Archive for August, 2009

Life Takes A Turn

August 24, 2009

I know I use my computer way more than I should. But someone has taken care of that problem. This weekend my car window was smashed in, trunk opened and my computer stolen. So I am on a borrowed machine, and my access is quite limited in what I can do and post.

I have spent the weekend changing passwords on all my accounts, getting receipts together for insurance claims, and lamenting the lost of a great workhorse.

So this is just a heads up in case you follow this blog and wonder why there will be little or nor posting activity in the coming weeks.

I hope to get up and running as soon as possible, so stay tuned!

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Early Risers

August 24, 2009

morning_glowMorning Glow, soft pastel, 11 x 14″
© 2009 Marianne Post

painting_sparks_lakeMany times I thank my internal clock for the fact that it gets me up and going at the crack of dawn. For an artist this time of day radiates with glow and promise. Recently I spent over two weeks in central Oregon, seizing every opportunity I could to paint spectacular beauty. Morning Glow is a painting I did early one morning on the edge of Sparks Lake near Bend. The air was still. The kayakers had not yet arrived. Smoke from a far off campfire hung over the lake. The morning sunrise was a special pleasure. Life is good. Life as an artist is even better.

Sketchbook Thursday No.14

August 20, 2009

sketchbook074This week the pages of my sketchbook probably look to most like a bunch of scribbles. I was sitting at my local car service center waiting for my car to have its oil changed. Thinkng that this was the perfect opportunity to get some figure sketches in I got a pencil in hand pulled out my sketchbook. Thinking that everyone looked pretty well rooted in their postures I thought this woud be a breeze. Wrong. It turned out the shop was busy, lots of comings and goings and no one sat still!

In the midst of my frustration I remembered a technique a fellow artist shared with me a few years ago. Anyone who has taken life drawing classes probably has had the experience of doing quick gesture drawings. Well her technique was a bit different. She called them scribble line gestures. The figure forms are developed from the inside out much like a sculptor would create an armature for his work. This gave you the added advantage of not only capturing line but form. Your pen or pencil is constantly moving. And as your subject moves, so do your scribbles. I sort of got on a roll and I won’t bore you with the hundreds I did over the past few days. (Not to worry, I got out of the service center in respectable time. I just continued with my “scribbles” during the course of the week.) My subjects besides the fellow car service patrons became TV stars, my cats and the kids next store.

The 360° Advantage

August 17, 2009

fall_river_treesA Twosome, 11 x 14″, soft pastel
© 2009 Marianne Post

When it comes to plein air painting, I don’t know how may times I have heard the mantra “Take your time and explore the possibilities.” I like to think that of all the plein air “skills” one can master this one I am good at. But earlier this month when I went to paint along the Fall River near Sunriver, Oregon I surprised myself. I was caught up with the idea that I was going to paint the river. I scoped out vantage points, did a variety of notan studies and then went to work. So far, so good. In the midst of painting I stepped back and just happened to turn around. You guessed it, I was enamored by what I saw!

A pair of intertwined pine trees screamed, “Paint me.” If you follow my blog you might recognize a quick sketch done on location right then and there. I also made some color notes and took some photos. Pictured is the where I am with it in the studio. I am working on a surface that I love, Ampersand Pastelbord. I really like how it caresses the pastel, and affords me the opportunity to vary my strokes. I began with a watercolor underpainting and like how the watercolor responds to this surface. I feel good about where I am so far with this, and of course, a lesson has been learned, “turn around.”

Sketchbook Thursday, No. 13

August 13, 2009

I call it the “aftermath.” It’s the time beginning when I arrive home after a long absence. It’s the period during which I unpack clothes, paintings, and art stuff. I sort through the mail, listen to voice mail, do the laundry, restock the frig and the pantry. It’s all the stuff I have to do before life gets back to everyday normal. Mind you, it is all not drudgery because it always begins with the rubbing of noses and the scratching behind ears. I am talking about the welcome home from our cats. They are always here, first thing, to greet us.

