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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


Monday, February 28, 2011

White Flowers with Apples NFS

"White Flowers with Apples", 12 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board
The daily painting blog is strange. It is so motivating related to getting into the studio with brush in hand every possible day. But it also feels risky sometimes, because the daily painter, at least to a certain extent, lays it all out there. That's why I put the quote from George Bernard Shaw at the top of my blog and why I keep remembering it because being on the risky side of things is in the end, a better learning place than the safe side of things. Sometimes I want to finish the painting less and not worry about it. Sometimes I want to use big sloppy brushstrokes and not think about it. This painting was mainly a result of "6 x 6" size fatigue. Its "12 x 12", four times bigger, but in the scheme of things, still pretty small.

NFS

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Loading Rocks

"Loading Rocks", 12 x 8 In, Oil on Panel
This painting was from my figure series about a week ago. I was up in Edmonds today, about an hour and a half drive from here, at the Plein Air Washington Paint-in, but it was too dark to take photos once I got home and I'm not sure how the paintings turned out anyway! This figure painting was another one where I used a photo I've had for years of a worker in Northeast China, deciding that it was interesting enough to try to make something of it. It's definitely a study and I had fun doing it--a guy and some rocks--not something I would ordinarily think about painting.

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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shadowed Face

"Shadowed Face", 6 x 6 In, Oil on Canvas
This painting was a struggle--to get plane changes with small changes in color and value when the face is almost entirely in shadow. It is a very good exercise.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

On the Bike - NFS

"On the Bike", 6 x 6 In, Oil on Museum Board NFS
Back to the small paintings, this is from a photograph I took in a rural farming area of Northeastern China--a photo that I've looked at for a long time and wondered if I could make anything of it. So it was fun just going at it.

NFS

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Zangle Cove Snow

"Zangle Cove Snow", 8 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
It rarely snows here, maybe once a year, and today was the day. I think it requires some kind of weather convergence--wet weather from the southwest that is usually warm with cold air from the north that is usually dry. So I couldn't resist a painting of the Cove, even without sun.

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mongolian Herder

"Mongolian Herder", 6 x 6 In, Oil on Museum Board
Its a good exercise to do these small portraits because even if the painting itself is larger, the head of a figure is often small. This is from a photo taken in 2005 when a small group of us took an excursion from Jove Wang's studio near Jilin, China, to Inner Mongolia--a province of China.

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Zangle Cove Sketches 2 - NFS

"Zangle Cove Sketches 2", 6 x 8 Inch Each, Oil on Panel NFS
This is the second set of 15 minutes sketches of Zangle Cove that I did last week with my painting friends. It was late in the day and the sky was continually changing as the clouds swept across the sky. I am so use to this beautiful changing view that it took my friends to point out to me how amazing it really is.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Zangle Cove Sketches 1 - NFS

"Zangle Cove Sketches 1", 6 x 8 In each, Oil on Panel NFS
When my friends were here last week, the weather moving across the Cove was dramatic and ever changing. We had done the 10-minute still life exercise in the morning and in the afternoon decided we would do quick sketches of Zangle Cove. Our goal was 15 minutes each and we pretty much kept to that! These were my first two.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chinese Woman - NFS

"Chinese Woman" 6 x 6 In, Oil on Panel
When I compared this photo I took of this painting a couple of days ago to the painting in my drying rack, I realized I must have gone in after the fact to "fix" the painting and the "fix" took all the life out of it. Any portrait study of a face mostly in shadow can be difficult for me, so I'm keeping this photo as a reminder of where I should have stopped with the painting as a study. Sometimes its best for the sake of learning to forge ahead, but other times...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Liz - NFS

"Liz", 6 x 6 In, Oil on Panel
This is another in my series of 6 x 6 In canvases--an intriguing task for someone like me who likes to use a big brush. Liz is my daughter and you can listen to her music by clicking on the songs on the right side of my blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ten Minute Paintings

"Ten Minute Paintings", 4 x 5" each, Oil on Panel 
My friends and I decided to try Carol Marine's challenge of 10 minute paintings--not an easy task.  I just spaced out on a couple of them, so I might try it again!

Purchase this unframed painting for $115.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Naxi Girl

"Naxi Girl", 16 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
While doing the series of small panels it is interesting to do a larger one for perspective. This is from a photo from my trip to Yunnan Province--an area in China with many ethic minorities.

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Worker - NFS

"Worker", 6 x 6 In, Oil on Museum Board
This is another small painting in my 6 x 6 inch series. Its still a challenge for me to paint on such a small surface, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I have two painting friends here with me for a few days and we had a great time today painting Zangle Cove as the light changed every five minutes with the weather coming in and we also set up a still life. Painting can be so solitary, especially in the winter, that it is wonderful to paint with friends.

NFS

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Professor

"The Professor", 6 x 6 In, Oil on Canvas
With this small format, I have to keep myself from painting outside the lines!

Purchase this unframed painting for $115.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Margaret - SOLD

"Margaret", 6 x 6 In, Oil on Canvas
The 6 x 6 inch panel seems so small to me that I have been avoiding this common practice of daily painters, choosing instead usually at least 8 x 10, though I did some portraits in August in 6 x 8 and 7 x 9. But I decided that it would be interesting to try because in doing figure paintings, the head portion of the figure is often small. So I started out with 6 x 6 inch panels at the end of last week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In the Field

"In the Field", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
I was in China in 2005 for a month in the fall. The last two weeks we stayed out at the studio about an hour and a half from Jilin, northeast of Beijing. By the end of the time, the villagers were taking in the harvest--if I remember correctly it was mostly corn. This painting is of one of the village women.

