Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Seven more!

It's been a few days since posting, but I have some more mini's done.

 This was Saturday's work. It is hard to do this after a full day at work, but on the other hand it gets the mind working in a different way.
This one I did Sunday after work; I retouched it on Monday. Sometimes you just see what it needs the next day.
On vacation to St Maarten I watched many sunrises and sunsets, trying to burn them in my mind, and this was one of these moments. The sun went down behind the hills and set the sky on fire.
 And then there is the moon above the bay! Another time I stood staring at the sky.
After doing this one on Monday I felt stuck. What next? At the start I had plotted out a bunch of ideas, and they have now run out. Plus I'm running out of steam a bit. It's like a marathon and I need refueling.

In order to get ideas and see what else I could add I laid out all the panels in different patterns. Do I want the darks staggered or in the middle? Does it look bettered as some sort of patchwork pattern? It might be nice if there was some gradation in colors. So I did come up with some more ideas.

 These next three I did Tuesday: Dutch clouds. I think there is really such thing. On a trip to the Netherlands this past May I went on a bike trip with my brother and sister in law. The air was so clear, the greens where so fresh green, and the clouds where the kind of puffy clouds. It turned all the ordinary things into a feast for the eyes.

These are some I want to do in a larger painting!

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Yesterday, the first day of summer, was one of those clear, puffy cloud days, and that is what I decided to paint. It was plenty windy, and clouds don't hold still, so you just try to do some from looking up, some from memory, but mostly trying to get the feeling in there. I also wanted to another set of 3, and set up my stuff on the deck again. Much nicer to be outside listening to the birds! They are having quite some conversations. 

It is tricky to make it work so they go together but can also be separate. I think they do well separate too:

I might try to do these 3 into a larger painting sometime. I like that summertime feel they have.

Just one painting today, number 30! I stayed with the summer theme, with mountains this time. 

I don't know how much painting I can do the next few days. It feels good to be a little ahead, just because I know I won't be able to paint every day. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Half done plus one

 I really wanted to paint some lightning, something I have not done before. I started this one yesterday, with a light blue tinted panel. I mixed ultramarine, alizarin crimson, and a little black. I rarely use black, but thought it worked well here. I then used white for the clouds, and a little red for where the lightning was going to be. That's where I left off yesterday, thinking I would let it dry and then do another layer later. I wasn't sure how to make it work, but sometimes it helps to let it sit for a bit. Seeing the painting this morning I knew what it needed. I just added more light to where the lightning comes out of the sky, and dragged a toothpick through the paint for the lightning. I fixed the mountains a bit and added village lights (my husband's remark: "What? They still have power?")

I was a bit of a loss at what to paint today. It helped to just do some other things first, like some much needed yard work. The morning started out with bright blue skies. Beautiful, but not so interesting for a sky picture. Then thick clouds moved in, which then parted with sun shining through. Some beautiful cloud formations, with that bright silver lining along them. Bingo, I knew what to paint. So I sat on the deck and painted these clouds. This might be nice to paint a a whole ceiling of!

That makes 26. Over halfway! Yeah!
I did some math, and I realized how big this thing is going to be when it is hanging. 6x6" panels, 7 rows of 7, with 1" in between panels. That makes 48" high and 48" wide. Four feet. That is the biggest thing I've ever done. Wow!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Almost halfway

On Friday I took the day off from painting. It was a weird day anyway, and then after work someone almost ran into me. Close calls can happen any time you go on the road, but this was so vicious that I can't wrap my head around how someone can be so careless with other people's lives. This was someone speeding up behind me while I was stopped waiting to make a left turn. He was gunning it, increasing his speed, and I could see him closing in on me in the rear view mirror. I had nowhere to go and was bracing for impact. Last second he swerved to the right of me, missing me and the other car that was passing on the right by a hair. I don't understand people like that and this time everyone got lucky.

Well, on to painting.

Yesterday I painted daisies. Lying in the grass, looking up at the sky, this is what you might see. I picked these along the road, and painted them from a different point of view. I figured that at least this way I get to paint some flowers too while doing sky paintings.

