Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Landscape

And, continuing to work my way through the plain...

One of the dangers in working on a big painting is that it is hard to see. To take it all in, digital photos are an excellent tool. Once the image is on my computer screen in a small format, I can see things which need adjustment.

For instance, though the plain on the right has lots of colors, it is too uniform. It didn't look that way when I painted it from 12 inches away! So, #1, break up the plain with a good horizontal.
In trying to add some more color and contrast, there is a green band on the left. It is too green and needs to be cooler. #2, add more blues and purples to the green band which will keep it from "popping" out of the distant background.

Lastly, the volcano. If my sun angle creates shadows on the caribou, it should also on the volcano. #3, paint cooler colors on the left side of the volcano.

Check out my next blog to see these changes and more.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The volcano

One of the things I enjoy about painting is exploring new landscapes. Placing the animals in a distinct setting gives a more rounded feeling to the whole piece.

The background is Nunivak Island, Alaska. It is off the southwestern coast of Alaska and is the second largest island in the Bering Sea. The geology is rather interesting with cinder cones and small shield volcanoes though some geologists argue the small alkali basalt cones with steep flanks and summit craters more closely resemble small stratavolcanoes.

I like to get a feeling for the geology of a place before I start a painting. Certainly wouldn't want to paint a granodioritic rock where alkalic basalt and pahoehoe lava is dominant!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Starting the Landscape

When a painting is this large, there is a lot of real estate to cover.

     For sky, I have found the best way to make it feel atmospheric is to start by mixing several colors. Then I paint them on my board and blend them into each other. Three brushes were used to put the paint on and blending took 5-6 flat sable brushes. Once my brush was filled with paint, it was no longer effective for subtle blending and would only leave distracting streaks. Time to grab a clean brush. The clouds were added near the end.
     It is important to note that after I paint my turpentine underpainting (see previous blog), I don't use turpentine again on the painting. All my paints are mixed directly from the tube. Rembrandt oil paints are juicy enough that they move well without any additives or mediums. The color stays fresh and is only ground pigment in linseed or safflower oil.

My favorite part of this section was the water. It adds depth to the background and brightens up the scene. Next up the extinct volcano.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I hope you like caribou. This painting will be in-progress for a while. It is a big one at 34" X 80". I've been looking forward to doing another caribou piece and am excited about working on this.

Once again, my oak easel has been modified with horizontal support bars which are screwed into the uprights on the easel. These bars have a grove at the top and bottom to keep my hand-gessoed board supported on the ends. They also allow the piece to be slid from side to side so I can keep the portion I am painting in the center of my easel and close to my palette. 

Here you can see my turpentine underpainting of raw sienna and burnt sienna.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Birds in Art 2014

What a thrill it was to receive the news. For the 10th time in 14 years a painting of mine has been accepted into the prestigious Birds in Art exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.

There were over 900 submissions of paintings, sculptures and carvings from artists around the world. From these submissions only 92 pieces were selected.

My painting Flight was accepted. This is the biggest piece I have submitted so it is especially exciting to have it included.

30" X 52"
Original Oil

To find out more about the Museum, visit 
Wausau's Artrageous weekend is September 6th and 7th.

Monday, May 5, 2014

More Water

There is a spot "up-Island" on Martha's Vineyard where I have enjoyed watching the waves since I was a little girl. Squibnocket Beach. It has been a while since I have painted a piece from here so thought for the last in this East Coast series this is the place I wanted to "visit."

Breaking Wave
Original Oil
10" X 14"

Stay tuned for upcoming posts of wildlife paintings.