Wednesday, July 01, 2015
The Julia Pfeiffer Falls has been an iconic location for photographers and painters for decades. Usually the scene is captured in the late afternoon, with the falls and cliff face warmly lit. I happened upon the scene early in the morning and was struck how the opposite lighting created a whole new view and thought I would give it a try.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Lower Saint Regis Lake, 18X24, Oil
Last week I traveled with Marian Fortunati to upper state New York, deep in the Adirondack's to paint in the 2015 Publishers Invitational. The variety of the color green, from the trees to the fields was endless. Around every bend in the road you didn't know if you would find a pond, waterfall or stream. Eric Rhoads put the event together and I can't think of a thing that could have been done better. We were very well taken care of from check in to the final goodbye party.
At the same time there is a very serious man hunt for the 2 escaped convicts and it's still going on. Most of the painters stuck together for safety and only a few saw wanted posters tacked up in the forest.
It was a great week full of painting everyday, singing songs at night to Rick Wilson's guitar and making new friends. The world of plein air painting is small enough that I am sure my path will cross with some of the wonderful people I met. The photo below is the whole tribe of painters, about 120 in all.
If you would like to see more photos from the week, I have an album on my Facebook page you are welcome to view.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
For this painting I experimented with Gamblin's Fastmatte oil paints. I wanted to see how the paint would work, because I was considering taking Fast Matte paint on my trip to the Adrirondacks, since they dry fast. Bringing wet paintings home on a plane is always a bit of a concern. To get wet paintings home safely, I have figured out how to use little beads as spacers, placing the panels face to face and then taping the "bundle" together to prevent any movement. Finally, taking the bundle and placing it in a plastic trash bag and taping the bag tightly around the bundle, works well.
Here is a picture of how I pack my paint. If you are flying with oil paint, NEVER call it paint when speaking with the TSA. Use the words, "artist pigments", which is what they are. I print out the MSDS's from each manufacture and place that with a letter to TSA explaining that I am an artist and place these clearly visible on top of my packed suit case. So far the TSA agents have never removed any of my pigments or gear.
Each tube is wrapped in plastic kitchen wrap and then wrapped in bubble pack. This way the sharp tube corners won't bite into any of the other tubes. Finally, I place all of the tubes in a zip lock bag for extra protection. There is nothing more frustrating then squeezing a tube of paint in the field and having paint sneak out of a hole in the tube, into your hand. If a tube or cap does happen to leak, at least the paint will be contained by the plastic wrap.
Friday, May 29, 2015
In a couple of weeks I am flying to Vermont and driving up to the Adriondacks with my gear to paint the classic scenes of the Hudson River group, from long ago. In this painting I was thinking about those tonal paintings of water and hardwood trees but truly I don't know what to expect as I have never been to the Adriondack National Park. Along with painting everyday, I made more linen covered gator board panels, ordered bug repellant clothing and have started making little piles to be packed. I really can't wait to jump on the plane!
Oil on canvas, 16" X 20"
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Over the last few weeks I painted twice in the area of Carmel, California. Part of that time was during the Carmel Art Festival, which hosts a plein air competition for four days. 60 artists have two days to paint and two days for the judging, auction and final show. It's not an event for sissy's. While painting, I plowed though rain, fog, wind and a dog using my back pack for a fire hydrant. One time while painting my water bottle started whistling in the wind and I knew it was more then just a little windy. It's such a beautiful area, the light shifting, clouds drifting that you really don't care about the adverse conditions. Every moment is a surprise, as the ocean changes from dull gray to brilliant turquoise.
Oil on Canvas, 18" X 24"
Friday, May 01, 2015
At the recent Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival I had the opportunity to demonstrate oil painting during the art show. This little painting was the result and easy to paint while talking to all the people.
This weekend I will be showing 30 paintings at the 53rd Annual Sierra Madre Art Fair. It is a fun weekend full of good art, music and food trucks. If you are in the area come on by and say HI!
Sierra Madre Art Fair
222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.
Sierra Madre, CA 91024
*my booth is #31 near the Cannon
Friday, April 10, 2015
This studio painting was created using the plein air painting as the reference. This weekend Saga Gallery in Monrovia is opening an exhibit of the gallery artists work, plein air to studio paintings. I will have 6 paintings in the show and look forward to seeing how everyone else approached the project. The reception is this Saturday evening from 5pm - 7pm and all are welcome.
Oil on Canvas, 20" X 24"
Saturday, March 21, 2015
With a little rain, spring greens are popping up in the canyon. After so many months of muted gray brush the bright green is almost shocking and clearly a delight for all living things.
Oil, 16" X 20"
Monday, March 09, 2015
This spot is one of those hidden gems you find hiking along the trail. Not a soul around, just a few birds bidding the day goodbye, tiny flying wings skimming the surface of the creek and an occasional ripple from the trout cruising for dinner.
16" X 20", oil on linen
Thursday, March 05, 2015
Grand Tetons early in the morning, what could be more grand? A FB friend Gary Keimig, another painter, generously allowed me to paint this from his photograph. I saw the image and knew what the painting would look like before I started. Fortunately I have painted on location many times all around the Tetons, from both sides of the range and know the landscape very well, which always helps when working from a digital image.
Oil on Linen, 20" X 24"
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Placerita Creek had a dribble of water for about 10 minutes with the brief rains that fell. California needs more rain, yet with this bit the trees are greening up and the hills are emerald. I am happy to report my right hand is working well enough after surgery to paint outside again. Standing at the easel in the wilderness without any sounds but nature is pure joy.
Oil on Canvas, 16" X 20"
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.