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A Pet Portrait of Zed oil painting

New Work:

Today I am sharing with you, a recently completed pet portrait oil painting for one of my collectors. My collector is a cat lover and she commissioned me to paint a small portrait of her beloved pet, named Zed. Zed is 14 yrs. old and he is a Tabby cat.

Pet Portait of Zed oil painting

“Zed” is painted in oil on a 4″x4″x2″ gallery wrapped box canvas. I’m very pleased with the results of all the work that went into creating this pet portrait, as is the collector. She can’t wait to receive her painting! Currently, the piece is drying and awaiting the final coat of varnish.

 

Pet Portrait of Zed side view

The side view of the painting of Zed shows how the piece can be displayed without a frame since the sides of the canvas are painted black. The back of the painting is finished with wood and has a hole for hanging.

 

back of pet portrait oil painting of Zed

 


Decorating with Art:

The pet portrait of Zed will be hung on my collector’s gallery wall. You can see how she cleverly displays her collection of cat imagery. She has illustrations, photos, paintings and even a sculpture on this gallery wall which looks great.

 

Collector's Gallery Art Wall

 


Previous Commissioned Paintings:

 

 

The above image of a painting commissioned by my collector, entitled “The Cat is Really Bad at Taking Selfies”, is also painted on a 4″x4″x2″ gallery wrapped box canvas. My collector will hang her new painting of “Zed” next to this one, and give the impression, the two cats are looking at one another.

Below is another of my collector’s commissioned paintings of Shota, her dearly departed cat.  Shota’s portrait was painted in oils on an 8″x10″ canvas panel. Her eyes were the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen on a cat! She was so beautiful.

 

And lastly is another oil painting commissioned by my collector of Zed looking out the window, entitled “I Wish”, as he looked out the window at the birds flying by. I titled it “I Wish” thinking he wished he could go outside and catch the birds flying by! But he is an indoor cat and it was in the middle of winter, so he just had to wish!

I enjoy painting animals because I love them, and have owned many pets in my lifetime; from fish to birds, to cats and dogs, even chickens! It is my pleasure to immortalize my collector’s cat in an oil painting that will last a lifetime. I know she will enjoy it as much as I did painting it.

If you are a collector, meaning you have purchased a painting/s from me, and you would like me to paint a commissioned piece, please click on the “Commissions” tab in the “Important Info tab above, for more info.

Until we meet again, much Love! ~ Rhonda

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Plein Air Painting on the Lake

A few weekends ago I had a great time Plein Air painting on the Lake. The weather was perfect, not too hot and not too cold. The wind was non-existent even though it was cloudy with the threat of rain. The fish weren’t biting so we decided to beach the boat and set up camp for the day.

 

Plein air painting set up at the lake


The Plan for the Day;

The plan was for me to paint Plein air and the husband to fish from the shore.  We were going to have lunch first, but there were yellow jackets everywhere! For those who live in the forest, you know what I’m referring to. For those who don’t, you are lucky. These nasty buggers look like a bee and sting like a bee, but they are a type of wasp that eats meat. Whaaaat? Yes, that’s right. They will fight you for your food, and around this time of year, they get aggressive. I’ve been stung on the toe before and let me tell you… that’s no fun!

Anyway, the husband decided to make a small campfire to smoke out the yellow jackets until they found the yellow jacket trap he hung in a tree. Before we could light the campfire though we had to clean out the fire-pit of the previous campers TRASH. Folks leaving behind trash in a fire-pit is becoming more and more prevalent and it really makes me upset. It’s just plain rude! We burned the trash, but as we all know, aluminum cans and tin foil don’t burn. We had to bag up the remnants of their trash and dispose of it at home.

aluminum cans from the fire pit

Rock Painting:

I decided to leave a message for the next campers who would use this campsite, by painting a message on a large rock and leaving it on the picnic table. Since I didn’t have any poster board on hand, a rock was the logical solution for a sign. “Pack it in, Pack it out” signs are typically in every campground, but these are primitive sites along the shoreline, and have no signage.

Pack it in, Pack it out

I figured since painting on rocks has become so popular I’d paint a message instead of an illustration.  I love the forest, nature, and camping and it just isn’t nice to have to clean up after someone before being able to enjoy a site. So please, if you are a camper, pack it in and pack it out…camp is not the dump!

