Monday, March 30, 2009

Patzcuaro Rooster

6" x 8" oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

One afternoon while in Patzcuaro, we went to a lakeside village a short distance from town for lunch. We took the long, exploratory route and saw the most interesting scenes. When we finally got to our destination, there were the most colorful roosters and chickens everywhere; more chickens, of course. I wondered if the chickens, who seemed to be running around anywhere, knew where to go at night; knew which yard was their's; knew what was going on. They weren't all fenced in. Nevertheless, the country food was delicious, the town was charming, the lake was low, the day was fun.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cold Seat

6" x 8" oil on canvas
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

While yesterday morning was snowy and gray, by the afternoon it was clear and sunny. I just had to do one more snow painting. We haven't had any moisture for almost 2 months and this storm was a necessity. Dryness has been a topic of conversation constantly for the last month.

This bench is in the park next to our house. One thing I've noticed about winter landscapes are the shadows. Because of the angle of the sun, there are shadows even in the afternoon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gray Morning

6" x 8" oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

Yesterday was so snowy here in Colorado Springs that I couldn't get outside to photograph my latest Patzcuaro spring break painting. I planned on doing that today. But, sitting in the kitchen this morning, looking out the double doors, I thought I had to do some more snow paintings, and this one was only gray. So often our snowy days are beautiful with blue skies. I moved everthing into the kitchen and painted the gray. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think leafless trees in the winter are a challenge. They look like sticks, and they are sticks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Patzcuaro Snack

SOLD
6 x 8 oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

This is yet another piece from Patzcuaro, Mexico. I really struggled with the architecture in this one. My right brain kept fighting my left brain. It's really a challenge letting yourself paint what looks wrong, but knowing it is right. Some places on this street, there is barely a curb from the pavement up to the sidewalk. Other houses have no front stoops. Another house has a ramp for a stoop. That would surely be against zoning in this country. One house has two different size doors. One of the roofs doesn't seem to sit correctly. Plus, the road curves, houses don't appear straight, and there seems to be no correct perspective. Finally, I just had to paint what I saw.

I love this lunch cart and the huge bottle of ketchup. (This is what I really was painting!) He was regularly on the corner near my sister-in law's house. There are great markets in town with anything you could want to buy, and anything you could want to eat. Eating here was pretty affordable. We always had fresh fruit, and great homemade guacamole.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Patzcuaro Sidewalk

oil 11 x 14
contact me if interested

Because Patzcuaro is a fairly small town, everything is within easy walking distance, but, it's not always easy walking. The sidewalks on the side streets are very narrow, only wide enough for one person, so we often ended up walking in the street. That's fine until a car comes up or down the hilly streets. The streets are also very narrow; they're one way, and many don't allow parking, except for loading. The sidewalks also aren't always level, or the same width along a block, so, you always have to pay attention to where you're going.

Unlike other Mexican towns where the houses are painted a variety of colors, houses in the colonial downtown part of Patzcuaro have to be painted maroon and white. This was decided by the town government several decades ago. This house probably hasn't been painted since. And, the front door needs some repair. But, that's all part of the charm.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Patzcuaro Wall

oil 11 x 14
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Many years ago, there was an episode of Married With Children where Al Bundy wanted to go on vacation, but couldn't afford the trip of his dreams to Hawaii. So, he traveled vicariously by renting videos, putting a fence around the couch, and sitting in the living room enjoying Hawaii. We thought it was a really funny episode. (I think this is one of those "you had to be there" moments.) To this day, my husband and I laugh about Al and his travels, and say we're Al when we can't go somewhere.


This week is spring break in Colorado Springs. In the past, before we retired from teaching, we usually took a trip over break. Now, I guess we could say every week is spring break, and our big trip is later this summer. So, this morning, when my husband asked me what I was painting , I told him I was Al and painting Patzcuaro.


My sister-in-law has a home in Patzcuaro, Mexico. 2 spring breaks ago, my daughter, my sister-in-law and I took a trip down there. It's a beautiful colonial town in the middle of the country. So, this week, I'm pretending I'm painting in Patzcuaro.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Second View

6" x 6" oil on canvas on board
$100.00 + $10. s/h
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Each bouquet comes with many flowers, which allows for many paintings. And, the more we paint, the more comfortable we become with painting, with value, with color (all the art elements actually.) With comfort comes relaxation. It is said that Monet was truly relaxed when he painted. I'm sure that was only one of his painting qualities, but, obviously a great one. So, may we all have painting comfort and relaxation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring


6" x 8"
oil on canvas on board
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I think since it's the first day of spring I should be outside painting flowers. But, nothing is growing yet at this altitude. It's a good thing flowers are available at the grocery store. We can have spring and summer all year long, no matter where we live.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Angel Head

6 x 6 oil on canvas on board
$100.00 + $10. s/h
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My plein-aire group painted in a back yard in the historic part of Colorado Springs. I was really drawn to the architecture of the house. But, the sun shining on this wooden carving drew me even more. I loved painting all the whites.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lake Vallecito Revisited

6 x 8 oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

This is another piece from Lake Vallecito outside of Durango, Co. The treeless gray areas on Engineer Mountain across the lake, and the treeless grassy area at my feet are the result of one of the wild fires we had here in Colorado about 7 years ago. I know through the media we all hear about the natural disasters everywhere in the world, but if we don't visit the location, we don't really understand the magnitude of the situation. Because this spot is a park and campground, the burnt, scarred trunks right by the lake, have been cut down. I left out the charred tree stumps around my feet; didn't make for very good composition.

