Monday, February 28, 2011

February Challenge

My art group has a monthly challenge that involves painting from pictures,  There were three photographs for February.  This project's "historical" name is "Subject to Interpretation," and this is the second year we've done it in the Winter when we can't work outside--en plein air.

I approached this a little differently than I usually do--and interpreted the three paintings together as one abstract.  To do that, I made a black and white printout of each photograph, and then traced over each on the same sheet of tracing paper so that I had a line drawing with some interesting shapes, but nothing really recognizable. 

I then transferred the transfer paper drawing to a full sheet of watercolor, and added some more lines because some of the areas were not "interesting."  That's when the fun began.  I painted various shapes, leaving a large white center, as I learned in a John Salminen workshop.  I used a limited number of colors and tried to link some of the shapes.  It's all about shapes!!!!  

It's not finished, but February 2011 is coming to an end, and it needs to be posted on the group blog,

PS:  Hope you enjoy the fish shapes!!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

From Nancy----A Dragonfly Card Holder and A Heart Rock

My friend Nancy gave me these treasures a couple of months ago, and I am only now getting the painting done.  It is a card and I will see her tomorrow night and give it to her then.  I call it a Dragonfly card holder, but it kind of defies description.  I put a postcard of Mount Fuji in it, but could put in a recipe or a business card of someone I want to call or a quote I like.  Many possibilities!  The heart rock is natural....found by Nancy and shaped like a heart.  She looks for them and makes them into magnets.  So much fun.  I plan to look for heart rocks in my future walks on beaches and trails, and whereever I am.  My kitchen chair is in the background as this was on the kitchen table when I painted it.  Thanks, Nancy!   You're all heart!!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From Mary: An Adorable Little Elf and A Box of Tasty Granola

My step-daughter Mary is really more than that to me.  Closer to a daughter, just like her sisters Elizabeth (my beloved Howard) died over three years ago, we have remained family.  Mary and I (and her adorable daughter Rebecca, who is granddaughter to me) had dinner recently.  We hadn't seen each other since Thanksgiving.  Mary gave me an adorable elf.  Some might call it a Christmas ornament, but it seems to be a kitchen elf--something I learned would bring me a little chuckle every day.  She also gave me a box of the granola she makes and sells at farmer's markets--so good!!!!  It won't last as long as the elf.   My thankfulness for the beautiful people in my life continues......

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Orchids from Virginia

My dad died a little over a year ago.  He was 90, and had a full and beautiful life, but it was hard to loose him.  His "significant other," Virginia has become one of my best friends.  We sent each other flowers on the same day...a year after his death.  She sent me orchids and so I needed to make another "thank you" card.  Thank you, Virginia, for your support, friendship, and many gifts.  LOVE YA!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's almost Valentine's Day

And I make a valentine every year...primarily for the special women in my life, but the men usually enjoy them, too.  This year, I chose to make a little painting that would feature a dress and hat that are special to me.  My mother made them for my daughter Louisa when she was three years old.  She loved "Little House on the Prairie" and "Holly Hobby."  Remember, it was the seventies!!!!  I still had the dress and hat and sent them to Louisa a few months ago. She now has a family of her own, including Sophia---who is three years old.  When I visited recently, Sophia wore the dress and it warmed my heart.  Even more, I believe Sophia knew the whole thing was special and why.  Grandaughters are sooooo sweet!!!

And, just for fun...I like to add a back view and put it on the back of the card:

With love, Carolyn

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This is BIG WORK.  For several months I have been working on a mural in a classroom at the First Unitarian Church.  The students who use this classroom are mostly six and seven year olds.  It is also used by teenagers.  This mural is not finished, but it is close.  The artist friend working with me is Lynda Byers, and we have had a lot of fun and challenges.  We are planning on leaving the foreground pretty simple, but changing the color of it...although it looks pretty good in this picture.  The kids who use the classroom can paste on things they come to mind, but it could be animals, children....who knows?   This has been very interesting.  I actually find that I would like to do another mural.  The white diagonals at the top are light fixtures, just in case you were wondering.  It's about 8 feet by 24 feet.  Actually, that's a guess.  I should measure it!   Another time, I will post a picture of the mural in the next room, which is being painted by my artist friend Jim Grondsand. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Two Bookmarks from Patty

Back to my project of painting any gifts given to friend Patty gave me a dragonfly bookmark that is very beautiful.  It is too pretty to hide in a book, actually.  She also gave me a bookmark from the Japenese Garden, and I took the lantern from that--I had to excercise some "artistic license."  (In case you wonder, I really do have an artistic license and it is on display in the Plum Gallery.)  Patty is a poet and a reader and a wonderful woman...these are so much "her," and the dragonfly acknowledges my little group of friends we call "dragonflies"--Patty is part of that.  Thanks, Patty--it is so pretty! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter Project-Portland Plein Air and Studio Painters

My plein air art group is not doing much outdoor painting right now.  It is pretty cold and wet out there!!  We have a project to do our interpretive paintings from photographs.  It's part of what goes on "behind the scenes" with us.  For January, we could choose one of three and I chose a still life.  This is the painting.  It is a watercolor and is about 15" by 28"--unframed and unmatted at this point.  I much prefer painting from life, but this is a fun excercise and gives us a chance interpret the same subject, and we usually do it in very different ways.  The others can be seen at, which includes results of some of my artist friends who painted this scene, one of the other two, or a combination.  We have new projects for February!