Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Herefords at the Grey Barn

I did something like this is a smaller format 12" x 6". This is not much larger, but I believe in baby steps. I switched the cattle to Herefords because I liked the contrast of the reddish fur against the blue. I did add one mixed breed, not sure if that was a good idea. This is oil and I can wipe that off and make another Hereford.
8" x 16" oil on canvas

Sunday, February 7, 2016

When the Gnats Feast

I painted plein air yesterday and had I great time. My fellow painters did some very nice watercolors. I did an oil painting of rocks and water that was wiped off  to paint this. Anyway I had fun and enjoyed the weather. 
12" x 9" oil on canvas 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tree on the Bluff

I started this with a lavender ground which is pretty much covered up. This is the same view from previous posts without the stream. Trying to focus on the tree more. I am still too preoccupied with the rocks. Trying to repeat the pattern of cracks in the rocks with the tree branches. 
6" x 12" oil on canvas

Thursday, February 4, 2016

White Barn

Another cloud study. I saw this barn outside Iowa City and found the roof shape and the shadow from the cupola interesting. This was one of those photos I liked but was not sure how to handle it with the centered barn. Experience told me not to try it but I painted it because I wanted to.
9" x 12" oil on canvas

52 Faces of Volunteerism

A year ago I started this project painting portraits of local volunteers. My first volunteer was Janice Feany a volunteer from the local art center.

52 Faces of Volunteerism is a tip of the hat to those who give service, freely and gladly. In January of 2015, I began donating my time to painting oil portraits of local Samaritans, at the rate of one a week, for one year. Each model was a volunteer in good standing with, at least, one of Lee County's non-profit organizations. They also had to be willing to sit through a two hour portrait session.

The idea for "Faces" was an evolving epiphany. I became interested in doing live portraits after setting up for the Artist's Studio Tour. The challenges of meeting new people (I'm a bit of an introvert) and doing live portraiture was addicting. After viewing Rose Frantzen’s Portrait of Maquoketa Project, I got the notion to set up at the local art center, more or less, once a week and paint whomever she could persuade to pose. While talking with the art center's own volunteer, it occurred to me to pay homage to those among us who give so much to others. In other words, "I've always believed that art can and should be a positive force." At the end of February, when the exhibit is over, each volunteer will be given his or her oil portrait, to do with as they will.

From the beginning the participants were encouraged to talk; so they would look directly at me (and stay awake) while sitting in one spot for two hours (no small feat for these human dynamos.) What quickly became apparent was that these are not normal people; many of them are serial do-gooders, some with forty plus years of service to several organizations. Their reasons for having their picture done vary from person to person (one gentleman posed because he was absent from the meeting when the "volunteer" was nominated.) Many are vivacious and outgoing; some are introspective, and were uncomfortable with being studied. They are as different as the entities they represent, and as alike as the ideals they pursue.

"What a man does for himself dies with him. What a man does for his community lives long after he’s gone." Theodore Roosevelt

As the the months flew by, the paintings and stories amassed; another thing became obvious: The good accomplished by volunteers cannot be overstated. These fifty two people are just the tip of the ice-berg. Of the dozens of non-profits, from the largest to the smallest, no service or event gets done without sneakers on the ground to make it happen. There's no way to tell exactly how many volunteers there are in any given community, but they are manifold, and their impact is beyond measure.

The exhibit will run til the end of February at the art gallery in Fort Madison, Iowa. The opening reception will be Saturday February the 13th from 2 to 4. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

One Nice Day

Saturday was the first nice day to get together with friends for some plein air painting. Jessica send out the email, Carroll found the perfect spot to really challenge and inspire us.  John posted an image of those of us who could make it that day

.I picked this scene even though is was a little busy for my skill level. Too many rocks, dirt and brush. I went back into it later at home and put more emphasis on the tree. 

I just couldn't let it go and took another try at it. This is from a photo of the same location downstream from the first. Still not up to simplifying the subject matter enough. 
6" x 12" oil on canvas 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Winter Cattle Study

I want to paint larger but need to work out the composition. This is the gray barn I painted earlier. I added the cattle from another photo reference. I have photos of Herefords that I may use to try to add some nice warm colors against the cool.
12" x 6" oil on canvas

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Late Afternoon on the River

This is from a photo I took after painting plein air. Looking forward to nice weather to get back to this spot.
12" x 6" oil on canvas

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter at the Gray Barn

We didn't have a lot of snow so this came from a photo I took last year. This challenge was to paint the gray and make it interesting. I did not use any black and mixed my grays, another challenge. 
12" x 6" oil on canvas

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

In the Round Pen

This was another challenge from one of my photo references. The pose was not what you usually see in a painting, with the legs outstretched such as Degas's "False Start". Some poses lend themselves to convey action and grace better than others. This does not say grace, it almost seems like the horse is about to stumble. My sister had a horse like that and we nicknamed the horse "Trip". Luckily for my sister the horse always managed to stay upright. 
12" x 6" oil on canvas.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sunset on the Trail

Practicing on clouds again. Sunsets are the most fleeting. My artist friend Gin Lammert has an upcoming show with lots of inspiring sunsets or maybe they are sunrises?
14" x 11" oil on canvas panel

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Coconut Cream

Reposted this after fixing it. 
I should have stopped at the produce department. I wanted to challenge myself painting yellow in shadow. Also wanted to practice round objects. A friend sent me a formula for that but I was in too big a hurry. Seeing this downsized on the internet helps me see where it needs to be changed. Oops where is the shadow for the fork?
12" x 6" oil on canvas

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

One Pair

Set up a still life from my produce finds. I really don't like to eat pears, maybe I can juice them I heard that is good.
12" x 6" oil on canvas

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Road to Augusta

Another challenging landscape. Usually a road that snakes through the landscape makes a more interesting subject and successful painting, but I have seen artists take an ordinary scene and make it work.  This was my challenge with this scene. Also still practicing my clouds.
12" x 9" oil on canvas

Monday, January 18, 2016

Forest Scene

Pulled up another photo from my warm weather plein air painting. Clouds are fleeting so it is better for me to practice from the photos. I hope I can keep the scene in my head long enough to paint a believable cloudscape plein air.
6" x 12" oil on canvas

Saturday, January 16, 2016

volunteer parade of lights

I deleted the first post on this one and worked some more on the painitng. My husband does not humor me which is a good thing on these portraits. I would rather hear it from him than worry that the volunteers are not happy. There is also someone at the art center who is brutally honest. I guess in this field you better be prepared to listen to a second opinion.
11" x 14" oil on mdf

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Riverview at Bonaparte Iowa

Finished at the last volunteer portrait session, just need to tweak it now. Pulled up a photo on my challenge list. Capturing the many rocks in the water and the distant shoreline make this a scene I need to work on. I also started with a white canvas, not ideal.
8" x 8" oil on canvas 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Volunteer in Lavendar

This lady wore the prettiest lavender sweater. Shades of purple are something I need to work on. 
11" x 14" oil on mdf. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Just a break from the portraits. I have been redoing some of the portraits hoping to get a better likeness. I need to stand back once in a while.
8" x 8"

Sunday, January 10, 2016

volunteer no 50

volunteer for West Point Community Club. 
11" x 14" oil on mdf