James In A Purple Shirt

Scottsdale Artist School has been expanding its art model pool! We have had quite a few “first time” models this Summer, and they all have done super!

It takes a certain temperament to be able to sit (even with regular breaks) for 3 hours in front of a room full of people who periodically frown at you (squinting to see darks and lights) hold pencils up in the air at you (measuring correct distances) stare at you as though you were from outer space (getting a “feel” for painting the subject) and tell you that your head is too far left or right from your last 20 minute sitting, by a “fraction of an inch”!

Our models never disappoint. Cooperative, friendly and willing to please they have all been a pleasure to paint.

James is no exception. He picked out a purple shirt to contrast his red hair! Wow, Jim, you really had me mixing up the colors on my palate! I loved that little curve ball of a detail you pitched at us! Hope to see you again, soon.

I thank everyone who stopped by to view my Artsprings pages. I am very proud that Art Springs Facebook has received 15 likes. 35 more and I’m giving away your choice of the “Painting Today” series if you are chosen in the drawing.

“James In A Purple Shirt” is a 12×16 oil on canvas-board and is a part of the “Painting Today” series.

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Another One Bites the Bosc

Ever since I can remember, I have never cared for citrus fruit. Too sour, for the most part and, of course, my mother worried that I was missing out on necessary nutrition. She discovered that I would eat pears and was over joyed to find one kind of fruit that the kid would actually consume. So much of my early childhood contained a grocery sack with pears in it, just for me!

I still like pears. They don’t contain the same amount of vitamin “C” as citrus and they do contain more natural sugars which makes them more appealing to me and all the rest of the “kids”!

Now, I like them for a different reason. The are fun to paint. I have already done a red pear and Bartlett pear earlier on. So, while I was shopping for groceries the other day, I stumbled upon the Bosc pears!

Judging from the skin and intact stems, they are very fresh. The color was high and the bruising was minimal. In other words, perfect for eating and painting.

So, once again there was a grocery bag with pears in it, just for me!

Hopefully with a little dramatic “staging” they look good enough to eat.

“Another One Bites the Bosc” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board and an ongoing member of the “Painting Today” series.

As always, I thank you for stopping by to see what’s on my shopping list, errr, I mean, easel! See you soon again, I hope!

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Sun Powered

Driving North on Interstate 29, somewhere between South and North Dakota one late Summer day (heading to Minnesota to visit with my Mom), we started seeing huge fields of sunflowers along the way. Like a crowd of floral sun worshipers, no matter what time of day, the sunflowers strained to catch every ray of sunshine on their up turned flower faces. East in the morning and West at night, their ability to face the sun amazed me. It was so dramatic to see a whole field of sunflowers do their sun dance in unison.

If you have a large sturdy vase, sunflowers are sold in floral shops and really dress up a lonely corner of the house, especially toward Fall. I guess I’m getting an early start on thinking about Fall, because in Arizona, fall comes knocking on the Phoenix doors around Halloween!

In the meantime, in honor of all those basking sunflowers along Interstate 29 between South and North Dakota, here is “Sun Powered”, a 9×12 oil on canvas-board. “Sun Powered” is part of the “Painting Today” series.

May all your Summer “Sun Days” be fun days. Thanks for stopping by to visit.

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Arizona, Made in Japan

This tea set comes from a gift shop in Arizona. When I bought it, over 30 years ago, I fell in love with the blending of the traditional Japanese tea set and the hand-painted scene of a roadrunner in the desert. If this is not a prime example of why the United States is considered to be a “melting pot” of traditions, cultures and ethnicity, then I don’t know what is. I’m still curious, as to why a Japanese pottery company would be commissioned to paint a Sonoran Desert scene, but why not?

I remember the Summer, my husband and I rented a campsite at the Grand Canyon National Park. When we woke up the next morning, we were amazed at the different languages we heard coming from various parts of the park. We identified: German, Italian, Japanese, French, Spanish and English. Not only do we have Americans that grew up speaking their parents’ native language, we have tourists coming from all over the world to sight-see and tour our beautiful country. Many of them come to see one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon right here in Arizona.

