Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The gift of encouragement

My niece, Erin, is a budding artist.   During a recent visit to her home, she shared some of her drawings with me.  Erin is generous with her art, and I strive to be generous with encouragement.  A piece of her pottery glazed in my favorite shade of purple sits on my kitchen windowsill.  Though we live thousands of miles apart, we are brought closer by our common interest.  

I suspect that most artists can name someone who encouraged their artistic pursuits.  I came from a family of excellent needlewomen.  Not a painter in the bunch, or so I thought.  Nevertheless, my mother framed my first real drawing.  She did it in spite of protests that it wasn't very good and it wasn't finished.   Today my charcoal drawing of an old boot hangs on my wall next to my mother's first embroidery piece - a double dose of encouragement.  

Less prominently displayed are two small oil paintings by a distant aunt.  To tell the truth, they are propped up on the shelf of my closet.  They are modest works, and I have been tempted to part with them every time I've cleaned out my closet.  I remember being completely surprised to learn that this particular relative was an oil painter.  The time and place in which she lived would have conspired against her passion for painting.  But I keep her canvases because every time I look at them I think to myself, "If she can do it, I can, too." 

So, niece Erin, here's to the next generation of artists in our family.  You can do it!

Erin's animal drawings from summer 2012.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Hood River is the land of cherries (and apples, and pears.)  My goal today was to capture a plate of cherries with broad stokes.  I gravitate toward paintings with distinct brushstrokes in buttery paint, but my personal tendency is to go back over my strokes far too many times trying to refine shapes until the brushwork is lost.  Here is today's attempt.  It will take some practice to create a form that definitely says "cherry" with a few simple strokes.  Fortunately, it is the beginning of cherry season.  Now, let's see if I can paint the cherries before my kids eat them!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Welcome to My Blog

We were painting at Hood River Bagel!
Welcome to my art journal!  I live and paint in Hood River, Oregon.  It's an inspiring location with beautiful scenery and adventurous people.  Oil painting is my most recent adventure, and I plan to share my progress on this blog.  My professional training is in landscape design, so I've been studying natural landscapes and gardens for years.  My current goal is to take what I've learned while painting still lifes this past winter and go outside and paint!

Here's the type of still life I've been painting.  These 6"x6" panels are great for someone new to painting.  They are too small for me to get bogged down in too much detail, and they don't feel overly precious.  It is fairly easy to learn from my mistakes and move on.

My very first plein air experience is documented in this painting.  Now I understand the need to paint quickly, as those shadows just keep moving.  This wasn't a very satisfying painting other than the shadows on the lower right.  However, a journey of a thousand miles.....

I'll close with a special "Thanks" to Cathleen for her encouragement to create an art blog!