Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On the 31st day, I rested.......

Well, I didn't really rest! I just took a break from the studio to take care of my much neglected house and long list of errands! I did accomplish most of them and even cooked a nice supper. It was so warm, I wanted to grill the chicken, but no charcoal and no time to shop.

I really wanted to be painting! This 30 day challenge has got my creative juices flowing and I am trying to plan in my head some major paintings. I also am packing a couple to ship to new homes. A few others are for some upcoming competitions and one or two  may end up at one of my galleries.

                                                       30 paintings in 30 days

I am still pretty surprised that I could produce that many paintings in that short of time.

Since I plan to work on larger paintings, I will update as I progress with each painting and you can see how I approach it. The idea tomorrow is to brainstorm composition for one or two.

Start each day with a smile and get it over with.     - W.C. Fields     

Monday, January 30, 2012

#30 ... A la votre fini

Well, it is day 30...I did it! 30 paintings in 30 days.....Great discipline for me. I will probably repeat this later in the year. I am hoping it kickstarted some good habits of getting to the studio and producing.

I am excited to get started on some of the larger paintings that I have just been agonizing over, not  being able to work on them yet. I have also been trying to analyze what I am trying to convey in my work. I really want to tell a story. Getting to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the DAI was quite a treat. The colors in his fleshtones is incredible. The things that are lost to the viewer when they were reproduced on the cover of Satuday Evening Post.

I don't yearn to do what he did nor do I want to paint just as he did but I am certaily inspired by the beautiful nuances of good clean color I found  repeatedly in his work. That is one of my goals...fresher, cleaner colors. Those darn complimentary colors need to leave my brain for awhile!

With today being the last day, I wanted an appropriate title. Salud was a consideration and so was fini but I wanted a little more, so after a little research, here it is....

                                                  A la votre fini            5 x 7 oil on panel

Translated in French, meaning...."to the end or finish".............so I make a toast with my margarita........to the FINISH!

May you all find something in your life, today, to make a toast....................Ruth Ann

Sunday, January 29, 2012

#29 Dressed for the Occasion

So after doing such a quick one yesterday, I was ready to tackle a more complex subject for today's painting. I wanted to paint this ever since I photographed it during my first visit to the great state of Wyoming............God's country! If you have never been, put it on your bucket list and be sure to visit the area around Dubois. Incredible! I will be working on some large paintings from my visit, later this year.

I was fortunate to have been in the company of some mighty fantastic artists while I was there. One was a genuine cowboy and brought his horse and posed all afternoon on the last day of our visit. Thanks, John Phelps!

Dressed for the Occasion
5 x 7"  oil on panel

Until tomorrow.....................Happy Trails!                    Ruth Ann

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Painting #28 Reach High

Today in the studio, the job was to create a small painting using as few brushstrokes as possible. As I am usually a detail painter, this was uncomfortable and awkward, so I struggled.

Then I layed down a colorful stroke just right and I was transported to right brain.......all was well! I don't know if you would call it a successful painting but I sure enjoyed the process!!!

Be sure to "Reach High" in all you do............you are worthy of it!

Reach High   5 x 7" oil on panel

                                                               Good day............Ruth Ann

Friday, January 27, 2012

Painting #27 ..... The Day is Done

It was a tough time choosing what to paint. Having too many ideas can be a bad thing. Everything I chose for my composition was complicated and would make a great large painting; but not one I could do justice on a small one.

I finally chose my favorite hair clips that I caught out of the corner of my eye, sitting  on my taboret. They needed a little something more and I immediately tucked in the sweet, worn moccassins that we got at the auction last week. I adore the painting for today. Made me in such a good mood...love it when a plan comes together!

The Day is Done   4 x 4"   oil on linen   

And so it is....................until tomorrow!   Thanks for looking.     Ruth Ann

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Painting #26 Pick of Peppers II

Well, I finally decided to try the highway around 11 am, hoping the roads would be clear of all ice by then. They were but there were still areas of dense fog to navigate. So grateful to make it home safely. Must be coming down with something; no energy, hurt everywhere and just want to curl up in a ball...but I showed up for work in the studio anyway. That is the best part about this challenge; the discipline. I read over and over that the successful artists just show up to work, no matter what.

So whether today was a success or not, I will leave up to you to decide for yourself. I call it so, as I just did the work....

Pick of Peppers             5 x 7" oil on panel  

Thanks for looking.....................            Ruth Ann

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Painting #25 ...........Finding our own Direction

Those darn cherries just wouldn't hold still! Either that or my eyes wouldn't focus........could be my glasses keep slipping....

