Plein Air at Slavin Conservation Area

Slavin Conservation Area SouthYesterday I was able to go and paint plein air with some friends from our Spokane Watercolor Club. We went to the James T. Slavin Conservation Area just, off of highway 195, and it was really chilly 24º F, but did warm up to 40º around noon. It was surprising how close to Spokane it is. And, the conservation area covers a lot of ground (600+ acres) with a lot of different natural wonders to see. I was able to paint two sketch images while I stood on a little knoll directly in front of the parking lot.

Slavin Conserv 01First a Watercolor Sketch

I painted while looking south standing upon the first knoll near the parking lot for the first plein air image. It had meadow grasses with scattered burgundy bunches of bush, then going off into into where the forest pine and birch tree line appears. I made a rudimentary watercolor sketch of this scene, but stopped there, as my watercolors and  water were freezing. But, when the other artist’s arrived, I learned about a trick that stops that from happening. I love painting with other artists, because, you always learn something helpful from each other. If you want to know the secret, you’ll have to come paint with us to learn. 🙂

Slavin Conservation Area West
Slavin Conservation Area West
Slavin Conserv 02
Slavin Conservation Area 02

Second is an Acrylic Sketch

The second image is painted using acrylic paint on a canvas board. Standing at the same location but turned to face west where a pair of pines flanked the left side, with grasslands reaching off into a distant treeline and hill silhouette behind. These colors are a little tricky to get right, but are quite beautiful when it comes out right. Neither of these plein air sketches are any way near finished, but the scenes are embedded in my mind and I am sure I’ll be able to finish them in my studio.

I am not up to strenuous hiking, but thankfully this area is easily accessible with parking close by so it was a totally rejuvenating day. Being able to paint with other painters has revitalized the artist in me. It was surprising how many people walk their dogs there. There is also evidence of a lot of horse hoof prints on the trails. In about a month, that whole field is going to be covered with wildflowers, one of the local ladies told me .

EYE CANDY SURPRISE!

Next month sounds like a great time to schedule another plein air painting trip there. Yep, I’m looking forward to it.

 

Dragonfly In Cosmos

Dragonfly in Cosmos
15″w x 11″h watercolor & ink on 140lb Arches cold press.

Just finished a fun watercolor of a dragonfly in cosmos blossoms. We have dragonflies in our garden every year and they are just so fascinating to watch. Their wings seem to glisten as they fly over all the blossoms with their transparent wings. An “eye candy” insect with great colors in their silent flight. They are also quite the benefit to have around, check out the info here. Dragonflies

I do dragonflies frequently because each one I find is always different in colors and shapes and they are usually admiring blooms as I do while I work in the garden.

Red Amaryllis Blossoms

Pete’s brilliantly beautiful red amaryllis’ bloomed with four beauties on it. So, we are taking our camera to task for all kinds of great photographs.

Red Amaryllis 03
red amaryllis

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Yesterday one of Pete’s brilliantly beautiful red amaryllis bloomed. It has four red beauties on it. S0, we took our camera, trying all kinds of settings to get great photographs of it. I definitely plan to be painting this blossom while the bloom lasts and afterwards using the best of these pictures.

If you know my wonderful husband Peter, with the green thumbs this is one of his favorite flowering bulbs. I think he got a lot of it from Mom. When I remember all the beautiful blossoms that used to greet us during the holidays at their house.

“Each blossom has six petals, six thing-a-ma-jigs along with a longer thing-a-ma-jig. Hmmm. I’m not a botanist knowing all of the correct terms for the parts of an amaryllis bloom. So, I had to google it to find out more and be able to finish this post with a modicum of knowledge.

Amaryllis – A bulbous plant with white, pink, or red flowers. Meaning determination, strength and love. Amaryllis in Greek is a female name meaning, “to sparkle”. Some more Googled info to put in your gray matter.

Hope you enjoy the amaryllis slide show.

Orange Rufous Hummingbird

Painting an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over a honeysuckle vine. I thought I’d get out the acrylics for a few “favorite things” paintings. Consequently, the subject manner falls back to one of my all time favorites.

Hummingbird Orange Rufous 4
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas. Acrylic rendering of an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over an orange honeysuckle vine.

Vine Background

We feed these hummers all summer long and enjoy sitting on the deck admiring them. Above, is the finished painting. Following, are the progress shots of the acrylic painting process for me.

Hummingbird Orange Rufous B0520
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas.

Beginning with background darks using mixtures of hookers green, phalo green, burnt sienna, cobalt blue and alizaron crimson in a hap hazard cross stroke pattern. Carefully blocking out the location of my “flying hummer star” on the lower third right corner.

Adding Depth

Hummingbird Orange Rufous 2
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas. Acrylic rendering of an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over an orange honeysuckle vine.

Next, I experiment with leaf shapes and brighter values for the surfaces closest to the main attraction. Similarly, I proceed to brighten specific leaves that serve as a background for the flashy orange honeysuckle blossom being positioned next. I want to see depth to the vine behind.

Hummingbird & Blossom

Hummingbird Orange Rufous 3
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas. Acrylic rendering of an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over an orange honeysuckle vine.

Now, is when I select where I want to place the up close blossom along with some scattered hints of more in the background. Also, the hummingbird shapes and values are defined. The layout works for my eyes, so I proceed.

Details

Hummingbird Orange Rufous 4
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas. Acrylic rendering of an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over an orange honeysuckle vine.

What follows is numerous lighting tweaks, along with the details on my winged magician, “Mr. Orange Rufous Hummingbirds“. This bright orange guy is now hovering on the canvas. The finished shot of this acrylic painting is the first one in the post. If you are interested in learning more about hummingbirds, check out the Audubon page here.

