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ART JOURNAL: Chronicles of painting

December 29, 2014
A couple of years ago, I painted 3 paintings of Vernazza, Italy, (Vernazza, Italy, Vernazza Italy I, and Vernazza, Italy II, very original titles) from photos taken by good friends who traveled over there. They bought one of the paintings, one which also was accepted into a National Juried show. These paintings have gotten a lot of kudos (the subject matter doesn't hurt that at all), and after painting them, I feel like I want to scour this quaint little town on the cliffside of Cinque de Terra, Italy. So I've decided to plan a trip and include this place, maybe even stay there. I look forward to many more paintings and finding the places that I only knew from photos and painting them. You can find the ones I already painted under "cityscapes"...

September 30th, 2014
It's been a long beautiful summer. As always, didn't get out as often as I would have liked, but have still enjoyed the opportunities when I was able. I did win 1st and 3rd prizes in cityscape and landscape divisions, respectively, at the CreateEugene plein air paintout competition in August. I won some really wonderful prizes, including a big oil set, some great brushes and canvases, and a top of the line wooden easel.. I also had a show as a guest artist at the Lunaria in Silverton, OR, of urbanscapes, many of the town of Silverton. That was in August, then I rehung the show down in Eugene at the Coffee Lyd; they are reopening after extensive remodeling. I had two paintings in August and September at the the Gallery at the Watershed; a juried show entitled "Homage to the Northwest Landscape". It's been a really busy summer.

July 12, 2014
I'd like to share something I've been doing that seems to help with my plein air painting. Those of you that are plein air painters are well aware of the impatience to get started painting, both in finding a suitable site and then in laying out the composition and choosing which elements to leave out, move, etc. We are usually pressed a bit for time, and lighting. I want to paint before I lose the light and shadows that inspired me. I end up not doing thumbnails (bad girl) or just a quick eyeballing for placement of shapes. Sometimes my own eagerness to "dig in" can compromise the composition. But who wants to waste an hour of precious time finding the right setting, doing several thumbnail sketches, and choosing the best one?

Well, duh, how about planning ahead? No one said plein air painting has to be totally spontaneous. It is done outside, live, What I've been doing is going a day earlier to a specific site, and taking lots of photos from several different angles, aiming for nice photo arrangements. Then I go home and, at my leisure, go through them and find a composition that works. (Hint--sometimes seeing these photos as small thumbnails is helpful for spotting a good composition. Also zooming in and cropping can help as well.) When I find the best ones, I make several of my own thumbnail sketches, rearranging elements if I need to. Then I go out the next day, around the same time (Especially if light and shadows is a major component of the composition) and, using my chosen thumbnail sketch, I can start right in with painting, having done the necessary preliminary work.

I'm not talking about studio work after the painting, nor painting from a photograph. Merely getting a handle on the composition in advance. I can do this and still be a "purist" about the plein air aspect of my paintings. I am still painting direct from observation; values, lighting, colors, mixing is done on location, in the "open air."

I can't say that I do this every time, but I have found that I am generally more pleased with the outcome when do. I've discovered that my plein air paintings have come up a level since I've been implementing this. After all, isn't this what Monet and some of the early impressionists were doing when they would do countless studies of the same subject, i.e. haystacks and ponds with lily pads...

Happy painting!
P.S. write me and let me know if this was helpful! margaret(dot)

April 9th, 2013
I painted this for my daughter's baby shower invitations, and will frame the original for the nursery. You can order cards or prints at this fine art america link.
baby pictures greeting cards (place to order birth, pregnancy announcements or baby shower invitations.)
Also, for a funny background story about the making of these, go to

January 27, 2013
Fist blog of the new year, but by no means not the first painting. I've been doing a series of a seaside cliff-edge town in Italy named Vernazza, originally a commissioned piece, I enjoyed the subject matter so much, did a few more. Plus, there's nothing like escaping to a sunny Italian villa to brighten up the fog and rain-drizzled January's in Oregon. Even if only vicariously through a photo and paint and canvas, with sweet Italian music on in the background. I will post these shortly, under "landscapes" and/or "cityscapes."

