Wednesday, December 22, 2010

new postcards for January show!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park

"study for Rocky Mountain Hike" 10x8  oil

As promised,  here is the study I painted from a series of photos taken in July 2010 when Russ, Brian and I were hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.

"Rocky Mountain Hike" 20x16  oil on linen

And here is the larger painting based on the study.  I used the same palette of paint for both paintings - and the same brush!  Both were painted in one, long painting session each; the study on a Sat and the larger one the day after.  With the latest Zac Brown live cd blasting away!
I can't wait to frame both of these - they will hang side-by-side in my solo show in January; the show has the theme "A Passion for the Western Landscape".  And I think one of these will be on the show postcard.  hmm... which one?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Colorado High

Last week I did an 8x10 study first and then a 16x20 painting based on that study. This was the first time I tried this process and I'm excited to say it was very successful. I worked out some design and color problems in the study. And then painted the larger painting, having learned from the study. And when the larger painting didn't seem quite strong, I looked at the study and realized what I had done there to strengthen the composition! viola, I added this strength (a separation of background from foreground) to the larger painting.

Another huge win for me is that I could use one decision to create two paintings. Choosing the photo to use for a studio painting is always a huge challenge for me. I just can't seem to commit to a decision. I think it's all about fear - fear of choosing the "wrong" photo. I usually have several dozen perfectly good photos and just need to commit. If I first commit to an 8x10 painting then perhaps the decision will be easier.

I'll post photos of those paintings as soon as I get some daylight to use! In the meantime, enjoy a Colorado scene above. It's from the same hike and resulting photos that I used in the painting. This was a hike we did in a gentle rain in July using the Dream Lake trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

From Study to Large Painting

My goal this Autumn is to take 4 of my on-location studies and use them as inspiration for large paintings. I really enjoy this process, since by re-visiting the study itself I am swept away by memories of the day when I created the study. This church in Arroyo Seco, NM was painted on site during a warm, wonderful May morning when I and several of my good friends set up and spent 2 glorious hours immersed in our creative bliss. The sun was warm on our shoulders, the only sounds were the call of birds and the rustle of bright green foilage in the breeze.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

GOP, not for me

This letter to the editor in the News & Observer on Nov 14, 2010 sums up my beliefs and feelings so well that I just can't help put post it here too:

GOP, not for me
The free market is the most powerful driver of innovation and invention there is. It is great at creating things. The Republicans get that.

But when a free market creates things that benefit a few to the detriment of the nation as a whole, it is totally lousy at fixing them. The Republicans don't get that.

If the market creates things that make a very few people obscenely wealthy, I have no problem with that. But if it makes a few individuals obscenely wealthy while nearly causing the collapse of our entire financial system or making adequate health care unaffordable for a growing segment of our population, then I believe the government has a constitutional obligation ("provide for the general welfare") to step in.

That's why, after 40 years, I am no longer a Republican.

Steve Mark

Cary NC

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October in Taos, NM

l to r: Judy Howells, Nelson Hubley, Coni Grant, Jana Van Wyk (me!)

A few weeks ago I snuck off for a few days to bask in the glorious Autumn weather in northern New Mexico.  I attended the opening of a show at the Millicent Rogers Museum where I had two paintings exhibited.  I also spent special time with friends from California, Nova Scotia, and Colorado (see above).

Jana Van Wyk (me) standing beside my two paintings in the Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, NM in the show "A Spirit of Place", Plein Air Painters of New Mexico

Judy Howells painting just outside our rental house, north of Taos near Arroyo Seco, NM

Bill Gallen doing a demonstration just outside the Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, NM

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Down Home" juried show at Raleigh Convention Center

Carolina Marsh 16x20 oil on linen

The painting "Carolina Marsh" (above) was juried into the "Down Home: Portraits of the Old North State" art show which opens tomorrow October 21, 2010 at the Raleigh Convention Center. I just dropped off the painting yesterday after framing it in a gorgeous black and gold frame which complements the painting very well. Stop by and enjoy the show!
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Millicent Rogers Museum

Tomorrow I'm heading to New Mexico to see friends, attend the opening show of "The Spirit of Place" at Millicent Rogers Museum, and...   to bask in the magical energy and peace that is New Mexico.  See you at the show -  I'll be the one wearing cowboy boots with a denim mini skirt!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dreams of New Mexico

