Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Summer Pond" An Acrylic Landscape Painting Tutorial Video

Just finished up another tutorial video. I may have mentioned before, but I have an art instruction website Paint With Karen Ilari It's a free site, you just have to register. I started it a while back as a way to connect with people out there who want to learn to paint, or switch to acrylics from another medium. It's been so much fun! I really love painting with acrylics. They are the non stress medium to me. You don't have to worry that one stroke will ruin your painting (watercolors) because it will be dry in a minute and you can come back in and try again. No toxic fumes. My studio is a room in my house and I am super sensitive to smells, so oil painting is out for me. Clean up is easy - I'm a messy painter - just water and a little soap. No long drying times when pets or little hands can get in trouble! Yep, I do love acrylics. But back to the website. I have over 100 members at this point from all over the world. They post their paintings to share, and if they want I will give them a detailed constructive critique. I'm having a lot of fun with it, and I feel like I'm helping people who are in the same place I was a while back. Art opened up such a rich new world for me, and I love it when someone else discovers it as well!
Sooo, in this new video, I paint "Summer Pond" here is the finished painting: and the link to the classroom page on my website

"Summer Pond" 9x12 Acrylic on Canvas
original available in my Etsy shop here

So if you always wanted to learn to paint, or can't seem to get back into it, please join me on my website Paint With Karen Ilari

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Girl's Painting Weekend on Mt. Hood

Well last weekend I spent a lovely weekend with my good friends Vinita Pappas and Debi Bates. Both wonderful artists. We stayed at a sweet vacation house on the Zig Zag river, a really beautiful location. We thought we would paint all weekend, but mother nature decided to give us rain and overcast instead! Ha! Well, we had fun drinking wine and beer and soaking in the hot tub, so it was well worth it! Here are a few photos from the trip:

This is Trillium Lake. We hiked aaaalll the way around it! :) I hear if its not windy Mt Hood is reflected in it beautifully. It was sunny that day, but there were a lot of people there and we didn't quite have the nerve to set up and paint!

The next day looked like this! This is the Sandy River, and boy is it! Vinita had our hikes and events all scheduled :) We considered packing our painting gear in on this hike, but since it said it was 7 miles with a lot of uphill we thought better. We thought we were lost a couple of times, but I wasn't leading, so we were safe. Instead we just hiked, and hiked, and hiked! But it was awesome and we were headed for Ramona Falls, isn't it beautiful!

just amazing colors and rocks. The photo doesn't do it justice. And there was this craggy ancient looking face in part of the rocks. I'd had a dream the night before and saw a face really similar. I think it was the spirit of the falls! ;)
Anyway, lots of calories burned, yea! More room for beer! I'm not going to whine, but my feet were hurting by the time we got back! Yea hot tub!
The final day we thought we would drive to Timberline lodge for the view, and maybe paint? Well, by the time we got to the top it was 42 degrees and drizzly almost snowing! We knew Mt. Hood was RIGHT THERE but we couldn't see a bit of it. Oh well. We drove back down and had to find something to paint! We ended up at Little Zig Zag falls. An easy sweet little hike. Here's the top of the falls

 It was pretty wet and cold, so we set up a bit further downstream.

So, as you know, I paint in regular acrylic paints. It was soooo wet, actually raining that the paint just would not dry. I thought I was painting with oils (horrors! :) And Vinita and Debi were using watercolors! Ha. Well, my hope was to try to get a sense of these deep rich greens. So here is the little 9x12 I did that day. And by the way, I was trying to lighten my pack and not use my relatively heavy wood Guerilla Painter box. So Vinita came up with the bright idea of using the plastic container her to go sandwich came in! It actually worked really well! I put a layer of wet paper towel and some disposable palette paper, and squeezed out just enough for a painting (okay I put too much, over prepared as usual!)  Then I just set my "palette" on my lap and held my canvas in one hand and my brush in the other, sitting on my little foldable tripod camp stool. Worked great, and very light! sorry no pics. But here is the little painting.
Now, not being a Plein Air Purist, you know I'm not going to leave it that way! :) Stay tuned to see if I ruin it or improve it. You be the judge!

Okay, here is the "after" version. What do you think? An improvement?
Okay, one last "final version. I wasn't happy with the geometrical triangle rocks in the frot... and some unfinished area on the left.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Light through the leaves

I have a never ending Fascination with light filtering through trees. Here is yet another attempt :) It is 18" x 24" acrylic on canvas
Click here to see a larger version

There is a basic problem with trying to paint light with pigment. In real life you can have very light AND very colorful. In pigments, you add white to go lighter, which makes the color less saturated, less intense. It's a fun challenge!
Some things I do to try:
Value Contrast - You can only go so light, so you have to go darker with the things around the light to make it seem brighter.
Temperature Contrast-Usually you will want the light to be warm, except moonlight! But I haven't tried that yet :) To warm up a very light color, it seems to help to put cool colors around it. The contrast makes the light seem warmer.
Saturated color - It also seems to work to put spots of very saturated color around the light, here I use orange on the tree trucks and some neon greens in the leaves
Transitions - You can see the splashes of sunlight on the forest floor because you can see the same plant in both shadow and light.

Anyway, just some things I have come up with - what works for you in painting light? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pacific Northwest Plein Air Event

Just returned from 4 lovely days spent painting around Hood River, Oregon along the Columbia Gorge. It is considered the "Windsurfing Capital of the World". Which makes keeping ones easel upright challenging at times! It wasn't too bad, really, the weather was warm and sunny. I met some amazing artists and really enjoyed it. We could turn in up to 5 paintings, I don't know which, if any they are going to hang for the show - but here they are for your enjoyment. Do you have a favorite?

These are from day one at the Gorge White House, a great old house surrounded by U-Pick flowers and fruits.

"U-Pick Beauty" 9"x12" acrylic on canvas

and "Hillside Farm" 9"x12" acrylic on canvas
The second day we were at a private residence with stunning views of Mt. Hood and horses that just wondered around the yard like pets :)
"Field With a View" 9"x12" acrylic on canvas.
I did another that day of a creek running through the property, but I need to do some more work on that one. Also I ended up with 7 paintings and had to trim that to 5. I'll post it later though after it gets a tune up :)
The third day we were at a winery, also with stunning views of the river from way up high. There were a bunch of us all lined up along the road painting, quite the sight! The morning light was soooo bright on the water, I had to squint my eyes and not look at it for long. Even so, my eyes were very tired that night!
"Morning Light" 9"x12" acrylic on canvas
I did another that day as well, later in the day when the water was all blue grey, it also needs a few tweaks :)
The forth day we wen to Mayer Park. There were wonderful shadows on high cliffs all along the river. I decided to give my eyes a break from looking at the bright reflections and painted toward the hills instead. I was standing under a tree near a spot where windsurfers take off, so no umbrella that day for shade!
"Shadow Play" 9"x12" acrylic on canvas.
I was going to do a second that day, but I admit I was pooped! Tired but happy. I went home to the house my good friends Greg and Laura let me borrow and slipped in the hot tub with a cold beer. Ahhhh. Good times :) Hope I get invited back next year!