Not quite finished with this one. I worked on linen today and used very little medium yet it was very slick and hard to get my paint to stay. I will have to add some dark to the background and soften some edges on the cherries. My first attempt to include a doily that had cross stitch on it. Not so simple to try to just suggest it.

Well, just like the cherries, I am still trying to find my own direction!

Finding our own Direction      oil on linen    3.5 x 5"    

Thanks for looking!      Ruth Ann

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Painting #24...The One That Got Away

Well, I have a finished painting but it needs some 'tweaking' to say the least. Try as I might, I squinted, I glanced quickly, I turned it upside down ( but then I realized I would have to stand on my head, since I couldn't 'flip' my still life)....

The photo isn't quite accurate. The orange shows up too sharp and intense and there is a glare in a few places. I will take a new photo when it dries down more.

I believe it will work better if I use almost no medium when I have a high key background. Or I need to work in layers with more time to dry, not a one sitting painting. So that is good, I seem to be learning a thing or two...

The One That Got Away   5 x 7" oil on panel  

Thanks for looking.............Ruth Ann

Monday, January 23, 2012

Painting # 23 Sharing the Spotlight

Shopping is fun, but sure takes up a lot of studio time!  People probably thought I was really strange, as I picked through the cherries to get just the right ones; some really dark, some with great lights and of course, many with stems!

That was only part of it...then to choose how to present them! I tried several containers and may paint a few of them. Today, the little cut glass was the one to 'share the spotlight'.

I started out using too much medium, so I had to wait to let it dry; as we were having a thunderstorm and torrential rain with howling winds, it was taking a good long time to dry enough so that I could work on it. Still not quite what I was going for but not a bad effort for the day...

...............now I go eat those luscious cherries!  Have a wonderful evening!

Sharing the Spotlight     5 x 7" oil on panel   

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Painting #22...... Taking Time to Smell the Roses

As I promised earlier this week, I was going to paint some of my favorite gifts.

This is my most treasured gift from a fellow artist! Gary Hovey presented me with this rose, at a show that our art group put on, as I had asked him to be our featured artist, with his stunning and amazing silverware sculptures.

May you be blessed as well and often as you bless others, Gary!

Taking Time to Smell the Roses       5 x 7"  NFS

The hummingbird was a joint venture that Gary and I did, as he tried, so graciously, to teach me to weld. I think I will leave the welding to Gary!

Thanks for the memory,,,,,,,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Painting #21 A Good Read

What to paint today???? I had many paintings circling in my right hemisphere just screaming to be put on canvas but they were large, complicated scenes that I hope to get to in the near future. I had to keep silencing that side of my brain and listen to the left side until I chose my subjects.

I have a large library of very worn and obviously loved books. Someday I hope to get to read them all! I thought they at least should appear in a painting. So here is an attempt at one...

A Good Read                6 x 8"  oil  on panel             

Hope you are curling up with a warm drink and a good read!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Painting #20 Waiting for the Tequila

The studio called me early this morning and I dutifully answered that call but somehow the day slipped away and I still had not started my painting! The mood eluded me to do a small painting. My creative left brain was craving to do a complicated large painting, please.

The urge passed, as I could hear Kristen in the background mulling over which painting she would take when I lost the challenge. I decided on a simple setup since time was short. Enough said? How long does it take to come up with a "simple" composition?  Hours...Yes, I like that object, no, not on that background........raise the angle...........adjust the light ........no, now I don't like it at all. And so it goes...........

Finally, I added an item and it all came together for "Waiting for the Tequila"... (those who know me remember that my favorite drink is a margarita on the rocks with salt!

Instead, I am celebrating with a fine red wine, watching the snowflakes float through the glow of the streetlamps across the way. Good night!

"Waiting for the Tequila"        6 x6" oil on wood          

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Painting # 19 Lean on Me

What a perfect day to be safe and warm in the studio. Outside it was snowing and blowing, making the roads unfit for travel. So glad my husband had the day off so I wouldn't spend all day worrying about him on the road.

Those pears were getting pretty ripe and the smell made me want to sink my teeth in for a bite, so I had to get them painted. There are two left now.

I had difficulty with the highlight on the red one. The light sounrce I used was a warm incandescent bulb. Therefore the highlight should be warm, right? But it looked so cool and blue. So I know I will have to work on that some but I had to stop, as I was just messing up the good parts, so before I completely destroyed it, I decided to let it rest.

Lean on Me           5 x 7" oil on panel    

Think I'll go "Lean " on my husband and watch a good movie. This struggle wore me out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Painting #18 Lonely Tulip

A simple object was chosen today after the time-consuming cat for yesterday. Whew! That one wore me out! The tulip in the darling, little round vase was my choice. I took artistic license with the colors, making the background red violet with the warm pink tulip in the foreground.

