Friday, October 29, 2010


What a great way to redeem my confidence after my last painting that I struggled with for a week!  First and foremost, I have to give photo credit to my 9 year old son for taking the reference photo for this painting.  We tend to frequent I-71 in Ohio when visiting family in Cincinnati.  If you've ever traveled this section of interstate you'll know there are several old barns that sit prominently along that route.  I've always thought they would make great paintings, but I'm usually the one behind the wheel.  He successfully captured a couple of great looking barns for me.  This is one of them.

Back to the "redemption" part of this painting.  If you read my last post, you'll know some paintings are more challenging than others.  The challenges are sometimes induced by myself and my wanting to "control" the direction of the painting.  Then there are paintings, such as this one, that I can't help but jump up and down and pump my fists, all while whispering under my breath "YES!!!".  I vowed to keep things simple and loose before attempting this piece, choosing a limited palette and preserving the white of the paper for the barn. 
I believe I was successful.

Thanks to all who frequent my blog. 
***If you're a Facebook junkie, I welcome you to join my Facebook page at Gretchen Bjornson ART, if you haven't already.  To fuel some excitement for the upcoming holidays I will be giving away a painting to a lucky Facebook "fan".  So if you want to join in on the fun, go to my page and click the "like" button to be automatically entered.
This is the original photo captured by my son.  Not bad at 70mph!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just Not Satisfied

I took everyone's great suggestions to heart and dug my heels in to make the needed adjustments.  However, I'm simply not satisfied with this painting.  Every once in awhile I come upon certain pieces that just don't live up to my expectations.  I have a final image in my brain of what I want it to look like and I can't get my brush and paint to perform the way they should.

I still think my darkest values are lacking.  I'm also frustrated by the left garage door....I can't seem to push it back behind the tree.  The left window has also been troublesome.  It's suppose to be open, but it almost looks bowed. 

This painting will most likely sit in my closet for awhile.  If I'm not happy with it, I can't justify giving it away for the sake of gift giving.  I am still open to suggestions, but I certainly don't want to "beat a dead horse".

Time to move on.......
And again, many thanks to all who provided wonderful and helpful suggestions.  Even though I can't walk away from this one feeling satisfied, I've walked away with additional knowledge to take to my next painting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Looking for Suggestions

I've been working on this piece to give to a family member as a gift this weekend.  At this stage I'm looking for some constructive criticism to help me take this painting to a higher's just not there yet and I'm afraid I may be adding paint unnecessarily.  I think I just need a little direction on where I need to strengthen it. 

I'm hoping I can get the help of some of my fellow "blogger artists" to provide words of advice before I change my mind and end up with a gift card instead of a painting as a gift.  Right now I feel I have a very flat painting with little to no interest or focal point.....I'm just not feeling it.

This is my reference photo.
(I don't think the recipient frequents my blog, at least I hope they don't, this week especially, in case this painting ends up in my recycle file.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finished Flowers

Another painting finished.  It's amazing how some paintings evolve over a matter of days.  Looking back on my previous post, this painting began light and bright.  I decided I needed to add much darker values to contrast the flower petals.  I used some winsor violet to accomplish this along with a touch of prussian blue.  I almost got carried away with the violet after seeing some incredible things happening after laying the paint onto the paper and pulling some of the color down with a damp brush. 

Feeling like I may have gone past the point of no return, I had to lift off some of the darker values.  This resulted in nice leaf shapes in the negative background space. 

At times I have to listen to that little voice in my head saying "Put down the loaded brush and back away from the painting."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Black Eyed Susan Part II

I'm working on another painting of Black Eyed Susans.  This one will be traveling to Tennessee.
I've discovered I really enjoy creating backgrounds in which things that weren't in the original sketch appear through multiple washes and the painting of negative shapes.  For example, indications of leaves and stems are appearing in this one.  I've yet to master this technique and it just seems to happen in some of my floral paintings.  I believe the lost and found edges make it really interesting for the viewer.

At any rate, I am at the mid-way point with this piece and hope to build more of the darker values which hopefully will bring out the highlights in the petals.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"My Horse" Geishia

The first horse that I could claim as “my own” was a sorrel quarter horse named Geishia. A flashy horse, by my standards, she had a flaxen mane and tail as well as a star, strip, and snip on her face, and a couple of white stockings. My parents purchased her to be my 4-H project. The biggest selling point for me was her slow, rhythmic jog and her beauty, of course. Although beautiful, she had the fiery disposition of a true mare. Leisurely 4-H trail rides were nothing of the sort with Geishia. While the other 4-Her’s horses plodded along quietly down the trail, Geishia would work herself into a sweaty lather as she pranced and danced her way through the woods…..leaving me in tears of frustration.

Her attitude did not deter me from the show ring. But once again, as the other pleasure horses loped and jogged quietly around the arena, Geishia would defiantly throw her head and nervously prance and gallop. Don’t get me wrong, I always maintained control of my steed, I was just always in fast-forward with her.

We did have a few successes, one being the showmanship class, where the rider presents their horse from the ground. We were able to secure a spot at the Ohio State Fair and ended up placing in our class. It was a defining moment for both of us.

Geishia was “my horse” for several years before the time came to sell her. I visited her once after she went to her new owner. She didn’t appear as big as I had remembered her. However, it had been awhile since I last saw her and I had grown taller so I was no longer looking up at her. I was now eye to eye with her. Age had definitely mellowed Geishia…no longer the fiery mare she use to be. But she will always be lovingly remembered as “My Horse”.


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