Life is a beach: Just roll with the punches

June, July, and August kind of slipped away without a word.  At least without a word written in my blog.  A quick dissertation of what took place in those months follows.

JUNE was a chaotic month. As in most years, I was wrapping up designing the program for the World Beat Festival and recruiting artists from Artists in Action to participate in our booth at the festival, which is always the last weekend in June. Although there were many other things going on in my personal life, including helping to care for my aging mother- and father-in-law that we moved into a care center nearby, cleaning out their house on the coast, working full time, and trying to find time to participate in the annual Paint the Town event, I just didn’t have time to write. Not to mention, there was also an unexpected, tragic death in our family that was very emotional for everyone involved. A young life was taken and the sad occurrence left many bewildered and broken-hearted. Family members from far and near gathered and consoled each other. An unfortunate event that brings people together in love and remorse. But despite the wave of unexpected and ongoing events, the AiA booth at the World Beat Festival turned out well. Many people helped with the setup, booth sitting, and dismantling afterward. We shed our daily routines, enjoyed the hot summer weather, the food, music, entertainment, art and culture.

JULY was an interesting month. A much anticipated getaway was planned for my husband, John’s birthday. We rented a room at our favorite beach spot for four days and three nights. The weather was wonderful and I brought paints and canvases in hopes of painting while we were there. We made reservations for dinner at one of our favorite coastal restaurants on John’s birthday, July 13th. My son and his wife, came over to help us celebrate the occasion. While taking a beautiful walk on the beach, I stepped over some rocks near the tide pools, planning to walk into the water and as I stepped over, a small wave of water pooled in around the rock, I lost my balance, slipped, and as it turned out I broke my right wrist. I didn’t realize it was actually broken until the next morning around 4 a.m. The ER in Newport X-rayed it and my entire forearm was put in a splint for 2 weeks, until I got a cast for the next 4 weeks, and now ~ at the end of August, I am starting Physical Therapy. Being right-handed, I haven’t been painting for two months.

Featured Artist Show at the Elsinore Gallery, August through October 2016.

AUGUST was my scheduled time to be one of the featured artists at the Elsinore Gallery in Salem, OR.
So I have eight paintings hanging in the gallery from August through October 2016. I opted to show several of my landscape oil and acrylic paintings. Thankfully, I have a large number of paintings that I can show as needed. I’m now looking forward to getting out my paints and brushes and finishing up the paintings I started in June – before my  wrist was broken.

“Life is what happens, while you’re busy making other plans.”
I try to roll with the punches and keep my hopes high.

Time to ponder and reflect is time well-spent

Triptych - 1 - ProvenceTriptych - 2&3- ProvenceFinding the time to write my blog has been tricky lately. Sometimes life just happens. Also, I’ve been rethinking the way I approach my art blog. I’m hoping to be able to share something that is more interesting than talking about the weather –although my painting is often influenced by the weather. I’d like to find a way to inspire you with some knowledge about art that I can impart, like a recent development or discovery in my approach or technique. Something that will contribute to your painting experience and mine.

 

One thing I’ve been doing lately is thinking about my approach to painting and the techniques I use to get to where I’m trying to go. Life has sort of been taking me on a ride lately, that doesn’t allow much time to actually put my brush to the canvas. But in my mind, I’m often working on the next step. This is normal. One thing I’ve learned about painting over the years is that half of the process of painting is the mental visualization you put into it before you actually pick up a brush. I’m in the middle of completing a triptych oil painting I started last year, and even though the canvases are covered with paint and the image is developed, I’m still visualizing what it will look like when I’m done with it. It’s a commissioned work, so I really want the completed painting to be right! As it stands now, I feel that the image is too literal. What I mean by that is not that it looks realistic and it’s also not impressionistic, which is my aim. There are some things I like about it, and some things I’m not yet pleased with. I don’t want it to look like a cartoon, and when I look it now, that’s what it reminds me of – like the sidewalk drawings in Mary Poppins. So, I’m planning the next steps to take to turn it around, because my intention is to create an impressionistic painting. To achieve this, I plan to soften the edges and add contrasting colors throughout the open spaces with an impasto layer. By adding oranges into the blues, purples into the greens, greens into the reds, etc. I will unify the overall color scheme, adding texture and dabs of light. Some of the areas of the painting are already taking shape in that way. I think because the overall size of the work is quite large, it has forced me to cover large areas with color, too much solid color, which seems to breaks up the continuity of the impressionistic style of brush work I want to achieve.

I’m glad I took this opportunity to express my thoughts about technique and plan the next steps I need to take with my current painting. Now, when I finally have the time to get going on it again, I can approach the work with clarity and make each brush stroke count!

Paint what you love – love what you paint!

