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Updated 3/29/12

The Daily Paintings and Postcard-Sized Sketches in Oils and Acrylics

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1 "Rain Forest" I guess I'm not mentally back yet from Hawaii, as the images that percolate to the surface continue to reflect that recent trip. This is an acrylic on textured board that reflects the moisture and diffused light of the trail by the lava tube in Vocanoes Naitonal Park. I took a picture of my sister and her husband walking on the path, and thought about including them. But then the idea that we all walk paths that take us to different destinations came to mind, and I left the figures out. Perhaps they have already gone on. Original acrylic, 12 x 9. $200
2

"Paths" Doing a demonstration painting for the Canyon Lake Art Association tonight, I spent a good amount of time talking about the daily paintings and how much it has meant to me to have people write back after seeing some of the words and works. I told of how I am so grateful to be able to share my love of art with all of the wonderful people receiving these paintings. Then I did this oil of a pathway into sunshine, in autumn. It symbolizes in many ways my own life, at almost 60 years--approaching autumn, and the gift of people who write to me, warming my day like the light on this path. Original oil, 12 x 12.

to the collection of Fay Bohlayer of Dawsonville, Georgia.

3

"Memories" I just don't know WHAT is going on in my head. I have commissions to do, and yet here I am picking up old photo albums and finding images that just MUST be painted! Go figure. The end results are sort of astonishing to me, however; as they come off the brushes with incredible facility and strength. Something going on here. This image is an oil on masonite, and is of my paternal grandmother Bessie Dale Thomas. The source photo was taken in 1911 at Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I love the dressand hat and the pose is pure Thomas. I've been told I look like her. This is a 12 x 9 inch image, and is for sale with all that thick paint, for $250

4

"Full Moon" Did you see the moonrise tonight? The crispness in the air and the autumn breezes coming in....OK, it's 73 degrees right now, and no hint of fall in the air, but this is California, I can dream, right? I decided to do a study of that moonrise with a distant farmhouse and hillside with a flash of the evening light on the pasture near the farm. Fun to do! This complimentary color scheme of lavender and yellow green is a common one for the art deco crowd, and I like it for depicting the mystique of an autumn evening. Hope you enjoy it!

to Cats in the Cradle Publications of Murrieta, California.

5

"Beginnings: Memories of the Ride" The river ride today was over five hours long, and I'm tired tonight! And the mare is mighty quiet in her corral, too. But I'm not too tired to begin what I hope will really be a spectacular piece--12 x 16 oil on linen, of the riders crossing the river. This is the first pass, showing the strength of the abstract structure of the design. There's a LOT going on here, setting up the feel for the coming paint layers. The color excitement will be in the riders and shadows underneath them, but all the mid and lower value areas around the perimeter will play rols as well. I really love backlit subjects, and this one ought to be sumpin' special when its finished. I've enclosed the source material so you can see what's in my head.

6

"Second Pass: Memories of the Ride" A considerable change from the underpainting's structure from yesterday. I am doing this because I have been asked many times by learning artists to show the steps in my painting process, and I am happy to do so. I started to paint in the atmosphere of the work, without worrying about the focal point. You see I've put in the grayed sky, and the distant shoreline. Note how little of the photograph's details show up in those areas, and that's because they are not nearly as important as the riders are going to be. At this stage I also want to be sure I have the values correct for the areas of the water, so I'm putting in some areas of color that will represent the major hue and value for those areas. All of this is done with color from the cool family. Notice I don't "draw" my subjects, but rather "find" them by painting around and up to their edges. The perspective on this piece shows the riders are below you, because the distant edge of the river is almost at the horizon (eye-level) line. More tomorrow!

7

"Third Pass: Memories of the Ride" Lots more paint on the canvas now, and you can realy start to see the color develop as I move away from the source material (bland photograph) and start to utilize the color system and add the appropriate intensity of hues where I want color excitement. I am laying in the middle values of the water, knowing that the final pass will have lighter sparkles and darker wave forms added. I consiously made the left-most horse lighter, so he would separate from the nearest rider with the yellow slicker. I put a few areas of pure color on the riders, but may tone down that later as well. Had I painted the sky as blue as the photograph, it would be fighting for attention now. Still more changes to go through--it may get bluer! Oh, what FUN! I love to paint water. Thanks for all your kind comments, too.

