This is a small commercial break in your life to let you know I still exist–I’m sure this will make your day! 😉
Actually, if you are not friends with me on Facebook, you may not know that I’ve put my career in art as I’ve known it on hold for a while–thus, no posts.
I am gearing up to get back into the studio soon, it helps to have a show coming up in October. As exciting as that is, I especially wanted to share with my friends that yet again, I’ve been honored to be chosen as a finalist in The Artist Magazine’s annual competition. In fact–three out of three paintings were finalists! Out of over 5,900 entries, I am feeling very blessed.
You’ve seen them all on this blog, but here they are again–the plein air painting that is featured is just a bonus for you. That was from the plein air event in Cannon Beach back in June.
Until next time–now back to your regularly schedule program. Stay cool!
Before I go to far with this blog I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for reading my blog, for commenting, for supporting me as a friend and as an artist, for making this art journey with me. I could not do this without you, nor would I want to. Making art is as much about bringing joy to others as it is about receiving joy in the process of making it.
2015 has been a faith-building year in a number of ways. It didn’t always seem like I was getting much done because of all the distractions, but when I assess my progress in numbers its been a success–more so than I’d thought.
Here’s a quick overview of what I did last year professionally:
46 paintings completed of a variety of sizes, studio and en plein air
3 paintings almost completed on the easel, two small and one large
2 murals–one public 12×10′ and one nursery 8×14′
7 Group shows
Orcas Island All Things Birds and Beautiful Art Show and Sale
National Oil and Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) on-line International Spring Show
24th Annual Juried Art Show Sale & Competition, Breckenridge Fine Arts Center
Battle Ground Art Alliance show at North Bank Gallery, Vancouver, WA
NOAPS Annual Best of America Exhibit, The Dunnegan Gallery of Art, Bolivar, MO & The Vine Art Gallery, Osage Beach, MO
3rd Annual Open Studio Tour show at North Bank Gallery, Vancouver, WA
Christmas Benefit group show at Above and Below Gallery, Vancouver, WA
2 Solo shows
It’s All About Birds, Lava Java, Ridgefield, WA
3rd Annual Clark County Open Studio Tour
This is my 57th post this year on this blog. Highlights:
Viewed over 3,600 times
Seen in 75 countries
Most views in one day–August 22–243 views in response to “My Heart Skipped a Beat”. Maybe people were just making sure I hadn’t had a heart attack or something.
Finalist in The Artist Magazines Annual Competition in the Animal category
Won a spot in the NOAPS 25th Annual Best of America Show
Southwest Art, January 2016 edition
American Art Collector
local articles in the newspaper–too lazy to look up the dates 😉
Moved my studio from my garage to 711 NE 1st St, Suite 105, Battle Ground, WA 98604, and loving having a place to go to work.
Worked on an art collaboration with two other artists, creating a temporary art installation for the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge Anniversary and Grand Opening of the newly remodeled Carty Unit.
Started an Instagram account
Updated my website and activated the shopping cart feature (that was a lot of work!).
ON A PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT BUT ART RELATED NOTE–
Like all of you, my life has been a journey. Highs, lows and a lot of in between stuff. Much (MOST) of that journey did not include art. All of my journey has included religion (God) in some form or another. A few years ago I came under conviction and took the most life altering, important and significant step–I left the church that I’d been raised in. Some may think this a small thing–it was NOT for me–but it has proven to be the best decision of my life. In 2014, while dealing with some significant losses, I was reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, for my morning devotions. His words were deep and in my minds eye I could “see” a complete paradigm shift regarding the gospel. I came under conviction to begin doodling through each daily devotion as well as write my response–a kind of “therapy” for me as I was challenged by the simplicity of the true gospel as it is in Jesus Christ alone. I began doing that the end of October and on January 16, 2015 I started a blog called DoodlingDevotionals.com. So, on top of accomplishing all of the above professionally, each morning, before doing anything else, I doodled and wrote a response to my devotions–resulting in 320 posts (there are actually all 365 devotions on the blog but when I started the blog I uploaded my doodles done prior to the blog on separate pages.)
