Archive for January, 2013

Just One Bite

January 31, 2013

day3030 in 30 challenge, day 30

Temptation, allurement, seduction. I am sure you know what I am talking about. For instance, take eating a donut you know darn well you don’t need. “Okay,”  you say, “just one bite.” Before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole thing.

Leslie Saeta’s 30 paintings in 30 days challenge was sort of like that. The whole idea sounded interesting, actually very tempting. But did I really need to produce 30 paintings for the sake of 30 paintings. The more I thought about it, though, that clearly was not the point. My objective was to have uninterrupted studio time, EVERYDAY.

So I took the bait or the bite and started in with the challenge of a new medium, oil painting with a palette knife. I figured if I just did small, 5×7 paintings of simple subjects I could make a valiant start at mixing color and working with oils. The added bonus, the icing, would be that everyday for 30 days I would be trying something new. Any other time I would have been distracted to pick up my pastels and get comfortable using my usual medium. I have a couple of shows and events coming up and I could easily spend time developing some new work. But I have wanted to play around with oil paint and this seemed like an opportunity that would keep me focused. My pastels would have to wait.

Thirty days and thirty small oil paintings later. I stayed on track and learned a lot. I guess I can say I ate the whole thing. Feels good, actually!

So what’s next? Leslie Saeta, founder of Artists Helping Artists, and creator of the 30 Paintings in 30 days Challenge has some new ideas up her sleeve. On today’s blogtalk segment, Leslie will share the insights from artists who participated in the challenge and talk about the tomorrows in the studio.

Maybe I should order a baker’s dozen and get revved for round two.


Just Dessert

January 30, 2013

day2930 in 30 challenge, day 29

At day 29 of the challenge I look back and realize that everyday I have experienced something new; working with selecting a limited palette, mixing colors, struggling with a palette knife, serious uninterrupted studio time, and searching for inspiration. This challenge has been like a meal that has complex flavors all along the way. As almost 200 artists near the end of the 30/30 project it seemed fitting that I should be on dessert at this point.

A juicy berry custard pie with a “little” bit of cream seems fitting.


Another Slice

January 29, 2013

day2830 in 30 challenge, day 28

My to do list today is a mile long. But after going to the gym, the very next thing on my agenda was to paint. Normally I think I would have let other daily chores and commitments get in the way. So perhaps this 30 in 30 challenge has actually helped me develop serious, consistent studio time. Painting took a slice out of my day, but it was a good one.

Now where did I put that list?

Sun Kissed

January 28, 2013

day2730 in 30 challenge, day 27

After three weeks of unrelenting fog and cold we finally saw the sun this weekend. That doesn’t mean it didn’t rain. The weather, here in Oregon, is so different from California’s. It is so changeable. Lily, my whippet, and I went for a walk, as we do everyday, rain or shine, sometimes both. As we made our way back home, the sun was on our backs and we both stopped dead in our tracks to soak it up.

We took our time coming back home. The sun felt so nice. But I was excited to revisit a subject I had painted a number of years ago in pastel. It was a seed laden sunflower bowing under its weight with the sun was on it’s back. This morning,I dug through my reference file and found the old photo. This time I painted it in oil with a palette knife for my 30 in 30 challenge.

Did I mention its gray and raining again today?

Pick One

January 27, 2013

day2630 in 30 challenge, day 26

My studio is clean and it feels good to have some order back into the scheme of things. After a day of sorting, purging, and coaxing things back into their usual places, the chaos was tamed back into submission. The added bonus of my cleaning frenzy was being surprised about the things I unearthed while I was sorting through the piles and layers of stuff.

I came across books about floor cloths. I always thought that would be cool, creative covering for my studio floor. I found sketches of Frank Llyod Wright designs I was going to use for inspiration in creating one. I also came across a Richard Schmid video I had never watched, I guess in preparation for working in oils.

There were a few books of Haiku. I always found them a source for painting titles. Among my stash there were also books on perspective and architectural renderings. These were probably left over from my design classes at the Art Academy University in San Francisco. There was a tub of gesso acting as a still life stand under a cloth I was using for my painting set ups. I had been looking all over for that.

