Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pastel Dust is moving...

With 2010 coming to a close, I am ending the year with one of the images from the series of 100 small works that is visual of what the northwest can and does look like this time of year.  A few days before Christmas we had several inches of snow, only to be washed away with the rains.  This is part of the world where the saying "Like our weather? Wait a minute and it will change..." must have come from.

Now, I am also closing this blog site and entering my blogs on the bonniegriffith.wordpress.com  site.  I have transferred all the old blogs from this one, but what I don't seem to be able to do is to transfer "followers" to the new site.  Please take a moment to sign into the new site to follow the journeys painting through the 50 off the 90 series and more.  I have some plans for painting in a couple of different areas this year and I am sure there will be some tales of interesting bits along the way!  This landscape artist is always looking for something of interest- whether it is in the back yard, by the river, in the mountains, etc.

We traveled the 82 to the 90 to the 5 over Christmas to visit family and friends in the Seattle area and what we saw was something akin to the painting above,  as well as sunshine on the west side of the pass in the Cascades to rain to fog and more sunshine.  Mid mornings the clouds lifted and the sun shined on Rainier for one of those spectacular views.  Driving through the Tricities and onward to Yakima was a little tense as the temperature dropped to about 27 and the rains came down.  A few cars were in the ditches, but as we got further west, the temperatures increased and the rains stopped.  Sometimes driving you see things that are just bizarre.  We witnessed such with the adventures of a little BMW of vintage age with a less than well kept convertible top and its lone driver drive sort of oddly through the hills and valleys from Yakima to Ellensburg.  He was zooming around semis and cars and then slowing up, passing again, etc.  Now, as you crest the last big ridges and look over the valley where Ellensburg lies, it is a beautiful site any time of year.  Snow covered on the 22nd of December, roads are clear except for some snow along the edges.  As you come down the long hill into the valley, the semis are gearing down for the distance and at the bottom is where you get to make the decision to get on to I-90 east or west.  82 ends there.  So this little car and his driver have now sped past everyone and we are watching as he opts for the I-90 east exit.  WRONG!  He really wanted west!  He slams on his brakes, skids around and is just about to make it back onto the lane that takes him to I-90 West when he skids into one of the interstate sign poles.  It seemed like all is good until the sign starts to sway and then falls over on the car and then bounces onto the ground creating a cloud of snow as it hits.  The driver seemed unscathed however, sitting in his seat, both hands on the wheel with that look of bewilderment on his face.  It was probably one of those things you had to see for yourself, but it was quite the site to see this sign give way and attack!

So it is back to getting some painting done.  First thing is finish the poster for the Snow White production and work on some backdrop designs...so remember to go to the new blog site and follow from there.  If you have difficulties...contact me: bzgriff@charter.net .  In meantime...happy painting and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pastel Dust

I have the pleasure to be part of the Northwest Pastel Society Board.  I have been seeking out galleries for future shows and I must say that I have had a great time visiting with gallery owners/managers who might host one of our shows.  I have visited with several galleries throughout WA and OR - mostly the greater Seattle/Tacoma area and the Portland, OR area.  One gallery owner that I met this year is Rick Kirsten of Kirsten Gallery in Seattle.  His Kirsten Gallery in the University district of Seattle is great.  It is a unique multilevel gallery space that is interesting  and welcoming from the moment you walk in the door.  I stopped in one day this summer and saw the Marine Painters show and to check the gallery space out for a NPS show.  The staff was great and the ambiance of the gallery wonderful.  I am looking forward to the NPS members show being at Kirsten in April of 2011.

Another gallery that I love to go to and have exhibited at is the Pendleton Center for the Arts.  Overlooking downtown Pendleton, OR from it's spot next to the Umatilla River, this gallery welcomes  you the minute you walk in the doors.  The beautiful light filled gallery with bamboo floors and white walls show work so well.  A few years ago I did a show there called "A Hundred Mile Radius".  It was a show of 23 landscapes, all images of the lands within 100 miles of Pendleton.  This gallery has a wonderful shop of artisan items for sale as well as a performing arts area and great workshop space and more.  This art center was once a Carnegie Library and was renovated into a first class gallery.

I am prepping for our 3rd annual Open Studio Art Sale.  This  year I am moving it to the first weekend of December to coincide with the Winter Barrel Tasting event for the wineries in Walla Walla.  We will move furniture around and out to accommodate easy access to the wall space on the main level of our house, hang lots of art, salon style, brew some good coffee and have some treats available and enjoy the two days visiting with friends and art lovers who happen to come by.  I am encouraging visitors to bring something for the Food Bank as well - something nonperishable to donate to the bank in the spirit of the annual Care and Share Food Drive the Walla Walla Association of Realtors does each year.  Each person that brings some food item for the drive will get to enter a drawing for one of the series of 100 paintings.
I will have a good variety of sizes and prices of art - mostly the pastels, but I may hang a few mono prints and oils as well.  So if you happen to be in the Walla Walla area December 4-5, stop by 938 Mountain Park Drive and enjoy some art and conversation over a cup of hot coffee or tea!
With Thanksgiving this week, enjoy the time with friends and family and for those of you artists out there, be sure to take a little time and spend some time for yourself immersed in your art!  Happy painting and Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pastel dust under the lights



So on the last post I was talking a little bit about how lights affect photographing paintings.  Because this is so dramatic on this piece I wanted to illustrate that for my readers.  The first image where the rocks appear to be golden in color was photographed indoors with both daylight bulbs and a halogen bulb in a lamp that I paint with.  The other image where the rocks appear more gray was photographed in a shaded, but naturally lit area (my patio) with a neutral background.  I did not manipulate the image except to resize it.
When I an standing there painting in the studio and when I look at the image of this painting, what I see is the one with the gray rocks....which is accurate.  So that tells me that the lights I use in my studio work for just that...BUT to photograph them in that light changes the tones greatly. 
Now if I were painting that scene from southern Nevada for instance, the color of that rock would be actually the color of the first painting.  Down around Lake Mead in the Valley of Fire, you tend to see this golden to reddish color of rock.  But that wasn't what I saw when I took the reference photo in SE Montana!  Another BUT...if I had shot an image in the late day when the sun was close to going down...I might have gotten that sort of image!  Holy Cow!!  Light is a huge factor in painting and photography.
So the message is...whatever painting  you are photographing, it is best to do that in natural light.  Now I know that professional photographers aren't running outside on their patio to shoot their images....but I am talking about those of us who are photographing our work for either shows and/or archival needs and want a good representation of the piece of art.  There have been good articles written about photographing art for shows in Artist's Magazine and Pastel Journal and one might still be able to go to their web sites and dig them up.   I just wanted to illustrate simply for you how differently a painting can look under different light.  And I did these with a digital camera using the automatic setting for close up work.  If you read articles about photographing art, you would probably find the recommended procedure is to use a SLR camera, not automatic settings, a light meter, certain f-stops, etc.  A good digital camera can give you great results as I have shown.
Another little piece is the 3rd in the series of 50 off the 90...only by about 100 miles or so...It is a 5x7 on Canson black paper looking to the east toward the Blue Mountains near Dayton, WA.  Spring in that area brings out about every color of green!  It is a beautiful area.  Those big hills are farmed on top and down some of the sides...and beyond the fir trees there are lush fields of grain any place a plow can get to!

