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Finally, my daily painting!

As I mentioned I spent most of the day working on paintings that were mostly complete. Late in the day, I sanded down a painting I really had not liked...and just painted over the sanded out painting. Actually, I like to paint over sanded paintings...seems like the paint adheres better to old paint than the oil gessoed linen.

Well, this was a quick study, off of a photo I had taken in the fall. I must have snapped it as we drove by as the barn is partially submerged in the sage. It was a really magnificent paint...but not falling in, either.

I painted it as if it were a plein air...holding the photo in the distance...and applying a quick underpainting and then really rich, thick paint to the surface. I admire the thick paint of Ken Roth and Eric Jacobsen...but have often shied away from that rich, loose painting technique...maybe I won't in the future.
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With a little help from my friends...

Sheds Near Alturus
Our art critique group met yesterday. I brought in a lot of my small daily paintings. There were minor suggestions, but each one was really important--moving the horizon a little bit...simplifying the background, etc. I made these corrections to the paintings today and they are really better.

Then I worked on this painting. I had been very unsatisfied with it earlier...I actually rubbed the whole thing out with turp. and listening in my mind to the comments about simplify, etc. I reworked the whole painting, eliminating two buildings and a tree.
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A two painting day...

need to work on this one...keep tuned in for developments....
Here is the other piece I started today. The photo is not really accurate...and I am not happy with the tree in the foreground. Sometimes when working from a photo (darn this winter weather) I can be too literal. think this painting will change...a lot.
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Finishing work...adding work.

Today, I finished (maybe) my studio painting of late afternoon on the Crooked River. I actually toned down the cliffs...they were not in complete shadow, nor were they in sunlight. It is difficult to get this mid value and still have an interesting painting.

I also met with my painting critique group---several very talented artists (I am going to include their blogs on my site)...and got great tips for 4 of my small shed/abandoned house paintings. Just smallthings, but really important corrections. So I will work on these tomorrow. Which raises the question...How can one be a daily painter, and still correct paintings daily???
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Underpainting and them some..

Not finished....wht is missing?
I am thinking of entering some more shows...and am working quite a bit on landscapes of the high desert. Here is a begining (started today) of an area east and a little south of Prineville, on the Crooked River. So far this painting doesn't "rock" me...may scrape out, may paint over, may work some more on it.
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Finished painting (Mitchell, Oregon)

If you compare this painting to its unfinished version you can see I worked on quite a bit of it. I liked the composition (thank goodness...a bad composition is basically a start over), but wanted to work on roof line at the back of the house, the shade of green onlawn and trees, etc.

This is from a sketch I did (and a photo) while I was in Mitchell in 2008. Mitchell is not quite a ghost town, but has a lot of abandoned buildings. It is really fun to paint there as there is so much to choose from. It is near the Painted Hills, but I never seem to want to paint them...look at them, yes, but their structure and their hugely pigmented horizontal lines of different stone never appeal to me in a painting.
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2nd painting of the day...

Feeling like I hadn't painted in a couple of days...and knowing that tomorrow I would be tied up with other things, I did a small painting of another abandoned house. This is from a sketch I made in Mitchell, Oregon earlier this year. I am going to go back and correct the roof line at the rear of the house, but the paint was getting sort of slick and thick, so I decided to call it quits for a day.

I am really enjoying painting these abandoned houses...they won't be around long, so I am feeling like an historian.
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Channeling Childe Hassam...

Tribute to Childe Hassam
I had intended to paint yesterday at the gallery (Tumalo Gallery), but we were very I decided to make up for it today with two paintings. This is the first...a larger (16 x20) painting of the Deschutes River at twilight. I had taken a photo from a moving car...and the photo was blurry, but very mysterious and engaging. Instead of priming a new canvas, I sanded out a painting that simply didn't work...then I did a coat of cad red/orange and white over it...some of the old texture could be seen. I then just started painting. The wet undercoat sort of muddied the painting but in a good way...gave it the look of an old painting. So I went with it...mid way through I was reminded of some of the paintings C.S. Price did when painting with the better known Childe Hassam. Hassam did come to Oregon and hang out in the high desert painting with Price. (I will likely work on this a little more when it is drier.
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Abandoned Near Brothers (Ore.)

