In the Studio Today... Holiday Art; "Kirigami"

Happy Holidays, Everyone! I am taking a break from painting to be with my family for a couple weeks, and wanted to share some snowflake Kirigami we made at a tree toast this month, and some "how to" information, so you too can have fun making some snowflakes this winter! Here is a page from a booklet I have from a kirigami kit (great holiday gift for all ages, btw... the kit is called, "Unfold the Secrets of Kirigami, by AITOH). Order kit online at Dick Blick Art Store...And... for some even more advanced patterns, here are a few additional links for inspiration:
•  Kirigami on Flickr  (by lizabubba)
•  Amazingly Ornate Scenes in Kirigami by Vermont Artist, Cynthia Emerlye

Have fun! Back with more painting in the new year.  Keep creating!

In the Studio Today... Album Cover Session #5

Thursday, December 6, 2007
Still working on this commission... I decided to paint the sides "black", although, no black was used in the painting of this painting. I still mix my own "blacks" from phalo blue, alizarin crimson, burnt umber and other combinations... Still not perfectly happy with the band member faces, but I hope they are close enough to be acceptable. Scroll down to see the work in progress... Once again, it's the back side of the cd/album insert for the Black Crows, "A Southern Harmony & Musical Companion" done in oil on a 24" x 24" canvas.

In the Studio Today... Album Cover Session #4

Wednesday Evening, December 5, 2007
Okay, I am frustrated on this painting...I am having a horrible time doing the faces/portrait part of this. I have reworked many of the faces way to many times, and I feel that they will never quite look like the actual people. I realize now why I love landscapes so much... they are more forgiving to paint- if an angle is a bit off, no one really knows.

In the Studio Today... Album Cover Session #3

Wednesday Morning, December 5, 2007
Commission from album cover: The Black Crows, "Southern Harmony & Musical Companion". 24" x 24". I added more details in faces and on clothing, in the background as well. I do not draw on my canvas first, nor do I project, so I paint like a sculptor, and just keep carving out changes until I think it looks close enough to the original with out looking too much like a photo. I like to leave brushstrokes loose in the background, so it looks like a painting. See previous 2 sessions below.

In the Studio Today... Album Cover Day #2

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I added more details today, including starting in on the faces of the band members. This is a commissioned painting, 24" x 24", of a cd/album booklet photo from the Black Crow's, "A Southern Harmony & Musical Companion".

In the Studio Today... Album Cover Commission

Sunday, December 2, 2007This is the start of a commissioned painting of the back side of a cd/album; a photo of the band members of the Black Crows. The album is called "The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion". I am reproducing it on a thick canvas, 24" x 24". Yes, I do commissions of all types! Stay tuned to see how this turns out over the next couple weeks.

Graphic Design & Photography Services

I work as a Print Production artist, specializing in organic and natural foods and sustainable products. If you would like to hire me for print design, presentation graphics, web graphics, or photography needs, please email me. I do not currently build web sites, but I can get you set up using and help you put graphics into your site. I manage changing digital content and create graphics for websites that are already designed. I have CMS experience adding content in Joomla and Wordpress. I have basic HTML and CSS knowledge. I license my paintings and photographs. Please contact me for your fine art licensing needs.

C.Proppé Design Portfolio

In the Studio Today... Wendy Gruber Auction

Saturday, November 10, 2007It was my great pleasure to attend the Wendy Gruber Auction last night at the Mill Valley Community Center. Rick Klein, Wendy's husband, presented me with the first Wendy Gruber Career Development grant. I also met some very renowned Marin artists that I have admired for some time, including Chris Adessa, and Kay Carlson. I look forward to using the funds to frame my work for my next shows in Marin County, at the San Anselmo Inn and the Tiburon Library. I will also purchase a backpacker easel, additional supplies for painting plein air, and promotional postcards to advertise my shows. Thank you, Marin Arts Council and the friends and family of Wendy Gruber.

In the Studio Today... Wendy Gruber Career Grant

Friday, November 2, 2007
It is with great pleasure, and humble gratitude that I wish to thank the Marin Arts Council and the Wendy Gruber Foundation for honoring me this year with the Wendy Gruber Award; a grant for career development in the arts. Although I did not know Wendy, she was an award winning, beautiful and young, plein air artist who lost her battle with Leukemia just last year. Wendy wrote, "I want the grasses I paint to keep blowing after the piece is finished". I am honored to be able to keep blowing the grasses with Wendy in spirit.