So, experiment with some photography of work and see the difference!  As a note, the last show I attended - and I think I may be touched on this last time - some of the paintings looked quite a bit different when viewed on the monitor when compared to seeing them in real life.  And the catalog print images were even different again.  It's all the variables!  Just something else we need to pay attention to!
Happy painting....

Monday, November 15, 2010

The journey of 50 off the 90 begins with an invitation to paint a bit of Montana


Juniper on the rock cliff, MT

Mario V's

Bonnie's

Erica K's

A couple of posts ago I invited anyone who wanted to the paint the photo of the sandstone cliffs in southeastern Montana to send me their images and I would post them.  I was happy to get one from Mario who took time away from his Soft Pastel News site to paint the cliffs and to also get an image from another blogger and artist Erica.  It is fun to see the difference of interpretation between the 3 of us.  I know Mario told me he did a really pretty quick sketch in about 40 minutes.  I spent about an hour on mine.  Erica didn't say how long she spend working on hers.  I am happy to share these...thanks so much Mario and Erica!

So here is an observation if not a lesson in lighting from my perspective and I am referencing my work in this... I painted mine in the studio where I use daylight bulbs in the lights.  I then photographed it in the same light.  I tried a few different camera settings and in all of them, the rocks have this warm look to them.  I do believe that if I take this image outside and shoot it again, the tones would be different.  There was no flash with this one, but it almost has that appearance.  I don't normally shoot images in the studio light, but rather go outside and shoot them in the actual daylight.  However, this is November and it was about 6 p.m. when I finished this - and this time of year, in this part of the world it is quite dark outside at that time of day!

I have done paintings that when  you photograph them, the color alters enough that it just is not right.  I have taken the same image with 2 different cameras and gotten 2 different looks as well...in studio light and in daylight.  When I photography out of doors, I usually do that with a neutral background and in a covered patio area so there is not direct sunlight, but still good light available for the shot.  This usually gives me what I need.

Just last week I looked at the entries for the Northwest Paste Society International Show on line.  Then on Saturday I got to see the show at the gallery.  One thing that I noticed on not just one, but several was how different the images on the monitor looked when compared to what was printed in the catalog and when compared again to the actual image.  It just made me think that when one is taking digital images of your work for a show, try your best to get the image you see to be as close as possible to what that painting is!  Maybe enlist the help of a professional photographer if you are trying to get an image to send to a show...you really want it to be a true representation of your work.

So this is the beginning of the series 50 off the 90...as far as being off the 90...this was pretty far.  It wasn't that the distance was huge, but it was on a dirt road about 50 miles from the interstate.  There was no gravel on the road, just a graded dirt road that boasted a road sign that said something like "road is impassable when raining or during the winter months."  I know this to be true.  This dirt is "gumbo" which when wet, will gather more and more mud until you can go no further.  My mother one time said she thought you could use gumbo like clay and do a sculpture with it.  She tried and it worked.  She fashioned some horses and some people out of the mud.  They held up pretty well, never were fired - but she made her point!  Her sculptures were often a topic of conversation and the consensus was that gumbo was good for something!

The second in the series is an image of a little creek in eastern Montana that probably only sees water during the spring and early summer and then dries up and sun bakes over the summer months.  Even in May there were only some water holes on this creek and they were pretty shallow; not long a source of water for wildlife or beef.

There wasn't a lot of color in this particular place...it was just interesting.  This image was another that I will photograph outside again, even though this is a pretty close example of the actual painting.  Both of these paintings today were done on Wallis paper that I tones with orange pastel.  I used mostly Sennelier and Diane Townsend pastels on these.

So with all this being said....thank you again Mario and Erica for sharing your work.  My best to you all and keep painting....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pastel Dust

"Portico"  pastel on Wallis

I finished a pastel that I have been working on for some time of the portico.. And when I look at this again, I see some refining points I will still do.  Darken the passageway on the right and brighten the sunlit wall a little more.
I have definitely decided to do the next series of "50 off the 90".  This is a pretty broad scope of opportunity since I didn't declare HOW far off of 90 I might extend my search for the places to paint!  I definitely got some great reference photos from my trek out in the hills on Thursday and they will be appreciated on the upcoming cold gray days that comes with January and February!  I painted outside yesterday in the balmy weather, but today that's not an option with it being drizzling and chilly.
My series will all be a similar, if not the same size...probably the 8x10 or 9x12 size.  This is to be again a learning and experimenting project and I may do the same composition in a couple of different ways to keep things interesting and that of a learning experience.  At times, I will ask my readers to take an image and paint it and then will post those...The lesson in that is to see different interpretations of the same subject.  That's something we can all learn from....so don't be shy, send me some images of the the cliff and junipers that I posted a few days ago.  Email them to me or post them on comments if you can (I don't know if that is possible)...email is bzgriff@charter.net.   I will get that one done soon and post it.

Planning on my Open Studio event...this year it will be focused on just paintings and prints.  We will rearrange the furnishings on the main floor of our home to be gallery like and hang lots of paintings on the walls.  Hours will be 10-4 Saturday and 10-3 Sunday Nov 19th and 20th.  It is a fun time that we invite people to come in and see the new work and have a cup of coffee and a treat.  It is the best of time!
So, if you are in the neighborhood of Walla Walla, WA...follow the "A" boards to 938 Mountain Park Drive and stop in, sit and have a cup of Joe and look at the paintings and most of all visit!

