Category Archives: art sale

Thirty minutes to paint


Quick draw events are fun, frightening, sometimes furiously fast and often rewarding!  Many are an hour or two in length which is not a lot of time to execute a painting but easier compared to the 30 minute events.  In a 30 minute event there is no time to ponder.  You need to have pondered and made choices in the preparation stage!  You need a limited palette and a distinct plan of action when the horn blows to begin your work.

So goes the story of the popular quick draw at the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale sponsored by the WaterWorks Art Museum held every May as part of the world famous Bucking Horse Sale that brings thousands of spectators to the town of Miles City.  Only a few (25 or less) artists participate in the Riverside Park QD at the culmination of the annual parade.  The QD is sandwiched in between the parade and the Grand Entry of the sale and horse races and once the 30 minute draw is complete, the artists have 10 minutes to get their piece framed and the live auction of art begins.  It’s fast and furious and the crowd is filled with art collectors and spectators.  The QD is strategically timed to be certain those spectators can get to all the BHS activities and maximize the crowd attendance for the auction that is a benefit to the WaterWorks Museum and Art Center.

This year I lived on the dangerous side…I decided to paint a larger than normal piece, 26×12 vertical pastel.  (Most works are less than 16 inches square.)  I prepped my paper by gluing it to a foam core board for stability, then selected a very limited palette of pastel sticks.  I planned a painting of buffalo from a photo I shot on my way to MT via Yellowstone Park.  The day before the event, the preparatory chores were done. (I could have saved a little stress by doing this 3-4 days earlier!).  I did numerous pencil sketches arranging my composition, as the photo was a horizontal format and I was painting it as a vertical.  In my sketchbook I made lines of quadrants and adjusted the subject to best fit the format of the proposed painting.  I “roughed-in” focal points and large shapes to make what I believed to be a good composition.   I put all my supplies – selected pastels, 91% alcohol, sponge brush, Workable fixative, wet wipes, paper towels, gloves and framing equipment in my backpack.  I had a plan and felt I could make it happen, but knew I would have no time to spare.  Before the event started I found a place to paint…in the park’s gazebo  where there was some protection from some gusty winds (not helpful when painting is a tall piece!) and a place to sit if one wanted to before and during the event.  And I was able to tone my painting  with one color – a mix of dry pigment and alcohol before the QD began.  Doing an underpainting like this assists one in pastel application by speeding up the process.

The QD begins with the sound of an air horn…now it’s time for autopilot.  Your colors are laid out and you instinctively apply them, not second guessing your choice.  Large masses are painted carefully noting that  the values are where you want them.  When someone says “you have 15 minutes left, you want to be at least half way thru your painting.)  I am, but there is no option to make changes.  I stick to my plan.  Once the landscape is satisfactory to my eye, I draw in and paint the buffalo.   As I put the final touches in the most distant animal, the horn blows signifying the end of the QD.  Hands go up (no more pastel to the paper), I am satisfied, pleased to have finished what I had planned and the framing begins.  I had hoped to get my piece in the auction so it would be auctioned somewhere in the middle, but I needed all the time allotted to get the framing accomplished, so the painting was in the last spot on the auction docket.  Not my favorite spot to be, but as it turned out the auction was  a surprise.  One know there is not always a predictable outcome to auctions and this one was not an exception.  Early pieces were sold  from $200-500. Then one sold for about $800 and another for $1700.  I saw a couple of pieces of work of popular artists sell for less than I have seen before.  Now I begin to have some anxiety.  It’s now the time for my piece to go.  I hold the painting up and the auction starts.  Bids start immediately and I hand the work to one of the guys on the platform to show.  Bids continue to be raised and my anxiety lessens.  The auctioneer worked his way to $1500 +.  I am relieved and happy to have completed a sought after piece of art and for sharing the sale with the museum.

So, when the opportunity arises to compete in a quick draw, do it.  The key is preparation and planning.  Then execute the painting in a confident manner, not second guessing palette and composition.  If you are an art collector and someone who appreciates the arts and the process…know what happens for these works to come to be!

 

 

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Pastel Dust


Do you wonder what drives an artist?  What’s the motivation to keep painting?  For me it is about the color and the diversity of the landscape and wanting to share those images you see with others.  And why paint en plein air?  I think it is painting “true.”  Nothing is in your way of what you see.  There is no excuse to what you put on that board or paper.  It is right in front of you…it’s your interpretation!