The last two days I took a portrait workshop through Jerry Ross. I don't do a whole lot of painting portraits, although I've been drawing faces since I was a little girl. Faces on chalkboard, whiteboard, napkins, scrap paper, telephone books, essays, school papers, restaurant placemats, whatever and wherever. Sketching speakers and lecturers while listening (really, I was), doodling faces while talking on the telephone, one time absentmindedly straight on my butcher block counter. With pen. My son-in-law won't let me forget it, he thinks that is the funniest thing ever.

But now I shall be painting faces -- portraits -- more and more. Although I'll make sure my paints are nowhere near my telephone and the butcher block.

October 2012
My Painting"In the Peach Orchard" took first place in Acrylics at the Springfield Mayor's Art Show. Show up throughout October. See it under "landscapes." This painting was done plein air, alla prima (in the open air, in one sitting) and was particularly enjoyable to paint: I sat on the ground in the peach orchard, leaning against my art cart, legs straight in front of me and easel straddling my legs. Felt like a kid again.

September 21, 2012
commissioned painting I sold last month: "sail away, a friend's sailboat. Also see it under "landscapes"

September 13, 2012
oops, looks like it's been 9 months since my last entry. Well, I was pregnant with multiple babies--probably 15-20 paintings have been birthed since then. Been out plein air painting several times this summer season, too. Will try to get some more recent paintings on my site as soon as I find my "misplaced" camera.

December 16, 2011
Have not been able to get into my site for about 5 weeks, due to some technical problems with my host. But--I haven't had much to upload either, since I haven't been painting a whole lot this past month. I've been planning a wedding--my daughter's. That happened on Dec. 3, and now, after wrapping up leftover details, I'm ready to return. I did paint two backdrops; 8' x 16" that fit into an arbor that my husband built for the wedding ceremony backdrop. We then covered the arbor frame with vines and bamboo. The paintings are of, well, trees. If you can't get married in the forest in the dead of winter, then bring the forest inside! Turned out great, at least we thought so...

October 25, 2011
Plan on doing at least one more of my Oregon vineyard paintings before the winter sets in. I always come back again to painting the vineyards, the fist subject that inspired me to return to
painting. Just some of the Oregon vineyards that I've painted: Sarver Vineyard, King Estates Vineyard, Youngberg Hills Vineyard, Saginaw Vineyard, Sweet Cheeks Vineyard, Lavelle Vineyard, Sylvan Ridge Vineyard (Hinneman's)Secret House Vineyard, Amity Vineyards...I can't remember the names of the southern Oregon vineyards or the northern California vineyards...

October 23, 2011
I've been painting out as much as my schedule will permit me these last few weeks. Gotta get in the last of the good weather and the fall colors. Went to Cottage Grove and painted the gardens at a 5 star resort there. Our walk through the gardens was wonderful, but the painting, although well-executed (if i do say so myself) is boring to me. Too cultured looking and typical. But I painted another at Thistledown farms that I like, it looks fresh. Have also been working on a sailboat commission. But it's hard to be in the studio when the weather is so gorgeous.

September 28th, 2011
Had a great time painting outside on the Illinois River in Southern Oregon. Fantastic spot, so many wonderful places to paint, so little time! I only managed to squeeze in one painting, but plan on going back for more. Oh, to have a solid week of travel painting! This week, I put my paintings in the Springfield Mayor's Art show, also at the PPLC show at Springfield library, and had two paintings accepted into the juried show at the GATA Gallery (Eugene Airport Gallery).

