Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Crow Season

My Gallery, The Whidbey Art Gallery, promotes a Crow Show in the month of October. so I pulled out sketches and reference photos and got to work.
My first Crow is called The Wise One.  
It is an oil painting with a hint of Madrona trees.  Some paintings just come together easily, this was one of them.  Painting it felt right.  The madrona tree inspiration came on a second pass.

Weathering the Political Storm of 2018 was also inspired.  Referring to a recent sketch of a crow with ruffled feathers, I kept thinking why is he so kerfuffled?  Decided he needed dark stormy weather and a nest to hold onto, then maybe lighter skies looking toward the future.  The inspiration for the title came from the current continuous political news.  I feel we are all holding on in the rough politics of this year.

 Finally, the Baby Crow!  He appears to be startled, like why am I here?  His feet are so big!  I had fun with this little watercolor also and another rendition painted on some kind of paper that absorbed the paint.
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Visit us in Langley WA and enjoy the Crow Show. Artwalk is this Saturday, Oct 6, from 5-7pm.

Friday, September 7, 2018

June - August

It seems summer is flying by and with garden work, summer fun, like the Studio Tour, Super Garage sale and work at the Gallery, I haven't been posting very much.
I have not painted too many oils this summer, or should I say finished paintings..  The trip to Monterey/Carmel, painting with Carol Marine was very rewarding and I followed up plein air painting by monitering a class with T.J. Cunningham in our local area.
Personally, it has been a summer of eye stuff.  I had cataract surgery in June and then again in August.  Once, the first eye is unveiled you are amazed at how blue and cool everything looks; you keep winking from one eye to the other to see how yellow everything looks back to blue and clear.  I felt very worried about what I would be painting and if I would be reviewing the colors of my oils.  (yes!!)  I will post a couple of "finished" oils next time.

So, here is a brief recap of summer in sketches                  
Red Rooster Antique Mall and Kang's Lavender Farm, Freeland

Madrona Park in Anacortes and Rocket Taco in Freeland.
Sideview of Fossek's Farm and the WiFi cafe in Freeland

Visiting Westport WA.  Took an afternoon to sit in the sun and sketch the waterways and chilly beach.

Sunny Sunday sketching in Langley and Cloudstone park on Friday.

View from Lauri's house and Bob Bowling Rustics workplace.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

I'm baack!

My brain has been on idle for the past six months.  I'm still out there creating art, but the business of posting got lost in the shuffle.
So, here are a few things I have done since my last post.  (Bless me Father for I have....not blogged) ;-)
What I did do recently was fly to California to participate in a plein air oil painting class with Carol Marine.  About a dozen hardy women and one lovely man took a class in and around Carmel and Pacific Grove.  I am so happy I did this, it tested my mettle.  I didn't embarrass myself (too much) by tripping over the tripod.  I did discover that trucking off by yourself with two suitcases and a backpack will not be happening again.  My forays into plein air will be here in the Northwest where I can drive my car and paint my favorite parts of Whidbey Island all without being too far from my wheels.  Things I learned, I hope: Blocking in to examine the value and design of the scene you want to paint.  Red cellophane helps to see the lack of values.  Details come later and as Sergei Bongart said, "don't paint the fleas before the dog"  This is harder than you might think!  I'm still trying to work on the block in work we did in the field and if anything comes from it, you will see it here.
Meanwhile, I took my sketchbook instead of oils up the hill to see China Cove and the bird sanctuary at Pt. Lobos and this is what I am posting along with a couple of current sketches.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December sketching

November and December fly by and I feel lucky to find time to sit and meditate while sketching.
In November we went to the Olympic Mist Alpaca Farm, learned how to make eco printed silk scarves and make a not so quick sketch of the lovely and surprisingly friendly alpacas.  It was a standing up, freezing my fingers sketch, but the girls were wonderful and hung out with me!

One of my favorite subjects is the Fossek Farm and the view while at St Hubert's at 3rd and DeBruyn.  I was driving up the street one morning and the light was so unique that I pulled over and sketched a couple of different views while sitting in the sunshine-filled car.

This was sketched and shaded with water-soluble walnut ink.

Yesterday we went to Debra Campbell's beautiful home and had our pick of wonderful vignettes to sketch.  I managed three!
So, let's see if I can get these sketches on the page so they make sense...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Double Bluff

Double Bluff is everyone's favorite walking spot.  We take our dogs for a run, watch for Rainier, judge how much the hill has slipped and hope children don't climb the bluff while we are watching.
It's also a draw at any time for the changing light.  I have sketched it a lot, but the most memorable was on a freezing February when the sun was around behind the bluff at about 2pm.  I decided to drive by because it was a "sunny day", freezing but sunny.  I took out my sketchbook and made a 20-minute sketch with watercolor noting the light reflections on the great puddle, then went home and made a larger painting.  That painting is in Watercolor and is at the bottom of this page.  The others are oil paintings.
The dog walk at Double Bluff or Pick up Stix

Sm 8x10 on canvas showing the bright light we get here.

From the bluffs on the way to the beach- oil - sold

Mt Rainier and the Fort.  Hottest day every and
early days of my oil painting career

16x20 framed Watercolor of Winter Sun reflection
 on the beach.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Wales and Ireland part two

Entrance to the burial chamber at Newgrange.  The winter solstice lit up the inside through this opening to release the souls
 of the dead!
In this section, there will be more photos, particularly of places there was no time to sketch or the subject was so large (Newgrange) the I could not get far enough away to give you a scope of the subject.

Newgrange  "Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however, Newgrange is now recognized to be much more than a passage tomb.  Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest.

