The rediscovery of my love for Plein Air Painting is now complete. I spent 2 weeks driving around Coeur d’Alene ID and painting outside. The beauty of where we live has brought my artist’s soul back to life. The art expedition involved multiple trips, cruising around, and sightseeing till I noticed a great view. Then, stopping to hop out, set up the easel, and paint my heart out.
This was the first plein air I did during the art expedition. An old barn stopped me on the road and I had to back up to go see it. The old barn won an honorable mention ribbon and was the first painting sold in our booth.
I pulled into a slow vehicle turn out to let traffic go by, and this guy greeted me right up front and center. What a personality this tree stump has. He didn’t win a ribbon but there was one young man who fell in love with it. He went off and brought back his whole family to vote for it as the people’s choice.
This painting won the “People’s Choice” award for the plein air booth. Bloomin Wet is a close-up view from the bank of the water full of blooming lily pods, grasses, reeds, and lots of mosquitos.
1 Demo Painting
As described in a previous post, I did a demo of plein air painting from some fresh sunflowers in the booth during the Art on the Green show.
This small 4″ x 4″ demo sold. There is another partially done one that I intend to finish in the studio. I’ll share about that when it is done.
The 55th Art on the Green ( AoG) Festival was a pleasure to experience. We had the distinct pleasure of being right next to Jessica Bryant’s booth making it possible to get to know her over the weekend. She is an amazing watercolor artist doing landscapes that just blow you away. A fascinating individual with so many interesting stories about traveling and painting in her life. Jessica’s beautiful brainchild started two years ago, to help with the KEA fundraising and increasing public awareness.
The Plein Air show was sponsored by both “Art on the Green” (AoG) and the “Kootenai Environmental Alliance” (KEA) non-profit. They promote, “clean water efforts” in the Lake Coeur d’Alene water drainage basin area. The booth celebrated area artists who participate in the creation of art that is created outside while experiencing the beautiful surroundings around the lake.
We were located in the middle, close to the food booths and the stage. The entertainment included great music and phenomenal singers all day. The music inspired people to get up and dance, and even some toddlers got up to dance to the music. A great family fun day for everyone.
Even though the plein air painting contest requires that I spend a lot of time in the two weeks prior looking for views and painting outside. It is worth putting up with the “sun and bugs” because I love painting outside so much.
Each day Fanie Van (first place winner), and I did plein air painting demos, using fresh sunflowers from my garden. People were relaxed and easy to talk with us and were eager to cast their votes on their favorites for “People’s Choice”. A lot of the paintings were sold and it was a successful show all around. This will remain an event that I look forward to being a part of next year.
We received a surprise treasure in the mail today. It is a perfect rendering of a magnificent ‘BLUEBIRD DAY OF SKIING” at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah last year. Kylie, you are an amazing artist, thank you! I look forward to more art by you, especially in this subject.
Pete and I had the privilege of teaching our granddaughters to ski years ago on this same hill. Many years have passed and both of these great girls have families of their own now. They are some of the dearest individuals in our lives.
Last year, we had the triple privilege of helping to teach Nick, Jace, and Kylie skiing fundamentals. Can you believe it, grandson, and great-grandkids? We were able to ski with all four of them while we enjoyed some of the most beautiful days up on that hill last year. It ain’t easy to learn how to ski but it is truly worth the effort. It is unexpressible to try and describe the happiness that they all had. Pete and I always have loved to ski.
“Ski Bums” and proud of it. We are addicts, that is all there is to it. Any day of skiing beats almost anything else out in winter. We are aging and sometimes the aches and pains get our attention in the evenings, but that does not take the joy away that skiing down pristine winter landscapes gives us. The views, endless gorgeous skyline, crisp wind in the face, and the butterflies fluttering in your belly as you challenge yourself coming down the slope. The absolute best fun you can have without having to worry about having bail money handy.
Sarah, you still ski like a dream. Thank you for including us in your family outings, we love sharing this fun with you.
We set up for the SIB (Spokane In Bloom) garden show this year at a beautiful local residence on the south hill.
“Hear the Wind Garden” is the creation of Jody & Todd Hechtman at 2020 E 23rd Ave, Spokane, WA. This is the front of their home where people entered the garden. The Hechtmans have a beautiful garden and home that is truly a hidden gem on the south hill. There are a lot of shady tree areas surrounded by beautiful landscaping and it feels almost like walking through a park.
As you start down the path a very peaceful mood envelopes you. There are large trees, with equally impressive boulders with moss as you walk on the winding concrete walkway. You can’t help but notice the amazing assortment of beautiful blossoms and plants all around. Artisan booths are strategically placed encouraging talking and picture-taking of the wonderful horticulture skills on exhibit. There are gorgeous massive planters filled with a bright array of foliage. Stairs climb the small hills showing you what surprise hides around the next bend.It is a very worthwhile, and interesting little stroll to take. This is the real jewel to enjoy. It is a private little retreat to relax and enjoy a quiet little respite from city life. The back deck is a little piece of heaven to take a rest. More steps lead up to the exit walkway on the other side of the house where our booth was located. I did not get any pictures of our own booth after setup. Hopefully, someone at, “The Inland Empire Gardeners“ group got some pictures and would feel like sharing. If that is you please be sure to contact me and let us know.
This is one of the most enjoyable local events that we look forward to taking part in each year. The people visiting the gardens are interesting and intelligent. Talking about gardening with other gardeners is a lot of fun.
The last time we did this invitational art show was in 2019 (before COVID). We are looking forward to seeing the art, food, and gorgeous gardens full of wonderful like-minded “garden lovers” to enjoy the day with. It is so much fun to talk with people who love to garden just like you do.
