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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


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halfway Hillside - SOLD

"Halfway Hillside", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
The first time I returned from Eastern Idaho, my daughter and I drove north from Boise to Hells Canyon, one of the amazing places on earth. We got there late in the day and decided to spend the night in the area. When we drove into the little town of Halfway as the sun was setting, I thought I'd arrived in paradise. With the Eagle Cap Wilderness to the north and the dry hills of Eastern Oregon to the south, this ranching and farming community was not just another wide spot in the road--it had an inexplicable impact on me--one of those magnetic places--like something out of Brigadoon. This little painting doesn't do it justice--maybe some time I will be able to go back and spend more time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On the Way to Idaho

"On the Way to Idaho", 10" x 12", Oil on Museum Board
This is another image from my journey to Idaho, from the highway that heads south from Butte, Montana. It goes through a beautiful valley with rugged hills, in this case dusted with snow.  The second time I drove to Idaho this way I wrecked my mini-van in Missoula and had to get a rental, transfer all of my art gear and just continue on. This valley was so beautiful that it helped to heal my spirit from the accident.

Purchase this unframed painting for $135.
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Open Space Montana

"Open Space Montana", 8" x 12", Oil on Museum Board
I usually drive to Eastern Idaho by coming across I-90 to Missoula and then south to Idaho. I love the open spaces of Montana along this route. Missoula has a special meaning to those of us interested in the geology of Washington State. During the ice age, the ice from the north dammed what is known as Lake Missoula, but over time, and apparently this happened many times, the dam broke and the water from the lake flooded over the Columbia Plateau in Eastern Washington, through the Wallula Gap and out the Columbia River, filling up the Willamette Valley in the process. The scab lands of Eastern Washington were formed by these events. Dry Falls, where I painted in the spring, is a remnant of this process. If you ever fly across central/northern Washington approximately over the Grand Coulee Dam, try to get a window seat.  You can see the wave patterns on the land.

Purchase this unframed painting for $125.
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Old Orchard Idaho

"Old Orchard Idaho", 11" x 14", Oil on Museum Board
At the workshop in Idaho we went to the same area every day--a beautiful area with field, stream, ponds, trees with turning leaves, distant hills and even moose. In every direction was a painting. In this direction was an orchard that was basically old gray trees on a gray background--at least the day I took the photo--because the sun was behind the clouds. But everything is a challenge and for me this was a challenge of color. It turned out to be an exercise in abstraction.

Purchase this unframed painting for $225
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Swan Valley Study #5

"Swan Valley Study #5", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
This study was about pushing color. I did three of these and the other two are a little out there and I'm not sure what I think of them. But this one was simple in concept and an interesting experiment.

Purchase this unframed painting for $115.
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Idaho Farmhouse - SOLD

"Idaho Farmhouse", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel
This is another little study in my effort to practice what I learned from the workshop in Idaho. Some have asked me more specifically what I learned, but it would be hard to describe.  Suffice it to say that Ovanes uses a really big palette and puts out piles of paint that are probably 10 times what most people put out.  I think that a 37 ml tube amount for one color would not be an exaggeration. That's why I started buying Classic Paints in 10 oz tubes after my first workshop with him. The only problem I've encountered with this brand, and it was a big one, was that they put out one batch of white that had an incorrect type of safflower oil in it--a type that maybe will never dry.  So all the paintings I did in the studio during the summer used this paint, though at the end I was putting an alkyd medium in it.  But this was before I really understood what the problem was and returned the paint. The company has been very straightforward in replacing the white and correcting the problem, but since I bought the paint through a third party, I was not notified of the problem.  For my outdoor paintings I use M. Graham paints.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Swan Valley Study #4

"Swan Valley Study #4", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel
I'm now experimenting with what I learned at the workshop in Idaho back here in my studio. Part of it is paint application, part color.  I like being in an experimental mode--it takes almost all the angst out of the process.

Purchase this unframed painting for $115.
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Idaho Field

"Idaho Field", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel
This is a quick study of a simple subject.  I like to do paintings like this--they are so uncomplicated.

