Sunday, October 19, 2014

After the Rains (sold)

"After the Rains"
12"x12" oil on board, ©Laura Gable
Welcome back to my blog. This is a painting I recently did in the studio. Most times my camera is with me, and I was thrilled to capture this lovely scene off Wheat Road in Kennewick, after the storms blew through in the springtime. Our horizons are mostly soft rolling hills of sage, rabbit brush and cheat grass. I love the way the clouds and their energetic movement seem to contrast with the rolling landscape. And of course, who doesn't love the orange and blue contrast. I'm pleased that this painting is heading to nearby Yakima for exhibit in the 59th Central Washington Artists' Exhibition at the Larson Gallery. It will be on display there for a month.

I painted this on an Ampersand Aquaboard (intended for watercolor). When I prepped the board with a thin wash of oil paint mixed with medium, it made for a lovely surface for oil paint--with enough tooth to catch the paint and yet still allow blending. Hope you enjoy this painting.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Storm's a Brewin' II

"Storm's a Brewin' II" 4" x 6.26" oil on card, ©Laura Gable
This was painted the same day as the previous post. In an area off the highway and near a new hospital where there is a lot of new housing construction in progress on these pristine cheat grass and sage covered hill sides. The clouds were quite dramatic as they skimmed the surface of this distant hill, leaving the close grasslands quite strongly naples yellow toned with bits of bright green. We have a lot of these smooth sided hills in our region. I don't recall the name of this one, but the one further south, out of view, is Jump Off Joe. The one I was perched on the side of is Thompson Hill. And others in the area are Badger Mountain, Little Badger Mountain, Red Mountain, Candy Mountain and Rattlesnake Mountain. The final one's claim to fame, I once heard, is that it's the tallest mountain in North America with no trees on it. Perhaps the locals can correct me if they know any different. I've always found that a bit fascinating.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Storm's A Brewin' I

"Storm's A Brewin' I" oil on card, 4" x 6.25", ©Laura Gable
A couple weeks ago we had some terrific wind as a storm passed through. The cooling of temperatures were welcomed, as we'd spent a record number of days in the 100's. "It's like the old days, before all the irrigated farming" the locals would lament. Some loved it, but this wilting flower wasn't one of them. I got in a quick oil sketch while these clouds passed over. Some of the playfulness of color in the foreground was brought up while in the studio a bit later.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tulip Duet

"Tulip Duet" 8x10 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
A pair of tulips in a lovely Russian vase, cast some interesting shadows on the back wall. Sometimes when it's too hot to go outside, an inside still life is just what is called for. I enjoy these still lives and vow to do more of them. They are a good exercise in seeing color. Placing the still life outside on a lovely day with shifting light is my next challenge. I have a dandy collection of tea cups that I'd like to paint sometime soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Harvest Time III

"Harvest Time III" oil painting, 6" x 6" on 3/4" cradled board, ©Laura Gable
This is the final in a 3 part series representing our local wheat fields that were recently abundant with grain and ready for harvest. The clouds are especially energetic in this painting, perhaps becoming the star of this particular story. The golden fields provide a firm foundation. I enjoy the freedom of the color and contrast here. (This painting is being auctioned on the Daily Paintworks site:

Here is the trio of paintings, hung together. They are small - only 6" square each - and being made as a cradled panel, they just forward from the wall 3/4".

The 3 paintings from Harvest Time hung together. 6x6 inch panels each.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Harvest Time II

"Harvest Time II" 6"x6" oil on 3/4" cradled panel, ©Laura Gable
Another homage to the American farmer. We honor and respect the hard work and diligence they put forth to grow and harvest these crops to provide for the world. Golden and dry, these wheat fields were ready for harvesting. A whisper of blue in the distance adds an enticing coolness to these hot harvest days. The clouds pass through.

Even though I now live in eastern Washington, I grew up around the wheat fields of Nebraska - a common sight in the farm belt. These beautiful golden fields translate to any region, the backdrops are the only variable. Their soft waves of amber reach out for miles. The rustle of the dry grain as the heads move together in unison, creates a welcome symphonic earthy song.

Bid on this painting currently at auction here:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Harvest Time I

"Harvest Time I" 6x6 oil on 3/4" cradled panel, ©Laura Gable
Painted in honor of all my friends with wheat to harvest in this hot dry climate. Hoping you have the best of weather and abundant crops.

