Landscape Painting

Terra Animam

This is the time of year that resets my body clock as well as my soul clock and reconnects me to the land. I love autumn I don't love winter. I love the crisp thin air and unfiltered sun, the shadows the angles of amazing light, the colors, the sounds and the smells.

It is a time for soups and sweaters and deep complicated poetry. It is a time for examining subtext and metaphor.

Terra Animam: oil/cold wax on cradled birch wood. 16x16x2

Terra Animam: oil/cold wax on cradled birch wood. 16x16x2


I am still working from home mostly to finish some small paintings, and in the middle of it all I am changing up my palette to one that is warmer, earthy and soulful. The switch back to oils has been a bit of an up and down, but now I am in my groove and feel good about moving on to larger pieces. Going back and forth from canvas to wood has also been a yin yang of indecision. I think with the more washed out paintings I like canvas and for the textured pieces with a lot of wax I am leaning towards the wood. We are in the process of building some large cradled panels for the studio in the city and I am about two weeks away from having all of the smaller in progress pieces finished. This will also get me beyond a deadline that I have for the end of October. After that I will have a nice stretch of time to finally move things back from home to the city and take a few days off before starting on the new work.


Updates, Studio News

I have added some of the new small landscapes to the website. They are available as both prints and originals. Some that have been sold are available as prints only.

SHIPPING - These options have been updated. There is a flat rate for US and most International orders. It has also been brought to my attention that locals might want to purchase online and puck up at the studio, so I have added a free ship option for studio pick ups and local delivery.

LARGER PRINTS - Most of the newer art will be available in a larger format soon. I am experimenting with a new paper and may change from the Epson Photo Luster to the Metallic Photo Luster. The matt option will stay the same.

We can print up to 17" wide, so the largest print size that we can create as a signed and dated print is 16". This would leave a half inch white border. Plenty enough for matting and framing. For a matted and framed piece of artwork with an 3" matt the ready to hang artwork would be 22-24" square, depending on the size of the frame.

I am not currently cutting matt board for the prints, but will in the future have some of them matted and framed, and available for in studio sales during the Final Friday art walks.

PRINTER FOR HIRE - As it is now, all of my images are stored on my laptop. I am looking to purchase a new desktop for the studio. As in the past I will once again offer printing services for others who wish to have small run prints made of their images. We have an Epson  Stylus Pro printer that uses Ultra Chrome Inks. The combination of the quality inks and these new exceptional papers it is possible to get a print with well over a 100 years of fade resistance. Add on the fact they we also use an archival UV coating on our prints, the years of print quality can double.

But enough with all the print speak. I will post again when I have a plan in place for this small scale printing service.

FOOTNOTE - Thanks to all who came out to the art reception last night for my group show at the YWCA Women's Gallery. By evenings end I had sold five paintings, with a lot of interest shown for other works in the show.

It is always such great validation of ones work when people buy it. It's one thing to receive compliments, but when people actually want it on their walls and invite the work into the space where they see it every day. It's beyond words the feeling that I get to know that the energies that I expend in creating, can carry on into other spaces, taking on new life and new energy.

Landscape 2015

After rubbing a couple of nice blister on my hands with my cutting blade (blade paintings) I am taking some time to catch up on those landscapes that have been on the back burner. Not to mention the challenge of a commission in this style after not working this way for over a year.

Vignette Series 2013-14 acrylic on canvas

Vignette Series 2013-14 acrylic on canvas

The real challenge for me is in taking away the hard edged horizon line. I usually either have one like in the painting above, or I eliminate it completely while trying to maintain a landscape feel to the piece. With the new ones that I have been prepping canvas for, I am doing my best to remove that hard line and replace it with gestural lines while working the composition out and painting with a loose stroke using a Catalyst wedge. I like them better for softer strokes, better than the metal trowels.

New work in progress, acrylic on canvas 2015.. landscape art

New work in progress, acrylic on canvas 2015.. landscape art

I also feel like I need a break from the hard edge altogether. Something is pulling me to a more organic flow, and honestly I welcome it. Welcome the idea of letting the paint do the work, because those blade paintings are a workout. They have also been on my easel almost non stop for over a year, so it's time for a change. Feeling very relaxed and ready to dive into some color.

The Humble Soul

Lately I have been paying more attention to my approach to painting. The feelings go here and there, back and forth from committed to a cause, to just enjoying color, to go with the flow and to awareness of the moment.  There is always this thing in the back of my mind that I can't quite shake. The being original, making ones mark, thinking outside the box etc... It's easy when one is trained in the fundamentals to copy a lot of different styles from the past. It isn't always easy to set out on a trailblazing journey of original achievement.