Painting under the umbrella was not so great.

After lunch, I set up my gear and studied the landscape. There weren’t any boats around, and the mountains were kind of misty from all the humidity in the air. The overall scene was kind of ugly, so I settled on painting our boat.

The sky was growing darker and I wondered if I would have to run for cover like a previous time when I painted Plein air. This time I brought an umbrella so if it started to rain it would be okay. Problem solved! Well not quite. You see, the umbrella blocked out much of the light, and the little light clipped to my pochade box wasn’t bright enough to solve the problem. Oh well. I’d rather have less light than rain running down my painting.

 

Plein air painting at the lake

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work in progress on the pocchade box

I love my mini pochade box!

I brought the “baby box” on this outing and even though I love the compact size, the palette isn’t large enough. Here’s a shot after I had laid in all the base colors and had scraped the palette to put out fresh paint. Given that I couldn’t really see what I was doing, I’m really happy with how things turned out.

Here’s the work in progress. It will be finished in the studio. I might add a boat or two in the distance, and some houses on the shore, just for interest. I’m pretty satisfied with the loose painterly style of the mountains and the sky, so those won’t be worked any further. I need to add the details on the boat and highlights on the water.

Work in progress on Duckworth boat

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Work in progress

All in all, despite the weather, we had a fabulous day. I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude while painting Plein air at the lake. The yellow jackets hovered around the trap instead of being attracted to the oil paint. The husband caught six fish, albeit small. But as I like to say, a fish is a fish, no matter the size. We left the campground better than we found it, and it didn’t rain!

Until next time ~ much love, Rhonda

 

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The end of Summer is upon us!

Summer is winding down as fall gently unfolds

The end of Summer is upon us as Fall gently unfolds. Crisp mornings and shorter evenings say Summer is almost over. Summer has been wonderful this year because the temperatures haven’t been too extreme. There were only 6 or 7 days of temperatures in the high 80’s, barely breaking 90. We were blessed with more rain than normal too, which kept the wildfire season to a minimum.


Vegetable Gardening has been challenging!

The veggie garden has had a bit of trouble with the up and down temperatures, but luckily, my tomatoes in the greenhouse produced a decent crop and are ripening quickly. The green peppers suffered a bit and didn’t grow as big as in the past, and the same with the onions and garlic. I’ve been busy processing herbs and making spaghetti sauces and tomato salsa, with this year’s bounty.

 

Summer bounty of tomatoes

 

Here’s my recipe for salsa:

2 Cups diced tomatoes, 1 cup diced bell pepper, 1 cup diced onion, 6 cloves diced garlic, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. sea salt, pepper to taste, 1 tbsp. Lime juice.

I like to use Roma tomatoes since they have fewer seeds and a more vibrant taste, but you can use whatever tomato variety you like. I used green bell pepper, but you can use red or yellow if you prefer. Also, if you like spicy foods, add in 1/4 tsp. of chopped fresh jalapeno pepper with seeds. I don’t care for spicy food, so I omit the jalapeno pepper.  Optional, 1 to 2 tbsp. of chopped fresh Cilantro.

 

tomatoes and green peppers


Dice the onion, garlic and green pepper and add to a stockpot with 1/2 tsp. salt.

Chopped onioins


Chopped Green Pepper

Sweat the onions, garlic and green pepper on the stovetop until just barely transparent. Add chopped tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Cook gently over medium heat for five minutes stirring once or twice to incorporate all ingredients. You aren’t making spaghetti sauce, so you want to be sure to stir gently so the tomato holds shape and doesn’t liquify. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary, then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature then place salsa into canning jars, or storage containers. Store in the refrigerator and the Salsa will keep for a week. Serve with tortilla chips, or put on tacos, and even over eggs.

Tomato Salsa and Chips

 


It’s so satisfying to grow your own food and make dishes with fresh ingredients that you know haven’t any pesticides in them.

The potatoes should be ready to harvest in another few weeks. This year I planted Yukon Gold, Russet and Red potatoes for the first time. I’m hopeful all went well and we will have an abundant crop. The Butternut and Acorn squashes are beginning to ripen and I am looking forward to making my favorite squash recipe for dinner. I’ll share that later.

