painting with kids

Plein air oil painting: Sunflowers

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10 by 8, oil on hardboard
10 by 8, oil on hardboard

I painted today for the first time in many weeks. Pretty rusty, but it felt good. I’ve been playing catch-up on work projects since the summer art fair. Meredith is homeschooling this year, so the start of  school  meant a new pace and a different kind of busy-ness. We’re settling in to a rhythm, and I hope to get back into regular art practice, but that may take some time. We set up in the backyard after lunch with a pile of art supplies, and here are the results. Holly drew a family portrait, our friend has a great story to go with her bear family picture, and Meredith worked on a Rupunzel-like girl.

My mom took me to Art Prize in Grand Rapids over the weekend. We saw some fascinating sculptures and paintings and fire-breathing dragons. Our time was limited so we missed a lot more than we saw. There was one artist, Dan Nelson, who painted while we watched – 50 some canvases all hung to form individual and hidden “meta” images, called Points of View. We didn’t get to see the paintings of Rick Beerhorst, a GR artist I admire, but they made the Juror’s Short List. Everyone votes by phone for their favorite pieces. The piece with the most votes wins $200,000. The overall Short List will be announce this weekend.

HFamilyHome
9 by 12, crayon on paper
NBearFamily
9 by 12, crayon on paper
MGirlWithHair
14 by 17, watercolor on paper
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Oil Painting: Meadow

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16 by 40 inches, oil on canvas
16 by 40 inches, oil on canvas

Happy Independence Day!

201st post here – this painting is a larger size for me. It was so much fun to work on, with plenty of challenging greens. Makes me think of the phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees”. Here I can’t see the meadow for the weeds. It’s like a wall of foliage, or like those mostly underwater photos where you can see the surface. And it’s also pretty flowers – what could be more predictable and typical to paint? The girls kept me company in the art room, making their own lovely pictures. I have a few more paintings I’d like to complete before the summer art fair in Glenview (July 24-25), so I’m getting back to it.

12 by 9 inches, watercolor on paper
12 by 9 inches, watercolor on paper
12 by 9 inches, watercolor on paper
12 by 9 inches, watercolor on paper
12 by 24 inches, acrylic on canvas
12 by 24 inches, acrylic on canvas

Oil Painting: Sun on the River Trail

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16 by 20 inches, oil on canvas
16 by 20 inches, oil on canvas

This photo is a little fuzzy. I’ll try to take a better one in a few days when the sun comes out. In this painting I tried to imitate the active brush strokes in some of Gustav Klimt’s forest paintings, like this one, and especially this one. As expected, I have even more appreciation for those paintings now. I have great memories of walking in the woods with my family as a kid. My parents taught us the names of some of the plants and trees. Adders Tongue, burn nettle, beech, sycamore. We tried to whistle through our hands and with the caps of acorns. We also went for trail walks with the extended family sometimes. Grandpa H. was a tree farmer. He’d comment on which trees were valuable, and how old they probably were, and which ones had an unfortunate bend or knot that made the lumber lower quality. Black walnuts were his favorite.

I based this painting on photos I took a few months ago when we were on the Des Plaines River Trail.

The girls kept me company in the art room today. Meredith was in an abstract mood – squares and triangles in bright, bold colors. Holly painted the yellow bottle of tempera, bar code and all :).

20 by 16 inches, tempera on paper
20 by 16 inches, tempera on paper
20 by 16 inches, tempera on paper
20 by 16 inches, tempera on paper
16 by 20 inches, tempera on paper
16 by 20 inches, tempera on paper

PaintBottlePhoto

Spin Painting Session

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marker and watercolor on paper, each 14 inches across
marker and watercolor on paper, each 14 inches across

I came across the work of remarkable artist Sarah Gee on the Jealous Curator and I’m so inspired by her amazing artwork. The girls and I hacked a box fan to make our own crude spinner and spent some of the afternoon gleefully coloring these radial rainbows with markers and watercolor paint. I had so much fun! After trying it out, I admire Gee’s subtle coloring and control even more.

Watercolor: Crown Gate

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Pen and watercolor on paper, 14 by 17 inches
Pen and watercolor on paper, 14 by 17 inches

Loads of fun lately with the sharpie pens and watercolor paints. I started working on this Crown Gate image a few days ago. It’s interesting to start with a simple shape and then react to it, layering on details and ideas as they bubble up. Memory, and dreams and the conscious and unconscious. We share lives, and sometimes we remember things so differently. Or events that are so formative to one person don’t even register to others who shared those experiences. What’s locked up, quietly influencing my choices and reactions?

Meredith and a friend wanted to try something similar, so I gave them a start.

Meredith and Holly both gave me paintings for Christmas, Pointsettia and Girl with Pine Trees. I also got a beautiful handmade brush holder from my sister in law (check out her etsy shop). One day soon I’ll take it on an outdoor painting adventure in all this snow. The last Color Sky painting is also Meredith’s, she just finished it.

17 by 14 inches, tempera paint
17 by 14 inches, tempera paint
17 by 14 inches, watercolor on paper
Girl with Pine Trees, 17 by 14, watercolor on paper
17 by 14 inches, pen on paper
Friend, 17 by 14 inches, pen on paper
14 by 17 inches, pen and watercolor on paper
Meredith, 14 by 17 inches, pen and watercolor on paper
17 by 14 inches, pen and watercolor on paper
17 by 14 inches, pen and watercolor on paper
http://www.etsy.com/shop/steamboatspring
http://www.etsy.com/shop/steamboatspring

Watercolor sketches: Look, Listen; Snowday

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14 by 17 inches, pen and watercolor
14 by 17 inches, pen and watercolor

It’s been a busy month, with only a little painting. Meredith and I broke out the watercolor paints this afternoon. I read that the artist Hundertwasser became fascinated with almond shaped eyes. The eyes in his paintings range from wise and beautiful to strange and creepy. With this in mind, I’ve been doodling these wide, round eyes for a while. Alert, nervous, goofy, vacant. Looking and listening.

Meredith hopes for a little more snow this winter. She’s not going to get it tonight. It’s a balmy 60 degrees out there right now.

17 by 14 inches, watercolor on paper
17 by 14 inches, watercolor on paper

Plein Air Paintings: Fall Color

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6 by 6 inches, oil on hardboard

This is from a few days ago. Holly asked to paint with me outside so I dropped everything and we set up in the front yard. I love painting with the girls. She wanted to paint the fall leaves, and I took a stab at the flowers by the front steps. Of Holly’s two paintings below she really disliked one and loved the other. Any guesses? Then Holly’s good friend came over and painted too.

6 by 8 inches, oil on canvas panel
6 by 6 inches, acrylic on hardboard
6 by 8 inches, acrylic on canvas panel