Sunday, December 30, 2007

Death Valley 2007

This is one of the over 300 photos I have taken in the Death Valley area so far. It is so cold that we have taken major advantage of our motorhome propane, heavy coats and whatever we can do to keep warm, but the scenery here is the usual spectacular.

We will be here until at least January 2 and will probably head toward home (or at least Quartzsite!) then.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Girls with Christmas Paintings




We had our family's Christmas tonight with our son Ben, his fiance Deb, and her two daughters Kennan and Destiny. I had done paintings for all of them as part of their Christmas gifts. Kennan collects Marilyn memorabilia so I did my rendition of Marilyn Monroe for her. Destiny's desert tortoise, Roxy, disappeared for a long period of hibernation this summer and then reappeared, ravenous. I did this painting from a photo Deb took of her (Roxy) eating everything in sight, including these pink petunias. The girls were so happy with their paintings, it made it even more of a joy to give the gifts to them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Canyonlands WIP 1



I took this photo several years ago while in Canyonlands Nat'l Park near Moab, UT. I put it through the color filters in Photoshop Elements and really liked the orange-red version so decided to paint the scene in those colors. I have a terrible time painting canyons, I get so lost down in the depths. So, I am trying this one with a grayscale underpainting to at least try to keep me on track. The mass on the left is very typical of Canyonlands, where there are great slabs of rock with layers visible in a diagonal patters as opposed to individual boulders. I am hoping it doesn't come out as a huge blob of rock when finished, that is one challenge. I will enter different phases of this as I get time to work on it, we are taking a holiday motorhome trip so this blog will become more of a travelogue blog (or would that be "traveblog"?) once again and I will finish this painting after we return. It, being a half-sheet painting, is too large to take with us and work on it while gone so I will take along smaller things. Since we are going back to Death Valley I know the emphasis will be on photography as opposed to painting! We will be exploring more of the surrounding areas this time, should be interesting.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Card 2007



This was our Christmas card for this year. I had done the painting some time ago and decided to use it for our card. I am wishing all who follow my blog the very best of holiday seasons and a great 2008!

Blessings,

Susan

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse



I am mentoring someone who wanted to paint this lighthouse in this morning's session, where we painted together. I like the angles of this lighthouse and how the light hits it. Not bad for one morning's work and it was enjoyable to do.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Succulent Project Painting



Here is another project painting for the Watercolor Workshop online group. The theme was to be succulents and I wanted to do this loose agave since I liked the lights vs darks aspects. I stayed loose with it and like the mood of it, but it isn't one of my best. It helped pass the time at the latest art sale, though.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Glacier Alpine Flowers



This is a project painting I did for the Watercolor Workshop online group. The project theme for this month is alpine flowers and I had photos from Glacier Nat'l Park to combine to come up with this scene. Well, the TeePees were just outside the park, but they were close! I painted this while sitting at my sale table at this weekend's ArtChix sale.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Art Chix Sale

Tomorrow, December 15th and Sunday, December 16th the ArtChix will have their last art show/sale before Christmas. If you have the time, please do stop by and see us! We will be at the Sun City Grand Art Club on Sunrise and Remington Drives from 9:00-4:00 both days. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Painting with Aubrey - Finished painting



I finished this painting of our Aubrey while sitting at a weekend art show. She draws a lot of attention, even when only in a painting! I will have to say this painting has been very well-received, although most of the credit for that comes from Aubrey being so adorable.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Budding Artist - WIP 1



This is the grayscale underpainting of our Aubrey that I want to paint to commemorate our first painting session together. She grasped the entire concept of using the caran d' arche watercolor crayons first and then using this big brush to add "wa-wa" to it for paint. I will next start adding color to it and see how this grayscale underpainting works for skin tones. It is an experiment! Stay tuned for either the successive stages or the announcement that it didn't work and has been filed with my pile of tears.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christmas is Coming!



This is a teaser for part of a painting I am doing for xxxxxxx for Christmas. Can you guess what it is and for whom I am painting it? Just wanted you to know I am not slacking here, but can't show the WIP until it is seen by the recipient at Christmas. Working, working, working.....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Here is MY SWAP Painting!