Snow returns to the valley and the candle burns into the wee hours in my art studio. Looking forward to my upcoming art show which starts in March, I’m busy painting the desert and mountain colors that burn in my memory from the journeys we’ve taken over the past years to locations east of the mountains. The sage, the rocks, the mountain peaks, the lakes, the rivers, the sun shedding color, light, and shadows to the scenes that are forever etched in my mind’s eye. And with the help of the photos I have available, I’ve been able to paint several new works over the past month or two that will fit into the show I’m calling “Impressions Beyond the Mountains.”

Wallowa Lake Boat Landing
– after the storm – Acrylic, 18 x 36

 

I’ve been wanting to paint these images for many years, and after internalizing them through travel and countless day-dreams, imagining the colors on my pallet and brush, and visualizing them on canvas, I now have the motivation needed with the time to paint, the venue to show them. Sometimes things come together at long last, in a time and space that was waiting for it to be.

Through this experience, I’m realizing the importance of painting what you love, painting what you know, and loving what you paint. I’m also including several of my recent oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings, from over the past couple of years, that fall into the category of impressions beyond the mountains. All together, I think it will make an engaging, captivating exhibit. I hope you will come by Roy John’s during the months of March or April to see the show. The art receptions will be on the First Wednesday of each month, March 5 and April 2,  from 5-8 p.m.  See you then….

 

 

Unfolding the New Year

Photo: Oregon Coast Sunset, Patricia Young

The beginning of a new year is a good time to evaluate your situation in life and think about the positive changes you can make to enrich your future. We get ourselves in a slump over the year, just trying to keep up with our daily routine and all the events in our lives – planned and unplanned, and we may get hung up in all the details without even knowing what happened.

I like to think of the first of the year as time to reflect, rethink, plan and collect my thoughts. Each year I tend to go through the same process, realizing all the things I should do that I haven’t done yet, including the things I’ve been telling myself repeatedly over the years to change or improve on – and in most cases making little progress.

This year, I’m realizing something more strongly than ever about life in general – my mind (thinking and thoughts), spirit (relationship with God), and body (physical well-being) are tied up all together in one. If any of these is lacking, the other things suffer as well.  So, in order to stay on a positive, productive, healthy track, I need to feed of each of these aspects of my being equally well.

With spiritual, mental, and physical well-being in line, we are able to fulfill our goals, make the changes we desire to make, give back to the world, and stay on track. It is my prayer for the New Year to stay focused on this knowledge.

Here is my holistic plan:

• Study the nature of healthful foods and incorporate them into my diet.

• Get out and exercise more frequently and ride my bike to work more often.

• Practice positive thinking and mental awareness by exercising my mind and eating good brain-food and filling my thoughts with creative ideas.

• Make plans that will help me organize my daily routine, physical surroundings, and creative time.

• Take time each day to read scripture, pray, meditate, and listen to God.

• Invite God into my life each day, and ask for His guidance in all that I do.

• Ask God to speak to me while I listen, and to let me know what He wants from me so I can serve His purpose on earth.

And more literally and immediately I need to:

• Paint the bathroom this weekend! (Already bought the paint)

• Clean my art  studio – get rid of old things, devise ways to store useful things, find homes for some of the old paintings (auctions, friends, family)

• Paint the (Acrylic) paintings I’ve planned for my next show at Roy John’s Studio *
(starting March 1 through April 30).

• Give blankets and jackets away to the church or Gospel Mission (that are in good shape, but we don’t need)

• Clean out the basement – sort items for garage sale, give-away, throw-away, give-back.

• Go through all my old photos (in the boxes) and place in photo albums, storage files, etc. (Organize them to give to my children someday.)

• Make the basement living space more “livable” (press-on tiles, paint walls, put up more shelving and organize shelves, add lighting where needed, etc.)

• Create that “wine cellar” with a mural and ceramic floor tile in the under-porch room! The way that I’ve always wanted to do.

Well, there you have it! The list I’ve created as goals and reminders for making 2014 the best it can be. These are not resolutions so much as plans, goals, and ideas for improving my corner of the world. I hope that your year is a good one and that you can accomplish the things you desires with a joyful heart, a peaceful mind, and many moments that turn out better than you expected them to be.

* Roy John Designer Goldsmith, on Court Street in beautiful downtown Salem, Oregon ~ Artist reception and openings on First Wednesdays, March 5th and April 2nd, 2014 ~ The show hangs for 2 months. Hope to see you there! 

 

This is what I live for!

The month of June is one of my favorites. I was born in June, and every time it rolls around, I get the feeling my year is just starting. It’s a time of hope and gladness for better weather, longer days, warmer nights, and strawberries ripening. The season just begs me to spread my wings and fly!

I  spend time outdoors, as much as possible, walking, gardening, painting, and so much more. The smell of BBQ briquets starting to smolder, the taste of spring harvest ~ new peas, strawberries, fresh herbs, and rhubarb picked in my garden. And the many delights from the Saturday Market overflowing with fresh, local produce.

