Thursday, April 19, 2012

"The Look Outs"

"The Look Outs" ©Laura Gable, 8x8 oil painting on board.
These echinacea flowers have beautiful large showy heads of composite "purple coneflowers" and they bloom from early to late summer.

They rise above the lavender bushes in this Louwden Lavendar farm in late summer, where they appear as though they are the look outs at the command post. Maybe they are looking for the invasive sunflower, trying to separate the chaff from the grain in this utopian farm society. Or perhaps it's a wandering dog they will sound the alarms for. I'm sure you can make up your own story.

Wikipedia states that they are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist and dry prairies and open wooded areas. I spied these in Walla Walla, plus we have some growing in our front yard. The name derives from the Greek word echino, meaning "sea urchin" due to the spiny central disk. Some species are used in herbal medicines and some are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers. A few species are of conservation concern.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


"Siblings" ©Laura Gable, 6x6 oil painting on canvas board. (SOLD)
Like a family these fluffy petaled heads, vie for attention from the viewer.
Can you almost hear their sibling cries... "Mommy-Daddy, look at me??"
Growing up in a large family, I remember a few times when we had to jostle for attention. Or at least it seemed that way in my fluffy tow-haired head.

One often resorted to a bit of "showing off" especially if there was company visiting. We'd do cartwheels in the living room, practice juggling (well maybe not), tell jokes, show off our gardens (we each had our own). I recall another occasion when my siblings and I performed a makeshift concert for my visiting grandparents. Through the "Squeek, and squack" from 2 clarinets, a flute and one coronet -- they still seemed to enjoy it. Isn't that what grandparents do? (... see the "blackmail" photo below)

Loving the horn rim glasses, and the clarinet that I played from 6th grade to Senior year.
What is it about sunflowers that draws us in? Why are so many of us enamored by the these vibrant abundant fields filled with bobbing heads that rotate as the sun moves across the sky. There were a few of those lively fields in Nebraska where I grew up. The local farmers found new crops that needed raising and grooming ... these were most likely for bird seed or sunflower oil.

Sunflowers are rich in color, they elicit a joyful presence. They are all knowing, as though there is wisdom implanted in these beautiful heads.
Windows of the soul,
eyes of the sun,
grown from mother earth...

Why do I return to sunflowers so often in my paintings?
I guess it's a bit of a touch stone, especially if I've been away from the paints for a period of time. It's familiar territory which I feel I can navigate. Perhaps I see my progress as an artist to return to this recurrent subject in order to see how I can best express concepts, especially after learning new things. Like this newest painting, the goal was to express the color and "mass-tone" while moving away from an exact representation of each petal. I'm getting there, I believe.

Yes, it's also a JOY thing. I just love them and so why not paint what makes you happy.

Plain and simply, paint what you love -- enjoy the process. And the frosting on top, is if you, dear viewer, enjoys it as well. Here's a little 6x6 oil painting that I did yesterday. Share your experiences and connections to the sunflower too, if you'd like.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Miss Kitty

The studio where I used to rent space, has a "shop kitty" who made the place her home.
She is quite comfortable there and very well taken care of. The owner artists' diligently take care of her daily needs with morning tuna, treats midday and offer her long play sessions in the afternoons or evening.
In the summers she roams the enclosed area out the back door, but mostly she just lays in the sun and roll in the dirt. In the winters she has a heating pad in her bed atop one of the artists bookshelves. She is often a fixture in their display window, her tawny Bengal colors match so beautifully with the owners' turned wood art pieces.

"Katarah" ©Laura Gable, 6x6 oil painting, SOLD

Though I must admit she has no blue in her coloring, it was fun to experiment with the tones and reflections from her surroundings and the multi colored rug on which she sat.
Her expectant look says it all. "I love you", mixed with "please feed me". This was a common pose I saw from her as she sat patiently in front of my desk drawer where I kept her treats. The owners felt I might bond a little bit more with her if I had a private stash of the treats. I admit that when the treats ran out, I substituted treats with her daily food but assumed it took on the same favors of the crinkly crunchy pouch. She still gobbled up the pieces.
Do you have any sweet "gato" stories to share as well?

Friday, April 6, 2012

A bit more about "Faith"

This seems fitting to post today. It's a poem by America's beloved poet, Emily Dickinson. The last painting I posted, also shares the same title.

"Faith" is a fine invention
by Emily Dickinson

"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012


"FAITH" 24" x 36: oil painting, ©Laura Gable

It's thrilling to have work accepted into a show of your peers. This National Juried Show was hung at the Allied Arts Gallery a week ago and the artist's reception was today. My painting "Faith" is part of the show.

This painting was done in oils. It's about 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall, on a gallery wrap canvas (unframed). It's the second in the series of large grape themed paintings I've done late last year and early this year. I wanted to leave a portion of the painting in an almost abstract state, with a focus on movement and flow. I love the way the yellows balance the bluish purples. It still has enough realism to evoke a sense of vineyard, and fertile soil very common to this rich grape growing region. It's title speaks to the honoring of this growth from the earth, a trust that nature will provide this bounty, and further -- a faith that we will be divinely embraced and regarded with utmost love. What do you see?

My friend Joseph Rastovich won best of show for his metal piece. Here's a copy of his winning sculpture titled, "Vortex" (look up Joseph Rastovich, Sculptor on Facebook for more info)...

"Vortex" sculpture by Joseph Rastovich

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