Walleyed Pike

There are some things about your Dad you never forget.

His favorite sport, favorite car, maybe even a favorite hat. You knew what his passion was because at one time, or another, he shared it with you, and taught you everything he knew about it.

So it was, in northern Minnesota, my dad loved to fish. He taught me where to look for them, what they liked, the best lure (or, jig) to use, and what the temperature of the water had to do with the fish’s temperature. Basically, how to catch them! His favorite fish (to eat and catch) was the Walleyed Pike — (Just “Walleye” for the indoctrinated).

Feisty, strong and fast, the action on the other end of the fishing line was unlike any other. “Set the hook”, my Dad would yell, as I was having the time of my life trying to keep the fishing rod in my hands, let alone, jerk the rod back to “set the hook”.

Never bend the rod forward and then begin the backward jerk on the pole. It gives the Wiley Walleye the chance to get away. Believe me, the look of disappointment on my dad’s face was more than my own! I think I felt worse for my dad then I did for losing the fish. It was okay, we caught and cleaned our limit that day and sat down to fresh fish for dinner. I think Dad “set the Hook” in me for fishing.

Happy Father’s Day. I painted this one for you. There’s probably no limit on Walleye in Heaven.

Love, Your Daughter.

P.S. This is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board and part of the “Painting Today” series.

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“Glass Bouquet”, Finally Done

Every once in a while, when I go to the grocery store, I stop by the floral department to shop for flowers to paint. I like painting flowers because it forces me to paint them before they wilt. And, also, I like having flowers in the studio! They just, somehow, scatter light and color (and a little fragrance) around a room in such a happy way.

The flower glass vase is an item I found at The Brass Armadillo, a place where collectors can rent space and sell their antique treasures to customers like me who can spend an entire afternoon there walking down memory lane, pardon the pun. Pieces like this cut glass vase are unique, well-crafted and are a painting challenge which adds to the fun of painting. Like a hard workout at the gym, it hurts so good! Does it depict reflected light? What’s a good color? How do you represent “clear”? Well, I started out with light grey, fell back to blended blue and white, and highlighted the areas of reflection with white. When I added the flower stems, I dithered them slightly and made them a lighter green with a few dark green areas to add contrast.

The next time you add water to a glass vase, check the water line. The concave meniscus has a watery white top and a sharp grey line underneath, which you can see very clearly, even in the cut glass vase, which tends to dither everything else in the vase!

“Glass Bouquet” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board and is a part of the “Painting Today” series. Think about “Liking” the Artsprings Facebook Page. You could be the lucky winner of a bouquet that will never wilt!

Thanks for stopping by today!

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“Eggs are a good example of the very basic shape of the human head. If you want to learn about the basics of drawing the head, start by drawing eggs.” — paraphrased from Matt Dickson’s Portrait Demo.

Good advice. Here’s the result. An 8×10 oil on canvas-board with 5 eggs and some other stuff. What Matt forgot to mention is that I don’t have one color, or a combination of colors, that render the color, “egg”!  I know!  I thought I had this.

Yellow-white, brown-white, beige-white and blue-white, all inadequate to the task. My only other option is a box of brown eggs. Is that cheating? Oh yeah, I’m chasing shapes, not colors.

I’m predicting that my viewers will see another egg, or two, soon. I predict I will be learning the color, “egg”! Painting is a quest, an adventure and sometimes, a mystery.

Thanks for checking up on me today, I needed that!

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I had the pleasure of meeting Ella last night at Scottsdale Artists School’s Monday night Open Session. Ella is just about to step into her teenage years. Her face already hints at her adult beauty while retaining wide eyes and the open personality of the child she still is.

However, when she hit the stage and turned to face her audience, she became a practiced model moving into position without hesitation. Her mom was one of the artists in the group of artists standing poised for Ella to crank out 15 minutes of the egg timer, so we could begin our 3-hour paint. I wondered if her mom was proud of her, because I was!!

As each 15-minute session passed, I knew I was dealing with a pro. Each time she took the stage after break, she was careful to arrange that one strand of hair exactly as it had been before. Hands, legs and arms hit their mark. The only time Ella seemed to move was when someone made her smile, and she would quickly put her “model” face back on.

I have worked with adult models, who could not hold a hand or head position like this petite, young girl did!

Needless to say, I loved doing this painting, because of the challenge of making Ella look her age when everything about her was so professionally mature. She was a joy to paint. I hope I allowed my viewers to see that in my painting.

“Ella” is an 11×14 oil on canvas-board. And, is part of the “Painting Today” series. Thanks for looking.

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Let Sleeping Cats Lie

Especially, if they are sleeping soundly in your studio, where you can easily sketch them.

I read somewhere in a drawing how-to book that if you look through cat paintings, the majority of the cats are depicted sleeping. The simple explanation is that: A) cats sleep a lot and B) it’s hard to sketch them when they are awake and active.

