Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Day 4: A New Backyard: 10.20.30 Challenge

Labor Day weekend is always a busy time here on the coast. Not only are there a lot of visitors to the area but we are involved in a lot of activities. I spent an hour on Saturday doing a sketching demo for an event at our local art center. Sunday our band played a long, three hour gig at one of our annual local events. The band has a standing date to play there every year.

I will give a brief mention here, I play a 5-string electric cello in The Sedona Fire Band. My mate Bob plays trumpet, coronet, and flugelhorn. Click on the band name to get to the website. We will be recording our second band CD this winter. Playing music with my bandmates is one of the many joys in life.

It was a busy weekend. I did squeeze some painting in but did not have time to post. I will be playing catch-up this week. We still have a lot of work to do on our new house to get it ready for the winter as well as upgraded and renovated. We do have some beautiful views all around. We have a peek of the Nehalem river below us and of the river valley. The view from the front is framed with the beautiful coastal mountains. Behind us, we have a nice view of these trees. At least for now. The waning summer light was just beautiful this day. I didn't have a lot of time due to rehearsal schedules and celebrations and all but did my best to squeeze in a painting session. I was able to do the 10 and 20 minute part before I had to get going.

I am really enjoying the addition of focusing on values. It is really helping me to see how much I need to push them and spread out the different values in the composition. I still believe I need to push my darks and lights further apart.Here is the 10 and 20 minute paintings side by side:
The 10 minute painting looks very abstract but I am finding it really helpful to get me thinking about the design of the painting.

Here is a closer view of the 20 minute painting:

I know, none of these paintings look terribly exciting at this point. I am getting excited by how much I am learning!

Tomorrow I get to work on my studio. Currently it is stacked with boxes and needs the walls and floor painted, the switches and plugs repaired, and shelves and cupboards put up. We will be moving all of that out of the studio and I will work like crazy in the next couple of days to get all the painting done and what shelves and such I can get up. I can't wait to get all that done and get moved in!

I will probably not have time to post in the next few days but will catch up with the challenge soon.

Yours in paint,

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Oregon Dreaming: Day 3: 10.20.30 Challenge

Yesterday when I was painting at Alder Creek Farm, this view was directly behind me. I knew I would be back today to paint this view too! This is the back view of Lower Nehalem Community Trust barn and greenhouse. We use both for the community garden, which is off to the left and on the other side of the barn. The view is framed by the beautiful coastal mountains. I never get tired of watching the clouds, light and shadow on all the surrounding mountains. The mists and fogs of rainy days are equally enchanting.

I started my painting a bit later in the afternoon today. I spent an hour before hand doing a sketching demo at our local art center which is having a fundraiser weekend. Our area is rich in natural beauty, and wealthy with a wonderfully talented and skilled community, particularly in the arts. Personally I think our usual rainy weather is somewhat responsible. It gives us all something to do while waiting for the sun!

I had my painting pack and painting clothes to change into. Right after I finished the demo, I went to the farm and got started on the Day 3 painting. I decided to call this one "Oregon Dreaming." Homesteaders and the Oregon Trail is part of U.S. history. So many left their previous homes to chase the dream in the new Oregon territory. Farming in this area is alive and well today, many of them owned and operated by women. We are also part of Tillamook County, home of the famous Tillamook Cheese. I even happen to personally know the current Dairy Princess! (Hi Kalli!)

Standing out in the field with the peace and quiet and the sound of the birds, from eagles on down to tiny song birds, gave me a tiny taste of what it might have been like to live here in earlier years. Of course, I must also mention that before the farms, there were thriving Native American tribes living here. They also managed and lived off this abundant land. Today the land felt like a dream. I could almost sense it slipping between time. Did I capture that? Not even close! But the feeling was still there.

Here is today's 10,20,30 minute paintings starting at the top left and going clockwise. I actually liked the 20 minute painting the best. I struggled a bit with the 30 minute painting as I shifted a few things around and sort of lost control of the drawing. I am still using black and white paint to work on values too.

It is hard to see the detail that one can see in person but the general idea comes through. I am finding it very helpful to paint in black and white. The true test will be how it influences me when I work in color!
We shall see what the weather does tomorrow. I haven't decided on where to paint yet.

