Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The September 2016 30/30 Challenge Begins

Tomorrow is the start of Leslie Saeta’s 30/30 Challenge. Thirty paintings in 30 days is a challenge. Even though I work small for this event, 5x7 and 6x8, I find that I still need two days to successfully finish a painting. One day to lay in the colors and a 2nd day to do the finishing layer. That bit of drying time between layers is important. Besides ensuring cleaner, brighter color, it also gives me a bit of a break to re-evaluate what I have done.

My plan will be to work on two paintings a day – the start of one and the finish of another. Painting every day is an impossible goal, so I will just paint when I can and enjoy the process. And I can’t forget the photographing and posting each evening. That takes as much time as the painting.

When I complete a painting, I will post it to my blog and to Leslie’s website that evening, but I’m going to condense the rest of the postings by listing all my completed paintings to my Ebay Store, my Pinterest and my website at the end of the week. I’ve been lucky with my Ebay Store. Of all the 30/30 Challenge paintings I have done in the past two years, only three are left.

I hope you will enjoy my challenge – or better yet – sign up and join us. You can do this at any time, as the only rule Leslie has is “To have fun.” You can paint as many or as few as you wish. No limits, no rules, no commitments. Then you join the other artists by posting your paintings to her website. It’s a fun way to meet other artists and see what they are doing. Come join us! 

Happy painting,


Friday, August 26, 2016

Norway - August's Virtual Paint Out

Norway is a Scandinavian country in northern Europe, bordered by Sweden, Finland, Russia, Denmark, the North Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. It is slightly larger than Montana with a population of approx. 5,214,000.

Its wide latitudinal range from temperate south to arctic north and its diverse landscape give Norway some of the most visually impressive scenery in the world. It has one of the longest and most rugged coastlines in the world.
Because of its substantial quantity of natural resources, Norway has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Today, Norway ranks as the second wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation.

The Land of the Midnight Sun
Because of Norway’s wide latitudinal range, there are large seasonal variations in the amount of received daylight. From late May to late July, the sun never completely sets in regions north of the Arctic Circle while the remainder of the country experiences up to 20 hours of daylight per day. Conversely, from late November to late January, the country receives only a few daylight hours as the sun never rises above the horizon in the arctic north.

Norway Spring, 9x12, oil

Norway Winter, 9x12, oil

Thanks for visiting,

These paintings are available in my Ebay Store – Virtual Paint Out

To see all my paintings from all of our virtual destinations - Virtual Paint-Out.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Paint Your Own Story

Last week one of my Ebay customers asked me about my landscape painting techniques and whether I painted free-hand or worked from projections or tracings.

I only work free-hand, never from projections or tracings, and for two very good reasons.

The first is technical – Nature doesn’t always give us correct compositions. In photographs, besides a poor composition, there can be a loss of aerial perspective, awkward shapes, altered colors, incorrect values, too many details, etc.

The second is artistic - I want my paintings to reflect how I see the subject, filtered through my emotions, experiences and memories. I enjoy making changes as I go along without the restrictions of adhering to a photograph or tracing. I never want to “stay in the lines.” I want my painting to lead the way. After laying in my basic composition, I put the photograph down, only glancing at it now and then, and with my own story in mind, I paint the scene "my way."

Plein air painting has been an invaluable teacher. Painting outside, from life, seeing and studying the effects of changing light, weather conditions and the effects of aerial perspective has given me a greater understanding of studio landscape painting. Taking the time to really look at nature is very important.

Every successful painting needs a concept or story, a central theme - what the painting is about. Your emotional response to the scene. Decide what you want to say and focus all your attention on saying it with paint.

This means examining the photograph for the elements that you need and eliminating the others. Every element that you choose to include should support this central theme. And if your reference material suggests two different stories, paint two different paintings – each with its own storyline.

If you need to add a missing element to your painting, you can always borrow from another photograph. Just make sure the light is coming from the same direction. It’s fine to combine more than one photograph per painting. But remember - one story per painting.

Because we are all unique, with our own memories, experiences and emotions, each of us will see the same scene in a different way. Paint your own story.

Happy painting!


 My Ebay Store

To see all my paintings from our Virtual Tours   My Virtual Paint-Out

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's Happening

Busy summer - 

I have been taking an on-line course in figurative landscape painting with Robert Hagan. He is a marvelous artist and I’ve always admired his work, especially the way he captures light and action. His objective in this course is to portray the actions of daily life. He supplied us with the subject matter and we all worked together under his guidance.

Below is my first finished painting. Now I look forward to incorporating what I have learned with my own reference photos. His painting course is continuing and I’m excited to be accepted into the next session.

Sisters, 12x16 oil

This month our Virtual Paint Out Group is traveling to Norway. I have done my exploring via Google Street Maps and hope to start a painting today. Norway is a beautiful country and I am especially drawn to the snow covered mountains and glaciers.

It has been an unusually hot and dry summer here in Maine. We have had little rain, the storms seem to go around us, leaving the lawns burnt and the gardens dry. It’s been especially difficult for the hay crop and the local farmers. Our vegetable garden is feeling the effects even though we water it regularly. Last night the deer ate the green beans almost down to the ground. Oh well, that will mean more visits to the Farmer’s Market – and that's okay with me.

We are in the midst of our tourist season and sales are good. My Ebay Store is also doing well. That’s always nice to hear.

I can feel the morning warming up; it’s going to be another hot day. Time to go to Norway and paint snow!

Wishing you a safe and happy summer.

Happy painting.


To see all my paintings from our Virtual Tours   My Virtual Paint-Out