I usually spend time in New Mexico in October but this year it seemed that the trip would not be possible. So I was not planning on it. However, several things fell into place such that I am able to make a short trip this year. One of the big motivations for the trip is that I have two paintings in a show in Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos and the opening is the same weekend when several of my good friends will already be there. So in 2 weeks I can spend time with them and also see the show. God is good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

juried into Gallery of Artists 2010 Landscape Show

Taos Gorge Overlook  11x14  oil
Tomorrow I bring in two paintings juried into the "2010 Landscape Show" at Cary Gallery of Artists.    The painting above is one of the two paintings.  I painted this last summer at the Taos Gorge Overlook just south of Taos, NM.   Right after I finished this painting a huge summer monsoon storm travelled across the mesa with long lightening bolts that went from sky all the way to the land.  So exciting to watch roll in - the cloud formations were amazing.
This Landscape Show will be a fun show; the opening is Friday Oct 1, 2010.  Stop by!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Two Paintings juried into the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico's Annual Juried Exhibition at Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos

Yesterday I got the news that 2 of my plein air paintings were juried into the show "The Spirit of Place".  This is the annual Juried Exhibition of the Plein Air Painters of NM.   The show will be held at the wonderful Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, NM.  One of the reasons I was hoping to get into this show is because this museum is one of my most favorite places; the setting is amazing and the collection of Spanish religious icons, jewelry, and other historic northern New Mexico treasures is fabulous.
Opening Reception and Awards Presentation: Saturday, October 9, 2010 5pm – 7pm
Exhibition Dates: October 9 – November 14, 2010

A letter from Millicent Rogers to her son echos many of the feelings I experience when I spend time in northern New Mexico:
"Darling Paulie,
Did l ever tell you about the feeling I had a little while ago? Suddenly passing Taos Mountain I felt that I was part of the Earth, so that I felt the Sun on my Surface and the rain. I felt the Stars and the growth of the Moon, under me, rivers ran. And against me were the tides. The waters of rain sank into me. And I thought if I stretched out my hands they would be Earth and green would grow from me. And I knew that there was no reason to be lonely that one was everything, and Death was as easy as the rising sun and as calm and natural - that to be enfolded in Earth was not an end but part of oneself, part of every day and night that we lived, so that Being part of the Earth one was never alone. And all fear went out of me - with a great, good stillness and strength.
If anything should happen to me now, ever, just remember all this. I want to be buried in Taos with the wide sky - Life has been marvelous, all the experiences good and bad I have enjoyed, even pain and illness because out of it so many things were discovered. One has so little time to be still, to lie still and look at the Earth and the changing colours and the Forest - and the voices of people and clouds and light on water, smells and sound and music and the taste of wood smoke in the air.
Life is absolutely beautiful if one will disassociate oneself from noise and talk and live it according to one's inner light. Don't fool yourself more than you can help. Do what you want - do what you want knowingly. Anger is a curtain that people pull down over life so that they only see through it dimly - missing all the savor, the instincts - the delight - they feel safe only when they can down someone. And if one does that they end by being to many, more than one person, and life is dimmed - blotted and blurred! - I've had a most lovely life to myself - I've enjoyed it as thoroughly as it could be enjoyed. And when my time comes, no one is to feel that I have lost anything of it - or be too sorry - I've been in all of you - and will go on Being. So remember it peacefully - take all the good things that your life put there in your eyes - and they, your family, children, will see through your eyes. My love to all of you."

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Painting - Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon 24x18 oil

I tried this new, challenging technique today.  I've been wanting to try this for years and I'm glad I finally did it.  But it was very challenging.  Next time I need to spend more time drawing before I start to paint.  And, as usual, I need to work out my value plan first and then stick with it.  All in all, I'm satisfied with this first attempt.  Pure colors, thick paint, no greys, and a bold statement.

Featured Artist at artSPARK Gallery 2010

Today I pick up and mail out the postcards for the artSPARK Gallery 2010 - I can't wait to see these postcards in person!  The team running SPARKcon is doing a great job of crafting and promoting this fun weekend in Raleigh, NC.

New Painting - Golden Hills of California

Golden Hills  20x16  oil
Some Labor Day weekend painting results. Painted from a series of photos I snapped from the car while driving through central California. Love those golden hills.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

new plans - a Solo Show in January 2011

Taos Gorge, Summer  11x14  oil
In January 2011 the Town of Cary will host my solo show entitled "A Passion for the Western Landscape"! This will be a show of large works that I will be creating in the next four months - I'd better get started!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Zion Glow" has been juried into the "Ignite/Extinguish artSPARK gallery 2010" show in Raleigh, NC. It will be on display at "The Hive" from September 16 - 20, 2010.

