Goodmorning, Artist Style!

Rainblow Caterpillar
Rainblow Caterpillar

Good Morning!

Good morning, artist style. This rainbow-colored caterpillar is who greeted me this morning in a fantastic way. It gave me a great pick-me-up. I love that this 10 legged character was the first smile I received today. What great creativity you both have, Thank you, girls!

Friends Warm the Heart

We were lucky to have Bruce Morris and his girls over for a visit on Saturday It was fun to be able to just talk, eat and walk around. Pete worked 30+ years at Kaiser Aluminum on a rotating shift. It’s always wonderful to be able to actually meet his fellow worker friends. You hear a person’s name over and over, through the years but, you don’t really know them. It is virtually impossible to schedule get-togethers when working opposite shifts.

I have met Bruce a few times at the Kaiser yearly Silverwood Company Day. But honestly, this is the first time we have actually been able to visit and get to know him and his girls. Seems like the mystery man “Bruce” has now become a real person to me. Plus, Bruce’s girls are two of the nicest and most talented artists and I can’t wait to be able to draw and paint with them sometime soon.

Friends are More Important Than Ever

The simple things like being able to see and visit with a friend, are really appreciated after extensive periods of confinement. Am so ready to end this Covid 19 quarantine and have a normal friend and family relationships again. I want to enjoy getting my ski legs on and playing with friends on the hill.

Publicly Burning Bras (Masks)?

It is time to march down the main street burning these dang masks…. as far as I am concerned! That is where my head is at!

Okay, Enough Already!

Roses On a Snowy Day

rose bouqet
bouquet of roses up close

Bouquet of Roses

Having roses on a snow day is wickedly awesome! If you know about the 12″ rule, then I know you fully understand what I mean about the snowy the day part. Having a husband who buys you roses and takes you to dinner on that day too, is ever so much more heavenly. You know, I got one heck of a keeper in Peter Woelk!

bouquet of roses on table
bouquet of roses on table

These soft petals are so gorgeous as they coax me to come sit by them. They are just sitting there saying, “Draw me, and paint me Val. By the way, I smell good too – if you’d like to come on over here and sniff.”

My mind says, “Okay, after I get the tomatoes canned today.”  But, the blossoms sit right there arguing with me some more, “Forget about those dang tomatoes”.

I take pictures of them and sniff their wonderful perfume every time I walk past them. Eventually, the flower wins out and I get a piece of paper and begin drawing them in pencil. Hours later, I notice that a lot of time has gone by. Wow, it goes way faster than I thought. Oh, so what. I don’t really have enough time to get the tomatoes done today anyhow and the light is so perfect on that red one right there. I’ll just get out a little watercolor block and try some watercolors because it is so perfect right here and now.

The layout flows easily onto the paper and I happily mix up so colors to wash in where the darker shadows appear. Before I know it, I realize that it is time to start dinner. Oops. I quickly put the paintings on the drying rack in the studio, and clean the brushes. I can pull a ready-to-eat dinner out of the freezer and microwave it, to get things going fast in the kitchen. Whew.

Awesome Coffee Mug

coffee mug
Be Still and Know… coffee mug

Pete got me a wicked awesome coffee mug yesterday, pictured here with some java in it.

Be still and know Psalm 46:10

If you know me you will agree since it is really hard for me to be still ever. Growing up, people like to call me a Portagee. My cousin would laugh cause she would know exactly what that means. Anyhow it is great to be drinking my daily brew from a brand new cup with such a good message on it.

Painting the American Flag

I am painting the American flag on our propane tank. The U.S. flag has always held a warm space in my heart. I was taught to respect our nation’s flag as a beautiful symbol of freedom. It always reminds me of the Olympics. So, as I start on this project it is important that I get the painting right to show how lovely our flag looks as it moves in the wind.

walk away look

Looking at the tank last evening and then while walking down to the tank this morning I have decided to change that fold near the blue and stars.  I am not seeing the flowing movement that I want in the flag fabric and the stars are bugging me because they are not very consistent in size.

No worries though, because we can change anything we want as long as there is a paintbrush in hand. I will change the stars area into a slight wave in the fabric instead of the fold keeping the fold on the right side with red and white stripes. That should do it. I need to move the blue part a little more to the left and widen the first white stripe into an easier bend. Adjustments!

star masking 2
star masking 2
star masking
star masking

I mask off new locations in more consistent sizes. Masking allows freedom to freely paint the shadows and highlights of the flag fabric without worrying about messing up the stars. Applying masking tape strips to cover where the stars should be, then marking a star outline using a sharpie, followed by using an Exacto knife. Wa La!

revised layout
Revised layout

The real painting begins, making adjustments to the layout and mixing paints to get highlight where the flag reaches out. I have to pay close attention to where light and shadow should happen. Add shadow where the flag tucks into a wave base or continues after a fold. The right side of the tank will have a red stripe leading off into the back. I decide to add a shadow around all the stars while the masking tape is still there, hoping to get them stand out.

stripes around end
stripes around end

Lastly I remove the masking tape covering where the stars are to be. Then carefully paint white in the stars and we are finished.

flag stars painted white
flag stars painted white

Tank Beautification

Original propane tank
Original propane tank look

Remove an Eye Sore

My propane tank needs some tank beautification! Seriously, this is the propane tank that I see when I look out my kitchen window. I asked Pete if we can move it and he just laughs. Really, it seems out of place in our natural forest landscaping. It is just one of those things that really bugs me.

As an artist, I can change that, so this project begins. First I get a water hose out there and spray the tank down. With a bucket of warm water and TSP (trisodium phosphate) and a green kitchen scrubber, I get to work. Over the years, layers of pitch from the pine have accumulated a thick layer from the trees alongside it. That combined with lots of mildew have created a gross thick layer of icky stuff on the tank. Good-old TSP is a powerful cleaner that easily removes all the coodies on any surface needing paint. Make sure you read the label before you use it though because it is not a nice chemical if you handle it incorrectly.

clean propane tank
Clean propane tank

Looks quite different clean doesn’t it? I go back into the studio to come up with a drawing to get things right.

tank as a canvas area
Tank as a canvas area
design and paints
design & paints

I am wanting to put the American flag flowing in the wind on the tank. Starting with the blue background for the stars on the far left with the stripes going over the rest of the tank at an angle.

chaulk lines on tank
Chaulk lines on tank

I know it isn’t that easy to see but, I use blue chalk to layout areas on the tank for the different colors. Then I quickly paint a rough underpainting of the design on the tank.

undercoating of design
Undercoating of design

I walk back up to the house and let it dry overnight.

walk away look

Stan Miller

Stan Miller watercolor portrait
Stane Miller Fine Artist

I have an artist friend/teacher named Stan Miller who is phenomenally talented. I look forward to any classes I can arrange to take from him. We both live in Spokane Washington but I was surprised to find out how famous this artist friend of mine is, during our travels. Check out these recent pictures taken while in Breckenridge Colorado.

Stan Miller Truck Far
Stan Miller Truck Far
Stan Miller Truck Close
Stan Miller Truck Close

I didn’t know Stan had  businesses,

Stan Miller Sign
Stan Miller Sign

roads and

Stan Miller Road
Stan Miller Road

machinery in Colorado.

Stan Miller Office
Stan Miller Office

Now, this antique grader does look like something Stan would have us draw in class. I have a better shot of this if anyone would like to draw it. Just personal message me and I’ll send it to you.

Have you been holding out on us Stan?

What have you been up to in the Colorado mountains?