and horse arenas around the Pacific Rim and the Pacific Northwest. But wait, it gets even more interesting!
The house and grounds are filled with beautiful sculpture and art in wood, stone, and metal, all made by her husband Mick. That is, the American sculptor Edward "Mick" Brownlee.
I was served a hot delicious tea and spent a fantastic hour talking art with Phyllis and Mick surrounded by the stunning art and view of the beach. As you can imagine, they are engaging story tellers and have led wonderful creative lives.
Here is a link to the Wiki page on Mick. I have to say that there isn't a lot of his work shown in photos and what there is looks nothing like the sculpture I saw at their beautiful home. The sculpture reminded me of the native Pacific Northwest art with an Asian twist. I kept wanting to reach out and touch and feel it. It definitely fits our native environment.
It was a wonderful way to spend the late afternoon. Both Phyllis and Mick gave me some creative advice to think about. I appreciate their gracious generosity and definitely enjoyed the beauty of the home they have designed and built.
A final note about the painting, as I mentioned above, it isn't quite finished. I will finish it in the studio tomorrow. There also was a slight accident as I was handing the panel holder to Phyllis to hold for me. It is quite slippery and it ended up flipping end over end and landing in the  sand. Fortunately, the painting landed face up. It would have been no problem if it ended up in the sand. I would have just wiped it down and reused it! There are funny lines on the sky and a tiny bit of sand along the top edge. A bit of realism included in the painting!
Hopefully the weather will warm up. High tide is getting close to sunset now and it gets quite chilly with the cold wind blowing off the water.
Well, this is a long post and it is getting late. Off to dream of painting.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Copper Panel Holder

Quick Homemade Copper Panel Holder
Painting on Copper has become a hot topic in my life. I tried it once, last fall before I started painting waves. I liked it but never got back to it. The artist I learned about painting on copper from, Renee Lammers, started a copper painting group on Facebook and, wow! the paintings are beautiful. Then, an online art magazine that I subscribe to, Artists on Art, had an article about painting on copper. All of a sudden there are a lot of artists in my online circle painting on copper. I can't help myself, the paintings are so beautiful I want to try it again. This time I want to try it with a plein air seascape.
I am not going to get into any of the technical aspects of painting on copper here as there are some very experienced copper painters who have excellent information on their websites, Renee being one of them.
When I got copper the first time I wasn't painting plein air yet and I didn't know exactly what size I wanted. I got some 4"x6" and 6"x6" panels. Unfortunately, the little paint box I have holds 6"x8" panels. I didn't want that to stop me so I made a quick little panel holder from scrap wood and some screws and she is ready to soon as the rain and wind stops.
I am looking forward to trying it out. It might be a complete disaster but that is ok. I can just wipe it off and reuse it. I am looking for a closer source of copper panels with recycled content. I did contact a manufacturer with an inquiry and they replied that most copper plate these days contain recycled copper. That is a good thing.
While the weather has been stormy I have been working on my large painting. I will share that eventually but not ready to yet.
This weekend will be busy as my mate and I go through our stuff still in bins in the garage with an eye to paring down. We continue to shed stuff. It always feels good to do that and the space one has afterward is one of the rewards.
Looking forward to trying out the copper. Hopefully soon!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wave Study #47

Getting in the wave studies while the wind and rain take a break. I only worked on one today as I was targeting specific areas and I took my time painting. Here is wave study #47:
© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #47, 6"x8", oil on canvas
It was calm on the beach and not too cold but it was very gray. The water was glassy unlike yesterday's churning seas. The colors were amazing. Sometimes more colors pop out on gray days than on sunny ones. It is hard to see the subtle colors I put into the painting from this picture. The water in the wave trough, where it is starting to flatten, looked almost a dark red wine color. The colors were also very translucent. I am hoping I will figure out a way to make them look more translucent in my paintings.
I spent some time pushing my comfort zone. I added colors I don't usually add to try out their effects. It was a great exercise and I will keep pushing. I think I need to push the values too. Perhaps the next wave study.
I will have to see what the weather is like tomorrow. If it is like it was today I definitely will be heading back out. It feels good to be outside again after being cooped up by the storms. I still had to readjust to being outdoors. I also think I am outgrowing my plein air set up. I really need to get things that I no longer need or used, such as a small PMC/glass kiln, up for sale. I could use the proceeds. Then there is that Madame Alexander doll collection my mother collected for me when I was little...
If the weather cooperates I will have another study or two tomorrow.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wave Study #45 and #46

