Riverfront Park’s Clock Tower from Above

Plein Air Landscape

This is a view of the Riverfront Clock Tower from a bridge railing in Riverfront park. Looking from above the Washington Street viaduct with a constant flow of cars entering downtown underneath seemed almost surreal. This specific view is a cozy little oasis (off-the-beaten-path) with it’s own cool bench. Virtually, a perfect place to set up water, brushes and paint to your hearts content with minimal interference from foot traffic. Initially, I was worried there would be no interesting views to paint at Riverfront park but I was proven so very wrong. I only had to open my eyes, to see great nature views, or people enjoying the nature views.

clock tower reference photo
above the clock tower

I am a member of the Spokane Watercolor Society, and we have a group of plein air painters meeting once a month on the last Friday of the month at high noon to paint together. If you’d like to join us feel free to contact us and let us know at our Facebook page Plein Air and Urban Sketching – Members of SWS. It is a monthly artist event that I look forward to every month. Fellow artists sharing ideas and methods and challenging each other to continue to improve.

It is simply a lot of fun!

I took some time to sketch the clock tower carefully before heading down to the riverside level. Subsequently, trying another view, nearer where the rest of the group was painting at next.

clock tower above sketch
clock tower sketch

Working from memories and pictures taken at the scene, I finished this painting back at the studio on 4/5/2019.

Riverfront Clock Tower from Above
9″w x 12″h watercolor. Riverfront Park’s Clock Tower from Above D2219

 

 

SWS Member Art Show Opening

Last night was the Spokane Watercolor Society (SWS) art show opening downtown from 5-8pm. It was at the historic community lobby for the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy on Main Street. This is an in process shot of the piece I have in the show entitled “Crazy as a Loon” C1819.

loons in process
loon watercolor in process

I don’t typically do well with the crowds and sometimes feel like I am just surviving through attending an art show opening but, last night was different.

MaryLou, Lottie, Locklin, Jeff and Gloria.
MaryLou, Lottie, Locklin, Jeff and Gloria.

We are 20 watercolor artist’s that have paintings hanging for the month in the lobby of the Community Building. Everyone in SWS sent out postcard invitations to our people to support the show opening on First Friday. I made it a point to only send my invitations to people I would like to see this time. Normally, I try to guess who may want to buy art, if I know people who would. But instead, this time my focus was on family and friends that I miss.

Suzanne and Martha
Cousins, Suzanne and Martha.

I  honestly didn’t expect anyone to show up because I know how hard it is to make time to go downtown and attend these events. But I was entirely surprised by who took the time, to be there last night. I am so very lucky to have family and friends in my life like I do. Some of the people I contacted called to let me know they couldn’t make it, and then there were those who did come. This was a show opening that went by quickly, and was a lot of fun. 

Jeff Locklin and Gloria
Jeff and Gloria Reise with their little Locklin.

I was taking pictures and seeing that we were a roomful of people who appreciate creative arts, loving the exploration of all the art hanging and making purchases of the smaller originals on display. Many people participated in voting for the “Peoples Choice” award and the entire evening was a very positive gathering all together. Lots of positive inspiration abounded and it feels like art is really an integral part of life. My time is not wasted in this endeavor.  I am looking forward to the next show.

Plein Air painting at Riverfront Park

clock tower reference photo
clock tower

Spent the afternoon (Friday) plein air painting at Riverfront Park in Spokane WA.Painting outside in a beautiful park with friends. We were a group from the Spokane Watercolor Society who met near the clock tower at high noon. Sounds like the meet up at the OK corral doesn’t it?  It is amazing how many people use this park, it was full of people. They were a constant stream of people running, walking dogs, sitting and admiring the scenery.

Plein Air Off the Beaten Path

I was able to discover a great view of the tower a little off the beaten path, and overhead. It was truly sublime. Initially, trying to render that clock tower in an impressionistic manner proved impossible. Paintbrush sketches produced awkward, leaning towers. There are so many angles and doo-dads on that riverside brick tower with a clock. As a result, another tactic was required. Architectural subjects need accuracy, don’t they? Finally, resorting to using the old artist pencil measure trick with outstretched arm, got the job done.  It was worth it to take the time to do that sketch. The layout is in pencil now, and ready to work on in the studio. I took a ton of photos, to be able to finish it up.

clock tower above sketch
clock tower sketch

Second Painting Location

pavilion reference photo
pavilion willow photo
pavilion willow
pavilion with willow

I joined the gang from SWS at the ground level down by the river next. Next to Gay W., I found a great view of the pavilion cables over the ice rink, that had a willow tree getting orange branches in spring. What a vision. Hope it comes out, cause it was quite a cool view. Luckily, I was able to get some washes down before I had to pack up and leave.