I had the opportunity to be part of a plein air event in Walla Walla a week ago.  It was a 5 day paint out organized by a tiny 90-year-old watercolorist, Margaret Walters.  About 20 artists came together for the event, painting it partly or in total.  I think this was the third year of the event and there were several painters who had been on all tours.  The event ended with an art sale that benefited the Carnegie Picture Lab.  It was certainly a stress-free, enjoyable schedule and people to paint with.  Each day a new venue…one favorite was going to this beautiful farm/vineyard at the base of Cottonwood Canyon.  It is a favorite of mine and to be able to drive up through the farm to a high point and paint it from a different vantage point was great.  Another day of endless opportunity was painting at the Robison Ranch north of town.  I found a secluded spot where I painted two pieces.  The only thing that drove me out of the field was the heat creeping up to 104!  These two venues, for me was what painting plein air is all about….you could stand in one spot and paint in any direction…the dilemma is…what do you paint!

A note about the Picture Lab…it is an art education program for area students.  It is a nonprofit that depends on funds from outside sources.  Commissions on sales of the plein air paintings benefited the Picture Lab.  Happily 4 of my 6 paintings sold for this great cause.

What’s on the schedule…

July 11th I will be painting in the Art of the Beartooths, the fund raiser and painting event and sale to support the Carbon county Art Guild in Red Lodge, MT.  We will be painting a quick finish during the day that will be auctioned that evening.

Pendleton Art and Frame, Pendleton, OR is showing the bronzes of Rip Caswell and my plein air landscapes July 9- September 1.  The opening reception is Thursday the 9th, 5-7:30

Off to the beautiful area around Hood river, OR for the Columbia Gorge Invitational Plein Air event.  About 30 artists have been invited to paint August 3-7 in the area with a reception Friday the 7th, 6-8 pm.

I feel very blessed to be able to “work” at my art and take part in these events.  So with that said, go out there and take a shot of drawing or painting “en plein air!!”

               


Pastel Dust 2014


Happy New Year!  It’s our chance, once again to plan, scheme, make resolutions, etc.

Take a moment and make some plans with your art.  Is it to enter a few more shows, seek out a new gallery for representation, schedule a workshop…Maybe it is to paint or draw every day.  That is my goal.  Each day to pick up a journal and do some sketching or the iPad and do something in ArtPro or ArtRage.  Challenge yourself…if you normally paint landscapes, mix it up and paint still-lifes or try some new products.  don’t be afraid of failure or rejection.  All these things will make you a stronger artist!

Happy New Year!Sheep markers...WHAT???


Pastel dust in January…Resolutions


Happy New  Year!

A group of artists in SE WA proposed daily painting for the first month of the new year.  I’m in, I declared.  I will paint each day…maybe not a painting a day, but just painting or doing some form of art each day for the month.  So far I am on track.

A friend of mine made a New Year resolution to do 54 new things this  year…one something new each week.  that’s a good one, I think…a goal to keep one thinking and being challenged.  I’m in.   I don’t have a list of new things to do already made  up, but will work on that. Week one…maybe testing a new dining spot.  I do have some things I want to do and one is print making without the printing press…more on that later.   Maybe I will post my list…part of it perhaps…

I have a couple of pastel paintings in the works as well as a couple of oils.  I love the way oils work – and I used to paint always in oil – but it is a challenge after  being immersed in pastel dust for so long.  A challenge, yes.  I have made the commitment to show work at the Western Masters Art Show in March in Great Falls, MT and I want to have both oil and pastel work available.  It will happen.  Persevere!  This will be an interesting event.  It is March 14-17 with a live auction and two Quick Finish Draws as well as each artist had a room in which to show your art and work…hotel rooms, stripped of the usual furnishings.  It all happens at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls.  So if you are in the area…we are in Room 151.  “Forgotten” was the chosen piece for the live auction.