Brothers, Oregon is between Riley and Hampton...the combined population of all three is probably not more than 30 people. This land was dryland farmed in the 1930's...but several years of drought cleared all but the most hardy (or stubborn) out.
Today I started painting a scene of cliffs. Disaster! (Jean LeGassick, a very talented painter says" "Give me a rock and I am happy." Well, give me a rock and I can paint a disaster.)
So I went through my stack of plein air starts and decided to work on this one. I had the basics blocked in...and color notes plus the invaluable photo. The day I started this (not the trip when I forgot my brushes!!!) started outnice, but the clouds on the left got darker and darker, and it got colder and colder, so the sketch became something to finish in the warmth of my studio.
Today is another day of 28degrees, hoar frost, it is another studio day. Spring will come...I hope!
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Plein Air Redux

I spent most of the day cleaning the studio, framing two mono-prints and it was 3:00 PM before I picked up a brush. In the course of organizing and moving stuff around I looked at this plein air that I had done in the fall...I wasn't really satisfied with it. There was very little value contrast, and it was unclear where the focal point was, if there was one. I went back to the reference photos and decided that I would darken the painting and focus on the new roof on this seeming abandoned (???) house. It is one of many studies I did in Hardman, a semi-ghost town about 2 hours east of here.
I also included a rather modern gate that was there, but I had chosen not to paint originally.
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Studio Day

I just assembled my new Guerrilla box...the kind that weighs almost nothing...have a new backpack, light weight tripod, etc. But it is 23 degrees outside, and there is an inversion that has covered everything in hoar frost...beautiful in a very severe way, but waaaaay too cold for plein air. So back to the studio and a tough up (in this case major revision) of a painting from a few months ago. This is the drive into our place. We do get some amazing clouds/sky.
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Tomorrow's Painting Today

No More Pepsi
We will be real busy tomorrow, so with a bright, clear winter afternoon today, I decided to start (and almost finish) a painting. I am calling this abandoned little gas station "No More Pepsi." I love the contrast of the light on the building.

If I have some time tomorrow I will work on a few of the rough areas...using a brush where the bristles are not all rough...if I have one. I want to even out some of the areas, but keep the loose, fresh approach. I just love winter light..someone once called it "cold and watery winter sunlight." It always reminds me of Hopper paintings.
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This morning I got up and finished the painting of the juniper near my west deck. The undercoat was dry enough to cut in the sky behind the sturdy trunk of the huge juniper, and to add the hilights on the grasses at its base.

Almost every evening (when the day has been sunny or the sun comes out in the late afternoon) I am treated to this view. I never grow tired of it. There is something about the rich, dramatic colors of dawn or dusk that saturates my senses.
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Underpainting...good start

My goal with this painting is to paint fast and loose...and I am satisfied with this start. I will need to fill in some detail . But right now the paint is too wet.

After laying in the darkest values (over a sanded substrate...that frustrating painting from a few days ago is hidden...not even a pentimento now)I painted in the vermilion light on the hills and some of the reflective light on the grasses under the juniper. When the paint is a little drier I will work on some of the juniper branches and a little more detail on the grasses, but my goal remains being loose and suggestive. We will see.
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When All Else Fails...

After scraping out two paintings this morning, I took a break. Went to ERA, a mid century modern store/gallery/warehouse, where one can find great work by local artists from about 1930-1970. Came away with a re-strike Charles Heaney. Maybe all the exposure to wonderfully evocative mid century work inspired me. I pulled out a plein air I had worked on this summer...and channeled my mid century spirits. I toned down the colors...more sienna and "mud." I am definitely a colorist...but am wanting to do more tonalist work. this certainly isn't tonalist, but a bit more subdued.

Tomorrow I will go back to those scraped out pieces!
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What Not To Do...

I realized that I hadn't painted for two days (yesterday was spent cleaning my studio--barely a dent made! & hiking around Smith Rock to get photo reference material) and I will be traveling this I decided upon getting home tonite, I would attempt a studio painting of one of the scenes photographed yesterday. With barely 30 minutes of remaining light, I soon realized that this was a big mistake! Here are the lessons:
1. Plein Air is best (the photo is flat, and I waaaay overdid the color enhancement)
2. Studio is OK in great light (but better if there is a small painting reference in addition to a photo)
3. Do not paint in poor studio light (at least spring for "daylight" lighting)
4. Don't rush a painting. (Sscraped out the "original" and finally did a quick value study
5. Don't start a painting when you are tired,rushed, or painting for some reason other than wanting to paint!
6. Tomorrow is another day.
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Making up for lost time...