I really wanted to do some plein air painting too. Last year I was out there painting every chance I got, and this year I just have not done much plein air. I'm missing it, so I went out and tried to do a sunset from the real thing. It turned out much harder than I thought. At what moment do you start to paint? The light just seems to change even more quickly than at any other time of the day. Plus the sun is right in your eyes, so you end up seeing 10 suns. For the next ones it is just better to observe, sketch, take notes, and tackle it at home. 

Still, it was nice to sit out there, feel the breeze, and listen to the birds. And thanks to my husband hanging out and being supportive!

Today I finished this earth. I had done the background previously. Wish I could paint that from life! Sky gazing from a whole different point of view! I have not been naming any paintings. Maybe I should, and if I do, this one would be "Fragile. Handle with Care." Or maybe "We're all in this together."
I had time for one more today, and I had seen some buttercups in the yard. So I picked some and painted some more flowers, with a clear blue sky this time. It reminds me of lying on my back in the grass and watching the sky as a kid. I haven't done that for a long time. Maybe I should. 
That brings the grand total to 24. Day 18, and one more to halfway!

This is part of them:

I will have to do some arranging to make it look good. Let's see where the rest of the journey takes me!

Thursday, June 15, 2017


I don't always know how these paintings will go. There is some planning, but there are all kind of decisions to be made as you go. For this one I had the idea of looking into the clouds and seeing shapes. Somehow they just had to be dogs and cats. After painting these, the idea for the earth below came. Maybe it would have been good with grass too, but I liked the idea of our pets frolicking somewhere up there, with many balls to chase and shoes to chew. 

This one was done Wednesday.

Then yesterday I decided I should make some winter paintings too.

This one is based on the many sunrises I've seen on my way to work. One perk of working all those 12 hour shifts was that the drive often included the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets. There is one particular spot, coming over the last hill before my workplace, that I always tried to imprint in my mind. How accurate memory is, I don't know, but I think this captures the essence of it.

 I managed to do two paintings today, including another winter one. With this one I knew I wanted a child looking up catching snow flakes. I remember a picture of my niece when she was little, and how blissful she looks at the white world and the snow flakes coming down. That was the idea I started with. I did several little sketches in the past week on how I wanted the child to look and trying to figure out what to put in the background. I'm not sure why, but it was more difficult than I imagined to get it right. Then there was the decision on how big to make the child. It helped to keep thinking about the theme, sky gazing, so the sky should still be an important piece, and decided to keep the background simple with just a few vague trees.

On to the next one. I liked the previous sunset I did, so I decided to do another one. I had previously tinted the white board with yellow, and used a thin layer of yellow and orange glaze over it. It must be the watercolorist in me to like that transparency. So far I've just done trees as the land, so I decided to make this one a city. Then I was surprised at how the yellow showed through in little dots, due to the roughness of the board. I left a bunch of these since they look like city lights.

That happened to be number 20. Five more to go before being halfway done. This is a lot of work! I'm just trying to keep going, have fun with it, and not stress out about it. So far I have done pretty good on not stressing. I actually don't mind putting off housekeeping till I'm done painting. It has been fun trying out new things and learning, coming up with new scenes, and hopefully producing something presentable. +It is also a process of letting go; I tend to keep picking at a painting, but I think I'm getting better at just letting go. Knowing when it is done, when to leave it alone, let it be and sent it out into the world is hard!

Monday, June 12, 2017

A sunset, fairy, and fireworks

I love to look at sunrises and sunsets, but it takes a bit of an effort to see them since we live in a valley surrounded by trees. The more special it feels when there is a spectacular sunset when I'm out and about. I might even drive my family crazy with the "oh look at that sky" exclamations. I based yesterday's painting on the previous evening's sunset.

Today I had time for 2 paintings. I'm finding that I really like doing this theme. I keep thinking of new versions of paintings. I was afraid I would run out of ideas, but the more I do, the more ideas I get for new paintings. Nothing is set in stone, and nothing that says it all has to be completely true to life. Maybe there really are fairies painting rainbows. And maybe I'll make a few more fairies (I'll need some smaller brushes!)

And fireworks.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Numbers 12 and 13 done

Yesterday I finished putting gesso on all the rest of the 35 boards, and after that, just to make sure, I counted them. 48? I've head visions of the dogs eating them, but ended up finding the 2 missing boards behind some jars where I had set them to dry after putting sealant on. Geez, more to gesso, but better finding out now then at at the end.