8

"Finished: Memories of the Ride" Here's the finished painting, with all the changes, details, edges foundn and lost, and the great fun of putting the finishing touches on this 12 x 16 oil. you can see how I "knitted together" the distant shore and the clumps of grasses by the taller verticals, both on the right and left sides. I had a LOT of fun with the water, too, adding the sparkles and the reflections that break the rules. The riders in the foreground have had all the details added without changing the inherent values of the underpainting (squint your eyes at the earlier versions and this one to see how one must honor values throughout painting). The sky had another layer added to make it alightly bluer, since now I know just how much (or how little) blue wad needed. Now, what can you tell me about the working methods you've seen here? What's important to remember, and what doesn't get painted until the last?

Available for $450 unframed by clicking the button:

9

"Extreme Makeover, Maybe Not" I ended up painting tonight rather late, so instead of beginning a new canvas, I took one of my older ones, and tweaked it--been meaning to do this for some time to this one, because although the initial idea of the painting was strong (it was/is called "The Conversation"), the overall abstract design and color bothered me. Now I like the way it focuses the attention where I want it to be--between the man and horse. I've attached the older version as well, so you can compare the two. I sure hope you prefer this version!

Available for $440 unframed by clicking the button:

10

"Clementines" I was so pleasantly surprised to see the fall tangerines in the market tonight, so I came home, ate about four of them, and stopped long enough to paint these two on one of my plates. They are both gone now, too! I realized I hadn't painted fruit for a couple of weeks, so it surely was time. Still life subjects bring me homeward, and remind me of the seasons. I hadn't painted a tangerine since they were in the stores last year! Original oil, 6 x 8 inches on gallery wrap (no framing needed)

to the collection of Nancy Merrill of Salt Lake City, Utah.

11

Back into acrylics! This is a 4 x 6 (think tiny) painting and it is an exercise in painting with muted color to convey the sky. Just a quick study, I wanted to put a horse in it because of the ride I was on today... Four and a half hours in the saddle and dust, and tonight I'm just beat to my socks. Lots of hills and climbing, and steep inclines to descend--works the muscles, and I'm a tad sore. The mare came through with flying colors, though, and this is kind of a "spirit running" thought. Now I'm going to get some much-needed rest!

to the collection of Karen Bresenhan of La Grange, Texas.

12

"When in Doubt, Paint it Out" Someone asked me recently, "Elin, do you paint over old ones?" And I sure do. It is especially fun if you have an old acrylic painting sitting around. I don't varnish with a varnish that would negate the opportunity to revisit the surface, so here is the first pass on a 12 x 12 gallery wrap canvas that used to have a lot of texture on it from the previous painting. What this opportunity gives me is a chance to really texturize the upcoming layers after the early lay-in of the basic color ideas. I'm really going to go nuts on this one! However, I'm baring my soul to show you the first pass, when anyone with half a mind might say, "Elin, all that junk is going to compromise the finished surface!" Please hang in there until tomorrow, when this puppy is going to undergo a MIGHTY change! I put the light on it so you'd really see the texture I might be fighting, but not really!

13

Well, here it is, in all its newly added texture!  After that first pass of yesterday, I went into some of the nifty jars of bottled texture that Golden Paints makes, using both glass beads and resin sand to palette knife up the texture.  Then I started painting the "real" painting on top of this, after it dried, of course. I just love what texture excitement does to the human eye!  So much to look at, and SO unusual for a pastoral, calm scene such as this sunset.  The paint skips over the high points and leaves the valleys in between with the under painting showing through. Like a lace overlay, perhaps. Although it has a strong appeal for me, some folks won't like it. But that's OK, because if we all liked the same things, there'd surely be some really crowded places on this planet! I hope you enjoy the idea that having fun with paint is a wonderful diversion from the serious museum pieces that also come out of the studio. 
  This is a 12 x 12 gallery wrap canvas, with texture all the way around the 1.5" edges, so it is very contemporary. $150

