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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


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

White Rose - SOLD

"White Rose", 14 x 11 In, Oil on Museum Board
Still life painting is a challenge for me--deciding what to paint, how to set it up, all the gear required in the studio to get a good set up and good lighting. I have two big skylights but natural lighting is hard to come by in the Pacific Northwest during the dark months. So I use really big pieces of foam core to create a box around my table for the set-up, which works pretty well until my cat comes in and bats the foam core around because he's hungry. Everything about still life for me is experimental.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Capitol Reef Cliffs

"Capitol Reef Cliffs", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
I'm transitioning to doing more still lifes, but I still have a couple more Utah paintings. This is from the west side of the Waterpocket Fold near the park headquarters, an area blazing with color. It is an exercise in high key values. I had broken my foot a week before we left for the trip, but by the end was taking some fairly long walks in these areas in my "boot."

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Still Life with Apple

"Still Life with Apple", 10 x 10 In, Oil on Panel
As we go into the dark of winter I will be doing more still life paintings with studio lighting. Right now, the natural light from my two big 4 x 4 foot skylights starts to fail around 3 pm as the sun is so low in the sky and drops behind the big cedars out in back--if there is any sun at all! So I'm just starting to remember how much I struggled with still life set-ups last winter.

Purchase this unframed painting for $145.
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Utah Horizon

"Utah Horizon", 8 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
Some subjects lend themselves to the simplest of compositions along with fast and straightforward painting. Such was this painting of the distance on a Utah backroad.

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

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cliff Shadows

"Cliff Shadows", 8 x 12 In, On on Panel
As much as there are warm colors in the Utah landscape, at certain times of the day there are beautiful blues with the atmospheric perspective. This painting was an exercise in painting that perspective.

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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Apples - SOLD

"Apples", 8 x 12 In, Oil 0n Panel

Apples are the simplest of fruit and what better way to express everything that we cherish about Thanksgiving than to paint a still life of apples.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last Light Escalante

"Last Light Escalante", 8 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
I still have a few more Utah paintings since I painted ahead for the holidays. This one is basically about color patterns. The snow is still on the ground here around Puget Sound and my cats are flummoxed by this cold white stuff--and I'm still dreaming about the warm colors of the Southwest.

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Naxi Woman -- NFS

"Naxi Woman", 9" x 7", Oil on Museum Board NFS
I posted this painting back in September, but I'm posting it again because it was a finalist in the FineArtViews Painting Competition for October. It was my favorite portrait of my marathon "30 portraits in eight days" before I left for Cornwall, and I am grateful to Scott Prior, the judge of the October competition for selecting my painting as one of the finalists.

I visted Yunna Province in China in March of 2009 with Barry Raybould and Timothy Tien. The ethnic minority in the Lijiang and Yuhu Village areas are the Naxi people.  In Yuhu Village, just beneath Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, we stayed at a delightful guest house. Scroll down to the second set of photos in this Yuhu Village link and you'll see photos of the guest house, the wonderfully accommodating proprietors, and the mountain above the village. Most afternoons at the guest house, a group of village people would gather in the courtyard to play mahjong. Some of them agreed to model for us--but it was always clear that their interest was with the mahjong table. It was March and still cold, elevation about 8,000 feet, so they had cement bowls filled with hot coals around the group for heat. We just wore a lot of clothes! This painting is from a photo of one of the women watching the game.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yellow Rose

"Yellow Rose", 10 x 8 In, Oil on Museum Board
I have a few more of the Utah landscapes to post, but today I just wanted to do a simple still life. I started out this blog 11 months ago doing still life's and in the summer switched mainly to plein air landscape. So now I feel like I'm coming full circle.

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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fremont River - NFS

"Fremont River", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Panel - NFS
The Fremont River runs east cutting through the Waterpocket Fold that runs north and south through Capitol Reef National Park in Southwest Utah. The multi-layers of rock are amazingly colorful. According to Wikipedia, "The area was named for a line of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, each of which looks somewhat like the United States Capitol building, that run from the Fremont River to Pleasant Creek on the Waterpocket Fold. The local word reef referred to any rocky barrier to travel.[2]



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sundown Escalante

"Sundown Escalante", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
I'm still not done with painting images from Utah--maybe because it has been raining here so much. I want to keep remembering the colors and sunlight as it gets even darker, grayer and colder in the Northwest.

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

Friday, November 19, 2010

Backroad Utah -- SOLD

"Backroad Utah", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board -- SOLD
This is an area in the Dixie National Forest in Southwest Utah. The National Parks in this corner of Utah--Bryce, Zion and Capitol Reef--are spectacular.  But the backroads where we found hardly any tourists are just as beautiful in their own way.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Valley Floor Escalante - SOLD

"Valley Floor Escalante", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Panel SOLD
I can feel that I'm coming to the end of this series of paintings from Southwest Utah--a few more paintings, maybe. Yesterday I painted two and scraped both of them. But what will come next? In this little painting, I hope I conveyed some sense of the vastness of the land.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Storm Coming Highrock

"Storm Coming Highrock", 12" x 12", Oil on Museum Board
Yesterday a storm actually did come to the Pacific Northwest and the power was out in our little community for nearly 24 hours--no TV, no internet, no electricity and even the phone service went down for awhile. So I built a fire in our fireplace insert, which will pretty much heat the entire house, worked on a painting under the skylight and read a novel in front of the fire.  This painting was done in response to a challenge on an artist network I belong to.

