Friday, December 3, 2010

Just Before The Opening 'night' . . . .

Last night was the opening of our 2nd annual holiday show in Marine on The St Croix, my home town where I grew up. Now, do understand that Marine on The St Croix's 'downtown' area is a total of 2 blocks long. . . Marine is a charming little Valley village nestled along the bluffs of the St Croix River (MN, in case you are not aware) Just 10 miles north of Stillwater, where I now live with my 2 children and have my studio and school. The reason I share this is because there was something really sentimental for me to have a large body of my work here so close to home, it's been a while since I've seen all my work in one place like this and most of the pieces for this show have been painted along this this Valley. With all the shows we painters do that require us to ship our paintings out (many shows of which we don't even physically attend because of the inconvenience of distance) this was a real treat. You know that night after an opening and you can't sleep because your buzzing from adrenalin, well, it's 9:30 am and I'm clutching my coffee . . . :) from lack of zzzz's last night but reflecting the evening with gratitude and grateful I am spending my life as a painter.
The show continues this weekend through Sunday noon till 5:00 daily. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fresh From the Easel

"Current Of The 'Croix"
20x30 oil on linen
I just finished this painting in my studio and will be going to my show Dec. 4th in Marine on The St Croix, home. If you've followed my work, you've probably noticed I have a profound love for this river I've grown up near and am constantly curious to paint and try to understand. As I paint the river, I become more and more amazed at it's energy and power - yet peaceful and calming manner. This particular view is from a dear friends house nestled up in the bluffs and pines, this is literally her back yard! Just incredible! I used a small study I did a year ago to work from for this piece. I've painted this view in the past but until this piece, have not yet painted in the one last Great White Pine that does in fact still stand on the WI side of the river, so it's kinda fun to see it there standing so proud above the tree tops. I often times imagine what this valley was like when the White Pines were untouched . . .I'm sure it was an incredible sight!
"Spoon Lake"
16x20 oil on canvas
A sweet little connection of lakes 15 miles from my home is where I painted this charming little pond this October. I used my field study (8x10) to paint this studio piece. It's astounding how much information you can get not only in your painting but in your head from working from life. I had forgotten to take a photo when I was out this day so completely relied on my study to paint this piece. I was too busy visiting my new little friends who were spending the day catching supper for their families. :) 3 young boys hung out with me for a few hours while they pulled in one fish after another. It made me happy to see them doing JUST what kids should be doing on a day like that, enjoying being a kid!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Exhibition December 2-5, 2010

"Boom Site Winter Light"
16x20 oil on panel

2nd Annual Holiday Exhibition
December 2 - 5 , 2010
Opening Reception: Thursday December 2, 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Marine On The St Croix MN
101 Judd St Marine on St Croix MN 55047
Please join us for a show of paintings by
Kami Polzin and Tom Maakestad

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crimson Dahlias

"Crimson Dahlias"
14x11 oil on linen panel
This painting is a demo I did for my 2 day color temp workshop a couple of weeks ago. I'm just finally getting around to posting it! The dahlias painted here are from my yard since we've had a very warm fall, plants are lasting longer than usual, a treat for us here in Minnesota!
I used quite a bit of palette knife work in the beginning of this painting and ended up using the brush by the end breaking in subtle temperature notes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Summer Memories. . .from the studio

This week in the studio.
I teach 2 studio classes every Monday. The paintings below are pieces I did as demos for my classes Monday. The top piece I did from an image I took with my son Nick this summer when we were taking a ride on the 4 wheeler, he insisted that "you should paint this Mom". He was right, I should, so I did! Fond memories of moments like this and painting them keeps them very alive. The bottom piece is a piece similar to one I did at the Door County plein Air invitational this summer. The piece I did in the field sold, I always wanted to explore this painting a little further so I used the memory and did it again. A pretty special moment painting in the rain! I'm thinking of doing that one on a large scale. . . we'll see! :)
"A Late Summer Moment"
11x14 oil on linen

"Standing In Queen Anne's Lace"
11x14 oil on linen

Friday, October 29, 2010

Last Light On The Dam

"Last Light On The Dam"
12x16 oil on linen
Once again, the beaver dam where I grew up has been another source of inspiration for me and here is the result of that inspiration. I do have to say the shadows are a bit cooler and more filled with air than you see here, I'm having photographing issues but am sure I'll figure it out eventually. . . . hoping. . . anyway, I'm sure you can get the gist of it!
This pond is so thick with lily pads and all the other beautifully colored gunk that grows upon the top, especially by the end of the summer, I love all that thick stuff to paint. It's almost like you could walk across the water, it's so dense, I'm assuming that wouldn't work well though. . . .
I used a photo reference for this piece, although I don't do that too often. Since I've painted it enough from life I could simply use the photo as a source of inspiration. The foreground took me a bit to figure out since that part of the photo was virtually no help, it was thick with pads so my goal was to portray that with out over painting them so the eye would pass over them and trail up to the light. Just a few actually lilies were popping out but were positively glowing from the light, really a lovely thing to see. :)
I'm having a show in December with Tom Makestaad in Marine on The St Croix so I plan to have this painting there.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Walk Along The River