Back to the 50 of the 90...my goal is to complete this at least by mid year.  I am plotting on a car trip to New Mexico and painting there for an extended time.  If that all comes to be...it would be a WHOLE 'nuther project to work through.  So with that said...I am heading to the studio to paint...Happy painting!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

pastel dust

After returning from Montana and since my last post, I have been busy with a variety of "stuff" besides painting which can make me a little itchy.  Finally this week I was able to get things in order and get out and do some painting.  Our weather is still beautiful and it lends to getting out and doing some plein air work as well as going on photo expeditions for those reference photos that are so important when the fog sets in and the dampness is bone chilling.
Bambi and I went out this afternoon with the good intention of doing some plein air work, however, the colors were so incredible we agreed that it might be in our best interest to make it a "photo: day and shoot images.  And that is what we did.  We trekked down along some creeks and drove up remote roads in the Blues.  We stayed out late enough to record some of the fabulous light that happens around 4 o'clock this time of year.  We will appreciate this day come mid January and fog!
I am contemplating a new series...it will be different from the small works series where I  used one composition and recreated it differently 100 times.  I have decided this will be small works, but in the 8x10 or 9x12 size...what I haven't decided on is the number and if the pieces will have a relationship to each other.  I am leaning toward something like "Back roads" or "Roads and Streams" or maybe "Montana On My Mind" or "The Path of Lewis and Clark".  Maybe it will be "50 off the 90"...50 images of areas of interest off of Interstate 90...since I-90 begins or ends in Seattle and goes across the panhandle of ID and through MT and continuing on east to Boston.  Outside of Billings you get the option of getting on I-94 which takes a northerly route through North Dakota and continuing eastward, joining I-90 at Lacrosse, WI and then veering off again toward Madison, WI, crossing 90 in the Chicago land area and ending in the Detroit area.
So with that little bit of highway geography, about any area that I wander around is near I-90 and it is diversely different between Seattle and Billings, MT.
A small bit of trivia....up until a few years ago there was one stoplight on I-90...at Wallace, ID...that went away when a new section of interstate was built that circumvented the downtown area of Wallace.
So with that rambling...I think this next body of work will be spots of interest between Seattle and Miles City, MT.  They might be near I-90 (or 94 as one closes in on MC) or a hundred miles off of it.  I promise them to be interesting spots, remote, probably.

Shows to look forward to include The Northwest Pastel Society International Open Show  that opens the 13th at American Art Company in Tacoma, WA.  This should prove to be a good show with quality work.  I am anxious to see the show hanging in this beautiful gallery space.  The next NPS event is the members show which will be at the Kirsten Gallery in the university district of Seattle in a wonderful multilevel gallery.  that show opens in April, 2011.

I am considering going to the International Association of Pastel Societies annual convention/workshops in Albuquerque next June.  That would be a prime time to take some time and spend painting in NM which is something of a  desire of mine.  The thought of being able to combine a trip to paint and a trip to a pastel convention which should be like a huge candy store for pastelists seems almost too good to be true.  For me this could be a whole new series.  The potential for a landscape artist traveling the route I would take would take me through some splendid sites like Zion, Bryce, etc. and on into CO and northern NM.
"Fall Kaleidoscope" was given an honorable mention in Jerry's Artarama's Summer Pastel Challenge using the Mungyo pastels.  I had not tried them before, but like these semi-hard square sticks.  They are touted to be light fast and the colors are very nice.  Prices are great.  I did a trial run with a box of 1/2 sticks (64) and continue to use them for burnishing and some under painting.  I like these!  this little piece was actually done entirely with the Mungyo's on Art Spectrum paper.  I also used some on the painting at the top which was done on black Art Spectrum and is a scene along Patit Creek.   I am also a big fan of Jerry's plein air frames....very good value especially when you can take advantage of a case lot and when they are on sale!

Finally, I would like to post an image and invite anyone who wants to paint it and then submit it to me to post.  I think a few of these with people's different style and palette would be fun to see.  You can send them to my email bzgriff@charter.net and I can post them or you can try to post them with your comments to the blog!  Here is the first image:
good luck and happy painting!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the dust never settles - Montana October, 2010

a Montana Sunset...with a story...
50 some miles to Miles City; 40 some to Ashland; 45 to Forsyth


Strawberry Hills Rec Area in the Pine Hills of SE Montana near Miles City

 
near the Tongue river south and west of Miles City


the Tongue River




Any time I can get a chance to go to Montana, I do.  It means I get to see family and once again experience the "Big Sky Country for a few days!  I had sent a couple of paintings to the annual art auction for the Custer County Art and Heritage Center show/auction the end of September and wanted to go to the auction event the latter part of September.  It worked out and Les and I were able to go.  The art center in Miles City is just one of the best around.  They have an incredible gallery space that was developed in part of the old water holding tanks along the
Yellowstone River.  These thick concrete walls provide a wonderfully climate controlled, unique space for this venue that holds a great permanent collection of work as well as shows that are changed out regularly.  The team of employees and volunteers always seem to tip the scales with quality in their events as well.  It was a pleasure to attend and to donate one painting to the cause and share the commission on another.  The "River in December" topped the bidding for the auction which was a happy note for me!  I had lots of good comments on the pieces that I submitted and that brings a good feeling to one's heart as well!  This event is another one that gets attention from several well known western artists and it is a pleasure to be part of that.