This was inspired by a drive I took up the Badger Canyon primitive dirt road out near Kiona, WA when the wheat was tall and golden. The road lay neatly behind me like a ribbon, getting smaller as it ambled away. Our familiar distant hills of lavender against subtle green flat farmlands added a pleasing note of color and softness. This pastoral scene spanned out beneath cottony clouds in an azure sky.

Bid on this painting at auction here:

Thursday, July 31, 2014


"Sentinals" 8x10 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
The area where Sacajawea and the Corps of Discovery camped along the Columbia River is well preserved with a park and museum along the river shore, here is southeastern Washington. We went over there one Sunday, and had a nice visit with the volunteer working there. She shared that when Maya Lin came in and created the basalt discovery circles as part of the centennial celebration, she wanted to remove the grass and trees to take it back to a more natural environment like it was during the Corps' encampment. There was a great deal of discussion at the time, with well spoken platforms on both sides of the issue. A compromise of sorts was reached, and the park was able to keep it's lush grass and beautiful mature maples and sycamores. Yet in the areas around the sculptures, they planted some native grasses which were indigenous to the area for many hundreds of years.

Looking away north from the park into the natural landscape that skirts the edges, there is a boat dock and some trails for the avid wanderer. I found this lovely spot for a vignette, and wondered if perhaps this had a semblance of similarity to what the Lewis and Clark group saw during their short stay.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wallula Gap Down River

"Wallula Gap Downriver" 9x12, oil on board, ©Laura Gable 
Most people in our region are familiar with the Wallula Gap area just south of the Tri-Cities, Washington. It was formed as the Columbia River makes it's dramatic bend and heads west towards the ocean, creating the border between Washington and Oregon.

Early one spring morning we set up our easels along side the highway, on the slopes of the hiking area for Twin Sisters basalt formation. I painted this as we looked down river -- a bit sheltered with some gusts of errant wind. The water was churning up this interesting green tone, while wildflowers and rabbit brush were in bloom. Light patterns created amazing color on the distant rocks. I was drawn to the light skimming the brilliant green grasses atop this upright rock formation, and the dramatic shadows they cast across the roadway.

"The gap is a narrow constriction of the Columbia, just north of the Oregon border where the great river makes its last southern run, then swings west to complete its journey to the Pacific." More information here, with photos.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Signs of Americana (sold)

"Signs of Americana" 8x8 oil on board, ©Laura Gable, SOLD
My family owned this motel on the edge of town where I grew up in Nebraska. We enjoyed the common scent of fresh soap, and crisp linens. My siblings and I were the maids - each with a different chore from bed making, dusting, vacuuming and bathroom cleaning. My Dad would often leave coins under the beds and in the drawers to see how well we checked things. While the 6 small dark wood lined rooms were often occupied by travelers along the Lincoln Highway, some truck drivers and many harvesters came during wheat season. Many of our renters were frequent visitors, and friendships were formed. We would fill up during the summers, especially the end of July when people would stop on their way to the "Grand Daddy of them All" Cheyenne Frontier Days 100 miles away. The whole town would fill up and room rates would double. Not fancy, but always clean. It was our home and many memories and funny stories were born here.

This sweet painting went to a new home today. A brand new home, in fact. which is almost completed and custom built by the owners. It will be decorated mid-century modern. I'm sure this painting will be a great addition to this lovely new home.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Picking Lavender

"Picking Lavender" 8x8 oil on card, ©Laura Gable
A recent outing to the nearby lavender fields garnered a fairly good plein air painting and a stress free, enjoyable day spent painting with a dear friend. While there I observed the many visitors floating through the fields, their legs and feet obscured by these fluffy topped plants. Some with parasols, some in floppy hats, most in light floaty clothing perfect for a very warm day. All were carrying the flat woven baskets provided to pick their own fragrant bundles to take home. The scene has an air of romance to it, intensified by the Parisian music playing in the nearby barn which we caught strains of from time to time. This small group of 3 caught my eye, especially the little boy so exuberant in his black felt fedora. As my niece would say, he was quite "fedorable" ;-) I enjoyed painting this the next day while in the coolness of my studio.

