Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sunday Sketches

I LOVE when the hummingbirds return!

Not only are they the most fascinatingly beautiful little bird, but I also enjoy watching their antics and listening to their whistle while working in the yard.

The Calliope hummingbird even hangs out in our area during the winter. Here is a watercolor and ink sketch of the little guy at rest.

Visit more Sunday Sketchers

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trees on my Mind

According to art therapy text, the tree symbolizes the Self.

When someone draws a tree, an art therapists will look at several aspects of the image and reflect on the creator's personal characteristics.

In my previous blog, I shared the experience of the cracking that magically happened to my canvas on which I painted a tree. I am still trying to figure out its significance in my life.......the art therapist in me never sleeps.

In this next tree oil painting, I focused mostly on the stout base of the tree trunk and its fabulous colors.

I wander to the realm of personal characteristics emphasis on strong grounding and solid foundation with colorful accents, but the expressive fern in the foreground draws attention almost to distraction.

Time to sit with these feelings and ponder its significance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is it Gesso or What?


Gesso is a primer. Artists sometimes apply it to a surface before painting on it. In fact, gesso looks a lot like paint.

Originally, gesso only came in white. Artists put it on canvas, wood, or other surfaces before creating a painting with oil paint or acrylics.

Gesso makes the surface a little stiffer. It prevents paint from soaking into the support (canvas, paper, wood, etc.), and it gives the surface a little more texture (called "tooth"), so the paint sticks better.

Today, gesso comes in many colors. White is still the most popular, but black and colors are also widely used.

Recently, I have been painting with oils on canvas. I painted gesso over a few old oil paintings. Having seen paintings with texture, I decided to create even more texture by applying the gesso with a palette knife.

A couple days later, feeling dry to the touch, I painted the cedar tree and its boughs that I see outside my window on the textured, gesso canvas.

Look closely, you will notice that the tree trunk has interesting texture which I was excited about. BUT, the next day certain areas where the paint was applied heavily with a palette knife began cracking.


What caused the cracking?

The cracking does not reflect the shape of palette knife strokes.
It is selective; both in areas of thick and thin paint.
The gesso felt dry.

Ideas, anyone?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Sketches

Still focusing on the subject of trees...

Again here is the Lucuma tree in the background with the Nuqchu flower at its base. This is fuchsia-like flower which blooms year round in the Sacred Valley of Peru.

The Nuqchu is the main plant of the Earth Garden at Willa T'kia. Carol relates that the cascades of flowers portray abundance, not just material abundance but also love. Their powerful spirit is believed to bring love to the base chakra. You can find out more about native flowers of Peru and Carol's chakra gardens in her book, Chakra Gardens.

First painting is a watercolor and ink sketch.

This painting is an oil on 12" X 12" canvas.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mini Oils

Third time is the charm, right?!

I gessoed over these 4" X 5" mini canvases for the third time.

With the return of spring come my favorite little birds.

I decided to capture my totem animal on canvas.

Oddly, they post large which misses the point.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunday Sketches

I have been on retreat this home!

An idea that formulated over breakfast with a couple of my creative friends. Today ends our "seven day at home retreat." The basic rules were: to spend at least 3-4 hours a day creating and meet together one or more times during the week to process with a final session this evening.

I have six water-based oil paintings and three watercolor & ink sketches! What could I accomplish if I kept at this pace?!?!?

The Lucuma tree which I first saw at Willa T'ika in the Sacred Valley of Peru was the inspiration of the first paintings.

This watercolor and ink sketch shows the branches, leaves, and fruit in the foreground with the shape of the bark in the background.

And the oil painting.....


Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. Pachamama is usually translated as Mother Earth, but a more literal translation would be "Mother World."

When I visited Peru last fall, I learned several rituals honoring Pachamama. The symbol for Pachamama is a spiral which you find on handcrafted Peruvian jewelry and textiles.

I just finished creating the Pachamama symbol in my orchard honoring all the elements which harmonize to bring about the abundance of the fruit.

The fruit trees are caged because our neighborhood deer.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day Four

Still on home.

Spent most of the day painting with oils. Unfortunately, I am having challenges photographing these paintings as the paint causes glare. I tried to fix in photoshop, but still not quite right.

This first tree painting of a cedar outside my window is done on a canvas that I textured with with a palette knife and gesso. Needless to say, the textures make the painting. I will work at the photo issue.

The next painting you might recognize from earlier this week.
I added the fruit, leaves, and branches to the lucuma tree.

The three retreaters met last night to process our insights.
All goes well and work continues........

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At Home Retreat

Going to retreats are inspiring and provide valuable new insights.

And can be costly!

Two friends and I came up with an "at home retreat" which began Monday and will last one full week. The basic rules: spending at least 3-4 hours a day creating and meet together two or possibly three times during the week to process.

I bought several canvases and gessoed over a few to prepare myself. Water-based oils has been a favorite medium as of late.

Trees will be the subject of this week's creations. The Lucuma tree which I first saw at Willa T'ika in the Sacred Valley of Peru has become the inspiration of the first paintings. This lovely tree is the dominating figure in Carol's landscape and gardens.

Oil painting to me is a "building up" process as oppose to watercolor which is immediate and spontaneous. So with that in mind, here are two renditions in oil of the Lucuma tree's bark and stage one of these paintings.

In addition to these paintings, I also did two ink and watercolor paintings which I will post at another time. I am on a roll!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Sketches

Speaking of a quick sketch for today's blog.......

I dashed this one off after my morning walk. The sun was just popping through the trees causing a lovely silhouette.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


This little beauty of a plant lives center stage in my living room window which faces southwest. It amazes me and everyone who see this Anthurium that she thrives so happily for she prefers the tropics, not Washington.

Need I say, I love the shapes and colors?!

After doing a watercolor sketch, I knew that it would be fun to create an image of the colorful Anthurium with water-based oil paint. I am falling in love with this medium.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Sketches

Every morning when I look out the window of the sliding glass door near my bed, I see an out of focus version of a forest of trees (without my glasses). The sky holes between the branches look like sparkling gems, the needles of the cedar trees are various size blobs of green, and the tall tree trunks look ominous.

I attempted to put this vision on paper starting first with quick brush strokes of watercolor. Everything ran together and there was no definition of shapes, so I decided the tree and branches would have inked outlines. Lastly, I got the sponge out to give the green blogs texture.

It does NOT look like my vision, but I had fun doing it.