Earlier in September John from the Discovery Pond and Loft Gallery downtown Miles City had contacted Chris and asked him if his mother would want to hang a show there.  Chris asked me if I was interested and I said I was, but didn't know that I had enough work in Miles City to be considered a "show."  He assured me that he, himself had plenty.  Apparently my kid has been hording some work, because he was able to accommodate the gallery space well!!  John set up a very nice reception and artist opening while I was there and we got to visit with quite a few folks.  He also submitted an article to the local paper about my work from excerpts from the blog and website.  I was very appreciative of his warm hospitality and attention to details in how he hung the art show and the reception.  What a pleasure to work with people like John!   One of the highlights of the reception was a visit from  native American artist Joyce Lahn a longtime SE Montana native.  She was interested in talking about pastels because she hadn't done much with them.  The comment that she made about my work was great affirmation to me...she said "you do the best skies and they are MONTANA skies.  I knew you were from here when I saw how you painted skies."    She told me as a child, she moved to SE Washington with her mother and lived near the Columbia River in the town on Wallula.  Her step father had worked a river project at the time.  She told me about one scene that she said she has never painted but had thought she might was a scene one night as she walked home with a full moon and when she crossed the numerous railroad tracks of this town the moon's glow shimmered blue over the tracks and they were almost iridescent in the light of the moon on the dark night.  Painted quite the picture in my mind, so much that the next full moon and I going to head out to some tracks and see if I see that effect!  She was a delight to talk with.  She paints a lot of landscapes and Native Americans with very nice effects. 
Another day while we were visiting and our kids were at work, Les and I took a drive heading south of Miles City toward Broadus, then turned on the Tongue River Road and headed south and west.  We followed the river for some 30 -40 miles through pastures, along the river  and buttes, cedar, pine and juniper growth before we came to a fork in the road - dirt roads this far out.  A sign said it was 53 miles back to Miles City, 45 to  Forsyth to the north and 30 something to Ashland to the south.  We had long been off the paved road and a sign indicated that if there was snow or rain these roads were impassable.  I understand this growing up in "gumbo" country of north central Montana.  But a day with blue sky and 80 degree temperature, it is beautiful carefree drive through some very interesting country with the buttes and sandstone cliffs,  sort of rugged country with a beauty of it's own. The photo above of the road is near the fork in the road and gives you a sense of the tranquil trail through the hill sides; but in a rainstorm would be impassable as the gumbo would collect on the tires and the road would become so soft and muddy you couldn't move.


So the sunset photo was one that Les took at Chris's house to the east.  When I saw it, I said, "wow! that is my sky in one of the paintings that I had sent to the auction!"  And when you look at the painting and then the photo, you can see the similarity of that red/pink Montana evening sky that lets you know there will most likely be wind in the morning! 


I did this little painting while I was in Montana.  It isn't a MT scene, but is an OR one instead.  The weather was so warm (80-90 degrees) while we were there that I didn't do any fall paintings....it seemed more appropriate to paint spring and summer!!   We managed a couple of other treks out with the camera and the dogs as well as visiting my all time favorite coffee and pastry shop Cafe Utza, downtown Miles City.  I had the pleasure to meet Cara who is one of the owners and who had shown some of the series of 100 this spring.  She indicated she wanted more work for another show, so will have to put something together for this this very cool venue.  And the coffee!!  A flavor of it's own...almost buttery.  Love this place.
We also hung some work in a new establishment - The Main Street Grind - a new bakery and sandwich shop on Main just across from Stockman Bank where Chris and Michelle work.  Some great sandwiches and baked goods there and regarding the art... the golden ochre walls show off some of the wheat field paintings well!
Another highlight was my sister and husband driving down for the weekend and spending time with us.  We had a good time visiting and checking out a few establishments of Miles City.
When we left, we decided to drive the two-lane roads back to Missoula since the weather was good and for a change of scenery.  We headed north from Miles City toward Jordan where, for 80 some miles there is nothing but range land and the remnants of some old towns that have ceased to exist.  When you are on this road, and the day is clear, I think you can easily see a radius of about 150 miles...you are on the plains and this is the "big sky country"!


Now that I have returned, it's time to get back to some serious painting...and you???  happy painting!



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

pastel dust



I went again to Kontos's pond and painted with my friend Bambi.  In a matter of weeks there area changes in the fields and vegetation.  The wheat field to the north has been harvested and the straw baled and there is more dry weeds and grasses around the pond.  While we were there a big blue heron glided in and landed on the little island in the pond, but stayed hidden from us.  We took a break in the midst of the paint out and walked the banks and pastures and shot bunches of images for reference.  When we finished painting  we stopped back at her studio and I looked at some of her pieces she has been working on.  She is talented and is growing so much as a pastelist. 
We always grumble a little about how much stuff we drag with us to go out and paint.  I have a French easel and it works good for short hikes to set up.  But I still have a box of pastels and another bag with paper and stuff that I drag along.  I need to load my tray in my easel with pastels and eliminate one bag!  Bambi however, has been on a quest for a better system and she found a great easel from Cheap Joe's.  It is smaller than my French, but has good storage.  It seems more compact, but has great features and seems a little easier to put together than the French.  I believe it is Cheap Joe's own design and it is quite the ticket!
Our SE WA fair opened today and as part of fine art department staff, we demo during the hours the fair is open.  Carly and I were there today for some hours and managed to complete the vertical pond pastel above and start another.  There was a  moderate amount of traffic and it's a great way to talk to people about pastels and for them to watch us work.  My "Evening Storm Skies" nabbed the Best of Show  and first in the professional division.  "Velvet Underfoot" was 3rd.  It's a nice reward to earn such a prize.  There are some beautiful pieces of work there.
The kid's art is in the same area and last night when we were labelling them, it was great to see what uninhibited art comes from children.  There are some really good stuff.  My two grand daughters both had little watercolors entered; sweet little pieces they are so proud of!  And our friend's son Wiley who takes oil painting lessons regularly entered an outstanding impressionistic piece.  It earned a Blue in the open division and justifiably so!
So three days of demos and Friday brings "First Friday Art Walk".  I will show new works at Williams Real Estate office for the month of September and I am looking forward to having a lot of the pieces framed plein air style in mahogany and gold frames, hanging on their walls!
With that, I wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend and keep painting!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pastel Dust on the Vines

It was a plein air sort of late afternoon to spend at Patina Vineyard as part of the Hospice event we created for their auction this spring.  The mastermind of the event or minds were  Lori and M'Lisse.  LeaAnn lended her vineyard and I brought up the pastel dust....which resulted in the above painting that the buyer of this particular auction lot also got along with a superb dinner and wines.  Other members of the party got a framed coy of a small vineyard painting I had done a few years ago.
One can see I had a great little set up for my space to paint and the pre dinner wines and appetizers adorned the table under the trees twinkling with candles nestled in little cut glass tea cups.  M'Lisse has just bumped one of the tea cups and waxed the back of her hair when the little tea light spilled in the collision!
Lori prepares the dining table for the meal while the guest stroll through the vineyards with LeaAnn.  These two put together an incredible feast with great appetizers, soup, salad and salmon.  I managed a taste of this, a plate of that and it was all top notch cuisine.
While the guest sampled wine and dined, I finished the painting.  We framed it and presented it to the guests to their approval during their meal.

