Wednesday, October 31, 2012

91 Monster (SOLD)

92 "Monster" 8x8 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable (SOLD)
It seems fitting to do a monster painting today, on Halloween. It's loosely based on a studio shot of William Henry Pratt, more commonly known as Boris Karloff, from his heyday as Frankenstein's monster. Onto a sea of red and yellow oil paint blended loosely together with medium, The face developed with additional strokes of transparent color. I was happy that the finished portrait looks like it is bathed in firelight.

May all your little ghosts and goblins have a fun evening getting dressed up and sugared up. I'm sure we will have a few scary faces to share our treats with tonight.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

90 Moody Blues

90 "Moody Blues" 8x8 oil painting on board, copyright Laura Gable
Soft whispers of color on this lovely blue Hubbard squash, affects the neighboring forms with these subtle tones. Another exercise in looseness and seeing these slight variations in color and their impact on other forms. The orange form reflects onto the blue form and that bounces back onto the orange form.

I titled it Moody Blues since that's how these greyer days in our wet Mid-Columbia region have been feeling recently.

Monday, October 29, 2012

89 Somber Vineyard

89 "Somber Vineyard" - 7"x3" oil on canvas, copyright Laura Gable
Saturday's drive up the Columbia Gorge to the Canoe Ridge Estates vineyard, garnered a few moody images that are begging to become paintings. The rains were starting to clear on this area of high slopes that overlook the Columbia River on the Washington side. The ridge resembles an upside down canoe, aptly named by explorers Lewis and Clark many years ago. Though the ridge isn't visible in this painting, it shows the southern slope. Nestled high on top is their lovely gallery style tasting room, and red wine production facility for all of Chateau Ste. Michelle. I was part of an art show that ran all summer. Now they close for the season, though the wine making is just beginning. On this visit, I met the vineyard manager, Mimi. She has a deep love of the soil and thriving vines that grow there. She is featured in a video on their website--her love of the vineyards is evident:

Plan a visit next season to enjoy these vineyards, their finely crafted wines and look for new art displays to be showcased then.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

coming up ... Open Studio Tour

Mark you calendars for the upcoming Open Studio Tour, which I will participate in again this year. It is Saturday and Sunday, November 10th and 11th from 11a.m. to 4p.m. each day. In it's 9th year, this tour has been a fantastic way to start off the holiday season. Step into the creative world of these fine artists and craftspeople. This year we will feature 16 artists in 15 different studios located in the Tri-City region, plus Benton City and West Richland.

88 Heavenly Choir

A quick study for a rainy chilly day. Wanting to complete this 100 day challenge -- the end is in sight and I'm getting a bit antsy. There is an inner calling to create, when the day winds down and I realize I've not yet made anything. Sort of like the impulse to brush your teeth before bedtime (good hygiene and good habits!)

This was created using the paint sticks. I found a creamier section in the stick which made it a bit easier to use. Also a bit of oil paint added later, to create some dimension. The brighter and softer sections gave this a sacred feeling. I see a choir there creating beautiful music. What do you think?

88 "Heavenly Choir" 6x9 oil painting on box, copyright Laura Gable
I'm so excited, my studio shelves were hung yesterday. If you need a carpenter or tile artisan, I'd highly recommend Todd Ralston ( He came up with a great creative solution and implemented it quickly and effortlessly, using tools I'd not seen before. Shelves were hung using a laser level, attached to a rod suspended between the ceiling and floor. The laser line is based on the earth, so regardless of whether floor or ceiling are level, the shelves are. Pretty slick.

At the end of the day, I took a moment to arrange the almost 90 pieces. And there is room for a few more. Here's a quick shot.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

87 Escape to Lavender Valley

87 "Escape to Lavender Valley" 8x8 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
A few days ago I did a miniature study for this larger painting (check out entry #77). Though 8x8 is not significantly larger, it was still an interesting exercise to show a bit more information from this visit to the Blue Mountain Lavender farm outside Lowden last summer. Late in the season, the visitors are allowed to cut handfuls of these wonderfully fragrant blossoms. They filled the car with a soft scent for the ride home. Here's a link to their website.

