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“Latour Creek” Oil Painting

A few blog posts ago I shared my camping adventures and a Plein air painting I started during that trip; you can read the post HERE.  I started “Latour Creek” oil painting in the dark and scary forest, next to Latour Creek,  where my attention was drawn to the dappled sunlight highlighting various parts of the forest, especially the creek. Sadly, I had to finish the work in the studio because of the mosquitos attacking me while I was painting. Work has been progressing slowly, on “Latour Creek” oil painting to which so far, I’m very pleased with the results.

There have been a few revisions as is typical of the editing process.

Here are my first set of revisions:

Revision 1 of Latour Creek oil painting

Did I write all over the painting you ask? No. I used a photo editing app to write my notes. I can easily see my mistakes once I’ve taken a photo of a painting. Funny how that works. I guess it’s the same as looking at one’s work in a mirror; the mistakes will be more noticeable.

 


I fixed all my edits and then rephotographed the painting which showed me I am not finished.

Here’s revision 2:

Revision 2 of Latour Creek oil painting

You can see by my edits where I feel some elements need more refinement.  More spectral highlights on the grasses need to be added and the edges of the foreground rocks need some softening. The mid-ground tree on the left needs more attention to define the shape. The tree needs some splashes of light on a few branches, to show the dappled sunlight.

I always set a painting aside for a while, not just to allow the layers to dry between sessions, but to come back with a fresh eye. This painting is a complicated scene and is taking a bit longer to finish, but that’s okay. Painting is about the journey and the enjoyment of the process, so for me, I don’t mind if it takes longer to finish a piece. It’s like reading a good book; we don’t want it to end. Right?

Every time I look at this painting, I’ll always remember what if felt like to paint this scene. I can still feel the coolness of the air and hear nothing but the quiet of the forest, and the babbling creek as the mosquitos buzzed around my face. That’s what I love about Plein air painting the most; the memories!

Much Love ~ Rhonda

 

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Plein Air oil painting of a White Lily Flower.

My Plein Air oil painting of a White Lily Flower is just about completed. I began this painting a few weeks ago when I decided to paint one of my Lily flowers in Plein air. You can read about the painting experience here. Despite the weather issues I had to endure,  I’m very happy with the final outcome of the White Lily Flower oil painting! The painting size is 6″x6″ and was painted on a gesso panel. It may be small in size but the composition and the vibrant colors make an exciting statement.

 

White Lily oil painting
“White Lily” 6″x6″ oil painting on panel

 

The painting looks better in person because it is hard to capture light colors with a camera. The yellow hues of the petals are a vibrant lemon color and the cool greens pop against the yellow hues. The orange highlights on the anthers define their volume while the muted purple of the flower’s stigma portrays its shiny surface. Dark jewel tones of Viridian, Cerulean blue and a bit of Burnt Sienna were used in the background, in order to showcase the Lily. One can almost imagine the intoxicating lovely smell of this beautiful flower.

 

Thank you for stopping by. Until next time, much love! ~ Rhonda

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White Lily Plein Air

This week I began a painting of one of the White Lily flowers from my flower garden. The weather was cool with the threat of rain, so I thought it would be very nice to sit outside at the picnic table, under the canopy and paint Plein air. As a kid I used to love sitting in the backyard at the patio table with my crayons and coloring books and color during a rainstorm, so this brought back pleasant memories.

I set up all my gear and across the lake I noticed the clouds growing heavy and dark. The wind was starting to blow, but ever so slightly, and I wondered if this was going to be a bad idea. I hesitated a couple of times thinking maybe I should just paint inside, but then decided to go for it anyway. Here’s my subject, a White Lily in a small vase:

White Lily


I put the flower in a small vase because the stem is very short, which makes it top heavy, but creates a grand presentation. I chose to paint just the flower and not the vase. After setting out my palette and mixing colors I set to work laying in the base colors.

Palette colors


Things were going very well and it started to rain which was so nice. I was really enjoying the painting session even though it was a bit cool, but I’d rather be a little cool than so hot you can’t think! Then the winds arrived. Seriously? I’ll tell you, it hasn’t been the greatest of plein air sessions so far this year!

Twice the wind knocked over my vase, but luckily the flower wasn’t harmed. The tablecloth on the picnic table kept flying up and covering my work area, and I had to rearrange things and batten down the hatches, so to speak, cause I was determined to not let the weather deter my painting time!

