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New Interest in Pastels

Summer on the Lake Pastel Painting

Its been a minute since last time I posted! I’m still here ~ just been busy with the garden and my new interest in Pastels. I think I may have found my preferred medium of choice!

There’s nothing like a new box of pastels ~

When I was a kid I used to adore a brand new box of crayons, all pristine and freshly sharpened. Opening a new box of pastels brings back those fond memories. Pastels today, compared to what I used 10 or so years ago, are so much better. The paper has come a long way too and I’m totally in love with this medium. The way the soft pastels lay down creamy vibrant color on the paper is fascinating and delicious, if I may say! Here are some of my new works:


These are a few of my faves. You can see the rest of the new work in the Gallery under the Pastel Paintings tab. I’ve taken the pastels plein air painting and even on a super windy day, it was a pleasure to paint with them. I didn’t have to worry about bugs becoming stuck on the paper, as when I paint with oils. Or like when I paint with oils in plein air, no worries about yellow jackets being attracted to the smell, because pastels have no smell. You can understand why my new interest in pastels has such a great appeal to me. No fuss, but a lot of mess, which is the only drawback. Not to worry, if you work in pastels, you know to have a wet towel on hand to wipe your hands off.

Look at all those vibrant colors! The most wonderful thing about pastels is there’s no mixing to do, like there is with oil paint. I don’t have to think about adding just the right amount of medium or which colors are transparent or opaque, or complimentary and greyed down, etc, etc. I can just be free to paint what I see with ease and not have to wait for paint to dry.

Plein air pastel

The above photo is where I last painted plein air while on a camping trip. We stayed in a campground on the Moyie River in north Idaho and had a great time. My husband fished down below while I painted and my only complaint was the strong wind. But everything stayed together and only my hat threatened to blow away. I’m bummed that the summer is over and we probably won’t have any more outings. In the meantime, I’ll use my reference photos and paint in the comfort of the studio. I hope you had a decent summer and the trials of the times weren’t too harsh. Stay well, be prepared, and thanks for stopping by! Much Love ~ Rhonda

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New Work ~ “Bearded Iris Backside”

New Work ~

This new work entitled “Bearded Iris Backside” describes the back of the Iris where two buds were growing out of the stem. Why did I paint the back of the Iris? Well, viewing a flower from all sides is one of my favorite things to do before deciding on a view to paint. There are so many interesting parts to a flower and most times, the back is just as interesting as the front. Hidden behind this flower were two buds that I never saw until I turned the Iris around, upon cutting it in the garden.

The Bearded Iris had grown crooked in my flower garden and wouldn’t stand straight in the vase. So, upon turning the Iris all different directions, I discovered the buds made a more interesting story and I let the Iris be the backdrop to the buds.

Iris in a vase

The Studio Set up ~

Originally, when I placed the Bearded Iris into my vase, I didn’t add any leaves. The vase is too small to hold the thick stalks of the plant. Further into the painting I decided the composition needed the addition of leaves. You can see how there isn’t a good balance of the elements.

Iris painting in progress

Here is the point when the decision was made to add a single leaf from the Iris patch, which would add flow and balance to the composition. As the last bud was wilting I added a few leaves for reference. The blue tint to the vase is from the addition of water soluble fertilizer. I have discovered flowers last longer with this addition, and that adding an aspirin or some sugar to make flowers last longer is an urban myth.

Iris leaf added to painting

Finished Painting

The painting was done alla prima on an 8”x10” oil primed linen panel, using a tetrad color palette. Because the buds opened so quickly photo references were used to complete the piece. (The original flower set up wilted before the painting was finished.) Here is the finished painting:

Iris Backside oil painting
“Iris Backside”

This new work, “Bearded Iris Backside” oil painting, will be varnished and framed when it’s dry. Afterwards, the painting will be posted in the gallery under Floral Paintings. I’m super pleased with the results and had a wonderful time painting it.

Please note: the Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original painting. The watermark is for online purposes only.

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New Work: Tulips and Daffodils Oil Painting

Tulips and Daffodils Oil Painting

Recently, I finished a new oil painting of the Tulips and Daffodils blooming in the flower garden. I wasn’t totally idle while awaiting creativity to come back for eight months, a.k.a. The Muse, and worked on a stained glass project , which you can read about HERE. But now The Muse is back and things are good.

The Tulips and Daffodils put on a spectacular show this year. Due to the abundance of rain this spring, the flowers grew big and lasted a long time.

A beautiful bouquet adorned my studio for a few short days as my subject for this painting. Reference photos were used to finish the painting when the flowers had wilted. Some of the photos came out beautiful and I may use them in other photography projects.