I neglected to share with you the wonderful SWAP painting I received! Susie Short is a well-known and wonderful artist and I was lucky enough to have been drawn to be her SWAP partner this time. She packed so many wonderful but soft details into a 5x7 painting! It is matted nicely up to an 8x10 size and I have already framed it for inclusion into my SWAP Gallery in my studio.

Don't you just want to walk through this scene and relax a bit? I will treasure this painting!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

ArtChix Sale


This is my ArtChix sale table for this weekend. Alas, the attendance was not as anticipated so we all didn't do as well as anticipated. I know these successes and disappointments come and go in the art world so perhaps the next sale will be a big one? Our next big sale is December 8 and 9 so we will hope for the best.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Painting with Aubrey


This is Aubrey during her painting with Grandma session on our patio this morning. We used caran de arche' crayons and brushed them with a BIG brush loaded with water after, which she seemed to grasp easily....what a genius, takes after her Grandma! This Grandma stuff gets better all the time!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

SWAP painting to my partner



I just heard that my partner's SWAP painting arrived safely this afternoon and that she likes it. Hooray! Here is what I sent her. Now I am getting very anxious for my painting from my SWAP partner to arrive!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Visit to Aubreyville





We had a short viist to play with our granddaughter, it was great! She is at a very interactive (as well as active!) age and was a lot of fun. We all went to a park and she just ran the whole time.

There were ducks in a pond at the park and I got lots of reflection photos, too. My camera did keep going back to Ms. Aubrey, though. Nice trip!



Sunday, November 04, 2007

Conch Shell



This is another watercolor Workshop project that I completed this month. I can hardly believe I got them done before the end of the month, indeed was the first to submit paintings to the cows and shell project. I am disappointed that the little sand piles that were supposed to be on the top of the shell didn't materialize to look like little sand piles, but I do like the colors in this. I also used my airbrush on the background sand and like that effect a lot. This was such a cool photo to paint from, it was provided by the project leader and we all were challenged to paint from the same photo. It always amazes me to see how differently each artist interprets the same photo.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Contented Cows


This is my submission for the November project with the Watercolor Workshop - Cows. I have had this photo for a few years but haven't been inspired to paint it until now, when the project was announced. I started it yesterday while with the watercolor group and finished it this morning. It was a fun painting to do.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Second Place

Good news to announce! I took my rose painting (shown in the Gallery section to the right of this message) to the Arizona Artists Guild (AAG) meeting last night for their Artist of the Month competition. After viewing the other submitted paintings I felt a bit out of my league considering the quality of art brought. I spoke with one artist whose painting of an African child was just so magnificent that I had to speak to her about it. When the winners were announced, the African child's artist was chosen as Artist of the Month and my rose was chosen for Second Place! How cool is that? This is a great group of artists from throughout the state and I feel privileged to be a juried member of the AAG, so having one of my paintings be chosen for second place was gratifying for sure.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Prickly Pear on Yupo



This is another Yupo painting I just finished, a project for the watercolor Workshop for October. It didn't turn out exactly as I intended, but there are parts of this I like very much; mainly the intensely vibrant colors achieved on Yupo. I intend to keep developing skills with this "paper", it is fun to work with although quite a challenge. But, as they say, "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" so I will keep on keepin' on.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fall Foliage on Yupo


After the critiques I got on this were considered, I broke up that large green shape in the corner and tamed it a bit by adding some of the warmer colors from above. I like it better now and am considering this one finished.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fall Foliage on Yupo


This is a Yupo painting that will go into a 24x33 frame. I was thinking I had finished it, but am pondering whether I care for that large, clumpy evergreen shrub on the lower right. I have submitted it to the WcW for critique, so I will see what the consensus is. I don't know why I can't see these things while I am making the clumpy objects, but I usually don't see anything bothersome until I see the photo on the PC screen. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall Foliage - 2007