"A Walk Along The River"
24x30 oil on linen panel

I was recently commissioned to do this painting of the St Croix at the boat launch on the WI side of the Interstate Park, a place I have painted frequently in the past in all seasons. On this painting I used my field study that I painted a few years back. I've had many opportunities to sell this particular piece but there are some paintings that are much more valuable to keep. I've ended up using this study for many larger versions of this place, each painting always ends up having a life of it's own.
In the beginning stage of each making a painting, I think it's crucial to have first a good concept and second a good composition of strong shapes that support the idea or concept.
Here I show my 'wash' of my composition using transparent oxide red and mineral spirits, there might be a little ultra marine adding in the cast shadows along the shore. . . . . .
. . .developing my darks a bit more. . .
at this point in the painting I like to start working in large masses
There gets to be a point that once you get a mass massed in, you really need to work into another mass connected to the one you were working on for relativeness. I do not ever finish an area entirely until I have the shapes at least massed in since they are all relative, especially when you are working on subtlety. In my masses I'm always thinking of developing the form of the shapes.
Time to get the sky started. I usually start with a cooler pool of color like in the image above and then mix a pool of warmer color to break in on top of the cool. It helps to create vibration in an area.

My study is to the right. I 'use' my studies for information, I don't copy them. I wanted the large piece to be softer and warmer than the study was.
Cast shadows are starting to appear on the shore line. I usually spend quite a bit of time working on the design of these. I always think of the fact that shadows tell the tale of form.
One of my favorite parts of painting the banks of the St Croix is the sweep of the shore line and the warm rich color of the sand when it's sun lit. Here I started getting that in along with the water. The St Croix has a unique color due to the Tamarack roots up north affecting the color of the water. It's warm and rich colored like root beer. I don't ever use any white in these areas as it would cool the color too much. I use yellow to lighten it if I need and try and stick with transparent colors such as transparent oxide, ultra marine, and aliz and thin it with mineral spirits.
here comes the wind sheer and sky reflections

at this stage the little subtle exceptions come in.
Note the color of the finish piece and this last one are a bit off. I'm working on color with my new computer, it's actually somewhere in between the two but you get the idea. . .:)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Glitter Lit

"Glitter Lit"
11x14 oil on linen panel

The St Croix October, 2010 painted from William OBrien State Park, just north of Stillwater and Marine during the flood. The water is unusually high, especially for this time of year. The water in front of the tree is actually the parking lot, the water behind the tree is the river, two totally separate waters in the same painting. This back lit situation with two separate bodies of water - moving water, calm water, high glare from the sun and reflection from the tree was an interesting challenge to paint.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Planes of Pears

6x8 oil on linen
In my classes we have been using the pear to study plane changes and develop a clear understanding of form. This is a little piece I did for my classes last week. I love painting pears!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things Change . . . .

"Washington County Farmland"
11x14 oil on linen panel
This is a piece I did in the field about a month ago, painted near the Nason Hill piece I posted earlier. Washington County is where I grew up, my family farmed and my kids and I still live. This scene is what we used to see much more of when I was younger but things change, as do our surrounding landscape. As the barns fall, most people replace them with something new or just simply completely let them go because of the great expense it costs to repair and restore these old structures.
This barn is an original that still stands nestled into the land as if it were a part of the land that holds it, and only a slight sway back, unlike many of the others still holding on.
So, this painting is to remember the beauty of the old and never ending change ahead!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Outdoor Painters Of Minnesota

I am honored to be teaching a workshop for OPM this October the 23rd. OPM is an group for outdoor painters to get together and paint monthly around our state. This workshop I will be teaching is being sponsored by OPM and members are able to sign up for FREE through the OPM website. To see details click on the image above and it will enlarge it.
Thanks OPM, I'm really looking forward to being the first to teach this workshop! Hope to see some of you there, happy painting!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

