Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gallery Girl for a day

My view from the office

I was a Gallery Girl for a day when the gallerist where I have my paintings needed someone to look after the gallery. I am not foolish enough to think it would be anything like the show "Gallery Girls". I had a quiet, enjoyable few hours in the gallery and assisted customers with simple requests. There was no drama, no demanding designers, no old boyfriends showing up (this always happens on tv shows), and sadly . . . . no sales. 

A gallerist does a lot more than just tend to customers who come in the door. A real gallerist is in that little office sending out images of paintings by the artists he or she represents, planning marketing for the next show, following up with interested parties, paying artists for work sold, and endless other tasks required to keep a gallery running successfully. But since it's not my gallery and I wasn't running it, only babysitting for a day, I spent the hours examining the paintings up close, eating snacks I brought from home, flipping through magazines, eating snacks, checking e-mail, texting, and oh yeah, eating more snacks.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Opening Night

Opening Night at William's Tower
Last night was the much anticipated (by me!) opening night of the Assistance League's Texas Celebrates Art 2014 show in the William's Tower. I painted the painting you see above titled "2:00 A.M." specifically for the show. It had actually been in my mind for months and then I thought it would be a good one to enter in this juried show.

Opening Night crowd
Out of 461 entries from across Texas, 60 works of art were accepted. I am honored that mine was one of them! The show included representational and abstract paintings, photography, and sculpture. It was fun to see friends and meet some of the other artists in the show and the William's Tower lobby was a beautiful space for the art.

Dropping off my painting before the show.
I dropped off my painting at William's Tower the Saturday before the opening. The show was sponsored and curated by the Assistance League of Houston and they did a wonderful job. I enjoyed meeting many of the organizations volunteers.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Painting in the Canadian Rockies

8"x10" oil on canvas   Canadian Rockies
Since my husband was attending a conference in Banff, I had the opportunity to head out every day and paint in the mountains.

I used our rental car to drive around and look for a beautiful spot to paint. Well, let's say the most beautiful because it was all so beautiful. We flew into Calgary and rented a car, we did not drive from Texas!

I had noticed a beautiful valley along the scenic road on the way to Banff so I headed there one morning. There was a wonderful mountain right there so I set up. I wasn't sure how I would feel about painting out there all by myself, but I felt comfortable. The only traffic on this "scenic route" were tourists and a car pulled over about every 3 or 4 minutes into this little rest stop area.

This turned out to be such a fun day. A small group of tourists pulled over and asked to take my picture. They all took my picture. Then they wanted to take turns pretending to paint! That was a first and I found it very funny. This is Minda, visiting from China, and I told him to go ahead and finish the painting! A friendly couple from Denver, Colorado soon pulled up and joined us. I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.

Here is one of Minda's friends taking a photo of him painting. I told Minda I would put him on my blog. Hello Minda!

We stayed a few days in Lake Louise. This is a view of the lake with a glacier at the far end. We hiked to the far end of the lake.

Another day we hiked up into the mountains 2 1/2 hours to Larch Valley. These larch trees turn 
yellow for only a few weeks a year so we went up to see them. Also made it harder to get a hotel room since it turned out to be one of the busiest weekend of the year.  The hike down was faster, only 1 1/2 hours. I hope we'll go back to the Canadian Rockies one day, it was a great trip.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Visit to Banff, Canada

6"x8"oil on canvas, Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

Last week my husband had to go to Banff, Canada for a three day conference so I tagged along! We added on 3 days in Lake Louise, then to Banff for the conference.
We hiked in Lake Louise (it's the name of the little village, not just the lake) and drove over the Continental Divide to British Columbia, stopped to see lots of beautiful lakes and had a lovely vacation.
 Here we are driving to Banff, up ahead is our exit. 
Banff is a tiny town, a grid of four streets x four streets with mostly shopping and restaurants and bars from what I could tell. Plus a nice art museum.