The storms have finally passed and we have a breather before the next round. I popped down to the beach before high tide to paint and was rewarded with some lovely waves going all over the place.
There was a pretty stiff breeze coming right off the water and it made my eyes water. The first hour I kept having to stop to wipe my face and eyes as the tears just kept streaming down. The wind finally shifted a tiny bit so my eyes stopped watering.
Here is Wave Study #45, done with tears in my eyes:
© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #45, 6"x8", oil on canvas, one hour study
I tiny bit of blue was in the sky and the sun was mostly hidden but it did pop out a few times.
It got darker for Wave Study #46:
© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #46, 6"x8", oil on canvas, one hour study
Both of these studies were done in one hour. I have been setting my timer on my phone and it works out pretty good. I am surprised what I can get in one hour now.
I am going to try a couple of wave studies on copper. I was added to a copper painting group on Facebook and have been impressed and inspired by the paintings. I also met another artist there who is on the central Oregon coast. Her work is beautiful. She has been painting waves for two years and has done 600 wave studies! Pretty inspiring. Alas, I have a long way to go. I completely get why she has done so many studies. Painting the sea takes a lot of work to get it done right.
The weather this week is going to be very changeable so I will have to play it by ear when best to go out. When I can't get out, I will continue to work on my large painting. I hope to get to a point where I can share part of it soon.
Off to make a hot meal,

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Storms

Hug Point on a misty Easter day
The wind is moaning around the house and the rain is pounding down while the ocean roars. The spring storms have arrived. The weather is definitely not suitable for plein air painting. We are currently having back to back storms with maybe a couple hours in between when the rain is merely pouring instead of torrential. Tomorrow the wind gusts on the beach are expected to hit between 50 and 60 mph. The rain will be pelting sideways. Too dangerous to paint.
We had warning that these storms were approaching so I took the opportunity to get stocked up and catch up on outdoor chores before it hit. I have been working on a large (36"x24") painting in the studio while the storm shakes the house. I am not quite ready to share pictures of it yet.
All this time indoors has given me a chance to think and reflect on where I am going with my art. It seems like the thinking and reflecting are an ongoing process. Perhaps it is because I am in the early stages of my art career, or perhaps it will always be this way.
When I started out, I thought I would be painting portraits of women over 50 and telling their stories. I still love this concept and plan to do that one day. I had no idea when I took up plein air painting that I would fall so completely in love with it. Looking back now I have to wonder why it didn't occur to me sooner. I love the outdoors and love being outdoors, even when the weather is stormy. Combining that love with my love of painting seems such a no-brainer now!
I am going to make a few changes in the way I am approaching marketing my art. I have been posting my small studio paintings on DailyPaintworks and I also have them listed on my website. I have been working at the online marketing aspect and even volunteer to man a co-op style (but not a true co-op) gallery in Cannon Beach.
I have decided to discontinue DailyPaintworks and keep the paintings for sale on my website. I have also decided after much thought and consideration to no longer volunteer at the gallery. Volunteers get to have a small wall in the gallery to display some of their work for a month. I was given the month of December of this year. I will be giving that up for several reasons which I won't bore you all with here. All this is challenging and a bit nerve-wracking. It takes thinking in the long-term. I just have to take a deep breath and have courage...and faith.
Here is what I plan to do instead: paint my rear end off. After much consideration I realized I just need to hunker down and paint. After I get a good solid footing and base, then I will integrate all the marketing, plein air events, and contests.
I sat down with my mate to try to express the confusion I was feeling. The confusion was starting to interfere with my painting. My gut feeling was saying that I needed to let go of a few things and just paint and not worry about trying to sell much at this point. My wonderful mate said the exact same thing before I told him what I was thinking the solution might be.
So, that is exactly what I am going to do. I will still put small paintings up for sale both here on the blog and on my website. I might enter a competition or two if it works out but I will not be painting with that in mind. The selling will come, maybe sooner than I realize. I just feel I  need to sell from a sense of abundance rather than scarcity.
My thoughts on the purpose of this blog was not only to share my work and the progress but to share the joys and challenges of becoming an artist too. Hopefully I don't whinge too much!
The other day I got the "this must be so relaxing for you" statement. I stared at the woman making the comment for a minute and choked back a hysterical laugh. Relaxing? Not even. Every painting attempt takes intense focus, determination and the willingness to fail. Like all worthwhile endeavors, it is hard work. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Well, this post has gone on long enough. I will be getting out to paint waves as soon as I can stand in one place without being blown over by the wind. They are so lovely and wild at the moment. I do get out with my dog Twill. several times a day. We go to see what the waves are doing first thing in the morning no matter what the weather. The studio is busy and cozy now but I thought I would check in to let everyone know that I am still here and still working!
Sea star at low tide. Hug Point ,OR.
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