Lonely Tulip     5 x 7" oil on panel  
Funny how a simple color combination can evoke a memory..........this one does for me. As a young teen, I was getting interested in fashion. Being the youngest with three older sisters, new clothes were a rarity for me, as hand-me-downs were plentiful. My mother was a seamstress at a local shop named, De-Cindi Fashions. They made clothing for Bobbie Brooks. Their rejects were made available to employees and I got a pink/burgundy plaid skirt with a pink top to match!  To this day , when I see those color combinations, it cheers me up and makes me smile.            Ahhhh,,,,,,, the simple pleasures of life!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Painting #17 ...Watching Over You

Today is dedicated to a very special person;  a successful professional in the  health industry as an RN, BSN,  a devoted mother, an adoring sister, a compassionate friend, a truly amazing daughter..............but most of all, one that is blessing us all with her existence, to celebrate another birthday, despite the attack of cancer that she continues to battle!

Here's to you, my darling daughter ,  Melissa Lynne Sturgill Windau!!!  You are my inspiration and joy...may you celebrate many, many more!!!

Watching Over You     8 x 8" on wood panel   NFS

Although TIGGER is gone, he lives on our memories................

Monday, January 16, 2012

Painting # 16 ComPEARatively Simple

It was great fun to paint the pear today............simple it is not. As you study one, you find all the little things that make that pear unique; be it shape, color, markings, etc. Pattern texture was a whole other area I didn't even have time to consider. I actually painted most of the day............a special painting coming tomorrow. I have to admit I am getting addicted to using these Ampersand panels and umber along with medium.

ComPEARatively Simple              5 x 7" oil on panel    

Evidently, it isn't simple at all. I can't get it to rotate, no matter what I try....sorry.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

#15 Good Morning, Sunshine

Sunshine! What a beautiful thing! Even when it is barely in the teens outside, I find it so uplifting to see the sun shining brightly. My husband bought these tulips for me yesterday and I wanted to capture them in the glow of the morning sun and the stained glass windows of my dining room.

It is a very high key painting; quite different from yesterday's, but it was how I felt today. I learned a bit from it and although it isn't perfection, it turned out okay. I think tomorrow's painting will be much simpler.....

Good Morning, Sunshine     5 x 7" oil on panel  

Here's hoping there is a ray of sunshine in your day..........

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Painting #14 Daily C

Okay, so this one took a lot longer than the others. The orange was drying out fast and curling up, so I had to take a photo of it while it was fresh. I started it around midnight and got the drawing on and some values in umber placed, then I called it a night.

Good thing I took a photo because it looked really bad this morning, even though I put water on it. With all this snow blowing around, it made perfect sense to just stay in and paint. I had lots of fun with this one and really got mesmerized by trying to capture the feel of an orange.

Then I finished and realized the rim was off plumb! I redrew the line and messed up the whole thing, as it lifted paint in an area that I felt I had just right....sigh! Well, here it is, reclaimed...

Daily C    5 x 7" oil on panel  

I bought two of these dessert dishes and shared one with my fellow daily painter, Kristen Dukat, so you may see the same one in a painting of hers real soon.

Thanks for looking...............Ruth Ann

Friday, January 13, 2012

Painting #13 Like a Rock

Inspiration for creativity comes in many forms; sometimes it is something tangible, like a rock that was a gift to me from someone close to my heart. I am inspired as much, if not more so, by the thought of the sentimental act they performed , as I am by reading the words inscribed.

Those that touch our hearts deeply, continually renew our spirit each time we visit that memory. Today I went down memory lane and chose  items that will be showing up in paintings later this month. Just one way I can honor those that honored me....

Like a Rock  
   8 x 8" oil on canvas   

Thanks for looking..............Ruth Ann

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Painting #12... Tricky Landing

SNOW! What a beautiful excuse to be in the studio and painting. I decided to cook a big pot of potato soup so I wouldn't have to stop to fix supper. Must have been a good idea, as I was so relaxed and into the painting process, that I finished in plenty of time.

Tricky Landing    8 x 10" oil on museum matboard   NFS

The purple finches were all over Cave Creek and I managed to snap a quick shot one morning just after sunrise. I just love to hear them sing their melodies, esp. while hiking among the Saguaros.

 Just painting this took me back to the hills covered with the cactus and I was bathed in sunshine and all was well with the world!

Here's hoping you are having a wonderful day, too. Thanks for looking.....  Ruth Ann

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

#11 "Hangin' on by a thread..."

