Category Archives: Color

Art I Like: Word Art and some more of my watercolors

It’s flower season here in Portland. I have been doing a lot of fun watercolors.

Here’s one of some geraniums:
Geranium, watercolor on paper, 12x16

Geranium, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12×16

Foxgloves are biennials, which apparently means they bloom every two years. I thought this was a yet another weed in my front yard and recently I got surprised by these lovely blossoms.
Foxgloves, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12x16

Foxgloves, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12×16

I also grew a bunch of wonderful tulips this year. Here’s a view of the tulips when they get all floppy and flattened right before the petals are going to drop.

Spent tulips, 2017x watercolor on paper, 12x16

Spent tulips, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12×16

And I could take pictures of peonies  forever. I have peonies in my garden! Hot pink ones and these pink frilly ones (I think they’re Sarah Bernhardts?) I want to grow tree peonies but they’re like $80 a pot.

Peony bouquet, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12x16

Peony bouquet, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12×16

Last time I mentioned I painted a canvas with a lavender background. I wrote out that dream quote in yellow paint and then smeared it out. Not sure where this is going. I could see this one being used for a landscape eventually or maybe I’ll make it an abstract. This canvas is larger than the ones I’ve been working on.
Work in progress
The canvas is sitting on an unstretched piece of canvas that I found rolled up (my mother had dutifully saved everything of mine). I’m going to paint over it as well with oil. We’ll see how the shapes in the background play out.

I was reminded of an artist  that I like on Pinterest …Jenny Holzer. She writes memorable quotes and they are embedded in all sorts of places: billboards, movie theater signs, etched in marble, projected on a building, etc etc. I love this quote:

This piece is so fitting for today’s politics:

Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise from the series Truisms T-shirts (1980-)

Untitled Bench, Jenny Holzer, Missing Peace Exhibit

I had a drawing teacher tell me a long time ago, in a place far far away that my charcoal drawings reminded him of Cy Twombly. I was fortunate to see Cy Twombly at a retrospective I think at the Whitney Museum several years ago. He’s amazing. He embeds words in scribbles and gestural marks in a very beautiful and effortless way

Apollo by Cy Twombly

Here’s a recent watercolor of a peony with the word daydream scribbled on top. Nowhere near  as masterful as  Twombly but we’ll see where adding words in my art leads me. Don’t quit your daydream!

Daydream pink peony

Daydream pink peony

Spring Flowers- some oil paintings

I’ve been awful about updating my blog this year. In fact I hadn’t thought about it at all when Portland artist Randall David Tipton emailed me to tell me he had read my blog post about his artwork that I wrote over a year ago. He returned the favor and highlighted a watercolor on his blog. Thank you Randall!

After a very long, wet winter (one of the wettest winters on record in Oregon), it is flower season here in Portland. This is the time of year when it is really hard for me to concentrate on doing any paintings because I just want to be out in the sun and take lots and lots of pictures.

Anyway, I wanted to update my blog to show some spring flower oil paintings I have completed recently. I wanted these to be light, bright, and colorful.  In the first painting of a quince bouquet, I wanted it to feel like a watercolor- painting with thin, transparent layers. This was successful for the most part but not sure if there’s too much ‘white’ left? What do you think? I’m going to do another one with the same technique, but start with a solid color background first to avoid that problem. I’ve prepped a canvas with a very light bright lavender. We’ll see how that goes.

Glowing quince, 2017, oil on linen, 16x20

Glowing quince, 2017, oil on linen, 16×20

This next one is also a painting done from the same quince bouquet in a teal vase but from a different perspective. I also used  a slightly different technique, painting much thicker. I think my obsession with Matisse shows a bit more here. Which one do you like more this one or the first one?

Quince bouquet, 2017, oil on canvas, 16×20

Here’s another closeup of a spring bouquet, I think composed of all the early spring blossoms:   quince, forsythia, and cherry blossom leaves. I had a lot of fun playing with color- glazing the background in teal and emerald green, creating the dark purple leaves.

Spring bouquet, teal. 2017. Oil on canvas, 16x20

Spring bouquet, teal. 2017. Oil on canvas, 16×20

Two still life and two landscape oil paintings

I completed another blue painting of quince flowers inspired by the tonalist works of Whistler and Inness. I used thick cobalt blue to mark the petals. Cobalt blue is really pretty and I will have to use it again soon as a standalone color. This was painted on oil primed linen that I got on clearance from Blick. It’s a pricey, but wonderful support to paint on.

