Thursday, January 22, 2015
Sycamore trees always seem to have a unique and interesting branch structure. You can get to know one and no matter how long in between visits, you will know your old friend the minute it comes into view. It may have lost a limb, yet like a friend that is aging you don't really notice, it's the same tree. I painted this one, simply because I wanted to explore those branches once again.
Oil on Canvas. 24X20
Monday, January 05, 2015
Elsmere Canyon is just down the road from my home and offers nature at her best for small hikes. You see prints in the dusty trail of animals, large and small and the trees vary from coastal oaks to pine trees at the top of the canyon. This scene is painted at the beginning of the lower trail with creek bed bushes and sycamores hanging on to some winter leaves. It's hard to fathom that this canyon was destine to be a dump before a furious fight.
oil on canvas, 20" X 24"
Sunday, December 14, 2014
This painting of a small roadway or path cutting though the aspen trees is my last left handed painting. The cast is off my right hand and I have been given permission to start using my hand for light duty in short amounts of time. I have learned some unexpected lessons painting one handed. First and most surprising was how everything I painted leaned left. Second, being forced to pick up the palette knife mix the paint, set the knife down, pick up the brush, paint the stroke and so on, slowed the process down to such a snails pace that I spent more time then usual making decisions. It seems to be an improvement and will try to keep a slower pace as a rule now. I do miss painting outside very much and can't wait until I get the go ahead to hit the hills.
Oil on Linen, 18" X 24"
Friday, November 28, 2014
Years ago an artist friend that lived nearby told me the most difficult landscape painting to create is an all green scene. Since hearing that I have sought ways to work a green piece successfully. Scott Christensen told me the most valuable piece to the puzzle. His advice was that a green painting cannot survive without red. In this scene he might have suggested to have one pine tree on deaths door, in shades of red, just before the tree shifts to gray. I chose to add reds in the path. Still painting left handed until my right is healed up from surgery, it's all I can do to separate the trees and give the scene a sense of depth. Later on I may address the painting further, but I need the other hand.
oil on linen, 20" X 16"
Monday, November 10, 2014
Painting left handed has been quite a humbling experience. Timing is the most dramatic difference. Every move I make takes twice as long, from squeezing out additional paint to wiping out the brushes in between colors. I feel like I am watching a hand that doesn't belong to me moving the brush on the canvas willing it to go in the right direction. Soon I will have my right hand back and will be back to my normal speed and rhythm but until that time I will go with the flow.
Oil on linen, 16" X 20"
Sunday, November 02, 2014
20" X 24", oil
Two weeks ago I had surgery on my right hand, repairing damage from sculpting stone for many years. The result will be complete use of my hand but meanwhile I am learning to paint left handed. It's been an interesting time of discovery. The most difficult task is cleaning the brush after using each color. The second task that I often fail at is opening tubes of paint. Even with pliers squished under the half cast I have now and turning the tube, success is "iffy". A dear friend suggested bringing in a small bench vise from the shop to help, which was a super suggestion. As far as painting my brain knows the principles of value, color temperature, composition and so on, so I am getting some work done. The brushwork is lacking in interest and I am working to increase the action with my left hand. Tomorrow morning I will get a full hard cast and that will decrease the pain and increase the mobility of the little all knowing right fingers sticking out. I wouldn't suggest anyone right handed painting with their left as an exercise but if you are ever forced into it, know that it's possible and just as pleasing of an activity as working with your right.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
"Hidden Pond", 16" X 20", oil
Three exhibits, 28 paintings, 2 receptions all opening this weekend. This painting, "Hidden Pond" is one of the forest pieces that will be on exhibit at Gales in Pasadena.
20" X 24", oil
This painting "Pasadena Twinkling at Twilight" was juried into the Contemporary Masters Artistic Eden IV exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of History. The exhibit will be up for a few months and the artwork depicts the San Gabriel Valley, from landscapes to cityscapes and more.
24" X 30", oil
18" X 24", oil
Finally, the finished paintings from Canyon de Chelly by myself, Linda Brown, Debra Holladay, Nita Harper, Marian Fortunati and Sharon Weaver will be on exhibit at Segil Gallery in Monrovia. Our reception is tonight, Saturday October 11, 5pm - 7pm. We have worked towards this exhibit for over a year and a half, from planning the excursion to painting studio works and when you walk in the gallery door you are transported to Canyon de Chelly.
Posted by Laura Wambsgans at 9:44 AM
Sunday, September 21, 2014
This is one of the new paintings that will hang at a special show next month in Pasadena. It's a wonderful desert scene with all the classic features from the dry wash to the distant mountain. You can just feel the heat and see a rabbit dash from one group of bushes to the next.