When I was moving the boards around for my new studio shelves, I accidentally scraped across the top of this wet painting. Silly me for leaving it on the floor. And so the figures bending over on the right side of the painting were obliterated. Funny, since I was considering removing them anyway since I thought they resembled sheep. Perhaps if I do an even larger painting, I'll finally add them in.

Friday, October 26, 2012

86 Fire and Ice Goddess

85 "Fire and Ice Goddess", 12x12 oil on clayboard, copyright Laura Gable
Using a nice wide palette knife, I spread some gesso thickly in the center of this clayboard, forming the shape of a figure. So it has a bas-relief sort of feel. After it dried overnight, it made for some enjoyable effects when the thinned oil paint was skimmed over the top. I wanted to depict the goddess standing between sun and moon, but the more I started to develop the painting, the more I realized that most of the elements were emerging. Can you see them all??

She has already survived a lot, as she landed face first on my hardwood floor here at home. Fortunately she had a light coating of paint, unlike some of the prior juicy painted surfaces I've done recently. So not much was disturbed in the "butter side down" debacle. I just added a few tiny stones and dust from my messy floor (which have been removed.)

She has such wonderful movement and flow. This one was truly inspired and I feel I really got "out of the way" and just let it happen.

81 & 82 Revised

81 "Crayon Box Jungle" 12x12 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable

82 "Technicolor Hills and Dales" 12x12 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
If you scroll back to the prior entries of 81 and 82, you can see where these paintings started. I was enjoying using the oil crayons, yet the colors weren't feeling too cohesive, the design was off, and it just didn't feel representative of my style. A friend came in yesterday, and confirmed this speculation "those just don't feel like your art, Laura" she kindly said. Once in a while it's good to trust the wise guidance of a friend. Especially one who collects a great amount of art.

So more paint was applied today, with a stronger design in mind. Parts of the original painting can be seen peeking through. I love the color expression here, and think they are much stronger paintings. They even pair nicely together. The titles were also changed to be more representative of the paintings: "Crayon Box Jungle" and "Technicolor Hills and Dales".

Thursday, October 25, 2012

85 Oak Wreath

This is a painting I did with my watercolor students. We traced actual oak leaves from the trees outside the center. Their colors are so fabulous right now--greens shot full of red and russet, golden and deep eggplant colors... a joy to paint. And just like the leaves we painted, and the people who painted them, each one was uniquely different.

85 "Oak Wreath" watercolor on paper, copyright Laura Gable

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

84 Winter Squash 2 (SOLD)

84 "Winter Squash 2" oil on board - 2.5x2.5 inches, copyright Laura Gable
My friends at the You and I Framing and Gallery are cutting these tiny little fillet frames for my miniature paintings. And then if I find the right pin backers, I'm planning to make them into a broach. One of my friends bought 4 of them (the little apples and leaves paintings). I'm on the hunt now for the pin backers. I'm not sure the traditional ones will work. If I could locate some of the high powered magnet backers, those would probably be best. Any leads out there?

This little acorn squash is choosing to keep this larger blue pumpkin-squash company. I'm loving the pale lavender tones in the background, leftover from a lavender fields painting I did recently.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

83 Winter Squash (SOLD)

83 "Winter Squash" 2.5" x 2.5" oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
A sweet little painting of a lovely blue pumpkin or squash. I'm not sure what variety they are, as I tossed the label. The greenish heathery color is so unique, and their little twisted up stems, full of character. I've about exhausted these little boards. They complete a bit quicker since they don't hold much detail, yet my eyes tire more quickly while working on them.

The other day, a young man in an effort to describe me and my art, said he thought I was "that detailed painter". And then he made a scrunched up writing motion, pulling his shoulder in and putting his hand up next to his face. Interesting though, I don't really think of myself as a detailed painter, as I've been known to omit a great deal of detail. But then when you consider that I am painting these very small canvases, I suppose I am.