If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please go to this link on the dailypaintworks page. It will be auctioned for 10 days, then it will revert to full price after that.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Egg Cup

"Egg Cup" 5x7 oil painting on panel, ©Laura Gable
Quail eggs in a vintage green tea cup on a reddish background - what could be more pleasing on this summer day. Our yards fill with quail as the evening time approaches. They totter across from the natural sage and cheat grass covered hillsides to the cracked corn feast provided by our neighbor. In the Winter they are more apt to stay awhile and see what our plants have to offer when food isn't as abundant. (These eggs were purchased, and the insides were already blown out).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Uplifting Clouds

"Uplifting Clouds" 6x8" oil on canvas glued to gatorboard, ©Laura Gable
This cloudscape was a bit imagined as it hovered over our hillsides of gold and sage. It was based on a desert view I experienced once awhile ago as storms were forming in the afternoon.

On really hot days the clouds aren't nearly as dynamic here in this arid region of eastern Washington where we wither in 100+ degree temps during the summer. The horizons are generally a bit orange toned -- tinted by particles of ash and smoke that get caught in the atmosphere from nearby brush fires. The heat seems to raise the cloud layer higher off the surface of the land.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Duffy's Pond

My plein air friends and I painted this lovely pond scene near Clover island off the Columbia River just to the north of my studio a few years back. I enjoyed the darkness of the shadowy area compared to the brightness of the autumn tree. This has a sketchy quality that I enjoy. Not every leaf or reed is identified. I am offering a summarization of the objects, and a syncopation of color and form. The eye fills in the rest.

"Duffy's Pond" 9x12 oil on canvas board, ©Laura Gable

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Coming Home (sold)

"Coming Home" 20x24 oil painting on canvas, ©Laura Gable
I painted this a few years back when I was doing a nesting series. During that time, I had discovered a sweet, private new studio, where I was starting to feather the floors and walls with things that meant a great deal to me -- ephemera, rugs, easels, art and supplies. A lovely heart centered place where I still create. The painting, though it has some apparent inaccuracies, captures a certain feeling deep within the brush strokes. For me it hits a note in the heart -- something not always easy to logically recreate in other paintings.

Don't we often go to places in this world that somehow resonate on a deeper level with us. As though we've been there before--a sense of deja' vu? Our heart strings are stirred by something immeasurable… like the sound of bird call combined with the color of the sky and rustle of the nearby grasses. That kernel of something sweet and light, that just hearkens back to happy times spent with loved ones, family and friends.

One time I gazed with tears in my eyes, at an artist's pastel rendition of soft golden wheat fields under a deep blue sky. Another time I stood in awe at Cezanne's series of small "bathers" paintings, and I was overcome. These feelings can be mysterious, noting the sublime aspect of art.

I'm pleased to send this piece off to a wonderful new home, owned by the new local hospital. My heart is happy.

On another note, I heard recently that my college art teacher, Mr. Dillon, has passed. The last time I saw him, he was hanging art in the lobby of the office building where I worked as an auditor in Lincoln, NE. I know, a far diversion from the current path I am on. He encouraged me to continue with art, but I followed those more practical pathways. Does "practicality" really translate to "fear"? Reluctantly, I wish I had reconnected with this favorite teacher of mine once I had returned to art--wondering if he would remember me? Alas, a bit late now. Ah but my heart does recall his kindness, clarity of teaching, and unflagging support. A very special person, indeed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Shelter (sold)

"Shelter" 6.75" x 5" x .2", oil painting on panel, oval shaped and framed
This oval shaped painting is framed in an antique metal plated ornate frame. It represents the vibrancy of the trees, that provide us shelter and homes for the birds. I painted this a few months back. I enjoy the color balance of this small painting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bending Grasses

"Bending Grasses" 6x6 canvas on 3" deep stretchers, ©Laura Gable
This simple landscape was a study in balance and symmetry -- and a play of colors, vibrancy and tones. The mountain's shape is mirrored in the negative space below. And the cloud's shape is mirrored vertically in the shape of the grasses. Sun peeking through the clouds casts a bright pattern of greens on the valley floor below.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Distant View

"Distant View" 8.5" x 2.5" oil on panel, ©Laura Gable
Abstraction of land with hills alive with deep red tones, a distant mountain peeks out from behind.

