Wednesday, May 25, 2016

River Rodeo

River Rodeo        9" x 12"    oil on linen panel

When I took the photo for this painting, it reminded me of a cowboy doing some roping instead of fly fishing. I liked the action, and the name ( thanks to my husband) really clinched it! 
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Sunday, May 22, 2016


Untended          11" x 14"         oil on linen panel

I saw these roses yesterday next to a small farmhouse door. I was there with my sister and a friend for an estate sale. The roses looked like they had been there blooming year after year without much tending, but they were really beautiful none the less. Lots and lots of deep red blooms and untended canes running wild everywhere.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

First Day Out

First Day Out          oil       9" x 12"
This is one from the Big Horn river once again. I have several pics taken while in a boat watching others fish. I try to get some actions in the shots and then of course I look for the light. This was taken mid-day, so I had to increase the contrasts for more interest, but liked the warmth. I also used another in this  series of photos in a vertical composition for my painting "Tight Line

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Pattern Change

                                     Pattern Change       oil on linen panel        Mary Maxam
This is painted from a photo I took just below the dam at Fort Smith, Montana. I nearly always use some kind of natural landscape for a background in this type of painting, But I tried to liven the concrete shapes in the background with color in the shadows. I haven't decided if I overdid it in the water with too many small shapes.Time will tell when I put fresh eyes on it tomorrow...

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Saturday, April 30, 2016


Reverie            14" x 11"     oil on linen panel

I painted roses yesterday which I will post that one soon, But today, I used my niece as inspiration again for this portrait. I had a lot of fun with it and used one of my favorite palettes of alizarin crimson, turqoise and ochre. I toned the panel first with a very thin coat of cad. red. I did a brush drawing first, then went ahead and started laying in color areas for the heair, background, face and scarf.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Treeline Shadows- step- by-step

Treeline Shadows                                  oil                 8" x 6"
Here's a small painting for today, but I did take the time for a few progress shots. I began (bottom photo) with the big idea of the value pattern. It only uses 3 values and I massed it in with mixes of cad red medium, white and ultramarine blue. In the second photo you will see that I've added the  fourth and darkest value. In the next step, I begin to lay in basic colors for each value area. After that, I add color to adjust warm and cool versions. This is a straightforward way to keep values where you want them, beginning to end.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Westport Docks, End of Day

Westport Docks, End of Day                    oil on panel                10" x 8

A quick post on this dock scene from Westport, Washington. It's pretty active and I used an umber underpainting which I usually don't do. While it worked out, I still prefer a more vibrant color wash underneath, such as cad. red or rose.  

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

'Birds Of A Feather' - birders in Yellowstone

Birds Of A Feather                                    9" x 12"                   oil on linen panel

I've had this one in mind for a long time. It is from a photo I took in Yellowstone Park. This is a colorful line of birders looking for their own sightings of color in the sky and landscape. I usually don't deal with so many small shapes and the challenge was holding it all together in terms of value and composition. 


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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Painting Overshare? Montana Spring Creek

 Montana Spring Creek      oil       12" x 16"

This is a painting I finished toward the end of January.I felt it was really successful in the direct approach and the painting experience was one of those where you feel the painting just 'fell off the brush'. It doesn't happen often enough as we all know. In my excitement, I thought I'd enter it into an online exhibition. Then I entered it in another..... and, oh why not.... I entered it in a third! I must have been searching for a little validation.

The upshot is that "Montana Spring Creek" made it into all three, Thank you Art Muse Contest,  FASO Boldbrush 15% Competition and  Online Jured Shows-Plein Air Salon !

