Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Getting in touch with my roots

I realize I haven't blogged for a bit. I took a little time off for celebrating a special occasion with family. Which got me thinking about my roots. But for the sake of time...I'll move right along to the canvas. Let's just say root vegetables are easier to visualize and understand sometimes than family. And where else would I find my root vegetables than at New Seasons . You're getting the picture now! Also by actually painting root vegetables I can dig into my topic tangibly. Sometimes the act of painting allows both sides of my brain to function simultaneously... One physically and the other subconsciously. I found this small 8x8 square canvas and thought I'd just see where it would take me. I've heard that a square canvas tends toward a more intimate composition or that the artist is taking an intimate look at their subject, something like that. I just happen to like that size for certain objects I am painting. The colors again that I chose to use were warm and the fresh beets; one red, and two golden led to the title: "Two Plus One". I couldn't believe how hard and heavy these three beets were when I carried them into my studio. They were difficult at first to arrange close together without them fighting for dominance in the composition. Yet while painting them with my juicy oils and soft brushes, they took on another look and feel to me. Quick strokes became slower, softer strokes, edges became blurred, some very interesting reflections surfaced from the table, and for some reason the blemishes on the surface seemed to also be an important part of the whole. All the imperfections, the hairy stubble, the remainders of the stems and leaves that were cut off before I purchased them, seemed to give each one its own identity and texture. As this painting emerged from my canvas I accepted it as it was. I kind of liked it just the way it was and didn't fuss over it. It is drying in the other room now and I'll leave it be until I feel like revisiting it again. Hmmmm.....maybe this painting session was a reflection on my own roots! If so it will be a continuing saga.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spot light on fruits of the season

I enjoyed a timed painting exercise yesterday using two freshly sliced blood oranges from none other than my neighborhood NEW SEASONS of course. Their produce is so juicy good and weekends often have seasonal fruit tastings prepared for you as you walk into the store.
Frequent flyer/buyers like myself have gotten to know when Brittany is making one of her gorgeous displays of sliced and diced fruits to entice the senses. Even though I didn't need these warm colors to chase away the Portland gray, one slice into this blood orange inspired me to go for it! If I hadn't taste-tested these delectable creatures they may never have come home with me to be immortalized. Instead they inspired their immediate portraits and became a treat to share before dinner. Using a small canvas and my favorite paint colors I set a timer to see what I could accomplish during my "happy hour"! I hope you enjoy this visual display but I must say they were as much fun to eat. Perfectly sweet and juicy even when they had been warmed a bit from my studio spot light! I have to stop getting side tracked by these fruits of the season when it is looking and feeling like plein air painting season is in the air. So many temptations calling to artists armed with wet paints and brushes....Spring is finally here!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kicking it up a notch

Sometimes timing is perfect...just when I was feeling like I needed a little punch in my work and a little nudge from above along comes the perfect workshop. The first instructor I sought when I moved to OR was an artist I admired, Eric Jacobsen. His oil landscapes were breathtaking to see first hand. At the time he was exhibiting and teaching through a gallery in Troutdale which later moved to the Pearl. Now through Art on the Boulevard in Vancouver, Eric is offering two still life classes in oils on Saturdays from 10-4PM. The next class will be Sat March 20th. Sign up if you have the chance. He has a gift for putting students at ease no matter what their level and to zero in on specific needs identified by each. It is so refreshing to have such a talented artist willing to share his knowledge and experience to anyone willing to learn. In the 4 hour class period he managed to demonstrate his own painting style, give an overall review of basics, share a wealth of resources, and guide each painter's abilities at their easel. He makes it fun to reach for the next level or as Emeril would call it "kicking it up a notch"! What a great shot in the arm for me to finish up my studio series before heading outdoors soon. For further information on Eric's workshops go to Celeste's Blog "Celeste Paints" or to "Portland Plein Air & Studio Painters" both on

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New exhibit for New Seasons

Another opportunity for displaying art works!
New Seasons Market in Happy Valley invited me to display landscapes in their gallery located in the cooking school area nearest the west entrance. The art exhibit went up yesterday and will be on display through April 1st. Once again I must say although it takes time and energy to hang art other than in a gallery setting, it is not only appreciated for beautifying an area, it can be an educational tool as well. Not everyone understands how fine art gets accomplished by the artist, when, where, or why. This is my own neighborhood and I'm hoping this exposure will generate curiosity to seek out more of this information. I have business cards and a bio provided along with my work in a very comfortable social setting where learning becomes enjoyable. The area adjacent is a dining area for all the wonderful delicacies New Seasons has to offer customers first hand. In addition art works by local school students are also displayed. It was fun for me to watch both exhibits going up simultaneously. What a revelation for me to think back to an earlier time (noted in my bio) about wanting to become an artist someday. I hope I can inspire one of these budding artists to want their own show someday too. For now - a New Season is just around the corner!