(This is the painting featured in my masthead on this blog.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blue Mountain's Meadows (sold)

"Blue Mountain's Meadows" 9x12 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
At a recent paint out excursion in the Walla Walla area of Eastern Washington, we ventured into the Rooks Park area and hiked a ways to this lovely valley with distant views of the Blue Mountains of Oregon. It was a beautiful day, warm with slight breezes. Lupines were blooming at my feet along this idyllic path. They've had a mild and wet spring, leaving the area quite green. The cool shade of distant trees harkened. The area was lush with wildlife--we heard calls from wild pheasants and tracks left by deer. It's a hiking area treasured by the locals.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Eye Spy

"Eye Spy" 4x4" oil on board, ©Laura Gable
Thought I would post something a little bit more playful today. I enjoy this color combination of mostly cool violets and aquas, with just enough warm tones to keep it interesting and balance the colors. These little ampersand 4" gessoboards are nice to plan out studies for larger pieces.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wooded Path (Revised)

"Wooded Path" 8x8 oil on panel, ©Laura Gable
Follow this path through the wooded area to the sunlit hills beyond. Can't you just feel the coolness under the shade of these large trees?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Finley Fields (ver2)

When I started doing plein air painting, I used a more simplified palette. But then I noticed that the colors were more muted than my studio work. So now I take all my regular colors with me whether I paint indoors or outdoors. Sometimes the brights feel a bit exaggerated, but I really do try to determine what colors I see there outside (warm vs cool, and compare the tones).  I like to put colors in the shadows and not just have brown muted tones like I had done in the past.

This was painted in the studio with my new color palette, and was based on an older plein air study I had done a few year's back. I am enjoying the more dramatic colors.
"Finley Fields (ver2)" 5x7 oil on board, ©Laura Gable

Thursday, June 19, 2014


We live in a region that has multiple ribbons of rivers flowing through. They are there to sustain the crops, irrigate the lands, and provide a habitat for fish and fowl. They are the lifeblood of this arid dry region. I'm fascinated by the various marshes and plants that line the water's edge, taking on different cloaks of color depending on the season. Hope you enjoy this warm summer day along the banks of the Columbia River.
"Waterscape" 5.5 x 5.5 oil painting on art board panel (1/2" thick), ©Laura Gable
Purchase this either in person at my studio, or on my daily paintworks site. This painting is currently at auction for a few more days, at some really low prices.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


"Mischievous" 6x6 oil painting on board, ©Laura Gable (not for sale)
In honor of Father's Day a few days ago, I thought I would repost this painting I did of my Dad a few years ago. He is now 84 years young, and very active and healthy. He and my mom are quite the world travelers, and recently came back from a trip to Paris and the wine region of France last year. Astonishingly, they went to the little cafe that Van Gogh painted -- luminous golds and yellows in the outdoor cafe, against the deep blues of the night sky. It is in Arles and quite the tourist destination. Ah, a dream of mine to go there.

This study was based on a photo of my Dad. He had a mischievous look on his face, as a small kitten had curled up and fallen asleep in the crook of his arm. I've been hankering to do another companion piece of my mom, so will see if I have some good source material to do that soon. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blue Mood Profile

I found this colorful painting today while looking around the studio. It was done a few years back when I took on a portrait a day challenge for the month of January. The painting's inspiration came from a black and white photo. Once painted, I digitally altered the photo of the painting and then re-painted it based on these alterations. So what you see here is the final painting, as painted. He is an enigmatic, colorful, perhaps alien-like fellow for sure.

"Blue Mood Profile" 6x6 oil on cradled board, ©Laura Gable 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Golden Globes

Based on a ripening chardonnay vineyard, this abstracted small painting yields a colorful perspective. A twist of the brush in creamy oils makes a fun exercise both artistically and physically. Some of these studies may eventually become larger pieces.

"Golden Globes" 6x6 oil painting on 3/4" cradled Gessobord. ©Laura Gable

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Windswept Marshes

"Windswept Marshes" 5x7 oil on canvas, ©Laura Gable
The color harmonizes so nicely in this painting. It's based on our pervasive marshes of cattails that line the various ponds and rivers' edges of this dry, shrub-steppe region. A region of contrasts, diversity and subtle beauty.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Amon Basin & Little Badger Mt Study

"Amon Basin & Little Badger Mt Study" 6x6 oil on 3/4" cradled panel, ©Laura Gable
A friend asked if we could meet to paint in the early morning about 6:30am, before he went to his day job. Knowing that the light would be changing super fast, we selected this spot and I chose a small canvas on which to work for about an hour. The Amon Basin preserve is a wonderful undisturbed area tucked in and around several housing developments. We were surrounded by sage brush and dry hillsides, which shelter these ponds and water plants off the main arterial. The area has abundant wildlife: herons, egrets, red winged blackbirds, quail, pheasants, and chukars, bunnies, snakes and lizards. The morning chatter of bird calls provided a melodious atmosphere.