Please read more about Wendy and the auction organized by her family and friends to raise funds for the Wendy Gruber Artist Fund, which supports grants to artists, such as the one I am receiving from MAC. You may attend the auction or bid online in the next 6 days... online bidding closes this coming Thursday.

Wendy Gruber Artist Fund Auction
November 9, 2007
6:00 -10:00 pm
Mill Valley Community Center
180 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA

Absentee Bidding Closes
November 8, 2007 - 5:00pm pst

Ticket Reservations
Limited seating. Tickets sold at the door based on availability only.
To Purchase Tickets
Call 415.435.7081 or Email

In the Studio Today...MALT & October Landscapes

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
What a busy month! I thought the kids going to kindergarten would provide more painting time, but as it turns out, this is a time for parents to become involved and volunteer in all kinds of school events. One of the most spectacular field trips I have ever attended was in Petaluma, at the Spring Hill Dairy Farm and Peter Pumpkin Patch. Perfect day for painting, but I took lots of photos for future reference.

My latest business efforts this month have included a very small show at the last Sausalito Art Walk of the season, followed by application to MALT's Ranches and Rolling hills art show for 2008. I learned today that my plein air painting from Fairfax Fresh Farm sold at the event to the owner of Sol Food in San Rafael. What an honor! The GREEN restaurant has purchased one of my organic farm paintings at a GREEN event. Truly verdant business all around.

In the Studio Today...Mt. Tam; Session #3

Saturday, October 6, 2007
"Mt. Tam, from Corte Madera Creek" 16" x 20"
This started as a plein air painting yesterday, Friday. It has been reworked in two more studio sessions. I enjoyed this composition with the rocks in the foreground, as the two rocks echo the shape of the two mountains; Mt. Tam and King Mountain in Larkspur.

In the Studio Today...Inverness Sky; Day #2

Monday, October 1, 2007
"Inverness Sky" 24"x 36" o/c
Day two on this large painting of Inverness and the old Pt. Reyes boat.

In the Studio Today... Inverness Sky #1

Friday, September 28, 2007
"Inverness Sky" 24" x 36" o/c
I started blocking out the colors and shapes in this painting today. I did another painting of this boat this spring for my show at the Two Bird Cafe, but that painting was a close up of the boat. This one is much more of a landscape that happens to have the boat as one of it's elements.

In the Studio Today... our changing landscapes

sunday night, september 23, 2007
i love to paint landscapes, and if the preservation of a place or time somewhere makes someone happy, this is simple enough of a reason for why i do what i do... but there is a wave in the art and science world, a growth of artists and those concerned about our changing environment, and they are creating art that challenges, questions, reflects and educates on global warming and science. i often wonder if i should be challenging myself more in my painting, and attempting to join this troop of educators and thinkers... but most days, i just enjoy being able to preserve a moment in time on canvas that i know someone will appreciate, and may be a sense of joy, healing or calming in their life... i imagine it is hard to sell art that speaks of things that worry us and concern us, yet this is the great art that ends up in the museum of modern art, that draws crowds; a spectacle of something new and different that challenges your mind.

recently, i have read about 2 shows of this genre in the new york times, and i thought i would post their links here. the articles are well worth a read and the artists are all working to spread the word about the truths, emotions and effects of global warming on our culture and planet.

• here is the first link to a new york times article about olafur eliasson..Thinking Glacially, Acting Artfully
Olafur Eliasson

Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland

• fortunate to live in the bay area, i can go learn more about this fascinating artist and view a wonderful show at sfmoma of olafur eliasson's works. i plan to visit this week. you can view much of the installation layout and read people's comments at the sfmoma blog for olafur's show. once there, you see much of his work involves the study of light, water, mist and it's affects on color and perception. it is amazing and absolutely fitting that an artist from iceland would bring this vision to us.. after visiting iceland, i can really attest to the fact that it is a place to marvel at the stunning mysteries and art of nature. i can't wait to absorb this show in person. one of my favorite comments on the blog is by critic, david littlejohn. he writes of the artist's art car design for bmw;
"BMW pretends to be pleased with the result, even though commentators have interpreted it as a statement about the obsolete nature of automobiles–like this prehistoric mammoth dug out of the ice; an image of foolish speed frozen solid (de-iced and whole, the car reached 187 mph); and a warning about global warming. In defense of BMW and the museum, I should add that the original car used liquid hydrogen rather than gasoline; and all the energy required to keep a 9600-cubic-foot refigerator running at 14º F 24 hours a day for six months comes not from fossil fuels, but from a field of environmentally benign geysers and underground geothermal energy sources, 72 miles north of San Francisco–a very Icelandic gesture."