This rule applies to all living creatures except, perhaps, the sloth, which sleeps more than a cat (up to 22 hours a day), and they move hardly at all, making them hard to spot in the trees because they blend in so well.

Back to this particular cat, this is Rocky. He is part Siamese with beautiful blue eyes, a love of mischief and the great outdoors (where he is not allowed). If he can outwit you at an open door, he will, but most of the time, he hunts the patch of sunshine on the carpet and sleeps on it.

Part of the “Painting Today” series, “Let Sleeping Cats Lie” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board. Thanks for checking out my painting today. Hopefully, one will pop up tomorrow, as well.

Thank you, Rocky. I’ll slip you a little catnip later!

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Colorado Golden Girl

Remember in the movie, “Dirty Dancing“, when Patrick Swayze catches the girl? Did you catch your breath? Did your heart skip a beat? Then the music starts with “I had the time of my life …”.

Well, I did have the time of my life. It was American Artist’s, “Weekend with the Masters“. Three days of classes with the likes of Sherri McGraw, Mary Whyte, Jeremy Lipking, David Leffel, Scott Christensen and more than that!

I decided that this was my bucket list of instructors, and I was going! It was the first annual event, held at the foothills of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2009. I signed up for two classes with David Leffel, a lecture with Scott Burdick and another demonstration with Scott Christensen.

I spent a whole day with Kevin MacPherson plein air painting in the Garden of the Gods, and an afternoon painting class with Sherri McGraw. I walked on air. I was given “hands on” instruction.

With every breath, I was more inspired by the immersion into such talent and skill! If only one could improve their abilities by an osmotic process, this would be it. Even Richard Schmid graced the 7:00 PM lectern to welcome us and tell his stories of paintings, family and teaching. I could not believe I was actually here, and there were moments I just wanted to pinch myself.

One of my afternoons was taken up with a class by Sherri McGraw. She trotted out three different models, all dressed very interestingly. She then placed one on each wall of the room and told the class to paint or draw the model nearest to them. This is the model that I painted. I was trying to assimilate new techniques, advice on shading, shadow and light. Although the effort did not live up to my expectations, I still could see where practice could bring my paintings to a new level. Sherri McGraw is not only an accomplished artist, but she shines as a teacher, as well.

This painting is a cherished memento of my “Weekend with the Masters”. Meet the “Colorado Golden Girl” an 11×14 oil on canvas painted in the Great State of Colorado. Thanks for stopping by today!


Turned Away

One of my faults, that annoys me the most, is my undeniable skill at being late. I am going to write it into my Will that my casket must be rolled in at least 15 minutes after the service gets started. That better get a laugh!

This painting is a fine example of my being late. The only easel left at The Loft that day was the one she was completely faced away from. I remember staring at her figure and mentally yelling at myself for not getting here 10 minutes early, for once!

Then, I noticed something about the model. How delicate she looked! How almost shy the gesture made her seem from my point of view. All of a sudden, I felt like I had the best seat in the house! Porcelain skin, delicate curves and grace. That is what I want to draw!

“Turned Away” is an 11×14 oil on canvas-board. It’s my “Happy I was Late” painting. Thanks for stopping by.


Scottsdale Cowgirl

Every painting is an adventure in some way or another. It’s fun to be able to tell the story while it is fresh in my brain! It started with loading my portable painting equipment in the car yesterday afternoon to go over to Scottsdale Artist School for their Monday Open Studio session. I wanted to condense two trips to the east side of town into one, and both locations are located off of Scottsdale Road, sort of, except that in the city of Tempe, they call that road, “Rural Road”! I figured I would just run Rural out until it became Scottsdale Road and then take it to Downtown Scottsdale where the art school is. So, it is 4:30 PM on the I-10 freeway, and after sailing all the way through the tunnel and passed the airport, I am crawling towards the US60. It’s 5:30 PM, when I make my stop at Jerry’s Artarama, the art store in Tempe. I have about 1/2 an hour left to spend, when I proudly pop out of the art store at 6:01 PM, and the session starts in Scottsdale at 6:30 PM.

I’m confident that this is enough time, even though I have never run this route before! Tempe gets complicated at the bridge. We have one lane, due to construction, and it is a 3 to 4 light wait. I’m losing count and confidence! Finally, I get the green flag, er, light, and I’m OFF! I make the school at 6:25 PM, and the classroom is quiet as a mouse. People are already painting the model. I am trying to quietly have my little cacophony of “zippers and latches and digging for all my oils and brushes” down to a dull roar. The only other thing you can hear is the sound of brushes on canvas or charcoal on paper. But I made it! I looked up to see our model all decked out, sort of sexy Western, with this huge cowboy hat and curly hair that almost competed in volume with the hat. Oh yeah, I’m in Scottsdale, the “West’s Most Western Town”! Anyway, I was happy with the final result, and here she is! “Scottsdale Cowgirl” is an 11×14 oil on canvas-board! Thank ya’ll for comin’ over. Come back soon, ya hear?