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End of the Year Camping and Painting

Camping on the St. Joe River:

Last weekend we enjoyed our end of the year camping and painting adventure on the St. Joe River in Northern Idaho. We stayed at the Telichpah Campground, which is next to the river, on the south end of the Hiawatha Trail system. The campground is tucked away at the end of the road and at this time of the year is typically empty, which is why we go at this time.

The Hiawatha Trail system is an old train route, that was once used by the Milwaukee Railroad, and is now a spectacular mountain bike trail. The trail follows the north fork of the St. Joe river, where it ends at a small town called Avery.  The campground is at the end of the trail, and you travel through the three train tunnels to get to the campground. This is our favorite area to have our camping and painting adventure on the St. Joe River.

We arrived mid-week, and the campground was empty except for one other camper. By the time we left on Sunday, the upper section was completely full. I was very surprised to see so many folks camping this late in the season!  The lower section of the campground, where we stayed did not fill up. Besides us, there was only one other campsite in use, so it was very quiet.

Relaxing by the fire:

We had a fabulous time even though it was cool and threatened rain every day.  It rained a few times during each night and only one day. The brief showers helped to keep the dust down. At the end of each day, it was nice to warm up by the fire and sip hot cocoa.

 

Sitting by the campfire during our end of the year camping.

 


 

Cutting firewood for the campfire

 


 

 

 

Photographing forest flora and fauna:

The forest flora and fauna are favorite subjects of mine to create paintings from, so I’m always on the lookout for unique items, like pinecones and mushrooms, to photograph.

Pine Cone

 


 

Mushrooms

There were large mushrooms like these pushing up from the forest floor, everywhere! It’s amazing to see the strength of a mushroom pushing through the hard ground! The mushrooms were exceptionally large due to all the rain and mild temperatures.

Plein air painting the St. Joe River:

On Friday, the weather broke and it was only partly cloudy, so we decided to make it a painting and fishing day. We packed lunch and all our gear and hit the trail to our favorite location on the river. Upon arriving, I discovered that someone forgot to bring my tripod! I had to improvise my pleinair painting set up by using the back of the wheeler as a table. Luckily the tailgate is the right height and all was good.

 

Plein air painting the river

The scene I painted is a large calm pool just before a bend in the river. I love the emerald green reflections in the water and the large rocks in the middle of the river. The trees were just beginning to turn yellow so no feeling of fall to the scene yet.

End of the year camping and painting on the St. Joe River

Since I didn’t have my tripod I was at the mercy of the sun and had to call it a day when I could no longer see my canvas due to glare. I will finish in the studio using my reference photos and share the painting when it’s finished.

Plein air painting in progress

 

Success catching a fish:

My husband had a successful day fishing and caught a nice sized Cutthroat Trout!  After getting his portrait taken, the fish was set free. My husband was a happy camper, indeed! What a great day!

end of the year camping, painting and fishing

 

Dessert:

We arrived back at camp in time for me to bake a peach cobbler from scratch! I used a billy can as an oven by putting charcoal on top of the can, and forgot to take a photo of the set up; But I did take a pic of the final results:

Peach Cobbler

The peach cobbler was delicious and I can’t believe it actually worked using this method of cooking. I think its fun to experiment with cooking different foods other than typical camp food. Earlier this year I made a pizza from scratch while camping. You can read about it HERE.

All in all, our end of the year camping and painting  adventure was a great end to a wonderful summer! Fall has barely begun and we are expecting  snow down to the valley floor this weekend, so I’m glad we made the trip when we did.  I hope we don’t have too much accumulation and that this is just a little anomaly and not a sign of things to come!

Thanks for stopping by. Until we meet again, Much Love ~ Rhonda

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Learning new techniques

Learning new techniques, whether it be art or anything else, is something I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve had an app on my Ipad called Procreate for about a year, and have never delved into using it. Last month I came across a blog post in which the author made a little animation, and I wondered if he had created it in Procreate. Sure enough, his next blog post was to advertise his class on how to use Procreate.

What is Procreate?

Procreate is a powerful illustration program in which one can create animations and vibrant illustrations. I decided it was high time I learn how to use the program since I paid for it. I clicked on the help button in the program and it took me to YouTube, where I found a lot of instructional videos. So for the past few months in my spare time, I’ve been learning new techniques in how to create animations and illustrations.

Learning new techniques in illustration Happy Sheep

 


Happy Sheep is one animation I’ve created using Procreate. I know sheep can’t wag the tails they don’t have, but a little humor is a good thing! This sheep is happy she found some green grass to eat.