Monday, October 22, 2012

82 Monkey Mind (this has been revised - no longer for sale)

82 "Monkey Mind" 12x12 oil on clayboard, copyright Laura Gable
Like a monkey, my mind jumps about and I'm often comparing myself to the dog named Doug, on the animated feature "UP!"  Do you remember how he was talking and all of a sudden he'd shift his head and say "squirrel!" Well that's how my mind seems to be lately. This painting was started earlier and then after a bit of a break pursuing other creative activities with my neighbor's printing press, I thought I'd resume the process. It's as though the thoughts shifted and completing the conversation took more effort. I wanted the darkest color to play across the page in a T design, with the lighter more subdued colors playing in the background. I've got a hankering to paint a few autumn squash I've picked up, and so this is the closest things I've come up with yet.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

81 Bubbles (this has been revised - no longer for sale)

81 "Bubbles" 12x12 oil painting on board, Copyright Laura Gable
One of the artist's I follow online gave me some insight as to how she works on clayboard. She uses paint sticks or oil pastels. I have a few old Shiva paint sticks - the kind that grow a heavy film over their surface, so you have to carve it off. I don't have many colors, so have to supplement the rest of the colors with oil paints. It's amazing how quickly they dry on this clay surface, the oil just wicks into the surface. I didn't use much medium this time - but it would be interesting to prepare the board first with linseed oil, as one of the websites suggested. Perhaps I'll try that another time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

80 Birds Eye View

80 "Birds Eye View" 5x5 oil on canvas, copyright Laura Gable
The little bird looks outward expectantly, as with each passing day the earth sheds it's mantle of summer, while days of harvest and melancholy are before us. Last week's brightly lit skies of early Autumn, gave way to cooler winds and brisker temperatures yesterday. Mentally I can't quite grasp this transition, yet I'm finding that last month's light khaki clothing isn't quite warm enough. I'm digging deep into the closets to bring forth those cozy sweaters and today wore a neck scarf with my jacket for the first time. I really wish Autumn wasn't so fleeting. The foliage colors are so glorious and the light quality is so pure. But alas, these days of transition and change will happen no matter how much I pine, whine and rumble.

Friday, October 19, 2012

79 Discovery (SOLD)

79 "Discovery" 8x8 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable (SOLD)
She is reborn.
She rises from tragedy and years of tears.
With these small steps,
she launches and releases herself
to explore a life she had ignored,
in order to give herself to another.
Through this exploration,
she discovers that deep inside
lives a beautiful woman and soul
she barely knows.
She is slowly releasing this bondage of the past
and allowing this beauty to shine forth.
She is "Discovery".

Thursday, October 18, 2012

78 Treeless Mountain (SOLD)

The tallest mountain in North America with no trees at all - isn't that a fun claim to fame our local Rattlesnake Mountain holds. This painting was based on a photo I took from the south across from the Yakima River - and high atop another curving peak in the Horse Heaven Hills near Kiona. It looks down onto the hamlet of Benton City. A very steep climb, it affords a most beautiful view. The terrain off to the south is very level from this topmost vantage point. I've not attempted to paint up there as I'd expect it to be quite windy at all times.

78 "Treeless Mountain" 2.5" x 8.5" oil on cradled board, copyright Laura Gable (SOLD)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

77 Lavender Valley

77 "Lavender Valley" 2.5"x2.5" oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
It feels like such a small effort, this small painting, so I'm looking at it as a "study" for another larger painting I'd like to do of this Lavender Valley near the town of Lowden by Walla Walla, WA. Using juicy oil paint, it was painted alla prima. The color of the barn was played down, as from a distance it wouldn't read as brilliant red as it really is. 'Twas hard to fully identify the shadows these lovely round plants were casting. So imagination is required here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

76 Reminiscence

76 "Reminiscence" 12x12 oil on clayboard, copyright Laura Gable
In a reminiscent mood today, as evidenced by this wistful still life. The large decaying sunflower head reminds me of ones famously painted by van Gogh. So I guess I've been day-tripping to the French countryside, since I've been spending time recently with the bygone painters from that famous region. Though Vincent van Gogh was actually Dutch, he spent a great deal of time painting in and around the Arles region of France.


