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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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Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe ~

With Fall around the corner, the garden is winding down. All veggies are in ripen mode and I am harvesting tomatoes like crazy.  I thought I’d share my Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe if you are looking for something new to do with all those fresh-picked tomatoes you have from your garden! One can only eat so much salad, right?

tomatoes from the garden

You can use fresh tomatoes from your local farmer’s market if you aren’t growing your own. I prefer Roma tomatoes because they have fewer seeds and a little more pulp. But as you can see, I also use regular tomatoes for their juice.

Here are the ingredients for the roasted tomato sauce recipe:
  1. 1 lb. Fresh Tomatoes (or more, depending on how much sauce you want to make)
  2. 1 or 2 large onions (2 if you’re going big)
  3. 1 to 2 heads of garlic  (separate cloves and use all)
  4. 4 to 6 tblsp. of Virgin Olive oil
  5. 1 tsp. Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  6. 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  7. 1 tsp. crushed dry Basil
  8. 1 to 2 tsp. sugar
Here’s what you do:

Slice all tomatoes into halves and place them in a roasting pan with the skin sides up in one layer. Cut the onion into quarters and add to the pan. Next, separate your garlic into cloves and slightly mash, then add to the roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over all ingredients then add the salt, pepper, basil, and sugar. (Adjust oil and seasonings accordingly if you are making a bigger batch than mine.)

Now get your hands in there and mix up all the tomatoes, onion, garlic, etc. so that everything is nicely coated in the olive oil and spices. What a mess, but so much fun! Your pan will look like this:

Tomatoes for sauce

Now you are ready to roast the tomatoes:

Pop your pan into a preheated 350-degree oven and roast for 45 minutes or until the skins begin to blacken. Be careful when you open the oven door at the end of roasting because a bit of smoke may come out. Your kitchen will smell like heaven! This is what the roasted tomatoes look like when finished roasting:

 

roasted tomatoes ready to make sauce

 

Allow the pan of tomatoes to cool a bit until able to safely handle. You can then pour all the ingredients into a pot and use an immersion blender to blend everything into a sauce. Or if you don’t have an immersion blender, place the roasted ingredients into a high capacity upright blender to make your sauce. I use my Vitamix because it makes quick work of the blending process, chopping all the tomato seeds, onions, and garlic into a thick sauce.

 

roasted tomato sauce

 

Use the roasted tomato sauce immediately or save for later:

If you are planning on using your sauce immediately, adjust seasonings to taste and if it’s too thick, add a bit of water or your favorite red wine. At this point, you can also add in other spices like oregano, allspice and more basil. Cook the sauce on the stovetop for 20 minutes to incorporate your additions, then pour over your favorite cooked pasta.  For pizza sauce, do not add any other liquid.

You can also pour the sauce into prepared canning jars and can according to your favorite method. Or if you don’t like to can, like me, allow the sauce jars to come to room temperature and then freeze. Just remember to leave enough headroom in the jar, so the jars won’t crack in the freezer. The roasted tomato sauce freezes very well, in fact, I still have jars of frozen sauce from last year’s harvest.

“Canned Tomatoes” oil painting:

Last year, as an homage to my tomato harvest I painted this painting of canned whole tomatoes. The painting hangs in my kitchen.

The “Canned Tomatoes” oil painting was inspired by the hot jars sitting on the counter after I had used a water bath canning method, which I no longer use. I don’t care for the added acidity that citric acid creates when canning. So now I just freeze my jars and all is good!

A few blog posts ago I shared a recipe for tomato salsa. Did you make salsa? If you did, let me know how it turned out in the comments below.

I’m looking forward to Fall and doing some Plein air paintings of the beautiful trees in all their glory. In the meantime, I’ve been working on some previous paintings and trying to wrap things up so I can paint something new!

Until we meet again ~ Much Love

Rhonda

 


Enter to win an original oil painting! Click HERE.

 

 

 

 

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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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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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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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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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“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.

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Here’s a puzzle for you to play!

Jigsaw puzzle - Seattle Skyline at Sunset

Click the image and hit “ok” for the puzzle to load. Enjoy!