Saturday, June 23, 2012


"Peek", oil painting on 6x6 short cradled panel, ©Laura Gable
Who lurks behind the mask,
the visage glowing beyond
the bright ember of ones existence.
Inquisitive and pondering, 
our essence lives on.

A recent portrait study didn't go so well. The mini-portrait, though containing all the elements of the photographed face, just didn't hold a likeness. That can be a challenge when working commissions... certainly. I admit I've not had many portrait commissions and did I mention they are challenging. The family I worked with was very delightful though, and they were the best of clients. I'll post the finished pieces later.

Rather than waste a painting that went "bad" I slapped a few more strokes of color on and around, saving the favorite part of the original design ... this one good eye. And now, quite accidentally I see a face-like image grow out of these abstract strokes. The lower right resembles a grotesque nose, perhaps? H-m-m maybe this is how Picasso arrived at his fractured face series of paintings ???

UPDATE 2013: This painting has been modified and I will post an updated image soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grape Fest

This sweet oil painting, sized 12x12 square on a cradled Masonite board, is currently on display at the newly opened Canoe Ridge Tasting Room. I have 6 paintings on display there. A couple of my artist friends also have art on display.

Perched high upon a ridge overlooking the Columbia River Gorge the tasting room feels a bit more like an art gallery with a wine service inside. Floor to ceiling windows grace one side of the room, casting glorious light onto the artwork hung on an interesting metal wave wall inside. Their official opening is July 1st, so won't you come out and see this lovely location? I hear the wine is quite good, also. They are a subsidiary of Chateau St Michelle winery.

"Grape Fest", 12"x12" oil painting on cradled masonite board, ©Laura Gable, .

Per Wine Press Northwest:
"For the first time since the 1990s, Washington's oldest winery will have a tasting room in Eastern Washington.

Chateau Ste. Michelle will open a tasting room at its Canoe Ridge Estate facility west of Paterson beginning Sunday. The facility - where all of Ste. Michelle's red wines are made - was built nearly 20 years ago but has never been open to the public. Beginning Sunday and going through Oct. 15, it will be opened from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

The tasting room is on Highway 14, just east of Crow Butte Park, about 15 minutes west of Columbia Crest.

Ste. Michelle used to have a tasting room in Grandview, but it closed in 1990.

This gives the state's largest wine producer six tasting rooms east of the Cascades. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates owns Columbia Crest (Paterson), Snoqualmie Vineyards (Prosser), Northstar (Walla Walla) and Spring Valley Vineyards (Walla Walla), and it co-owns Col Solare (Red Mountain) with Marchese Antinori of Italy."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


She emerges eternal from the cocoon of the past, not knowing that she was fully bound by these constraints. Her glorious wings unfurl and a new found joy bursts forth as she rises above the turmoil of her past. The updrafts of wisdom and insight carry her to new and glorious heights she never knew were possible. Truth and clarity are her new companions.
"Metamorphosis" 12x24, oil on canvas
These insightful paintings are so much fun. Enjoying the painting process, and play of colors across the canvas - no rules, no firm preconceived direction. Just a focus on flow and movement. What experiences have you had with these sorts of "liminal" pieces of artwork you have created?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Artist in Repose

"Artist in Repose" a pastel drawing on black paper, 8x10
We have several opportunities here locally to draw figures. There are 2 artist groups that get together frequently, and the local gallery hosts nude figure sessions year-round, except summers. My favorite sessions are the rare opportunity to take the figure outside under the shade of the trees. The skin tones change dramatically. I've just sketched them, but am looking forward to an opportunity to paint these figures in oils soon.

This sketch was done inside, however, awhile back. Our model didn't show up, so one of the artists said she would pose for us. She had a migrane, so it actually was a bit of a respite for her. I know the nose isn't quite rendered correctly, but I do love the glow I got on her shadow side cheek and the reflected green on her chin. It has sort of a Degas quality.

One of my earliest teachers, Jan Kunz, taught me that the skin tones are cooler on the forehead and chin since there is less flesh over the bone. And so that would make the cheeks and nose warmer since they are more fleshy. Jan was an amazing teacher. She taught a group of 30 students here and juried one of the last exhibitions of the Eastern Washington Watercolor Society. I was recently contacted by her daughter who owns Creative Catalyst Productions, an art teaching video company. She shared that Jan is now celebrating her 90th birthday. What an amazing accomplishment for such an accomplished artist.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Backlit Lollipop Trees

"Backlit Lollipop Trees" ©Laura Gable, oil on 11x14 stretched linen
It's all experimenting, really. Isn't it? My friend who owns the antique store on the corner gave me this sweet little stretched linen "canvas" ... so again I did a bit of experimenting with the hazy subtle forest in the background and the glowing trunks with just that skiff of light on their edges. The foliage on the foreground trees ended up looking a bit Dr-Seussian and reminds me of those Lollipop trees we all painted in grade school.

The plein air artists who write these insightful art books ask us to return to painting these sorts of trees, or a version thereof. In an effort to get the eye back to seeing it as a mass of varying tones rather than just a bunch of leaves. If we were to paint all those little leaves, it would surely make the eyes cross. Though I admit in the past, I've been known to do so. Though I may have been a lot younger. ;-)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spiritual Series

"Though I Walk in Fear"   -   "I am Led to the Still Waters"   -   "My Soul is Restored"
a triptycht for client on 8"x24" cradled gessobord, painted in oils. ©Laura Gable

I've just recently completed this series of paintings for a client. She wanted me to use the influences of Van Gogh and Monet in the art, and base themes and titles from the 23rd Psalm. The paintings are a progression of her life's path, and her spiritual devotion.

The first, is a fearful and troublesome painting. "Though I Walk in Fear" represents a time of being lost and alone, stumbling through the moonlight with foreboding shapes and deep valleys all around.

Realizing that we are never alone and finding some solace in life and seeing peace return, is the theme of the second painting, "I am Led to the Still Waters. We are led to this beautiful oasis where our soul can become nourished.

In the final piece, the peace and love we all seek has been found... at this point we realize, "My Soul is at Restored."  A restful and serene place, where one can see the beautiful sunset again.

It was a fun journey, and creating these pieces was a process in itself. When the final painting was completed, this sense of peace and restoration came to me as well. Knowing the "feeling" she wanted in each painting was a wonderful guiding force and allowed me to interject this into the brush strokes and then into the finished piece. So hopefully this comes across in the finished pieces of artwork.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Red Mountain

"Red Mountain Revelry" 6x6 oil on gessobord. ©Laura Gable
If you were to drive out Sunset Road on the far west end of the small village of West Richland, Washington, you would find a lovely array of angular fields filled with multiple rows of vines. Vines of all variety of grapes, who's distinction is difficult to see with the subtle green shades of the spring and summer. As cooler weather approaches, and the various leaves turn their lovely autumn shades, you can see vast fields of reds next to patches of varying shades of gold and ochre. It's quite a sight to behold. With the gently sloping protection of Red Mountain, this nestled area of vineyards and tasting rooms really is quite a magical and serene at any time of year.