Wednesday, January 30, 2013

# 30..... Went to a Garden Party

This years challenge has been a little easier this year. I chose things before hand, to narrow the field of choices; that, in itself, can eat your entire day away.

At first, I had chosen the theme of 'western'....but I also didn't want to box myself in, so I had also included several other photos to choose from, knowing how mood affects what we feel and want to paint. I am son=mewhat sad for this to end but as I am packing my suitcases today, the timing is perfect. Another western experience awaits in AZ and there are plans to meet up with some of my favorite painters in Sedona, Jerome and down to Tucson.

With temps here in the 60's, although short-lived, I thought it appropriate to end on a sunny, positive note;

                                                           Went to a Garden Party

                                                                10 x 20" oil
                                                       gallery-wrapped deep canvas

Here is the months worth of I am excited to be planning some larger, more involved paintings, working on those miles of canvas.........

I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me....stay tuned; I will soon be blogging about fun in Arizona and writing for Hostelling International.

Stay safe and have a wonderful day...........Ruth Ann


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

# 29 Finley's Valley, Dubois, WY

Oh, how the Aspens did glow last fall in Wyoming! What a sight of bright oranges and golden yellows punctuating the landscape in clusters large and small. Add a river to that scene and a few mountains and not a neighbor for MILES....then you might be at Finley's ranch.

                                                           # 29   Finley's Valley
                                                            11 x 14" oil on canvas    $125

Marking this off my bucket list...........but I just might have to return for a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th look!

Thanks so much for looking.............Ruth Ann

Sunday, January 27, 2013

# 27 River's Gold

To an artist, some things can be more exciting than real gold..... Like seeing a glowing,  bright golden bush down the river, while in Montana painting with a bunch of like-minded creative souls! I seem to have my camera in hand more often than the paint brush. Sometimes, it is a good thing, as you can only paint so many hours on location in a days time! That's when the camera comes in handy. I started this plein air and scrapped almost made it to the burn pile, but instead, it got a reprieve today and I tried again. The good thing about the studio is you are more relaxed and have more time to make color/value decisions.

It takes me right back to that afternoon, to standing on that road while dodging the huge, lumber trucks that were hauling trees to the mill. ( We thought we had chosen a quiet little back road that no one used!)

                                      #27 River's Gold
                                     8 x 10" oil on mat board   $75

Saturday, January 26, 2013

# 26...Blue Light Special

It was a chore to make myself not cave in and skip a painting today! Oh, I wanted to paint......I just wanted to start a big painting and take days to finish! I am SO in the mood to create...but I flipped through the possibilities and even started on a couple. They were ones that I would really have to push to get done in a day and that was not my mood today.

As I hunted for another photo, this one just caught my eye; perfect to concentrate on reflections and simple enough to do in a short time. HA! All those reflctions were SO complicated and there is so much more to do to this one but here it is...

                                          Blue Light Special
                                        8 x 10" oil on mat board

As always, thanks for looking................Ruth Ann

Friday, January 25, 2013

# 25...A success! The Calico Barn

As I posted on my blog yesterday, there is bound to be a success if you keep plugging away! So today I returned to the studio, determined to try again. Then another photo caught my eye and I decided to play with the acrylics again. I just tried to respond, grabbed a surface, got the drawing on and started applying paint. All the while just thinking, "what if"....what if I tried this technique???, what if I tried this color?...what will I get if I mix these?...I don't have the red I want or the right colors to make it, so what if I change my plan? will the painting still work?

Fun, learning and I think, a successful painting day!

                                    # 25 The Calico Barn
                                     6 x 6" acrylic on museum mat board  $75

(Looks like there is a blue cast....may be my monitor, but it may also be the cool bouncing light from my north window in the studio when I photographed it.)

Thanks for looking and I hope you find your success today!   Ruth Ann

Thursday, January 24, 2013

# 24...Fear not your failure

Tonight I received an email with an article regarding the philosophy of an artist, Greg McHuron. Unfortunately, the artist is no longer living but his legacy lives on as it appears he touched many lives while visiting here on earth. I was not one of the lucky ones to have met him but his quote, "Fear not your failure.!" is an appropriate one for me today.

So although, I feared this painting would be difficult and that I would struggle due to the poorly lit model, I forged ahead. Failure, indeed! As sometimes is my weakness, my facial features kept growing and got out of kilter and no longer represented the person I was wanting to depict.