Oil on Canvas, 18" X 24"
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
This spot is only about 20 min. from my home and is a constant pull as I pass for a painting. In the past painters have often painted scenes over and over again. I guess until you feel like you really captured the scene or find another scene that has a stronger pull it's just what happens. I am not done with it yet, that is for sure.
Oil on Linen, 24" X 24"
Friday, September 12, 2014
This painting is all about the contrast of the tree dressed in it's winter white coat against the shadowed stone wall behind. It was an exercise in exploring high contrast and enabled me to decide whether this idea might work for a larger painting. I have lived with this little guy in the studio for a few weeks and instead of growing tired of it, every day I become more fond. So it's passed the test of time and a larger composition within the same story of contrast is painting waiting to be painted.
Oil on Linen, 11" X 14"
Monday, September 08, 2014
Deep in the depths of the Canyon de Chelly, other then the tracks in the sand, time seems to have stopped a 1,000 years ago. Imagine a hawk soaring above, calling out as the shallow water snakes it's way along the cliffs, this is what you experience.
Oil on Canvas, 24" X 30"
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Last spring when my friends and I went painting in Canyon de Chelly our Navajo guide, Irene explained to us that this is the spot where some of the scenes for the recent Lone Ranger movie were filmed. It was easy to envision a tall white horse running between the canyon walls.
Oil on Canvas, 16" X 20"
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I am still painting some Canyon de Chelly scenes, for many reasons. Learning how to paint the canyon cliffs and figuring out an easy approach to such a large scene has been very valuable. While painting each painting it brings the experience of being down in the canyon into focus again and I am able relive each moment.
Oil on canvas, 16X20
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
"Ponds Edge" and "Taking A Break", #thelakehouse #Bear #animalpainting #laurawambsgans #pondpainting
11" X 14, oil on linen
Just for fun, I painted a bear for my upcoming show at The Lake House near Lake Arrowhead. The bear will add a nice break to all the landscape paintings, as people view the show.
16" X 20" oil on canvas
"Ponds Edge" will also be available and I hope it speaks to the mountain residents. Here is the show information:
5th Annual Season of the First Friday at The Lake House (notice this month it's the Last Friday)
Friday August 29th 4pm - 7pm Wine, Hors d'oeuvres, Friendship & Fine Art!
Lisa Mozzini-McDill will also be exhibiting lots of beautiful paintings. The artwork will stay at the gallery for a month, so if you can't make the reception but happen to climb the hill stop in and see our paintings. The Lake House is full of fine things from furniture to specialty jams, there is something for everyone to enjoy inside their doors.
The Lake House
29866 Hook Creek Rd.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Keeping cool, painting the ocean as the sun sinks. A big thank you to Esther Williams for the inspiration to this view.
Oil, 16" X 20"
Saturday, August 09, 2014
A bucolic setting of cows tucked in and around a stand of Eucalyptus trees was my goal with this little painting. I was going for a peaceful, timeless feel to the painting, using loose references I had shot in Carmel California and one plein air painting.
Oil on linen, 14" X 18"
Friday, August 08, 2014
It's been a long time since I hunted down a city light scene and just painted what I saw. There is a museum show coming up in the Pasadena area that requires only images/sculpture of and from the San Gabriel Valley. I wanted to paint something different then previous years and decided to look at the city from up on Angeles Crest Highway. At the second turn out I had the perfect view and was fascinated how quickly the lights came on and the sky started to darken. This painting is my perception of that fleeting moment at the end of the day.
20" X 24", oil
Posted by Laura Wambsgans at 10:23 PM
Monday, August 04, 2014
This spot is one of the south rim overlooks at Canyon de Chelly. I painted there with the PAC6 painters, setting up in the dark and watching the dawn light hit the canyon walls, announcing a new day.
Oil on canvas, 16" X 20"
Friday, July 18, 2014
We watched a summer storm break up after drops the size of nickels brought all the colors of the stone cliffs to a brilliance, unknown in the usual dry desert air. The play of the sunlight sneaking under and over the clouds created it's own drama that demanded reverence.
Oil on Canvas, 20" X 24"
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Painting for fall shows, while the temperature gauge is inching into the mid-90's is twisting my paint brush into a knot. Not really, but it is very strange to be channeling the crisp mountain air and the crunching sound your boots make stepping onto the night hardened snow, while the ravens sit on the outside wall panting in the summer heat. This painting is another piece for my exhibit at The Lake House in Arrowhead, CA.