I have an affinity for paper. I came across a portfolio of my handmade papers. While working in the design industry for years, I acquired boxes of paper samples from mills that sadly have gone out of business. I remembering touring the mills and seeing how the papers were made. The whole process intrigued me. Then I made my own, dyed and hand colored them and used them in collage pieces.

I have a box of acrylic paints I must have used for something, sometime. I found calligraphy pens, technical pens, bottles of inks, and dozens of sketchbooks.

I guess I have a bit of lots! But if I had to pick one thing I would never abandon it would be my boxes, drawers, cabinets of pastels.

Does your attention drift from one creative pursuit to another? Do you find yourself torn between mediums? If you had to “pick one,” what would it be?

A Tight Squeeze

January 26, 2013

day2530 in 30 challenge, day 25

It’s the weekend and there’s lots going on. For some insane reason I decided to tackle cleaning the studio today. It had gotten out of hand with dish racks of wet oil paintings all about, pastel paintings stacked along the walls that need to be framed for delivery this Friday. Then there is the carton of frames that arrived last week that need to meet up with those frameless pastels. Remnants of still life setups are strewned all over. You get the picture. So the day flew by before I realized it is DAY TWENTY FIVE and I don’t have a painting to post. So with an hour and a few lemons I squeezed out this one.

Limited Palette

January 25, 2013


30 in 30 challenge, day 24

Remember the big box of 48 crayola colors? The sticks stood lined up like fans in bleachers. The tiered layers were full of luscious color. A kids delight. That was in 1948. And then to top that off ten years later came the box of 64. What a treat! Now, there are even more colors in a plastic telescoping case that works like a lazy susan. Is there a kid in the US that hasn’t held a crayon and created a piece of art?

Primarily as a pastel artist, my box of sticks even beats a crayola carousel of color.  Pastelists are always in search of that elusive stick of color that will make their mark making and painting that much easier. I have spoiled myself with quite a stash.

Working in oils for the last three weeks brought me back to a humble palette of seven colors, two yellows, two reds, two blues and a green. And what it has done has made me think about mixing colors and and making neutrals. For instance, I have a warm yellow, it has a bit of red in it, and when I mix that with a cool red which has some blue I have a mix of all three primaries (yellow, red, blue) and the resulting color is dull rather than vibrant. So as I go through my palette I am asking myself what is the “mix” of each color and how will that mix influence the other. Blue and yellow may make green but what a variety one can get with two yellows and two blues, depending on each colors bias to warm and cool. So going back to the basics with a limited palette might be the best thing I’ve done in a long time.

Just Joe

January 24, 2013

day2330 in 30 challenge, day 23

It’s hard to believe that the 30 pantings in 30 days challenge will be over in a week. I am just finding my stride without fail in the studio everyday. Leslie Saeta promises another challenge for next month, no telling what she has up her sleeve. Who needs a cuppa joe to get revved up?


Two Against One

January 23, 2013

day2230 in 30 challenge, day 22

I saw cherries at the market yesterday and I couldn’t resist them. When I was a kid growing up in San Francisco my Mom would buy handfuls of these succulent little red gems and I would make myself sick by eating gobs of these things. I wondered yesterday if these would even make it to my studio or be gone before they had a chance to shine under the studio lights. Well, they are painted and yep, they are gone.

Much to my surprise I found that the nearby city of Salem Oregon is known as the Cherry City. Dating back as early as 1847, cherry orchards covered the surrounding hills of Salem and their bounty was touted as being the biggest and best in the country. Life is good in these parts, maybe even like a bowl of cherries.


Berrily Done

January 22, 2013

day2130 in 30 challenge, day 21

Somedays it just seems like there is no time to be in the studio. The business side of being an artist takes over and consumes more of the day than one would like. So today’s post for the 30 in 30 challenge is “berrily” done. There are phone calls to make, travel plans to arrange, workshop details to work out, publicity packets to mail, and websites to update. Geez!