Newgrange is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art.  The 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof.  The amount of time and labor invested in the construction of Newgrange suggests a well-organized society with specialized groups responsible for different aspects of construction."  (from their web page)

Ok, I'm drinking a beer (it should be Irish Whiskey) and remembering the feeling of standing under stones that are about five feet over my head.  Imagine putting your hands on top of one another until you have the final stone(s) to cap this tomb!  Is your hair standing on end yet?  There are alcoves where the bones of dead were left for the year.  You are standing under stones that were placed there 5,200 years ago!  Maybe its the beer, but maybe its, Holy smokes, how could they do this!  To put it into perspective, all the stones were gathered from 12 miles away at the river Boyne, rolled UPHILL, and then put in place designed by some 5,200-year-old genius, who understood, scientifically the Sun's alignment and how it would affect this chamber.  This was done BEFORE THE EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS WERE BUILT!  Is your brain doing calculations yet?
The only graffiti was from 1867 or so, from someone who discovered this chamber.  Newgrange is a restored place and middle size of three that have been explored or restored.  Some smaller mounds are being saved for future scientist/archeologists to discover. Please click on the link above to learn more about this extraordinary place.
Newgrange burial mound

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wales and Ireland

My husband and I took another trip to Europe as a follow-on to last years trip to England and Scotland.  This year it was to learn about woman saints who lived in and changed lives in Wales and Ireland.  We started in Cardiff, traveled around Wales for a week, then took the largest ferry I've ever seen; traveled throughout the south of Ireland, returning home via Dublin.
The Irish sea takes a long time to cross even with a ferry that can hold large buses and giant trucks.  Our largest ferry is very small compared to these cavernous beasts!

I'm always impressed at the history and beauty of the countries we have visited.  The sites we were following were from the 5th to 9th century.  The women saints were St. Non, Brigid and Melengell.  St. Non was the mother of St. David, whose incredibly beautiful cathedral we first visited in Pembrokeshire.  
While wandering toward St. Non's church (lost again), I came across three young boys between the ages of 7 thru 10 and their dog.   One was wearing a tiger costume, the other two were definitely leaders and did their best to help me find my way, ending up walking me the whole way.  By this time I was having foot problems and couldn't walk very fast.  It was sad to miss the walk along the cliffs overlooking the sea near St. Nons.

St. Melengell (Pennant Melangell) was the first woman to provide sanctuary for politically threatened citizens.  She started by protecting the wildlife where she was living in the woods, gained the respect of the Prince and was given the area to build a Monastery (church)?

Brigid founded a religious order for women, became the Abbess of a dual monastery and was believed to be appointed a Bishop of Kildare.
I missed the details of a lot of these stories because I was off and running when we arrived at a site to try and make a meaningful sketch.  
This sketch of Brigid's well appealed to me because it was in a beautiful natural setting, undisturbed by the surrounding farm.  Brigid's sculpture was sketched at the Solas Bhride Centre in Kildare.  This modern center is run by Catholic nuns and volunteers.  I was so impressed with the beautiful modern design it was hard to concentrate on sketching the statue outside.

Round towers like Monasterboyce and Clonmacnoise were built to save people and treasure during a Viking raid.  The access was by a ladder at least ten feet above ground,  which was then pulled up and in for protection during a raid.

The round tower at Clonmacnoise was the top of a larger tower which over time fell off, then restored as this smaller version.  It was a rainy day and I found a quiet enclosed, very modern, glass-walled structure where I set up my sketching supplies to make a painting of the tower.  In the middle of the sketch, a group of Phillipino parishioners and their priest came into this building and talked about history and then started praying!  I didn't know if I should stay or go but decided to finish.  They eventually stopped and then gathered around me to see what I was working on.  It turned out I had set up my work on the Altar!

Round tower at Monasterboyce, was a quick sketch in a small book set up on top of a gravestone.  I could see everyone listening to the history about large Celtic crosses and learned later that stone crosses were built to keep the Vikings from stealing the wooden crosses and burning them.

My favorite location was the Monastic city in Glendalough via the Wicklow mountains. We arrived later in the afternoon and wandered across the street to get familiar with our location.  It was late enough that the sun was low in the sky and raindrops were putting a sparkle on everything.  The cemetery was crowded with crosses and stones, it was unkempt and wild underfoot - like walking deer trails here at home.  It felt like it had always been that way, even in the 8th century.  I was surrounded by beautiful ruins, crosses, huge trees and another round tower; it was as if I had crossed into a different century.

What I haven't mentioned:  Newgrange, Trinity College Dublin, St. Govan's head.  That will be in the next post along with a few more pictures and sketches.
St Brigid's Well, surrounded by farmland

Restored round tower at Clonmacnoise near Boyne Valley, Wales

Round tower at Monasterboyce

Look left at Kevins church and right toward a round tower (Monastic City, Glendalough, Ire.)
View of the crucifix hanging from the decorative woodwork at St. Davids
Also, small sculptures in the Treasury.  (Watersoluble walnut ink)
More decorative woodwork & stone sculptures memorializing St. Mellengell
who stood up to the Prince by hiding rabbits under her cloak.  He admired her and
gave her land to build a church that became a sanctuary for endangered citizens.
Bangor Wales, we caught the Irish ferry from here.

Newport, Pembrokeshire Wales, the best chocolate ever!

Snowdonia National Park through the restaurant window
 overlooking the Park.  What I would give to wander those hills!

St. Brigid - Solas Bhride Centre

St. Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire Wales
The upper sketch was made while listening to the choir practice! 

St. Mary's church for just women - part of the Monastic City

Overlooking the Irish Sea

St Seriol's well at Penmon Priory Anglesey, Wales

Rainy day in the Cathedral, Monastic City - Glendalough, Ireland

Crow Season

My Gallery, The Whidbey Art Gallery , promotes a Crow Show in the month of October. so I pulled out sketches and reference photos and got t...