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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”

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Email Subscriber Service Changes

Recently I changed email provider services and wanted to let those of you who have previously subscribed know about this change. You don’t need to do anything, as my list was imported to the new service. The next newsletter will be publishing at the end of this month (March), so if you haven’t yet subscribed, you still have time!

If you haven’t yet joined my preferred clients list you can join HERE.  And if you decide to join, your email address will never be sold and will forever remain private! You can unsubscribe any time, but I would hope you don’t! Also, as a new member, you will receive these three (3) FREE downloads!

The first download is this lovely 8″x8″ image of one of my cityscapes:

Moon rise over the city

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio Watermark is not on the print)

The second FREE download is this sweet little 6″x6″ print of one of my favorite paintings:

Hummingbird

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio Watermark is not on the print)

And last but not least, you will receive my Beginners Guide to Oil Painting PDF! It’s packed full of great information and exercises on getting started in your journey to oil painting. And if you ever have any questions, you can always contact me and I will try to help in any way I can. Later this year I will be publishing a bigger E-book that will be for sale in my shop.

You’ll receive your instructions on how to get your downloads, when you  your welcome letter arrives! Thanks for subscribing, and please note emails are only published quarterly, and are filled with private sales, and behind the scenes notes of studio happenings and other goodies!

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Sunset at the Villa

In my last post I shared a 16″x20″ painting I’ve been working on depicting an Italian scene at sunset. I’m now at the final adjustment stages and am very pleased with how this piece is progressing. Just a bit of contrast tweaking, and some other little details and I’ll be able to let this one dry for a long while before giving it a good coat of varnish.

It was painted with a limited palette consisting of only four colors, yellow ocher, cad. red, white and black. I did however add just a touch of cerulean blue to the shutters for a surprise pop of color. One thing that is hard for you to see is that the sun is not as large as depicted. The camera cannot pick up subtle variations in highlights.

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the painting, but is instead signed with my maiden name.)

Sunset at the Villa