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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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Fall is my favorite time of the year.

Plein Air painting at Whiskey Rock
Welcome Fall:

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  Each year brings different weather patterns and fall can last well into November. Often times though Fall is over by mid-October. Last weekend we had snow down to the valley floor and a lot of plants shriveled in the below-freezing temps. It was the first time in 93 years we had snowfall in September!

We had to run a heater in our greenhouse to keep our tomato plants safe since we still have quite a bit of green tomatoes. The plants outside the greenhouse had to be covered. We hoped for the best and I’m happy to say that no plants were lost. The temperatures have been slowly rising and we are now out of frost danger. It looks like we won’t have an Indian Summer with fall lasting to November this year because of the mild summer we had and now with early snow.

Foggy Mornings:

During Fall there will often be fog after it rains. I think the landscape is so beautiful when fog is rolling in. I don’t care for driving in the soupy stuff, but watching it float around over the lake and through the forest is awesome. Here’s a little video I captured of the fog building up in the morning. An hour later we were totally engulfed in white.

 

Fall inspired oil paintings:

The Fall colors during foggy conditions seem more vibrant. It may be due to there not being bright sunlight to wash out the hues. I was inspired to paint this scene of our street during one, particularly foggy day. “Fog in the Forest” is an 11″x14″ oil on canvas and is a part of my personal collection:

Fall is my favorite time of the year

 

This next oil painting, “Leaves on the Driveway”, was inspired by the leaves in our driveway during Fall. It was painted entirely with a palette knife on 4″x4″ gallery wrapped box canvas. I bring this painting out every year as part of my favorite fall decor.

 

Decorating with artwork:

The best thing about small works of art is they can be easily moved. Each year the decor is a little different and this year, “Leaves on the Driveway” is being showcased in the entry on a shelf. Sometimes small art pieces are displayed on the dining room table as a centerpiece along with a vase of flowers. Other times fall-themed paintings are showcased on the fireplace mantle, with a garland of autumn leaves.

 

fall decor ideas


Painting Plein Air:

 

Bridge at Buttonhook

The Bridge at Buttonhook is a 6″x6″ oil on panel. This painting was done in Plein Air last year in October. It was still warm enough to go boating so we packed lunch and enjoyed the warm sunshine and peacefulness of the lake.  The very next day, the temps dropped 20 degrees, the wind arrived, clouds rolled in and snow blanketed the mountain tops. Fall was promptly over!

 

I hope to be able to do some more Fall Plein air work this year before its all said and done, like this one:

Plein air painting during Fall, my favorite time of the year.

Plein Air at Whiskey Rock” is painted in oils on a 5″x7″ canvas.  Whiskey Rock is a point on the lake which has several boat docks and a small campground. Whiskey Rock campground is tucked into a small cove, and is a favorite spot for weekend boat camping. I painted this one from our boat and absolutely loved how it turned out, with the backlit trees and the reflections in the water. The day was calm, and warm but the air was filled with smoke that year from all the surrounding wildfires when “Plein Air at Whiskey Rock” was created.

One day, during the framing of “Plein Air at Whiskey Rock”, I accidentally drilled too deep and poked a hole in the painting. Now I have to repaint “Plein Air at Whiskey Rock“. Geesh!

Is Fall your favorite time of the year or are you more of a summer lover? Do you decorate your space with Fall themes during this time of the year? What is your favorite time of the year? Leave a comment below and lets chat!

I’ll share some more of my favorite fall paintings in the next post. Until we meet again, much love! ~Rhonda

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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

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New Work

New WOrk

Last month I shared with you some plein air paintings I was working on, that were started  while out on a few adventures; one a camping trip and another a day trip riding the trails in our UTV. This first one I recently completed is from our camping trip in May. You can read the post HERE.

I’m loving how this painting turned out, and how it conveys the rich forest greens and the cool greys in the river. This piece is 8″x10″, painted in oils on linen panel.

The St. Joe River “Raging Waters of the St. Joe.”


The day was cool and overcast with the threat of thunderstorms, so the lighting was very flat to non-existent, and almost backlit at times. The river was swollen and raging with snow melt, and every once in awhile, birds would fly low over the river looking for a meal. At times the clouds would part and blue sky peeked through, allowing for that wonderful cool blue reflection in the water which I love so much.

I enjoy bringing my paintings to a certain level of refinement and always start in the field and finish in studio, so it takes awhile to bring a piece to completion. The layers must dry between sessions, and this allows me to build up the paint and create lovely textures that capture light. As soon as the piece is dry, it will be varnished, framed and available.


 

Here is the second painting I recently completed:

The Coeur d'Alene River

“The Lovely Coeur d’Alene River”


This one is also an 8″x10″ oil on linen panel and was begun in the field on a day trip with my husband exploring the back country in our UTV. You can read about that day HERE.

On this day, we again had the threat of rain, and after a BBQ lunch I set out to capture the scene and was almost finished laying in the under painting, when the sky opened up and it began to pour. Rain hit my freshly painted panel as I hurried to pack my gear and I was more than a bit bummed about the situation because I was really enjoying the session.  I brought the painting to completion in the studio and was able to paint over the rain streaks, and am happy with the success of this piece. Since I live in the northwest, my subjects contain forests and rivers, and the main colors are green and green! Rarely the river looks blue since it reflects the surrounding forests, and every once in awhile if one stands in the right spot and it is a cloudless day, you can see the beautiful cerulean blue of the sky, reflecting in the water. I just love that blue and have to make it a signature color in my pieces.

These two paintings are now sitting side by side in my studio, drying, and look very much like a set. They will look fabulous displayed together on the studio gallery wall, and when ready, will be available for purchase.

Next post, I will share my latest plein air work in progress!

Much Love!

~Rhonda

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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 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 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 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!