Cobalt blue still life

Previously I posted that I loved the look of raw linen and the universe heard me… Nancy Cuevas shared with me this product that Jerry’s Artarama sells of clear primed linen.

Footprint still life

The weave isn’t quite as nice as the first one but it’s an interesting challenge to preserve the beauty of the raw linen as a ground. Here’s one that I’m going to call “Footprint Still Life”. It’s a much quicker study and I accidentally stepped on it. I think I like it as is but stay tuned I may play with it some more.

I finally completed the small oil painting of my trip to Bandon Beach this past summer. These last two paintings are on canvas board, probably the least fun support to paint on but it’s nice to having something that is ready to go to prevent procrastination.

Bandon Beach

This last painting is a gift and inspired by my trip to Lake George in upstate New York. Lake George was immortalized by the great Georgia O’Keeffe. This painting comes nowhere near her genius but I was able to  explore colors that I had not used before and glazing pastels on top of other bright colors without any underpaintings.

Lake George painting

 

Now Offering Fine Art Prints

My print shop is now live via Instaproofs! I’ve uploaded photography from my recent travels.

Long Beach, WA

Eventually I hope to add prints of my paintings. I’m using a professional, high-end film print shop based in Los Angeles, Richard Photo Lab. These guys are wizards at color and are experts in their craft.

You will receive archival quality images on Fuji Crystal Archive Paper or  Kodak Professional Endure Premier Paper. I will be donating a portion of my proceeds to the Nature Conservancy. Thank you in advance for supporting my work.

Deschutes Forest

Ninebark and other fall foliage- mixed media

I love the dark foliage on the copper beech tree but I don’t have a source nearby. I planted the bronze colored ninebark because it was drought tolerant and had the dark foliage that I desired.

Here is a mixed media (watercolor, gouache, ink) painting I did of  a still life I created using the ninebark leaves.

Ninebark still life

Here’s another painting inspired by the trees at the Sunnyside Medical Campus. The leaves are much more brilliantly vivid in real life, I guess I still got the greys of winter on my mind.

Foliage

I’m still obsessed with creating greys and muted maroons and I like how the complimentary colors meet to create these interesting, iridescent stains.

 

My glowing blue oil painting experiment

 

In my mood/concept mapping, I wrote down the words:

mystical
radiant
patina
residue
subtle, profound
fragile, ephemeral

not really sure where this is going but that’s the experience/aesthetic I’m working towards.

It is partially inspired by James McNeill Whistler’s tonalism paintings (there’s a great book by the Clark Art Museum) and I also saw his work in the National Gallery of Art in DC years ago.

I’m playing with all sorts of oil painting goop- gamsol, stand oil, cold wax, linseed oil. I am eyeing this strangely named medium, Neo-Megilp, although I am really trying to resist buying it to satisfy  my curiousity.  Artists of Portland…let’s meet up and try each other’s art supplies for the sake of our wallets!

I started with a dark transparent color, ultramarine. And wow is it glowing In fact, the painting actually really reminds me of a lot of the digital painting work that is coming out of ipads. Not sure if that’s a good thing, but I do like the texture, layering, and softness that is happening. I think I just need to ground the next one in a less artificial feeling color than ultramarine.

Also, this painting looks awesome in direct sunlight, but not as good in inferior lighting. I’m a little worried that all of my oil paintings are going in that direction…

Oh and I painted this on a prestretched oil primed linen panel that was on a major clearance at Blick. Boy could I get spoiled with this material!

 

Design I Like: Piet Oudulf

I realized that my favorite thing that I saw during my trip to NYC (other than my friends) was the Highline, a public garden built upon an abandoned railroad.

Highline

The fact that the gardens were the most inspiring thing made me realize that I do in fact belong in Portland!

Alison told me that the Highline was designed by garden designer, Piet Oudulf.

gardenista.com

His work is amazing. He uses lots of native plants, perennials, and grasses and he creates these beautiful landscapes that have amazing color in all seasons.

Highline

He uses grasses for color and even the dying seedheads provide textural and color interest in the dead of winter.

http://veronicatsgardens.blogspot.com/
http://www.igpoty.com/ via Pinterest

Highline

Someday I would like to visit the Netherlands and view his private garden. There are so many more beautiful, inspiring garden examples in this pdf I found on the Harvard School of Design course he taught about designing for Mood in the garden:

“Mysticism totally depends on circumstances that are out of your control. Fog, dusk. It makes you feel on your self in a different world.”