Some colors are just elusive to me. I needed a studio buddy today to be there to hold my arm with the brush and just say "STOP!".................."look"...........................then "listen"........ to what your instincts tell you. All of that after a good break to cleanse the eyes and relax the arm and brain!

Instead, I was alone and chose to "fiddle" with the colors, etc..., until I had muddied most of it up. All I can say is, I sure put in the work today.

The bright side is, I am thoroughly enjoying the process ( most of the time). It is pretty impressive to see how much work I have done in January already.

"Hangin' on by a thread..."      5 x 7"      oil on panel     

The colors aren't quite right on this but I can't seem to get them like the painting.
Some pigments  are just that way.

Thanks for looking....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Painting #10 "It's a long ways down..."

Where does the time go? I really plan on behaving and getting to work right away on my painting but I got distracted by a number of things in the studio. Putting things away as I hunted for that one little "must have" for in my still life set up. Never did find it.

The sun was shining and Sedona demanded to get to go for a walk. I never argue with a chance to soak up some sun, esp. in the winter. That left little time for my painting so I elected to paint from a photo I took earlier this week. Sedona is afraid of going down our stairs, in spite of the fact she goes up them like a streak of lightening!

I was interested in challenging myself to forget warm or cool and just try to look at value and not over think it; just respond and pick up paint, put it on.

"It' s along ways down..."       10 x 8", oil on matboard   

I will paint many more of her. She is a great model. Snapped a few today as she lay on the studio floor, bathed in sunlight...

Thanks for looking.........

Monday, January 9, 2012

Painting #9 "No matter how you slice it...

Some days you have so much pending, you almost forget what you were planning to do when you went to the studio. That was my day. Before I knew it, a couple of hours had gone by and I was running short on studio time to get my daily painting done.

I decided to grab a quick bite for lunch, first. The leftover cherry turnover made perfect desert. But wait, it was too hot to eat and the cherries oozing out the seam just screamed "paint me!". I was already to start when I just needed to change the angle.........too late! Gotta eat it. Yummy! Okay, on to plan B...

I had some leftover fruit that needed to be used or thrown out, so I sliced the orange and then the apple ........but that was a little boring, so I had decided to slice the apple sideways.....wa-la a set up!

The title seemed obvious...........

" No matter how you slice it, it is still apples to oranges..." 
5 x 7" oil on panel        

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Painting #8 ......." Spurred On..."

All gessoed panels are not created equal! Today I wanted a different size than I had on hand in the Ampersand brand, so I used another brand from the local art supply store. I felt it was rather shiny and a little too slick so I used some 220 grit sandpaper on it and sanded in layers; first top to bottom, then cross that grain from side to side; then diagonal, then crossed that grain on another diagonal. Giving it less shine and a little texture, I proceeded to paint.

 "Spurred On"
8 x 8"   oil on panel  $75

To put it mildly, I struggled! Big time! I was too far into the painting to scrap it since I was feeling under the weather due to a reaction to medication, but I was determined to do the painting today.

The plan was to paint this with real drama and darks,  but I rather like it this way, too. I am pretty sure I will try it with the drama using linen on panel.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Painting #7 Study in Orange

What a wonderful day! Traveled to Dayton to one of the galleries I am in and while in town we took advantage of the American Chronicles.....Norman Rockwell exhibit at the DAI. Fabulous! It sure put me in the mood to want to paint people again.  That will wait for another day, though, when I can devote more time.

The first attempt today was a "wiper"....so I did just that and started over. Entire new set up. I was able to settle down and thoroughly enjoy the process............whoops, where did the time go? I love that part of the creative process....time has no meaning.

Looking forward to tomorrow...maybe I will do the spur again?????

Friday, January 6, 2012

Painting #6 Jailbird Feather ( in umber)

Okay,,, you are probably wondering where in the heck I got that title.  Funny story! For those of you who know my husband, Claude, you know he is pretty quiet and not much on the "sense of humor".

Recently we were on vacation out west and had stopped on our way back from Tortilla Flats to explore this little ghost town. Upon exploring the old jail cell, there on the floor lay this black bird feather. I collected the feather to put in my newly adorned cowgirl hat. As we headed for Cave Creek I said to my husband, "I wonder what kind of bird this came from", not  expecting an answer from him but I got no response at all...then he turned to me and very seriously replied...."It must be a jail-bird feather!".
I cracked up!!!! One of the best one-liners he has ever come up with. Now, I can never part with that feather.