Roy, who is an accomplished watercolorist showed another side of his talents and provided great music for the evening with his guitar and harmonica.  It was quite a pleasure to be painting on the other side of the grape vines and listen to live music!
The message in this blog?  I encourage anyone who paints to get out and do some plein air painting or just get out in the yard and paint from a photo!  If you have an opportunity to paint something for something like this - do it!  It is fun; there isn't a time limit and if you mess up one, just be sure you have an extra sheet of paper to start again!
Happy painting...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

more dust


I just got back from the quarterly Northwest Pastel Society meeting in Gig Harbor, WA.  That's across the Narrows from Tacoma in the south Puget Sound.  It is a beautiful setting and typically would be a great place to some plein air painting down by the harbor, however it was mid 90's and that's a little warm to be outside painting for long!
I just am finishing the night scene of Joseph, OR above.  It is sort of fun to play with "night" colors and the lack of!  It was wet and lots of stormy clouds and most everything was peaceful; much different from the bustling of the daytime Main Street activities.
The vineyard is an older painting that I did some copies of and will be given to some of the guests tomorrow night at the vineyard dining and plein air experience that Lori, M'Lisse, LeaAnn and I put together for a Hospice auction item this year.  I met LeaAnn one evening at her vineyard to check out where I would be painting and maybe what I might paint.  She took me around through the vines and showed me the difference between Cabernet and syrah grapes and others and she was trying to be helpful in where I might set up to paint.  She starts talking about me standing and working on top of a table or in a "lift" on her tractor.  Man, WHOA!  I don't do heights!  I am good being 5'5" from the ground up.  She thought that was pretty funny.  But she doesn't really know me all that well.  I am not extremely coordinated.  I knock things over.  I could envision falling off the table; spilling pastels all over the ground, crashing the easel to the dirt and more.  Much better I stay grounded.  Then I said I loved her grape fields!  GRAPE FIELDS????  IT"S A VINEYARD!! just a technicality...I am looking forward to spending part of the evening with the diners and the rest of the crew.  It will be fun and I will come up with something appropriate to paint, I am certain! without the tractor or standing on a picnic table.
Back the NPS meeting...the entries are all in for the Int'l Show and entry has now closed for that event.  The entries are all done digitally and on line.  This is one of the greatest things, in my book, because it simplifies the entry process so much.  You don't have to take, develop and send in slides or even make a CD, it's all electronic on the computer.
Some folks were talking about preparing their images for transmittal.  That's the crucial element!  Every art show prospectus that comes out describes in detail what dimensions, etc is required for the entry.  Some shows, if the entry isn't done correctly, merely discard the entry and the artist doesn't know any difference other than they were denied for entry by the juror.  So a couple of things to make note of:
        Be sure the image you are sending has nothing but the image of the painting in it...no tape showing on the edges of the painting, no frame, no mat, no light sneaking around the side of the painting, etc.  The prospectus will tell you the image size should be...such as: 
Images should be hi resolution (300dpi), 1200x1800 pixels -approximately 4”x 6”.
Save each of your jpg images using this convention:
“yourlastname.titleofpainting.jpg”
Use no spaces or symbols in name.
So to change your image that you have stored in our computer, you need to have access to PhotoShop or some image software.  Once you go to the "resize image" you can accomplish most of this pretty easily.  You want to maintain the appropriate shape of your painting, so if it happens to be a long narrow piece, you want the juror to see it as it is and not just a portion of that.  So be sure the box is checked to keep proportions consistent. Then you change the longest side of your image to the longest allowed in the prospectus (in the case above - 1800 pi)   Then the shorter side will proportionately change automatically.  Always be sure to check and make certain the resolution is set at the required (300 dpi on this one).  A note...be sure you are using a high resolution when you take your image as well.  Your camera has a setting for this.  If  you shoot an image at 72 dpi and then try to make it be 3000 dpi when you change it, you will not be very happy because your image will not be clear and crisp...And then label the image as requested; "save as" in your documents and then upload this newly sized image in the entry.  Photoshop isn't the only software that allows you to make changes of an image.  I have a Canon ARCsoft program that allows and is very simplistic and easy.  It is a program that is part of my scanning system and works very well.  So that's some tips for preparing an entry for a juried show with digital entries.  Also what I do is print out the prospectus so I have that in hand to refer to, to make certain the entry is done correctly.
Wishing all you painters great success and keep painting...

As a note:  The show is hanging at Discovery Pond in Miles City and the Custer County Heritage Auction Show is ready for public view this weekend for the month before the actual auction.

Monday, August 16, 2010

pastel dust




I have been doing the "other stuff" related to painting for the past couple of weeks...getting pieces into frames, taking work to galleries, picking up other work, etc.  It's all the busy work that takes big chunks of time.  I did go out and do some photography in a vineyard where I am going to be painting plein air during an evening dinner in this vineyard as part of an auction sale to benefit our local Hospice.  Three friends - M'Lisse and Lorie are cooking and presenting some wonderful fare to the high bidders of this auction lot; LeaAnn owns the vineyard and is providing al fresco dining in the shade of beautiful old trees at the edge of the vineyard and I am painting a 9x12" piece while the party eats.  The painting is part of the package as well and will be given to the diners.  All in the spirit of giving back to a superb organization that provides so much for so many people.

So, I have included a couple of images of works that are part of my collection - not my work - but from family.  The watercolor is a field painting done by my great uncle who, along with my Mom was probably my most inspirational person to keep me painting.  This piece was probably painted in the 40's - maybe late 30's.  He lived in Chicago and was an artist working the the ad business.  He traveled a lot, painting and spent years roaming Europe before WWII painting.  Every Christmas, his signature was to paint Christmas cards for the family.  I have 7 of them that my mom saved and framed and gave me.  The cards are all of somewhere that was meaningful to his family - the front stoop of the house in Chicago, the home he lived in out in northern IL, the street he lived on in Paris, etc.
The other image is a wood carving done in a wooden bowl by a young man from Chicago who my Grandmother was a nurse for.  My grandmother was a nurse by training and a pioneer.   She journeyed to Montana in the teens of the century and homesteaded with her brother and his best friend.  She married the friend and after he died untimely, she returned to Chicago with my mom (age 13) in tow and re-upped her necessary continuing education and started nursing again.  Private duty nursing was a good paying line of work and she like that.  The boy that did the carving was recovering from some malaise and he and my grandmother became friends.  Once he recovered he finished the wood carving and gave it to her.
Just another couple of interesting art items with a bunch of sentimental value!

