Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brady....a good, good dog

"The Fairy Dogmother"

When my friend Michelle said she had lost her good dog Brady, my heart just fell.  Michelle loved this dog. Brady was the first golden retriever I had known, and what a sweetie she was. She lived a long and happy life with a family who treasured her.

Brady, you were loved.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Costumed Piggy

Tiger Piggy

POOR US. We live in such a private place we are not visited by ANY trick or treaters.  So I have to find other ways to entertain myself.  I still buy a BIG bag of candy to share with my work friends. Lucy the Pig LOVES candy treats!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


"Autumn Glory"

While sketching in the little gold town of Volcano, I found this gorgeous Virginia creeper vine.  I had already painted the little bush tit, and I needed something to cure "Boring Background Syndrome." I sketched in the vine and leaves while waiting for another painting to dry.  He's a sweet little guy and the color is lovely.

Ocober is my favorite month. I love Halloween, I always say it is my favorite holiday :)  This year, I have been working on a series of little sketches of piggies in costume.  They are quite fetching if I do say so! OINK!

I was not able to get up to Hope Valley this fall, maybe next year....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stellar Jay on Cherries

I love the contrast between the glowing orange gold of the cherry leaves and the bold cobalt of the jay. This flowering cherry tree lived outside the kitchen window of my Mom and Dad's home in Pine Grove.  I took several reference photos in different seasons, but never could decide how to use these gorgeous fall leaves. Then I happened across the Northlight book "Painting the Allure of Nature" by Susan D. Bourdet.  I was so inspired by her skill and the techniques that she used to depict birds in her gorgeous nature paintings, that I had to try to add a bird to my cherry leaves.  
WOW!  It was way harder than I thought it would be.
This beautiful jay actually lives in Yosemite and was the most annoying bird!  He would visit our camp every morning at daybreak and screech until we handed over the breakfast scraps.  He obviously did not care that it was against all the rules to feed the wildlife.
It took me hours to get this photo of our annoyingly persistent bird
(Perhaps I am just a better painter than photographer ;)

Now I am finishing a tiny painting of a bush tit with Virginia creeper leaves.

Painting from life brings life to paintings.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Purple Coneflowers

"Purple Coneflowers"

This little painting was completed outdoors in my garden.  I was having a frustrating morning in the studio and couldn't seem to get anything to go the way I wanted it to.  Earlier, I had drawn on a painting of tulips, then splattered black ink all over it.  I was SO MAD!  So I took my pencil and 300 lb paper, and stuck an eraser in my pocket and headed out into the garden, sat down and started sketching. It was EXACTLY what I needed. I needed a reminder that I can draw, that I have a GREAT eye, that my sense of color and composition was still with me. I had mostly completed the drawing and wasa gettitng ready to begin painting when this bumble bee buzzed in and began exploring my blossoms!  Bumbles are rather slow and clumsy, bt they are not aggressive and are not afraid. He stayed long enough for a quick sketch, then buzzed off to another bloom. When I was finished with my painting, I worked colored pencil into the seed heads that added texture and vibrant color. Then I stroked color into the leaves for depth. When I paint from nature, I am
challenged to find paint colors that can come close to my subject.  
Mother Nature's palette is richly varied :)    
Did you know that Bumbles curl up and sleep in the flowers in the evenings?  They love the lavenders, the black-eyed susans,  and the cone flowers, I have even seen one jammed into a penstemon blossom. They tuck their heads down and their cute little fuzzy bee butts stick up.  They are deep sleepers. Just remember that if you are tempted to pet one, you are dealing with the stinger end....


the original...

During my journey as an artist, there have been both wonderful milestones and difficult challenges to overcome. These are usually accompanied by a dry spell~an uncomfortable silence. These pauses are filled with self-doubt and insecurities.  Sometimes these times of looking inward are followed by a break-through or change in technique or subject matter that is needed for me to continue my journey. Something mysterious occurs that reenergizes me and refocuses my vision.  When it happens, it makes my angels sing!

Recently, I experienced several weeks of dissatisfaction with my painting. Nothing was working, the colors weren’t right, it was BORING, it was meaningless, you know~ all the excuses. My digital camera is old and is not working very well, and I need a camera for reference material.  Instead of looking for a new digital, I was thinking I should return to my good old reliable, dependable 35 mm Minolta manual with the awesome telephoto lens.  (This camera dates back to the late seventies and it produces some truly awesome slides with excellent focus.) Unfortunately, I can’t find slide film anymore. My photographer friend, Don Tomick told me this would happen.
Ultimately, it made my decision to “get back to basics.” I have been sketching outdoors, from life looking at things with fresh eyes, using my common sense and rediscovering what interests me as an artist. I am feeling my way again, looking for insight into what inspires me, "why do I paint, what am I thinking?" 

I invite you to walk my path and share in my progress.

The challenge for week one:

Paint on location.

There is a little gold town named Volcano that I drive through twice a day.  It is off the beaten path, so there is no Starbucks, and quiet is the rule. The locals like to visit in front of the General Store and walk their dogs. Daffodil Hill lives there. Last Saturday, I spent a few hours sketching and painting off the tail gate of my pickup.  (That makes a great surface for painting, it is just the right height and I don't mind splashing a little Sap green on it~it washes right off :)  It was nice to see that the visitors to the town were interested in what I was doing. The local people were busy with maintenance. The Virginia creeper vines on the Wine Room roof were brilliant scarlet and Alizarin crimson. The little town has a good vibe to it, it feels old, but cared for. Why paint on location?
  1. It is good practice. 
  2. It helps get me out of the house.
  3. It is good for me to be exposed to the comments of passers-by.
  4. It stretches my artistic abilities, and trains the eye.
Week two challenge:

Go to Hope Valley~autumn Aspen leaves are at their best NOW.
  1. Take LOTS of reference photos.
  2. Sketch and paint what I see.
  3. Take a picnic lunch :)
Check back next week to see how it went!

Be well, Wendy