It's fun while it lasts. And now......I'm back to the easel :) Pin It

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Owyhee Spring

Owyhee Spring                                           oil                        Mary Maxam

Here are a few of the spring greens showing up around the Owyhee River. I used a wash of Terra Rosa and Viridian to tone down the white of the canvas. Then I did a brush drawing of the basic shapes, blocked in darks, middle tones and worked up to the lightest values. Pretty straightforward overall.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Eye On The Sky

                         Eye On The Sky                                                 oil           11" x 14"

I couldn't decide whether to post this as a fly fishing painting or a landscape, but it turned out to be a bit of both. I've been wanting to paint sky and clouds and that's what mostly came through here . This has a cad. red underpainting that was applied thinly but enough to provide a basic value plan. Working off of a warm tone really gives the blues and grays more depth I think.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Island Breeze

Island Breeze                                                                                                    9" x 12"     oil

In my last post I talked a bit about how I create color from my imagination when the photo source doesn't suit me. This is another one of those. The scene is from Hawaii, where I shot several photos while we drove though a small town on a scenic drive. I remember seeing various lines of laundry and flapping towels which is what I wanted to paint, but didn't have the right photo source for it. I invented the laundry line for added color, but also to emphasize the idea of the breeze shown in the movement of the palm branches.

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

You Should've Been There

         You Should've Been There                                                                oil              9" x 12"

Another of those paintings that was hard to photograph! I believe when there is high contrast, it makes it more difficult for the camera to read variations in color. The Boise river was the location from the photo and most of the color in reality, is pretty humdrum and gray, I used my imagination to create something more interesting. It may be time to practice some monochrome works though as that is always good practice.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

River Color

       River Color                                                       oil                                       8" x 10"

I'm always fishing for color in a painting and the Big Horn River provided it for me last summer. I used some black on my palette this time and liked mixing some of the earthy greens you can get with it. It was a good contrast with the bright greens and warm backlit areas behind the grasses.
View / Purchase

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Matched Pair

         A Matched Pair                                                   oil                                                9" x 12"

Another painting from an old photo I took outside an Antique Shop years ago. This one is almost monochromatic and I enjoyed working that way for a chance. 
Here is an update on Zest- It . My order was cancelled and apparently it can no longer be shipped to the U.S. I checked with Jackson's and Rosemary brushes. But, I am now looking into an air purifier and will see if I can go forward with a safer studio in a different way. If any of you use one in your studio, I'd love hearing about your experience with it. 

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Garlic Basket

Garlic Basket           12" x 9"     oil on linen

I thought it would be interesting and fun to paint this image in oil after painting it in watercolor many years ago. The watercolor is much larger but I heightened many of the same color notes, using violets and cool blues to contrast with the gold tones of the boxes and garlic skins. I may change the size of the garlic though...... these would definitely be categorized as 'elephant garlic'!!

Below is the watercolor version:

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cougar Gulch, Barn In Winter

Cougar Gulch, Barn In Winter        8" x 10"                 oil

This barn is one of my all time favorites for it's angles and the way it sets back into the trees. It is in North Idaho and we used to pass it every day on our way home. It always seemed to have blue shadows and a sort of quiet about it, regardless of the time of year. I have always enjoyed painting and drawing it and today was no exception.

In a side note, I have ordered Zest-It (available in the UK, not the US) and will let you know how I like it ,as a replacement for mineral spirits.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Toward Challis

      Toward Challis                  oil on linen panel          9" x 12"

Once again, I am drawn to an old photo. I continue to work with the correct feel of the paint, as I try to replace Gamsol (oms) with walnut oil or in this case Liquin. It's a tricky business!

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Shimmer - Light On The Water

              Shimmer                oil on linen panel          9" x 12"

This one is about the light. I did use a fisherman as a bit of interest in the water and to break up the horizontal plane. But, the fun part was creating those barely warm sparks of light shimmering on top the dark water.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lochsa Shadows

        Lochsa Shadows             8"  x 10"           oil on linen panel

Today my intention was to use interesting grays. I have warm and cool grays in both the light and dark areas with just a few pure colors around the feet and water of the figure. I like the fact that it is a little 'different', but am still mulling over some of the values overall. This painting has a lot of subtle color mixing, which was difficult to get accurate in the photo. I may post again with changes to try and resolve that. Below is a detail

Lochsa Shadows - detail

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