Welcome to my Studio!


Daily Oil Paintings of Kathryn Townsend. The paintings posted on this blog are a journal of process. Daily practice, exploration and experimentation are the life blood of the artist's way.

All images are copyright of Kathryn Townsend Website: http://KathrynTownsend.com

“A man learns to skate by staggering around making a fool of
himself: indeed he progresses in all things by making a fool of
himself.” --George Bernard Shaw


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Olympics

8/31/10 "The Olympics", 10" x 10", Oil
This was a sketch I did on Hurricane Ridge, looking out on the interior of the Olympic National Park. I did a second one back in the studio today because I wanted to experiment with color and making it a little more abstract.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hurricane Ridge - ON Hold

8/30/10 "Hurricane Ridge", 9" x 9", Oil
When you get up to Hurricane Ridge, you can look out into the heart of the Olympic Mountains.  I got frustrated with this painting as it went along, so I decided to try to paint it more in the style of David Mollet--more expressionistic than impressionistic.  I don't pretend to understand how David constructs his paintings, but it was fun just thinking about it differently.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beach at Salt Creek NFS


8/29/10 "Beach at Salt Creek", 8" x 10", Oil
This beach is up on the Olympic Peninsula west of Port Angeles--not on the ocean, but on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where the water first enters Puget Sound.  It is a much more rugged area than the quiet waters where I live at the very bottom of Puget Sound, which is like a baby's blanket compared to this.  I like this painting because it doesn't mean to be anything other than it is--my experience of the colors that the salt air produced on this day, which was on Friday, when I went there to paint with my friend Jeanne Edwards.

NFS

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Self Portrait #2 - NFS

8/27/10 "Self Portrait #2", 11" x 14", Oil
Another self-portrait.  With this one I utilized a technique that Peggi Kroll Roberts said she did for a year:  draw a line down the middle of the palette with darks on one side and lights on the other.  Take everything for lights from one side of the palette and everything for the darks from the dark side of the palette.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Self Portrait #1

8/26/10 "Self Portrait", 14" x 11", Oil
Sometimes I just feel like doing something really different and a self-portrait is always a challenge.  I didn't try to make it pretty because this was the day this week I got the root canal. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fisherman Bay -- NFS

8/25/10 "Fisherman Bay", 8" x 10", Oil -- NFS
This is another painting done on Lopez Island that is currently in a show on Orcas Island.  This was actually the first painting I did on Lopez, and it was a hot, hot morning with a lot of mosquitos on this preserve. This entire series of paintings was done for a competition that benefited the San Juan Preservation Trust -- an organization dedicated to preserving the natural and historic areas of the San Juan Islands.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spencer Spit

8/23/10 "Spencer Spit", 8" x 10", Oil
This is another fast painting on Lopez Island, but fast because the sun was setting behind the hill.  There are so many beautiful painting spots on Lopez Island, but the really enchanting thing about Lopez is that the residents on this small island wave to everybody as they pass in their cars--without fail--a one finger, two finger or full hand wave. And I started waving to everybody. It kept me on my toes--I couldn't get lost in day dreams.  It made me so aware of the island and who was there.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Watmouth Beach -- SOLD

8/22/10 "Watmouth Beach", 9" x 9", Oil  -- SOLD
This is another 30 minute painting from Watmouth Bay on Lopez Island and is one of my favorite paintings from the trip. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Watmouth Bay -- SOLD

8/21/10 "Watmouth Bay", 8" x 10", Oil 
Watmouth Bay is the most idyllic painting spot on Lopez Island--a swath of sandy beach in a beautiful sparkling cove.  One of my friends was in the painting doldrums, so I suggested we do 30 minute paintings--a very good way to break through that barrier.  This was the first of my 30 minute paintings.  It is currently at a show at the Crow Valley Pottery on Orcas Island.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Green -- NFS

8/20/10 "Green", 8" x 10", Oil  NFS
This was the third painting at the Fisherman Bay Preserve on Lopez Island during one morning, and by this time I was in a more experimental frame of mind.  A friend now has this painting.  She said it reminded her of the work of Emily Carr, which in retrospect connected me to the yet to be experienced workshop with David Molett in Alaska the following week.  Strange how those things sometimes happen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fog at Fisherman Bay

8/19/10 "Fog at Fisherman Bay", 8" x 10", Oil
Since I didn't have access to a computer while I was on Lopez and in Alaska, I'm showing you many of the Lopez paintings now.  There were several days where we painted maybe 3 or 4 paintings a day.  They are not all worth posting and they are not all equally "good" whatever that criteria is--sometimes just the feeling I have about them.  But they are kind of like a day in the life of an outdoor painter--different weather conditions, different moods, different energy levels.  This was a painting in a cold fog.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Richardson Bay

8/18/10 "Richardson Bay", 9" x 9", Oil
This is a painting of a bay on the southern shore of Lopez Island just as the fog had lifted, so everything was bathed in a misty light.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fisherman Bay Preserve

8/17/10 "Fisherman Bay Preserve", 10" x 12", Oil
This is one of the paintings from the week on Lopez Island in the San Juan's at the San Juan Preservation Trust paint out. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

View from Colorado Lake

8/16/10 "View from Colorado Lake", 9" x 9", Oil
This is a small painting done from my friends' property on Colorado Lake, near Cantwell, Alaska.  It was misty and rainy but still beautiful as ever.  I came home with a copy of the Kaufman's book, Untamed Alaska, and I am envious that this week Steve and Marybee are in Denali Park with photographer's permit!