I did spend 5 days in the Puget Sound doing a variety of art things.  The state fair entries were due and this year their focus in the fine art department was Pastels, so I decided to take a piece there for that show.  Other duties were meeting with a gallery in Seattle to host our Northwest Pastel Society show in 2011.  Kirsten Gallery in the University district.  Lovely gallery and look forward to working with them. And then a day with the NPS for a board meeting and general membership meeting.  Finally a trip up to Bellingham to retrieve some pieces that had been shown and back to the east side of the state last night.  The Puget Sound is beautiful; but I certainly appreciate the less traffic and busy that I live in daily in Walla Walla!
So...for now...keep painting...I am going to do that this week!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pastel Skies

Wind TomorrowAfterglow
I am calling the one "Wind Tomorrow" since I have heard that saying about "red sky at night; sailor's delight..."  meaning there will be wind for the sails the next day...The other is the river at sundown in early December and you can probably figure out there is going to be some sort of storm from the looks of the sky.. 
I wanted to do something with a good rural feeling to it for the Custer County Art and Heritage Center auction  in MT that takes place the latter part of September.  It's a fund raiser for the center so I am hoping these will bring them a good chunk of change for their cause.  They have one of the nicest art centers around and they do tons of great things for education of youth, etc. 
Something to note...some of the heavy pastel papers like Wallis and Art Spectrum and Pastelbord to name a few let you rework paintings.  If you hate them and  you haven't totally destroyed your surface with fixatives, you can often brush, wipe and wash off the surface and repaint it.  It's a good solution to last weeks "hissy fit" of being so disgusted with the piece you pitch it in the garbage can.  Some times it's probably best to do that and just take your loss, but other times it can be salvaged and reworked into something good.  I have used the old pastel for an underpainting of a new one, first by getting rid of excess pigment and then wetting the surface with alcohol and using that as a colored base.  Of course colors needs to be something compatible with what your new painting is...and that makes it work!
I am getting ready to start working on some pieces for a show in Sandpoint, ID in November.  It is an invitational show and will be at the Sandpoint Center where I showed for ArtWalk.  The criteria is that the work is to be landscapes of the northern ID.  I have some great reference photos to start working with of that area.  It is truly beautiful in that part of the world.  There is lots of water and mountains.  Color isn't  hard to find and it's really an artist's paradise.  I am also working on pieces for September Walla Walla ArtWalk and I will be showing work at Williams Team Homes office.  they have a wonderful office and good space for art.  Chris has been working on another show space in MT that may come together in October as well.  So I do believe that I need to keep painting!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It is good after having a major failure/melt down to have something come off the easel that you can feel ok about.  I always challenge myself with water.  It is one of those things that if I start to battle with it; nothing works.  Waterfalls are fun  and I have taken several reference photos of huge falls and small ones like this.  The other challenge with something like this one is the rocks.  You can put a lot of different colors in rocks because there are!  I finished some of these with a quick wisp of a metallic gold.  I don't think the photo does it justice; it makes them really come to life (if you can make a rock do that, that is!) and look dimensional.
I posted "The Creek" on my Facebook "Like" page and my friend Idalee who is the best ballet instructor around says "where is that?  I need to take my dancers there for a photo shoot."  Oh, oh...this one is basically in my brain - which is what I told her and said, I just didn't think her dancers would all fit in there!  I had gotten to inspiration (as I told her) from sitting in front of my daughter's doctor's office waiting for her to finish an appointment.  It's a newer southwest style architectural designed building with a nicely landscaped front including a pond, waterfall, rocks and vegetation.  But I think there are places like this on the Walla Walla River and it's tributaries or Blue Creek or Mill Creek and probably would have plenty of room for all the dancers!!
I like to leave a painting hanging on the board for a few days after I deem it finished.  Then keep giving it the eye every time I walk by it and make sure there is nothing I am dissatisfied with.  It's  much easier to change something before it is matted and framed, than after the fact!.  If there is some that I can't put my finger on as to which about the work is not setting right, I will take it and hold it in front of a mirror and look at the image in the mirror.  If there is a major problem, you will typically see it!
So with that bit of info, I leave you to go do some sketching and maybe a painting!   Happy painting...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pastel Daze

It's a 103 degrees and I gotta say, standing on the patio painting, it's hot!  That's our weather -  we can go from a balmy 75 to 105 overnight.  That was yesterday.  This morning at 0530 it is beautiful out, but we are headed for another hot day.

I had some fun with some new pastels  - Mungyo.  They are a hard pastel and I bought this little tester set of half sticks - 60-ish colors.  They are very similar to Nupastels.  I used a sheet of Art  Spectrum paper (Terracotta).  Nearly all of this little painting was done with the Mungyo pastels.  The colors are great and they work well into landscapes as I did with another piece.  And they were quite inexpensive.

I am always intrigued with water and painting it - well.  So there are times that it just works perfectly the way I want it and others...hmmm...my evil twin emerges and all is lost.  Same thing with wheat fields...because we are surrounded by wheat fields and vineyards, they have to be represented the way I want them...not much compromised.  So this  you might be able to tell is going to have a train wreck somewhere in this narrative.  I had taken a reference photo of some fields with a road and sort of an edgy composition.  Got the back ground sky, hills, trees, hint of a house and barn all in and it's looking good.  I have roughed in the road and fields with an under painting and started to work on the fields.  Then I worked some more.  And some more.  I know what's happening, but I could not stop working on this field and let me tell you it was going no where.  I am working on Wallis paper;  get rid of the attempts of wheat; start again.  Yes ma'am, this is a train wreck.  My husband came by; didn't say a word.  There you go....that spoke volumes!  I know dang well this is a wreck and it's fatal!  Call it what you want; heat stroke, the emerging of my evil twin, a hissy fit, whatever...I gently untaped that paper from my board and folded it up, stuffed it all the way to the bottom of the garbage can and walked into the air conditioned house and sat down with a cup of coffee and watched a movie.  I considered a couple of other paths like tearing that paper to shreds, then stuffing all the little pieces of paper in the garbage but that tends to make a big mess and the pastel dust is flying. The other option was to set fire to the paper and the easel or got the chain saw out and made kindling...but that might have not worked in my favor since I don't always end up the victor with power tools and matches.  I'll just say that at our house we have several heavy duty power cords that are supposed to be 50', but they are now about 46'.
So a couple of days later I can look back on this episode of discarding a piece of Wallis paper loaded with a lot of pastel as another learning experience.  When you know things are not going well...DON'T keep fighting the system.  Step back and go watch a movie!   And of course the next morning I am out digging in the garbage looking to see if there is something salvageable.  And I guess I can say that it is not often that something goes so far awry that I need to destroy it!  That's the good thing!
So if you occasionally fail with a painting...it's ok...if you learned something from it! :-)