True Colors

"Mr Murphy's Dahlias"
20x16 oil on linen
I got a new mac! I've been spending the week trying to figure out how to use my new computer and having just a bit of 'getting used to' editing photos. (LOVE the mac by the way!) I need to get Photoshop, this picture is not great but you get the idea and I thought I'd better get it posted before I get too far behind. . . .
The story behind this painting is about to begin! My 10th grade english teacher Mr Murphy now retired and seemingly pretty happy about that, grows the most lovely dahlias. I've been seeing Mr Murphy at the local farmers market every Saturday for years, but since the flowers don't last long and I wanted to do a somewhat larger piece of the flowers I knew I'd need a full weekend planned out to do this painting. Finally last Saturday was the day! Now, to add to the story, my Grandma and aunts and I have been religiously planting and digging up our red dahlias that go all the way back to my great Grandma in South Dakota for as long as I can remember now, and I couldn't imagine not including my Great Grandma's too! As lovely and Mr Murphys are, ours are special to me for so many reasons and they seem to have a mind of their own in the funky way they like to grow. This is the reason for the 'character like' one on the left reaching out and saying hello.
Compositionally speaking I was thinking of how I could possibly make such an idea work. Not to assume that it does, feels like a bit of a risk but I like it! With all this hot red in a painting I knew I would need something to balance and cool this piece a bit, hence the blue cloth on the table. Red and blue is a nice color scheme. I think of the sweep of red traveling through the painting as a large s shape and I placed the 2 little pedals on the table to lay the surface flat and also to help carry the eye around again. Lots of red for this painter but that's what they're all about, their True Colors!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wisdom Tree

"Wisdom Tree"
11x14 oil on linen panel
This painting was commissioned to me through St Croix Prep school this summer and I chose to paint this old tree that was left on the school grounds. I feel that trees are so metaphorical in so many ways from their roots to their branches and all they've seen and been through and survived. There is something very intriguing and strong to me about an old tree and all it's character, especially when it stands alone. I think about of those who have chosen to leave it for the future and how easy it would have been to cut down. The school was built only over a year ago and at one time the grounds were farmed. Lucky for us there were Ones along the way that decided the tree should stay.
Isn't she beautiful and alive!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some September Plein Air!

"Just Off Nason Hill"
11x14 oil on linen
September painting is awesome! The colors are rich and usually, the weather is pretty comfortable. This is a piece I painted specifically for someone who just graduated law school, is an avid biker, and spent many of his days biking this route. Nason hill is one of the most challenging around for bikers and this special biker has fond memories of this route. I, the painter on the other hand chose this composition because I was totally intrigued and inspired by the beautiful sweep of this road and the sharp tension of the telephone wires. I've always loved to paint telephone wires, in fact I once turned down a large commission because I insisted the telephone wires belong and the collectors did not agree. :) And at THAT time I could not afford to turn commissions down! Stubborn artist huh? :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Meaningful Concept and Process

"Hydrangeas And Cool Light"
12x16 oil on linen
I'm finding lately that I'm interested in painting art that tells some kind of a story. Whether the viewer is aware of the story or not, it's important to me, and makes the process of creating art more interesting and important in my mind.
In this piece, like most of my floral pieces, the flowers are from my garden. Growing and cutting the flowers are a part the process of making many of my works. I've had the green clippers you see on the right of the canvas since I was 19 years old and I've used them in every floral piece I've done since. Usually I take the clippers out of the scene when I start the painting but in this painting I was inspired by the story they told and thought all the leaves I had clipped off to design the composition of the hydrangeas were definitely part of the story and should stay as well.
I painted this piece using natural cool light. It was a bit more difficult since my time was limited so I came back to work on this 3 different morings. Unfortenetely I do not have north light in my studio, my windows face the west, so time is an issue
- but a good and challenging one!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Floating Over the St Croix Valley

I haven't painted in one full week!
This last Saturday, just minutes before I was about to walk down the isle as my sisters Maid of Honor in her wedding, my friends Scott and Kimberly called to let me know they had a couple of openings on their balloon for a sunRISE ride in their balloon. Not wanting to pass this opportunity by, I took them up on their offer after only sleeping 3 1/2 hours the night before. I'm sharing this 'non-painting' experience with you because it was truly one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had! I hope you enjoy.
the fog in the Valley is often times thick along the river, quite stunning
filling up with 'hot air' :)
and the beautiful lift. I like the human figure next to the balloon, it gives one perspective on the grandness of the balloon
just above the clouds!
looking over the St Croix