“Pink Tulip” Copyright Tamarack Mountain Studio
“Orange Tulip”
Daffodil

Look how lovely the tulips are. They bloomed in an array of colors from pastel pink to vibrant orange with splashes of red! Here’s the finished painting entitled “Daffodils and Tulips”, painted on an 8″x 10″ panel in oils. It will be framed in white and you can find it in the Gallery in a few months.

“Daffodils and Tulips”

The “Tamarack Mountain Studio” watermark is not on the original painting. The new “Tulips and Daffodils” oil painting is drying in the studio and next month will be varnished, before sending it off to be framed. I really enjoyed painting this piece and had the most fun painting the vase and the leaves on the table.

Currently on the easel is a Beared Iris painting and it’s coming out great! I can’t wait to share it with you! Here’s a sneak peak:

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll post the latest painting soon, so stay tuned!

Happy Summer! Much Love ~Rhonda

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Stained Glass Installation

After all this time, I am happy to say my stained glass project is finally finished! It took longer than expected, since I created my own design. Many pieces had to be recut in order to fit correctly. Not only that, but the stained glass supplier has been closed due to the current situation and I was not able to purchase fresh foil and solder. I made an order at the beginning of April and patiently waited for my delivery but by the end of April and no delivery, I cancelled the order. The Hobby Lobby stores are all closed as well, so that was a no go for purchasing fresh supplies. I ran out of solder just as I was almost finished, and luckily had saved a bunch of solder bits from the last time I created a piece. It was just enough to finish this project!

Here’s where I left off when last I posted about the project. The pieces are all cut and ready to be foiled in this image:

Stained Glass Work in Progress
Finished Stained Glass Art

Here’s the finished project as seen through a window:

Greenhouse

And this is where the stained glass art piece now lives, in my greenhouse. I like it so much even though there are some mistakes, like the sun ray line being a bit off in the second panel. The piece adds a bit of whimsy to an already happy place. It was a lot of work but well worth the effort!

Below is a short video of the foiling process. I apologize for forgetting to show you the soldering process. I will try to remember to share that next time I make a bit of stained glass art.

Thanks for stopping by! Until we meet again, much Love ~ Rhonda

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Stained Glass Update

In my previous post I shared the stained glass panel I’ve been working on and promised to share the progress. It’s tedious and slow going but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

The drawing had to be scaled down from the original pattern because I realized I originally drew it to the size of the opening and forgot to subtract for the frame measurement! Geez. So in scaling down the project I was inadvertently left with smaller hard to cut pieces. I’ve cut and recut many pieces over and over. But it’s finally coming together.

After I finish fitting the right side panel it will be time to add the copper foil to each piece. That will be very time consuming because there’s 68 pieces or more and some are tiny! Oh joy. But the end product will be worth it and it’s going to look great in our greenhouse! Next post I will share the copper foiling.

I hope you are staying healthy and you are finding things to keep you busy during our stay indoors. These are tough times but we will prevail! Much Love ~ Rhonda

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Coping during these strange times ~

Greetings to all. I wanted to share an email I received from a favorite artist of mine, Roos Schurring. She is a wonderful impressionist artist from the Netherlands. You can visit her website HERE. She gave me permission to share her uplifting email with everyone during these hard times:

“Hi! It’s Roos here.
I wanted to write just to my Art Business students but decided it might be good to share this with you as well.
I hope you’re not glued to the news-inputs too much.
If you are, I hope you can break away from it.


Coming to your senses and deciding it might be better to keep a peaceful mind. Dedicating this ‘house arrest’ time to important tasks.

For example, that photo album you wanted to create, the attic that is a mess, you never had time for it, well you have now.
You can start a Blog, paint a lot.
You can create a whole new website from scratch.
You have time!

I think it’s these choices that make us who we are.
Most are floating on a stream, a wild river, almost consuming them.

But you can sit on the sideline. Yes, you can watch the updates, once a week, or better yet, read some about it.
Nothing you’ll be able to do about it.
But staying home, ordering your food, spending your time well.


I hope you’re spending your time well. That’s just what I wanted to say. You know what curiosity does.
Telling yourself you much stay in the closest loop, because it’s just ‘wartime’, that’s just bs.

Sure, the fear is real, the risks are real.
But I hope you’re not sinking away in the big negative spiral loop created by the news stations and media, driving on this fear.

Turn it off.
Do something productive or fun.

I saw the movie Ad Astra yesterday. You can buy it at Youtube.
That will take your mind off things.

After that, create a plan, ideas about what to get done now.
Making the most of a bad situation.

Bake a great brownie cake.


Be well!

Happy Painting as well, painting can put your mind on something positive as well.

Roos Schuring”

Does your neighborhood store look similar?