• here is a second article, not related to olafur eliasson's work, about a show of modern art by scientists paired with artists in colorado based on global warmingLooking for Inspiration in Melting Ice

In the Studio Today...New Notecards & Postcard

Sunday, September 23, 2007
Now Available... Set of 4 Cycling themed notecards, printed professionally on matte cardstock. $10. per set. I will have some for sale at the Sausalito Artwalk, October 10, 5:30-8:30pm, or order online.
New Postcards Available, announcing my upcoming shows. FREE! Email me if you would like me to mail you some.
Inside of new postcard, with room to write and send...

In the Studio Today... Sausalito Bike Session #3

Friday Evening, September 21, 2007
"Big Red waits patiently for next Sausalito Cruise" 12" x 24" o/c
Session #3... I added details and fun abstract brushwork. Click this first image to see the paintng larger. I am ordering a black, plein air frame for this painting. See photo (below) with frame....

In the Studio Today... Sausalito Bike Session #2

Friday, September 21, 2007"Big Red waits patiently for next Sausalito Cruise" 12" x 24" o/c
Day 2 on this little painting of a bike I saw near the marina in Sausalito. It was begging to go for a ride, like a dog tied outside. I look forward to adding the warm, cherry red highlights and makiing the bike "pop" from the background. Stay tuned...

In the Studio Today... Tour of California

(2/2007 on Caledonia St.-1st Stage of the Tour of California -C.Proppé)
Announcing my upcoming shows in California...

October 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 5:30-8:30pm
Last Caledonia Street Art Walk of 2007!
I'll be at my easel on Caledonia, with artists, musicians and performers!

January-February 2008
Solo show at The San Anselmo Inn
339 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo, CA
Opening Reception TBA

March 2008
Opening Reception March 11, 2008 5-7pm
Double Vision: Show with fellow artist Kate Peper
2 completely different approaches to the same landscapes
Belvedere-Tiburon Library

In the Studio Today... Sonoma Plein Air

Saturday, September 15, 2007
Today was the final exhibition of the artists work after a week of plein air painting at the Sonoma Plein Air Competition. Kate and I spoke with several artists, including the "Best of Show" winner, Tim Horn, of Fairfax, CA. It was wonderful to hear about how the artists completed 8 or more paintings in just one week, and then quickly framed their paintings last night, before today's show. Many of the paintings are still wet! I spoke with last year's best of show winner, Nancy McDonald. It was wonderful to be able to hear first hand about some of the paintings.While Kate viewed a live, watercolor demonstration, I was able to do a quick sketch with some big, chalk pastels on one of the easels left out for anyone to "Have fun!" and sketch. I didn't notice too many people taking advantage of this free easel time, so I jumped right in! My little sketch was very quick, but I had fun.

In the Studio Today... Tiburon Library Show

Friday, September 14, 2007
Watercolor artist, Kate Peper and I were granted a month from the Juried Art selection team at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library. We will be having a show together in March 2008. Our reception will be 5-7pm on March 11, 2008. Stay tuned!

In the Studio Today... Mt. Tam_Session #2

Monday, September 10, 2007
Mt. Tamalpais from the Watershed above Fairfax, CA 11" x 14" o/c
Session #2 on this painting... a couple hours in my home studio, working from a reference photo I took on location yesterday. This is one instance where beginning a painting "plein air" could not have been more important! The choice to paint the trees in the foreground and concentrate on their colors and shadow shapes would never have been made from the photo I took. You had to be there on site to see the vivid salmon color below the branches of the oak tree. This did not translate at all in the photo I took.

In the Studio Today... Mt. Tam

Sunday, September 9, 2007
Plein Air from my old stomping grounds up in the Mt. Tam Watershed... Secret Location... if I reveal it, I'll have to kill you... sorry. Visted this evening with my oldest friend from the Bay Area, Christine Johnson, and my dogs. Quest, now 14 years old, was absolutely delighted to be back on these trails. The spot hasn't changed in seven years, once again, nature reminding me to look at "The Big Picture".

