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Decorating with Fine Art

Studio Wall

Decorating with Fine Art adds a level of sophistication to your space, whether it be in your home or office. One of a kind, original paintings as part of your decor, says something about who you are. Are you playful, romantic, high energy or calm in demeanor? Art can help express these qualities and enhance your life. If you are the playful kind, you might enjoy abstract, colorful fine art. If you are romantic, then perhaps floral genres, make you happy. If high energy is your style, then landscapes are for you. And the calm of spirit would enjoy still life paintings.

Whether you purchase a piece that is grand in size to display on a focal wall or a small piece to add as part of an overall collection, you can create an interesting design that commands attention. Here are a few examples of good ways to use Fine Art as part of your interior decor ~

 

Ocean Wave oil painting
“Ocean Wave”

 

Somebody put some fresh flowers in the vase oil painting
“Somebody Put Some Fresh Flowers in the Vase!”

 

 

Clouds and Moon oil painting
“Clouds and Moon”

 

The above three mini paintings sold to my collector, can be seen on her wall as part of the overall design. They add a pop of color to the  neutral tones of the collection, leading the eye around and through the other pieces. Her clever placement of the beach scene at the bottom of the wall provides a final landing space in which to gaze upon.

 


 

Small works of art can easily be changed from room to room or with the seasons. Large installations are rather permanent and can become stagnant after time. This is why I love painting in smaller sizes, to give you the benefit of creating collections that can be part of a larger statement.

 


Here are some ideas for decorating a baby’s room with fine art. All four pieces, are my original 16″x16″ oil paintings:

Baby Room Wall

This collector cleverly installed a wooden letter L on the abstract painting, representing the family’s last name.

Baby room decor

The Teddy Bear painting is my favorite! And the playful whale is super cute!

 

Baby Bear Oil Painting
“Baby Bear”

 

Whale oil painting
“Playful Whale”

 


And as a final example, if you are a pet lover, then you too can enjoy a collection of pet themed fine art! The possibilities are endless.

 

Art Wall 3

 

This collector cleverly placed her cat collection on the wall above the staircase, making an eye catching focal point. She used her small works of art to make a pleasing composition as an overall statement, combining prints, photographs and two of my oil  paintings, (of her cat that passed.)

 

Shota
“Shota”

 

The Cat is Really Bad at Selfies
“The Cat is Really Bad at Selfies”

 

I hope this post has given you some great ideas for personalizing your space with a fine Art and making a statement with your art collection. Perhaps you will find something in my gallery that will delight and inspire you to grow your collection.

(As a side note, the Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original paintings. This is done for online purposes only.)


If you like my work and would like to be notified of super secret sales, and personal behind the scenes stories, you can join the Tamarack Mountain Studio community and receive quarterly updates, and weekly blog updates by clicking HERE. As a member you will be entered into the year end giveaway of an original small works oil painting! You can unsubscribe at any time!

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Plein air painting, trail riding and a public service message ~

This last weekend my husband and I spent the day out in nature, riding the trails in the back country on the wheeler. It was a beautiful day with threats of rain, but we decided to pack a picnic lunch and my painting gear and go for it anyway. I made a little video to share my day with you:

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Yes we ate junk food for lunch, but it was delicious! We typically follow a healthy diet, but splurge on outings like this cause it’s fun to cook hot dogs on an open fire. We did buy the non chemical laden dogs, and the chips are the healthier version of the chip world, so it was a less guilty meal.

After lunch, I set up my painting gear and wondered if I should even do so, because the sky was growing ever darker.  I said to my husband who was fishing on the bank, “Time me for one hour and I’ll see how fast I can lay in my base colors”. Wouldn’t you know it, just as I hit the 45 min. mark, it started to rain. First a few sprinkles, as I loudly voiced my disdain, “It’s starting to rain!”, then harder and harder until it was full on pouring. My husband held a trash bag over me as I quickly put away the gear trying to shield my painting from the rain. We got it all packed up in the nick of time and decided to call it a day. I did manage to lay in all the base colors and took reference photos in order to finish in the studio. We had a great time in spite of the weather.

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On the way back, we came upon the second of an unattended camp fire! It was Memorial Day and all the campers were in a hurry to head home. At the beginning of our ride we came across the first smoking camp fire and stopped to put it out. The river was right next to their camp too! Not cool!

The second unattended camp fire was smoking even more than the first one!

And there go the campers!

And of course there was water not more than 100 ft. away!