I am excited to take part in the Western Masters Show…(that’s a new thing for March 🙂 by the way!)  So, I am incorporating some more western theme into my landscapes…cows, deer, antelope, etc.   I just finished a couple of pastels and two oils with cows in art.  I think it works.                                            

I hope you artists take the challenge and try new things; maybe not 54…but try something new and explore new options with products and techniques.  It keeps us fresh!  Happy painting…


Pastel Dust on the Road…


              Last  Wednesday I embarked on a journey to painting and drawing in various areas.  First stop was the plein air event “Plein Air Palouse” in Moscow, ID.  For 3 days 25 painters spent time out and about in the heart of the Palouse painting rural and urban scenes in and around Moscow.  This was the 2nd plein air event for Moscow and they are an enthusiastic, warm, welcoming group.  Thursday  I drove north of Moscow toward Potlatch looking for my landscape representational of the Palouse.  Driving down Walker Road, I found it.  At the top a hill was an ideal plein air painting spot…a nice place to pull over, some stacked old bales of hay and a view looking north of fields, hills, barns and timber that is characteristic of the Palouse.  I pulled over and  painted a 12×16 of a view finders cropped field of view of the valley.  About 3 hours later, I am satisfied with the result.  I snapped several photos of the area for future paintings and headed back to Moscow, happy with the painting    expedition!                                       Friday morning I decided to paint urban and wanted to paint some historic building.  Like many small towns, Moscow has a Carnegie Library with unique architecture and style.  And the beautiful thing is, when they decided they needed more space, they didn’t  destroy the original building, they added onto it but kept the itegrity of the original building.  So this sort of Tuscan style building sits on the corner of Jefferson and 2nd in all is originial glory.  I paint it.  While I am there painting in the shade and solitude of the Library, the reporter and photographer from the Daily News come by and spend 20-30 minutes visiting and taking photos of me painting.  Saturday morning  one of the photos and a really good article about the plein air event and me graced the front page and more of the paper.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Late Friday I drove up to the U of I campus and parked in a parking area currently abandoned, but with a great view of the  U of I farm.  There are a series of beautiful, well maintained barns and I wanted to paint them in the evening light.  I did a 9×12 of the large barn and horses under a coral tinged sky.  I was pretty happy with the results, put it in a frame and forgot to photograph it.

Saturday was spent at the Farmer’s Market downtown.  I did a bunch of sketching and photos.  Great people watching!  In the afternoon all the paintings were delivered to City Hall to hang in their gallery complete with reception.  It was a great time and lots of discussion ensued regarding the event and how to improve it.  The enthusiasm of the group is one thing that needs no improvement.  They are gracious hosts and willing to help the artists as they could.  Kudos to Kathleen and DJ.  The best thing was meeting several new artists and visiting with them about our works.

So this was the first stop on my art quest journey.  I leave Moscow Sunday and head south to UT with a couple of stops along the way…More photos of my journey will be posted on Facebook


Pastel dust in the Wallowa County…


In the last blog I talked about the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts in Joseph, Or and the Quick Draw event.  There’s a lot more to this area than just the Art Festival.  Every time I go Joseph I come home with a bunch of images.  It is truly a beautiful valley.  When you leave Walla Walla you head south down to Weston and then take the cut off (Winn Road) that takes you over Tollgate in the Blue Mountains to Elgin, OR (that’s SR 204)  Once you leave Elgin you take SR 82 on to Joseph.  You go down the side of a steep canyon and at the bottom you cross the Big Canyon Creek where the Wallowa River and it meet and flow down to meet the Grand Rhonde.  The views are breathtaking as the valley opens up as you go through Wallowa, the Lostine and Enterprise before reaching Joseph which sits near Wallowa Lake a huge body of water from which the Wallowa River flow.  It is tucked right up next to these big mountains with lots of cabins and luxury homes all along the shorelines.

If you drive north and east of Joseph, you go through the Zumwalt Prairie and you will gradually come to the Buckhorn Overlook where you can see the Hells Canyon of the Snake river and the Imnaha converge.  It is rugged, colorful, beautiful country.

Whenever I go, I take painting supplies and manage to get out and do some plein air painting.  Last spring we drove to the Buckhorn Overlook and on the way  back you could see the ground cover that is pinkish flourishing, leaving the grasslands with a pink haze to them.  Lots of thunder storms in the spring and dramatic skies to paint as well.  the piece on the left was done before a big rain storm broke loose that sent rivers of water running down the tire tracks of the gravel road!                                 

We stay at a little B&B outside of town and the roads getting to it go along some swampy area where there are lots of cattails and willows.  The red winged blackbirds love that area and I spent quite a bit of time trying to get some good shots of the birds sitting on the cattails.  

another note is that in the spring of the year, there is such a range of greens in the foliage.  It is quite the sight.

I am going back to Joseph in August to paint at Kelly’s Gallery during the Blues Festival (Aug 13-14) .  I look forward to that and think the weather will be hot and sunny, maybe less green but still impressive, just the same.  Joseph is a great little town to explore and it, along with Enterprise and surrounds have a wealth of great artists.  One is never at a loss to find some good art and sculpture in this destination!