Animations are my favorite to draw, but I’ve also been delving into just plain illustrations. I joined Lisa Bardot in her Make Art Everday community and created a few drawings during her buildings week. If you join, she sends out weekly drawing prompts and has a Facebook group to post work. I’m not on Facebook and just draw for my own purposes.

 


Here are a few of my illustrations:

 

Produce Stand Illustration The Produce Stand


 

 

Learning new techniques

Chicken Noodle Soup House


 

 

Cafe Illustration The Corner Cafe

 


The above illustration of the Corner Cafe was done before I learned how to add text. As I was drawing it, I thought, “Geez, it sure would be nice to be able to add text to a drawing!” A few days later I watched a video on how to add text. Typical me, always a day late and a dollar short. Oh well.

Lastly, here is a drawing of a strawberry donut I may turn into some kind of animation. I’m thinking sprinkles falling onto the donut would be fun!

Donut with strawberry icing illustration


I have a lot of learning to do and quite a bit of practice using Procreate, but I’m enjoying the journey! It’s another set of tools in my toolkit to express my creativity! Until next time, much love ~ Rhonda

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Duckworth Boat Oil Painting

Plein air painting at the lake update:

A few weeks ago I shared on a previous post, my Plein air painting of our Duckworth boat oil painting, that I started at the lake.  By the time we were ready to leave for home, my painting wasn’t finished, as far as details go. But that’s okay, as I rarely bring a painting to completion in the field.

I paint slowly and enjoy a certain level of realism.  I can’t paint fast nor impressionistically.  Don’t misunderstand me, I love impressionism and would enjoy painting in that style, but my brain won’t let me. I have no idea how to paint loosely.  So I have stopped fighting with the art monkey and given in to the fact that this is how I paint.

Here is the completed painting, to which, I’m quite pleased with the results. The Duckworth Boat oil painting is 6″x6″ on gessoed panel. It will be framed in black with a silver liner and become part of my personal collection, as a memory of our day at the lake.

Duckworth boat oil painting

Final thoughts:

Even though there weren’t many boats out on the lake that day, I added one in the distance for composition’s sake. The birds were added to the painting for the same reason as the distant boat. I always like to add birds to my landscapes. It not only gives life to a painting but adds movement to the eye flow.

Painting the letters and numbers on the side of the boat was a bit of a challenge.  This particular painting panel has no tooth and so it can be difficult to paint fine detail. All is good though because it adds an air of painterly quality to the piece. I’m happy with it.

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any thoughts I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time;

much Love,

~ Rhonda

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A Pet Portrait of Zedd 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 Zedd. Zedd is 14 yrs. old and he is a Tabby cat.

Pet Portait of Zed oil painting

“Zedd” 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 Zedd 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 Zedd 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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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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“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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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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“Seattle Skyline at Sunset” oil on canvas

“Seattle Skyline at Sunset” is finally finished! It will be varnished, framed then given to the Boys and Girls Club of Spokane for their annual silent art auction and fundraising gala next month. Seattle was the place my hubs and I spent our honeymoon long ago. We had dinner in the Space Needle and watched fireworks on the 4th from across the bay. It was so much fun seeing all the sights. I hope there will be someone in the audience who has fond memories of Seattle and likes my work! 👍🏻😊


Seattle Skyline in the studio


Palette

The end of a painting is the best part for me since that’s when all the vibrant highlights are put on. These colors are lovely and I hated cleaning them off my palette! Here’s a straight view of the 18″ x 24″ painting on my easel:

Seattle Skyline at Sunset

(The TMS watermark is not on the painting)

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Yellow Roses work in progress ~

The last of the roses in our garden had two buds that never opened due to the cold settling in. So I brought them indoors to see if they would open in the warmth of our home. The rose bush I cut them from typically makes peach and dark pink edged roses with hints of yellow, but to my delight when they opened, the roses were all yellow!

I was inspired to paint a new 6″x6″ oil on panel before they were gone, but became frustrated and almost wiped out the smaller rose. I’ll work on it later when I’m in a better frame of mind. Sometimes the paint just gets the better of me.  There will be leaves and a bud  in the composition when it’s finished. My palette is yellow ocher, cad yellow medium, lemon yellow and the background is a mixture of transparent brown oxide and manganese blue.  I hope to work on it some more after Thanksgiving. : ) Stay tuned!

 

Yellow Roses work in progress