Since I produced another'failure', that puts me closer to a really good painting! With that in mind, I photographed this one for here and then wiped the face off. I will give it a try again; maybe tomorrow or later.....but it sure felt good to paint anyhow.

Fear not your failure...............forge ahead.............who knows what you may produce!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

# 23 After the Bloom. ..& giving a lesson

Feeling a little better today, had lots to do and then had the company of my granddaughter, Alyssa. We got into a discussion about art and I invited her to join me in the studio and I gave her a little lesson in color theory and showed her how to mix a variety of browns just using her primaries. Something she had asked an art teacher and didn't get a satisfactory answer. I was happy that I cleared it up for her.

Then I did a quick demo from a photo that I took my first time in AZ. Incredible skies and color saturation out there. The cacti has just finished their blooming, so I missed that, but it was quite an adventure, none the less.

I re purposed a previously painted panel; felt good to cover it up and get another lesson out of it rather than let it be tinder for the fire. Quality time passing on a little art!

#23  After the Bloom
oil on panel
Thanks for looking..........have a wonderful day!            Ruth Ann

Monday, January 21, 2013

Making a shipping box for art

SOLD! A great thing to hear from your studio,  gallery or a show...then there's the shipping. I have tried a number of things and several work well but right now this is how I make my painting safe and secure.

First and foremost, you need a box that is at least a few inches larger on all sides, top and bottom! For me the next most important thing to have is an electric knife. I use it to cut my recycled foam for around my art. YES, I said recycled. Before you throw out that next piece of furniture, check the cushions or the item itself for foam padding. It is very expensive to buy new, plus I seem to have a real need to do all I can to reuse and re purpose items. Great for our earth and kind to our pocketbooks!

I start by cutting the foam into a size that fits tight in the box. Then I cut that piece in half or thirds, lengthwise. (thickness) You need a minimum of 1" on the bottom and top and preferable to have at least 2" surrounding your art on all sides.

I lay the first thickness in the box bottom, then center the art, face down.( here the art is face up so you can see ) I proceed to measure and cut foam to fit snugly as possible on each side, the same thickness as the artwork. Then just for good measure, I cut a piece of scrap mat board as a layer to top it with; this also helps put pressure against the box and lessens chance of damage a little more. Then I top it with a final layer of foam that should also be the same size as the bottom piece.

Close and tape securely..........add your label!  This is a lightweight solution as well...

Hope you find this useful..........have a wonderful day!   Ruth Ann

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day #20....quick Blue Bunting in acrylic

After a huge breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, courtesy of my husband, I then painted a quick rendition of a blue bunting....not having my own brushes and the right colors of paints, I made do with what I had. Then we had the 2 1/2 hr drive home...ready to plan tomorrow's more serious painting!

Thank you for looking........have a wonderful start to a new week!   Ruth Ann

Saturday, January 19, 2013

# 19 Tree wall for Aeris

Doing something a little different today! Had to drive all the way to Cincinnati to do my daily painting. Our great-granddaughter, Aeris, is expected to arrive in early March and we are getting her room ready with a nature theme....

tomorrow I may just paint a little Bluebird for her!

                             # 19 Tree Wall for Aeris

                                                          7 x 7' acrylic

May you all have a wonderful day and thanks for looking...........Ruth Ann

Friday, January 18, 2013

# 18 Eye have it!

Playing with the acrylics again....thought I would try another like the wild ride yesterday but I just was in a very different frame of mind! I finally just picked out one of my photos of my  favorite bird, the great blue heron. I didn't have a reference for the little fish, I just made it up....then decided it needed some water dripping....

Here he is........a quick study ..........I hope you enjoy!

                          Eye have it
                   6 x 6" acrylic on panel

Thanks for looking! Have a wonderful weekend............Ruth Ann

Thursday, January 17, 2013

All that Jazz.......Homage to Barksdale

Sometimes you just have to step outside your comfort zone and let her rip! After attending a painting demo last night by Atlanta artist, Corey Barksdale, I was inspired to do just that. Normally I paint tight, controlled and with a definite finished product in mind.

 Today I set  few guidelines and decided to let what ever happened to be......I selected a cd with fast, upbeat jazz and played it loud! Then I squirted out my newly purchased tube acrylics and picked up the big , black Sharpie marker! Talk about scary!

To lessen the scare, I found a used canvas that had purple paint on it and wouldn't consider 'precious'...if I destroyed it, I wouldn't care to have to just throw it in the trash.