Getting together with family and friends after a long cold winter of hibernation,  to bathe in the hot tub by moonlight, run in the park by day, soak up the sun. This is what I live for ~ the beginning of Summer!

Paint the Town will be starting up on the 8th of June. I won’t be able to attend the first session, as I have other invitations that day, but there will be many sessions throughout the summer months, that I will go to. This is my favorite all-time event in Salem, sponsored by Artists in Action, a non-profit art group I belong to and have been involved with for many, many years. It’s exciting to gather with other artists at a location and spread out over the landscape, so each artist can paint what intrigues them. It’s fascinating to see all the different compositions that result.

I plan to enter the upcoming show at the River Gallery – “Hot fun in the Summertime!”

The deadline for entry is July 7th, so I need to get started!  I’ve been thinking about what I want to portray for the theme ~ something that I love about summer. Like working in the garden, which is fun for me! Sunhat, work gloves, hoe in hand. Lots of lush flowering and fruiting vines and plants growing all around. That’s what I’m thinking about painting. Another thought: Sun glasses, Adirondack Chair, and a tall ice tea or chilled glass of chardonnay, just basking in the sun next to the garden; gloves and hoe on the ground nearby … also a thought.  So many possibilities for this topic!  Each to his own. (Hmmm ~  this could be a self portrait if I do it right.)

I’m also painting a series of paintings for a solo show that I’m planning for July 2014. Yes, it’s over a year away, but I intend to have enough paintings with this particular theme for my show at Roy John’s studio ~ All new, never before shown anywhere before. I figure it will probably take a year to complete.  I think it’s good for me to set a goal and work toward it, putting my best efforts into it, and making it my own.

So, now ~ along with all the summertime activities, places to go, people to see, things to do ~ I shall venture forward and begin my journey into the world of painterly practices.
I will make headway just as the sprout pushes it’s way above the surface of the soil to find the sun.

Remember:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw

NOTE TO READERS:  If you have any comments you’d like to add concerning my thoughts and rambling about life, or my love of art and nature, or anything else related to art that might be a topic of discussion, I’d love to hear from you!   Also, if you are a Word Press person and can give me advice as to how I can filter my replies, please let me know. I’m fairly new to Word Press.  If you are responding with comments, perhaps in the subject line we can use a code, such as “Art Matters:” followed by your topic ~ then when I go through all the responses, I will know who is responding to my blog post rather than “spam.”

 

The quest for painting en plein air

Metolius-plein air

Metolius River en plein air

The weather is getting warmer here in Oregon, and lately we’ve had some record-breaking temperatures for this time in May. I took advantage of the dry weather this past weekend to paint Gesso onto some one-eighth-inch hardboard panels I purchased at
Home Depot. I bought a large sheet of the hardboard and had them cut it up into
24- 12″ x 16″ panels, and 3- 16″ x 24″ panels.  I painted them and let them dry in the sun, then sanded them and painted over with a second coat.  They are now ready to use!

I picked up this idea from the speaker at our last Artists in Action meeting, Mike Rangner, who is an excellent plein air painter.  It’s a fantastic idea!  I can take them with me easily,  since they are small and fit perfectly into one of my cloth carrying bags. (I place cardboard in between each panel for protection.) They are inexpensive, so I can do many quick, loose paintings, not worrying over the cost of materials. Loosening up with increasingly frequent painting experience, and more opportunities to interpret the light, shadows and forms is what I need to do, if I am going to achieve the freedom of expression I hope to attain with plein air painting.

plein-air | ˈplān ˈe(ə)r | adjective [ attrib. ]
denoting or in the manner of a 19th-century style of painting outdoors,
or with a strong sense of the open air, that became a central feature
of French Impressionism.

ORIGIN from French en plein air ‘in the open air.’

I plan to use several of the panels, when we go to Maupin — a small, high-desert community in North Central Oregon — for a weekend getaway. The weather is generally several degrees warmer there, and dry. Maupin is situated on the Deschutes River as it flows through the canyons to the joy of white water rafters and fishermen. It  borders the Warm Springs Indian territory. There are beautiful rock formations – some still have petroglyphs visible, Salmon steps, and log homes and structures along the cliffs and waterways. I’m looking forward to the inspiration it might give me to paint and soak up the contrasting shadows and light.

I also hope to paint in my own back yard this summer, where I have my garden “sanctuary,” of blooming flowers, greenhouse, bird bath, vegetable garden, and a red Adirondack chair waiting for me.

Another opportunity is “Paint the Town” which starts up in June. As a group of artists, we go to several locations in and around the Salem area to paint outdoors for hours at a time. Summer is a plein air painter’s wonderland, and I plan to make the most of it this year!