They could have easily walked over to the stream, filled a bucket, or like we did, our empty water bottles, and put the fire out before they left. And look how close it is to the trees! This kind of stuff really makes me mad! I love camping, and spending time in nature, but this kind of carelessness ruins things for those of us who use the trail systems, campgrounds, and actually live in the forest! We almost lost our home a few years ago to careless campers who left their fire smoking when the winds came up. Here’s what that looked like:

Fire

 

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Cape Horn Fire

Within one hour, the fire, which had started on the other side of the mountain, came across the top and was headed straight for our neighborhood, out on the point. We had twenty minutes to evacuate! It was awful! Thankfully, by the Grace of God, and the quick actions of eleven neighbors who disobeyed the evacuation orders, and stayed to fight the fire, our neighborhood was spared. But we lost six other homes and cabins in the area and the entire top of the beautiful forested mountain.  So I say to anyone reading this post today who goes camping, PLEASE PUT OUT YOUR CAMPFIRES! That means dead out, with water and dirt until you can hold your hand over the fire and not feel heat!

Just because it’s cool outside, not windy and looks like rain, doesn’t mean the weather can’t change! The clouds can go away instantly, and the wind can blow hard, fanning your left behind smoking campfire into a full on fire, and bring devastation to everyone – not only in burnt down homes, and our forests, but the air is filled with toxic smoke lasting for days and weeks on end! It puts all emergency responders in harms way as well; when all you had to do was spend ten extra minutes, and dowse your fire. PLEASE PEOPLE! Have some consideration!

Well, that’s my soapbox and public announcement.

I will share this latest painting when it’s finished.

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What I’ve Been up To ~

I’ve kind of been awol for the past few weeks, since spring has begun. I had cabin fever really bad and was looking forward to getting outside, and was so eager to plant my garden that I started my seeds indoors a month too early! Had to re-pot my seedlings to larger pots twice before it was time to plant outdoors. But all is good and the veggie garden and greenhouse plants are all thriving. I’ve been spending a lot of time working in the garden and my husband built me a very cool potting table. It was painted with my favorite colors, cerulean blue and lime green. Here’s a little video:


Last week I was able to finally paint plein air whilst on a three day camping trip with my husband. We had a great time but had to cut the trip short due to a change in the weather.

We had the campground to ourselves, since tourist season and camping season doesn’t get into full swing until Memorial Day weekend. We go every year to this beautiful spot on the St. Joe River in Northern Idaho; in the spring and then again in the fall after Labor Day.

The river was running so fast it was class 4 rapids due to all the snow melt, so fishing didn’t happen this time around. But we rode the trails in the UTV and a great time. We found a nice spot where the river was a little slower and I decided to paint after our picnic lunch. It was cloudy, so no lovely contrasts in lighting. I’ll have to use artistic license in the studio.




I was able to block in all of the under-painting before the dark clouds rolled in and threatened rain. I took reference photos and a video in order to finish in the studio. I’m pretty happy with the initial results:

“The River” oil on 8″x10″ panel

After we arrived back at camp, we bbq’d dinner and finished just as the rain started. The first two nights, it only sprinkled at night, which was lovely. But by the third day a huge thunderstorm rolled in right at dinner time! My husband had to bbq dinner over the fire, in the pouring rain and we ate inside the easy up tent. By the time we finished dinner, the easy up was leaking rain, and the water from the down pour was creating a huge mess! Luckily, there wasn’t cloud to ground lightning, just rolling thunder and no huge winds, which I was really grateful for. We were sleeping in the truck camper, so there weren’t any worries about lightening or getting soaked in a tent. As my husband says, “This builds character”! Indeed it does. 🙂

It rained all night and the next morning we awoke at 5 am to pouring rain and decided to pack up. So, we dawned our rain gear and got the job done and were on the road by 7 a.m. It’s been windy and cold ever since, with more rain on the way for the next three days, so I’m really happy we at least got one camping trip in this spring. I’ll share this painting when it’s finished, and another I started a month ago of my daffodils, which are now gone.

Thanks for stopping by. If you want to keep in the loop as to when I publish a new blog post you can sign up for weekly updates. I’m not a daily blogger and only publish when I have news to share, so if you become a TMS member, you’ll be in the know! ~Rhonda

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Gift Basket Sale!