I mentally simplified the material in my reference photo

 and then just started making marks with that marker! What fun! Liberating.....may have to do this some more........ less than 30 minutes later....

                                     All That Jazz; Homage to Barksdale

                  14 x 18"  acrylic on canvas panel   

Step outside your comfort zone today...reach for something different. It doesn't mean you have to stay there...just enjoy the moment and the PROCESS!

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

# 16 Grey Homburg...12 x 12"

Well, here it is already past the halfway point on this year's 30 paintings in 30 days! The time has gone swiftly and it has been wonderful and inspiring to see one another's work. To know how we each struggle with the solution to get our end result we are searching for; our unique voice...

Today I had difficulty with the brush hearing that voice, so I will let this one rest a few days, or more before I go back to make some adjustments.

The ' Homburg' is the name of the hat so ever popular back in the 30's and 40's...along with the 'Fedora' . It is amazing what you learn as you paint....when you investigate your subject, especially since I am so fond of wearing my hat collection. I even own a Fedora and it was my favorite until my cowgirl hat came along!

                                #16  Grey Homburg

                                           12 x 12" oil on panel NFS

Have a wonderful day/evening and thank you for looking.......Ruth Ann

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

# 15 0f 30 paintings in 30 days 2013

Well, I tried to do something simple and although there is a lot of drawing, it was. I really liked it before I put any color to it, other than a wash of transparent oxide red. It had an old world feel to it and the simplicity was pleasing. You know, like when you look at a black and white photo and just know you wouldn't enjoy it as much in color.

I think I was down in Amish country when I snapped this photo. Seems I found a number of interesting doors that day.....


                              #15       Window to the Past 

                                           4 x 6"  oil on panel    $20

Thank you for viewing my art...........comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

Ruth Ann

Monday, January 14, 2013

# 14......clearing the clutter

This getting in to the studio every day is so much easier this time. I think it is a mindset and the fact that this year I had chosen all the reference material ahead of time. Although i haven't stuck to keeping it simple, I am somehow having more enjoyment in the process.It could be that I am in the mode of 'cleaning out' know, lessening the clutter. Not just the physical but the mental clutter.

I have been fortunate in recent years to travel a great deal and have some wonderful experiences with fellow artists. As I always have my camera and am gathering reference photos, I have accumulated a great deal. Many have stuck in my head for a painting, a series, a know what I mean! Anyway, I have been paring down my closets, Christmas decorations, just STUFF!

It feels wonderful to start putting some of those finally down on canvas and getting rid of some of the clutter in my mind. I think the fear of failure is my worst enemy. I am trying to get beyond that and if a painting is a failure, that's okay. It just puts me that much closer to the next good one.

Using the same surface for a number of paintings in a row is also teaching me a thing or two. I am growing in my knowledge of what surfaces work best for me and my statement.

Although I need to go back and tweek a thing or two, not a bad effort for today....

               #14   Sunflower Bonnet

             12 x 12" oil on panel NFS

Sunday, January 13, 2013

#13 ....30 paintings in 30 days 2013

This one was a challenge to deal with the dappled light, reflected light and all the crazy things going on in the fleshtones! Knowing the general light source gave me a start but I seemed to have it too warm, then too cool...........remembering this gentleman, I knew he had been in the sun alot so he had good color but the cool light bouncing all around seemed to wash it out.

I at least knew better than to keep going and made a real mess of it, so I will let it sit a day or two and then go back and warm it up and add some needed finishing touches. I am ready to start the next one which is full of colors!

Again I mixed a chromatic black using my blue green and my maroon, using more towards the blue this time. I think I should have had it a little more towards the red with all that cool background.

Every day in the studio is a lesson...............thank goodness I love to learn!

                                      # 13   Stetson in Black

                                  12 x 12" oil on panel   NFS

Once again, thank you so much for viewing my art........Ruth Ann

Saturday, January 12, 2013

# 12 Velvet Hat w Brooch

What a challenge! Trying to paint something that is black and show interesting contour and color variation  is difficult. Rather than rely on the number of tube blacks that I have, I chose to mix one. For one I mixed Rembrandt Blue Green ( similar, I think to Pthalo Green) and my favorite, Grumbacher's Perylene Maroon. When I mixed a few different chromatic blacks, I got some very interesting, yet very different hues. The one appeared much more red and I liked it when I started brushing it on the canvas for this hat, so I chose not to go for something closer to black.