I hope you have had a wonderful summer! Did you plant a garden or have a fabulous adventure this Summer? Are you sad to see the end of Summer or are you looking forward to Fall? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Next post, I’ll share my latest Plein air adventure.

Until then ~ much love, Rhonda

 

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“Latour Creek” Oil Painting

A few blog posts ago I shared my camping adventures and a Plein air painting I started during that trip; you can read the post HERE.  I started “Latour Creek” oil painting in the dark and scary forest, next to Latour Creek,  where my attention was drawn to the dappled sunlight highlighting various parts of the forest, especially the creek. Sadly, I had to finish the work in the studio because of the mosquitos attacking me while I was painting. Work has been progressing slowly, on “Latour Creek” oil painting to which so far, I’m very pleased with the results.

There have been a few revisions as is typical of the editing process.

Here are my first set of revisions:

Revision 1 of Latour Creek oil painting

Did I write all over the painting you ask? No. I used a photo editing app to write my notes. I can easily see my mistakes once I’ve taken a photo of a painting. Funny how that works. I guess it’s the same as looking at one’s work in a mirror; the mistakes will be more noticeable.

 


I fixed all my edits and then rephotographed the painting which showed me I am not finished.

Here’s revision 2:

Revision 2 of Latour Creek oil painting

You can see by my edits where I feel some elements need more refinement.  More spectral highlights on the grasses need to be added and the edges of the foreground rocks need some softening. The mid-ground tree on the left needs more attention to define the shape. The tree needs some splashes of light on a few branches, to show the dappled sunlight.

I always set a painting aside for a while, not just to allow the layers to dry between sessions, but to come back with a fresh eye. This painting is a complicated scene and is taking a bit longer to finish, but that’s okay. Painting is about the journey and the enjoyment of the process, so for me, I don’t mind if it takes longer to finish a piece. It’s like reading a good book; we don’t want it to end. Right?

Every time I look at this painting, I’ll always remember what if felt like to paint this scene. I can still feel the coolness of the air and hear nothing but the quiet of the forest, and the babbling creek as the mosquitos buzzed around my face. That’s what I love about Plein air painting the most; the memories!

Much Love ~ Rhonda

 

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Introductory Pricing Ends August 31, 2019

Introductory Pricing Ends Soon


Introductory Pricing on all oil paintings will end on August 31, 2019.  If you would like to purchase a painting at the introductory pricing rates, you still have a few weeks left! After the price change, the only way to purchase at a discount will be if you are a Tamarack Mountain Studio member. You can become a member by clicking HERE.  Being a member of Tamarack Mountain Studio grants you insider purchasing power during secret sales and allows you to be entered in the yearend giveaway of one of my miniature paintings.

Creating an oil painting takes many steps and a lot of editing before it is ready for the market. Each layer must be fully dry before a new layer is added, otherwise cracking of the painting can occur. Once a painting is finished, it takes several months to dry before the varnish is added. After the varnish is fully dry, a painting is framed unless it has been painted on a gallery wrapped box canvas. Gallery wrapped box canvas paintings are meant to be displayed without a frame. You can see why the purchase of an oil painting is an investment.

You can shop for my original oil paintings by clicking the Paintings tab in the header. I look forward to having you as one of my many collectors!

~Rhonda

 

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Plein Air oil painting of a White Lily Flower.

My Plein Air oil painting of a White Lily Flower is just about completed. I began this painting a few weeks ago when I decided to paint one of my Lily flowers in Plein air. You can read about the painting experience here. Despite the weather issues I had to endure,  I’m very happy with the final outcome of the White Lily Flower oil painting! The painting size is 6″x6″ and was painted on a gesso panel. It may be small in size but the composition and the vibrant colors make an exciting statement.

 

White Lily oil painting
“White Lily” 6″x6″ oil painting on panel

 

The painting looks better in person because it is hard to capture light colors with a camera. The yellow hues of the petals are a vibrant lemon color and the cool greens pop against the yellow hues. The orange highlights on the anthers define their volume while the muted purple of the flower’s stigma portrays its shiny surface. Dark jewel tones of Viridian, Cerulean blue and a bit of Burnt Sienna were used in the background, in order to showcase the Lily. One can almost imagine the intoxicating lovely smell of this beautiful flower.