In the Studio Today... Bolinas Bike Study

Saturday, August 25, 2007
Bolinas Beach Bike Study 6" x 6" Oil Pastel, pencil and scratch removal on canvas. This tiny oil pastel study was from a day trip to Bolinas this month, and I hope to do some larger oil paintings of this scene. I love the contrast of the background, blue sky and water with the warm, foreground colors: the orange bike and pinks in the wall. This is the first study I've done in several weeks. I have just about survived 6 straight weeks of summer vacation with my sons out of school. They begin Kindergarten Monday! I am definitely excited to have more time to paint again.

In the Studio Today... Taste of Marin 2007

"Small things, lovingly done,
are always within our reach."
-David James Duncan
The above phrase was last year's toast by speaker, Paul Hawken, to the growers, non-profits and all of those present at our county's biggest fundraising event for Marin Organic, MALT, and the Marin Farmer's Market. This year's event will take place on August 26, 2007. I am honored to be able to donate and share one of my paintings done on a Marin Organic farm for this event. As I write this today, I have also watched the mail carrier pick up my donation and letter to MALT from the percentage of my sales at the Two Bird Cafe. In January, when I started this blog, I would not have imagined being capable of either of these two, very large things for a busy mother of twins to accomplish. But the truth lies in the above quote, which I feel is so true, for all human beings... That if you keep doing good things, very small things each day, they will lead to something larger; a "way of life" that cares for and nurtures life on this earth.

About the Painting:
"Lemon Tree" Fairfax Fresh Farm, Fairfax, CA 24" x 30", o/c.
This is a fun, loose interpretation of what I saw at Fairfax Fresh last week. The lighting was great and dappled spots of warm and bright light shone through the taller trees above while I painted in the shade. I have donated this painting to the Marin event "Taste of Marin" at St. Vincent's School for Boys this August 26th. Click here for more information or "Taste of Marin" tickets.

In the Studio Today...Lemon House#2

Sunday, July 15, 2007
"Fairfax Fresh" 16" x 20" o/c. View of Patti Elliot's Home and Organic Meyer Lemon Farm overlooking Mt. Tamalpais, Fairfax, CA. This is the second session, painting from composited images on top of my plein air work from yesterday. I am happy with the way it came together. The photo of the lemons and the rooster I used for reference were taken from my first day visiting the farm, so this is a piece that took 3 days of work to complete. My partner came up with a great quote regarding my paintings..."A Proppé is not done in a day." I think he is correct.. I usually take about 3 sessions to finish my canvases, regardless of their size.

In the Studio Today... Lemon House Session#1

Saturday, July 14, 2007
"Fairfax Fresh Lemons" o/c 16" x 20" Plein air painting at Fairfax Fresh, a Marin Organic Farm run by Patti Elliot. I painted with Patti today, and enjoyed the views of Mt. Tam, the changing light and the dogs. I created this montage of images this evening in Photoshop, as I would like to include the lemon branches, rooster and dog in the painting. Sometimes, I do combine images in Photoshop, and then paint from these prints. It is always best to work on site, plein air, to start, so you get the best colors/contrast and natural lighting. Then, I can add details, such as the dog and lemons, from my photos in the studio back at home. This is the second painting produced from Fairfax Fresh location, and I am sure it will not be the last- It is a wonderful spot to paint, with great company too!

In the Studio Today... On Motivation

My biggest heroes are not necessarily artists, but people that have found motivation and inspiration in spite of enormous obstacles or loss. Christopher Reeve, Hellen Keller... Read "Psychology in Context, Voices and Perspectives" ISBN 0-395-95962-4. One of the best books of the many I read in the RN program at College of Marin.