Purchase this unframed painting for $115.
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Changing Light Idaho

"Changing Light Idaho", 14" x 18", On on Panel
One of the methods that Ovanes uses on his own paintings and recommends to students is scraping areas that are not working and re-doing them This painting was one I generously scraped in order to experiment with the idea. Sometimes scraping can leave a base of beautiful modulated color on which to re-paint. I never showed him this version of the painting but the one thing I like about it is the feeling of the light.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Colors Idaho - SOLD

"Fall Colors Idaho", 14" x 14", Oil on Panel - SOLD
On Sunday when I got to Idaho Falls, it was over 80 degrees and had been for awhile. Monday, when we started painting, the temperature had fallen to the 60's and the storms started coming in. So there was drama with rain and wind and fast moving clouds. But that just enhanced the beauty of this area along the Snake River.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Swan Valley Study #3

"Swan Valley Study #3", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel
This was painted just as the sun was going down, so it was a fast painting and fast sometimes works best for me--no time for second thoughts! Right after this, as we were putting away our gear, we saw across the pond a moose and two calves. We'd seen a buck moose in the same area in the morning. As I was driving back to Idaho Falls a couple of days later, I saw a big buck crossing the river.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swan Valley Study #2

"Swan Valley Study #2", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel
This is the second of a series of studies that I did at the workshop. I started out painting on bigger panels, but switched to the smaller ones after Ovanes told me to. This was actually a big relief. When you watch someone do a 40 x 60 inch painting in a couple of hours, you think maybe you should be working at least a little bigger, but for practice, it may be more practical to do many 8 x 10 inch paintings than struggle with one four times the size.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Swan Valley Study #1

"Swan Valley Study #1", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel
Two days after I got home from Cornwall I packed up my car and drove 900 miles to Eastern Idaho for a workshop with Ovanes Berberian.  Or rather, my husband drove, as he came with me and then flew to San Antonio for a work conference while I was at the workshop.  I wanted to go to the workshop because earlier in the summer I'd heard that Ovanes was not giving any more workshops. I think he's now rescinded that but at the time I thought maybe it would be my last chance! If any of you have taken classes from Ovanes, you know that he doesn't hold back, so all the paintings I will show you from the workshop were critiqued without mercy. I did learn stuff, but it will take me some practice to have a clearer idea of just what exactly I did learn!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Charlestown Jetty

"Charlestown Jetty", 9" x 9", Oil on Museum Board
This is the last of my Cornwall paintings--out on the Jetty in Charlestown on the southeast coast of Cornwall. The next two days we went to the Bodmin Moor to see the standing stones and to Tintagel Castle on the northern coast--the mythic birthplace of King Arthur. Cornwall is a wonderful place. The house we stayed in, the Great Treverran, is said to have been the house featured in Daphne Du Maurier's "House on the Strand." a book I read years ago and remember well.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yellow House Charlestown

"Yellow House Charlestown", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
The morning in Charlestown was sunny but not terribly warm.  We set up out on the outer jetty facing back toward the wharf.  There were three young girls, local girls I think, who were jumping off the stone wharf into the water, about 15-20 feet at least, despite the fact that the tide was going out and in spite of the sign that warned against it.  They were wonderfully energetic.  It was a day for me of just kind of painting in the abstract.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rocks on Charlestown Beach

"Rocks on Charlestown Beach", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
This was actually the last painting I did in Cornwall, after two paintings in the morning on the jetty at Charlestown when the sun was shining--paintings I'll put up in the next couple of days.  Up on the hill, I was cold and tired.  A nice man sitting on the bench behind me commented that painting must be a labor of love. At that moment it was probably more labor than love, but it is odd that we painters are just crazy enough to go out into the elements and do these things--its such an intense and consuming way of relating with the world.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mousehole

"Mousehole", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
I was finished with the wharf houses painting in Mousehole (pronounced Mauzel) and just setting the next board on my easel when one of the gals in our group came over and told me and Jeanne that the group was leaving in 15 minutes.  Not to waste a good setup and the decision that I had already made about my subject, I decided they could spare me 20 minutes--and this little abstract painting was the result.  I had a good time painting it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mousehole Wharf Houses

"Mousehole Wharf Houses", 9" x 9", Oil on Museum Board
Mousehole (pronounced Mauzel), is a small picturesque fishing village on the far South East coast of Cornwall. These wharf houses were right on the harbor.  The harbor is enclosed by a left and right jetty and when the tide goes out, the entire bay is emptied of water and the boats are high and dry on the tideland. This painting sort of has the feeling of a "Wuthering Heights" but in actuality, the harbor has a very energetic and colorful feeling.  A guy came by where we were painting and was holding up his fingers framing a view the way artists do.  I asked him if he were a painter and he said no, he was a photographer, and just wanted to get an idea of what was so interesting about what we were painting.  He didn't seem to think too much of it! But part of the reason we were there was it was very windy and we found a little niche behind a bulkhead sticking out onto the beach out of the wind.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jetty at Polkerris

"Jetty at Polkerris", 9" x 9", Oil on Museum Board
We had reservations for Sunday afternoon dinner at the pub in Pokerris, a very tiny town on the south east coast of Cornwall, so my second painting was a fast one. I was fascinated by the jetties in these coastal towns that created safe harbors for small boats. They were stone, often curved, beautiful, looked like they had been there forever and in this case, made for a strangely abstract painting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Polkerris Beach

