Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
It has been snowing in the Greater Seattle area off and on for over a week now. I spent part of that time painting and part of it creating Christmas stockings for five family members. This project all started because I wanted to make a stocking for my new granddaughter. Her parents wanted new stockings as well. Then my husband spoke up, so I had to have a new one also. Next year, I will make for the rest of the family. It was a fun project. I haven't sat at the sewing machine very often over the last ten years or so. I think I will be doing more fun projects now that I have it set up again.
I lived in the Seattle area for many years before I moved to Hawaii and don't remember real snow in December. This has been a great adventure for me because I haven't had to try and get around in it. I thought I would share a couple of photos of the yard. I don't remember too many white Christmases in my life. I am sure there have been a few, but they are rare. This snow is supposed to stick around until Christmas day, when it will begin to rain. I wonder what the rest of winter will have in store.
This is a view of part of the back yard. We have a wonderful yard that has great character all times of the year. Notice the two bird feeders toward the distance.
This is the maple tree by the front door. I love the structure of the branches and trunk. You can see a fall foliage shot of this same tree near the bottom of this post.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I had some trouble with the beer in this painting. I expected the foam to last much longer than it did. Fortunately, I took a photo before it went away, and I didn't pour it until I had the sketch done. I started on that part. Another thing was the glass. I haven't painted glass in a long time. I am pleased with the final results, but it was difficult to get there.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I love the fall colors, but have decided to share photos for now. They are very difficult for me to paint the way I want to at my present skill level. However, I wanted you to see what I was seeing through the lens. This one was taken in the upper parking lot at Snoqualmie Falls in Washington.
I love the bright colors in these trees. This photo has not been tweaked at all. I took this one from the pedestrian bridge between Snoqualmie Falls and the upper parking lot.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
9 x 12 soft pastels on sanded paper
by Miki Willa
These are the trees at the beginning of our driveway. Having lived in Hawaii for six years, I didn't realize just how much I would love having fall colors right at home. Today, I noticed the Japanese maple by the front door is about half turned, and the Dogwood out back is fully turned into its brilliant reds. It seems to me the color has lasted an extra long time this year. I have been enjoying every minute of it.
When I first decided to paint this scene, I wanted to make sure the rock was prominent. It is a very cool rock. No matter what I seemed to do, however, the rock kept getting lost in the glory of reds, yellows, and oranges. After I took the photo of the finished painting, I was zooming in to make sure it was in focus and I figured out the problem was the composition. I really wish I saw these things before I started painting. I am going to have to work on that. I have included a cropped photo of the painting that I like much better.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I was reading Rose's Artlines yesterday, and she posed a question about what kinds of art a person likes and why. I have been pondering that question for a while in an effort to narrow my focus for my paintings. I think I will start with subjects.
One of the subjects I really like is the grand vista. I like the idea of the majestic landscape, but not in an over romanticized way. I also really like pastoral scenes, with or without buildings. Old barns, rivers, wetlands, rock formations, and mountains always draw me in. I also really like still lifes, if they are filled with odd and interesting things.
I guess the reason I am starting with subjects is because I am thinking of working on a series. Katherine at Making a Mark has been writing about series paintings. Some time back, MC Johnson wrote about painting in a series. Yesterday, I read Elizabeth Mowry's Landscape Meditations: an artist's guide to exploring themes in landscape painting. All of this has made me think about what I would like to get from painting a series.
1. I would explore a subject in depth and make it a part of me.
2. I would hone my skills in certain areas that need work.
3. I could explore various techniques while staying true to style and subject.
Now I just have to decide what I want to use as my primary subject.
Today's painting is from just outside West Glacier in Montana. We stayed one night at a very overpriced, not really pleasant motel before we started our camping trip in Glacier National Park. The only thing this place had going for it was the view. I used an orange underpainting for the trees in different values of orange. I was really pleased with the way the underpainting turned out, so I very carefully followed the values when I added the greens and violets. I also worked hard getting the values the way I wanted for the receding mountains. Once again, I was going for good aerial perspective.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
From St. Mary's Lake
12 x 18 soft pastels on Wallis
12 x 18 soft pastels on Wallis
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
On Wednesday, day three of the Richard McKinley workshop, we drove north to Smith Rock State Park, Oregon. The place was awe inspiring wherever you looked. Painting rocks had me really excited because I love to paint rocks. This place just about did me in. There was so much to chose from. Talk about a pastel artist in the Dakota warehouse! (Dakota Pastels is an online pastel artist's mecca located in northwestern Washington.) I had a really hard time, so set up in the shade near the parking lot and decided to attempt this view. First, I had to do my thumbnail sketches. Before too long, I got totally lost. Never a good sign. However, I persevered, and came up with a plan. Once I got the small sketch done, I put in on the larger paper. Everything was fine up to that point.
One of the techniques Richard teaches is using an underpainting. I have talked about this before, and have had good results before. I figured it would work out fine. That is until all my carefully placed sketch disappeared. I realized I had only done underpaintings on pieces that did not require detailed sketches. I should have gone with my first instinct to just start the painting. But, I was a good little student and did the wash. I nearly cried when I realized what I had done. Then, I decided to try and paint the painting anyway. Such a disaster. One of the first things Richard said was to expect to paint my worst paintings in the workshop because it was a learning experience. Well, this was my worst painting ever. Fortunately, we stopped for lunch and to watch a painting demonstration.
By the time I got back to the easel, I decided to wipe out what I had, and start all over. Pastel is such a forgiving medium. My paper ended up with interesting tones upon which I redid my sketch. Of course, it wasn't as good or as fresh as my original, but I made it work. As I started to build up the colors, I started having fun, finally. I still struggled, and as you will see, I have much work to do, I think this painting now has potential. I will carry it with me until I get back into my studio in seven week.s and I will work it some more. Here it is, warts and all.Monkey Face
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Today we met on location at Green Lakes Trailhead about 27 miles west of Bend, up in the mountains. It was incredibly beautiful. There were three mountains nearby. There was a full stream and wonderful meadows. During Richards demonstration, we were visited by a beautiful little doe. Fortunately, the weather was much cooler, so we all had more energy for painting. There were not so many bugs in the cooler, overcast weather.
Today, Richard talked about aerial, or atmospheric perspective. This is where the artist takes into account knowledge about light waves, refraction, and distance. Here in the northwest, we have quite a bit of moisture in the air, so things that are in the distance become lighter and more blue. The artist has to take that into account to help the viewer see those distances. I am still struggling with that, but I understand it better now.
There were so many views to choose from to paint. Several of the group painted Broken Top mountain. Several chose the meandering stream. A few of us chose the wonderful meadows filled with wildflowers. I worked very hard on my painting, trying to put all my new knowledge to use. I am still struggling with the wall of trees in the distance. I think they detract from the overall painting. Unfortunately, the photo of this painting is really not good. As all artists know, the camera does lie, especially about values. My meadow has many more values than this photo shows.
Tomorrow, we are going to a place called Smith Rocks State Park. I do love painting rocks. Maybe I will have less of a struggle tomorrow. Moving from the studio to pleine air is much tougher than I expected.