Thursday, April 23, 2009

Painting and more

In the Shadow of the Mountain
9 x 12 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
by Miki Willa
This scene was painted from a number of different reference photos shot in the shadow of Mt Baker in the late fall and early winter. On my screen, the colors appear a bit darker than they are in real life. I really like the look of the fallow fields with the isolated farm buildings. The tree line in the back is a mixture of evergreens and winter skeletons. This is another painting I will include in my show in July. As the date approaches, I will give more information about the location. For now, I will say it will be in Bremerton, Washington.
I have been studiously avoiding my easel for over a week. I just kept putting off painting while I worked on other things. I have been working on creating a visual journal, and am having great fun creating rather abstractly painted backgrounds using acryllics. I am also learning to do collage. In a few weeks, I will be posting some of them on another blog dedicated to this art form. I am also working through The Artist's Way, again. This time, I am taking time to do the tasks, writing my morning pages, and going on my artist date. I have only been at it for a week, and I am already excited to paint again. I have a bud of new insight about myself as an artist which I will nurture further before I share it here. It is a very profound shift in thinking for me and want to make sure it sticks.
For both of these projects, I am working with online groups and having a great time. For the visual journal, I am working with Kelly Kilmer at A Prompt a Day. There is still time to sign up for the May group. Learn more about this at this site. For The Artist's Way Journey, I am working with Laura Lein-Svencner. See her blog here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Eagle's Nest

Black River Eagle Nest
18 x 12 soft pastels on Kitty Wallis Professional White
by Miki Willa
I have decided I need more Northwest landscapes for the show in July. A few weeks ago, we went to the Black River Riparian Forest in Renton, Washington. There is a very large heron habitat there. There is also a pair of nesting eagles. An interesting combination. It was too early for the trees to be fully leafed out, so the nests were all very visible. I decided to paint the trees around the eagle nest because of the contrasts in the colors. I used a very limited palette to create the mysterious air about this fairly unknown place of beauty and wonder.
If you want to read more about the area and the heron colony, go here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Glass blowing series #7

Into the Fire
12 x 16 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
by Miki Willa
In this latest painting in the series, I wanted to depict a partially worked glass piece on the way back into the glory hole. Glass artists keep the glass moving once the piece is begun. It is important to do this to maintain the shape. An object will make many trips back to the glory hole before it is finished. The intensity of the heat will change this piece to a brilliant orange before it comes out again, to be worked and shaped more by the artist. It is fascinating to watch the colors change with the temperature. This glory hole is in Viscosity Glass Studio in South Seattle. This studio features corrugated metal walls to separate the bodies of the furnaces from the studio space. It was fun to represent them here, the way they catch the light from the glory hole and reflect on the steel table top.
We visited another studio last weekend and took some great reference photos. I am looking forward to working on more paintings in this series. I am so glad I keep finding new and interesting material from which to work.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Small Landscapes

Beaver Pond in Spring
5 x 7 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
by Miki Willa
This is the first landscape I have done in a while and it was fun to do. I was able to keep it very loose, which was one of my goals. I used a complementary underpainting. I love the way the orange peeks through the greens. I wasn't sure I could put all the information I wanted to include in this 5 x 7 format, but I found it a useful exercise in really looking for what was important. I am always amazed by the work of plein air painters who work in these small sizes. When it stops raining, I will have to get out and try it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Painting 5 x 7s

Color Rods
5 x 7 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
by Miki Willa
On a recent visit to a glass studio, I got a lesson on how color is added to glass art. I won't go into the details here but to say that glass artists purchase color rods in various lengths, colors, and opacities. I happened to spot a few short pieces on a nearby shelf. I was taken in by the colors and the arrangement. I decided to try portraying them in a 5 x 7 format.
Why 5 x 7? I recently had a brainstorm about my upcoming show (July). I decided I would have three to five 5 x 7 paintings for a free drawing. Visitors to the show would fill out a card and drop it in a bowl (glass of course), giving contact information and first choice of painting if they win. At a designated time, I would pull out a card or two, and l would award the painting(s). I think this will be good PR. First, I have to create the paintings.
I have not painted in this size before and it is quite interesting. I had some left over pieces of paper I had been using to test color for larger paintings. I brushed the test colors out and created an interesting under painting. I wanted to keep the strokes fairly loose so it would be in the same style as the rest of the paintings in this series. The reflections of light and of the rods on each other was very interesting to me. I also like the pattern of the shadows. All in all, this was fun to paint. I am not sure the power and intensity of the ovens would work in this small format, but I will have to try.
I also painted a small landscape. I will post that tomorrow.