Artist Thoughts…

Unfortunately, there was a man playing the bongos next to the river. I kept thinking, he needs to get some other musicians to sing and play instruments with him to break up the monotony. The “bong, bong, bong” started to get on my nerves later in the afternoon, so, I cut the outing short.

While spending the day in that beautiful riverside park I noticed a sad thing. There were couples and friends sitting or walking together, not looking at each other or the view, but instead looking at their phones.

What is with that?

Going to a beautiful park, to walk and sit next to the river with beautiful waterfalls cascading all around. Then choosing to enter into oblivion? Are we loosing our humanity by getting together, to ignore each other and nature’s beauty around us? 

As a society, are we so addicted to “blue screen” time that we miss important things?

In conclusion, this Friday painting day outside in the warm air was a beautiful nature wonderful “artist date”!

Muley Doe… a Deer a Female Deer

A muley doe pauses at the treeline in Glacier Lake National Park in Montana. This was one of my first encounters with wildlife. Moments like this are like gifts from God and nature.

A gift of pristine wildlife standing still for a portrait at very close range.

muleydoe1Initially, the portrait starts with a pencil sketch drawn from my photograph.

Apply Washes to Doe

muleydoe2Next I begin to wash-in large areas, reaching more for correct values than finished colors. I actually squint my eyes to see where the darks and lights are. The areas kind of blur together and show up better that way. I have been fortunate to have taken classes from talented artists, and one that I have been inspired by is Stan Miller who teaches watercolor and that it is the values that are more important than the colors and he is so right!

muleydoe3Adding sky background and foliage along with some of the dark values to the doe face and eyes starts to show the personality that I envision.

Muley Doe Details

muleydoe4Things slow a bit as I work on the details of the deer. Focus is on the doe features and her background and I am being careful to leave white limbs from the tree behind.

Muleydoe5Progress is gradual as I add shadows to show where the tree trunk and limbs are, along with a ground tone wash to bring in a base for her to stand on. It is not good to have her floating above the ground.
muleydoe6Finally, I am getting more done as I add more details. First, some lights followed by some darks. Using an Azo Yellow, I am careful applying the final wash. The whole painting is brightened up with the final wash and the greenery and her fur now have a much better glow.

Muley Doe C192019
Muley Doe C192019 – 9″w x 12″h watercolor

Here she is, je suis fini!

A watercolor painting of a Glacier Lake National Park Muley Doe posing for the artist with her camera in the summer of 1990. Check out the beauty in this park. The picture was taken in the park at the top of Logan pass.

 

First Friday SWS Show Opens

On First Friday, the SWS member show opens, want an invitation? The Show Opening Reception promises to be a lot of fun. Only then, we will have original small paintings and cards for sale at the Inland NW Land Conservancy Lobby .SWS Member Show Invitations

Would You Like to Come?

In the next day or two I have a dozen SWS Member Show invitation cards to send out. If you would like one just text or email me and I’ll be sure to send you one.

I’ve seen some of the work that is going to be there. We promise absolutely great art to enjoy by the talented watercolorists in Spokane WA! Believe me, we have an abundance of talent in our region of the United States! Check out the Spokane Watercolor Society website for any information you need on the show.

Come meet the artists! and enjoy a night out downtown in Spokane WA.

Dahlia Patch Done

Dahlia Patch C142019 finished
Dahlia Patch C142019, 30″w x 10″h watercolor on 300lb WC paper.

Just finished painting the flowers in Dahlia Patch C142019 watercolor. I am loving it and planning to paint more like her. I saved seeds from my 6-8′ blossoms last year and plant to well populate the garden with them again. So bright and beautiful to see when you work in the garden every day. Weeding and watering seem less tiresome when your eyes feast on beautiful combinations of color and fascinating insects and birds cruising around. There is only a few more weeks of skiing left, and I’m looking forward to spring and summer now.

Check out how many kinds of Dahlia’s there are, 42 species and it is native to Mexico. Did you know it was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963? Good old Wikipedia dahlia knowledge, interesting but hard to remember the scientific names sometimes.

What do you think of dahlia patch?

It took some time to get the details all in. It was funny but as I added details, I’d notice another missing detail in an area I thought I had already finished. Add a shadow here, oooh a highlight there and a half a leaf here. That petal looks weird, it needs a shadow under it too. You can see the progress in one day by looking back at yesterdays article about this painting.

Round and round she goes,
where she stops nobody knows!

Another unfinished is now in the finished pile and it feels great. At the meeting (Spokane Watercolor Society) the other night a fellow artist shared that she was going to either finish or throw away the paintings in her studio. Boing!!! That hit me square in the face. I have so many unfinished paintings laying around my studio, so I plan on making an effort to do that. No more unfinished stacks in my life.

