Mendocino Art Class

The first day of glass we painted the arch in the afternoon after doing a value study of it in the morning. It was a very very gray day, so there was not a lot of color in the water, not a lot of color in the arch, no color in the sky. So even though the teacher thought this was quite successful I felt it’s a little bland and I may have to work on it a little bit.

The second day we went directly to the site to do some plein air painting. We went to McKercher Park, which is closest to Fort Bragg. On one side is a beautiful pond and on the other side is the ocean, so it’s a great place to park your car and plan our paint. I took this photo of the pond and decided to paint it that morning. I didn’t finish it that morning but came home and finished it later I think it turned out pretty well, it’s small at 9 x 11 inches

In the afternoon, we walked over to the beach area and our teacher gave a demo first and then we could pick where we wanted to paint. I chose an area with some rocks in a nice view out to the sea.
This is another 9 x 11“ painting and I was pleased with the outcome of it. The mountains were not in the background but that side of the painting seemed a little bland so I gave it some mountains. That’s a nice thing about plein air painting you don’t have to paint it is exactly as you see it , but you can paint it as you can imagine it., but you can paint it as you can imagine it.

Classes are always challenging to me as there is always a wide variety of expertise and experience and ability in the same class. This class had a wide range of artists in the class, with a few fairly experienced and most were more of the beginner variety. I always find it interesting how people talk about their art before you see what they can do. I don’t talk much about my art, as I don’t want people to have expectations that I don’t meet. I would rather exceed their expectations and come up with something that is surprisingly artistic versus talk about what I’m doing before i do anything.

The third day it rained so we were in the studio all day. We did a value study of a photo that she gave to us. Each table had a different photo to work with. You could trade, but you didn’t really get to pick what you wanted to do . Mine was a surf scene so I worked on that most of the day with a value study first and the painting in the afternoon. She gave us linen royal paper to paint on as an alternative to a Pamela campus and that was a fun experience.

It was fun painting on a slightly different medium our teacher also gave a demo on using Gouage, which I would like to try as it paints and mixes like oil, but dries quickly. It would be great for travel. You can paint on 300 lb paper, so no canvas or panels to carry!

It was an excellent class, and Ellen Howard is a knowledgeable and interesting teacher!

Mendocino Art Class

Commissioned Art – Yes or NO!

So a friend of an acquaintance of mine, whom I met briefly once, called and wanted me to do a portrait of her granddaughter. I told her that I did commissions, but that I was not a “Portrait Artist” per se. She looked at my work and insisted I do it for her. When I told her my prices, there was a long pregnant pause. I told her it would be $50 less if she framed it, knowing all too well it would cost her considerably more if she were to have it framed at a frame shop. She sent me the photo, and asked that I take out the toy in the hand and add a beach with palm trees in the background. I personally thought it was overkill, and let her know in a subtle manner. I did as she asked, and spent about four days on the painting. I was charging $400 unframed and $450 unframed.

I am finally learning at this point in life, not to be as trusting as I have been all my life. I did not ask for a deposit. Shame on me! I trusted she would like the finished product.

Well, it did not turn out that way. She did not like it; never came to see it in person and was pretty rude in her interactions with me.

This is the photo that she emailed to me. She said she loved the hat, and wanted palm trees in the background on the beach. She wanted the green toy removed.
This what I sent her, then I redid the lips, but did not send. I did not hear from here the first week, the second week she said she was ill, and this went on for about a month and a half. I sent a note and said she did not have to buy it if she did not like it. Well, she certainly did not!
But rather than even stopping by to see it in person, she sent a “text” saying that: ” She did not like it all, and it looked nothing like her granddaughter, and her son did not think it looked her either. She NEVER saw the portrait itself.

I think I am a little upset, as I spent longer on it than I normally do on a painting, and basically wasted three days of my life. But did I really waste my time, or was this a message I needed.

I texted her back saying this was not a photograph, but was represented an image of her granddaughter. She stated she would pay me nothing, and that part is rude, but not unexpected. I added that I learned a good lesson: Don’t do commissions for someone you do not know, and get part of the money upfront. I wasted time and nice linen canvas. The thing I really cannot believe is that she could not bother to even stop by and take a look. I think she just decided she did not want to spend the money.

A family member in the interim asked me to do a portrait of her daughter, and she loved it. She did not ask for a background, which is usually nominal in a child’s portrait, but gave a photo that showed the whole head, without a huge hat.

I still do not call myself a portrait artist, and will not step out and take a chance with a total stranger. The woman who did not accept the portrait of her granddaughter did not say thank you for your time or even offer to pay for the canvas or my time.

It is one thing to accept negative comments, but something entirely different to be treated so rudely. How do I know, maybe she is just not a happy person or I did not make her grandbaby a beauty contest winner??

You can be the judge of that! I think I will just draw a mustache on the painting and deliver it to it’s proper home: The trash!

Commissioned Art – Yes or NO!

Life is confusing (sometimes)

I signed up for my first ever Art Sale called the Crush, as it is held at a local winery. I paid for my space and went to put it on my calendar realizing I was out of town that week, at another “art first”! I signed up for a Plein Air Open Paint Out in Mendocino the same week. I already paid for that, and the week of lodging and am very excited about entering a contest, but disappointed I won’t be able to do both.

Trying to stay on top of everything you sign up for and want to do can be exhausting. Next week I am taking a figure drawing class in Sacramento, then meeting a high school classmate for lunch. It is a casual class.

In the interim, I decided to paint a couple of wine pieces. This one is 9x 12 inches and was fun to paint. I will start showing in Village 360 in Suisun Valley starting the 23rd. This piece is available for $450.00.

The other piece I am working on is 30″ x 40″, featuring grapevines and mountains and big sky. I worked on it all day, and forgot how long it takes to do big impressionistic painting. I am trying to expand my horizons on what I paint.

So many artists paint one thing, and I think it is important to experiment to see where you excel. I have been painting for a long time, with more in the last view years and love to try different things. At this point in my life, I like to go big or stay small, with nothing in-between. Just a random decision I made lately.

Life is confusing (sometimes)


With everyone doing paintings of Sunflowers for the Children of the Ukraine, I decided it was time for me to do one too! So, off to Farmer’s Market last weekend, where they were selling beautiful Sunflowers. My husband bought two bundles for me, and I put them in one of my favorite vases. I do not paint very many flowers, so this was a new challenge for me.

When I put it on my page on Facebook, one of my friends said to “ditch” the arms on the vase. I am glad I did not, as I think they add character to the painting. Everyone has an opinion about art, whether intellectual or just a gut feeling. At this point in my life I only trust an opinion from an artist I consider better than myself. Everyone thinks you should listen to their opinion, but if they don’t have a background in art/color why would think how they feel is more important than how you feel about the piece. I have stopped asking the opinions of family and friends, as in most cases I do not agree with them. My sons grew up surrounded by art and design, so luckily they do have a good eye. My youngest son has made many suggestions that truly worked in art and in design. At the moment he works for a company designing furniture.

The other thing people almost always ask, is how long did it take to paint that piece. One of my dear friends, and another artist explained to me to always tell them it took years. That is indeed the truth, as you are working for years to perfect your skill. So this painting probably took thirty years and two hours!