We took a planned trip up north today to see the Fall foliage, supposedly at its "peak" this week. We did not see any Fall foliage in Sedona or Oak Creek Canyon, indeed had to travel to over 8,000 feet elevation to the Snowbowl to see any color at all, then it was only the yellow of Aspens. I had hoped to see some oranges and reds in the mix, but it was not to be this year. Despite this, we had a great day with nice weather, enjoying eating breakfast and lunch "out" at restaurants and being together on these adventures is always so nice for Tom and I. We were planning on exploring a scenic loop somewhere near the Snowbowl, but never saw a sign for it and the smoke drift from a (probably) prescribed burn by the NFS would have made it difficult and too smokey for photos had we found what we were looking for. All-in-all it was a good day and I will add what few photos I got to my Flickr site shortly.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Peachy Rose - Final



After making some minor additions suggested by the online critique group (Watercolor Workshop) I am considering this painting finished. The entire process was interesting, fun and required a lot of patience from me, but I do like the results if I do say so myself!

I will continue to do paintings with an underpainting first, I think it keeps me honest to my goals with the original sketch or photo and makes it easier for me to get the values correct. I have the frame all ready for this so will get it completely finished soon.

Peachy Rose - WIP 6


I have the background underpainting (or possibly the final background) in and am pondering several scenarios of how to finish this. I like the subtle colors right now, so probably won't do much in the way of more color or value changes, but may darken around the rose a bit more here and there. I am still saying so far, so good on this one and holding my breath a bit.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Peachy Rose - WIP 5


I have finished the second glaze on the rose, done the buds and the first glaze on the leaves and stems. I will ponder what to do next. Among my ponderings will be whether to leave the rose petals soft-looking as they are or to drybrush some veining on here and there. I also need to decide what to do for the background. I have some ideas in mind, but since I am being uncharacteristically patient in doing this slowly, I will take the time to make sure of what I want to do before I commit to it. This is turning out to be more like an antiquity painting so I may at least change my mind about the colors in the background. Hmmmmm.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

WIP 4 - First Glaze of Color



I have finished adding the first glaze of color to the entire rose and have added bits of the second, rosy glaze here and there. I will finish that next and then move on to the buds and leaves. I don't want to glaze over the rose too much before I do those since it is easier to keep everything integrated that way. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it anyway.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Peach Rose - WIP 3



I am trying to think of this underpainting as done before I fiddle it to death, and any other value adjustments that need to be made can be done with the color glazes? I am at the point where I start hurrying because I like how this looks so far and can't wait until it is done, so I start hurrying. Step away from the painting! This underpainting needs to dry anyway before I start any colors so I will practice on my color swatches to see what combinations I need to get the peachy color I want for the rose and see how those go on over this gray.

Peach Rose - WIP 1 and 2




I have a reference photo of a peach rose that I have been wanting to do for awhile. I usually get so "lost" in the petals of a complex rose that I decided to start with an underpainting of blue/gray for the rose, stems, buds and foliage and then add color later. I have done this successfully when painting monochromatic sepia paintings, but never with using it strictly as an underpainting, so it is an experiment to see what happens. So far, so good. This is almost a full sheet painting, painted to fit into a 24 x 36-inch frame.

I will next go on to underpainting the stems and front leaves. the background foliage will probably be done more loosely and somewhat impressionistically, we'll see. More to come....I hope!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another movie clip trial - Prairie Dog Town

videoI wasn't able to get this to load on our trip on Tom's laptop computer so will try it here since I am back at my computer and see how it works. These guys were so funny to watch and listen to...they really were funny. They were seen during our visit to the Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

Home again, Home again



We arrived home yesterday afternoon, after being gone exactly a month. It is good to be home, now to get on with the piles of laundry to be done and everything that needs to be put away again.

This is a photo of the area near Page, AZ that we drove past yesterday. I thought the colors at that time of the morning were so pretty.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September 19, 2007 - Kanab, UT



We are in Kanab, UT for our last night on the road, we should get home tomorrow. We were leaving Idaho before sunrise the day before yesterday and I took a photo of the sun shining on this mountain across the valley. There were stands of red trees, the most colorful that we saw on this trip. It is still a bit too early in most places for there to be much in the way of Fall foliage. The Sevier River runs alongside Highway 89 through southern Utah and this is some of the foliage we saw this morning on our way to Kanab. We will see what the Flagstaff, AZ area looks like as we drive through, probably not much foliage color yet, though.