September 19th, 2011
I've had a good month of painting. The weather has been holding beautifully. Perfect time of year to paint plein air; no rain, no wind, no mosquitoes, and only an occasional bee. The Fernridge wetlands off of Royal were fantastic! I will publish some of these paintings in time, but i need to get some ready for upcoming shows. I took down my show at David Joyce Gallery at LCC and the one at Vistra framing and gallery. I've got some paintings up at Lunaria Gallery in Silverton, OR, but should definitely get some back up around here.
August 31, 2011
I feel as if I've turned another corner with my skills, at least getting closer to the style that I like. I have enjoyed painting plein air for the past month and a half. I went to Sarver Vineyard the other morning, got started at 8:30. There was no one there and no one showed up at all, so I played Josh Garrell's CD in my car as I painted outside it. I think the music inspired me, the painting turned out to be my favorite so far, and Mike's. It's called Sarver Vineyard Morning.

April 10, 2011
Went to Bend area for a few days, painted 3 plein air while over there; They don't typically look like Bend--one is my Bike --but fun nevertheless. The weather wasn't too cooperative until the last day that we were leaving , so my husband said, go on, go play, so I hurried down to the river and did one last painting while he packed up. Good guy. It was uber enjoyable to paint that last one.

March 10th, 2011
Yeah, just got SIX of my paintings accepted into the David Joyce Gallery's "Oregon Wine Country" exhibit at Lane Community College. ! Plus, a blurb about my art in the Register Guard today as well. (Register Guard~artists who shine) Plus I lost at Scrabble. 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

March 4, 2011
Working on "Into the Woods II" same scene as (2 entries ago) before, different colors, Having so much fun with it, but 3 times it rained on me and I had to go in the house. Painting on the back deck makes it extremely easy to go with the flow of the elements--just move it over to the covered area when it rains, pull it back when the sun shines.

February 25th, 2011
Last week I facilitated a workshop with Eric Weigardt as the artist/instructor. It was a busy week but fun, Eric is a great teacher and an inspiration. WE had 20 students, a good turn-out.

This week Mike and I took a trip to the beach, before the snows hit there (very rare occurrence for Oregon Coast). I painted a beach scene, which I posted today on the site. I love the beach and it's the one place that our family went to every year when I was a kid. I feel the presence of God there in a very tangible way, and rather than feeling insignificant amongst all the magnificence, I feel very loved. The beach is an exhilarating place for me, yet I really don't care for ocean paintings much, not sure why. So I don't paint many either. But I did a beach scene with rocks, left the waves out, mostly. I'd like to paint a few more soon.

February 9th, 2011:
besides doing a commissioned painting last week, I painted a woods picture. My husband and I stayed in a friends' house (house-sitting) while he's away working. We went there to work on Mike's book, spent a good chunk of time doing that, but also got to walk in the woods--it's a cabin in the woods. I took a break from editing and set up my easel on the back deck and painted a woods scene. I never paint woods, but I am really liking this painting, and so does my husband and family--for some, it's their favorite. At one point the sun streamed through and lit up some moss-covered branches like a neon green sign. I tried to capture that moment...Can't wait to go back up there next week and paint some more--newfound interest!

Jan. 26, 2011
added another sailboat painting to, here--boats art

January 19th, 2011
I've been uploading several of my paintings onto "" You can find me on there, just add my name to that. Today I uploaded my sailboats "Side By Side" --you can find it on this page.. impressionistic sailboats paintings and also here. sailboats artThis is a particular favorite of mine. I also uploaded my latest Vineyard painting a few days ago, here's its location--impressionistic vineyard art
My orange zinnias are now there as well, flowers paintings. One of my Fernridge paintings is here..impressionistic paintingsand here's anotheralla prima paintingshere's some more.landscapes paintings.

Dec. 10th, 2010
THe holidays always put a little crimp in my output (unless I count painting ornaments with the grandkids), but I manage to practice my drawing skills in the evenings and when I wake up and can't go to sleep. And it's a good time to finish up other paintings that I've started. I managed to save one that I was going to paint over--I like it now, after painting some more on it. Plus, Christmastime is a time for doing a lot of music as well, we always sing at the jail and also do a couple of house concerts. So I'm staying in the creative flow...

Nov. 21, 2010
Delivered a few paintings for a couple of shows, Saginaw Valley Vineyards and Alpaca Store "Fleeze Navidad" Holiday time to be painting again! After uploading pics of my latest 4 here under "landscapes" I haven't been able to paint much that I'm liking yet, so I'm doing a lot of studio studies.

