Starting can be ugly

One of the most important qualities, or habits of mind, an artist develops is perseverance. If I didn’t understand what is on my easel right now, I’d quit, wipe it off, turn it to the wall, paint over it later. Earlier this week I quit a painting but I knew why, it was a drawing problem. Some things I just have to draw from life, so I must wait until those flowers bloom again. The rest of it was ok. Well, ok-ish.

But this painting is different. It is a night scene, and I’m working from life plus from both daytime and night photos. The subject is a zoomed-in view of what I see off my back porch. My neighbors houses, my storage shed, and in the distance one of the biggest oil storage tank farms in the country. Today we had great crazy clouds, hail, high winds, rain, and a few counties away, tornados. No earthquake for a few days at least (It’s supposed to freeze tomorrow) So I’m trying to paint the tank farm view with storm clouds. I am leaving out the sofa-recliner one of the neighbors dragged out to the alley a couple of weeks ago. I claim artistic license!20140413-203906.jpg


Snow in shade

I love how intense and varied the blues are on snow in shade. They range from intense ultramarine to almost purple, to almost green. And they change quickly in the very early morning or late evening.
For this picture I did the ground, snow, trees first. It was a rather typical dawn that day, so I can add that any time.
Spring is here, I’m looking forward to painting outdoors, when the Oklahoma wind allows!




Today was warm and bright, but I am still working on three snow paintings I started last week. I’m not a greatly adventurous plein air painter, I did these looking out the window of my warm cozy studio. There has been snow several times this winter but somehow I didn’t want to paint it until it felt like maybe it was the last time. Early flowers are beginning to emerge, we saw bluebirds come check out their box this weekend (yes it is still there and ready), and today I was surprised to find a ladybug in the asparagus bed. This lends a sense of urgency to the snow- paint it before it is gone!
It is fun to try to show the lumps and dents in the snow, and how the shadows are really several colors. The colors change so quickly it is important to get the paint mixed all at once. Otherwise you keep remixing and remixing- I learned this from Doug Braithwhite.


Every day I was home

Last post I mentioned taking my daily garden picture. I did that every day I was home in 2013. It all started because I was playing with my new IPad, and thinking about how to use it to make art on a trip to Yellowstone.

Now that we are just barely beginning to show signs of emerging from a dismal winter, I watched this a few times today. The jonquils and sedum are beginning to break the surface, and I’m starting flats of kale seeds in my studio windows.

I am looking forward to color and light and flowers and painting outdoors.

Here it is–

Evening light

I took a photo in my garden every day I was home last year. One evening, on the way back in to the house the light was hitting a changing maple and some small overturned flowerpots. This is a combination of drawing from life and painting from those photos. Being that it’s in my backyard it was easy to run out and draw, but that flash of evening light only lasted long enough to lift my ipad and snap, so I relied on those photos for the color.

I started painting this last week because i was just so weary of this colorless weather we have been having. It is nearly enough finished to set aside for a few days.


The wrap-around sunset

I teach middle school art in the small town where I grew up, where my parents moved after WWII to teach. I marched in the band on this field in the 70′s, now I take my turn working the ticket booth at football games. I still don’t really understand football, even though I read “football for dummies” when I briefly served as pep club sponsor, but I love looking at the sky, and how the field looks in that early evening light. I love how the white uniforms turn blue-violet in the shade. Our sunsets are so big they wrap around the sky. This view was looking due north! I painted this yesterday from a snapshot I took on my phone while working at a game.


"Painting is another way of keeping a diary"


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