Monday, August 30, 2010

SOLD at the Taos Art Museum

On the Mesa at Ghost Ranch  16x20  oil
I am thrilled that my painting "On the Mesa at Ghost Ranch" sold at the Taos Art Museum's "A Russian Night in Taos" gala this past week. A large portion of the proceeds benefits the Taos Art Museum and Fechin House.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grandma's Porch

12x18 Grandma's Porch  oil on linen
Painted on a quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon while a much-needed, soft, summer rain fell on my lawn and woods.   Inspired by the theme for an upcoming show "Down Home: Portraits of the Old North State", I chose an iconic southern farmhouse scene bathed in the hot, summer sun.  I love this joyous color.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

artSPARK Gallery 2010

I am excited to announce that my painting "Zion Glow" has been juried into the "Ignite/Extinguish: artSPARK Gallery 2010" show.  This show is part of the annual SPARKcon event in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.  This event is amazing - the heart of urban Raleigh comes alive for a weekend with over 15 different kinds of art being experienced simultaneously.  Video art, digital art, performance art, street painting, photography, music, fashion, and more.  September 16-19 - Check it out!

My painting will hang at one of these upscale, recently-renovated, urban spaces:  the "Hive" - a roof-top bar - or "Foundation" - an urban-chic, contemporary bar in an excavated basement of an important historical building on Fayetteville Street. Energetic and exciting, SPARKcon will be a blast!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


 "Vermilion Cliffs"  16x20 in     oil

For a long time I've painted landscapes that were over 90% land. Painting the mountains and trees was so much work and demanded so much detail that I pretty much ran out of energy, not to mention room on the canvas, before even getting to the sky. Plus clouds move so quickly that I didn't even try to capture them on canvas.
So, since skies were missing from my body of work, I've been working on them lately. I am enjoying learning about the sky, clouds, and atmosphere. I mention Discipline in this blog post title because I am also working on simplifying my paintings with big shapes. I need more discipline on this. For example, the painting above has several clouds; in the future I want to try to simplify this to one large cloud or at least one cloud that demands more attention than the others.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Artsee - new magazine

North Carolina has a new magazine for people who create, support, and love art!

North Carolina ArtSee launched its premiere issue last month. My solo show at Cameron Village Library was advertised in it.

Here's a link to the online version of the magazine.

And here's a link to the page highlighting my show.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

a departure

untitled 16x20 oil

I've been studying and thinking far more than I usually do... before I begin to paint. I'm trying to simplify and make big shapes. So, somehow, I ended up with this - my most recent painting. It's quite a departure for me! I really have no idea where this painting came from. I'll probably touch up the area at the base of the hill a bit.

So this painting is different... but... somehow I still like it, even though it doesn't look like my usual technique.

I think I am working my way from thick paint, lots of color, and lots of brushstrokes to ... something a bit more "mannered" or deliberate. I don' t know what will happen but I'm enjoying the journey.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

accepted into Taos Art Museum "A Russion Night in Taos"

16x20 oil "On the Mesa at Ghost Ranch, NM"

I am pleased to share that my painting "On the Mesa at Ghost Ranch" has been juried into the show "A Russian Night in Taos" at the Taos Art Museum and Fechin Institute in Taos, NM. This is an international show where a significant portion of the proceeds benefits the Taos Art Museum. I am thrilled to participate and help support this fine historical art museum. The paintings auction begins on August 1, 2010 at the Taos Art Museum, Taos, NM. The auction closes on August 28, 2010 at the Taos Art Museum's 6th Annual Gala Auction.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Enduring Beauty: Landscapes of Northern New Mexico

Here's a preview of the postcard for my upcoming show. I really like how it turned out. I did it myself, and it's been a good learning experience.
Today I'm busy framing paintings that will be in my show beginning on Monday. Fourteen paintings take a lot of work to frame! Plus it's been difficult to find 12 x 16 frames -- that size panel is beginning to be my standard size for plein air paintings. Actually, for framing in general, I have a lot to learn. Selecting the right size width and style for each size painting is a challenge, especially when you have to order over the internet. Plus I'm always on the lookout for more sources for frames and hardware.
Enduring Beauty: Landscapes of Northern New Mexico
July 16 - September 12, 2010
Cameron Village Library
Raleigh, NC
A solo, juried exhibition sponsored by Visual Art Exchange and Cameron Village Library.
Show opening, August 6, 2010, 6pm at Visual Art Exchange during "First Friday Art Walk".