Recently the area is under scrutiny again, as roadways are being planned and breaching this pristine area is again being considered. More about the Amon Basin here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Two Rivers' Reflections

"Two Rivers' Reflections" 6x6 oil on cradled panel, ©Laura Gable
We live in a region that has many rivers flowing through. I once heard a quote by a well known artist that I'm paraphrasing … "When you live in an area that has rivers, your work will be very fluid." I like that. This was painted in Two Rivers Park in Finley at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia River. Across the river to the north (not pictured here) is the Sacajawea National Park where Lewis and Clark are said to have camped during their excursion through Washington.

On this day I had an audience of 4 little children who tumbled out of their parents van as it rolled to a stop behind me. I was distracted by a flock of geese herding their juveniles onto the shoreline. Apparently though the children were more interested in what I was painting than in this parade of fowl.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Late Summer in the Valley

"Late Summer in the Valley" 9x11 oil on panel, ©Laura Gable
Just up the road from where I live in eastern Washington, near the small town of Benton City, lies the active Red Mountain Viticulture region. On the flanks of this small mountain's fertile hillsides is a proliferation of vineyards: some dating back to the mid 70's. Many new vineyards are currently forming with their many tasting rooms of various ages and stages of completion. This view was painted from the back side of Taptiel Vineyard -- across the valley with Benton City and the Yakima River's treed banks below, and the Horse Heaven hills as a back drop (Red Mountain is behind me). Very generous folks who own the place and reside there, and wine that is quite good -- definitely worth a visit.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lavender Bliss (sold)

"Lavender Bliss" 8x10 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
The lovely lavender farms keep coming up in my journeys through photos and through these daily studies. There are several located in our dry region of southeast Washington, some even offering plein air opportunities. This one in particular is located outside Walla Walla just east of here off a dirt road named Frog Hollow in Louden, WA. The Blue Ridge Lavender Farms offer beautiful views of the back pastures and blue mountains seen occasionally from higher points of the yard. Out front, this little drying shed was compelling - tucked in next to the tall poplar offering a bit of shade to nearby horses at pasture.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Windswept Shoreline

"Windswept Shoreline" 8x8 oil on canvas, ©Laura Gable
I did a series of marshes along the shoreline recently. The first two ended up in the bin. (Recycle bin, that is.) The marshes were too labored, and the trees too static. Again, a painting done from a photograph that doesn't quite tell the entire story.

This one was painted after I did a series of sketches to arrive at a more compelling composition. As a result, the path was added, and the distant tree had more personality bending away from the wind. My under painted orange adds sparkle to the sky in the areas where it was allowed to peek through.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Woodlands (sold)

"Woodlands" 8x8 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
This artist picked a lovely sun filled day to go traveling down a tree covered path in Zintel Canyon here in Kennewick. Up ahead the light beckoned me to travel into the sunlit cove. Resolutely I will go back there, and set the easel up to paint this scene on site.

My studio work looks so different from my plein air work. I try to let the efforts of each find their way into the other. Plein air work has a bolder brush stroke, and a more restrained color palette. Studio work has the expressive color, but perhaps the brush strokes are more measured and tentative trying to recall what the scene actually looked like. My imaginings don't quite compare to the real thing, and so I think I will always end up there with paint and palette, studying the affects of light on the plain.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tones of Land 2

"Tones of Land 2" 4x4 inches oil painting on board, ©Laura Gable
Here is a companion painting to the last painting. A small uncomplicated landscape, applied with brush and knife, while using alternative colors for the foreground meadow.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tones of Land 1

"Tones of Land-1" 4x4 inches, oil on board, ©Laura Gable

A playful expression on a small 4x4 board using lots of paint. Sometimes it's fun to play with the palette knife and use up some extra paint that might have gone in the trash.