The other night I was watching Charlie Rose interview Helen Mirren. He asked her a question about of all people Francis Bacon the painter and his influence in her work as an actor. An odd pairing maybe, but when she started talking about Bacons philosophy on technique and how it must become second nature before one can move on, pushing the envelope so to speak. I knew exactly what she meant. It wasn't just Bacon, yet maybe he framed it in a way that really spoke to her; but for all creatives who strike out on their own.

adding colored texture to new canvases

I remember back to when I first discovered acrylic paints, I had been trained as an traditional oil painter and the fast drying time of acrylics was hard to get adjusted to. I was a teenager 14 or 15 maybe and by that time was already very interested in abstract art. Almost immediately I made the connection about technique. It was the same really. The basics of painting a landscape were the same regardless of whether that landscape was traditional realism or abstract. I later learned in my work as a perfumer the same rules applied. It didn't really matter, the basics were the same. It all boiled down to the "second nature" aspect of technique.

As I experimented with acrylic paints I became very interested in textural surfaces. This would turn out to be a life long love affair, and one where the trial and error of learning the materials and developing a technique and later many techniques would involve a lot more time than creating the actual work. I won't say that I was a perfectionist, I am an Wabi Sabi kind of perfectionist. I see the beauty in the flaw. I am not always so quick to eliminate it, but let it live. Sometimes I am the only one who sees it. Probably most times.

We tend to be on our guard when we think we may be found out. Like a criminal trying to tell a convincing lie to avoid incarceration. But with Wabi Sabi there is the element of simplicity and humility that are sometimes in conflict with ego driven artistry. I try to avoid that and stay humble. I am better at it now that I am older; and at the same time it does not mean that I think wisdom comes with age. Some people are complete idiots at 80 while others are sublime at twenty.  I am just at a place where I see the value and beauty in a lot more things than I once did.

Wisdom I think... is in being able to find value in many things and appreciate the beauty that exists in unlikely places. Where as Helen Mirren may find value in the words of Francis Bacon, we can all have that kind of connection. Personally I find that the designer John Saladino has indirectly influenced my choice of color. When you see a dash of lavender in one of my paintings it is probably an unconscious gesture, tribute to John, as he is able to drop a lavender sofa into a rustic earthy and mostly white setting and make it work. It is absolutely brilliant his composition, his use of color, texture and mastery of space. I see the same brilliance in the first crocus of the year, as their beautiful purple heads push through the brown earth and open to reveal a bright yellow stamen. All of these colors and the splendor of them, regardless of setting are beautiful sacred things. When a human creation pays homage to the flower, the tree, the mountain or sky, it doesn't matter whether it is the masterful juxtaposition of furniture in a room, a painting or a plate of elegantly prepared food. What matters is the truth that exists in the soul energy that was inspired to create it.

To be the humble soul in a world that rewards bravado is the thing isn't is. To seek out beauty,  to speak softly and have a noble intention. We are all seekers of something, we are like that flower pushing through the earth in search of the sun, climbing inch by inch to reach higher ground.

Snow Days

Made it down to the studio on Saturday to pick up some supplies and water my orchids. After being teased with potential blizzards over the past weeks we finally got our boat load of the stuff and as a result I opted for setting up a makeshift studio in the sunroom (at home). There isn't a lot I can do in this space so I have opted to do some works on paper. Moving from palette knives and masonry trowels to essentially finger painting is a bit of a curve, and I am always surprised at what comes out of me when I switch from textured canvas to paper. But with this work I must be channeling my palette switch from last summer when I went from the bright colors and lots of blue to this limited earthy palette.

I don't really have a plan other than just painting, and this is fine with me. In the past I did a lot of paper studies that I would transfer (style wise) to canvas. Not sure where this will go or if I will even continue it once I am back in the studio on a regular basis.

New: acrylic on gesso textured paper. 12.5x19.5

New: acrylic on gesso textured paper. 12.5x19.5

New: acrylic on gesso textured paper. 12.5x19.5

New: acrylic on gesso textured paper. 12.5x19.5

Occasionally I will sneak a landscape in there (hehe..)  but for the most part I am still where I left off with the acrylics on canvas last year. Even the new in progress works in oil and cold wax I have going at the studio are in this limited earthy palette. Funny how consistent color can make a mish mash of half baked ideas look like a cohesive body of work...

Untitled: 2014 acrylic on canvas 12x12

Untitled: 2014 acrylic on canvas 12x12




More White, again...

I keep going back and forth with the white. Not that I want to change up my palette all that much, I just like how it makes me feel. It is soothing to me and white has always been a very dominant color in my world, particularly my home where all of the furniture is slip covered in white. I have never really created a white themed serieson canvas, but have done several on paper over the years.