By the way...the painting of the water...it turned out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

a plein air sort of morning

Yesterday morning I hit the floor about 0530 and packed my gear and headed over to a friend's house and picked her up and we drove to a spot on her farm where this lovely pond lies in the middle of a grassy meadow surrounded by a creek and bunches of different types of trees to the south and a lush, soon to be harvested wheat field that stands about 3 feet tall to the north.  The colors are brilliant.  The pond is growing some algae at this time of year; exposed too bright sunlight and not a lot of rain to replenish the spring fed water supply.
We were sort of lazy plein air painters, not hiking in a mile or two or more to a wonderful spot.  We were able to drive to it; quickly set up and begin the process.  It was nice and cool early on with a breeze, but as the time got be be mid morning, it was getting hot.  Decided to pack it up about 11, but not before witnessing some wonderful sites such as a doe and two fawn meandering through the meadow, a bunch of wild turkeys foraging along the creek, wild geese eating in the pasture and taking off and flying west in formation, an osprey swooping down to the pond and catching a fish and then doubling back overhead like he was doing a fly-by, showing off his catch and heading to his nest.  Great way to spend a few hours.  The paintings on today's blog were a result of those 5ish hours of work.  I painted the vertical piece on a sheet of Art Spectrum black paper and the horizontal one on a rust coloured sheet.  Even though they are toned, I soften the black one particularly with some Sennelier #463 for shadows.  It gives a little more life to a summer scene.  These are great papers to work with and hold pastel quite well.

So about the paintings...rather about the frames...The paintings are just loosely taped on the back of the frames, but what I wanted to show are the plein air frames that I got from Jerry's Artarama.  (the fingers holding the frames are optional!  Not really.  I wanted to show as much of the frame as possible, so excuse the fingers :-)!!!) The paintings are 9x12 and that is the opening size with a tiny bit more room in the plein air frame.  So these paintings were done on Art Spectrum coated paper where there is about a half an inch of uncoated paper around the periphery of the sheet.  I painted the vertical piece on a sheet of Art Spectrum black paper and the horizontal one on a rust coloured sheet. Even though they are toned, I soften the black one particularly with some Sennelier #463 for shadows. It gives a little more life to a summer scene. These are great papers to work with and hold pastel quite well  About a 1/2 inch will need to be trimmed if I decide to put these paintings in the plein air frame.  What I wanted to illustrate is a general idea of how they look in the two finishes of frames that I got.  If these were to be placed in the plein air frame, a spacer would be put behind the glass and then the painting, back board and finished.  These frames come with a hanging wire and hardware and seem to be good quality.  I like the simplicity of the frame and the fact that they didn't break the bank to buy them.  Watch for sales...good discounts :-)

Another day we will go perhaps to the foothills of the Blues and paint and maybe to Bennington Lake area.  On Saturday I met some folks who have a home in a vineyard toward Mill Creek.  The view from their porch is incredible - overlooking a few wineries below them and to the west; to the east Mill Creek canyon; to the east and south the Blue Mountains in the background and across Mill Creek the foothills of Blues that are fields of soon to be harvested wheat and peas and the foreground of 5year old grape vines.  The colors are wonderful...greens, golds, blues, reds.  When you turn onto the lane that goes to their home you pass a tasting room for another vineyard...but the most spectacular thing is once you leave Mill Creek Road  you turn onto this lane that is solidly lined on both sides with what appears to be 15 feet of lavender planted so that you get the sense of meandering up this lane of a solid wave of purple.  It's another painting!

So with a great weekend of painting and photographing, it's the beginning of a new week...A couple of new pieces will be going to Sandpoint for the POAC water show and pick up some pieces from the Art Walk I.
Always be looking for something to paint; carry that camera with you so  you have that reference photo!!
Happy painting!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Evening skies

I love to paint skies - storm skies, evening skies, wispy cloud skies....they say a lot and and can mean different things to different people.
When I was a kid, I liked to go out and lay down in the grass on a windy day and watch the clouds, ever changing, making cool formations as they moved with the currents of the air.  Fortunately Where I lived you weren't in danger or being run over or something while you were laying there in the grass day dreaming....guess that's one of the perks to being a kid on some thousands of acres in the middle of Montana!  Clouds are great.  On my last trip to Montana, the skies were fabulous and I took a lot of reference photos of great skies.  The skies in the three paintings today were two evening skies near Walla Walla.  One evening as the sun was setting, there was this beautiful golden-pinkish glow.  The large horizontal images above with the golden fields are pretty representational of that; however  there is more of a pink tint to the actual paintings than is represented in the photo.

Regarding technique...I used the pastel boards from Art Spectrum for the  fields with water and the hillside fields with trees in central part of painting.  These are great to work with, have good tooth.  I used the "elephant" colour boards....a nice purplish gray color.  The other painting was done on a sanded paper from La Carte.  I have not used this paper before, but it is very nice and it comes in a lot of great colors.  I used an "earth" colored paper.  I love Wallis, but this is great paper as well.
I used a variety of pastels, but did hone in on several of the Diane Townsend earthy colors as well as Unison and some Schmincke.  I love the Terrage' sticks Diane Townsend has.  They are big and gritty and are great to add that sparkle as last minute touch to a painting...and...there are some good bold colors that I like!

Looking forward to a trip early to the farmer's market in the morning, early - to beat the heat.  Our weather has reached the 100 degree range now, so being outside midday  and working in the heat is not the most pleasant, so it's better to paint early and late in the day.  But, that's summer and I do enjoy it.

I ordered some plein air frames for some paintings.   Awaiting their arrival and am anxious to see how the pastels look in them.  These are about 4 inch frames that have a deep enough rabbet to accommodate a spacer between the pastel and the glass.  With this system, you don't mat the painting.  So the finished product has the look of an oil painting.  It's is a very classy look, so we will see how this goes.  Even though the framing material is a little more expensive, there is not the expense of mat and because there is no mat the overall glass size is less, so that saves something.  I will post some images of framed work once I get them completed.
So in the meantime...happy painting and stay cool in the heat of the summer!!   

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hunting to win???