Today I painted 2 more. The first one:

Some time ago, while driving there was a thunderstorm in front of us, with the sun behind the clouds, and the bright lining along the clouds. I tried to soak in the view to and did some sketches and notes, and that's what this is based on. So hard to capture, and I can keep picking a it endlessly to hopefully improve, but at some point have to let it go.
This one was finished early this morning, so I had time for another one. 

The next one, a little fairy in the clouds. This presented the challenge of working in the tiny details. Every painting presents its own challenge, and I'm learning something from each of them. 

Tonight was the opening of the Spring Renaissance Show at the Trumansburg Conservatory. It's a beautiful show, so many beautiful pieces, and so much variety. I'm amazed at what people can create! 

This was my contribution to the show.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Day 9

There is always some procrastinating in getting started with a new painting. First the brushes and paints need to be organized, even if they are doing perfectly well where they are. Email needs to be checked, the dog walked, the email checked again, and another cup of coffee made. In the mean time the mind is working out ideas and plans about the painting at hand. 
I finally got some some pencil sketches down to help in planning today's painting. When setting things up in my studio downstairs, I realized I  really did not want to spent the beautiful sunny day inside. So I dragged everything up to the deck. Much better!

I ended up doing not 1, not 2, but 3 paintings today! This is what they look like individually:

And this is what they look like next to each other:

Then there was this one from yesterday (8x10):

 I love peonies, and they were just begging to be painted. Even with this painting challenge going on, I could not leave them unpainted. It will be a whole year till they bloom again!  So after work yesterday I picked some and started painting. Apparently it is much cooler in my studio than outside, and that made them beginning to close almost immediately. I interrupted painting to cook dinner and by the time the dishes were done the peonie petals were completely closed. Ahhr! Thankfully I had already put enough paint down to finish. So this turned out to be much more sketchy and looser than I usually do.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Two more

Two more 6x6's done! It is hard to get started every day. I have the thumbnail sketches, but I have trouble deciding which one to work on. One thing with this project is that you HAVE to paint to stay on track. That's a good stick to avoid procrastinating! 

On this rainy day it was nice to think about the beach and warm weather while working on this. I intended to put people flying a kite in this, but after getting this far it felt like it would be distracting. 

The second one of the day started with the idea of snow clouds and a child catching snow flakes, but the clouds I ended up painting reminded me more of a stormy beach day. Instead of forcing them into being snow clouds I changed it to another beach scene. It made sense. Good days at the beach and bad days (which can still turn into nice walks with the wind blowing away the cob webs in your mind). Somewhere behind these clouds there is sunshine.

Monday, June 5, 2017

50 paintings in 45 days? Oh my!

Hello and welcome to my new blog! I've been thinking about doing an art blog for quite a while, but had a hard time thinking of an opening topic. Well, the topic has arrived. I signed up to do 50 paintings in 45 days for Corning's 171 Cedar Arts Center Mosaic Show and fundraiser. I found out about the call for artists about a day before the deadline and signed on. The next thing was to think of a theme. Since I love looking at clouds and skies, and love painting these I thought I'd stick with what I know. So my theme is "Sky Gazing."

A week ago I picked up the 6x6 wood panels. 50 is lot when you see them!

I sealed them all, and gessoed a couple. This took a few days with the drying times between layers. Since I used a brush to gesso, the first panels were quite smooth and difficult to paint on.

I still managed to do these, one a day.

While doing these I decided that the surface was too smooth. I got a little roller and tried to gesso some boards with this. Much better! So the first gesso layer is brushed, and next 2 layers rolled on. I like the surface, so that is how the rest will be. I have a supply of about 10 boards completely prepared, enough to get me started. I also did a bunch of thumbnail sketches with ideas for paintings. Clouds, sun rises, sun sets are all included, but there is more to see in the sky. 

I couldn't help putting this one in too, specially after the news of the week.

There will have to be days with 2 paintings, and today I did these;

One week in, 6 done, 44 more to go.... this is going to be a challenge! In a good way. As long as I keep the momentum going. Between a part-time job, chores, yard work, and peonies that are begging to be painted too.... I got this!