Sox, in the studio, circa 2004

Sox, in the studio, circa 2004

We have three: Sox (female, white paws), Domino (male, yep, he’s black and white), and Moochie (male, big and fat, he almost counts as two). While they are all different, they are similar in three ways. They all acquired us as rescue cats. They are all very loveable. And they all are “outside” cats with “inside” privileges that include lap access.

Sox

Sox

Did I mention that Sox turned 19 this summer? My vet once told me that the average lifespan for an “outside” cat was only one year, for an “inside” cat, 11. Sox never considered herself average, neither did we.

In her youth she was the ultimate huntress, with a regal air about her. As she aged and especially in her latter years she was much more content to spend the day asleep on “her” chair, in the studio.

We have been home for five days now, and still there has been no sign of her. We have searched all her usual haunts and then some. Domino has hunkered in on the back porch and has been staying close to home. Unusual for him. Every time Moochie comes in, he makes a beeline for the studio. Last night I found him there, asleep under Sox’s chair. This morning I picked up her water bowl, quietly washed it and put it away. We all miss her.

We arrived safely home from our journeys; the “aftermath” chores are behind us. Life should be back to normal. Not quite so, this time.

Color Curiosities

August 10, 2009
river_bank
River’s Edge, 11 x 16″ plein air
© 2009 Marianne Post
Fall River, Oregon

I don’t know about you, but I am fascinated with the properties of color and how they play with our psyche. Perhaps that is what feeds my colorist approach to painting with soft pastels.

According to Mark Fineman, author of  The Nature of Visual illusion, the human eye can discriminate among over 7 million colors. No wonder then, that everyone sees color differently. There is certainly room for discussion. Some of us seem to be able to discern subtle color difference more easily than others. But I have also personally witnessed that seeing color nuances is a learnable skill.

I remember once I was doing a painting demo and after I was done a woman came up to me and whispered in my ear, ” You know, I see those colors, too.” It reminded me of the riveting line in the 1999 psychological thriller film, Sixth Sense, written and directed by M. Shyamaian. Young, and lonely Cole Sear played by Haley Osment, turns to child psychologist (Bruce Willis), who is equally troubled, and whispers “I see dead people.”

But, there really is nothing mystical about seeing color. Some may have a given talent right out of the gate. Their rods and cones, their color processors, may be “fancier” or more powerful than others. But one can learn to flex ones muscles so to speak to hone their color seeing skills. We all might not have the makings of olympian caliber athletes when it comes to seeing color, but we can still enjoy the journey.

How do you see color? Have some fun and test your color vision.

Once you’ve completed the test you may be interested in more color facts. While there is a lot of “science” discussed on this site there are also interesting facts about how color influences our making and perception of art.

Sketchbook Thursday No. 12

August 6, 2009

This week my sketchbook and camera got a workout. Traveling along the Cascade Highway in central Oregon was a real treat. The Cascade range is home to lakes, rivers and streams that are a fly fisherman’s paradise. The mountains are crisscrosesd with trails that can challenge a hiker. And then there are quiet forests that speak of wonder and wild animals!

fallriver_treesA quick sketch of some ponderosa pines along the Fall River.

fallriver_sunsetFall River at sunset.
Planned to paint, but Deet defying mosquitos caused a change in plans.

sparks_lakeSun rising over Sparks Lake. Painted all morning.

mckenzieHiking along the wild and raucous McKenzie River.


Quietly Afternoon

August 3, 2009

quietly_afternoon

Quietly Afternoon, 6″ x6″
© 2009 Marianne Post

For eight days I have had the opportunity to participate in the quintessential workshop, instructed by Richard McKinley and organized by La Conner Art Workshops in the beautiful Skagit Valley of Washington.

Each day began early and ended late, but time didn’t seem to matter to most of us. This was an opportunity to paint picturesque farmlands, flowing rivers, and ebbing tides. We learned a variety of techniques with emphasis on starting with strong underpaintings. Quietly Afternoon is a small plein air pastel of a slough just outside of the charming village of La Conner.

I will post more in depth about this fabulous experience when I finally return home and have an internet connection that is not so darn slow. Hope you stay tuned!