This is what it really looks like right behind me (that's my shadow.) It's mile after mile of new grass growing, trunks left standing, and trees that didn't get burned; probably the wind caused the fire to move. I think fires are especially tragic here in the west; it's so dry that it takes years to revegetate.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Shot of Green

11 x 14 oil
contact me if interested

I had to have a shot of green. This is the first winter that I've had the chance to paint everyday, and I love it. But, I'm so much more aware of the colors around me. And, I'm ready for spring. This is a previous study from when we had green outside. I should get out some green photos and paint from them. Maybe in a few days; I'm working on a few winter landscapes right now.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hidden Pond

6 x 8 oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

This little man made pond was tucked away at the end of a parking lot. You never know where your next painting will be.
Because I now have more time to paint winter landscapes, I have really been mixing a lot of grays. All of the ochers, grays, nuetrals in the mid-section between the pond and the mountains are deciduous trees and shrubs. I had about eight little piles of pre-mixed grays on my palette. I will look forward to spring and a new palette of greens. I'm glad I live in a climate with changing seasons which provide changing colors.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunset Over Buffalo Peak

6 x 8 oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

Back up to the mountains in South Park. This is from a photo I took last summer. I know there are many discussions on painting from photos vs plein-aire painting. It is not always possible to paint outdoors; especially for those of us who live in climates that have cold winters and windy summers. And, sometimes even when the weather is great, life gets in the way. I never go anywhere without a camera and I use the photos as reference to paint from later. The point is to paint.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lone Tree

11 x 14 oil
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I was drawn to this spot because of the pine tree growing out of the top of this rock in the Garden of the Gods. How can the tree have made it? Of course, I understand how...the wind blew a cone which somehow started and lasted. But in this windy spot, with very little dirt, and a dry climate that averages only 15 inches of moisture per year, the chances of growth are slim. This tree is strong physically as well as mentally. It has to want to survive! I admire such perserverance; both in trees and in humans.
Speaking of trees, I struggle with scrub oak (the scrubby trees in the lower left) in winter landscapes. In small daily paintings I've found I can brush in gray strokes, and they appear as trees. But, in bigger landscapes more detail is necessary. I mix several different grays and paint trunks and branches in layers. As spring is still several months away in Colorado, I'll just keep working on this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Near Chama (made better)

6 x 8 oil on masonite
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested


My last posting was this same painting. But, I kept looking at it and realized that there were several things that needed to be changed. The snow on the shadow bank was too bright and drew the viewer to the back of the painting. While it's fine to look back there, the artist has to create a way for the viewer to keep moving around the painting. This wasn't happening; the too bright snow just made your eyes stop. So, the snow bank is darker and grayer. Also, the side banks were angled down too far. While they must have been that way, (I'm sure I couldn't have painted anything incorrectly!) the river didn't read as flat. It appeared to be going up. So, I made the banks a little more horizontal. And, from my view there was a triangular patch of snow and bank in the bottom right hand corner, I painted it out.

Sometimes we just don't see everything. And, it's ok to go back and make things better. Sounds like what I told our kids when they were little.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Near Chama

6" x 8" oil on masonite
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

On our return trip from Durango, we decided to drive the back way: south to Chama, NM, then north. This was a long way around, but, we're retired, we have the time. The north side of this river canyon was cold and snowy, while the sunny south side was warm and snowless. It was almost like painting two paintings. There was very little traffic, we just pulled right over to the side of the road at this spot.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

No Longer A Lake

6 x 8 oil on masonite
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

I am standing on what used to be the bottom of Vallecito Lake. This side of the lake has become a small river. We drove right down to this spot. If we don't get lots of snow the rest of the winter, and more than normal spring rains, there may not even be a little river this summer.

Friday, March 6, 2009

From the Bouquet

SOLD
6 x 6 oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

We have a beautiful bouquet on our front hall table this week, compliments of my husband. So, I thought painting flowers today was perfect. It's really warm here, but too windy to paint outside. And, there is no sign of spring yet at this altitude. In the painting many of the dark oranges are a greenish color, but that doesn't show up on the photo.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lake Vallecito

6 x 8 oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested

Lake Vallecito sits near the base of Engineer Mountain outside of Durango, CO. It's really a reservoir. The road to get to this side of the lake is the top of the dam. The middle strip in the painting of orange/burnt sienna used to be the bottom of the lake. But, with too many dry years in the west, the lake has receded. In some of our reservoirs you can no longer use the docks to unload your boats. The end of the docks now sit on land.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunset Over Engineer Mountain

6 x 8 oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10.00 s/h
contact me if interested
SOLD

Our son lives in Durango, CO. about a 6 hour drive from here. Durango is in one of the most beautiful areas of the state. This landscape is from our trip to see him in late fall. I loved how the sunset highlighted Engineer Mountain. As soon as the sun starts setting, the temperatures drop quickly and drastically at this altitude. It became so cold in a matter of minutes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Green Egg and Tans

6 x 6 oil on canvas panel
$100.00 + $10. s/h
contact me if interested


Last week we visited my friend Marianne, also a retired art teacher, who has property about 20 miles east of here. They have horses, goats, chickens, and of course dogs. I loved the goats. They're like pets, just walking and staying close to us all the time. Marianne and her husband are raising several different kinds of chickens; who lay different colored eggs. We came home with a dozen eggs of many colors.
Due to the matte finish of eggs, even with a light shining right on them, the reflection is softer, not shiny. These were fun to paint. I'm sure they'll taste great, too.