Hunting to win...what does that mean?  Just something to get you to read this blog about entering competitions or not to enter competitions and jurying of art and such stuff.
I am competitive.  I like to win.  I like to do things well enough to win.   Seems like that has always been that way.
As a kid, my family raised horses and cattle in central Montana.  At a pretty early age, I got introduced to competitions such as horse shows and rodeos.  My first horse show had my Mom fixing me up so I looked presentable - that meant your hair combed and braided, shirt tucked in your Wranglers, your pant legs over the tops of  your boots and wearing a hat.  Some of this just made a kid itchy, but I did it and rode my gray horse into the area for the western pleasure class.  My mom had coached me to the etiquette of the event and I figured I was doing everything great.  The ring steward for the events was a family friend, Owen, and with each loop around the arena he encouraged.  I figured I must be doing great!  then they lined the riders up and the judge walked up and down the line of riders (all under the age of 12; I am 6) and motioned for six riders to move forward.  I wasn't one of them!  What???  (My mom always told the story with great animation).  I stand up in my stirrups and holler "Hey!! Where do I come in at???"  Owen happened to be standing near me and walked up and calmly reached in his pocket and gave me a silver dollar.  WHOA!!!  I hit the pay!  No one, even with their trophies and ribbons was a bigger winner than I was that day!   Then I became an artist and entered some juried shows...Whoa!   Sometimes you get accepted and sometimes you don't.  I have participated in a variety of competitions from horse shows to rodeos to trap shooting and did a fair share of winning; same with juried shows.  So this is my theory on juried shows...
I like to enter shows.  I opt for a piece or pieces that I think are of good quality and maybe have a little edge on composition and interest; a piece that "speaks" to me.  Once you do all the required things for submitting the entry you wait to hear...One thing of importance and this is speaking from working in an art center on the gallery committee and hanging shows...do what is asked in the guidelines - from the image submission to the hanger for the art.  So then you wait and finally you get the notice - your piece is accepted.  that's great!  If it wasn't accepted...why?  I think the first thing one needs to consider is that the if you have submitted a great quality painting and it didn't get into the show it 1) did not catch the eye and the like of the juror 2) it didn't fit what the juror was trying to say with his/her selection.  One is not going to get every painting into every show.  Maybe that juror was really partial to figurative painting, realistic and you  paint abstract form...I usually check who the juror is and see what they do in their own world.  I have passed up a few competitions just because I didn't think my work would jury well and since there is a fee for jury process...it's being somewhat sensible, I think.  So if a piece is rejected, it may just mean it didn't fit the bill for that show. 
I have a friend who does watercolors and does them well.  She had tried for years to achieve signature status with her state's watercolor society and could never get a piece to make that happen.  Just one of those things that you can sit around and talk about over coffee.  So, you don't get accepted; not a reason for sorrow.  Enter another show.  When you do have a piece accepted, you're happy and that is great...THEN if you get lucky enough to have really got the juror's attention and they award you with one of the prizes for the show that's the ICING ON THE CAKE!!
I have entered the same piece in different shows;  winning the best of show at one; an honorable mention at another and not making the juror's cut in another.  So what's it all mean...the jurying process is an opinion of one person.  Not being accepted or not winning a prize is not the end of the world or reason to feel rejection.
Recently someone said they would not want to physically go to a show that they had a piece accepted in and be there when the juror announces the winners and then not be one of the winners.  WHAT??? Be proud that you had a piece accepted; go and enjoy the other art and study what won!  You might learn something...and it might be just that your style wasn't what the juror picked for winning pieces.  Sometimes just being there is (should be) enough!  And there are jurors that I have heard say and then choose work for shock factor...that's sad, I think.  But just like the juror's are but one opinion; these are my takes on entering shows.  I enter because I like to see if my work will be accepted and just to get accepted into some of the higher end shows is really enough.  Think I have learned some humility over the past 50 years!!!  Where do I come in at?  Just glad to be here!
keep painting...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It's all about color



Color...lots of it.  this time of year in southeastern WA the second cutting of hay is nearly done, the wheat is changing to golden in the warmest of areas and to a lighter greenish yellow in the higher altitudes and cooler areas.  The lavender is in full bloom as are the annuals and perennials in the yards. 
Last evening I dropped my daughter off at a meeting and headed out of town for an hour's drive and what I saw was really breathtaking.  The sun was nearing the horizon and was casting a blanket of gold across the Blue Mountains and fields.  As I drove a loop south and east of town the sun gradually disappeared leaving beautiful pink clouds in the eastern sky and the fiery reds and oranges in the west with a promise of wind for the next day (so they say...).  And there was a cool breeze throughout the morning.
I can't pass up a comment about color, so illustrated in the photos of the plants with the lavender next to the yellow lilies and marigolds, proving that complimentary colors play so well together!
This is a beautiful time of year - there is more than just greens (which I love to see in the spring after the grays of winter) and the sunsets are usually magnificent with dust in the air and whatever makes a sunset brilliant!

This week I worked on a couple of acrylics...The purpose is to work in a different medium than usual and try some different things.  I decided to contribute to the Lily Oncology on Canvas project which required a piece to be mailed to NY for their show...unframed.  If you are not familiar with that project it is one that travels the country and actually I think internationally to cancer centers, hospitals, some art centers and museums.  The work is done by cancer patients, family of cancer patients/survivors and caregivers.  Each piece of art has a narrative that goes with it.  I chose to send the "Survivor Blooms" that illustrates a few waterlilies growing in the shallow waters along the green summer fields.  Like the those friends of mine who have survived the disease and recovered, the lilies persevere and grow in the marshy waters, blooming more beautiful than ever.  The other piece, mountains in the background and a stream was done with mostly a palette knife and a lot of paint!  Working with acrylics is a good medium for me...they are pretty immediate in as much that they dry pretty quickly and you can build up some brilliant color.  I love doing clouds with the palette knife and building them with different colors.  I did another piece on a piece of Yupo paper, which is a synthetic sort of paper - almost plastic feeling.  I put some color on, sprayed it with water and got some cool runs.  The paper is heavy and didn't seem to buckle at all (I did have it taped on a board).  It's a paper I intend to play some more with...very smooth finish. 
I had promised to talk a little about competitions and art shows, but am going to put that off for a day or two.  I have had some interesting conversations regarding that topic recently so I do want to discuss my thoughts with you! 
So keep painting, all you painters....there is color everywhere!!!  and...
Happy 4th of July and celebrate our freedom!