A final shot of today's painting spot:

Yours in paint,

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Texture of Green: Day 2: 10.20.30

We had a very stormy morning this morning and I was thinking I would have to work inside on a still life. By the time I was ready to paint it started clearing up a bit. I decided to head outside but stay close to home. I went to Alder Creek Farm, which is part of the Lower Nehalem Community Trust, and about 1/4 mile away. It was an old dairy farm and now has been set aside in a land preserve. This is where I also go to participate in the community garden which shares two acres of the trust land. The community garden is worked in community rather than in individual plots. We also harvest for the local food bank and for senior meals. I love being part of it and I really love the good food that I get every week.

The last time I painted in this spot, I was chased away by the resident elk herd! There was plenty of fresh evidence that the elk had spent the night there but none were in sight at this time. I really like this view with its many layers of green. There is so much going on here that it was a struggle for me to get something coherent down. That is just fine as it is part of the process I am trying to experience.

Even though it is hard to tell in the photo, the layers of greens in this view are intense. I am working in black and white which forces me to look at the different values of all these greens. It was a good exercise in spite of the struggle.
Here is a close-up of the paintings. This time the 10 minute is at the top right, the 20 minute at the bottom right and the remaining 30 minute at the bottom left.

Of course, the sun is ever changing, even in such a short time. One of my goals is to fill the whole picture no matter what the time. I am looking forward to seeing what is happening with this at the end of the month. It doesn't look like much, I know, but I am learning a whole lot by doing this exercise and am putting aside the idea of making a perfect pretty painting at the moment. As I mentioned earlier, when I have the time I will paint a full color painting now and then after painting the timed sessions.

It will be a busy Labor Day weekend for me but I will still be putting in my painting time.

Yours in paint,

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Crossing the Sacred Between: Day 1: 10.20.30

Today a very special and beloved community member crossed over. She was a very special person and one of the first people I met, even before moving here. She was not only a supporter of the arts, but a wonderful artist herself. I met her when I showed up to our community's life drawing session on a visit here before we moved to the area. She, along with her husband, have been, and continue to be  huge supporters of our community and she will be very much missed. She leaves a wonderful legacy behind.
Hearing the news made me very sad and it was very fitting to honor her by going out to paint at the foot of Neahkahnie Mountain. I will miss this beautiful lady and will continue to be inspired by her art and life.

It was a warm but wet day. There was very little wind on the beach. I picked a spot where I would be alone and even had a bit of shelter to stow my gear. For this 30 day challenge, I will be painting at least three paintings a day, a 10 minute, a 20 minute,  and then a 30 minute painting. They will be of the same subject that I have chosen for the day. In this case, since I was painting waves, they aren't identical as the waves and tide continue to move.

I have three painting goals for this challenge and they are as follows:

          1. To get my painting habit and skills back up to speed after a long break.
          2. To work on improving my value relationships.
          3. To reflect and connect emotionally and spiritually to my subject.

Even though these are studies, I plan to give each day a title. Today, with its misty, flat gray colors, was very much an in between day. Neither dark or sunny but in between. There were no huge contrasts and the values were very subtle and close together. They were there though. I was in a very sad and serious mood as I searched for a title and idea to compose my painting around. The day felt sacred with our friend crossing over so my title is "Crossing the Sacred Between". The sea is eternal and is a fitting subject for today's painting.

Here are the paintings. Starting from top left and going counter-clockwise is the 10, 20, and 30 minute paintings. I set my timer and stopped when it went off. There was a gentle rain and things did get a bit damp but I hardly noticed. As each painting time got longer, I was able to add more information. I am a bit rusty but it felt like I was coming home, back to where I belong. What a relief...and a joy!

I made rare use of my easel umbrella. It kept some of the rain off. I rarely use it because it doesn't do well in the wind, and it is usually windy.
Finally, I am using black and white paint to study value. If I have time, I will paint a small painting in full color after the timed paintings. Here is a view of my palette at the end of the session.

That is all for today! Tomorrow, Day 2.

Yours in paint,

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