With the completion of painting #75 comes the passing of a pretty significant milestone. In the beginning, I was unsure if I would be able to keep with the challenge. It's quite rewarding to see the 75 paintings I've created in the past 75 days. And I'm looking forward to completing 25 more in the next 25 days.

Here's a bit I wrote in the beginning, explaining why I chose to do the "100 paintings in 100 days" challenge:

A friend asked me yesterday about the lessons learned along the way, which has gotten me thinking. So here's a few things I've learned:
- that painting this frequently is easier than I thought it would be.
- that it's easier to create what I've set my mind on--"what the mind can perceive, it can achieve"
- that it's enjoyable to see some artistic progress in working with the medium. The paint manipulation comes much easier, and confidence grows ... so even though I think I know how to work the medium, there are always aspects to explore every time I pick up a brush.
- painting more frequently creates it's own momentum and I find I often want to paint more.
- there are days that it's a struggle. Romanticism aside, this can be very hard work--emotionally and physically. (My feet standing on hard studio floors have been speaking to me for awhile too).
- I've set mini goals as I've gone along, and so that's added to the exploration and kept it interesting. Of course, I've not quite achieved the looseness and lost and found edges I'm after, but I do see the art easing in that direction. Do we ever really "arrive"?

Stay tuned for more insight at the end of the challenge, and possible future goals.

Monday, October 15, 2012

75 Sage and Gold

75 "Sage and Gold" 5x7 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
Driving home tonight, the sky was clouding up and rain was imminent. These golden trees just beyond a ridge of blooming sage, were so vibrant. I pushed the yellows a bit in order to see the contrast. Trying to remember color and value, and then translate it later into a painting is a challenge. Hope it was successful.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

74 In a Cezanne Mood

Clayboard has a very smooth surface. The Ampersand website says that many people use it for oil paint applications. I've tried it a bit but not on a very large scale. It requires a bit more practice than this one session, in order to feel any sort of control over it's slippery surface. So I did a bit of scumbling. With a limited color palette, this one is part of my experimental series. I do enjoy the lost and found areas and edges.
74 "In a Cezanne Mood" 12x12 oil on clayboard, copyright Laura Gable

Saturday, October 13, 2012

73 Aspen Glow

72 "Aspen Glow" 12x12 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
Here you see a local scene that attracted my attention. I love the way this young tree just vibrates against the shadows of the backdrop tree. Looking through the branches there is a smokey view down river. The smoke from recent wild fires is clearing, though it hugs the horizon on cooler days.

There is some debate about placing a large tree on the left-most side of the painting, per a recent discussion with my artistic mentor. Since we read from left to right, placing a large object there would block the eye from entering the painting. So in that regard, perhaps this composition has failed. And I admit composition is generally the biggest hurdle to achieve as an artist - it demands constant attention. Perhaps though in this case, I am attempting to capture the wandering eye that sneaks itself in from the lower right. (humor intended).

What other compositional rules do you follow? While watching a plein air teacher doing a demo, he proceeded to remove the silo from a distant farm. He thought they appeared too "cute" in his classical composition. Yet many other artists embrace these tall curved topped agricultural structures. Sort of the Empire State structure of the farmer, adding interest to their rolling landscapes.

Friday, October 12, 2012

72 Back Lit Blue

72 "Back Lit Blue" 8x8 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
A Russian vase from the antique store placed onto the window sill, produced some of the most luscious shades of indigo and ultramarine blue. It all appeared intensified by the cool edge light from the dusky sky. The small flowers tucked into the top of the vase, brought the element of yellow into this almost-primary painting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

71 Morning Shadows

71 Morning Shadows, copyright Laura Gable, oil on board 11x14
A beautiful autumn day, changing colors, cooler mornings, all create a beautiful combination for an artist. I love the play of colors and building's shadows in this back yard.

I like a quote I read in a book by painter, Julian Merrow Smith "Degas called plein air painting a sport. I like that. I think he meant like mud wrestling -- but less pleasant." Though it is always fun going outside to paint -- it is work, and discovery, and decision, and judgement so takes a lot of concentration. Maybe not as "romantic" as the casual visitor would imagine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

70 At the Seashore (SOLD)

70 "At the Seashore" 8x8 oil on panel, copyright Laura Gable (SOLD)
This little painting started yesterday and finished today. It shows that idyllic time of youth, and is based on my niece and nephew's first visit to see the Pacific Ocean many years back. They were strolling there on the wide expanse of shore at Seaside, OR with no cares in the world. He was collecting sand in the little bag that he is holding. It was fun to experience this adventure through their eyes, along with the rest of the family.