Purchase this unframed painting for $175.
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Capitol Reef Backroad - SOLD

"Capitol Reef Backroad", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel SOLD
Of all the places we went last fall in Southwestern Utah, the little known Capitol Reef National Park was my favorite.  Capitol Reef has multiple layers of rock from pink to green and the light in the canyons is amazingly luminous.  This is the western side of the monocline, called the Waterpocket Fold.  We drove down to Lake Powell on the eastern side on the road shown on the national park link, meeting only a few cars and a park ranger who was on the look out for big game hunters coming illegally within the park boundaries.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Out West - On Hold

"Out West", 10" x 12", Oil on Museum Board
In this simple painting I am trying to capture the feeling of the mountain west. The area is somewhere on the way to Utah, my memory is that it was a small town in the mountains in Nevada.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cedar Canyon - SOLD

"Cedar Canyon", 11 x 14 In, Oil on Museum Board
When I went to Utah last fall, this scene of the Cedar Canyon was the first outdoor painting of the trip--but not this particular painting. That first painting had a good feeling to it, but it just didn't work out in some other ways. So I have been trying to re-do this painting over the last year and this is my 4th or 5th attempt. I'm hoping that sometime I will really be able to figure out how to express the light that I remember in the canyon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Utah Shadows - SOLD

"Utah Shadows", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel
When I do a series of paintings on a particular theme, I am often portraying a particular place, such as Utah, but also working on my understanding of how to put a painting together.  Sometimes it helps me to paint slowly and scrape and re-do until I get the image I want.  Other times, I set the timer and do quick studies as a way of taking myself out of my head. This is one of those quick studies.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Last Light

"Last Light", 8" x 10", Oil on Panel
Doing a painting with low light is a challenge. My latest instructor made a big point of saying that if a passage is not working, scraping is a good thing. I scraped this painting entirely at least once and certain parts of it more than once before it came into "tune." The values and colors of this painting are so close because of the light that it was hard to get an accurate photograph, and this photo of the painting does not quite portray the color/values as the actually are.

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Escalante Backroad

"Escalante Backroad", 10" x 12", Oil on Museum Board
This is a dirt road off Cottonwood Canyon Road in the Grand Staircase Escalante near Grosvenor Arch. The main road after the first few miles is unpaved like most of the roads in the area, which is why we rented a 4-wheel drive for the last two days we were there.

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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunset Escalante

"Sunset Escalante", 10" x 12", Oil on Museum Board
This is another painting that shows just how colorful Utah is, especially late in the day and early in the morning. There are so many geological layers, each a different color and composition. The Grand Staircase Escalante is made up of five tilted, southward facing escarpments called stairsteps, rising in all 5500 feet and covering 1.9 million acres.

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

Escalante Outcrop - SOLD

"Escalante Outcrop", 10" x 12", Oil on Museum Board SOLD
The wonderful thing about Southwest Utah and the Escalante is that there is so much color in the land. So this entire series is a study of warm and cool temperatures and also about keeping the colors in harmony.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Canyon Wall Escalante - SOLD

"Canyon Wall Escalante", 11" x 14", Oil on Museum Board SOLD
The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is a vast area of rugged canyons, rocks and cliffs with few roads in Southwest Utah. Many of the roads that do exist are impassable without a 4-wheel drive. The old jeep that we rented came with a GPS unit and a treasure map to ancient Moqui cliff dwellings and dinosaur tracks. We spent our days exploring and stopped every afternoon about 4 pm so that I could paint in the beautiful light.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Escalante Shadows

"Escalante Shadows", 10" x 12", Oil on Museum Board
I spent most of the summer painting outside--in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and the UK. It is a different experience painting from photos in the studio and a good time to try to put into practice what I learned outside. So I'm going to do a few more landscapes and then at some point this winter I'll probably switch to still life, as I like painting directly from life the best. The next series, including this painting, are from images from our trip last year to Utah where I did paint out on the land every day.

Purchase this unframed painting for $135.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Utah Cloud Study

"Utah Cloud Study", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
This is another simple study of clouds over Utah. I am always drawn to painting skies and capturing the movement and ephemeral quality of clouds.

Purchase this unframed painting for $115.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Big Sky

"Big Sky", 10" x 12", Oil on Museum Board
This is another sky image from my trip to Idaho. Getting the feeling of distance is often a matter of warm and cool temperatures. I sometimes start out with a more detailed painting and then realize that's not how I want to paint, so I switch to my big brush and just have at it.

Purchase this unframed painting for $135.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Idaho Sky

"Idaho Sky", 12" x 16", Oil on Panel
Where I live in Western Washington the skies are beautiful, but often obscured by the trees--trees everywhere--and green everywhere. That is one reason I love the interior west--the big open spaces and the big skies.

Purchase this unframed painting for $225.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First Snow Utah

"First Snow Utah", 12" x 16", Oil on Museum Board
I am starting to experiment with daily paintings larger than my usual 8" x 10" size. This painting is also an experiment with using Phthalo Blue, a beautiful color that can overwhelm the palette.

Purchase this unframed painting for $225.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wallowa Mountains

"Wallowa Mountains", 8" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
This is a view of the Wallowa Mountains from Halfway. I wasn't sure if the photo was from the south or from Joseph, Oregon on the north side of the range. When I checked my photos on the computer, it was between the images of Hells Canyon and the photos I took of the cowboys herding cattle down the middle of the highway, so I knew that it was from Halfway.

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