The Spokane in Bloom Garden Tour is an annual event along with the Garden Expo presented by the local garden club, “The Inland Empire Gardeners“. We want you to have a good time as you get to visit with other gardeners, artists, and craft vendors. Between 600-800 are anticipated to attend the garden tour throughout Saturday.
Come see us at the “Hear the Wind Garden” which is the creation of Jody & Todd Hechtman at 2020 E 23rd Ave, Spokane, WA 99203. Directions to the “Hear the Wind Garden“, starting at 29th & Regal, right on E 29th Ave. Right on S Southeast Blvd. Left on E Rockwood Blvd. Left on S Crestline St. Right on E 23rd Ave.
Our booth will be exhibiting art originals and prints for sale by myself, Valerie Woelk. There are colorful watercolors, oil paintings, and drawings of a wide range of subjects. There are a lot of unframed originals, that are economical since we didn’t frame them. The last time we did the show in 2019, every bagged watercolor original sold.
Actually, the very best part of our day then was the conversations we had with others who love to garden just as much as we do. Hummingbirds were a frequent subject, and every kind of flower was fully described and discussed.
Noticing the remnants of life around me. After a great visit with our family in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, we started the long drive home. Aspen are magical, as they transform the color of an entire mountainside in Fall. They take my breath away. My husband and I stopped on the side of the road and took a short walk to stretch our legs and reenergize. We followed what looked like an old game trail meandering up the hill.
A Beautiful Spot
Suddenly, as we crested the hill we came upon a beautiful meadow with a patch of brilliant yellow aspens just a little way off in the distance. There was this great old fencepost standing with a lean, he was all tangled up in barbed wire and I could see where the fence line was long ago. There were multiple posts leaning and falling down in a line leading away from us.
I wondered what kind of stories that old fence post could tell if he could talk. That post was where a gate had hung, at the base of a beautiful expanse of grazing land. Was this a large farm or ranch in the past? Were there cattle, horses, gardens, homes, and barns? This artist’s mind kicked into high gear then. Wouldn’t it be great to explore and see if the story from a long time ago could be found? Are there pioneer cabins back there? Big ole’ log barns? Ponds?
Where did all the people go? Standing there, we were very much alone as the sun sank further down in the sky. I took some photographs of this sturdy old cracked fence guardian before leaving.
His, “Remnants of Life” will remain a secret, but the beauty of the land that he guards will be seen by whoever views this painting.
Coeur d’Alene Figure Drawing get-togethers have started again at Terry Lees studio, and I am so happy. There is nothing as greatly inspiring to an artist as drawing with other artists. Practicing from a live model really improves my art skills significantly. This week was drawing from a nude figure. The human form changes with even a slight shift in weight distribution or a little change in the direction of gaze.
Last night we did a few 5-minute and a few 20-minute poses. I am obviously a little rusty after three months of no practice. Or, even a lot rusty. By the last 20-minute pose I was able to say, okay it is coming back. So, on the way to improvement always.
It will be a clothed portraiture 3-hour session. You bring your own supplies, to draw or paint. As a group, we ask that you use odorless spirits if you are using oil paints. There are benches and easels in Terry’s studio to borrow. The cost is $15 for each session (to help pay the model), and it goes from 5:30 to 8:30 pm on select Mondays… Terry lets us know about the dates he is able to schedule a model via email. With good attendance, we have even had a class each Monday night before, so spread the word.
Terry Lee is a very talented artist friend of mine in Coeur d’Alene ID. Did you know we had such a talented individual living so close by? He has a beautiful website showing the galleries and types of work he does.
I just discovered this great YouTube Video about his monument sculpture process. It is quite informative. I am even going to take some sculpture classes when he has them. You wouldn’t believe the big sculptures in his studio. Inspirational.
Terry continues to be a wonderful inspiration to me in my own art. A truly cool dude! Check out his video! If viewing this inspires you, please like and follow him and help spread the word. Artists supporting other artists!
Practicing figure & portrait drawing or painting. Driving down to Coeur d’Alene ID to Terri Lee’s studio last night I experienced another evening with fellow artists, painting and drawing from a live model. This is actually an alternate definition of “Heaven” to any artist. Figure drawing always improves my art.
Our model normally does nude figure poses in multiple positions allowing quick impressions and sketches. This evening she remained clothed for three hours, taking the same pose each session for 20-minutes with breaks between. The increased time enables us to get up close and concentrate on her facial features. She is a young lean gymnastically active figure. Her features include dark hair, smooth soft pastel skin, and beautiful green eyes. We all loved her bright red Christmas turtleneck sweater and her charming personality. I look forward to figure-drawing with her again.
Since Terri is off taking care of sculpture work in Montana, you can see a cool video about his sculpture process here. It was an all-female group this time and some gorgeous work came out of this last winter session along with friendly chatter about the ways of life for an artist.
I will miss these Monday night drawing sessions so I plan on getting more involved so Terri doesn’t have to handle all of it. Having this kind of opportunity to meet others and improve is absolutely priceless. I love my artist dates hanging out with “birds of a feather” as I strive to improve my individual art skills by hanging out with people more talented than myself. It is so inspiring to talk and share secrets with like souls in this creative profession. Every time I make the effort to set up my supplies and drive down to Coeur d’Alene ID to make it to this my soul comes home with lasting a smile. It is an infusion of hope and inspiration with contact with other artists.
You must go see, “I Heard the Bells” at the Regal Theatres in Northtown. I guarantee you that it is absolutely worth the trip to town. Our dear friends invited us to go to Spokane and see this movie yesterday afternoon and what a blessing it was. I believe it was the best movie I have seen in years. Can’t wait to buy a copy of it on DVD so we can watch it every year.
The acting was absolutely inspirational. The story of the Longfellow family will embrace your heart. You will never listen to that beautiful “I Heard the Bells”, song again without thinking of this story in the background.