Thursday, January 31, 2008

Plein-Air Classes at The Farm

I have a fun opportunity coming up, to teach plein air painting classes at The Farm in Px. If you have never been there you need to stop by. There is a large grove of pecan trees with picnic tables below to enjoy lunch. On the back of the property is the Artist Studio and also a fine dining restaurant with wonderful Sunday brunches. There are flower gardens that this spring will be lush and full. You can sit and have your sandwich in the middle of Phoenix Arizona and think you were way out in the country. It is on 32nd St. between Southern & Baseline. My classes start on Feb. 5th and run for 5 weeks. They will focus on getting the studio painter outside, and also to help the beginning painter along. Plein- air is so difficult and I hope to make it a bit smoother by sharing what I have learned. Classes start at 9:30am Tuesday mornings till 12:30pm. You can contact me about what supplies you need or look on my website for the supply list/suggestions. Check out my website for class info or call 602-268-5905 9:00am to 3:00pmTuesday - Sunday.
I plan on doing some Saturday morning workshops also so keep watch for those. For info on The Farm go to They host weddings, parties, or just lunch with the girls. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wisdom & the Dreamer

There is a wonderful little book out that no matter what your passion, you will be able to take something away from this read. It is written by Kristen Thies. Her husband is an amazing oil painter, even more amazing is he is humble and good. Those two qualities do not always go together! I met Tim Thies in a class I was taking at the Scottsdale Artist School with Mark Daily. It had to be the hardest oil painting class I had ever taken and was on edge the first couple of days. As I often do I set up my easel in the back so others aren't looking at my stuff, which turned out to be really silly since everyone in the class was far to busy trying to listen and apply what Mark was saying. Everyone seems to be having their own struggles, they were not turning out their usual work but trying to push themselves. That is what Mark Daily did for me and others in that class. Tim Thies was set up next to me and had the pleasure of hearing me grown and fret over what was NOT happening on my canvas. He happily shared ideas, his own frustrations, and never once let on who, or how well he painted. I did not find out till several days into the class his last name and about fell over ~ he was teaching at the Scottsdale Artist School the very next week! When talking with him I learned about Kristens new book and had to get it. It is so informative, uplifting without being corny, and applicable to anyone who creates.
Wisdom & the Dreamer by Kristen Thies published by West Wind Fine Arts. You can order it from the Scottsdale Artists School in Scottsdale, (duh ) Az. AND it was only about $30.00.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Painting Red Rocks in Sedona

This week I will be painting in the Sedona area. That is always a challenge, yes it is beautiful, but I usually end up very frustrated. That is some of the most gorgeous country, the reds, yellows are vibrant and so strong against the soft blue of the sky. But if you aren't careful the reds on the painting will be too strong, too much for the viewer to believe. I even brought home a small rock (that is a no-no and I will take it back) to study the colors. My dad was a geologist so I have always enjoyed colorful rocks. This scene is at the Red Rock State Park and I have painted it many times. That cottonwood tree was a deep green with touches of yellow. Of course that then made my cadmium reds & yellow mixes look fake and garish. Fortunately no one sees the big grey puddles of past scrapped paintings on my pallette. Those puddles of grey are what soften my reds and create a much more realistic Sedona red. This little piece found a home in Pinetop and I hope it will bring lots of pleasure to its owners. I will do this scene again this week, but I with such cold temps., I will find that cottonwood bare and a wonderful soft grey/pink. Ugh, pink that up against the red rock, headache maker! When you find yourself in that kind of a spot, and you if know that your composition is correct, then hang in there, scrape and scrape again. No one sees your scrapped paint, all they will see is a fine little moment in time~ recalled on canvas and oil paint.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Painting in New Mexico

This past July I was able to paint in the Santa Fe and Taos. This piece was done on a bluff overlooking Santa Fe on the highway to Taos. The storm clouds were changing so fast and lightning eventually forced me back into the car. The air is so clean and clear in New Mexico and the terrain has so much variety. I will be back in Santa Fe in March for a show at the Sage Gallery, and to paint of course. If you haven't been to this part of the country, do plan a trip. There are old adobes everywhere and lovely old churches, great green chile, colbalt blue skys, open space, and an endless variety of scenery. This 8"x10" won 1st Place in the Tucson Plein Air Painters show in 2008 at the Max Gallery. TPAPS serves painters in southern Arizona and is a great group to paint with.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Snow in Pinetop at the Joyous Lake Gallery

Yes, Arizona does get snow. This is in Pinetop, AZ at the Joyous Lake Gallery. If you are headed to the mountains or the Lakeside area be sure to stop in here. Gwen is a painter and has her studio here but also represents several other artists. You can find many painting of the mountain areas, pines, fields of spring flowers, both watercolor and oils. I will be showing finished paintings that will be sent up to Gwen on this blog. Check her website (Cool links over on the right) for hours during the winter months. Several other artists and myself will be here in October to paint the fall colors with a show to follow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Plein Air Painting, the real meaning

The term Plein Air Painting can sound romantic, bring up visions of Monet & friends canoeing, picnicking, lounging on the shore, and painting. My experiences have been a bit different, especially being a painter in Arizona. Painting from life is for me the only way to fully see and then translate into paint by experience and vision. This usually includes scary stray dogs, snakes, javalina (wild pigs in the desert), nasty bugs, Arizona's summer heat ( 118 degrees), cactus stickers, dust storms, and the worst of all, wind. In spite of all this I would rather be out doors, me and my easel, than in the nicest studio, any day! I enjoy getting other painters outside to give it a try, to see how it will affect their artwork and how they see. Plein air painting removes the staleness and predictability of working from photos. It will change your work. You are forced to make decisions, what to leave in, take out, move. All good. Hard on you , but good. This pic was taken just north of Taos, New Mexico in July- what a wonderful place.

Friday, January 11, 2008

My old home in Superior Arizona

This morning I headed up to my hometown of Superior, AZ. Before setting up to paint I decided to take a drive through town and go by my old home where I grew up. It was gone. Not just gone but nothing was left. The trees, fence, even the house next door is gone. The new mining company rebuilt the old hospital where I was born and leveled everything around it. That included that wonderful little home of brick that my parents and sister lived in for over 25 years. It is as if it never existed. Very weird. Never did paint, just drove straight back to Tempe. If I did paint it would have been in very dull colors today.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10

On a very cold early morning in Pinetop, AZ next to Woodland Lake I set up and painted this 8"x10". The air is so clear and clean, people were catching their limit, just a fine day. This painting is at the Joyous Lake Gallery in Pinetop. 928-367-1319 talk to Gwen.