14

This morning I woke up to the task of hanging some art work in our home, including some of my own. Picking the pieces that would share positions of honor (a huge Robert E. Wood watercolor, an Ovanes Beberian oil, a Dan Mieduch western, a Zade Pollack of four sailors, and the Ralph Love desert piece) was an easy task.  Finding work that would fill the rest of the house brought up a really interesting dilemma. Here I have what seems like a bazillion pieces of my own work sitting around, up in the racks and framed, and yet I have to fill spaces in the house that seem to ask for a particular style or color scheme that I just don't have! I did a lot of looking over my work, and decided that a lot of it won't fit to make a cohesive whole for the house. Thus today's painting....for the guest bathroom that is mainly white, pink and gray green with a theme of roses. I thought the painting would be boring, as it is so pre-programmed to be one way, yet the actual painting of it satisfied many of my goals. I like the looseness of it, and how quickly it came off the brushes. Now I have something of my own that just fits that bathroom! Oh my goodness, it doesn't match the sofa however. Hahahahaha!! (12 x 9 oil, Not for sale)

15

"Going to the Dogs" This is an ordered commission started for your enjoyment, as I heard so many nice comments on the last painting that went in several stages. A 9 x 12 oil, the owner of this dog is looking for me to capture the essence and vitality of Mogo's personality. Even at this early stage, I think I'm headed in the right direction. Specifics: I started with a tone to the canvas of Australian Red Gold by Artist Spectrum Oils, to both warm and get that high value white outta there. Then I sketched in the dog with broad brushwork (no preliminary drawing on the canvas) using ultramarine blue and burnt umber with about a #8 filbert. I wiped out to correct major errors on edges, and to lift out the placement of the jaw. The blue is to keep me reminded that his coat has a bunch of sky reflections. The upper right darker area is to counter-balance the weight of the dog's position. I'd need a much longer canvas to get the tail in, too! But if I did that, I'd sacrifice the focus on his head and expression. Note that the shadow shapes on the ground are in at this early stage, too. That's because they are very important to the overall design! Tomorrow, more canvas covering.

16

I spent my painting time today putting in the major color areas of the background, developing the body of the dachshund with broad brush strokes and refining the outer shape of the dog. Note that I haven't spent any time on the eyes, which will be the focal point. I do this, because avoiding the focal point means you'll spend time thinking on what's important and what isn't important in the rest of the painting. you see, if I can make the rest of the painting beautiful without the focal point, then I'm 80% on my way to a good painting. The focal point just is the icing on the cake. Note the lack of details and sharp contrasts int he background. That keeps your eye on the dog, yet those lovely colors support and uphold the dog in the composition by their brush direction and hues.

17

Here's the commission painting, finished. You can see that I've done major revision to the dog, adding details and making corrections to the left ear, and added the collar. Mogo is a small dog, so I tried to enhance the feel of his smallness by alterin the proportions from the source material to push the feel. I added interesting details to the background as well, and coordinated the color of the shadow to the dog. I hope you enjoy the finished product, while I'm awaiting the verdict from the owner.

18

Nothing like a day trip to a couple of museums to fire up your artistic juices! Today was my bi-annual "Instructor-Led Field Trip" for my online college students. They meet up with me at museum locations, and we tour the exhibits together. Doing smaller museums allowed me to take in two--the first being the Palm Springs Art Museum. I was totally impressed with the building and the artwork contained therein, and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits, especially the desert landscapes and Masters of the West wings! Thomas Hart Benton, Clyde Aspevig, Carl Runigus, Charles Russell and Frederick Remington were all well represented! If you have a local art museum, promise yourself to go visit, because there is NOTHING quite like seeing art in person to affect your senses.  
 The second museum was the Riverside Art Museum, and I was not impressed by the contemporary balloon exhibit, and there was only one other exhibit showcasing Hispanic Heritage. Even though there were works by artists I know, I was disappointed that there wasn't more information about the work and artists, since they didn't have docents. 