I have been looking at a lot of white art lately. I really like the white - ish, encaustic work that I've seen online. Although I do not use encaustic, my work does have that feel to it with all the texture and cutting through the paint and layers of polymer. I do not want to change my technique to accommodate the color white, but instead am building more vibrant under color; color that I can use or not.. Here are a couple of instagram shots of works in progress. Small pieces: one 10x10 the other 6x6.  The point I think is in not going overboard with the rest of the color. This is where a good sanding will come in handy, so when I head back downtown to the studio with all of the work I have done at home this past week I will sand and finish about twelve small paintings. Sanding knocks down a lot of the high points on the texture giving it a more natural look. I like to wait until I have a working composition before sanding, so as not to take away something important. Whereas a lot of the work done this summer has been more chaotic, I am getting into the laid back groove of autumn and cooler temps. Less is more.. Something that I need to remind myself of when I am caught up in the theatrics of painting.


Holidays 2014

I have posted the Pendleton Art Center (and my) schedule on the front page of the website here. This time of year goes by so very fast and will go even faster for me now that I am doing double duty with my natural perfume line and painting.

Over the past few months I have sold all but three of  the small landscapes that I had been working on since spring. I am creating more of them for the holidays, most even smaller than the 12x12 canvases. I have texture drying on several 6x6 canvases in the studio and will also create some 10x10's in the same style. this one below is a 1212 and most of the new pieces will be in this style with less of the heavy impasto work as in the later ones.

Having a limited number of days available to work in the  art center studio I will be creating many of the pieces in my makeshift space in my home sun room office. Thinking now that I should have kept that duplicate set of paints at home rather than taking everything to the city.

That being said, we did get the leaky roof repaired on my home studio building. I am not yet able to get back in it to work, but will hopefully have time to get that space ready for spring. I will keep my city space and have two working studios.

So take note of the schedule on the front page and stay tuned as I will be adding a lot of these new mini paintings to my online shop as well as having them in the studio.

Shades of Black and Gray

Taking a day off from the studio today to give my body a rest.. Spent yesterday working in color on three larger canvases and finished another 36x36. With the broad swipes and all of the scraping with a large masonry trowel, my studio sessions leave me feeling (the next day) like I was in the gym lifting heavy weights. A stellar upper body workout!!

Unfortunately I do not have any photos of the new work because I have not taken my phone with me to the studio the past couple of days. Completely forgetting it on the charger.. Which is not such a big deal as I have around eight canvases laying on the floor in various stages of drying. Layered with black, white and gray with acrylic matte medium and modeling paste. These are the first new canvases that do not have preliminary layers in bright colors and impastoesque textural gestures. They are the first pieces to take the new working style into a series based on my new muse. This lovely piece of tree bark from an ancient Red Bud tree in my back yard. This image has been altered slightly. The actual bark has specks of green lichen gray, dusty mold and various shades of brown, black and white. and as I am not even thinking in minimalist terms, I do see this going in that direction more and more.


I am also tempted to overlay with oil bars and charcoal and maybe soft pastels. The work already has an encaustic feel to it, and many people think it is encaustic when they first see it. But it is just a technique created with acrylic paints and mediums. As much as I love the look of real encaustic paintings, I also like the immediacy of acrylics and the ability to do many more things with them.

I will be back next week with some photos of the new work and works in progress. For now the bold and the colorful are on the back burner and my tree bark muse has center stage..

When I Was Alive

I have been doing shorter days in the studio this month, but going more often. I was not sure I would get anything finished this month but it looks like this piece will squeeze through. I call it When I Was Alive. I have had a lot of ups and downs the past few weeks and in it all I am sometimes left wondering if it is all real. Feeling like all of the energies are drained out of me and at the same time hopeful that good things will come. I am enjoying my work so much these days. Creating work that speaks to the present. Living and painting simultaneously.

When I Was Alive: 36x24 acrylic on canvas, almost finished.. From the studio today.

I really do like this piece. I had some moments with it where I scraped off a lot of paint and redid a few areas. Each time leaving an added element of distress. I figure that it is supposed to go this way. Something within me putting on the brakes, making me stop and pay attention to what I am doing, even if I am not quite sure what that is. At least in the end it all eventually comes together and I DO appear to know what I am doing. A save I guess. Keeping my secrets and allowing me to continue down the dark path following that glimmer of light, just out of reach at the end of my road. 

I also had a bit of good news this week. Three more of my small landscapes were chosen for a showcase. The last time we did this all of the work sold. Hoping for a repeat.

I started out this year with the hopes of building a nice body of work, but so many of them have sold that I still do not enough work to show to a gallery. Maybe this is a good thing, that I am doing it on my own.