Wine sipping and art viewing all at the same time! Woo Hoo!

First peek at my solo exhibit at Barrels Wine Bar on Mercer Island

Starting with today’s art installation, a selection of my artwork is on exhibit at Barrels Wine Bar on beautiful Mercer Island. The exhibit, which includes ten of my abstract paintings, will run through the end of August. Barrels Wine Bar is a charming spot to spend an afternoon or an evening, sample some great wines, and on Wednesdays and Fridays even enjoy some great live tunes from a variety of local musicians. Owners, Joe and Tina Kennedy, are gracious and welcoming hosts who will make your visit an outing to remember, and the wine selection on offer is first rate without being overwhelming.

“Sequential equations” overlooks a choice of select summer splashes in the back tasting room.

We will be scheduling an artist reception at Barrels Wine Bar in the next few weeks and I’ll be sure to send out an open invitation to come out and enjoy an evening of wine and art with me and Jeff as soon as we have the date set. ‘Til then, cheers and enjoy your own summer celebrations.

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Studio time means time for contemplation

“Contemplation on a groove” – 30″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas

Today’s studio time was spent on a contemplation – not the one I’d anticipated, but one that crept in on me. Life’s been challenging lately, and I’m not sure what direction it will be heading next, but I still had to put color on canvas. This piece is light on color and bold contrast, but it strikes me as the perfect response to the emotional waves that have been washing over me and I’m going to sit with it, contemplate it, and give myself some breathing space for now.

Hoping you’re life is flowing more calmly and sending peace your way.

The new palette seems to be a keeper … for now.

“A panel discussion on equilibrium and the alignment of loose ends” – 48″x48″, oil and charcoal on canvas

Somewhere around two months ago or so, I picked up a couple of oil sticks and several tubes of Williamsburg and Gamlin oil paints from a charming little art supply store in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland (if you find yourself up there, it is definitely worth a stop to check this little gem out – An Artful Touch – although the name of the store calls to mind a massage parlor, this store most definitely is directed to those of us more in touch with our brushes and palette knives than our achy muscles and joints!)

Anyway, back to the subject, I picked up some new oil sticks, Williamsburg oil paints and Gamlin oil paints in the most luscious warm summer colors – gold green, burnt orange, cherry red, olive, periwinkle blue, pale lemon yellow – I know, those aren’t the colors on the tubes, but those are the colors they call to mind for me. And I started going to town with these new hues, painting with my fingers, rubber nubs, old brushes, and palette knives – a veritable toy box of paint applicators, and found myself having the time of my life and just reveling in the brilliant cheerful colors on the canvases.

“Elements” – 40″ x 30″, oil on canvas

“Elements” was my first painting employing some of these new colors and since then I have been on a tear, ripping off one canvas after another with these delicious warm shades. And, oddly – or perhaps not – I have found myself steering toward similar colors with my acrylic paints in my studio at Fogue Studios as well. However, it is without question, the creamy rich oils that have captured my heart again, and that are dancing my senses into pure bliss.

Thinking it’s pretty likely I’ll be playing in this color realm for awhile to come. Hope you enjoy the results as much as I do.

Soak up those warm summer sunshine rays and cheers to ya!

New work going up for June and July at Fogue Studios and Gallery

“One step away from head over heels” (40″x30″, oil on canvas) makes it’s gallery debut at the entry to Fogue Studios

New oil paintings are heading to Fogue Studios for the months of June and July, just in time to celebrate the one year anniversary of Fogue Studios and Gallery’s Grand Opening. And I’m just thrilled that my fun new work, “One step away from head over heels” has the wonderful honor of overlooking the entry to the Fogue Gallery at the top of the stairs that lead into the gallery space.

Other paintings that will fill my regular wall space in the gallery for the next two months include my two long and tall, drip oils, “Livin’ la vida lujosa” (livin’ the luxury life) and “Jumpin’ at the Savoy”.

“Livin’ la vida lujosa” – 60″x30″, oil on linen

“Jumpin’ at the Savoy” – 60″ x 30″, oil on linen

And rounding out the new exhibit will be one of my new favorites, freshly stretched and framed by Kurt Pape at Unique Art Framing, “Mi mariposa de amor” (my butterfly of love)

“Mi Mariposa de Amor” – 42″ x 57″, oil on linen

… and yes, I’m going for a definite latin swing in my hot summer grouping and hope that I might have hit it.