I was always drawing from a young age, attended art schools, and worked as a computer artist... but I never really felt the "need" to paint full-time until my late 30's. I am a survivor of divorce, having lost my best friend and creative soul mate in life after 10 years. I still have not recovered from this loss, almost nine years later, and at this point in time, I truly believe there is a part of me that never will heal. My friends are still perplexed as to why I can't seem to rid my mind of this person after so long, after I have gained so much in my own life; a family, children, a successful art career. My goal is to overcome this loss with the grace and dignity of my heroes, but to truly overcome loss, we must express ourselves and share what we learn. Bottling pain and grief up inside is not a way to get over loss, but when no one wants to hear you anymore, you can turn to art or other ways of communication that are interpretive and not as direct. Recently, the BA Photographers Collective, Berkeley, had a show exploring differenct aspects of loss.As an emotional, visual artist, I believe it is hard for me to forget past moments of happiness because I recall them with perfect recollection of color, texture, scents and sound. I will never be able to let go of so many incredible memories, and it is painfully hard to give those up to someone else. Having said all this, I do believe "being emotional" and feeling so deeply is often why artists are so creative and can express so much in their work. I may have a gift, but it comes with a great deal of baggage I must carry around. Having lost so much I had built up and nourished in my past, I still fight the urge to give in to self-pity and express my anger... I fight the urge to mourn my past. Art helps me to move forward, and create rather than destroy and hurt myself and others; but art doesn't mask the pain I still feel almost daily from having lost my best friend.

My advice to others who ever have to face divorce is to wait longer. Go away somewhere for a year. Be still. Don't argue. Don't listen to therapists. Find another space to be still and wait. Listen to your heart. I know this is practically impossible when faced with problems in a relationship, anger and pain. We all tend to explode and hurt, rather than retreat and be quiet with our pain. Yet, after my divorce, I have never loved another in the same capacity. I keep the name Proppé because that was my friend's name, and although he is no longer with me, I have so much of his spirit in me, and so many memories of peace and kindness, beauty and truth that were given from this one soul. I became "Proppé" too, over so many years, and some friends even call me "Proppé" instead of Colleen. Of course there's also the fact that Proppé looks good on an oil painting! : )Cartoon by Goopymart
In the year 2000, after my husband left, I fell into severe depression, eventually learning that I was hypothyroid. Click the link to read about this devastating illness. To really understand it, I would have to say I hurt my friend by being out of control of my own behavior, and neither one of us understood why I was behaving the way I was (I so deeply loved him and never meant to hurt him). My diagonosis explained for me so many things that were really destructive in my relationship; my sleepless nights of keeping my friend awake with chatter, my almost manic behavior at times, my crying too much and for too long... I learned that this illness can truly sneak up on you and destroy your relationships and change your life forever before you even know you have anything wrong with you. With medical treatment, my whole life improved beyond my wildest dreams, and I no longer exhibit any of the symptoms I had for many years before treatment. Yet, it was too late to bring back my best friend, who to this day, I feel was scared of what he did not understand was happening to me, and I do not blame him for leaving. In hindsight, had this tragedy not happened to me, I wouldn't see all people the way I do now, and I probably wouldn't have directed my full energy into my own art.

I know divorce. I know depression. I know mental illness, and recovery. I know being single and pregnant, and fired for becoming pregnant. I know having to look for a job while pregnant. I know being invoved in a 3 year lawsuit, and winning a year's salary. I know housing discrimination in Marin while being single and pregnant. I know being rescued even when you don't want to have to be rescued. I know nursing school, and hospitals. I know twin boys and many other children with special needs. I know many, many divorced and single parents, struggling to do their best every single day. I know hundreds of artists and organic farmers, who all give me hope to keep creating and growing. I know Marin intimately, in a purely visual way that feels like true love. I know being far away from my family when I could use their help and love; I know that being away from them and growing on my own is best too. I know having to let go of two tremendous animal friends during my adult life, my running partners, my dear dogs, alone. I know raising children with a friend that is not your soul mate, but who you need and rely on, none-the-less. I know loving my sons' father in a way that is about family and care in raising children; not in the way young love blossoms, but in the way love can mean stability and protection, and just being able to get up and put your pants on each morning, and get the job done. I am very strong because I have had to go through so much "alone", after losing my friend. Had I not lost my friend, I don't feel I would have learned all that I have, and I certainly wouldn't understand all the situations I do now.
I wouldn't be the spirited woman I am today. I wouldn't have these gorgeous twins that challenge me every single day. I am not afraid of much. I do think I've seen it all, but hope there are some more surprises for me in store along the way. I don't mind being "alone" in my mind. I miss having a soul mate that I spent so much time building my adult life with, but I truly see and care about all people now, and I believe in this art-to love all life; all hardships, all triumphs... I hope it comes through in my art and photography through the years, that I may express it all, whether good or bad, and share openly with others, with out fear. I've heard, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted"... Well, I suppose I have reached 40 years with a hell of a lot of experience. : )