“Emotion and mood are vital to the success of a garden…They are qualities, however, that are very difficult to define in hard-and-fast terms. It is always difficult to describe why certain gardens are attractive and not others. It is even more difficult to write prescriptions for creating different moods, for mood is only something that can be planned into a garden to a limited extent.”

Sounds like painting too 😉

 

Textile & ceramics in paintings at the Met

Remember the cool green jug I got from OKO Portland and then painted in this still life study?  Cezanne had a green one too and I got to see his paintings up close at the Met in NYC.

While I left mine pretty transparent, Cezanne painted his with glorious thick paint. I also love the patterned wallpaper. It’s a dirty yellow ochre, but somehow still glowing.

Here’s another still life with the green jug:

Here’s an amazing turquoise and deep blue pitcher in a Van Gogh still life. Isn’t that lime green background so yummy! His work is full of textural painterly brushstrokes but the paintings don’t feel unsettled I think because there is the balance of the thin, delicate dark paint strokes.

Look at these luscious textiles in these paintings by Vermeer.

Inspiration From the new Whitney: Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning, Woman and Bicycle @ The Whitney

The new Whitney Museum looks like Boston’s ICA and is similarly situated near the water on Manhattan’s west side near the High Line. I was kind of disappointed by the lack of exhibits for the amount that I paid, but their permanent collection was quite good. It rained when I went but they also have a very nice observation deck and cafe on the top floor.

I really liked this information provided by the Whitney curators:

Willem de Kooning never believed that abstraction and representation were mutually exclusive. As he stated: “I’m not interested in ‘abstracting’ or taking things out or reducing painting to design, form, line, and color. I paint this way because I can keep putting more things in it–drama, anger, pain, love, a figure, a horse, my ideas about space. Through your eyes it again becomes an emotion or idea.”

This de Kooning painting was large at 76 1/2 × 49 1/8 in. Some questions that I ask myself are: how do I know when I’m done, and is this piece professional, museum quality. It’s interesting to see the bare linen exposed at the edges with the staples showing and no frame or glass.

A lot of paintings now will have a solid color painted on the edges to provide a more polished look. I usually think of linen as suitable for fine glazing techniques but de Kooning had no problem with applying his oil paint thick in many locations.

Close snapshots of various parts of the painting look like they could be their own abstract painting.

He also used vivid, saturated pastel colors but the painting is balanced by the black and the grey of the raw linen. I wonder how he  treated his linen. It doesn’t look like used any white gesso, which is normally used to protect the supporting material of canvas or linen from the oil paint. I too like the color of raw linen better than  the very white gesso.

 

 

Painting Inspiration at the Met: Henri Matisse

I was lucky enough to go to one of my favorite museums in NYC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I went there as a kid, I remember being in so much awe, thinking ‘I could never do that!’. Now as an adult, I still am amazed, but I have more ideas on how they were able to create the paintings.

Matisse is known for his bright colors, but I really noticed how thinly he applies his oil paint in some cases letting the “white” show through. You can also see the pencil from his drawing.

One critique I have of my own paintings that show brushwork and a lot of texture is that they can feel too busy or unsettled. Matisse finds the balance.

Matisse

It’s colorful and lively but the painting still feels settled. Even with the brushstrokes being very apparent, he does provide space for the eye to rest with the large swatches of the same color.

What’s really interesting about this Matisse painting of lilacs is the background has three values (dark, medium, light) but the entire painting doesn’t feel too chaotic.

Normally a  painting will have a background that is only dark, or brighter than the subject, or a medium value. I think the fact that he used a true black helps to balance the bright lavender and green that he used.

I love this little guy that he randomly adds to the painting. From the way the black bleeds it does look like he used some kind of solvent like turpentine or gamsol.

 

I LOVE the colors of this still life painting of goldfish.

Again he finds a way to balance the bright pastel colors of the apple and the water glass using more muted, neutral shades like the patterning of the wallpaper. Normally, (like if I was painting using these colors) the  burnt sienna/brown/red shade would look like poop but it’s really beautiful in his application and it balances the blues in the painting quite wonderfully. It almost looks like he went quickly with a layer of burnt sienna and then applied a layer of transparent green on top. Together they blend to make more of a darker brown.

Here’s another pretty lady. Again I think the fact that he uses a liberal amount of true black helps balance the pastel pinks and purples.