Mother’s Day is around the corner and just in time, two of my Gift Baskets are on sale! Does your mom like to garden? Then she’ll adore this sweet Garden Gift Basket! Add any painting to the basket for a special, one of a kind gift. (Paintings are not included in the gift basket, and are sold separately.)

Garden Gift Basket
Garden Gift Basket with Pink Rose Bud Oil Painting
Continue reading Gift Basket Sale!
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How to Make a #Sketchbook Kit

I often take a sketchbook kit with me when going on plein air adventures just in case the weather makes it difficult to set up and paint in oils. My sketchbook also gives me the opportunity to play around with compositions and color palettes before committing oil to canvas.

Using a sketchbook first, helps to lessen the anxiety and it gets the creative juices flowing. Here’s a list of basic supplies that pack easily into a small bag or carrying case:


1. A mechanical pencil, extra lead, a kneaded eraser and a triangle. I prefer a 0.5 lead as it’s not as dark as a 0.9 and can easily be erased. The triangle helps me to orient lines to the edge of the sketchbook page.

2. Fountain pens of various nib sizes filled with waterproof black ink and extra ink cartridges. The Platinum brand fountain pens are great because they don’t dry out. The same for the pocket sized Kaweco as it has a cap that twists closed. The ink flows freely on both brands and never splotches or skips. I love these pens!

3. A watercolor palette with professional grade watercolors and a sponge or rag to blot the brush on. I will often use a small collapsible cup for my water, but forgot to add it to the photo.

4. A pocket sized Kolinski watercolor brush in two sizes.

5. If you prefer, you can save the hassle of needing to find water for a cup by using water filled brushes. They come in various sizes and are very handy. The only drawback is they are not as precise as a Kolinski watercolor brush, so I’ll often use them just for laying in washes.

6. A sketchbook that has paper meant for water media. There are numerous sizes and paper choices on the market, so you may have to experiment until you find one you like best. I’m still on the hunt for the “perfect” sketchbook. In fact, I made the open one out of my favorite heavy weight mixed media paper, so I can use if for just a pencil drawing, an ink drawing or combined with watercolor.

7. And lastly, something to carry your gear in. This could be a zippered pouch, like mine, or a small bag, backpack or whatever you like to carry. Make sure it can get wet though, in case your water brushes should leak. A good safety measure is to put your wet media supplies into a baggie. I don’t worry about leakage because my zippered pouch is plastic.


Some artists like to carry a tripod with a watercolor easel and paint on a surface. I typically just lay my sketchbook in my lap when sketching, or hold it in my hand, thus eliminating the need for extra gear. My entire watercolor kit fits nicely into my oil painting plein air bag. Often times I take my kit with me when bike riding and the entire kit fits nicely into my bike bag. If you minimize your gear down to the very basics you are more likely to bring your kit with you on outings and find more opportunities to sketch.

I used to sketch daily awhile back, but have gotten away from the practice in the last year. Life just seemed to get in the way, but this year I’m hoping to get back into the habit of daily sketching. My favorite thing to do in the summer, is sit out on the deck in the morning with a cup of coffee, listen to the birds, and sketch.

I hope this inspires you to go sketch and enjoy! Keep me posted on your adventures as I love to see what everyone else is up to.

~ Rhonda

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“Skiffs on the Dock” oil painting

Skiffs

“Skiffs on the Dock” is a 6″x6″ oil painting on gallery wrapped canvas. I enjoy painting small works because they are so portable. Small paintings can be used to decorate with the seasons and easily stored or moved around. You can display collections of small works with fine collectibles in an art niche, in a bookcase or on an office credenza.

 

Decor Hack

“Skiffs on the Dock” is now available in my store. If you or someone you know loves small nautical works of art, won’t you share this post? Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will be here soon. Why not give a gift that lasts a lifetime?

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Review of “Rainy Day” oil on paper plein air study ~

The weather has been soggy these past few weeks, which puts plein air painting on the back burner for a little while longer. So I decided to set up the gear inside by a window and pretend I was plein air painting. This worked out well, as I didn’t have to struggle with the elements and had all creature comforts available. I know, you’re saying “That’s cheating!” Well, you are correct, but I have to keep moving forward! I freely admit, I’m a lightweight when it comes to the elements!

I am still in the process of re-working  my gear to include only the most necessary items, which means going through and honestly evaluating all the equipment. In the past, I’ve carried way too much stuff. Plus, I have had to pack brushes and paint into my plein air bag from the studio, which was always a hassle. Now I am almost complete with having two of everything: gear for plein air and gear for studio. Now I can grab my bag and go when inspiration strikes.