I started this "web log"(aka "blog") in January of 2007. It's been over two years now, and over 200 posts to my blog. I have helped other friends and art groups create their own art blogs, and watched each blossom and fill with enthusiasm for their own projects. In creating my own blog and teaching others, I have not just an artist's journal, but a way of life as a creative thinker, writer, teacher and friend. When I started my blog, I'd hoped it would be positive and healing, and what I found was that it was an artist's tool; a life tool. I still encourage anyone who really is serious about their art to find a way to make just one hour a day for it and use a blog to keep you moving forward. Don't get discouraged if you have to take a week off to be with your family, or do something else that is important, but remember to come back to your web log and art, especially when you really feel like you "need" the outlet of creation. I aspire to "make every obstacle an opportunity", and I feel I am able to move forward with my painting each day because it is a way to stay positive in life, which is always filled with extreme challenges. My challenges have been many, but my art has always helped me get through it all, day by day.

With much love for all the artists and musicians in the world,
and those who have not yet discovered the beauty of the art inside them...
Colleen Proppé- 2009

In the Studio Today... Fairfax Fresh; Session #2

Monday, July 2, 2007
"Lemon Tree" Plein Air at Fairfax Fresh Farm, Fairfax, CA
24" x 30", o/c.
Another hour or so working on the lemon tree. This is a fun, loose interpretation of what I saw at Fairfax Fresh last week. The lighting was great and dappled spots of warm and bright light shone through the taller trees above while I painted in the shade. I have donated this painting to the Marin event "Taste of Marin" at St. Vincent's School for Boys this August 26th. Click here for more information or "Taste of Marin" tickets.

In the Studio Today...Fairfax Fresh: Session #1

Friday, June 29, 2007
Session #1 today on Fairfax Fresh farm in Fairfax, CA. I am beginning a series of paintings for either the "Art on the Farm" exhibit that may take place this Fall in Pt. Reyes, or, these paintings may be donated to Taste of Marin; an evening of food and silent auctions organized by Marin Organic in August. I spent about an hour, blocking out the colors and shapes before I had to leave this peaceful Marin Organic lemon farm in the hills above Fairfax. Prior to this, I had a lovely tour of the property with Patti Elliot, who was about to harvest the trees I was painting from, and take them to Mill Valley to be used by a Gelato maker. Yum! Every where I turned, there was an extraordinary scene I could have chosen to paint: multiple views of Mt. Tam framed by Pacific Oaks, rusty red rooster and hen friends against the pale yellow hay, flowers cascading down the hillside to a birdbath, all below the yellow house and the oak tree with swings and hammock. The view from the driveway includes the GMC truck with the Fairfax Fresh logo on the side. It is surrounded by flowers and framed by oaks and lemon trees. Patti had some very nice small paintings she had done there herself, including one of the truck, and I absolutely see why- It is just an extraordinary place to paint and dwell.

In the Studio Today... Bidding Closed

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The bidding has now closed at the Two Bird Cafe Auction. I am happy to report that 9 paintings were sold, and $525. was raised for MALT. Twice that amount will go back to the Two Bird for hosting the show. I have very much enjoyed doing a show this way, and it has inspired me to continue with the auction format in the future.

For those of you who won final bids, I will be calling you on Monday to notify you. You may leave a check for me at the Two Bird Cafe, or you may pay by credit card at the Two Bird. I believe the credit transaction will cost an additional 2% fee, but you may speak with Tony directly. If you can leave your paintings until July 7th or 8th, this is best for the restaurant, but you are welcome to pick them up when you pay if necessary. Thank you for your support! -Colleen

In the Studio Today... Painting Birdhouses

Monday, June 11, 2007
This weekend has been spent gathering paint and items to paint and decoupage two birdhouses for my sons' teachers, as "end of the year"/class gifts. I had been doing some research online, and I found an article that talks about chemicals in paints and varnishes, and their effects on the birds. It says not to use bright colors, and definitely to use non-toxic paints and special sealers. Then again, maybe all this doesn't matter too much, as my Aunt in Connecticut tells me she has a bright red gourd birdhouse with high gloss finish, and the birds have moved into it for the third year running. The houses were painted with non-toxic, acrylic paint. I scanned in all the kids' photos and made them sepia tone in Photoshop, and reprinted them on photo paper with their names underneath. I used decoupage papers to add the imagery of sticks and leaves around the faces. The apple and the school bus are 25 cents each at Michael's Craft Supplies. It's good to take a break from oil painting once in a while and do a crafty art form that forces you to brainstorm and come up with new ideas. I am thinking of decoupaging some of my paintings onto boxes for gifts... Hmmmm....