Painting set up

This was my set up. I used the “baby” paint box and a 6″x6″ gessoed panel. I’ve taken this box with me several times on recent outings with the hope of getting a painting done, but it hasn’t worked out. I’ve been wanting to try a different technique as an experiment with this gesso panel so that’s how I came to paint this White Lily. My experiment using a different medium worked, and I’m really pleased with the results.

I used a small light to help me see my painting because for some reason, being outside makes it hard to see what I’m painting! It’s the strangest thing. You’d think being outside there’d be plenty of light to see, but it’s actually too much light. It’s as if the painting soaks up all the light, but really it’s just too much glare. Then, if I use an umbrella, it gets too dark. Plus, I was under a canopy and it was cloudy, making the lighting rather muted. This little light was just the right thing to use.

I was able to accomplish my goal of laying in all the base colors before I called it on account of the wind. Now I will let it dry and then go in with highlights and the back ground. Here’s a peek at the Lilies in the flower garden:

White Lilies

See the Bumble Bee on the upper left side of the top flower? I’m wondering if I should put a bee on the petal? What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

I’ll share the finished piece when it’s done. Until then, much love! ~Rhonda

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2 Primo Days of Sales!

Art Sale at Tamarack Mountain Studio

Select Original Oil Paintings on sale for 2 days only!

July 15 & 16th

FREE shipping to US collectors!

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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!

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Plein air painting, trail riding and a public service message ~

This last weekend my husband and I spent the day out in nature, riding the trails in the back country on the wheeler. It was a beautiful day with threats of rain, but we decided to pack a picnic lunch and my painting gear and go for it anyway. I made a little video to share my day with you:

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Yes we ate junk food for lunch, but it was delicious! We typically follow a healthy diet, but splurge on outings like this cause it’s fun to cook hot dogs on an open fire. We did buy the non chemical laden dogs, and the chips are the healthier version of the chip world, so it was a less guilty meal.

After lunch, I set up my painting gear and wondered if I should even do so, because the sky was growing ever darker.  I said to my husband who was fishing on the bank, “Time me for one hour and I’ll see how fast I can lay in my base colors”. Wouldn’t you know it, just as I hit the 45 min. mark, it started to rain. First a few sprinkles, as I loudly voiced my disdain, “It’s starting to rain!”, then harder and harder until it was full on pouring. My husband held a trash bag over me as I quickly put away the gear trying to shield my painting from the rain. We got it all packed up in the nick of time and decided to call it a day. I did manage to lay in all the base colors and took reference photos in order to finish in the studio. We had a great time in spite of the weather.

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On the way back, we came upon the second of an unattended camp fire! It was Memorial Day and all the campers were in a hurry to head home. At the beginning of our ride we came across the first smoking camp fire and stopped to put it out. The river was right next to their camp too! Not cool!

The second unattended camp fire was smoking even more than the first one!

And there go the campers!

And of course there was water not more than 100 ft. away!

They could have easily walked over to the stream, filled a bucket, or like we did, our empty water bottles, and put the fire out before they left. And look how close it is to the trees! This kind of stuff really makes me mad! I love camping, and spending time in nature, but this kind of carelessness ruins things for those of us who use the trail systems, campgrounds, and actually live in the forest! We almost lost our home a few years ago to careless campers who left their fire smoking when the winds came up. Here’s what that looked like:

Fire

 

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Cape Horn Fire

Within one hour, the fire, which had started on the other side of the mountain, came across the top and was headed straight for our neighborhood, out on the point. We had twenty minutes to evacuate! It was awful! Thankfully, by the Grace of God, and the quick actions of eleven neighbors who disobeyed the evacuation orders, and stayed to fight the fire, our neighborhood was spared. But we lost six other homes and cabins in the area and the entire top of the beautiful forested mountain.  So I say to anyone reading this post today who goes camping, PLEASE PUT OUT YOUR CAMPFIRES! That means dead out, with water and dirt until you can hold your hand over the fire and not feel heat!

Just because it’s cool outside, not windy and looks like rain, doesn’t mean the weather can’t change! The clouds can go away instantly, and the wind can blow hard, fanning your left behind smoking campfire into a full on fire, and bring devastation to everyone – not only in burnt down homes, and our forests, but the air is filled with toxic smoke lasting for days and weeks on end! It puts all emergency responders in harms way as well; when all you had to do was spend ten extra minutes, and dowse your fire. PLEASE PEOPLE! Have some consideration!

Well, that’s my soapbox and public announcement.

I will share this latest painting when it’s finished.

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delivered to your inbox on Friday mornings.

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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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“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!