Pastel Dust in Joseph, OR Quick Draw


Joseph, OR is a little town of less than 2000 that is nestled up next to the Wallowa Mountains in NE Oregon and near one of the most beautiful lakes – Wallowa Lake.  The area was part of the Nez Pearce land and Chief Joseph.  The area is filled with history but more recently artists.  This area has some of the NW’s best artists,     sculpture and 2D.  Each year the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts happens the first full weekend of June.  I have gone for several  years now and exhibited there.  Over the last 3 years they have had a quick draw event that is a very fun and exciting time.  There is live music, fabulous treats and appetizers and drinks while several artists attempt to create a masterpiece in a one and a half hour time frame.  As the artists draw, paint, sculpt, the attendees have the option to watch the pieces come to life and then bid on their favorite work.  The silent auction then goes on for a half an hour after the quick draw time limit is up.

This quick draw is, as I said an hour and a half long.  The quick draw event at the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale that I go to is one half an hour-long!  So to approach that event is  a little different from this one that allows an hour more! I love to do these for the challenge.

All that said, there is some definite planning that has to occur to make a quick draw a success and even then I rely on a little divine intervention because sometimes even the best laid plans can turn upside down in a hurry!

The process…I know going to the event the exact size of painting I am going to do.  I have the mat ready, in the frame and the paper I am working on is mounted on a foam core cut to the size of the frame.  Once the painting is complete, it slides into the prepped frame, backing paper covers the back and the wire for hanging screwed in place. (All these details – thanks my husband Les)

I know what I am going to paint.  I have sketched it and laid it out on a sketch pad prior to the  event.  This year I decided to do a painting based on a few photos I had taken in the Joseph area in years past.  The basic scene is one looking at Prairie Creek and some cows grazing in deep, lush grasses.

This year, my friend Betty Wood is attending the show and she is there with camera in hand.  She photographed the process of the painting from the beginning to its completion.  Betty is a fine artist.  She works in lots of different mediums, most recently having some fun with wood carving.  Her work is amazing and wins at the wood carving shows consistently.

I first of all use a hard pastel stick and make some light lines on the paper, separating the paper into quadrants to allow me to quickly place cows, an old

barn, trees, etc in strategic, visually satisfying spots.  I am using Pastel Mat paper.  It is new to me and I love it.  It has an almost suede, soft feel to it, yet it holds pastel well.  I am using a salmon colored sheet and will allow some of the paper to be exposed.

I start painting at the top of the paper and block in the sky, followed  by the  Wallowa Mountains which I want to be a significant resemblance of the mountains.    I work fairly quickly and get this done so I can start on the meat of the painting.      Before I have started, I have earmarked the basic pastels I want to use and limit my palette so I am not wasting time looking for that particular blue or whatever color it might be.  Once the mountains and sky are complete I can concentrate on the near land mass.  I rough in the trees and   basic shapes of the land and creek with a dark blue.  Once that is on the paper I use a workable fixative and

give it a quick spray.  That dark blue is the base for the springtime trees  and the contour of the creek bed.  From that point it is about

getting the distant valley in and establish a depth and distance and getting the up close basic color in.  Once that is done I add the old barn and draw in the cows…shapes only at this point.  People stop by and watch the process and I visit as I can.  I don’t feel too much pressure because things are coming together.  I love to show the process to the people who are there.

I then get the creek to come to life with some reflections and the feel of moving water.  I add the small amounts of details to the cows.  They are Hereford/Angus cross, so white faces and some white along the top of the neck and tail are added.   

I use a hard pastel and “burnish the grasses in a little lighter value that the base.  Some light purples set to dance across the fields as a hint of wild flowers.  Also use some of the Diane Townsend sticks because they have a lot of grabbing power because of the degree of pumice in them…texture in the foreground !  The other pastels are Unison, Sennelier, Terry Ludwig and some Schmincke.  The dark blue is #463 Sennelier.  With about 20 minutes or so to spare, I feel like the work has come together.  I shoot a couple of shots of it and Les helps me get it in the frame.  Another friend Penne Locati is there and we visit now that I am finished.  She and a friend bid on it  throughout the process, but at the last moment another dedicated bidder wins the piece.  It sells for highest price at the quick draw…more than $400 and goes to Pendleton to live.  The buyer told me she bought it to honor her mother in remembrance.    A nice way to have one’s work represented…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


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