touching down on the water reflecting us in the balloon

Love this perspective on the poplars

Monday, August 30, 2010

August Light

It was good to get out painting the August light this weekend!
"Early Morning On the River"
10x8 oil on linen panel
This painting was done Saturday morning at William OBrien State Park. It's hard to believe the summer is already coming to an end. I never feel I painted it enough. In this piece I was completely drawn to the reflections and the incredible back light of this little tree, such a pretty little tree, and naturally the movement of the water on the river. The water is unusually high on the St Croix right now. The movement and energy of the current is intense!
"Old Cow Pasture"
8x10 oil on linen panel
An old oak in a pasture where the cows once grazed.
The golden rod is thick and prime here in Minnesota. Beautiful to paint, horrible on the allergies! The light Saturday evening was truly golden. I love this little pasture, it's so meandering. I'm sure this old oak was a nice place for the cattle to hang out at one time. . .
"Warm August Light"
11x14 oil on linen panel
Now this crazy warm piece was a surprise to me when I brought it into the studio. I was painting into the light and had some reflection bouncing off me onto my canvas which made it a bit difficult to see my color, I had thought I painted it a bit cooler. . . .this was painted Sunday morning. We got out early since it was going to be 90 degrees by noon. It feels so good to have a painting under your belt by lunch time, it's kind like if you accomplish nothing else in a day, it doesn't matter, you painted! This was just 50 yards East of the smaller painting done the night before.
I told myself my goal on this 11x14 was to represent the day with as few strokes possible and getting in the strong shapes of the trees. Oh, and to finish in 2 hours! I don't always set these kind of goals but once in a while it's good for me to do this in order to stay on track with my initial idea and inspiration. Plus it was HOT! So this is what I ended up with, then we wrapped it up for the weekend and went to get some lunch and a cold beer! It felt very deserved. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

White Hydrangeas

"White Hydrangeas"
This is my latest studio still life piece done from life. When I work from live flowers on a painting that is larger than 16x20 I am pushing myself to get the canvas covered as quickly and accurately as possible before they die. Especially hydrangeas and lilacs, they're cut time is only a day or two. This painting holds some of my favorite things to paint, reflections and white flowers. I like the hydrangeas in their early stage when they are still white. It was a goal of mine this year to get them before they turned colors. I love lighting up hydrangeas, they radiate such an internal glow, I love that!
My idea for this painting was to have the colors be rich and more on the warm side of the scale. It's easy with whites for me to make everything too cool since the shadows of white read very cool to me. I used the dark background to help set off the light valued flower heads.
An added thought. I've started painting my larger still life pieces using a stretched linen and I'm really liking the paint quality I'm getting versus the mounted hard panels. I've been struggling with my surfaces lately but the stretched is taking the paint better for still life work. . . hmmm.. .

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Colors

"August Fields"
11x14 oil on linen panel
This is the demo piece I did for my workshop a couple of weeks ago, I'm just a bit behind on photographing my work. I've painted this place where I grew up many times. This little rolling hill across the stream is where I used to spin in circles as a little girl until I'd fall over. Why is that so fun for kids?? :)
It never stops amazing me the ever changing colors from season to season and year to year. I've always been drawn to the vibration of the grasses and wild growth against the warmth of the earth below. There's almost a warmth in color that radiates up into the colors of grasses and flowers. It's fun to study and attempt to capture this on canvas.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

3 Day Plein Air Workshop

2 posts in one day, a new record for me! :)
This past week I taught part 2 of my 2 @ 3 Day workshop. I started in June with 3 days, and continued part 2 this past week with 3 more days. Once again, I'm amazed and humbled by the inspiration my students pass on to me. I love to see how others see the world through paint, especially when pushed to paint out of their own element and comfort zone. Painters always want to improve and grow and share the world through their eyes and that is inspiring to me and other painters. The energy was beautiful and the painters worked hard. Friday we ended up starting an hour early and ended over an hour late. I started Friday off by doing a full demo.
Day one was along the banks of the St Croix. Day two and three we were out at my Dad's farm where I grew up. The fields are gorgeous out there right now with all the wild flowers. My 10 year old kiddo and his little friend hung out at with us the entire 2 days as well, kind of special! He told me Thursday night after class that he was going to paint the next day and that "Momma, I can see it in my head already what I'm gonna paint" I said "You CAN? What do you see?" He says "I can see the BIG shapes, they're the MOST important thing at first! I'm going to put all my tree into one BIG shape in the right value that I see the MOST, and then I'm going to put the field in front like another shape, and the sky is going to be another shape!" "I'll show 'em how it's done Mamma!"
From the mouths of babes! THAT'S how ya paint! :)
I feel full of gratitude on this day for those few lines, and for the opportunity to have worked with such gracious people in the field sharing art!

A Few More Paintings From Door County

In such a rush last week to post my Door County work, I forgot about these guys! Here they are. "The Gallery Window" piece was painted in the rain at a demo on Thursday At EdgeWood Orchards Gallery. I LOVE that gallery, such beautiful grounds!
"Jacksonport Sundown"
8x10 oil on linen
" The Gallery Window"
8x10 oil
"Blue Sun"
8x10 oil on linen