It was pouring rain yesterday when I worked on this piece and fog was a problem, as at times it rolled in so thick I couldn’t see my scene. Here’s what I was looking at:


Forest and the road

Continue reading Review of “Rainy Day” oil on paper plein air study ~

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Review of Oil Painting Supplies

Plein Air season has arrived here in the northwest, as the temps are slowly rising to “comfortable”. I am rethinking my entire strategy for plein air painting, getting rid of what doesn’t work and adding new things I haven’t tried. I seem to fight with my tools a lot and I want to eliminate the fight so I can concentrate on painting and capturing the essence of a scene.

So, I gathered up the gear and took it all out on the deck to just paint and seriously judge all my tools. Here’s my set up:

Plein Air set up

Continue reading Review of Oil Painting Supplies

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“Sunset on the Villa” #oil Painting

“Sunset on the Villa” is officially done! I’m so happy to be moving on to other subjects. This is the very reason I enjoy painting small; large paintings take too long. The piece is 16″x20″ and was painted in oils with a limited Palette. Here’s a peek at my palette:

Coral colors on the palette


I recently decided to check out what Pantone’s Color of the year for 2019 is and was surprised to find out it is Living Coral! And look what colors are on my palette – corals!

I often paint intuitively with respect to colors and this happened to me last year as well with the Pantone Color which was Violet. I painted a lot of purple flowers last year and didn’t know what the Color of the Year was until late fall. Maybe I’m just in tune with my surroundings? So now I’m hyper sensitive to oranges. I’m seeing this color everywhere especially in Hallmark movies made this year! Even orange trucks are making their debut!

Anyway, Orange isn’t on the top of my list for favorite colors so don’t ask me why I chose to use this color palette on “Sunset on the Villa”. But I’m pleased with the end result.

I imagine the owner has had a hard day at picking grapes and worked until sunset. One box of grapes was forgotten by the road. Now it’s time for dinner as a warm cozy fire begins to crackle. What’s for dinner? Perhaps spaghetti and meatballs with a nice glass of wine. My fave!


“Sunset at the Villa”

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the painting. This is done for online purposes only).


Next up I’ll be doing some paintings of grapes and wine genres as a continuation of this Italian theme.

More later ~ Rhonda

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“Fishing on the St. Joe”

“Fishing on the St. Joe” is an 8″x10″ oil on panel that I painted last fall while on a camping trip with my husband. I started it on location by laying in all my values, then finished in studio. It was a cold and windy day in late September when I painted it and so didn’t get as far as I wanted to because I was freezing! I’m a light weight when it comes to extremes of temperature.

Anyway, I use my husband as a model but he tends to not stay in one place long enough for me to really capture him. I always have to use my reference photos to finish.

I sat in our UTV to paint this scene, to try and stay out of the cold wind and when I looked up from my work, he was gone!


Plein Air Painting


Now this is a huge pet peeve of mine because number 1, I don’t know where he went. Number 2, I don’t like to be left alone in the forest. What if a bear came? Seriously? Or what if some unsavory characters came by? Or what if he fell and got hurt and I had no idea where he was? Number 3, what if I was ready to leave but couldn’t because I had no idea where he went? I mean really! This is a big issue with us. I always say to him, “Stay in eye contact with me”. He says okay, but then always disappears.

So this year I plan on getting us some two way radios. Then when he disappears, I can call him and find out where he went. Or if one of us gets in trouble we can call for help. Mind you, we aren’t young, anything can happen! Plus I have a wild imagination and it makes my fears bubble up and get the best of me. I’ve had some eye opening stuff happen while I was out plein air painting alone, and won’t go by myself anymore. One time I was alone by the shore of a lake in the tall weeds and turned to grab a roll of paper towel only to find a man standing behind me watching me! I never heard him walk up and thankfully he was a park ranger, but it could have been a bad situation.

Anyway, I fussed and fussed with this painting and finally said “I’ve had it…I’m calling it done!” It’s been sitting in my studio since October waiting for me to “fix it” but I don’t want to work on it anymore. It’s good enough for me.

I’m ready for some new adventures and have cabin fever really bad! I’ve been cleaning the studio and getting my plein air kit ready to go in a moments notice, so when the warmer weather finally arrives, we can hit the road.

So here you go – the fourth in the Fly Fishing series with more to come. What do you think?

~ Rhonda 😊

“Fishing on the St. Joe”