It can be surreal to go into your local grocer and see an image like the one above. Some of you might not be experiencing this in your city, but for our area, this is reality. We went to our local grocer this past weekend and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I thought, “This must just be because we are more rural and this can’t possibly be happening in town!” So I went to town a few days later to finish my weekly shopping and to my disbelief, every single store looked like this. It’s making me sad. It’s making me angry.

Anyway, while we are all hunkered down waiting for the next shoe to drop, I thought I’d share Roos’ words of wisdom. Find things to do you never had time for. Play with your kids and teach them some new things. Do art! Art has a way of taking our minds off time for a little while. Then afterwards you have something that wasn’t there before, to display and enjoy. Kids love doing art projects.

Puzzles, games, reading books, getting outside and enjoying nature in your area are other feel good things to do. When I was a kid, we played a lot of make believe games. We would turn a picnic table on its side and pretend it was a fort. We would hang a sheet between the poles on the patio and use it for a backdrop to put on plays for the neighborhood kids. We would turn the water on a patch of dirt and get it soggy to the point we could make mud pies. Has anyone ever done that? It was soooo much fun.


If your kids are grown and gone, now would be a great time to sort through all the stuff in the closets and get rid of things you never use. I did that a few weeks ago with my kitchen. It took me four days! I now have a bunch of stuff in boxes ready to sell in a garage sale, or give to charity. My kitchen is much more organized after doing this reorganization and clean up.

Get to know your neighbors! No one has time for neighbors anymore. Back in the day, our neighbors were always dropping in, unannounced, for a cup of coffee. My parents would sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes (gag me city!) and talk for hours on end. Invite your neighbors over for a cup of tea, or coffee! Within safe distances of course. 🤓

If you’re the type that likes to play on your phone, tablet or computer, here’s a little digital puzzle you can play which will keep your mind off of the days’ troubles for awhile:

Sunset on the Villa

You can click the image or click HERE, to play the puzzle. If you’re not into playing puzzles, this might convert you!

Another good thing to do is go in the kitchen and create a new dish, or challenge yourself to a bake off with someone else! Like Roos suggests, bake some brownies. Yum. Here’s a link to a yummy breakfast recipe that uses up old bread; Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Bake! It’s super easy to make and tastes delicious! The ingredients are simple. You can omit the cream cheese, and just use raisins and cinnamon like a traditional cinnamon roll.

Well, I hope you are not sick, and that none of your family and friends are either. I hope you are coping as well as can be expected and the Lord is watching over you. Stay safe and remain calm. Much Love ~ Rhonda ❤️

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Waiting for Spring with Stained Glass Work

Spring is around the corner, and I’m waiting patiently for the weather to warm up. It’s still cold, cloudy and rainy even though we’ve had glimpses of warmer temps. Last week we had a blue sky day where it warmed up to the low 60’s! But then sadly, the next day the temps dropped back into the high 40’s. My poor roses don’t know what to do with the up and down weather. The tulips and daffodils are making a valiant effort to come up. Spring will be here soon enough, I just have to wait patiently.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a stained glass panel for my greenhouse. It’s a means of creative outlet, while the painting muse is on vacation. She’s left me high and dry for six months now! Where the heck is she?

The stained glass triptych panel will be installed in an opening in the greenhouse that is about 21″ wide by 9″ tall. Here’s my plan:

There will be three sections in one panel. The left has the sun, the middle has a hummingbird, and the right will be the mountains and our lake.

I’m using layout blocks to keep the design straight.

After cutting out all my pieces, which took me three days, it was time to do the layout and grinding of glass. Grinding the glass and fitting the pieces is like a puzzle. I love this part, minus the cuts on my fingers. Here’s a little video of grinding a piece of glass:

Fitting the sun design was pretty easy. Now I’m working on the hummingbird and that is proving to be a challenge!

Here’s where I’m at so far. I’m pretty excited to see the outcome. Creating this stained glass triptych is a tedious but enjoyable process. I hope by doing this little pivot in creativity, it makes my painting muse jealous and she comes back. If this doesn’t work, then I’m moving on to pastels. Look out muse!

I’ll share my progress in the next few posts. I hope to finish soon because next I’ll be busy planting seeds and getting the beds ready for the veggie garden.

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any feedback, chat with me in the comment section below! Much love ~ Rhonda

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“Teapot” Original Oil on panel

Teapot

 “Teapot” is a 6″x6″ original oil on panel painting.

I used a limited palette of whites and greys to portray the subject.

The black frame with silver liner, makes a very dramatic statement.

This painting may be small, but I love the way it commands attention!

Signed by the artist. Certificate of Authenticity included.

Please note: The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark will not be on your painting.