16" X 20", Oil
Thursday, July 03, 2014
At the end of August I will be exhibiting new works at The Lake House in Lake Arrowhead, California. Over the next several weeks I will be happily chained to my studio easel painting scenes for this high altitude loving crowd. Aspens seemed like a good subject to start off painting for the exhibit.
Oil on Canvas, 24" X 20"
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Last week I was one of 34 painters from all of the U.S. to gather near San Francisco, California, painting in the Los Gatos Plein Air 2014 event. Our mission was to paint the town and surrounding areas starting on Tuesday morning until Friday evening, when we turned in our favorite painting for the VIP Artists Choice Reception and Silent Auction. The event was put on by the tireless volunteers of the Morning Rotary Club and the proceeds will go to support art and science education to the youth of the Santa Clara County.
The painting above was painted in Vasona Park, on the first day. (12" X 16" oil on linen)
I found this view on an on/off ramp to the freeway. Early in the morning the sunlight was drifting over the hillside with such drama I knew I wanted to paint the scene. Of course by the time I finished the painting the light and view were entirely different, with the passing of the sun overhead.
On Saturday morning each artist checked in their paintings and hung their 2 walls with all of their work. I painted 9 pieces during the week and chose to hang the 6 best, in the photo above.
John Guernsey is a one of the terrific artists painting in the event and you can see him here hanging his walls.
We sold many paintings, while folks enjoyed live music, sipping wine all day Saturday. I drove home Sunday tired and happy.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Oil on Canvas, 24" X 30"
After teaching a workshop full of fun artists in Lake Arrowhead a couple of weeks ago I started this painting for an exhibit next fall. I am still sneaking up on the light this painting slowly, too much too quickly and the painting will be ruined.
Next week I will be competing in the Los Gatos Plein Air 2014. If you want to read more about the event click here. It's an area unfamiliar to me and I am looking forward to painting the land south of San Francisco. If possible I will try to blog from the event.
A bit of good news, I was juried into the California Art Clubs exhibit, "Quintessential California". The show will be exhibited at the Santa Paula Art Museum until November 2nd, with an artists' reception on Saturday June 28, 4pm - 6pm. There is a slight admission fee, just so you know. To learn more about the museum visit Santa Paula Art Museum
Thursday, May 29, 2014
I am all packed for the workshop trip tomorrow morning, so this evening I painted this little sketch as a possible demo painting that I can paint Saturday morning on a larger canvas. The scene has several elements that I can discuss to help the students see issues that might crop up in their work. Next stop, Lake Arrowhead, California.
Oil on canvas, 9" X 12"
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I had the opportunity to paint a demonstration painting of Tuolumne Meadows at sunset recently and enjoyed the memories of painting in the meadows a few years ago. Just as the sun is setting the whole mountain glows for a brief moment and then the show is over. I'll keep working on this concept, until I have a successful painting.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Last week I was in the area of Carmel-By-The-Sea painting in the annual plein air event. About 60 artists participate from all over the country. Our canvases are stamped on Wednesday night and we have until 8pm on Friday night to paint, paint, paint. The painting on my easel is almost done. It's a 16" X 12" canvas, that sold during the silent auction Saturday. I thought since the weather was so nice not too many artists would venture into the Carmel Valley to paint. Garland Park is the go to spot when fog has blown into town or when you want to paint the unusual view on a sunny day. Other the a few hikers I was all alone, thinking how lucky I was to be painting such a beautiful spot.
While I was painting on the deck for viewing the Pebble Beach Lone Cypress every 20 min. or so a tour bus would arrive, unloading people from around the world to view the tree. My photo with my painting will be all over China, Japan and India. Some people even took my paint brush and pretended to paint on my canvas for photographs. It was wild. I didn't paint the actual Lone Cypress because it is copyrighted by the Pebble Beach Corporation, so I painted looking north along the coast from the deck.
On Friday night all of the artists hung their 2 favorite paintings under the white tents on the panel with their names. If your paintings sold on Saturday you were allowed to hang 2 more on Sunday. I was a lucky lady and was able to hang 2 new paintings on Sunday.
Here is the finished painting of "Carmel Valley Afternoon", hanging on my wall. You can see that all of the artists must bring frames for their work, frame up the wet painting and hang the paintings on their walls quickly.
Pretty typical view at Point Lobos. We were encouraged to paint up and down the coast but Point Lobos offered such great views there really was no need to hunt around for another painting spot.
Here is my whole wall on Saturday. The bottom painting was painted at Cypress Cove, Point Lobos. Both paintings sold, so Sunday I hung new work and sold more.
After the quick draw all of the artists set up their easels in the park and offered the painting for sale by silent bid. Any artist that was awarded a ribbon was expected to participate in the quick draw. Unfortunately I didn't get one, so I was sidelined for the quick draw. My goal next year is to break the ribbon barrier and earn one because I love painting in quick draws.