So here’s a mysterious link to this country’s obvious cultural diversity and blending. This particular piece was bought for my mother, over 30 years ago, after I had first moved to Arizona and was awed by the culture and climate. Not only did my mother enjoy the Phoenix cultural mix, she also liked tea, so this seemed an original and eclectic choice for a Christmas gift.

Now, that I have re-inherited this piece, after my mother’s passing, I just had to share my find with the world, in an oil painting!

“Arizona, Made in Japan” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board that is part of the “Painting Today” series.

Don’t forget the dose of antioxidants that are “poured” into a cup of green tea with a mild helping of caffeine. Containers are not important, but a cup of tea is a wonderful addition to a quiet moment.

Hope your day includes a moment like this for yourself.

Thanks for stopping by to see my “cup of tea”!

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When you walk outside in the “Valley of the Sun”, you notice many things. In July, you notice the heat. Right away, I might add. But even in the heat, the Valley is alive and well. The birds still sing, the bugs are buzzing, dogs barking and some crazy fitness-freak is still jogging when the outside temperature is 110 degrees in the shade.

So, what does this Minnesota Girl miss in all the cacophony? Squirrels!! The top-of-the-tree comedians jumping, hopping, climbing and running around with acorns in their cheeks, looking for the perfect place to bury their find. And, did I mention the chatter? If you have ever been on the receiving end of this “chatter” (being launched in your direction), it sounds like your Mother catching you sneaking into the house at 2 o’clock in the morning. Not that I would know! (Ahem!) I listened to every word my Mother spoke to me. But, it has that same cadence, I’m told.

So, I did a quick sketch off of a picture that floated by on Facebook, and took it to the easel because I have never been known to pass up saying, “Oh, look! A Squirrel!”

“Scolded” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board. It is part of the “Painting Today” series. Don’t let her put you on a guilt trip, we love the fact that you stopped by, to look.

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Poker Face

Monday night, when I went to Scottsdale Artists School for Monday Night Open Session, I walked in on a gambling scene. There was a table, some money on the table, a glass for a drink, a jug to hold moonshine, or perhaps illegal alcohol if this poker game is taking place during Prohibition.

Our “hold ‘em or fold ‘em” high-stakes gambler comes out from the dressing room with a White ruffled shirt, the kind men were wearing in the 1800′s and, when Emanuel sat down at the table, picking up his “five-card stud” hand, he put on a cold and calculating “Poker Face”!

The easy thing to do would be to go for the portrait drawing and ignore all the “trappings” of the “good hand” in poker. I decided that doing the “easy” thing was probably the wrong answer. Doing all the detail work would be: good practice, keep my eyes open, along with the options for how I was going to approach this scenario.

I’m glad I did. This was a fun paint! I have never drawn a playing card before!

Ah, it’s the little things that make Art fun. Like telling Emanuel that “I poured you a drink.” I had painted brown liquid into the glass I painted, just because “drinking and gambling” go together in a stereotypical way.

So, here is “Poker Face” from the Casino Scottsdale Artist School. Hope you enjoyed the 11×14 oil on canvas-board. It’s part of The “Painting Today” series. And, if I made you start to hum the song, “Poker Face”, it’s because I’m humming it, too (ever since, I figured out that was what I wanted in my drawing, a poker scene and a gambler!)

Thanks for looking. May all your gambles in your life today, go your way. But, don’t chance the yellow traffic light. I want you to be in one piece for my next drawing.

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Fiesta Pitcher

Years ago, when I was a child, my mother had a collection of Fiesta® Dinnerware. At the time, I probably thought that all dinnerware looked like Fiesta Ware. To me, it was the “standard” of plates, cups and saucers. Probably by the time I was 12 or 13, Dad bought a more expensive set of china for Mom, and we gave the colorful Fiesta Ware to a second-hand store.

I have had many different kinds of dinnerware over the years, from Corning Ware to Lenox, but about 10 years ago I began to search the thrift stores for pieces of Fiesta Ware. I thought it would be a challenge to build a multicolored collection of the Fiesta Ware brand. I must admit, that about this time I also had help from a very special Fiesta-Ware Angel, who loved thrift shops even more than I do, and, in his travels, picked up most of the pieces I have today.

That includes this pastel yellow pitcher. The pitcher is one of the major iconic pieces of the Fiesta Ware line.