In the Studio Today... June Wedding

Monday, June 4, 2007
Wedding of Raechel Shelfer & Edward Titus, June 2, 2007
Marin French Cheese Co., Petaluma, CA
When you paint from life, capturing a moment on canvas is very much like what a nature photographer tries to do... Get that moment of great lighting, get the composition just right, the subject is posed as if it was meant to be doing just what it is doing... When you take a great photo, you just know it when you see it. It does something for your heart, and you jump just a little inside. Wow!.. is often exclaimed. A great painting from life should do this too. Above is a photo I took this weekend of the wedding of Raechel Shelfer of Woodacre, at the Marin French Cheese Co. in Petaluma. Raechel's mother, Michelle, is one of my oldest friends in Marin County. I wanted to share this photo because there are moments when the hills of Marin catch light that make them look so spectactular. We have lots of "wow" moments in Marin, when the fog starts to roll in, and the sun still shines through in unique patterns of light on the land. The rolling hills of the western landscape can be so dramatic in these special moments, and I am so delighted Raechel was wed before the dazzling beauty of this place.

In the Studio Today... Todd's Point; Session #3

Thursday, May 31, 2007
"Sunset at Todd's Point" Old Greenwich, CT
16" x 20" w/natural wood, canvas floater frame
Created for a 2 year installation of Greenwich High School, alumni art students over the past 50 years. Will be on display in downtown Greenwich, CT.

In the Studio Today... Todd's Point; Session #2

Sunday, May 27, 2007
I added more texture to the sky today, and highlights in the water. This is a discolored photo that was taken as it was getting dark out, so the colors are not correct.

In the Studio Today... Todd's Point; Session #1

Friday, May 25, 2007
"Sunset at the Point" Old Greenwich, CT 16" x 20"
This is the first couple hours on a painting to be displayed in an art show in Greenwich, CT. They have organized 50 years of selected alumni art to hang in a 2 year display in my hometown. I chose this image of Todd's Point, in Old Greenwich, CT. This is where I grew up, and I have many fond memories of being with my family at this beach. My parents have been insisting I choose a California Landscape to include in this show, but I really wanted to provide a tribute to my hometown with a painting of a local landscape.

In the Studio Today... White's Hill; Session #3

Thursday, May 24, 2007
"White's Hill from Pine Mt." 16" x 20"
Plein-air and finished in the studio today. I have ordered a natural canvas floater frame for this, and hope to hang it at the Two Bird to add to my show. I think this qualifies in the "images of West Marin" category. I enjoyed starting this as plein-air because when I was out in the field, I had planned to paint Mt. Tam from Pine Mt., but when I got up on the mountain, this was the view that had the most unique colors in it, and I had never painted this scene before, so it was a pleasant surprise.

In the Studio Today... White's Hill; Session #2

Wednesday Night, May 23, 2007
"White's Hill from Pine Mt." 16" x 20"
I've been working on this inside this evening. I painted over the pine bows, and will probably add them in again with more detail tomorrow. I worked on the details in the hills and reworked White's Hill almost completely. It is really hard to not complete a plein air painting on sight because once you bring it home, any photos you have taken for reference are never quite the same angle/size/view that you were seeing on sight.

In the Studio Today... Plein Air at Pine Mt.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007I hiked up Pine Mt. in the Marin Watershed off Fairfax-Bolinas Road with my dogs today. I need a lighter easel... It was a good workout! There is a pine tree about 1/2 way up to the first crest of the Mt., which provides great shade for painting. It was 80 degrees today, so I couldn't have done this with out the tree! I spent about 3 1/2 hours blocking out this painting today. It is White's Hill from Pine Mt., with Loma Alta to the right, I believe...I can't seem to capture the right colors in a photo, even with natural lighting. It is fairly pastel in tone, at the moment.

"White's Hill from Pine Mt." 16" x 20"