"When are you going to do some BIG landscape paintings?" she asked. And he asked. And they asked.
Well, the truth is anything much above 16 x 20 sets my mind in a whirl. So, this summer, I am facing my fears, taking out my bigger brushes and giving it a go. Facing a big white canvas is daunting. To get myself in gear I prepared the surfaces of a few older paintings and I am painting over them. The Old Masters did this all the time, so who I am to argue with the practice?
This painting of lavender at Sonoma's Matanzas Creek winery is painted over a painting done in a class a few years ago. It measures 24" x 30" which is a great size for a guest room, or over a couch or table or on an entry wall if you need decorating ideas. If it were a "new" painting, this size would sell for $2150.
However, I consider this one of my BIG studies and I am getting ready to break out and buy some brand new large canvasses. So, if you would like to have it for your collection at a BIG price break - make an offer. Anything over 1/4 price (that's $430) will be entertained. Not exactly an auction - but the best offer this week takes it. I can use the money for more paint and larger canvasses! Send me an email if you are interested.
UPDATE: Thank you for all the offers! This went to a new home on Monday, August 4th.
I have always loved Claude Monet's "Haystack" paintings - a series of paintings studying the effects of light on the piles of hay on his property in Giverny, France. When I travel in farm country, I am always looking for painting locations with bales of hay in the fields. Sometimes the bales are rolled and round, and other times they are cubed. But this summer, I was quite dismayed to find bales of hay shrink wrapped in white plastic. It's not a look that makes for a painting I want to paint! Here's a hay painting I did, called "Sonoma Hay." The original was sold, but prints are available. I am headed to Sonoma this week for a day or two of painting. I will be on the hunt for unwrapped hay bales before they disappear from the landscape!
I grew up in New York City. On weekend visits to my grandparents home in the country, I had casual encounters with a large vegetable garden, some chickens and rabbits. Occasionally, I dug worms and caught a fish from the lake. Not a sheep, goat, horse, cow or barn in sight. But now, farms are one of my favorite things to paint. Go figure!
My Northern California home offers great access to the agricultural land in West Marin, Sonoma and Napa. The colors of the fields, hills, mountains, vineyards and vistas change faster than the colors of the neon lights on Broadway.
Here are a few recent farm paintings. "Grazing" was painted this spring in Sonoma, and today the little lambs are being sent to a new home in Massachusetts where they'll live happily ever after.
My second week at Chalk Hill Residency starts with a whipping wind, but I am not going to let that get me down. On Monday morning, I set up outside, close to the house, to stay out of the elements. I paint the shed attached to the farmhouse. (The color is a nice switch from all the green.) I sketch from inside the farmhouse and from inside the car at various locations on the property.
When it’s too windy to be outside any longer, I head inside and make color charts to help me keep my greens straight.
In the evenings, I paint small still life paintings of the very interesting and colorful objects around the house.
The “field study” is emerging – my pencil thumbnail drawings have made way for small color sketches. The first painting was done at 10 a.m. on Monday. By Wednesday, the weather has improved, and over the course of the week, if I happen to be near the field, I begin each painting on the hour, working quickly to capture the light and shadows.
On Saturday, the field looked entirely different because red clover was opening all over! If my suspicions are correct, my muse could be glowing magenta in a few days – won’t that be fun to paint!
We had visitors this week. On Thursday a group of watercolor artists from a Sonoma mental health program came to paint, and we talked about how to use color to paint a landscape, with cool colors in the background and warm colors in the foreground to create depth. It was great to be able to share art with this delightful group which comes to visit once during each artist's stay.
On Friday, Klea and Nikki, the creators of the San Francisco-based art blog, “In the Make,” came for a studio and site visit. We had dinner at Alice's house, shared a bottle of local wine and they spent the night in the residency house before heading out on the road for a series of more studio visits from here to Vancouver, British Columbia.
An observation. The field study, laid out on the table in front of the window facing the field captures the attention of each person who comes into the farmhouse. And every one has a definite opinion on which “o’clock” is their favorite.
If the point of an artist residency is to devote time to a practice, and to explore and experiment - it is working. I may or may not come away with great paintings, but I realize now that may not be relevant. In just two weeks I have learned that I can spend hours, days, weeks focused on making art without major distraction. I begin to understand that I have a process, and am evolving a practice that is a great learning experience.
Oh, and I am finally figuring out "green."
“Here, surrounded by a thriving vineyard, oak groves, hills and valleys, these creative artists will be able to concentrate on their work free from the concerns, responsibilities and distractions of their normal surroundings.” - John Carl Warnecke
In just over two weeks I will be headed off to my first Artist-in-Residence program, the Chalk Hill Residency, in Sonoma County, California.
The concept for the residency is based on the vision of the late John Carl Warnecke, an internationally renowned architect (1919-2010). In 1983 he laid out plans for an artist retreat on his family's 280-acre ranch and vineyard property near the town of Healdsburg, bordering the Russian River.
I am one of 11 artists chosen this year, and part of an interesting mix of painters, sculptors, writers, sound artists, musicians who have been awarded the residency since it began in 2011. During my three weeks, I will be living in a farmhouse and spending my days roaming the property painting the landscape. I will also have a studio space on site. It looks like an amazing place. I don't fully know what to expect once I get there, and for someone as organized as me, that is a leap of faith. In the meantime, I'll be making lists and packing paints and building wet canvas carriers. There may be an Open Studio day, and perhaps a show...I'll keep you posted!
Often, I see a scene I like but I am not sure how it will translate to a full-size painting. So I do a "study" -- a small painting to test out my ideas. Every so often, I just like the small painting the way it is and call it a day.
"Sonoma Hay" is one of those paintings -- it's just 5 x 7 and I popped it into a standard size photo frame (with glass removed). It's the perfect size for a small wall, a side table or on a stack of books on a bookshelf. If you've wanted one of my paintings - here's a chance to get one for a song - just $150. It's available at Moss and Moss in Mill Valley.
Northern California weather has been extraordinarily mild and dry this winter. I know this is not a good thing for our snowpack water supply, but it has given me the opportunity to get outside and paint.
I joined a "Meet-Up" group of plein air painters on the last Sunday of January in Sonoma County and had a great experience. The group loosely convened about 1 p.m.and wandered off in many directions. We gathered back together late in the afternoon and showed each other what we had accomplished.
Here's a photo of my finished painting "Marsh and Mountain" on the easel. You can see my pencil sketch up in the corner.
It's now ten days later, the paint is dry, the painting is framed and ready to be shown to prospective collectors at an event this weekend.
About the artist
Linda Rosso is a California artist who delights in the colors she sees out of the corners of her eyes. Read more...
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