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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two paintings are better than one!





Out with the old and in with the new: a friend finally got around to fixing up his house after a divorce a few years ago. Let's call him "Joe". The couch she picked out, gone. Curtains, good-bye! And the wildlife prints? No more. And Joe didn't stop there: he refinished beautiful wood floors, had a new deck built with space for a hot tub, and he started cooking fabulous meals. Something was still missing, especially with the duck prints leaving the walls unadorned. He decided he liked paintings that remind him of lake country. Did I have any paintings he might like?

I'm not happy having people like a painting that will be theirs. I want customers to love their paintings, to have their hearts quicken or have them transported to a peaceful place when they look at them. Joe had never purchased an original painting before, and he was a little nervous about the process. I invited him to make a studio visit to look at possibilities. It was love at first sight! Joe selected a beautiful painting that would work wonderfully in his home. And to add to the pleasure, he also selected a companion piece, to make a set. A set of paintings intended to be displayed together make much more impact than a single painting. He has more than doubled the enjoyment he'll have from these paintings! Congratulations, Joe!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hard Work Pays Off


In my previous post you were able to read how I planned and painted a scene for a painting event. The Grand Marais Plein Air Painting Competition culminated with an exhibit of the paintings created by the 44 artists who participated in the event. Awards were granted at the reception, and I am pleased to announce that my painting "Nocturne - Grand Marais Harbor" won First Place in the Night Paint category! The judge, Mary Pettis, described the painting: "Like music has chords that sound beautiful to the ear, colors have harmonies that are beautiful to the eye. The colors in this painting are exquisite, and the balance, harmony and rhythm are just right. It is a quite, serene symphony". It is a very satisfying feeling to have my hard work recognized by such a fine artist as Mary, and to hear all the comments of appreciation from the viewers at the reception. The painting will also be going to a new home, as it was purchased by a couple at the reception! That's one of the new owners posing with the painting and the ribbon.

The exhibit continues through September 25, 2011 at the Johnson Heritage Post, 115 W Wisconsin Ave., Grand Marais, MN. Stop in and enjoy dozens of beautiful paintings in the exhibit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art lessons from a Master Painter - James Whistler




The painting on the cover of a book caught my eye: a night scene by Whistler. I was not familiar with his night and seascape paintings, so I bought the book.

I knew I was going to be painting a view of a harbor at night in the coming weeks at the Grand Marais Plein Air Painting Competition , so I really studied the plates in the book. Key components that I thought would enhance my painting included simplifying color and shape. See how the boats and land merge into a larger mass, but you still know they are boats and land?

When the time came to do my pastel painting, I chose a neutral-toned surface to paint on, and set up my easel with a view that included the lighthouses. The sun sets quickly, so I started a sketch while it was still light. The boats were arranged so that they would "connect", and I started laying down color. Once I was happy with the shapes, I added the lights and dropped them down into the water. The result captures the mood I was working for. "Nocturne - Grand Marais Harbor", 9x12, pastel. Thank you, Mr. Whistler.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Why attend an Artists Reception?


A postcard comes in the mail announcing an art exhibit and mentioning a reception. What is an Artist Reception? What happens there? Do you bring a gift? Is there food?

An art reception is an event to welcome viewers and give them a chance to meet the artist(s) of the work on view. The best gift is your presence, and there is indeed food and beverage. Receptions can be festive and relaxing. Expose yourself to art- attend a reception!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Studio Dreams
















I dreamed about my own studio for a long time. I shared a space with another artist for years, but I felt ready for "a room of my own". I wrote that dream down on paper, in detail. And since I was dreaming, I included EVERYTHING I thought I might want. Everything.

This fall I was delighted to be offered a space that I loved. It had everything except the balcony/deck. Well, at my Open Studio celebration in March it was pointed out to me that I had a fire escape. So I do have a balcony! I just needed to broaden my criteria. Enjoyed lunch out there today!

Pay attention to those dreams, and keep those criteria flexible, you can't anticipate the wonderful things that may happen.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Creating a New Painting from an Old Painting



Painting in New Mexico with painting friends was a wonderful experience. Along with great memories I also came home with paintings I created there. Something about my Santa Fe Sky piece just didn't work. I've had it a few years now, and have now decided what to do - turn it into a more local painting! The clouds needed only a slight tweaking: softening edges, adjusting values. The mountain and scrub shrubs had to go, though. And what should be seen in the distance from the overlook? Lakes, of course! How many times have I come across a scene such as this while canoeing or hiking?! It is a memory of summer, now called Summer Skies - Lake Country, the newest addition to my Summer Skies series. 10 in x 8 in, pastel.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Room of My Own

I kept a description of what my perfect studio would look like, if only I could find it! Not too small, not too big, plenty of light. Space for my paintings and to eat lunch. Free parking. A deck would be nice! Easy to get to from home. Room for my easel and pastels. Oh, and the right price.

In November an unexpected offer arose for a new space. I looked at it and it was fabulous. I got everything I wanted, except the deck! I am now all moved in and having a celebration:

OPEN STUDIO
Thursday March 10, 5-7 PM
2002 W Superior St. Suite 8
Duluth, MN

Call to arrange an appointment to visit if you can't make it on the 10th. 218-343-6887.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Winter Plein Air Painting - Painting!



It was fabulously beautiful at camp! Heavy snows had covered the trees in mounds of snow. It was balmy, in the teens and 20's. Didn't even need my wool sweater under my parka! It was mostly overcast, with light snow, so the landscape was muted. Soft and quiet.

A path into the woods looked like the painting I wanted to do next, but it was snowing pretty heavily, and I decided I really didn't want to get my pastels and paper all wet again. I had struggled with that the day before, so I worked in the comfort of the lodge and looked out the window. That morning had a beautiful sunrise, so I hinted at that. The painting of the snowy path was completed and is in the exhibit at the Grand Marais Art Colony.

If you can't get to Grand Marais to see the show, it's on their Facebook page.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Plein Air Painting - Getting Ready!


I'm looking forward to winter painting camp, sponsored by the Grand Marais Art Colony. I did it last year and it was a fine treat, and I came home with some nice paintings. It takes a different kind of planning and packing to paint in pastels outside on a frozen lake in northern Minnesota! Some of the things I've learned: snow-pants are a good thing; use chemical hand-warmers, in mittens and in boots; get fingerless mittens that let you expose your thumb, to get good control of the pastel; pastel sticks are VERY cold to hold, keep that hand warmer, er, handy.

The good news is that there are no bugs when it's 10 degrees!

Saturday, January 15, 2011




It snowed all day yesterday, big, puffy flakes, but the sky was supposed to clear overnight. When I woke up at two AM, a little voice said, "Look out the window". The not yet full moon was shimmering on the snow, casting long shadows. Beautiful! I paint the moon in all seasons and phases, but the full moon is my favorite. No painting last night, it was back to bed for me. But I know there'll be more. Paintings and moons.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Painting in series - Fresh Snow





Sometimes a subject is so inspiring that one painting is not enough. So it was with a stand of conifers in the snow. The original painting was true to the scene, won an award and was quickly purchased (the first of many paintings this collector now owns). It was so lovely, I wanted to do more. So I painted a series of "minis" inspired by the same scene. Each was 6x4 inches, all sold but are available as prints and very popular note cards.