Nov. 9, 2010
Well I got back in the swing of things again, went to Sweet Cheeks and "autumn-ized" a painting I had done in the Spring there, but had been dissatisfied with. So I like it better now. It's called, "Beyond the Vines" Also did some paintings from a beautiful fall drive and afternoon visiting wineries in our area: Sarver winery, Sweet Cheeks, and Lavelle. This week I finished 3 paintings, including one commissioned from a friend; a villa in South France where they stayed last year. All of these are under "landscapes" on this site.

Oct. 23, 2010
My "Indian Bluff on the Abiqua" took third place in the juried Silverton Plein Air Show. Another painting, "Evening at the Marina," was accepted and is now hanging in the GATA Gallery (@ Eugene Airport).
For me, I just want to get out and paint before the beautiful fall weather changes--already it's raining solidly as of today. But I got out to Sweet Cheeks Winery to paint a little yesterday before the rain. Can't wait to get into my studio after a very busy fall working on the house.
Tomorrow I start a painting I'm doing for a friend.

Sept. 11, art reception was last night and it went well. Glad it's over; too much work for someone who just wants to paint! But it is nice to see friends I haven't seen in awhile. And to hear Jeff and Natalie sing and play (live background music that I coordinated),. And cheese, wine and crackers now for a week... But yay, get to get out of these details and go paint again.

September 2, 2010
I have been getting my paintings ready for a show at Emerald Art Center, I hung it a couple days ago and it will be up throughout September. Reception is friday, Sept. 9 from 5:30-7:30.

August 24, 2010
this past month I joined a summer plein air group up in Salem/Silverton area, where I'm from. My sister Theresa, also an artist, lives up there and we both have been going out on sites at various places. I did one at historical Indian Bluff on the Abiqua that I am pleased with. Also did 3 Abbey pictures. It was great fun being able to paint with my sister, a rare opportunity, even though we live so close--but life gets so busy... I will have an exhibit at Emerald Art Center in September, getting my stuff together for that. I think it will be called " A Plein Air Spring and Summer." I have too many paintings to choose from, but that's a nice dilemma, better than not having enough.

August 14, 2010
Joined a summer plein air group in Silverton area, so I could paint with my sister and submit in the juried art show up there. I painted 3 pictures at the Abbey and hopefully will go to the Abiqua on Monday and paint. It's been wonderful being able to paint with my sister and share in this crazy compulsion. I have painted more out at Fernridge, once early in the morning while we were camping there. Also at the wetlands on Greenhill Rd. Just having a great time!
My painting, "Evening at the Marina" just got accepted into the Eugene Airport gallery (GATO). I definitely will be doing more marina paintings, I'm loving that subject matter. '

July 8th, 2010
I've been obsessed with boats lately. Been down to Fernridge Lake, painting and photographing them at the various marinas. Went sailing on the 4th of July and I just have to go back and sit on my friend's boat at the dock and paint near dusk. The reflection on the water is gorgeous, and the setting, wow.

June 11th, 2010
Just got back from a 3-day trip of plein air painting, up near McMinneville and Troutdale. The weather was uncooperative, but I managed to go to Youngberg vineyard and paint, a beautiful vista overlook of Yamhill Valley. It got very cold and windy, so had to quit, but I finished it later in our hotel room. Did another painting as well--an off-shoot of that one. Tried to paint also from the outside rooftop terrace at McMenamins, but it also got too cold and windy. So I ended up with 2 1/2 paintings but lots of photos to work with possibly.

May 30th, 2010
Last week went on an art plein air painting trip with a few other women to Smith Rock area. Loved painting the rocks and watching the climbers--I painted a few of them in, but they are miniscule in size -1/4 inch -- to be relative to the size of the rock cliffs. What an awesome place! I'll post paintings soon. I did a few studies, completed a painting on site, and will finish one here this week.