Today's painting is from life, three pears on a purple plate, and my intent in doing this 6 x 12 study on gallery wrap canvas was to play up the complimentary colors and create dramatic chiaroscuro (grand value contrast) for an old world look. Can't stop with the brushwork, though!  Hope you enjoy it.

to Nancy Merrill of Salt Lake City, Utah.

19

"One Left" Yes, two of the three from yesterday's painting are gone. How satisfying it is to have a still life setup serve a dual purpose! Feed the muse and feed the artist. This forlorn little pear in its 6 x 6 inch gallery wrap canvas (oil) is the sole survivor of the feeding frenzy after last night's session...ha!

You see some flashes of blue in the upper left side, they weren't in the painting when I photographed it, but I like them so well, I've gone back and added in the color excitement. Sometimes working in several different media can give that ol' artist muse a kick in the tushie. Works for me! $100

to Jenna Nober of Chevy Chase, Maryland.

20

"Desert Light" I will be heading for the desert for a couple of days after Thanksgiving on Thursday, taking the horse, and my camper, and my dog. I've got my mind on the desert landscape, and painted this to set myself up for the fun of going and painting for a few days. I hope to be able to post the daily paintings while I'm there--going out to a coffee shop--but if I cannot do it, I want you all to know I will be busily painting and sending all of them on Sunday.

This 8 x 10 oil is done with Dorland Art Wax, a jar of which I found in the move and set out to use. Dorland's is a great medium to add to paint to create stiffer texture and to increase drying time. It looks and behaves like Crisco, without the melting issue. I bought mine from ASWExpress.com many years ago, yet it is still as good as new. This is a nice little painting--looking over the other desert pieces I've done, it has the best color. $125

21

"By the Lake" This painting is also known as "New Front Brakes" because I painted it while waiting for my truck to be serviced before the desert trip on Friday. Turns out more was needed than just an oil change (sigh), Good thing I took my acrylics with me, as I was able to do this 8 x 10 and even prepare four other 8 x 10 surfaces. Never sit around with a magazine if you can paint! My setup was the same as the one I showed you in Hawaii last month, without the tripod. I just put it on a table and painted away. Now if you choose to do this, be sure to take your MP3 player, or iPod, so people won't disturb you. I got all the way through a Stephanie Plum audio mystery!

to Elyse Hasznos of Parker, Colorado.

22

"First Pass" I didn't get the first lay-in on this 24 x 30 acrylic, it went so fast, I forgot to take a picture! This is another water painting in acrylics, and will have two fishermen getting into the first boat on the left when it gets further along. They'll have their gear and rods, too. I know what I want to say with this painting, and that's the story of two early risers going out for a morning of fishing on a pine-rimmed lake. A far cry from the dry, warm weather we've been having here, and not at all the desert coming up this weekend. Tomorrow is the American holiday of Thanksgiving, and my beloved spouse and I will spend it quietly together without guests. This is a far cry from the last couple of years, when we went to see my Mom in her assisted living place, where she arranged to have a cadre of her resident friends come together for a table to create a "family". Some of the residents there didn't have close relatives, and were alone. We enjoyed going over, bringing laughter and stories to the holiday table. Tomorrow will be reflection and love right here. I hope yours will also have closeness and sharing.

This first lay in is done COMPLETELY with the cool palette, lots of thinned glazes of alizarin and ultramarine blue and burnt umber. Very loose and yes with enough realism to keep you knowing what is coming. I'll move to the warm palette to add the final sky, the figures and the water reflections...but that's tomorrow!

23

"Second Pass" Ah, the wonders of acrylic paint! Check out the difference between this painting and the one from yesterday. Much has changed, and in my mind's eye, the story is more powerful and the lighting far better as I move toward reaching the goal of telling a story at a particular time of day. Now how did I get that feeling of light so much stronger behind the trees? Contrast. The trees aren't any darker, but the sky became more pure in color. I put cad yellow and cadmium oirange with only a scosch of white to it, and lightened the distant water with the sun's reflection.