Heading home down Highway One, the coastal views were stunning. I arrived home, happy, tired and ready for the next event. I'll be teaching a workshop in Lake Arrowhead the weekend of May 31, so now I am preparing and so excited to meet all the artists and teach them everything I know. Well, maybe not everything but all I can in 2 days.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Last weekend I was showing paintings at the Sierra Madre Annual Art Festival and had a great show. While unpacking the truck, writing thank you notes and all the stuff we do to wrap up a big show I slipped in another painting of Canyon de Chelly. Next week I am off to Carmel California to paint in the annual plein air event. It's going to be a huge shift from painting the Southwest Desert to the Northern California coast. I am looking forward to wearing a jacket and painting cypress trees.
Oil on Linen 20" X 24"
Monday, April 28, 2014
The first time our Navajo guide drove up the shallow wash water we were surprised that the water was used as the road. We traveled across the shallow water as much as on sand. The reflections of the canyon walls and the lit trees against the backdrop of the shaded cliff was just stunning. I thought I would give it a go at painting the scene.
Oil on Linen, 18" x 24"
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Canyon de Chelly is often called the "sacred canyon." After painting on the edge of the canyon for a week I agree with this name. Hawks soar, small squirrels scurry and in general life moves on without considering all that people at home seem to be distracted with. Cell phones do not work, the television news seems distant and home feels like a globe away, not just a days drive. Truly, I can't wait to return to this sacred canyon.
Oil on linen, 18" X 24"
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Oil on Linen
Last week I had the luck to go to Canyon de Chelly to paint with 5 other Southern California painters, Marian Fortunati, Debra Holladay, Sharon Weaver, Linda Brown and Nita Harper. Canyon de Chelly is a National Monument located in the north east corner of Arizona and part of a Navajo reservation. We experienced wild weather from a desert dust storm, to 33 degree mornings to perfect sunny days on the reservation.
Here is a photograph of Nita and Linda painting along the South Rim of the canyon. The views were endless and painting the canyon is easy. You can find spots to paint out of your trunk or you can hike a bit, depending on your comfort level.
Nita Harper, Marian Fortunati and Sharon Weaver in the 3rd seat.
To explore the canyon floor hiring a Navajo guide is necessary. We used Canyon de Chelly Tours, Leon Thomas Skyhorse is the owner and Irene was our guide. She couldn't have done a better job, making sure we made it to all the best spots for painting. We were riding in a Suburban with the 3rd seat and rotated seats clockwise with each stop so everyone had an opportunity to see well. Irene told us that clockwise is the Navajo way and she was surprised we came up with the system as none of the other groups had ever suggested it. Although we spent the night outside the canyon in the Best Western and Holiday Inn, we felt like Irene was able to give us the canyon experience that people talk about after camping overnight in the canyon.
If you ever have the opportunity to see or paint Canyon de Chelly, go for it!
Sunday, April 13, 2014
For a brief time each morning the mountain in the west that hovers over Borrego Springs turns every color of orange and pink. It is a free light show the sun offers the desert residents, until the evening show at sunset.
I have been on the road painting Canyon de Chelly, Arizona and will start posting that adventure when I get all the paintings and cameras unpacked and unloaded. It's funny when I am out painting far from home it's easy to forget what I have painted until I start opening the wet panel boxes. I enjoy the surprises and reliving the painting experience.
Oil on panel, 8" X 10"
Monday, March 31, 2014
I must have painted this spot 10 times, at least. Sometimes you will hear collectors comment on artists painting the same locations over and over again. It's been done for centuries. And really, how can anyone blame us? The place is easy to get to, lovely to paint no matter the season and as we grow as painters the paintings evolve, always ending up quite different.
It has been a long time since I posted any process photos so I took a couple on this one. When I started the painting I was sick with a sinus infection and I had a very difficult time making decisions. After fighting the little cooties for a week I was able to finish the painting to some degree, which you see in the image above.
Here is the "start". I painted a rough line drawing of where all the elements would be placed and started just throwing in big colored areas to find the rhythm of the painting. I am painting the main areas in their local color and value.
At this point the painting is all there. Now is the really fun part of pushing the paint around and defining the scene for the viewer. I used some quick dry medium, so that I could paint layers, leaving enough of the initial layers that they peek though in broken color.
This is the final painting. I took the photo, just now, on the floor of my bedroom, trying to find a spot in the house that wouldn't create a glare. The actually painting isn't quite this "hot", especially the mountains but it's pretty close.
Oil on canvas, 24" X 36"