May 15, 2010
Today I went to the homeless BBQ under the Washington-Jefferson bridge. i went to help out but they had plenty of help so I set up my easel and painted there. I did a very loose rendering of two young guys bbqing with a large commercial bbq., an old Jerry Garcian type guy sitting in front and his blue bike. I kind of like it but the composition is too low on the board. :(
I get impatient and don't spend enough time setting it up--but then someone was talking to me while I was trying to do that--so there, it's not my fault! But i enjoyed,talking to a lot of folk there, and maybe next time i'll do some profile sketches of people to give away. Or do a panoramic view of the whole scene, just like the Cuthbert Theatre one with the Eugene symphony.....only wayyy different.
I came home and finished up the jamaica painting.

May 14, 2010
Still working on the Jamaica painting, but took time out to paint the wetlands around Fernridge with the Plein Air painters. Today I will paint with them as well, over at someone's house. I'll have 3 more finished paintings probably by the end of this week. My birthday today.

March 3rd
I started the painting that day--blocked in the background with some contrasting underpaintings, then painted in the background, the distant hills, etc. The foreground of poppies, which is over half of the painting, will have to wait, as I got very busy in the last few days watching the grandkids and organizing a workshop that I am facilitating in March. If the weather turns nice, though, I may go out with the Plein Air Painters to Hendricks park to paint the Rhodies.

March 11th
Finally! I was able to get back to my poppy painting--I had a day off. Finished it up today, and framed it. I'll try to get a picture of it up soon. I also revisited my oaks & rolling hills--an Oregon scene near Junction City that I began plein air last summer...but just can't seem to finish it to where I like it...I fiddled with it some more today. Still not done. But what interested me about this scene was the way it looked just like northern California's rolling hills dotted with oaks. It's one of my favorite terrains, and I painted one in California ("California Oaks" under "landscapes") . I finished with a small abstract to use up my paints, and found my Othello pictures to upload under "Set Painting". A good art day!

March 14, 2010
Uploaded "Poppies" (under landscapes) May try again for a better representation of it--the foreground shadows are actually deeper and a little more blue-purple than what is depicted. Also uploaded about 5 more pics of paintings. Still have plenty left to upload, but another day....

May 11th, 2010
today I started on the first of a series of Jamaica paintings from my photos from our recent trip there. Painted all day.

May 9th, 2010
Went to Florence today on Mother's to paint plein air while Mike rested in the car. Some older couple came along and liked it, then the man said, "I like that shark." ?? His wife reprimanded him, saying,"there's no shark in that picture!" I said, "well there is if you want one to be!" It's always fun meeting people while painting outside. (This has nothing to do with painting, but we ate a DELICIOUS dinner at Waterfront restaurant)
I uploaded the painting..."Boat at Florence" (for the record there is no shark, well, maybe there is, but not one that I deliberately painted.)

March 18th, 2010
Finally got quite a few more painting pics uploaded...there are a few glitches, but we'll get them worked out.

Presented the finished poppy picture to the guy who fixed our car and took the initial picture --he loved it! The painting is from a photo of his that he took in the Lancaster, CA area, a Poppy Reserve near the Mohave Dessert. (probably the only beautiful spot down there-shhh-don't tell him I said that). Starting a new one today, from a plein air sketch I did at Hendricks Park the other day. I'm going to do it while the memory is fresh...Time to start!

February 28th, 2010
Today I am starting on a painting for a friend--it's a trade for the 3 days that he worked on our PT Cruiser. It's from a photo that he took from his travels in Eastern Oregon--poppy fields in the foreground, interesting poppy-sprinkled flat-lands in the middle and rolling hills in the distance. It's a late afternoon sun. Pretty nice picture and I'm looking forward to painting it.
It's just beginning to get light outside so I'll gesso my birch board, let it dry, then begin when the north light is brighter. Maybe I'll take some pictures and chronicle this painting in it's stages. Or not. Maybe I'll just leave technology behind and get caught up in the moment. Painting is like that--like therapy--I can erase all thoughts and just enjoy the process; it's a wonderful thing to turn off the brain from all the angst-filled thoughts that want to crowd in.

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