 

Thank you for stopping by. Until next time, much love! ~ Rhonda

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Summer is flying by, as are the birds!

Summer is flying by, as are the birds. They  are leaving us for their migration south, and all is quiet in the morning now. No more loud jungle style bird sounds at 3:30 in the morning. That’s a good thing for those of us who like to sleep. My little Hummingbirds are all but gone, and so are the Robins.

I was lucky enough to come upon this Robin’s nest in a low lying branch of one of our pine trees, thanks to my husband’s discovery. We were able to watch the growth cycle of four newly hatched baby Robins. So cool! When we first saw them they were but a few days old. Here are a few photos and a short video of the baby Robins:

 

Newly hatched baby Robins

Nature is so amazing to me. You can see the bird’s ear holes and they have just a few wisps of feathers. We had to use a mirror to reflect back to the camera because they were tucked down deep into the nest.

A week later I checked on the Robins to make sure they were still in the nest and that no predator had discovered them. To my amazement, they had grown  almost all their feathers and their eyes were open! I never once heard the babies make any sounds; I think this is what protects them from predators.

We had a huge thunderstorm one night with 60 mph winds, but mama Robin had built her nest so well, that the storm didn’t bother her babies and they were still safely tucked in their nest the next morning.

 

Baby Robins in their nest

A week later, I was working in the garden and remembered I should check on the nest and was shocked to see the growth that had taken place! They grew so fast. I am so glad I snapped this last photo, because a few days later they were gone.

 

Baby Robins almost grown

The new family can hardly fit in the nest. They still made no sounds, and I was grateful my presence didn’t make them want to fly away. This is such a joy to see, because I adore birds. I have owned two parakeets and a love bird in my earlier days, and I feel birds are just innocent beautiful creatures.

Here’s a small video clip:

 

What summer highlights have you enjoyed so far? For me, it’s been nature, my flowers and veggie gardens, and painting plein air when possible. Unfortunately, we are experiencing wildfire smoke from nearby fires and the atmosphere has turned ugly, so no painting outside for a bit. We are  going to get rain in a few days and hopefully the smoke will go away.

Thanks for stopping by. Much Love ~ Rhonda

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White Lily Plein Air

This week I began a painting of one of the White Lily flowers from my flower garden. The weather was cool with the threat of rain, so I thought it would be very nice to sit outside at the picnic table, under the canopy and paint Plein air. As a kid I used to love sitting in the backyard at the patio table with my crayons and coloring books and color during a rainstorm, so this brought back pleasant memories.

I set up all my gear and across the lake I noticed the clouds growing heavy and dark. The wind was starting to blow, but ever so slightly, and I wondered if this was going to be a bad idea. I hesitated a couple of times thinking maybe I should just paint inside, but then decided to go for it anyway. Here’s my subject, a White Lily in a small vase:

White Lily


I put the flower in a small vase because the stem is very short, which makes it top heavy, but creates a grand presentation. I chose to paint just the flower and not the vase. After setting out my palette and mixing colors I set to work laying in the base colors.

Palette colors


Things were going very well and it started to rain which was so nice. I was really enjoying the painting session even though it was a bit cool, but I’d rather be a little cool than so hot you can’t think! Then the winds arrived. Seriously? I’ll tell you, it hasn’t been the greatest of plein air sessions so far this year!

Twice the wind knocked over my vase, but luckily the flower wasn’t harmed. The tablecloth on the picnic table kept flying up and covering my work area, and I had to rearrange things and batten down the hatches, so to speak, cause I was determined to not let the weather deter my painting time!

Painting set up

This was my set up. I used the “baby” paint box and a 6″x6″ gessoed panel. I’ve taken this box with me several times on recent outings with the hope of getting a painting done, but it hasn’t worked out. I’ve been wanting to try a different technique as an experiment with this gesso panel so that’s how I came to paint this White Lily. My experiment using a different medium worked, and I’m really pleased with the results.

