Thursday, March 21, 2019

Greenhouse inspiration

9" X 12" oil painting on stretched canvas

I was inspired by my first trip to the Edwards Greenhouse in Boise.  At first I was overwhelmed by all the flowers, but I saw other artists there so I decided to set up with my little pochade box. I think I forgot all my art lessons and tried to put too much in the painting (see bottom photo).  When I got home I was disappointed with my "plein air" attempt, but determined to keep learning.  I tried again with just a few of the trumpet flowers (below) but felt they were too flat.  Then I added more color and took an old toothbrush to spatter some cobalt blue over the painting to give it some interest.  I had not tried this in oil paint before, but had used this technique in watercolors.  I'm happier with the result now.  This is the first time I have used "permanent rose" as a background.  I was thinking about the expressionist painters and decided to go a little wild. :)

Attempting to put too much on the small canvas instead of just focusing on one or two blossoms.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Palette knife exercises

I have not felt like doing any serious painting this winter, but I played with paint and followed along with a lesson on palette knife painting for the magnolia painting on the right.  I had to buy a couple of new palette knives to match up with the exercise.  The one on the left came out too dark. That was done from life, a yellow rose in a tall vase. The video was all in French, but I only needed some help from a French speaking friend to translate the pigments used. I could follow along with the rest.

Meanwhile I've enjoyed meeting other local artists and exhibiting some paintings through the Treasure Valley Artists Alliance.  I have two small ones in the mini painting exhibit at the Meridian (Idaho) Library.

This is the first time that group had an exhibit there and space was limited so they requested submissions of small paintings.  It was the first time I framed a 4" X 4" painting and that was an interesting exercise.  I had to buy a 5" X 5" frame (the 4" sizes did not fit). I mounted (glued) the little canvas on black matboard and made it look like a float frame.  I was pleased with the way it came out.  The painting of fuchsias was just wired in the back. It is on a stretched canvas. It is only 8" X 8".

My painting of Valley of the Ten Peaks (Alberta) was juried into an exhibit at the Boise State Public Radio station.  This is the last time the group is exhibiting there and my first time in a juried exhibit.  I think the other exhibit I had with them were curated exhibits.  My husband also had his photograph of a sunset on the Mediterranean Sea exhibited. It was his first time exhibiting in Boise.

We are learning new terms. A juried exhibit is one in which a professional picks items to be exhibited from the submissions.  A curated exhibit is one in which the curators pick at least one of the items submitted to be displayed.  They picked two of mine for the mini exhibit so I am happy about that. I'm enjoying the art association and even stretched myself to go downtown one evening to meet with the Urban Sketchers group. It was too cold to sketch outside, but we sketched inside the coffee house instead.  I need a lot more practice on that before I post any sketches here.

All of these paintings are available for sale directly from me. Prints, cards and other printed items came be purchased directly online through my website on Fine Art America.
Hungry Bluegill
Nancy's Fuchsias
Valley of the Ten Peaks

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Happy New Year

It's winter now, but I was thinking about spring. I remembered all the beautiful olive trees in the Galilee (Israel) on one of our trips there. I designed this from 4 different photos.  There had been a lot of winter rain so water was running between the trees. Oil painting, 11" X 14" on stretched canvas.

I was playing with leftover colors on my palette. This cat study was inspired by a sculpture seen in Joseph, Oregon.  I don't know if I'll finish it or make a larger one. It was just a fun project.

Happy 2019 to all.  I'm enjoying the mild winter in Boise after so many hard winters in New England.  The foothills (small mountains around Boise) are covered with snow, but the city streets are all clear. We've been able to walk around some of the parks and on the greenbelt (along the Boise River) with our dog since there is no snow and ice on those. I'm looking forward to 2019. We hope to take a trip to Alaska in June. I'll have lots of subjects to paint then!

I'm not taking any formal art classes now, but still studying from books and DVDs. There is so much to learn and my poor brain does not remember it all.   I  just decide on a subject, draw out a composition and try painting it, attempting to remember some of the principles learned earlier. Some succeed, others fail. It's o.k.  I look at all the failures as learning experiences.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Happy Chanukah

I don't usually paint this kind of design, but I was asked by our synagogue to come up with something for their full day "Feast of Torah" celebration.  They printed the design on a magnet. There were workshops, prayers, singing, menorah lighting and latkes of course. It was fun.