Lucky for us, the conference was at this wonderful castle like hotel. It was originally built in the late 1800's when the Canadian Railway was built. It was built as a tourist attraction next to hot springs discovered by a couple of laborers while building the train tracks. The hotel was confusing with lots of circular staircases and secret doors, I heard more than one person refer to it as "Hogwarts", and there was always someone standing in the public areas with a confused look on their face because they were lost. I got the hang of it but it took me two days.
While my husband was at his conference I was able to head out every day and paint! I started my day in the hotel's "kitchen pantry" to get lunch for the day.  You are looking at what $21 will get you at the "pantry" in this lovely hotel: a sandwich, Diet Coke and a candy bar.
Here I am painting the little painting you see above. It was cold on this day, low 30's, so I was wearing gloves. And painted small. And fast. Our rental car was parked about 20 feet from me so I would sit in the car and warm up when my fingers got too cold to move. Another post tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Figure in Red

Figure in Red     9"x12" oil on canvas

After painting so many plein air landscapes recently I decided to paint a figure for a change. I was getting tired of all the green out there, though it is summer so that's to be expected, but after I finished this one I sat back and realized it's green and red! And what had I been painting? Green fields with red barns. Huh.

It was so much fun to paint this figure. I had almost forgotten how much I love to paint figures. This is 9"x12" oil on linen canvas mounted on a panel. I have a pretty black frame with gold ordered for it.

I'm going on a trip soon and I have big plans to bring my sketch pad and sketch people in the airport, restaurants, basically anywhere I can for practice. Sketching every day would really help me improve, it's a habit I need to develop.

More figures to come!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Twelve Hour Painting Trip

A few of the cows we saw on our painting trip.
What an exhausting day! I left the house at 7:00 a.m. and met my friend Myrrh in our designated parking lot and from there we drove west of Houston an hour to paint. Not a cloud in the sky! Uh-oh. The temps have been nearing 100 degrees, but by mid morning a few clouds were forming though not enough.

We drove around looking for a good place to paint and finally decided on a scene with a little pond and cows. So many cows! It was great, I took lots of photos to paint from. Myrrh painted the pond and I painted a stand of trees with a few cows under them.

Cows everywhere!
We set up as usual but I tried something different today. I've been painting 6"x8"s or 8"x10"s or even the occasional 10"x12" canvas when I really love a scene. Recently I've tried to translate my plein air paintings into larger paintings but it's just not the same, I am now spoiled by having the motif directly in front of me. So this time I brought along a 16"x20" canvas and a 20"x24" canvas! My plan was to start a painting plein air, getting all the main colors in correctly, and just working on it as far as I could, then back in the studio finish off the details. But, not too many details of course.

This back road in Texas was a beautiful place to paint.
So with this new "plan" in mind, I grabbed a 16"x20" and started painting furiously. Trees! This is a hard subject for me. And cows, an even harder subject to paint plein air. I love painting cows, but not when they're moving around. So my "cows" ended up being spots on the canvas where I took a rag and wiped out a space where I'll paint them in later. Or maybe not. We'll see if I even complete this painting, I'm losing interest already even as I type this.

Next we drove to a wonderful red barn that we had spied a couple of weeks ago. But the two times we've seen this particular barn the face of it was in the shade but this time we were sure the face of the barn would be in the sun and we were right. I've been dreaming about painting this barn so I strapped my 20"x24" canvas to my pochade box using a bungee cord, it actually worked great.

Trying out a larger canvas: 20"x24"!
And I painted furiously, it was great fun. The only person that stopped was the local law enforcement and we put him into service and asked him to take our photo. (When I downloaded my photos there was no photo of Myrrh and me though.) A very nice man who just wanted to come over and see what we were doing. I had a ball, I want to paint that barn over and over again. Bigger and bigger. No, not really, there is a limit to the size of canvas I can strap to my pochade box. I've been reading books about Monet full of old black and white photos of him painting large canvases outdoors. That was my inspiration todaoy! Think Monet!