I used a small light to help me see my painting because for some reason, being outside makes it hard to see what I’m painting! It’s the strangest thing. You’d think being outside there’d be plenty of light to see, but it’s actually too much light. It’s as if the painting soaks up all the light, but really it’s just too much glare. Then, if I use an umbrella, it gets too dark. Plus, I was under a canopy and it was cloudy, making the lighting rather muted. This little light was just the right thing to use.

I was able to accomplish my goal of laying in all the base colors before I called it on account of the wind. Now I will let it dry and then go in with highlights and the back ground. Here’s a peek at the Lilies in the flower garden:

White Lilies

See the Bumble Bee on the upper left side of the top flower? I’m wondering if I should put a bee on the petal? What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

I’ll share the finished piece when it’s done. Until then, much love! ~Rhonda

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2 Primo Days of Sales!

Art Sale at Tamarack Mountain Studio

Select Original Oil Paintings on sale for 2 days only!

July 15 & 16th

FREE shipping to US collectors!

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Camping and Plein Air Painting in the Forest

A couple of weekends ago we did a camp out and had a great time. It was a spur of the moment, “let’s do this!” kind of deal, and our destination was up in the mountains at an out of the way campground. We arrived late on Friday and never thought to make a reservation at the campground. To our dismay, the camp was full and without a reservation, things didn’t look good for us. So we asked the camp host if he knew of a spot to camp down the road, and as we were talking, the owner overheard our conversation and came over to us with a wonderful idea! He said they had one spot in the overflow section and if we didn’t mind not having a campfire ring, we were welcome to use it. He cut the rate since it wasn’t a full on campsite, and we were over joyed.

We ended up in a secluded part of the campground near a multi event area which wasn’t being used and the whole situation turned out perfect. We set up camp, made dinner and settled in for the night. The next morning we rode out in the UTV, with the goal of finding a spot for me to paint, and my husband to fish. We rode all over the mountains looking for a place called Mirror lake, and never found it, but did however find a spectacular spot at the top of the mountain and the view was awesome! At 4200 ft. elevation it was a bit cool, and there was still snow on the higher peaks, so I was glad I brought a coat.

The wildflowers were abundant and beautiful and had just begun to bloom. The hillsides were covered in patches of daisies and poking up through them were these beautiful vibrant red flowers.

After, driving around all morning, and not finding the lake, we settled on a spot for lunch next to a creek in the dark and scary forest.

This is Latour Creek and you can see where some folks had camped and left their trash behind. This is just so annoying to me. “Pack it in, Pack it out” is written for a reason! The forest is not the city dump people! Geez.

Anyway, after lunch I brought out the gear and my plan was to fill the panel with a complete underpainting before I lost the light. The dappled light highlighting the stream was absolutely beautiful.

 


 

It was very cool and quiet, with only the sounds of the running creek and an occasional ATV driving by. The creek was too shallow for any fishing so my husband did a bit of hiking while I painted. All was going great, and then the inevitable happened… no, not rain… Mosquitoes. Seriously? For some reason bugs love to eat me and when the mosquitoes discovered I was tasty, my painting session ended, as I was rudely bitten on the chin. I took reference photos and made some sketches, then packed up the gear.


 

We arrived back at camp in time for dinner, and on the menu was campfire pizza and a nice glass of wine. So yummy. I made the dough at home and cut up the veggies at camp and didn’t even know if this would work, but it did.

I don’t know what it is, but camp food just tastes so delish. This pizza had onions, mushrooms, red pepper, tomatoes and Canadian bacon. After we ate, we sat around our little camp stove and gazed upon the fire, sipping our wine and having chocolate for dessert. The clouds moved in to give us a spectacular sunset and it sprinkled during the night which was so nice to listen to.


 

I’m having to paint from my reference photos since I wasn’t able to complete my under painting, and made some adjustments to the composition:

Composition changes

Don’t worry, I didn’t mark up the painting. This is an acetate overlay I use to make sure elements aren’t “dead center”.  I use a dry erase marker to make notes for the changes. This piece will take me longer since there are so many rocks in the scene, and I want to get the dappled light just right.

I will be taking some time away from the easel and blog posts, as I work freelance for an architect and he has sent me some new plans to work on. If you want to stay in the know about when I put up a new blog post, you can sign up for weekly emails, which are delivered on Friday mornings whenever I write a new post. Click HERE to sign up.

See you next time!

Much Love,

Rhonda