I joined a local art group called "Art Mingle" and they came up with the idea of making a series. I took a photo of the Sawtooth Mountains in Stanley (Idaho) and divided it into 4 paintings. That will be my series. It was fun planning this. I'm naming the paintings "Call of the Mountains".

I played with acrylic paint one day and just did some abstract colors. Now that I have been working with oil paints, I have come to prefer them for most of my painting time. I think abstracts are not for me, but I liked playing with the blue colors.

Today I decided to pretend I was painting outdoors (it is below freezing in Boise, winter is here) and I imagined I was back in New Hampshire in the fall.  I made a little 2 hour oil sketch.  I liked the image and will probably work on a detailed one in the future.  This is a conservation area, Madame Sherri's Forest in NH. I didn't do a preliminary sketch on the canvas so it is not too accurate, more of just an impression.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thankgiving

After working seriously on a series of landscapes, I decided to use up some leftover paint that was on my palette. My colors remind me of expressionist paintings.

I joined the "Art Mingle" group in Boise and we came up with the idea of working in a series. I decided to take my photo from our trip to Stanley a while ago and divide it into sections. Stanley, Idaho (population 69) is the entry to the Sawtooth Mountains, lakes, hiking, fishing etc. recreational opportunities in Idaho (there are many others too).  I divided my photo (below) into sections. The two on the easel show the middle sections. I'm calling these "Call of the Mountains".

This is the right section of the photo. I got bored with the plain sky and decided to make a stormy sky. I am not happy with that either and will probably change it again.

I haven't done the left side of the photo so I have to think about that some more. Not sure if I want it in the same style of painting or something different. Anyway, this has been a fun project.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Mountains and more

Sometimes I come across a verse that resonates with me and I put it on one of my paintings. I liked this one and felt it would go well on an old Chinese style watercolor I did many years ago.

I bought a panorama style canvas at a sidewalk sale this summer from the local art store.  I finally decided what to paint on it.  This is a slightly different view of Lydle Gulch.  I like it better than the first one I did, but I still have difficulty with the color of the sage brush.  The greens here in the west are quite different from the greens in New England.  I was given some suggestions by another painter so I will try those next time. He suggested mixing turquoise, orange and purple.  I will have to experiment more.

My husband and I went to a few artists studios as there was an artists open studios weekend tour last weekend.  I was very impressed with the landscapes of Fred Choate  and might take some classes with him.  I tried copying a video he had online as an example (below), but was not happy with my result.

I find I am not happy working with other people's images and color selections.  I have several of my own photos of the Sawtooth Mountains (in Idaho) and will try to come up with a composition from my own photos.

This is Tangle Falls in Alberta, Canada. I used both brush and palette knife with oil paints. It is drying now. I'm not sure if it's finished or if I need to work on the water a little more. It appears too white in the photo and I may add some more blues and greens to it. 16" X 20".

We enjoyed a bus tour with other senior citizens from Boise to Stanley (population 69) via Lowman and then back to Boise through Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley. It was a long day, but enjoyable since we didn't have to drive.  Stanley is the entry to the Sawtooth Mountains and hiking, fishing, star gazing (no light pollution) etc.  Sun Valley is the home of many wealthy people who like skiing.  The aspens were glowing with fall colors.  I didn't get a good photo of those since I was trying to photograph them through the bus window (last photo below).  We stopped for lunch in Stanley and I was able to walk around and take some photos of  the Sawtooth mountains.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New year 5779

It's a new Jewish year now and I hope to be better about writing monthly.  Somehow the time just gets away from me.  Meanwhile I continue taking lessons and learning to paint.  I'm disappointed in these two paintings, but maybe I'll work on them some more.

I struggled with the colors on this painting and tried glazing (a friend recommended) but gave up. I'm trying a new version with a different size canvas and a slightly different view of the gulch.  Here is the first step (the block in).  This canvas is a panorama style, 10" X 20".

After my frustration with the original Lydle Gulch painting, I decided to play with the image with pen and ink. I like this one better.

I had fun playing with a palette knife on this one, a view of Double Arch at Arches State Park in Moab, Utah.  I've done other paintings from my photos there.  I'm unhappy with my sagebrush type tree on the left and will probably tone it down a little before I call this one done.

One of my Idaho paintings has been selected for exhibit and will be up at the Nampa Civic Center for the next few months.  This is the first time I'm exhibiting in this location. It is through the Treasure Valley Artists Alliance group (which collaborates with the Nampa group).
Here is a link to Market Day.