Ahem, anyway, after we finished painting that wonderful barn with the beautiful shadows, we went for lunch. I won't even tell you what we had. Same thing we usually have. By now it was nearing 3:00 p.m., we were an hour from home, and it was getting hotter by the hour. But we were determined to paint a third painting, for some reason. I guess since we only head out once a week, we want to make it really worthwhile and paint as much as we can.

So we drove around looking for another scene that inspired us, we wandered up and down back roads, stopping every once in a while to take a good look at a clump of trees or a barn. We saw a fantastic barn but it was on someone's private property. We thought, if only we could get closer . . . . There was a sign on the fence, Something-or-other Hereford Ranch, so Myrrh googled it on her phone and she called them. We thought we would ask permission to paint their wonderful barn. Well, the conversation didn't go so well, an elderly woman answered the phone and told us she "didn't want any work done on her barn, not this year"! But, Myrrh continued to explain: we are artists and we just want to paint a painting of your gorgeous barn on canvas and . . . . "click". End of conversation.

I'll paint this anyway. From a photo.
So we kept driving. Now heading back to Houston because our families would want dinner and we were bringing home BBQ. (Oops, just gave away what we had for lunch.)That was a big hint for what we had for lunch.) Eventually, and I do mean eventually, it was about 4:30 p.m .when we finally decided on a scene to paint. I was out of big canvases, I was worn out anyway, so I painted an 8"x10" of some kind of industrial mill. I loved the subject but didn't love my painting.

It was after 6:00 p.m. when we headed back to Houston. Of course by that time everything looked beautiful in that early evening warm light with long shadows. So on the drive home Myrrh and I planned our next painting trip. A wonderful painting outing and I have lots of "raw material" to work from now.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Plein Air Painting in the Rain

Rain, a train and traffic!
Here is my view sitting in traffic in the rain on the way to meet Myrrh to paint ourdoors. Notice I'm waiting on a train too! What a way to start our painting outing.

Still raining on the Interstate
Still raining as we are driving west of Houston but we are determined. It never rains long, right?

Bridge over the Colorado River
A break in the rain so we got off the Interstate to explore a bridge going over the Colorado River. It was beautiful but there really wasn't a safe place to trek down to the water and paint. Plus, it was a little too remote for our comfort. So we got back on the Interstate and kept going. That bridge was gorgeous though, if a bridge can be gorgeous.

We found a beautiful scene off the Interstate but . . . . it was still raining. So we decided to make it work. I sat in the back of the car with the hatchback open and painted, Myrrh sat in the back seat with an umbrella rigged up for protection from the rain. We both painted 6"x8"s because this wasn't the most comfortable way to paint. And I think these little paintings were both our favorites for the day. The painting you see below is actually from a photo taken 30 minutes after the rain stopped.

"After the Rain"  6"x8"  $200 framed

Myrrh in the backseat.
Me in the way-back.
We eventually passed under the storm that was coming into Houston and got out from under the rain. Found some wonderful backroads near Bellville and set up to paint on the side of the road. A man stopped to talk to us, he thought we were surveyors.

"Rolling Hills"  8"x10"  $375 framed
After that last painting we were in search of lunch. We usually paint two paintings before lunch and one afterwards. We came across this crazy . .  . dock? With a sign painted on the side that said "Hillbillies Fishing Hole". Never seen that before.

"Hillbillies Fishing Hole"
After lunch we drove to a place where we've wanted to paint for a while. There is a GIANT storage barn type structure next to the train tracks in a small town and I'm fascinated with this large building. So we set up to paint it.

"Railway Barn"  8"x10"  $375 framed

Painting that big "Railway Barn".

View out the back of the car.
After a full day of painting we drove back to the big city of Houston. We were treated with an absolutely glorious sky, a reward for getting out of the house and painting on such a questionable day. I am finding some of the most beautiful scenes present themselves on rainy and stormy days.

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