The new exhibit will go up next week and will be on full display in time for the June Georgetown Art Attack on June 8th. I couldn’t be more excited. Would love to see your smiling faces at the big event if you find yourself in Georgetown – it promises to be one big bad blow out evening, complete with live music and cake!

One day evolution of a painting

Stage 1 – Putting down the initial impression

First thing when facing a white canvas is to get something on it … anything … just a guide of some sort from which to take off. It could be the outline for something brilliant that will just fall into place, or it could be just a good beginning for some underpainting that will be obliterated later – as I tend to do more often than not. So today, I dove in with black on white to get the juices flowing.

Stage 2 – Wet paint and pastel

I decided to follow the first image laid down and see where it would lead. So over the black brush strokes, I went in with watered-down blue paint and heavy green, blue, orange, yellow, and red pastel marks that were then wetted down, leaving generous drip lines flowing down the canvas. This stage just struck me as luscious – I love this stage.

Stage 3 – Add some heavier acrylic color blocking

Once the wet had dried some, I started to block in some more opaque shapes. The alien with a faucet springing out of his head was the first good giggle of this piece, but that minimalist face just took me by the hand at this stage and wasn’t going to let go. Something about this shape, the colors and the whole feel of it grabbed me.

The next stages involved finding the right balance of activity and calm on the canvas and pulling out the action where needed, while not over-working the image. At this point, I decided this would be a calm painting – not the chaotic motion that has characterized some of my more recent work … I look at this as a return to a more shape-driven space as opposed to the sheer movement that I have been playing at over the past few months.

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6 – “The poppet in the chimney” – 48″x36″, acrylic and pastel on canvas

And that’s how a painting comes together in one day … sometimes it just happens, and when it does, it’s fantastic! I think I’m feeling the spring vibe setting in. Hope it also finds all of you settling into your own groove. Cheers!

Some call it paint-overs, I call it stages in the evolution

Stage 1 – the Beginning

At the start of any new painting, the first step is just to get color on the canvas as far as I’m concerned. At this point, the color might even be of little significance. At best it’s going to set the stage, at worst it will be completely obliterated before the final brush pass is made. And sometimes, it actually makes for a pretty amazing first impression – but I know better than to ever allow myself to fall in love with it, cuz like all great first impressions, it won’t last.

Stage 2 – the exploratory phase

After laying down the first colors, sometimes it’s fun to play with that initial image and see what can come out of a little bit of just pushing it – adding more colors to the combination and working with the first outlines to see where they might go. Of course, again, it’s important not to fall in love with this Stage unless it just absolutely rocks your world … needless to say, this one didn’t rock mine.

Stage 3 – the Fade Out or taking the work in a new direction

Stage 3 usually is when I toss in the can, mix some new colors and start painting in a completely different direction. At this point, the main job of the initial stages is simply to provide depth to the painting as additional layers are brought into play. In this painting, I basically used a wash with a lift off to make a shrowd or veil over the initial colors that might peek through in the final work or might not at all. In other words, I was really not liking where the first painting was heading and needed to start over pretty much from scratch.

Stage 4 – Experiment in with the new direction – something might come from this … or not.

Stage 4 – I don’t always get to Stage 4, I should insert here – anyway, Stage 4 in this case was an exploration of the implied shapes and movement that survived my veil overlay of the initial Stages. Even though the first two Stages were pretty well covered over entirely, some highlights and low-lights were still visible, enough to let me follow their rhythm with a more muted color play. This involved broader brush strokes and thicker paint application … and the addition of my beloved black line work – that somehow usually comes into play at some point in the process.

Stage 5 and calling it ‘good’ – “on the road from here to there” – 36″ x 36″, acrylic on canvas

Stage 5 is tricky. At this point, if I can’t find my way to a final groove, odds are that what will follow is a complete start over – back to square one and just forget that Stages 1 through 4 ever took place. In the case of “on the road from here to there”, I somehow found a groove that worked at this Stage. The painting found its footing and at this point I was comfortable to add my name to it and take it home to play in some pastel highlighting that would just bring the underlying muted color tones forward a bit more.

I don’t have a good photo of the final painting, other than the glimpse of it in this photo taken of it hanging in the front window at Tsuga Fine Arts and Framing in Bothell, WA. Feeling pretty good about this evolution – hope it tickles your fancy as well.

Tsuga Fine Arts and Framing front window display

Cheers.