Butterflies on the Brain

Butterflies Oil 01
Butterflies Oil 01

I just had to paint some colorful butterflies, they are stuck in the brain. I noticed an unfinished oil painting that I started more than a year ago and just couldn’t quit thinking about it. So, I got out the oils, thinner, and linseed oil. Found some of the tubes beyond expired. But, was able to get a pallet out and go to work. This first image is over a year ago because my “Moose” coffee cup is in it, and, it broke more than a year ago. It is amazing how something can sit for such an extended period time.

Butterflies Oil 02
Butterflies Oil 02

This picture is how the butterflies looked as it sat, waiting for me. If I don’t keep an eye on the drying rack and stacks of paintings, these poor paintings may never get done. Over a year of dust is not okay.

This year I will be doing shows to sell paintings already done. My goal is to finish all the partially painted pieces and use up all the supplies in my studio before I kick the bucket. Cleaning out the studio, recently brought a complete inventory to my attention. I could paint 24 hours a day and still not run out in a year.

Butterflies Oil 03
Butterflies Oil 03

Here is how the butterfly painting looks after a day of work. Finishing the background more fully with the blossoms and leaves better shaded. Taking each butterfly’s position and background coloring I was able to paint them in. So, the layout is pretty much set.  I am happy with the progress. But, it will have to let it dry a while before I can finish it.

Portrait Amalia Fisch in Monochrome

Portrait Amalia Fisch A0320
11″w x 9″h watercolor monochrome (dioxine purple) on 140lb Fabriano wc paper.

Here is my portrait of Amalia Fisch (a fellow artist) done for the January challenge to do a painting in monochrome. What a challenge it is to do work using only one color. The single color chosen for this image was Dioxazine Purple by Blick Artist’s Watercolors. Below is the painting in process after a few light washes had established the figure.

Yesterday was our monthly meeting at Spokane Art supply at 10am. It was great to be able to see my artist friends again. Seeing their work is the highlight of the meeting for me. Being able to share and talk about methods is so valuable. I always learn from these meetings.

Bill Okamura Portrait in Monochrome

9″w x 11″h watercolor monochrome (paynes grey) on 140lb Fabriano wc paper.

Here is a portrait of a fellow artist, Bill Okamura. This month’s Spokane Watercolor Society meeting. The January challenge was to do a painting using only one color.

What was the result? A realization that “monochrome” changes how I approach a painting. Basically, the values become key, and other colors are not there to distract me as I paint. Using value to get depth and shape.

The chosen color used for this image was Payne’s Gray by Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors  economically available at Spokane Art Supply. Below is the painting in process after only a few light washes establish the figure.

portrait Bill Okamura

Our monthly meeting for the Spokane Watercolor Society was at Spokane Art supply at 10am yesterday. Seeing my artist friends and their work is the inspiring to me. Bill did a monochrome painting of an old car that was spectacular! Hope he shares with us.

Being able to share methods and techniques is so valuable to me.

Monochrome Painting Finished

portrait Diane Conkright A0220
portrait Diane Conkright

Monochrome

Here is the first of the monochrome portraits all finished. I am very happy with the look of this and hope it ranks well in the monthly challenge program at the next meeting. It is a veritiable challenge to get depth and shape in using only one color. I believe it was done using Ultramarine blue or cobalt, now I am not sure. Some day soon I have to go ahead and mark my watercolor wells on the pallet. The only sure fire way for me to keep the names straight. Honestly, I just dab into whatever color feels right to use rather than knowing which color should be used scientifically. It is the artist (lack of) logic in full force.

SWS Meeting

Can’t wait to go to the Spokane Watercolor Society meeting scheduled for January 18th (Saturday) at 10am at the Spokane Art Supply Classroom here in Spokane, Washington. Truly, a case of, “birds of a feather” hanging out together. It is so much fun to visit with other artists and compare methods. I haven’t been able to attend any meetings for quite a while. Health issues prevented me from doing much of anything for the past half year. It is great to be feeling better and I am hoping to be able to get out more now.

I’d be glad to have you come as my guest to explore your interest in watercolor painting. You’d probably like to come check out this meeting with me. It really is a great help to be able to hook up with others interested in art, as you are. Email me here if you are so inclined and we will work out the particulars about where to meet, driving or carpool etc.

Today is a happy painting and writing day for this person.

Monochrome Painting

portraite Diane Conkright
9″w x 11″h watercolor monochrome (blue) on 140lb Fabriano wc paper. SWS meeting challenge monochrome (blue) portrait Diane Conkright.

A monochrome painting, the start or beginning for a monochrome “monthly member challenge” of the Spokane Watercolor Society meeting scheduled for January 18th at 10am  at Spokane Art Supply. I love these different monthly challenges because they make me stretch my abilities and try new things. Being able to see and discuss the methods used with other members makes the lessons learned so much better.

Really, this is NOT something I “never” do. I actually love to do a a black and white rendering first for almost every painting done in color. It is the natural was for me to see things for lighting, you know…. where are the  shadows, and where does the light burn it white. Yep.

In fact, I took a Ron Stocke weekend workshop last year at Spokane Art Supply and absolutely loved it. Ron is a talented professional that I totally admire, and he does amazingly beautiful plein air work with a full understanding of architectural design. It was fun learning a different system of painting. Ron’s first step is, sketching, followed by a monochrome layout study to paint from. It was a great feeling to see a professional like him use monochrome studies the same way I start my projects.

Dale Latinen is another professional artist giving a great local weekend workshop through the Spokane Watercolor Society, Check it out here at Dale Latinen Workshop , April 2-5th, 2020. Places are filling up fast.