Since I took two days off to lounge around Timberline, I felt compelled to try to make up for lost painting time. (One little watercolor painted at the lodge, is hardly enough.) I have been scrounging through my plein air work from earlier this year...sanding off most of the work and then "refreshing" it. This little painting done on a field trip to Condon needed help...think it still does. You will likely see this re-appear.

I do like painting over sanded paintings...give it more depth.
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Here come the horses.

Horses East of Prineville
Last week I had done a very dramatic scene, intending to add horses later. We are having a show focusing on animals later this year at Tumalo Gallery. Here is the finished (I think) product. It was fun to paint this...though it is even a little more dramatic than I usually am. I must have been channeling my Maynard Dixon.

(I have named it Horses East of Prineville, though I cannot for the life of me remember where I took the reference picture...maybe around Crystal Crane Hot Springs. I definitely did some Photoshopping the colors.)
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Back from Mt. Hood

We spent 3 days at Timberline Lodge, the wonderful WPA era lodge on the side of Mt. Hood. Afraid I did little painting (who could with so much reading, dozing and eating)....but the art work by some of my favorites (C.S. Price, Howard Sewell and Charles Heaney) abounds at Timberline, so I was definitely inspired for future paintings. I did do this little watercolor while sitting in the second floor bar. May I should have labeled it, "It was a cold and stormy day..."
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The Painting That Nearly Wasn't

Winter Light
I set off yesterday to work at our gallery ( the intention of painting from some photo reference I had. I dutifully packed my painting backpack (with paints, brushes, palette knife, turp, linen artist board, shop towels) my tripod...basically everything I needed, right? Nope...forgot the easil/pochade box that includes the palette! Augh, a frantic call to my husband meant that he drove the extra 40 minutes to deliver the pochade box...well, he delivered my old french easel. Whew, it has been several years ago since I assembled this beast. It was an IQ test and I almost failed! But 20 minutes later it was up and I was painting...the interim video could have been a great one for Utube! How many artists does it take to assemble the !*&^% French Box...when there is only one around?
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Hardman again....

Found this plein air of Hardman...the ghost town in North East Oregon. I think I will work on it in the studio. So expect to see a later version in a future post.

The two houses had not been painted in years, but both had fairly good roofs...and looked semi-inhabited...Hardman is a really interesting place to paint.

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Where are the Horses?

This is my second day on this painting. I took some photos of horses last year when we were near Crystal Crane Hot Springs. The weather was changing, with a storm coming in. I just came across the photo and made some modifications with color, etc. in Picasa.

So where are the horses? Well, they will come when I get the clouds and ground finished. I rarely do wildlife, but this will be in a show this coming Spring featuring "critters."
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When Is Plein Air, Plein Air?

Morning, Summer Lake 2008 (Plein Air Painting)
There is a controvery in our group of Plein Air Painters (Plein Air Painters of Oregon) about the amount of work that must be done in the field for a painting to be considered a true plein air painting. Most of us go with the 90% should be composed in the field, values blocked out, major color notes, etc. One member thinks that paintings must be completely finished in the field. I am in the former category.
This painting was "finished" in the field over the Thanksgiving weekend, when we stayed at Summer Lake with friends. But I was never satisfied with it. The relationship between values was not right. So today, in the studio I made value adjustments...the background hills, sky, etc. Well, I consider it a plein air painting---I remember getting up early to start, getting a bit frustrated (and cold) while the light changed, etc.
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A day ahead of myself...

I am calling this blog "A Day Ahead of Myself," because I am posting two paintings today...I am trying to post one painting a day, but some days are more productive than others. This morning I spent my time resuscitating semi-complete plein air paintings. This one is from our adventures east of here...there is a town that is somewhere between very lightly inhabited and a ghost town. The town is called Hardman and was a major shipping area for sheep in the 1920's. It is a bit eerie...but I suspect if I had made an attempt to talk to people I would have found it fine. Instead I pulled over on one of the perimeter roads and painted this old barn. It was almost dark by the time I finished. Today I just went in and adjusted the sky.
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Plein Air from 2008

Today I went back to a plein air I had started last year. I decided that it had I readdressed some highlights, etc. and feel it is OK to put on my site. (Some paintings are always destined for the sander...this one actually has a sanded painting as the substrate.)
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