I'll post next when we get home and get somewhat settled.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finally, a painting


Today was the day, after not painting anything for three weeks, I decided I would paint today. We leave for home tomorrow so it was nice to have a quiet day to catch up.

This was a fairly fast painting of the Many Glaciers area of Glacier National Park. It was foggy and cloudy on the day we were there but even that had its beauty, although I would have loved to see the sun on those mountains and glaciers. I decided to do this as a monochrome since in reality it was all a monochromatic gray.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September 15, 2007 - Sapphire mining, day two


We have concluded our sapphire mining experience for this trip. We went to Gem Mountain mine today and spent hours washing and combing through gravel and found only a small amount of small sapphires. We got very tired of lifting, bending and standing so came home about 2:30. That was a long day, however, according to my feet. I am sure though that had we found a really big sapphire that we wouldn't be nearly as tired right now! The setting of the mine was beautiful, that is the first photo. The haziness in the background is from the ever-present smoke drift from wildfires here in western Montana. We passed by a base camp for the firefighters on the way to the mine, they have quite an operation set up. The second photo is of part of the mine work area, it got pretty crowded by noon.

Tomorrow we will have an easy, no driving day and get the motorhome ready for the trip home. I may even try to paint something, not much of that has been done on this trip...too many photos waiting to be taken for future paintings, I guess.

Friday, September 14, 2007

September 14, 2007 - Sapphire Mining in Phillipsburg

No photos today, I was looking at sapphires instead of through a camera! We did the Sapphire Gallery in Phillipsburg, MT (as seen on the Travel Channel) where you buy bags of concentrate (gravel), which they wash for you and then screen and dump them on your table. Your job is to pick through the gravel with tweezers and find the sapphires. We got a total of 22.83 carats of gem-quality, facet-able sapphires. Tomorrow we will go to a mine near here and do our own washing, sluicing and mining for sapphires there. Rough sapphires are a pale, greenish-blue color and transparent. They need to be heat-treated before faceting to become the recognizable ,dark blue sapphire color. We got about eight of the size that would make very nice earrings when treated and faceted, but you can send them to the place here to have them processed later, we know someone who did that and was very pleased with their service. We will wait to see what we get tomorrow. We decided to stay here an extra day and have a quiet day Sunday before we head back toward Phoenix. I'll report in tomorrow whether we find any record-beating sizes of sapphires or not....it is great fun to do the searching whether you do or not.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

September 13, 2007 - Back to Helena


As we retraced our way to Helena today we had more glimpses of the Missouri River along I-15.

It was a welcome sunny day to travel. As we left the East Glacier area this morning, it was 30 degrees! Our vehicles were covered with ice. It got warmer as we headed east and then south and was quite nice by the time we got to Helena. Tom looked up the forecast for where we were this morning and tomorrow morning it is supposed to be 28 degrees! Hopefully the most brutal part of the summer will be ended by the time we return to Phoenix, we have been very cold on this last leg of our trip and look forward to some mild weather....not HOT and not cold.

We leave for Anaconda tomorrow and will spend a few days there before heading toward home. If I find a large sapphire tomorrow, I will be sure to let everyone know and take a photo! It should be fun anyway, and the Anaconda and Phillipsburg areas are supposed to be steeped in history of the old west...more photos to come.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September 12, 2007 - Many Glaciers



We had a wonderful day and a disappointing day. We awoke to a cold fog and some rain, but decided to head for the Many Glaciers area and hope the fog would lift by the time we drove there. No such luck. I am choosing to think of my photography today as "atmospheric" and not complain. I was, however, the coldest I can remember being for a long time. It was in the high 30's, very foggy and raining at times. When a cold wind would blow the fog away from where we were it was fairly clear, but at no time could we see the mountains or their glaciers very well. Oh well, we hope to return here next Spring (late June here) and take in the wildflowers and hopefully see this area with the sun on the glaciers.