It was very dark but yet gave me some variety and even more value variation than I could see in the photo, but knowing the light source and strength, I could make a pretty accurate guess.

The hardest part was the background and keeping it simple and IN the background. I still want to hit my highlights again and tweek the background but for now I will consider this one ready for the drying rack!

                      #12 Velvet Hat w/Brooch           

                                                 12 x 12"       NFS

As always, thanks for looking...........Ruth Ann

Friday, January 11, 2013

# 11..... of 30 paintings in 30 days 2013

Wow...I can hardly believe it is already day 11! Last year, it was getting to be a bit of a struggle by this time and this year, I just feel like I am getting rolling. I am really having fun the last few paintings. Not sure if it is because I am going back to portraiture or if it is because these have been in the planning stages for some time. You know, the long, long list that seems to just is great to start checking them off and watching the list shrink for a change!

I feel like I am learning more this go round. I now think I need to do this more than just the month of January. I still have a bit of travel planned for this year but maybe I will do small ones when I travel if I don't paint plein air!

Here is today's effort.........again, I struggled with a few things and think I need to go back and punch up a few darks....


# 11 The Yellow Hat

12 x 12" NFS
I appreciate feedback regarding what you think about this; should something be changed??
I look forward to your comments...
As always...........thanks for viewing....Ruth Ann

Choosing a frame for your art...

As artists, we sometimes have a tough time picking a frame that really suits our creation. I am certainly guilty. So often, we get all caught up in the beauty of the frame and forget that we need the art to shine. When I overheard visitors in a gallery comment as soon as their eyes drifted to a certain piece.."OH, LOOK at that wonderful frame!" knew for sure it was the wrong frame for that piece. I had an even tougher time getting over this, as I restored old beautiful frames for a number of years, so it was hard to not choose one based on its beauty alone. Many are works of art in themselves...hence the fad awhile back of hanging empty frames on the wall.

Recently, I was getting ready to ship a work of art to a gallery and noticed the frame had gotten damaged. I didn't have time to repair it properly so I knew I had to go shopping.

Usually, a good rule of thumb is if you put a frame on it and it disappears and you just see the art, you have a perfect frame.I went searching for the same frame because it did just disappear when the art was inserted but chose a different one, to my surprise. Sometimes, it can be that the frame just seems to complete and become a part of the piece as in this one.

The silver seem to emphasize the highlights of the crystal glass, the mid tone texture repeated the front of the shelf and the outside repeated the background dark. It made the art seem much  larger than the little 5 x 7" that it is........

I would love to hear what you think..........comments?

Thanks for viewing and reading my thoughts............Ruth Ann

Thursday, January 10, 2013

# 10................30 paintings in 30 days 2013

This discipline of getting to the studio might finally be working like I was hoping. It has motivated me and by just 'doing the work', I have excercised my right brain enough that it is now correctly in the mode of'  " how can I best tell the story I have to tell ?  ".

So today, I started one that has been percolating in my mind for quite some time; part of a series. The problem was mostly fear of failure, but also sometimes an idea just needs to set on the shelf until it's time.

So I chose to start with just a wash of oil color to get me started and that really was part of the solution. Not only did it get me beyond that 'white canvas syndrome', it set the mood for the less importrant background. The shapes were very necessary but I needed them to stay quiet so the foreground could speak. I am very happy with the result!

                                                        #10......Straw Visor with Flower
                                                   12 x 12" oil on canvas (mounted to wood panel)

Thanks so much for viewing my art.......comments are always welcome..........Ruth Ann

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

# 9.......30 paintings in 30 days

Today's attempt is not anything I am happy with but I did paint........that is my goal. To create some more consistent hours in the studio. It is easy to drift in the mindset that if you aren't selling a bunch, maybe you should slow your painting down, too. That is not really a good idea...yet, I admit to sometimes falling victim to that. The more productive time spent in the studio, the better the mind set and the more creative you become.

The results of today are not a waste, either. Much was learned and there is certainly more failures ahead but the great thing about that is the sooner I get some more of those failures out of the way, a few wonderful creations are going to appear at the end of my brush! It's a matter of numbers. The odds are with us; so I plunder on.

In fact, I started two other paintings after this one.......

                                        Hohokam Path 

                                      5 x 7" oil on panel     $45

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Standing in the Shadows

Staying with my western theme, here a few more aspens. I traveled all the way to Montana to paint and the first ranch we painted at was.............."Buckeye Ranch"   .........they had both been originally from Ohio! Go figure. They even had an entire room ....aka the bar.........done in Buckeye decor.