Jailbird Feather    5 x 7" oil on panel 

Today I also went a step further with my viewfinder.. I decided to cut a piece of cardboard with an opening to match the size I was painting on; 5 x 7".  Then I fastened it to my Stanright easel and moved it around until it had the composition I wanted. This really helped as I could move much further away so I didn't get caught up in details right away.

I also decided to try gridding it off with string to match how I grid my canvas. I love it! I usually do that with photos, so I love being able to solve the issue when painting from life.

Here is a distant view also....

Until tomorrow....... 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

#5 painting,...Calling the Spirits ( in umber)

Setting up became very time-consuming today, as I am esp. easily distracted by so many things that need done. Finally, I found a design that I liked then to set up to paint. Last night my neck and shoulder really caused me some pain, making it difficult to paint, therefore today I decided to try to eliminate some of the aggravating factors.

One is holding up the viewfinder, constantly tensing up the muscle that attaches to the base of my skull. We joked about solving this issue in Carol Marine's workshop but I thought...why not try to really solve it. So I thought the issue through and came up with this;  
I used a piece of bamboo to hold the viewfinder, cutting notches in it with a utility knife. Then I inserted the bamboo piece into the opening of my Stanrite Easel post. It worked great!

  I played around with the position until I had it right in my line of sight.            
You can see my composition in the photo on the right.

 I am loving these panels and can't get myself to move beyond the beauty of working in umber. Today I used raw umber. Love it! Using less medium today and that seems to suit my style better.

Calling the Spirits         ( in umber) 5 x 7"
I will eventually do this in color, as I bought this turqoise vase because of its wonderful color. Let me know if you have any questions....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Painting #4 ( 30 paintings in 30 days)

Dress Spur in Umber

After a strenuous day of hanging photography for the gallery's upcoming exhibit, I still needed to go grocery shopping and fix supper, eat, let the dog out....all before I could ascend the steps upward to the studio.

Usually, I would just wimp out and tell myself ":you can get to the studio tomorrow". With this bet with Kristen Dukat though, I am not caving in!!! Shoulder pain or not, I managed to choose a subject that I could get into; the spurs my hubby bought for me while we were in AZ recently.

With new paint, new panels that arrived in the mail, I was ready. After choosing my palette of earthtone pigments, I chose to tone the panel with raw umber, then proceed to draw using it without thinning it.
I liked the look so much that I just chose to continue and do a monochromatic rendering of one spur. I rather like it.

Thanks, Kristen for "spurring me on"!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Painting #3

After working a full 8 hr day and cooking a quick supper, I drug myself up the narrow stairway to my studio. This is the discipline part. I really wanted to wimp out, as I was certainly not feeling creative. I was just plain tired....excuse #????

So I painted..............it was not a waste of time or paint or canvas.............as it showed me my weaknesses. It is so very much different from my normal method of slow, involving all the smallest details. But this is how we learn.  ( so they tell me!)

Here is tonight's attempt.............maybe tomorrow will be a little easier.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Art by Ruth Ann Sturgill: Painting #2 poor lemon

Art by Ruth Ann Sturgill: Painting #2 poor lemon

Painting #2 lemon w shadow

Guess I am making lemonade today in the studio, that is, after I paint it! I was planning to make a needed trip to a gallery in Dayton to pick up some of my paintings, so I never quite got into the right brain. Add several distractions, well, you know...

Hopefully, I will get a chance to redeem myself tomorrow, after I work on installing the photography show at Artspace/Lima.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

30 Paintings in 30 Days!


Meeting interesting people is a big bonus to traveling and enjoying the incredible world we live in! I was blessed with a particular one recently at a painting workshop. Her name is Kristen. We challenged each other to paint 30 paitings in 30 days. In order to make sue we stuck to it, Kristen warned me that if I missed a day, she got a free painting of mine! It is on!

Allowing myself just over an hour, by setting the alarm on my phone, here is what painting #1 looks like. I am such a detail person, this is really going to be a huge challenge. I am hoping it will train my eye to observe better; all the little nuances of change in value and temperature.

I also needed a place for them to dry and to be able to isolate them in my cluttered chaos I call "Studio", so I gathered scrap from the garage and made something along the line of what Carol Marine said her husband, David, made for her new studio in Oregon. Thanks, Carol!

I would rather that it was darker and more nuetral but the price was right so it will do for now. I knew I didn't dare take precious time from painting , like I normally do, and then never seem to have time to paint!

Today was a HUGE success, in the fact that I showed up and did the work. ( a friend told me I have a million excuses, so I am trying to ignore them)

I have so much to learn and so little time left, so I need to focus. I would love hearing how many of you manage your time better to actually do things that bring you pleasure and joy!