"Polkerris Beach", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
This painting was based on my memory of the morning light, looking back at the town from the jetty. The sun was out for about 15 minutes when we first got there and then disappeared for most of the rest of the day. But I wanted to capture the feeling of the light--despite the cold and the clouds--because it was striking.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fowey River at Golant

"Fowey River at Golant", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
This was the third painting I did in Golant, looking across the river. I almost forgot to post this painting because I set up all the others from the UK trip to be posted while I was at the Ovanes workshop. I am finally in a state of at least mental exhaustion from all the travels this summer--ready to be in my studio for awhile with my cat and the heater. Looking back, I had some amazing experiences--from the workshop with Peggi in June and Elio in July to paint-outs in Cle Elum and Lopez Island, to Denali in Alaska, Cornwall and finally to Idaho--it was all pretty amazing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Golant

"Golant", 9" x 9", Oil on Museum Board
This was the first painting I did in Golant, when the tide was way out. By the time we left, the water was a few inches from the road and if it was higher, I think the house would be surrounded by water. We ate lunch at the local pub, where the three resident dogs, small with curly hair, guarded the stairway to the pub.  They definitely owned the place!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Up River Golant

"Up River Golant", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
Golant is a small village up the Fowey River, maybe two miles from where we were staying. I think it was my favorite village of all the amazing small villages we went to. At a very high tide, the main street is covered with water. Along the river at the far end of the main street, which was not very long, there is a cement/stone bulkhead with many small ladders that go down to the beach and all along are tied in continuous loop ropes all the small boats anchored there. So when the tide comes in or out, the boats float with the tide. One gentleman who was passing back and forth on the bulkhead told me that he had just come back from Portugal and he pointed to his orange sail boat out in the harbor. As we were leaving I commented on the incoming weather to another gentleman, who exhuberantly exclaimed with a toothless and cheery grin that "it is a grand day to be alive!"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mevagissey Jetty

"Mevagissey Jetty", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
In this painting I just picked out one boat in the busy harbor. I had come down with a horrible cold the previous day, but as my friend Jeanne kept saying, when you are painting, you just forget everything else--no problems, no worries.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mevagissey Harbor

"Mevagissey Harbor", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
Mevagissey is a delightful town with a working fishing harbor filled with boats and tourists walking to the north or south jetty.  It was hard to sort it all out visually, so I just didn't try to put it all in, but rather made kind of a puzzle of color in the painting.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

View from Great Treverran - SOLD

"View from Great Treverran", 9" x 9", Oil on Museum Board - SOLD
This was a late day painting with long shadows and the misty hills in the background.  This is probably the place where the cows came through the hedgerow. I think they wanted to be milked.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Readymoney Beach

"Readymoney Beach", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
Readymoney is a small beach on the far side of Fowey. It was cold and began to drizzle, but an older couple from Ireland, determined to follow their bliss I guess, threw their clothes and boots and her purse onto the sand beneath the bulkhead and ran down to the water arm-in-arm and jumped into the sea. It was in the Readymoney Beach parking lot that I met up with the UPS guy to get the attachment for my tripod.  He was determined to deliver it by 12 noon and had no idea where the Great Treverran was located.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Clouds over Cornwall

"Clouds over Cornwall", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
The Cornwall countryside is filled with green fields, cows, sheep and many hedgerows. There are a lot of cows in the fields around the Great Treverran, where we stayed, and one evening during dinner the herd found an opening in the hedgerow back of the house and came up the drive from the back to the front gate--the gate that is closed to prevent the cows from coming in!  Eventually they all turned around and went the other way, but not without leaving a great cow mess in the driveway!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

View from Restormel

"View from Restormel", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
At Restormel Castle I still didn't have the attachment for my tripod, so I painted this sitting on a bench with my Open M on my lap, below the walls of the castle looking out on the Cornwall countryside. It was a warm sunny day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Church in Fowey

"Church in Fowey", 9" x 9", Oil on Museum Board
My friend Jeanne Edwards and I were standing on a little knoll by the church in Fowey. She was painting the buildings and the street that went down to the harbor and I was facing the church.  For a few moments, the sun created some wonderful light patterns, however the church is not actually listing to the left as I made it look. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fowey Sailboats

"Fowey Sailboats", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
We painted this scene from some rocks below the main town on the Fowey harbor, which was filled with boats. I discovered I had brought the wrong attachment for my tripod, so for the first three days I was painting with the 8 x 10 Open Box M on my lap, which accounted for the fact that I got an unusual amount of paint on my jacket!