Meanwhile I am preparing for the holiday bazaar season by reprinting cards and prints I hope to sell locally.  My husband and I are signed up for 3 bazaars (he sells his books and photos while I sell my cards). We're still exploring our new home state of Idaho and plan on going on a tour bus in a couple of weeks.  I'm sure I'll have more photos of the mountains at the end of the month. We did take a walking tour of downtown Boise (architecture and history) and found that very interesting. Lots of art downtown.

May it be a good, sweet and healthy year for all. L'Shanah Tovah.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Painting fun and inspiration

I enjoy the Psalms while praying at Sabbath services. This time as we were chanting in Hebrew, I also studied the English and could see my old painting "Along the way to Eilat" in the background. When I came home, I cropped it and put the words on top. While the Jewish new year does not start until mid September this year, I have already been asked about new year cards so I combined the two thoughts.  The trees in the background are date trees, the mountains are in Jordan. The bus took this road through the Negev (desert) on the way to the southernmost tip of Israel which is a big tourist destination now (Eilat). To view the card better, click to enlarge. 

I have not been painting much since I returned from vacation. I decided it was time to clean off my painting area, feeling that it would be more inspiring to work in a tidy area instead of the big mess I had there.  I took photos of my paintings that I painted while on vacation in New Hampshire.

This was just a fun experiment with acrylic paints on a leftover piece of matboard. "Fireworks"

My friend decided it was time for me to try pastels. We rode around Exeter (NH) for a while and came to a nice scene. I have not done pastels before so I think I made a big mess. Anyway, it was fun and I enjoyed the morning outside.

My attempt at painting en plein air (outside) at my friend's back yard. I don't think my little oil sketch is worth developing further, but it was good practice.

On another day, another good friend drove us to Deerfield (NH) and we decided to try to paint the silo. The farm house itself and outbuildings were falling apart so I'm guessing most of this farm is not in use. The white bundles on the left side of the painting are wrapped up hay bales so the land is probably just used now for hay. Again, I don't think this little sketch is worth developing further. I did get a bit of a tan from painting outside.

I really admire artists who can do this kind of painting.  These were 2 hour sketches and I thought they were dreadful but I enjoyed trying something new (so not a waste of time).

To finish off the week we tried paint pouring. The top one is my Jackson Pollock style lizard. I put the scales and face on later.  I don't know what to call the others. I did see a face in the one on the left so I painted that on. I'm not sure what I see in the other one. Maybe a swimming something.  This is a great fun activity to do with thinned out acrylic paints.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Vacation (continued)

We had a lovely time on the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine. This was a nostalgia tour for us as we had one of our earliest dates there 33 years ago. We found a bench with a number 33 on it too.

We went back to the Currier Museum in Manchester. I used to be a member and I always enjoy seeing their new exhibits.

I found what I think is a red tailed hawk's feather on one of our walks. I've also seen deer and turkeys here.

This is just outside the apartment where we are staying on vacation in NH.

My son was kind enough to take me into Boston so I could see this sculpture. It is by old friends, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein.  Donna and Andy have been very busy creating art this year.

Monday, July 16, 2018


I'm having a wonderful time back east. I love my new home in the west, but still felt a little homesick for all the beautiful greens in New Hampshire.  I decided to stay for 4 weeks. Hubby went back after 2 and while I miss him, I am keeping busy.  While he was here, we did lots of touristy stuff, including taking the Cog Railway up to the Mount Washington, walking the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine and more.  I have to pick from lots of photos we took so I hope my readers enjoy them.

We were above the clouds at the top of the mountain and it was cool and comfortable not too windy.  I finished reading Dan's book about his year of studying this mountain and highly recommend it. I guess we had never tried the Cog Railway before because it is quite expensive, but we enjoyed splurging since this was our vacation.  It was worth the ride.  We had hiked many times in Crawford Notch, but not up to Mount Washington.

We enjoyed walking around Dorrs Pond which was near our old house in Manchester.  It's still hard for me to walk too far (had replacement knee surgery), but I made it the one mile around the pond.

I've spent some fun times with artist Rollande Rouselle and other  artist friends who are trying to teach me plein air painting. I'm really terrible at it, but enjoying the learning process.

I think that's it for today. I'm having some difficulty with my laptop computer. I'll try again tomorrow to upload a few more pix.  This has been a wonderful vacation, but I'm almost ready to go back home to Idaho now.