I mentioned that the last day we hiked down the Savage River in the Park and hung out with a couple of Dall Sheep rams. This is a photo of the bigger ram eyeballing me--about 6-8 feet from me. I had been busy doing some drawing and suddenly he was right there in front of me! I threw down my sketch book and grabbed my camera. Marybee took this photo.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Davis Bay -- SOLD

8/16/10 "David Bay", 9" x 9", Oil   SOLD
This is a not very good photo (taken from the back of my car) of  my second "quick draw" painting done during the San Juan Preservation Trust paint out on Lopez Island a couple of weeks ago.  The bay was socked in all morning, cleared for a couple of hours during the quick draw, and then the fog rolled in again just as I was packing up out on the point by Davis Bay. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Teklanika River - NFS

8/14/10 "Teklanika River", 16" x 20", Oil  NFS
This was painted the last morning of the workshop on a sand bar of the Teklankika River where the Murie Science Center Field Camp was.  We stayed in tent cabins.  This was the only clear sky day during my time in Alaska and the wind was fierce!  You can see the white spots where I used a bungy cord to keep my panel on the easel.  One thing I loved about the workshop was that David, in a completely laid back manner, defied conventional outdoor painting wisdom.  Here are two of what we called the Molleticisms:  Just put the paint on, leave it there, and don't step back to look at what you've done--don't look at your painting when doing it.  Chase the light--you can't remember what it was like before.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sable Pass -- NFS

8/13/10 "Sable Pass", 16 x 20, Oil  NFS
This is the second painting I did on the second day of the workshop about 40 miles into Denali Park on Sable Pass--the same area that from the safety of the bus the previous day we'd seen a mama grizzly and her two cubs browsing the berries!  For this painting, I had the opportunity of watching David start a painting--with simple flat shapes that defined the overall design, color and value.  As the plein air tradition in the lower 48 comes more out of the California Impressionists (it seems to me), the images of David's paintings are only now sinking into my brain with the possibility for more abstract design--the type of painting that I have long admired in artists such as the Group of Seven.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Valley Near Toklat -- NFS

8/12/10 "Valley Near Toklat", 16 x 20, Oil,  NFS
The only time that worked for my visit with a painting friend in Alaska was during the time she was taking a workshop from David Mollet, Chair of the Art Department at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, at a field camp in Denali National Park.  Luckily I got in from the waiting list.  David's work derives more from his study in New York than the plein air movement in the lower 48 and in fact he was not familiar with Edgar Payne and John Carlson, the current gods of outdoor painting.  There is an amazing abstract quality to David's on location paintings that I rarely see in contemporary outdoor painting.  We were working big (small to David) with 16 x 20 panels, four times bigger than my average outdoor painting size, out in Denali Park in mostly overcast, rainy and sometimes exceedingly windy conditions. I do not consider any of the paintings I did  "finished"--they are at the most 2 to 2.5 hour worth of painting time, but I do consider them experiments in painting differently.  This was the first one.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kathryn in Denali

8/07/10 Kathryn in Denali, Photo
I'm still in Alaska and don't have my camera to take photos of paintings, so I'm posting
this photo taken by my friend Mary Bee Kaufman where we painted at Sable Pass in Denali National Park.  On this day we saw (from the bus) two mama grizzlies each with two cubs, one set sauntering down the road and voraciously eating red berries by the stream.  We also saw several Dall Sheep crossing the road, a wolf crossing the road, a fox and several caribou.  There is almost no private vehicle traffic in the park--everybody rides on buses--and animals have the right of way, so sometimes there are bus back-ups.  The weather cleared yesterday and Mt. McKinley was in full view from spots on the road.  We painted on a sand bar of the Teklanika River in the full blast of the wind near where the field camp was located.  More later!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lopez Cliffs - SOLD

8/2/10 "Lopez Cliffs", 9" x 9", Oil -- SOLD
I'm off to Alaska tomorrow, so I have time to post one painting from the Plein Air Washington/San Juan Preservation Trust Paint-Out on Lopez Island this last week.  This painting won 2nd place in the competition.  It was painted on the wind-swept grassy cliffs of the southern end of the Island near Iceberg Point--a magical, other worldly place with slate blue water and black rock.  I took this photo of the painting from the back of my van, but I think the color is pretty accurate.