August 30, 2015

Artist Appreciation Month

Where does art begin? I recall a precise event that changed the way I saw the world. In my early teens I started drawing and my paper and pencils became my closest friends. Being the daughter of a Navy officer, our family moved often. And often, it was difficult to leave friends behind. Now, I had two new friends that I knew would stay with me the rest of my life.

While we were stationed in Lincoln, Nebraska, I met a girl who was a few years older than me. Sadly, I can’t recall her name but I do recall that she had recently started taking oil painting lessons. When she showed me her paintings I was ecstatic with the thought I might someday be able to paint, too.  It did not take me long to run the two blocks home and beg with all my heart for painting lessons! 

My folks signed me up and the first stroke of oil paint was a miraculous thing to me. I knew, without a doubt, I had found my medium. I was in love with everything about painting; the paints, the brushes, the smell…ugh, real turpentine back then…but I still loved it. During the week, while I had to wait for the next lesson, I would sift through my tackle box full of oil paints and tools and imagine what they might help produce.

My teacher was wonderful and patient. Her name was Renee Reed and I was so awe-struck by the knowledge and skill she had and shared. She encouraged me as I struggled with the newness of this practice of fine art. I have tried to find her via the internet but have not had success. I wonder if she has any idea how significant of a roll she played in my life? I am thankful for having the opportunity to study with her.  Thank you for so much, Renee.

This was the second painting I did with Renee. In her classes, we copied other artists' work to hone our technical skills.

We continued moving and although I lost Renee as a teacher, I have always had the blessings of God to guide me to my next steps, in art and life :). Whether it be a person or this beautiful world He created to draw from, I am grateful beyond words for this gift.

The inspiration for this piece was from an invitation from the kind folks at Patience Brewster inviting me to share in Artist Appreciation month. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling back in time to recall my first days of painting. I have been a fan of Patience’s work for many years and hope you get a chance to see some of her creative, fun, and endearing Christmas Ornaments.


August 16, 2015

To Drone or Not to Drone

River's Edge study (10x8 oil on panel)

An aspect of plein air painting that I truly enjoy is the unknown. I might think I am heading out for a day of painting but more times than not, it becomes a day of adventure.

It's been a long hot summer here (in Washington) and I was reflecting on cooler days of outdoor painting. A particular event from last February stood out as a fun thing to share.

Larry and I headed out to find "the" spot for the day and ended up about an hour from the house; in Burlington. Poor Larry, he has to drive around (and around) until I find "the" spot that feels right. I have an internal compass that tends to lead me toward the water. Today was no exception but the difference is that the water was just beyond my vision. I could feel it, and hear it; I just couldn't see it...

When Larry goes with me, I often go to more secluded places than I would when painting alone. In the summer this spot would be buzzing with the sound of children but, in February, it was devoid of people and it was cold! What it did offer was a lovely view of sun-stricken trees that lined the river beyond. And THAT is what made it "the" spot for the day.

I layered up until I felt like the Michelin Man. Larry help me set up my gear and then I succumbed to the silence and enjoyment of painting. Normally, I enjoy folks stopping by when I paint but this day felt different. I wanted to have full attention on my painting and it was cold so I was motivated to work diligently and without interruption. 

(Me as the Michelin Man)

Hours into the piece, and nearly finished, I heard an unfamiliar truck pull up behind our truck. Knowing Larry was there, I didn't look and I knew I could stay focused on my painting. I sensed someone behind me so I turned and a gentleman said "do you mind if I drone over you?" 

Um, I admit that, until that very day, I was not familiar with being droned. I kindly replied, "May you what?" (and I was wondering when my knight in shining armor would arrive). That thought produced my husband out of thin air. The two of them started chatting and Larry had all kinds of questions about the drone. Pat (the gentleman) was very gracious with his answers and then explained he would like to navigate his drone over me while I painted.

This is not the strangest of adventures so once I knew more about drones; I did not hesitate to say "sure!" Pat sent his drone over me and then posted it on his website where he has lots of wonderful videos and images.  These are the photos he posted of me painting: "River's Edge." 

I summed it up as another great adventure in the Pacific Northwest. I must say, it took me a while to defrost but I'm ready to head out again. This time I will need my sunscreen.