Overall, it was still an enjoyable day and worth going while we were here. One good thing, we stopped at a small cafe for lunch that was little more than a small diner and had lunch. We each had a bowl of buffalo and black bean chili (positively delicious!) and split a huge Reuben sandwich (equally excellent). The place seemed to be popular and I can see why, it was spotless and provided very special food. While at that point anything warm would have been welcome, it was nice that it was also delicious.

Tomorrow we plan to head toward Anaconda, MT and try some sapphire mining, should be fun if the weather cooperates.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2007 - Glacier National Park




We went into Glacier National Park early this morning, planning on catching the sunrise in there. It took so long to get to the park boundaries and the road to get there didn't allow for many stops when the sun was coming up. But, by the time we got into the park the sun/shadows were vivid so that was nice. It really is a wonderful park; with mountains, trees and water....all the elements I look for in landscape photos. Unfortunately, the smoke drift made for difficult photography in some places and that was a disappointment, but we were there and I took as many photos as I could and will delete the ones which were too smoky to see details. The Flathead River stops were some of my favorites. There wasn't a lot of water in most places, but the pools and cascades were just fantastic.

Tomorrow we will go the the Many Glaciers area, hopefully the smoke will not be too bad to see the glaciers there.

Monday, September 10, 2007

September 10, 2007 - Glacier Nat'l Park









We arrived in the Glacier Park area this afternoon and will plan to take in sunrise in the park tomorrow and take the Going to the Sun Road loop. This area is so beautiful, and we haven't even been in the park yet. I am sure it will be a wonderful experience and worth many photos.

This morning we followed the Missouri River as it winds alongside I-15, it was so peaceful-looking. It is much smaller here than in Chamberlain, SD where we saw it at probably its widest, it was like a huge lake there.

Our RV park that will serve as our home base for the next few days has a wonderful 360-degree view of trees and mountains. I included the motorhome photo and the view from the motorhome window above. The afternoon wind brought in a small amount of smoke from the western wildfires, but it wasn't bad and now that the wind has settled down there is none, I hope that continues for the next few days so we can get good, clear photos and see everything in its glory.

I'll be sure to send photos of the wonders of Glacier tomorrow. When I return home I plan on making new travel photo albums for my Flickr site since I can't include very many here. I have taken a little over 2,100 photos so far (thankful am I for digital cameras and no film processing!) and I am sure that Glacier will be good for many more starting tomorrow. There are so many views that beg for panorama photos that I am taking lots of those to practice with stitching them together. Good fun!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

September 9, 2007 - Big Sky Country

















We traveled to Helena, MT today. The sky was very cloudy most of the day but we didn't have much rain to contend with and had patchy sun, which makes for interesting patterns on the landscape. I didn't know that I-90 snaked alongside the Yellowstone River for so many miles, it was a wonderful ride to keep seeing this twisting river. The clouds and sky are so fascinating here, again I see why this is called Big Sky Country.

Tomorrow we head for Glacier Nat'l Park and will spend a few days there at least. We talked to an RV park manager there today where we will stay and he said the weather was sunny and cold. Tonight, here in Helena, we were warned to disconnect our water hose to the motorhome overnight since there were possible freeze warnings. I'm glad we brought heavy coats, the closer to Glacier we get, the colder it gets.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

September 8 - To Montana
















We left this morning on our way to Montana. Last night, before the sun went down it was almost 90 degrees. By this morning it was a pleasant 61. One hour into our trip West it was raining, windy and the temp had dropped to 47 degrees! Finally, cool weather, this has been lacking so far on our trip and was welcome, though a big surprise!

We stopped for the night earlier than normal this afternoon after learning that we were near where the Battle of the Little Bighorn took place (we are both, regretfully, geographically and historically challenged!). We went to the National Monument for a look at where it all happened. It was in a beautiful setting, I see why Montana is called "Big Sky Country", yet so solemn when you consider so many died there. There were many markers showing where the cavalry soldiers fell, and a monument to their horses who also died. This was one of the better National Park Monuments we have visited, no concessions selling ice cream cones, coffee mugs, etc. Very nicely done.

Tomorrow we will get closer to Glacier Nat'l Park and try to get there Monday sometime. Hopefully the rain has doused the fires by now, we sure had lots of water today.