From the BlogSubscribe Now

Story of making the painting, “Valley Light”

Oil paining, mountain, tonalist painting, tonalism, representational art, mountains, trees, panoramic view, valley, shadow line, clouds, realism, classical painting, rosemary brushes, contemporary realism, contemporary art

Presence, 24 x 38

Late one fall afternoon I was working in my studio – and I felt a hunch that I ought to go to my special view spot in the mountains.  It was faster to ride my bike than walk, as it was nearing the end of the day- so I grabbed a backpack and threw in my sketchbook and a packet of charcoal. The weather had been variable all day with patchy clouds and sun breaks.  As I headed up the trail I could see faint light glimmering through the trees.  Higher and higher I rode, as fast as my lungs would allow.  Once I reached the clearing, the sight before me stopped me in my tracks. Reflecting off the cliffs of Mt. Si was this orange-gold light – a spectacular vision that I had never seen before; orange light with a dark shadow line rising up the flanks of the entire mountain range.  The image of this beautiful valley light burned instantly into my mind’s eye.  I knew I had to create this scene into a painting.  But wouldn’t the time please stop and let me soak in the experience a little longer?  I knew it wouldn’t – moments don’t stand still do they?  They just keep unfolding, one after another.  I felt myself accepting the orange light as it sank into my bones and I stood there, silently observing.   No drawing needed.   Luckily I had been there before to draw, so, I had, at least, a record of the important elements.  If you have ever looked at a painting for a long time maybe you’ve experienced a moment through an artist’s rendering.  Back in the studio I had the opportunity to re-experience that moment many times over – from memory.   That’s why I called this painting, Valley Light.  It’s about the Here and Now.  I like Being. Here. Now.

Drawings – Field Drawings v. Studio Drawings

graphite drawing, desert plants, sage

Sage Garden, 7 x 10, SOLD

Snoqualmie Falls Drawing, 17 x 13

Snoqualmie Falls Drawing, 17 x 13

Many of you know that I create my paintings from studies – drawings done on location AND in the studio.  It’s funny why artists use the term “study,” but it really makes sense.  While we are working on a drawing we ARE actually studying the subject, whether it’s a figure, still life, or landscape – observing as much as possible in a limited amount of time in order to understand how everything holds together.

When I am in the field I will begin with a few quick thumbnail sketches before I launch into a drawing.  Then I will jot down a few notes that help me remember important pieces of information for later on.  I always include the date, the time of day, weather conditions, lightest light and darkest dark, color harmonies, and, most important, the reason for doing the drawing in the first place.  Why is it an attractive scene?  Why does it compel me?  What am I feeling at the time?  Landscapes are mirrors of our souls and I always try to figure out what it is that compels me to this location.  The top drawing, Sage Garden, was done outside on a very hot day in eastern Oregon.  I love the desert and the great variety of  plants that grow there!

The bottom drawing of Snoqualmie Falls was done in the studio.  I came back from the field with a 9 x 12 plein air painting of Snoqualmie Falls and worked from that to create this larger study.  I knew that I wanted to make a larger painting so it made sense to go into more detail in the drawing stage before I launched into the painting.  It’s amazing what we can remember from being in the field.  I work on my memory through drawing exercises and it has helped immensely.

I am trying to photograph more of my drawings (there are TONS) and I will post them in the drawing section of my website periodically.  If you ever want more information please let me know.    Thanks for visiting!

Map for Self-Guided Snoqualmie River Arts Tour

Here is the beautiful map for the Snoqualmie River Arts Tour.  I hope you can come out to the Valley on June 21-22 for an exciting self-guided tour of artist studios.  The website for more information is riverartstour.com.  June 21-22, 10am – 6pm.  You can visit me in my studio and have a look at my work in a gallery on my front porch!  All artwork for sale.

SRAT-Flyer-Page1-web

 

SRAT-Flyer-Page2-web

 

 

 

 

Field drawings from the Kokanee Glacier

I have returned from a trip to the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park located north of Nelson, B.C, Canada where I spent a week backcountry ski touring.  Our days were spent climbing up the glaciers with our skis and skins and skiing down long, long runs of untracked snow.  The conditions were excellent with varied weather and relatively safe avalanche conditions.  In the evenings I enjoyed the beautiful views outside from the warmth and comfort of the cabin.  Here are a few graphite drawings from my sketchbook:

Kokanee 1, graphite

Kokanee 1, graphite

drawing of trees, hills, snow, lake, hills

Kokanee 2, graphite

drawing, trees, hills, snow

Kokanee 3, graphite

 

 

 

 

Deborah Paris Landscape Atelier

Down here in Clarksville, Texas, studying landscape painting with master tonalist painter, Deborah Paris! What a beautiful part of the country to be in this month as the trees turn green and frogs are croaking (It’s especially sweet to be outside in the sunshine when I hear it’s raining buckets back home in Washington).

Deborah Paris painting at easel

Here’s a picture of Deborah’s underpainting demo. I’ll post some pictures of my work from this week soon.

The B&BThis is the B&B where I’m staying – built in 1880! Lots of history around here.Went on the Ghost Walk last Saturday night. One of the members of the Historical Society took us on a walking tour of town to all the haunted houses! I was freaked out at the last house. People on the tour had ghost apps and their phones went wild! Have you ever heard of a ghost app?

By the way, they have red cardinals down here, which I love, because they’re cousins to the blue jay back home. Love the red! Well, it just so happens that I have acquired a recently deceased cardinal (that hit the house by accident) and I’m trying to figure out a way to bring it home so I can do a painting. Anybody have ideas on how to get this lovely creature home? Taxidermist?

Colored Pencil on Prepared Paper

Crystal Mountain Trees  9″x7″  sepia pencil on prepared paper
Merry Christmas, everyone!   There is nothing more beautiful in the Pacific Northwest than the mighty evergreens laden with snow.  For this piece I chose a prepared paper and sepia colored pencil combination – always a good idea to match the drawing medium to the type of paper used.  This is hot pressed watercolor paper toned with raw sienna watercolor and then painted with amber colored shellac.  The paper becomes very hard and receptive to Veri-thin colored pencils and white chalk.  It’s fun to sit inside all cozy and warm and draw the snow piled branches and limbs.  There is a stillness in wintertime that fills my soul.

Tonal/Compositional Studies of the Landscape

A lot of times I like to relax by sitting and composing pictures of trees, plants and the landscape.   Doing several small studies prior to jumping into a painting is extremely useful for working out the composition as well as the overall tonal design.

I like to experiment using a variety of media and papers because I’m always on the hunt for the perfect “marriage” of drawing implement and paper.

 

 Sage Study
 Outcrop Study
Sumac

Georgetown Atelier Works

Skull Study, Oil on linen, 13.75″x15″

  Release, Oil on linen, 39″x24″
 Ragazza Paese, Oil on linen, 28″x20″
 Copy After Rembrandt-Self Portrait at the Age of 63, Oil on linen, 20″x16″
 The Poet, Oil on linen, 24″x19″
 Cast Study, Graphite, 21″x13″
 La Madre, Charcoal and white chalk on toned paper, 24″x17.5″
 Portrait of Zach, Charcoal and white chalk on toned paper, 24″x18″
 Veronica, Charcoal and white chalk on toned paper, 12″x18″
 Portrait of Rachel, Oil on linen, 20″x16″
 Hoagie, Charcoal and white chalk on toned paper, 24″x18″
 Portrait of Jenna, Oil on linen, 24″x18″
Slim Chance, Oil on linen, 24″x 24″