Even in the thrift shop, they can get $15.00 to $20.00 for this pitcher. My friend is charmed when it comes to thrift shop “finds”. He happened upon this pitcher for less than $10.00, and it is the antique Fiesta Ware and not the new line. I was thrilled to get this piece, to say the least!

So, I decided to try painting the lines of this pitcher in oil paint. I doubt that Homer Laughlin, the man who started the Homer Laughlin China Company in the USA, is around today to see the resurgence in popularity of his line, he called, “Fiesta Ware”, but old or new there is no question, this line of dinnerware is nothing less than a work of art.

“Fiesta Pitcher” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board and is a part of the “Painting Today” series.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look. Try to imagine that the pitcher is filled with Ice Tea and waiting for you when you come in from the hot afternoon sun. Cheers!

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White Peaches

Some grocery items can be stored in the refrigerator for relatively long periods of time. Peaches, unfortunately, are not one of them. They go rather quickly from maturity to bruises, and it’s all downhill from there.

The bright side is that peaches taste so good that who wants to save them, anyway?

So, I marched these beauties out of the fridge and onto the chopping block. There was a two-part purpose for the peaches. The first part, I’m sharing with you! I painted them, and I am putting their picture up on my website. The second part is, that I ate them! Delicious!

The other discovery is that these peaches are called “White Peaches”, and I was taken by the colorful outer skin. And, I didn’t quite understand the “White” part until I cut it open. Wow! The meat was a very bright White instead of the subtle Yellow orange I’m used to. So no, I didn’t forget to “color” the inside, I found them to be this color.

So, if you see White peaches in your local grocery store, I recommend that you try them. They are certainly good mid-Summer snacking.

In the meantime, enjoy my version of “White Peaches”, an 8×10 oil on canvas-board that is part of the “Painting Today” series. This version is also zero calories, no matter how many times you come back to look at it.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope your Summer is just as sweet.

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From Scottsdale Artists School Monday-night Open Session comes this portrait of “Craig”.

Did I tell you I am a sap for a long-haired guy? Well, I am!

When I went to college in the 1970′s, I met (and hero-worshiped) the campus rebel. Complete with long hair, beard, Mexican poncho vest, engineer boots and an arrogant intellectual attitude. I was head over heels in wanting to be a freak just — like — him!

The rumor was that this guy came from New York after avoiding the draft and going to Canada and moved down to Bemidji Minnesota (my hometown and home college — Bemidji State University). People said he was actually an illegal because he didn’t re-register for the draft. Well, anyway he sort of looked like Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly” (1966).

So, here comes Craig with a beard and long hair in an indescribable grey-brown hue, and I am mixing colors like mad trying to get to the color and tone of his complicated hair and beard. I decided to narrow my focus to portraiture to add the detail I would need to convey the beard and maintain a facial likeness.

I loved his deep-set eyes and the lighting on his face (this is called “Rembrandt lighting”, when one side of the face is lit and the other is in varying degrees of shadow). Apparently, Rembrandt lit many of his subjects this way in portraiture.

“Craig” is an 11×14 oil on canvas-board and is in the “Painting Today” series.

Thanks for stopping by. I wonder if Craig got to go to Woodstock? My mother wouldn’t let me go! Although, the rain, the mud and the guitar amps shorting out, did NOT sound like that much fun. It was a memory that had to “age” about ten years before it found positive traction on memory lane!!

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Mini Roses

Whoever thought of putting flowers in the grocery store instead of a florist shop, you found me! If you put what you want me to buy right next to what I do buy, well, there you have it! Captive audience.

Also, I needed something to paint, and the mini roses are so delicate, perfect in pink, and I know I can keep them alive longer than next Tuesday — yes I can!

So here is Mini Roses — in the pink, looking very happy even after their car ride home in the 114° heat in Arizona. I hurried a little, hoping they wouldn’t notice.

“Mini Roses” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board, and a welcome addition to the ever — ahem! — “growing” collection of “Painting Today” paintings.

Did that last little joke “grow” on you? I hope so. Hope to see everybody back tomorrow. I think these will be some more models either from Scottsdale Artists School or shopping cart from the grocery store. Choices, Choices!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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