Friday, February 21, 2014


"Storyteller" 11x14 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
This old tree has stories to tell, of days gone by when times were simpler and perhaps more isolated. She stands with poised attention, overlooking the inlet at Sacajawea State Park here in the Pasco / Burbank area. Relatives of hers were likely present during the times when Lewis and Clark visited the area along the Columbia River. Though I've been told the river was narrower since dams weren't present then.

I painted this a few years back in the summer, and recently updated some of the shadows during winter studio time. "Storyteller" 11x14, oil on board, ©Laura Gable

Friday, February 14, 2014

Paper Birch Bouquets (sold)

"Paper Birch Bouquets" 12x12 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
Our snowfall was quite lovely this past week, starting on a very frigid evening. But all together we had a little over 6-8 inches over 3 days, a rarity in this eastern dry shrub-steppe region of Washington state. My attempts to paint out of doors yielded a small study, which I evolved further in the studio. I'd like to say this was painted fully on site, but much studying of the scene was done at later times using my super powers of observation. Well anyway, it was a lovely scene on a overcast day of these soft shadows and paper birch trees clumped together like bouquets.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Caught in the Ether

"Caught in the Ether" 5.75" x 5.75", oil on 3/8" thick Art Board (natural maple boards), ©Laura Gable
This was painted on a Sunday, after a skirmish involving some rather hasty fellows and watermelons ...
Perhaps you see your own interpretation in this lively play of color and pattern.

Anyway, just something a little playful for the weekend. Just needed to get into the studio after a hiatus and push some paint around. Today I opted for colors I'm fond of - periwinkles, magentas and luminous blues. This little non-representational piece has a lightheartedness that I was after today.

Come journey with me,
As I take lighthearted steps, beyond
and into the Ether of the regions that border
the areas I've grown long familiar with.
A step now made into the unknown,
I look ahead with a joyful soul.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lively Hills

Here is another homage to early springtime in the hills. The wildflowers are in profusion and the back hills add a lovely backdrop to the scene. I have a hankering for these lovely impending Springtime days - but must wait a bit for the color to return.

This painting was done on the back of a small bamboo box. These boxes are sold in the decor stores and used normally as a drawer divider. They make nice painting surfaces when gessoed over and painted on the backside with oil paintings. The box sides are painted yellow ochre. The last view below includes a bit of the side, and texture

"Lively Hills" 6x6 oil painting on cradled bamboo box, ©Laura Gable

Monday, February 3, 2014

Over Yonder

This oil painting of a colorful hillside in springtime, is heavily textured as I used a palette knife and stylus while painting it. It was painted on the back of a small bamboo box. These boxes are sold in the decor stores and used normally as a drawer divider. They make nice painting surfaces when gessoed over and painted on with oils. The box sides are painted black, and the last view below includes a bit of the side. 

"Over Yonder" 6x6 oil painting on 2" cradled bamboo panel, © Laura Gable
Close view showing texture of "Over Yonder" 6x6 oil painting on 2" cradled bamboo panel, © Laura Gable

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I set out to do 30 paintings, but only completed 16. Several of which were painted on for a few days. So all told it was a successful challenge. With a lot of creative sloshing of paint, sketching out of ideas, experimenting with new techniques, and some journaling.

Leslie Saeta pointed out that these collages can be simply made through picmonkey online. Check it out here

Friday, January 31, 2014

River's Pause.

The past couple days have been spent doing a field study and then studio work. The sunlight was tugging on my sleeve to get outside and soak it up a bit yesterday. Though a bit breezy to sit awhile outside, I opted for painting briefly in the truck -- a neatness challenge! It was fun to study the scene though and just get down a few preliminary strokes before heading to the studio.

There's a lovely sheltered path that passes under a high embankment of trees along the Columbia River off Columbia River Park Trail. Perhaps you will recognize it. The river laps the shoreline, nourishing the abundant eco-system there. I was thrilled to see a figure in bright yellow walk into the scene, and got a shot of him before he disappeared into the shadows.
This is the brief field study done while sitting in my truck. No solvent, and lots of rags in a cramped space. I only spent about an hour -- just enough to suggest the scene and lay in some color. I did capture the yellow coated stranger, who looks more dominant here than in the final.

