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.

Friday, September 07, 2007

September 7, 2007

We went on one of the scenic drives today through the Black Hills, choosing the Crazy Horse Memorial as our destination. When this is eventually completed, we can say we saw it at this stage. You can see it for quite a ways across the valley it overlooks. The front most part, including the terraced area, will be the horse. These huge sculpture projects like this and Mount Rushmore just defy belief that they are possible to carry out, but they do it.

We will head towards Montana tomorrow morning and try to be in Glacier Nat'l Park by sometime Monday. The smoke has apparently cleared in that area after some rains, I hope the rains can get to the worst of the wildfires there and completely put them out soon. We'll hope for the best for when we get there.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

September 6, 2007



We went to nearby Mount Rushmore this morning after arriving in Hermosa, SD. It was overcast most of the morning but I got a few shots of blue skies and sunshine on the presidents. I was amazed at the details obtained in these massive sculptures. I noticed that Roosevelt's face even had spectacles sculpted from the rock, amazing. I zoomed in on that so you can see them.

We will have a quiet afternoon here at the motorhome and then tomorrow will scoot around the Black Hills area some more. We plan to stay here until Sunday morning, when we will head toward Glacier Nat'l Park. I spoke with a ranger this morning from there and she assured me that the recent rains have washed the smoke from the wildfires away from the park and so we will go there while we are closer to there. Maybe we will finally find some cooler weather...it has been so warm/hot wherever we have been. A cool front moved in last night and it rained quite a bit overnight, but has cleared this morning and left it a small bit cooler.

September 5, 2007





We traveled to the Badlands National Park yesterday and spent six hours inside the park. It was a great day of seeing sights and photographing them. We went early in the morning, hoping to see good shadows as well as wildlife and we hit the jackpot in all ways. The Badlands consists of about half grassland and half rugged mountains and hoodoos. The mountains are a dull, gray/beige color, but in many places at the bottom of the canyons you see yellow ochre, quinacridone rose and purple colors, much like a graded wash. I can't help it, I see names of paint in the colors of nature! I hope to start a painting of those this afternoon, we are having a quiet afternoon back at the motorhome.

We saw a herd of Bighorn Sheep (ewes and lambs only) that came right across the road in front of us. I got quite a few photos of them, they are much bigger in front of you than when seen at a distance on the side of a mountain. They were perfectly calm, munching on their roadside breakfast.

The bison is one of the herd that is resident in the park, there are something like seven hundred of them in the herd. There was no fence keeping them enclosed so I utilized my telephoto lens so as not to disturb them or cause a tragic confrontation! We have seen such stupid people going right up to them in Yellowstone Park, I wanted no part of that. They, at one point, wandered across the road in front of the Toyota minivan in front of us and quite a few of the adult males were taller than the minivan, just enormous beasts.

The prairie dog towns were so entertaining to sit and watch. We would pull up beside the road and just watch them. These guys were all sunning themselves (I think) and when we stopped, the front little guy started sounding alarms for the town....they didn't run and hide in their dens, just kept an alert eye on us. They squeek/bark quite loudly. It was funny.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sunset on the Missouri

We stopped at Chamberlain, South Dakota for the night. Our RV park is alongside the Missouri, right on the edge of the river but up higher. It is a beautiful river. Here is one of the sunset photos I took in a series...braving mosquitoes all the way. They sure do seem to like me! We will head toward the Black Hills and the Badlands tomorrow and hope to be in that area for several days. I'll take shots of Mount Rushmore!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fairmont, MN

We drove the farm roads to Frost, MN this morning so I could take photos of the old family farm there. Well, I am really bummed because it no longer exists! The barn and all the outbuildings are gone, the farm house has been replaced by a new beautiful home and only the trees remain as I remember them. So, there goes my painting of the old farm. I hope I can someday find a suitable photo to use as a reference. This was a real surprise to me.

We visited with an aunt of mine in Bricelyn, MN and then came home to get the motorhome ready for the trip westward toward the Black Hills of South Dakota tomorrow. I have added so many photos to my farm/barn collection. When I have the time I will add them to my Flickr site. Most of the farms in this area are so neat and clean, beautiful old barns, too.