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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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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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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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“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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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

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Snowmaggeden and work in progress

So it’s been snowing – ALOT! We had a very mild beginning of winter from Dec. all through Jan. Then things changed big time! First the polar vortex arrived the first week of Feb. and the temps dropped from the low 40’s to 10 for the day time highs with wind chills below zero. Whaaaat? It was sooo cold!

Then the snow arrived. And it dumped a foot of snow the other night! It’s been snowing constantly on and off for the past week. Here’s a peek at our backyard;

Snow

In the foreground are the table gardens, virtually gone. I did have some lettuce growing in the greenhouse but the polar vortex took care of that idea. No more lettuce. Next year I hope to have some kind of heat in place in the greenhouse.


In the meantime I’ve been doing some work on the painting I started last week.

Work in progress

I can’t decide how I’m going to lay out the foreground so I figured I’d better stop and work out the composition before going further. I imported the photo of the canvas into a digital photo editing app and played around a bit:

Digital art

I’m thinking a path and a vineyard on the right. Maybe on the left a field of sunflowers. Some birds in the distance, a chimney, finish door and windows with a pop of blue on the shutters. Lots of work yet to do. I’ll share more as progress continues.

Stay warm!

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New work in progress~

Here’s a new work in progress I’ve started! It’s a 16″x20″ canvas and it will depict an Italian Villa, cause I love all things Italian!

I’m using a limited palette called the Zorn Palette.  The palette consists of only four colors – Yellow Ochre, Vermillion, Ivory Black and White. I know! It’s been quite interesting not having blue on my palette. So to compensate, this scene is at sunset! That works for me. I’m also using palette knives as much as possible to give nice juicy texture. There will be cypress trees to the right of the house and I’m thinking a vineyard in the foreground. Originally I under-layed the composition with a thin wash of “tube” green just to give me bearings as to where everything should be. You can see in the trees that  I started working on to the left, how nice and true to life mixing your own greens can be, instead of using tube greens.  I’ll be working on this for a while and will keep you posted as I progress!

 

Work in progress

 

 

 

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“Eggs” oil on panel

During the winter I like to paint still life pieces and “Eggs” oil on panel is one of those. I sketched a few ideas in my sketchbook as to how I thought a composition should be arranged:

I love creating graphite drawings in my sketchbook. Since I used a 6″x6″ panel, I had to work my sketch into a square format. I was happy with the design until I painted it and decided it needed a little more:

“Eggs” oil on panel

I think a little piece of shell with some egg dripping out added a touch of a story to the piece and makes it more interesting. What do you think?

“Eggs” oil on 6″x6″ panel is part of my White Things Series.