Beautiful Flowers Blooming

dahliaPatch
Dahlia Patch 30″w x 10″h watercolor on 300lb WC paper

I was fortunate to have beautiful flowers blooming all summer in my garden this past year. I grabbed this painting from my “unfinished painting stack” tonight. This is not the first time to paint this Dahlia image. My previous attempt became all overworked and mucky, actually loosing itself in the background, until I simply gave it up to turn the paper over, and try it again. See previous posts about my first attempt here

I wonder how many two sided paintings have I sold in my life?

Doing bright colored flowers of any variety is so cool. This painting has a new type of background technique that is different and a little scary for me. Trying for a looser and softer background. One that will let us see the petals of the flowers without distraction. Blossoms with petals and all their curves, shadows… I am beginning to really like this one now.

Let me know what you think, so far.

This week was full of  stressful work like taxes, paperwork and illustration assignments. But, today was a great relaxing break to just paint. I worked on completing my painting for the Spokane Watercolor Society Member Show.  It feels good to paint things that I like all day. 

Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting

a vibrant landscapeArtist Date Night

Went to the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting last night and had a great “artist date” night. The SWS meeting is the second Wednesday in the month downtown at Spokane Art Supply on Monroe Street 6pm. This artist group is a truly worthwhile organization to join, with lots of information on the web and Facebook if you want to check it out. If you’d like to get some real inspiration, by coming to one of the meetings, let me know. I’d love to take you with me. This organization spurs me to keep improving my skills.

Monthly Challenges

Each month at the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting, we are asked to paint something in a specific theme of the month, or challenge. We bring it in and are able to show and tell with everyone, getting positive feedback and tips. I just love “hob nobbing” with fellow artists. Our challenge for this month was “Challenge”.

Hey, is there an “Echo” in the room? 

In line with my newly established goal of perfecting winter snow scenes in my painting *repertoire, I brought my First Snow Walk winter scene (image was shared yesterday).

Loving KindnessAlso, I brought-in the painting done for the previous month. Unfortunately, I was snowed-in and had to miss last month’s meeting. The challenge for the February meeting was “Love and Kindness” and that subject produced, a *plethora of ideas flooding my mind. I was trying to choose the best subject and it was impossible with so many ideas flowing through my brain. After a week of fiddling around, I noticed that one set of images kept populating the parade. Kids and dogs. Yep, that was my love and kindness entry. Always, I have always, felt the best of love from my woofie dogs! They want to be with you no matter what, loving you through the good, the bad and the ugly.

*2 NEW WORD USAGEs! Had to look them up to spell it right here. All that study is increasing my vocabulary.

Don’t forget our show coming up, on First Friday, April 2019, is the opening reception for our Member Show at the Inland Northwest Conservation Lobby, I posted info about it earlier. Please come down and see some really phenominal work! You have got to see Kelly Knouff-Burk’s wetland painting, it will take your breath away! There is so much talent in this group!

 

 

Walk in First Snow Through the Woods

first snow woods photograph

Almost every day, I get to see scenes like this as I walk outside the studio. My camera is a real happy camper. Luckily, I captured this picture during the first snow of the season. There was a small accumulation of snow and the day was warm. Sometimes, it feels like I live in paradise with the nature right around me.

There are tracks from our neighbors who had just ridden their ATV’s through it. There are a lot of Bambi tracks and Gobble Gobble turkey tracks too! Max and I are not the only ones enjoying this area.

We all love the outside up here in Elk, WA.  Our neighborhood is the one that started the, “You might be a redneck if……” craze. Checkout Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian here.

My goal right now is to conquer a fear of painting snow and get good at painting winter scenes. I figure the more I paint, the easier it will get. Hmmmm. We’ll see.

walk first snow WC washHere is the first study I painted of this view, as a horizontal presentation. After finishing the study, I am able to see areas to improve. Standing back a way gives me a good view to ponder how I want to proceed with the larger painting.  I’m not so sure I will go with horizontal, I think I like the vertical better.

Walk First Snow
Watercolor study complete for horizontal layout.

I will try a vertical layout next.

Snowy fenceposts watercolor

It is still snowing up here in Elk WA, and I finished this piece last night.

Snowy Field Fencposts E132019
Snowy Field Fencposts E132019 7×10 watercolor on 140lb paper

Snowy Field Fenceposts E132019, a chilly 7″w x 10″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper.

Painting this chilly scene is a new technique for this artist. The finishing touch was the foggy tree on the horizon. Isn’t it cool how the winter mists hides things in the distance? Let me know how this feels to you.

If you knew me you would really understand why snow scenery is so foreign to me in my watercolors. Winter scenery is my new mission and more images are on the studio surfaces as I type this out.

It is the first snowy scene I’ve painted and was satisfied with when finished. This is the result of attending a weekend workshop with master, Stan Miller at Spokane Art Supply.