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cliffs Near Abiquiu

Cliffs Near Abiquiu 16x20 oil
These interesting cliffs and rock faces are just north of Ghost Ranch, which is just north of Abiquiu, NM. The striations in the geology of the rocks are really this strong and interesting. I like the rocks and ground but I'm not so sure about the sky. But I don't believe I'll work on this one any longer, it's finished. The sky has yellow and some lilac in it which is appropriate for this area; I do like that.
I'm looking forward to this weekend. My men will be out of town on a birthday camping trip so I'll have lots of painting time and the perfect companion: my black lab Scout. I hope to do some more large sky paintings.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Carolina Marsh

"Carolina Marsh" 16x20 oil on linen
This is a photo -- taken quickly -- of a painting I completed this weekend. I wanted to do a southern theme, and this scene of a marsh fit nicely. I believe this is my first painting where the sky was the primary subject! It came together fairly nicely. Once again I painted the entire surface yesterday. And then this morning, while the paint was still wet, I came back and softened some edges and unified some shapes. I'm starting to love this two-day process. When applying paint the first day, as usual, I get so excited that I use too much paint and too much color. Then on the second day, after I've calmed down, I can see what needs to be done to give the painting more structure and less chaos, i.e not quite so much emotion from me. After I'm done there's still plenty of emotion but also a bit more depth and what I like to call "presence".
For this scene I used a few reference photos taken years ago for some ideas but then ended up inventing the details - or lack thereof, actually.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Firehole River at Twilight

18x24 oil "Firehole River at Twilight"
A few years ago our family had an extended hiking vacation in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons national parks. During an evening hike we crossed the flat wide Firehole river to view a lesser known basin of geysers near the Old Faithful Lodge. I created the painting above based on a series of photographs I took that evening when the sun was low in the sky. I've been painting on 18 x 24 inch canvases lately and I really love this format for the landscape.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Late Evening Glow in Zion

16x20 oil "Late Evening Glow in Zion"
Four years ago, I snapped a photo of this location during a late evening stroll in Springdale, Utah, just outside the Zion National Park. The desire to create a painting based on the photograph remained for all these years and last weekend I painted this 16x20.
I worked on it a few hours on one day, and then the second day came back to work on it again. The paint was still wet and sticky and I am happy that I was able to create more depth during the second painting session without overpainting it. Our trip to Zion National Park was a family hiking and biking vacation so I was not able to paint on location. However, after experiencing that canyon in depth and taking photographs, I am eager to paint more scenes from that area of our country. I have other photographs just waiting to be interpreted and referenced.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Paintings

Looking Down - Yellowstone National Park
Studio Painting - of New Mexico scene
North of Taos

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Cottonwood in the Chama River Valley

"Cottonwood in the Chama River Valley", 16" x 20", oil

Painted from a reference photo taken several years ago in the Chama river valley north of Abiquiu, NM. This is a lone, huge cottonwood standing sentinel over the lush valley, as seen from the rutted, dirt road that leads to the Christ in the Desert monastery.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On the Mesa

12" x 16", oil, On the Mesa
The painting above was done on location in Ghost Ranch, NM in October 2009. We had a marvelous view from the mesa above the main Ghost Ranch valley. There was almost a 360 degree view and painters spread out and set up looking in every available direction. The painting panel was cracked when it was shipped home so I was glad to be able to use it as a study.
16" x 20", oil, On the Mesa II
This is the larger work I created yesterday based on the study done en plein air in October 09. I love to work on large sized canvases so creating a larger work is very satisfying. As I re-interpreted the original study I was able to again experience the view, mood, emotion, and even the smells associated with that fine October day in northern New Mexico.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The change in seasons and the daylight savings change has brought new energy and light to nature and to my soul. I was inspired to paint yesterday. I took one of my on location studies from last October at Ghost Ranch, NM and painted a larger version of it. This is the first time that I have tried that strategy and I really liked the process and result. I plan to do the same to several of my small plein air studies in the coming weeks in preparation for my show at Cameron Village Library in July, 2010.

The reminds me - I need to visit the room where my paintings will be displayed and take some measurements. The room and wall size will dictate the size of paintings that I complete for this solo show.
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