MUD season

Spring Mud 2019
Garden Spring Mud 2019

Mud

Followed by mud, and more mud is the weather prediction for today.

I walked down to the garden and can now see patches of ground peeking through the snow. This is the blackberry row and the apple trees on the lower end. How long do you think it will be before we can plant? Hello Spring! Melt down has begun, with the introduction of warmer temperatures.  I know it is practically ridiculous of me to complain when so many are losing everything, farm and ranch to intense flooding across the midwest but…. my little self still wants to moan and say, It’s a pain;

GOOSHY knee deep mud!

As the snow starts to melt into a much thinner level each day, little rivers trickle down the hill. Trickle, trickle into natural bog areas. Out of necessity, each town trip becomes a journey put off to the last minute and combined with others to decrease the amount of times up and down the hill. Each rut made becomes it’s own little stream.

Things Are Serious

When, getting up the driveway involves real work for the Subaru and chains are needed on the tractor….

  • Propane delivery is impossible.
  • UPS walks up the driveway to deliver an important package.
  • The dog smiles walking in with brown legs instead of white.
  • You realize your whole house is now a mud room.
  • So, why clean?

It’s funny, this happens every year for half a month or a whole month. I think, man we got to buy truckloads of gravel and fix this. But, that gets put off later when the roads allow heavy trucks on the road again. I’ve got an idea, maybe I should contact the Spokane Wastewater Management people and ask them to help take care of this problem for us. We are only 38 miles from the city, that should be an easy fix for them, you think? Or, is it just not a good idea to ever involve the authorities in solving real life issues? Our taxes are high enough already with no services. Un Huh.

The painter in me still loves the promise of those great bright greens, as things beginning to spring up next! Check out last years post. We have little starts planted all around the house getting ready to put the garden in below, when we quit sinking into middle earth with every step.

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. 

Snow and fun landscapes

Snow and fun winter landscapes, is quite a normal sequence of terms for this skiier. We are a household of ski and snowboard bums that love that white stuff. We have fun! Winter is fun!

winter fencepost
Winter fencepost, done in Stan Miller’s workshop at Spokane Art Supply in Spokane Wa. 

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to attend a weekend workshop with Stan Miller. He is a phenomenal master painter, who I have had the privilege of knowing over the years. A wonderful artist and person. The subject was winter water, skies and snow in watercolor. As always, having an opportunity to spend some time with a small group learning from a “master” really brings things up a notch in a painters world. Above, is an unfinished exercise from the workshop. Unfinished, but still quite an inspiration to me.

Snow is something I have always loved. Unfortunately, it is a subject that has simply baffled me whenever I try to paint it. Fortunately, Stan Miller is an amazing teacher and has been able to open up a whole new world for me with what he showed during that weekend workshop at Spokane Art Supply . With this fencepost painting, I was able to get “what I see” in a snow scene… down on the paper. Success, is such an inspiration.

A person who paints a 1,000 paintings stands a better chance of producing more great masterpieces…

It is about time, I record the fun and the gorgeous sights we see all winter long. This artist is on a mission!

Snow Chores

Propane Tank Before 1When snow falls in larger quantities, the chores around the home get a little unusual sometimes.Winter fun in Elk Washington. Keeping our driveway and road cleared is a given, because we don’t want to have to walk up this hill to get in and out. Keeps us on top of that chore.

That white stuff keeps piling up.

Uh huh! said the happy skiier!

Propane Tank Before 2This weekend while we were in balmy “teen temperatures”, I noticed that it would be real hard to get access to our propane tank. So, slipping on those sexy Sorel boots, with matching leather gloves hat and coat. I stepped out and grabbed the snow shovel off of the deck. My buddy, Max was right there with me, so we went out to clear the walkway to the propane tank.

Taking a couple of “before” pictures, I then got busy with a shovel while Max guarded the driveway. I’m not sure what he guards against, but he sits there at attention, gazing off into the trees.

Propane Tank After 2When I was done I took “after” pictures.

Propane Tank After 1Those walkway pavers were easy to put in last summer in the heat. It is a different story to find them under waist high snow drifts. Things got kind of tricky, as I thought, where the heck are they? Maybe, I should put a little reflector marking them. Another mental note-to-self.

Woo Hoo! now we can see the walkway to the propane tank and I am happy to report that my fingertips have finally warmed up!