Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chiaroscuro Kitten

"Chiaroscuro Kitten", Pastel, 10 x 10

Chiaroscuro. A cool word that's a little difficult to pronounce (if you're not Italian), that literally means chiaro clear, bright + oscuro obscure, dark or "bright-dark". Italian Renaissance painters and masters such as Rembrandt used the method of chiaroscuro for dramatic effect, even as modern day cinematographers have used extreme low key and high-contrast lighting in classic black and white films for drama.

For me, the image of this adorable, fuzzy kitten lying in the sun captured my heart, and also my attention enough for me to want to paint it. No high drama perhaps, but "chiaroscuro" all the same as the light and shadow are the drama makers in this subject.

I love how a classic art technique can be applied to any subject in any era, and grab the viewer's attention, just as it did mine! (Thanks to MEOW Cat Rescue for the photo reference)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Pickup at the Imnaha P.O.

"Pickup at the Imnaha P.O." is my newest miniature. This little colored pencil piece measures 3" x 2-5/8". (There's a "ghost penny" in the corner for scale). I'll be entering it in the upcoming miniatures show at the Parklane Gallery in May. This is a real, operating post office located in Inmaha, Oregon. With a population of about 14, they don't need a very big P.O! With the threat of many rural post offices being closed due to cost-cutting measures, the Imnaha P.O. has fortunately been spared, and a piece of "small town America" has been preserved.

My husband, Keith and I discovered this tiny town when we were on vacation last October in Joseph,Oregon. We spent a day exploring, driving eastward towards the Idaho border, just to see what we could see. Imnaha is at the end of the paved road, so we ventured further on up Hat Point Road...a scary, one-lane dirt road. What felt like mere inches from the edge of a steep drop-off, I tried hard not to look down!! 

At an elevation 8,000 feet, we had spectacular views of the valleys below and learned a bit of the history of the native peoples in this area, the Nez Perce Indians. About an hour later and safely back down at Imnaha, I took a parting shot of one of the only other establishments in town, the Imnaha Store and Tavern which has been around since 1904. So...with a store, a tavern, a post office, a beautiful Fall day (and a sense of adventure), what more do you need? 

Monday, January 11, 2016

A New Home Portrait

Delphi House - pen and ink with watercolor, 10 x 8

Last year, I was commissioned to create a portrait of this charming 100-year-old farmhouse. Located in the Olympia area, it was the home of my clients when their three boys were very young. Years later after moving away and their boys now adults, they wanted a portrait to give to each of their sons for Christmas.

Old family photos were provided for reference, and I was also able to find more photos of the home on Zillow as the home had recently been listed for sale. I created the original in pen and ink and watercolor, then had three giclee prints made of the artwork for my clients to give to their sons.

Now that Christmas is over, and the chance of them stumbling upon images of their Christmas gift is no longer a concern, I'm happy to share this latest home portrait on my gallery!

Monday, September 28, 2015

For Carol

Earlier this year, my mother asked me to create a portrait for her friend of 72 years, Carol. Carol's son, Jeff, passed away ten years ago and this portrait was a gift from my mother to Carol.

"In Memory of Jeff", 8 x 10

I felt so honored to work on this portrait of Jeff. I worked very hard to capture his likeness, but most of all his personality - gentle and caring, as I understood him to be. My reference photo was from his memorial program, so it was a challenge to see all of the details, being a photo of a photo. 

Carol's heartfelt reaction...tears, upon receiving the portrait unexpectedly in the mail touched my heart as well. Tears are always the greatest compliment of a portrait I have drawn, although it really tugs at my heart when it happens! It helps me to know though, that my art has made an impact, I've done my very best, and have done my job well.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Miniatures Shows

Over the past year, I've enjoyed trying my hand at painting miniatures. Taking advantage of my nearsighted vision (no glasses to paint!), I've been so pleased to have discovered my "niche" in the art world. Last fall, I shipped three miniatures off to Maryland for the 81st Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature, presented by The Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington D.C. (MPSGS)

"Monticello - Spring Storm", Watercolor
Two paintings were returned to me, one had sold. A collector from Pennsylvania purchased the above painting of Monticello. So exciting! Then earlier this year, three miniatures of mine were entered in the 2015 Annual Show of the Miniature Art Society of Florida. Two returned to me, one sold. Doubly exciting! 
"Valentine Bouquet", Colored Pencil
I was reluctant to part with this painting at first as it was a favorite and held some sentimental attachment. But realizing that I shouldn't hoard all of my paintings, but get them out there for the world to see, I sent it off to Florida. Now I'm so happy that this painting "spoke" to a collector and that they are enjoying it right now in their own home. 

Last night I attended the Parklane Gallery's 23rd Annual Juried International Miniature Show in Kirkland, WA. What a thrill for me to be presented with my first award for miniature painting! (As you can tell by my deliriously happy expression) This little painting below won 3rd place Honorable Mention. 

"Williamsburg Pleasure Garden", watercolor

I'm so inspired by the many beautiful, tiny paintings that so many talented miniaturists from around the globe have created. A challenging art form, paintings in "the little" never cease to inspire me and draw me in to their magical world. If you are in the area, stop by and visit the show at the Parklane Gallery in Kirkland which runs through May 31st. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Capt. Matt Peasley

"Capt. Matt Peasley", 7.5" x 11"

A few years ago when was in Coupeville on Whidbey Island for the day, I was excited to see the tallship "Hawaiian Chieftain", sister ship of the "Lady Washington", docked on the wharf. Bobbing in the water close-by was the longboat, "Capt. Matt Peasley".  Capt. Matt is a full-scale museum quality 18th-century reproduction vessel built by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority.

I snapped a photo and had been eagerly waiting to paint it. From my childhood in California growing up on sailboats and perhaps too some DNA from a New England naval sea captain on my family tree, I have a real love of boats and all things nautical. And this boat just needed to be painted!

"Capt. Matt Peasley" got it's name from a fictional character from the "Cappy Ricks" books first published 100 years ago. The fictional character had a real life counterpart - Captain Ralph Peasely who apparently was quite a famous and popular man in his day! Click here to read an entertaining 1930 newspaper article about Captain Ralph Peasley, and if you are interested in learning more about "Capt. Matt Peasley" the longboat, go to the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority website. It's worth a visit!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year!

I'm excited to share with you the opening of my online gallery through Daily! I'm in the process of loading artwork onto my gallery page, so check back every so often for more artwork. Pieces that are for sale will be available for purchase through PayPal with just a click.

Here is a new piece that I created for the Daily Paintworks "Furry Friends Challenge". It is a 6 x 6 portrait of my favorite resident model, Lulu. It is painted on 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper, first with watercolor, then with Pan pastels. Pan pastels are not in stick form like most pastels, but are finer, creamier pastels that comes in small pots that are applied with make-up type of sponges.

"Lulu Belle", 6 x 6, Pan pastel and watercolor
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working in a looser, more painterly style and I am eager to try painting more pieces in this method! You may not be a fan of fat cats, so I promise I will try to branch out into new subject matter. :)

Wishing you all the best in 2015!