"River's Pause", 8x10 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
(The scene was refined a bit, small strokes added, focal point adjusted, colors and value adjusted.)
The awarenesses for the month:
• I realized that I didn't forget how to paint. That was bothering me, as I am wanting to move forward with new projects and ideas.
• It's vital to keep it enjoyable, and brushes are laid down when frustration sets in. But this is usually a brief pause, as the mind keeps noodling it through until resolution comes about. (Usually it's deciding what color goes "there".)
• Getting the fire back into the belly is a huge driving force.
• But the biggest most vital awareness is how much I have missed dropping deeply into the creative process. Moving into that space where time seems to be suspended.

Thanks for journeying with me this past month. I enjoy the creative interaction, seeing what others are up to in their processes, and value the comments we've shared. Thanks so much to art-a-day.blogspot's challenge leader Bobi, and Leslie Saeta for encouraging so many artists in their 30 in 30 challenges. Though I didn't paint 30 paintings, I spent 30 days immersed in the creative process.

Follow me on daily paint works, imagekind, the art-a-day blog, and my website:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Just down the road, reprised

"Just Down the Road" 8x8 oil on canvas, ©Laura Gable
On the edge of our group of cities here in eastern Washington, there lies this amazing Red Mountain Viticulture area (AVA). Tucked onto the side of this rosy colored treeless mountain, is a plethora of fabulous wineries that craft some of the most amazing wines from family and estate vineyards of unique plentiful grapes. The Hedges Winery has the most appealing entrance, with rows of fragrant lavender bordering the drive and edges of the vines. This fragrant scene called for a small vignette painting, with it's lovely color juxtaposition of light violet, pale green and the reddish toned hills behind.

My awareness for the day-- reprising old paintings with a few brush strokes seems to give them new life. However, a judicious eye is needed, as some are better off left for "dead"with their failing compositions and no amount of new brushing will rescue them.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


"Grey-Scape" 6x4 oil on card, ©Laura Gable
We live in a basin where 3 rivers come together (the Yakima, Snake and Columbia Rivers). Because we are so low, our winter months (especially January) are spent under quite a bit of cloud cover. Temperature inversions, grey days, mist, freezing fog, hoar frost, intermittent flurries are all weather features we are now experiencing ... for over a week now and several days prior to that. Many people start to crave the brilliance we are so used to -- the star of the show which brightens our days and gives us so much to study as artists. LIGHT!! Count me among them. My new "happy light" is helping while I work here at home.

My painting friend and mentor pointed out the other day that even on cloudy days the sky is actually lighter than it is when it is full of brilliant blue. Amazing to realize this, yes, but it does make sense that light grey is lighter and brighter than the cerulean and ultramarine blue skies we crave. Yet the colors and tones of things become a bit more uniform. The value scale for these grey days is really in the middle - 2, 3 & 4 on a scale of 1-5. Missing are the bright highlights and the deep shadows. So with this in mind I painted our local hillsides and waterways from memory. I know I would do better with a photo reference, but this moody landscape is emblazoned into my psyche. It is lovely really, when you grey up every color that goes down. The yellows in the foreground were even greyed. Compared to the other colors they seem so bright. The cheat grass and other nimble brushes within the marsh take on some varied and interesting colors.

So the awareness of the day, is when I open up and really see with these two treasured eyes of mine, I can find beauty even when things are gloomy and grey. Find the mystery in the misty days.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Family Time

This is a series of portraits I did in 2012 of a very handsome local family, which I realize I had not posted back then. The small paintings were 6x6 in size and the larger was 9x12. The portraits were all done based on photography - I had only met 2 of the people (and the dog ;-). The client provided a plethora of photos yet not all were of the best quality, nor were they all of the specific pose we were after. It is really difficult to create a face from elements in different photos -- especially if you've not met the person. I wouldn't advise it. In fact, if I was to do this over again, I would request a sitting with each person and factor the sittings into the price of the portrait. 

I do enjoy the finished quality of the paintings with the juicy loose brush strokes. I had just come back from a workshop by Dreama Tolle Perry and studied her bright use of color and transparent paints. Her influence is very evident in these paintings. 
He had a lively personality from the photos "Lassez-Fair" 6x6 oil on board, ©Laura Gable

The youngest son, 6x6 oil on board, ©Laura Gable

The son who was in the military, 6x6 oil on board, ©Laura Gable

The daughter, 6x6 oil on board, ©Laura Gable

"Piercing" The same daughter (in a different pose), 6x6 oil on board, ©Laura Gable

The fun loving and very driven parents, and a sweet old labrador (SAM?), 9x12 oil on board, ©Laura Gable