And now your eye immediately goes to the two people in the first boat , because it is human nature to look for whatever has a heartbeat in any painting. Before, you'd look over the boats or tree shapes because they repeat with variety. Still more work to do on this one to complete the water and solidify the boats and folks, yet I'm much happier with it now!

24

"Going Fishing" I think I have the painting where I want it now, and again I ask you to compare it to yesterday's unfinished form. It has many more layers of color, and I feel as if the misty feel and the coolness of the weather are in place. The focal point is complete, the two figures, a lady and a man, are loading their gear in the boat for a morning of fishing. This was completely from my head, without any photo reference, so please be kind! I'm off tomorrow to ride and relax, although not going to the desert as planned due to the traffic and so much to do around this house. I'm not disappointed at all, since decorating for the holidays is always a fun time. And my hubby has built some wonderful shelves for frames and canvases, and I need to fill them! $300

25

"Flower Joy" Almost square at 15.5 x 16 inches, this is a nice painting full of the joy of flowers in a bouquet, with a pear (oh, those pears!) and some odds and ends. This actually started out as a monochrome painting (one color plus black and white) but I used color to put that final layer on. Very loose handling of paint, too! $300

26

"Choices" 9 x 12 acrylic comes off the brushes this evening, and I particularly like this one, as it reminds me of myself. I grew up on the edge of a lake in northern Virginia, and enjoyed many a summer looking across the water figuring out what I was going to do. It is fun to paint something that is so much who I was as a kid, yet coming through who I am as an artist today.

to the collection of the Hurley family of Tokyo, Japan.

27

"New Places" 9 x 12 Oil on canvas panel. I received an email from the designer who commissioned the six paintings from me last year, asking for a general idea on a landscape painting with yellows and some blues. She mentioned the Hawaii paintings, and this work would be for a job in Costa Rica. I've been to Central America, including Costa Rica, and know of its tropical nature. Today's painting just literally fell off the brushes as I got back in touch with the forests and sunlight, soul and memory. This one isn't for sale right now, unless it is too far away from the concept. I sure like it, though.

Later: The decorator came back with, "Incredible! Amazing! Beautiful! What took you so long??????? It is perfect for my mtg tomorrow and maybe will be the final selection." Doesn't get much better than that!

28

"Cozy" 5 x 7 Onions, cozying up to keep warm, now that the weather has changed into cold and crisp. Tonight I'm sore from aikido, and yawning to beat the band, but couldn't get upstairs without doing my daily painting! My being tired still makes a decent piece of work, because more of my intuitive processes take over. This is an acrylic, and painted from life on a gallery wrap canvas. $100

My goodness, I can hardly keep my eyes open! G'night! Oh, almost forgot--the decorator came back with, "Incredible! Amazing! Beautiful! What took you so long??????? It is perfect for my mtg tomorrow and maybe will be the final selection." Doesn't get much better than that!

to Marlene Frechette of Yuma, Arizona and Alberta, Canada

29

"Cat Blue" I spent part of this evening putting together a cat tower for the studio, almost 8 feet tall, with cubbie holes and platforms, making a play place for the kitties, who both are on the sheepskin behind me on the floor. Darn cats won't have anything to do with it yet. Catnip coersion is in the plot for tomorrow. So with kitties on my mind, what could be more natural than this 6 x 4 acrylic of a domestic long hair, either a dilute tabby or a silver, your choice, coming off the brushes. The expression is one saying,"You expect me to rush over and act like I like this new thing?" Gotta love those cats!

to Jacob Cohen of Rockville, Maryland.

30

"Cloisonne" This tiny (less than 2 inches in any direction) vase made out of cloisonne I've had since I was a kid. I think my aunt may have brought it back from her Asian travels in the forties and fifties--she was a dietician for the U.S. Army, a career Sargeant. My first memory of this little vase was when I stuck a couple flowers in it and entered it in the Ventura County Fair in the Floral Arrangement category. I was probably 13. No, I didn't win any ribbons for it. Today it is a 6 x 4 acrylic.  to collector Roy Renfro of Texas.