Anyway, they were fabulous people and gave us free rein of the house and grounds.  The aspens had not started to turn while I was there in August but the shade of the barn was inviting and got me out of the glaring light. I took hundreds of photos while there and this is the result of the one looking towards the road leading to the ranch.


                            Standing in the Shadows

                                                  9 x 12" oil on museum matboard     $75

I think I need to make a few adjustments, esp. the trees at the top but here it is today...
thanks for looking..........Ruth Ann

Monday, January 7, 2013

# 7....... of 30 paintings in 30 days 2013

Thinking I should really start some projects that have been tossed around in my right brain for several months, so today I plunged in.

Having been bitten with the travel bug a few years ago, I have tried to do as much exploring the landscape as I can. I am saddened to see the litter that I find while hiking. Last year I started picking as much up as I could, on one particular area. Then it dawned on me that I should repurpose these rusted pieces of metal. I wrapped them in newspaper and flew them home with me.

They have been treated to stop the rusting process and  are ready for painting. Each one will have a subject that I have personally encountered and photographed in the area where I gathered the metal. With the uneven surface, it is difficult to get detail but here goes attempt #1..... a Magpie that I followed for some time.....


'Alone in the Desert'  

 3 x 8" oil on rusted metal     NFS

Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.
Thank you for looking........ Ruth Ann

Sunday, January 6, 2013

# 6 of 30 paintings in 30 days

Well, this one was started 'en plein air' in Montana. A friend had given me the surface to try; a resin treated  paper made specially to be light weight for travel. That it was. It also grabbed the paint. I struggled with it and finally gave up, knowing I needed extra time to deal with the properties of this new surface.

I found I rather like it. The oil painting looks almost as if it were done with pastel. So here it is, reworked. Still not quit what I was going for but I was so enamored with the incredible vista of those monstrous mountains, it was a difficult capture!

I still can put myself right back at that moment, painting, the wind blowing and how wonderful it all was!

                                                         Glacier View  

                                                       9 x 12" oil on resin paper  $75

Saturday, January 5, 2013

# 5 of 30 in 30 days

I painted this scene in a large format and since it is one of my very favorite places, Sedona, I wanted to paint it again in a smaller size.

I have to admit, I liked it better about 40 brushstrokes ago, but since none of you were here in my studio to grab the brush from me, here it is...

                        Red Rock Crossing in Autumn         9 x 12" oil on panel        $75

                                              Have a fabulous weekend..........Ruth Ann

Friday, January 4, 2013

# 4 of 30 paintings in 30 days 2013

On the bucket list was seeing the aspens turn golden! That one got it's checkmark this last fall, as I had the priviledge to explore Montana then Wyoming while they were gloriosly in full splendor.

                                                        9 x 12" oil on panel

Day 3 of 2013 - 30 paintings in 30 days

It has been a really tough day at work and the show opens tomorrow; let's hope I get all the photos on the gallery wall nicely in time!

That meant little time for a painting after a quick supper tonight. I even had to skip lunch completely, so  I was certainly hungry and needed to eat before thinking I could pick up a brush! I am still dragging and it shows in my painting. Funny how our emotional state usually shows up on our surface.

                                                 6 x 10" oil on panel

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 2.... 30 paintings in 30 days 2013

Well, I am sort of sticking to my idea of western paintings. I always loved the colors of the sky when I captured these photos while exploring the area just northwest of Phoenix. The sun was starting to set and I was trying to navigate my husband to an area where I could get a decent shot that didn't include houses. I allowed my intuition to guide me, and directed him to take a right or left, urging him to just trust me; we ended up in this beautiful clear area and when I saw the statue backlit, I knew someday I would try to capture it in paint.

                                                            9 x 14.5"  oil on panel

I would really appreciate help in a title for this one.........any suggestions????

Have a wonderful evening and may he shine his light upon you......  Ruth Ann

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January #1..30 paintings in 30 days

Well, I am off to a rocky start but certainly learning! I thought I might attempt painting number one with a palette knife so it would go quickly and I wouldn't get caught up in the details.

I was not happy with the outcome, so I scraped it off and tried to salvage it with brushes. I will paint this one again, as it is a very special place in Glacier National Park. It is known as Heaven's Peak.

I like the warmer version although the shadow pattern is much better and stronger in the palette knife version.
Heaven's Peak, Glacier National Park,9 x 12" oil on panel   $125