Monthly Archives: May 2015

Wow! That is some color


Blocking in
Blocking in

Those are the words that my daughter, Ashley, stated when I sent her this photo. “Wow, that is some color.”   It is nice to receive comments that can go either way!    This was an early morning paint with just Rikka, my German Shepherd, and me.  Catherine was busy becoming famous as a movie extra in a movie, so she couldn’t paint.:)

This morning was a combination of thinking about a former post in this blog about being bold and laying in color and of “you better get out and paint something”.   What I learned from this morning is that the choice of location matters.  It matters in the sense that I need to find something to paint that conveys something to me.   Hopefully, one day I will be able to convey the feeling that I get from the location onto the canvas.

This cranberry bog caught my eye early one morning as I sped by it in my car.     The morning of this painting I drove to  a couple of familiar sites close to my home, but the memory of this cranberry bog stuck with me and I drove out to it.  It was unfamiliar and I wasn’t sure about the parking, etc.

We (Rikka and I) had a wonderful experience attempting to capture the reds of the bog on a beautiful spring day.

Cranberry Bog off of Route 124
Cranberry Bog off of Route 124



Bumps along the way

What we (I) think is so fascinating in our painting journey and its creative process is the difference between beginning this creative endeavor, plein air oil painting, and other creative things that we have done in the past.  Take for example, knitting. When one  first learns to cast on and make a, oh, I don’t know, a square dish cloth, and the stitches are not even or the lines straight, no one said, “Uh, you really should not be a knitter.”  Or when we were first learning to cook, folks didn’t say, ” Ummm, cooking – really not your thing.”

It is different for some reason when you share a painting. I’m not sure if it is because of the museum type experience where art is to be critiqued  and judged at first glance either ” I like it or I don’t like it”, or if there is little leeway for “critics” to understand learning and improving as one goes on.

This has been my experience as a beginning painter, and one that I wasn’t really prepared for.  I think this is really important to understand if you take up oil painting.   Be prepared or prepare yourself for those words that could possibly temporarily derail  you in your oil painting journey.

We have found several things that work for us  to counteract the unintended or intended criticism of a beginning artist.   The first is laughter.   Really, really important.  Every time we go out,  Catherine and I usually have a good laugh at some aspect of our work:  either the easel falls over,   an aspect of the painting appears to be painted on by a deranged person ( how does that happen??) or  just  laughing at the pure joy of being able to be outside and believe that it is possible to capture some of the beauty around us.

Another technique that works for me is to find a painting buddy or another person who may not want to paint, but could go out and read, or knit! with you.   The camaraderie and collaboration with another is really important to keep the spirit of patience and practice alive.

And finally, always, always find something in your work, even if it is  2 inch square that you like and focus on that .