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

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Water from the Pond

"Water from the Pond", 12 x 8 In, Oil on Panel
This is another painting I did from a photo from my first trip to China with Jove Wang in 2005. His studio was way out in the country side, a beautiful area with fields of corn, villages, and the most friendly people, some of whom worked at the studio fixing meals for us and modeling. This is not my favorite painting of my series this week, but it goes to the mission, which is to study proportions of the figure.

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

Boy with a Cow

"Boy with a Cow", 12 x 8 In, Oil on Panel
Continuing with the theme of figure proportion, a child's proportions are different from an adult and obviously more so the younger he or she is. I'm finding that doing these figure paintings is a really nice relief from still lifes.

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Woman of Ollantaytambo

"Woman of Ollantaytambo", 16 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
This is from a photo of a Peruvian woman from a trip I took a few years ago to Peru and wonderfully, to Machu Picchu. I never painted it before because though the figure is interesting, there was little drama in the photo. But because the basis of this series is the practice of figure proportion, it gave me a reason to paint it. Proportion of figures obviously varies depending on height and I tried to take that into consideration.

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Old Woman In Dali

"Old Woman in Dali", 12 x 8 In, Oil on Panel
Dali is a city on Lake Erhai in Yunnan Province, China. I stayed there a couple of years ago with two painting friends on our way north to Lijiang and Zhongdian, a Tibetan town in Northern Yunnan now called Shangrila by the Chinese.

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

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Walking Through the Market

"Walking Through the Market", 16 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
I am pulling out photos of figures from past trips and just going at it--both to practice the figure proportions and to think about design. Its fun to work with a bigger canvas.

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

Monday, February 7, 2011

On the Border - ON HOLD

"On the Border", 16" x 10", Oil on Panel
On our trip to Thailand a few years ago our group had the opportunity to cross over the northern border for a day's excursion into Burma. In the Burmese border town I took a photo of this man, standing as if out of time in an area filled with both building rubble and workers. He appeared entirely self-assured and there was something so still and enigmatic about him, I wished I could have found out about him.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Old Naxi Woman

"Old Naxi Woman", 12 x 8 In, Oil on Museum Board
This is the first figure study I did after watching Peggi's DVD on "simplified figure proportions" and it is obviously a very quick study. I don't have easy access to models so I've been pulling out photos from past trips. I have a few more still lifes from the past week, but honestly I'm so tired of still lifes maybe I'll wait until I go on a trip to post those. I'm ready for different subject matter!

Someone asked yesterday where I purchase museum board. I purchase the 100% cotton rag museum board in 32 x 40 4-ply sheets, getting the Risings brand from Talas. I buy the 25 sheet pack, and then I'm good for quite a long time. From one sheet I can get sixteen 8" x 10" panels. I usually prepare 5-8 sheets at a time. Its a good idea to have a mat cutter--I bought a Logan several years ago and it was probably the 650 Logan though I can't find a number on it.

I added more information about priming the museum boards to the last post--so if you had questions, there is more detail now on that post.

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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Still Life with Red Flowers - SOLD

"Still Life with Red Flowers", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board
You may wonder about the boards I often use for small paintings--museum board. This is a surface that I learned about back in the mid-90's from William Reese, who recently passed away. I purchase the 100% cotton rag museum board in 32 x 40 4-ply sheets, getting the Risings brand because both sides are good, unlike some other museum board that I've tried. I seal both sides of the board with Gamblin PVA Size, then apply three coats of gesso on one side with a 6" fine white roller. Since I do three coats, I try to make it fairly smooth. If you use a less fine roller, the surface may be too "pebbly" by the third coat. The surface will be slightly rough (if you use the absorbent gesso), so you can lightly sand it. Then I can cut the boards to the sizes I want to work on with my mat cutter. They are wonderfully lightweight for travel. I take a couple of pieces of foam core to tape the boards to for painting to give them stability.

Most acrylic gessos are slick once applied. Some people like to paint on a slick surface, but I prefer a more absorbent surface. The only gesso I've found to be absorbent is Liquitex Basic Gesso. I can usually find this at my local Michael's or Joanne's. I once bought the Liquitex Pro and found it to be as slick as plastic, but I have mixed small amounts of that in with the Basic to make the Basic slightly less absorbent. I have no idea about the archival results of using this type of gesso--there are big discussions about this on various networks. This discussion on Plein Air Artists is about using lead primer as a ground.

William Reese was my first plein air instructor. He studied with Sergei Bongart and was a wonderful painter. I highly recommend both of his books, and his wife, Fran, has put out a DVD with instructions about drawing parts of the horse from Bill's final days.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mug with Oranges

"Mug with Oranges", 10 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
I'm still experimenting with the palette knife, especially when I have a hard time focusing on the painting. The palette knife definitely focuses the mind.

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

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blue Dish with Apples

"Blue Dish with Apples", 10 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
This is another painting done with more or less free brushstrokes. I have remembered for many years Henrich Wolfflin's Principles of Art History from my college days. It is an analytical study that I mainly remember being about the difference between the linear and painterly styles of painting--the difference between Durer and Rembrandt, for example. I recently got a copy to read again--and found it to be much more comprehensive and dense than I had remembered! But the impact that it had on my thinking as a 20 year old has stayed with me for my whole life.

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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Enamel Pot

"Enamel Pot", 10 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
Sometimes I like to paint by loading the brush and just swishing it around the canvas--sort of like finger painting with a brush. It is therapeutic.

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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blue Vase with Pear

"Blue Vase with Pear", 10 x 8, Oil on Museum Board
Sometimes is it good to just do a really simple composition.

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