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Boston Cream Pie

Winter has taken hold with a vengeance. The temperature has plummeted to 16 degrees for the high and there’s a foot of snow everywhere. What better to do than bake something I’ve never tried before, like Boston Cream Pie!

Boston Cream Pie Poster

 

Boston Cream Pie Ingredients:

  • Custard Filling:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg plus 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cake:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ( 8 ounces) semisweet baking chocolate

There are so many versions of this recipe from very easy to complicated. I chose the easy route and here’s how you create this delectable delight. Assemblage is easy. Just make each part in order listed then put them all together. Remember to allow the eggs and butter to come to room temperature before you begin.

Boston  Cream  Pie

 

 

First make the custard cream filling by mixing in a saucepan the first three ingredients of the custard filling, using a whisk. Add an egg into dry ingredients and mix well. Separate three eggs and save the yolks. Add the yolks to your mixture along with the milk. Whisk everything together and cook over medium heat stirring constantly, for around 12 minutes, until thickened.

 

 

Remove saucepan from heat and add vanilla. Pour custard into a dish and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to make contact with the custard. This prevents a skin from forming on the custard. Place in fridge and chill for two hours.

 

While the custard is chilling, bake the cake. Prepare a 9” cake pan with an oil and flour coating on the pan. I also like to use parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. You simply lay a piece of parchment paper the size of your cake pan on the counter, then place cake pan on top. Score the parchment around the bottom of the cake pan with a knife or pair of scissors and then cut out your circle. Place the circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the cake pan. This makes it so easy to remove the cake from the pan after it’s finished baking.

Gather all ingredients and in order listed, start by creaming the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or by using a hand mixer. Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Add into the creamed butter and sugar mixture a little at a time alternately with the milk until all ingredients are mixed well.

 

Using a spatula place the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. Check at 30 minutes with a toothpick or knife edge by inserting into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.

Cool for ten minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Peel off the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Allow to cool completely then slice the cake in half. Wrap the halves in plastic wrap and freeze for thirty minutes. This makes it easier to assemble the cake.

 

Just before you are ready to remove the cake from the freezer, make the chocolate ganache. Heat the cream in a saucepan on low to medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Once the cream comes to a boil remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted. The mixture will darken and look glossy. 

Now it’s time to assemble. Remove the cake from the freezer and place the top layer on a plate with the cut side up. Add the cream custard to the cake and smooth with an offset spatula. Now add the other half of the cake on top of the custard layer with the cake cut side down and press a little. You now have a cake sandwich! Using an offset spatula go around the sides of this cake a clean up any custard that has oozed out.

Make sure your Ganache is still warm and if not, heat it up a little to make it smooth enough to pour. Don’t go too far or the chocolate will break and you’ll have oil coming out of the chocolate. If that should happen, you’ll need to discard it and make a new batch.


Pour the Ganache over the top of the cake and allow it to drizzle down the side of the cake. Do not use a spatula to spread the ganache! You can use an offset spatula on the sides of the cake to help cover where cake is showing through, but not on the top.

Once you have finished pouring all the ganache place the cake in the fridge and cool for two to three hours before serving. The ganache will harden and turn shiny.

 

Why is this cake called a pie? Because back in the day when this delectable delight was created, pie tins and cake pans were used interchangeably. Yankee Magazine explains the reason for the name here.

Store any leftovers in fridge. Enjoy!

Much Love ~ Rhonda

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January “White” SALE!

January White sale is on now, as this is the month for sales! First created in 1878 by John Wanamaker as a way to clear out the merchandise from his department store, white sales have now become popular for sales on linens. But I’m not selling linens, you say! Well, that’s okay, I’m still having a White sale to clear out the way for new paintings to come.

Select oil paintings are discounted for the entire month of January! If you missed out on the Black Friday Sales, here’s your chance to pick up an original one of a kind oil painting, in small sizes. Also, did you know you can make payments on any purchase? Read about it HERE.

Small works of art are easily changed in your decor. Create little vignettes along with your other collectibles to add a pop of color and interest. Small paintings can be moved from room to room, displayed in a bookcase, on a sofa table, or on a desk.

Collector's Art Wall

Create a wall with a theme and add small paintings in a grouping. And remember to look at your art every day! Art can help us to destress and bring beauty to our inside spaces.

Sailboat Vignette

The January White sale will last until the end of January so you have plenty of time to pick something up. Don’t forget Valentine’s Day is around the corner! How about a Red Rose oil painting for your sweetie? A painting will last longer than a bouquet!

Red Rose painting

Complimentary Gift Wrapping comes with every purchase and if you are a U.S. resident, enjoy FREE shipping!  I hope you find something you love and will become a part of your fine art collection.

Until we meet again ~ Rhonda