Monday, October 8, 2012

#68 & 69 - Three More Miniatures (SOLD)

Three small studies for the day. I took one to the frame shop to see what sort of tiny frame I could get. They would be fun to wear as a small broach. If you're interested, just let me know.
68 "Honey Crisp Apple" oil on 2x2 clayboard,
copyright Laura Gable (SOLD)

69 "Autumn Leaf" oil on 2x2 clayboard,
copyright Laura Gable (SOLD)
68 "Apple with Blue Shadow" oil on 2x2 clayboard,
 copyright Laura Gable (SOLD)
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

67 Russet Trio

67 "Russet Trio" 4x4 oil on canvas, copyright Laura Gable
A smallish study for a Sunday night, taken from my cornucopia display of autumnal fruit. With a focus towards more looser edges on things. I am striving for more lost and found edges too, and it is slow to come. It's like choosing to let go of reality and trusting that it can still be accurately expressed.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

66 Wooded Path

66 "Wooded Path" 8x8 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable 
A wooded pathway that meanders around clustered trees and out to a clearing, makes one think of solitude and cool air. This little painting portrays the scene in a very impressionistic way. I am enjoying this movement towards a more painterly impression of these scenes (from yesterday's painting to today's).

I had a joyful afternoon sharing time with my artistic mentor, teacher and friend. She is closing her gift shop and studio and retiring after many years of diligent and attentive work. It's a bit nostalgic and melancholy to see this chapter closing, as I will miss our impromptu get togethers. Yet at the same time, I am excited to see what this new upcoming chapter of her life will hold--a very hopeful time. So with this autumnal season comes change in many forms.

Friday, October 5, 2012

65 River Willows

65 "River Willows" 6x3 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
The oranges of the river weeds are so lively against the hue of the water. I wanted it to look like a bright and crisp day. We are blessed with our many rivers and trails here in the mid-Columbia region of southeastern Washington.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

64 Two Apples (SOLD)

64 "Two Apples" 3x3" oil on board, copyright Laura Gable (SOLD)
A tiny effort for a busy day. Art Walk was tonight and so the day involves cleaning, organizing and making a pathway through the studio to welcome in the visitors. What a lovely fall evening, of crisp air and light spirits. This little miniature was based on a still life I set up on the palette table. Alas, I got paint on the sweet little honey crisps, so I can't eat them. They are so tasty this time of year.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

63 Grazing (oil sketch)

63 "Grazing" (oil sketch) 8x8 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
The set of the body of these 2 grazing horses, near the Lowden Lavender farms, was quickly sketched here in oil. Though I've used very little paint, I like the feel of this little piece.

Click for info on the 100 in 100 challenge.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

62 Late Bloom and Harvest (SOLD)

62 "Late Bloom and Harvest" 8x8 oil on panel, copyright Laura Gable
Dismayed today...
and that's ok,
the colors have a mind of their own--
leaning towards extreme, and a bit dark.
Autumn's sun is moving quickly today,
and my brush is moving slowly.

C'est la vie -- an attempt, though feeble,
is still making for a better day
than one spent counting beans
or counting cattle's legs and dividing by 4*...
and so it is what it is.

*reference to my old accounting jobs, and a friend's comment when I applied to do the books for a livestock company
(it didn't come about ... though I was an accountant, it seems, in another life).

Monday, October 1, 2012

61 Hearkening Autumn

61 "Hearkening Autumn" 8x8 oil on board, copyright Laura Gable
With the turn of the calendar comes cooler weather, trees turning color, and pumpkins for sale in the grocery. I couldn't resist getting this sweet little pumpkin for a new still life. Am enjoying the contrast between the blue surface and the orange of the pumpkin. One of my favorite color contrasts.