The success in the blog was not the amount of viewers or followers, but in the commitment I had made. I have NEVER in my life been able to even write in a journal more than 3 consecutive days in a row. To have doodled and posted consecutively for 89 days in a row is significant. The days I missed blogging, I still doodled. The first day I missed was the day my grandson was born in WI. A week with him and our kids still did not keep me from doodling, I just made up for the missed days by posting more than one a day for a few days. Even though the blog was viewed only a couple of thousand times in 36 countries it was to me a most valuable experience, causing me to go much deeper in my understanding and relationship with God. I am a better person for it in many ways.
Now, as the clock ticks toward midnight, and 2015 comes to a close, I anticipate with excitement what next year might bring, both professionally and personally. I have begun a rough draft of goals for next year which I will share when I have completed it. To be sure there will be more paintings added to the Bird Watcher series–yes, I said paintingS. Until then, let me leave you with these inspired words from Emily Dickinson–“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul–and sings the tunes without the words–and never stops at all.”
…On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four calling Fox Sparrows, A flock of tiny Kinglets, two Northern Flickers and a hummingbird in our pear tree…
Like everyone else this time of year, I have a lot going on. The last few days have been a culmination of all that has been brewing in our lives for the last few months. Today was the day to see how everything would REALLY work out! I don’t want to bore you with the gory details but to be honest, we’ve been walking by faith–literally. I had been having a chat with God about how all these things would play out today and as if to say, “I am taking care of you,” a flock of little chattering birds landed at my feet and in the surrounding bushes along the trail. I was expecting little gray Bushtits–I see them often and I just love watching them flit and float from limb to limb. But these were even more special–they were tiny Kinglets.
I was surprised by their boldness and bravery even with my dog. They hopped around on the ground only 4-5 feet from us, flipping leaves and eating bugs–off in the distance I heard a beautiful song being sung and I looked up to see a Fox Sparrow sitting upright on a limb, head tilted back, beak wide open, singing at the top of its lungs while three of his friends foraged in the underbrush below him. Soon a couple of little Winter Wrens joined in the chorus with their short little chips (I think they were contributing as the “rhythm” section). When I got home our backyard was full of bird activity. A mixed flock of thrushes–American Robins and Varied Thrushes, Yellow-Crowned Sparrows, Starlings, a pair of Northern Flickers, a hummingbird (that sits in our pear tree–really!), and of course the ever present Junco’s and Chickadee’s. It was a great day for bird watching today.
Back to my walk–While standing under the dripping trees, dark storm clouds brewing above–getting ready to let loose with another torrent–I was reminded that I need to become more like a little bird. Sing in the storm, live in and for the little things of the moment, don’t worry about what will be (worry never changed the future it just ruined the present), turn the leaf in front of me, and don’t forget to share my life with friends, family AND strangers. We’re better together, especially when we are lifting each other up and you never know when you may lift someone up. It might be someone you see in the coffee shop, like the gal I met this afternoon who is new to the area and having a stressful day–we talked, then exchanged phone numbers–who knows where this meeting will go. Everyone we meet is dealing with SOMETHING. Be kind, send up a prayer and be the cheerful little Kinglet in another persons day–that is our calling and what makes life worth living.
As for the way things turned out today–it’s obvious that God (my True Love) had it in control, not us! The things I stressed over for this morning were provided for and even went beyond my expectations and the future looks hopeful with new beginnings. I’m working on being a better “bird”. Until next time–when feeling stressed, remember the birds and sing a song ;-). I’ll start one for you–Count your blessings name them one by one . . .
Just a short blog to give you a peek into what I started this week. I had forgotten that I had some cradle boards prepped with metallic plaster on the edges and masked off to paint. When I moved the studio it was a nice surprise to find them. I decided to veer away from birds and paint these two adorable puppies. They belong to a good friend of mine and are as sweet as can be, however, not always this calm. I’m sure they’re dreaming about chasing bunnies.
I’m on a roll with birds that have top knots–more technically called a crest. I didn’t mean to be but I felt like doing a bird that does not live in the Northwest yet a favorite to many–my husband is one–the Cardinal, and it just so happens to have a crest as well. While I was working on this bird it dawned on me that bird feet are about the ugliest things I’ve ever seen on a body. Some say that human elbows are bad, but there is no comparison to the homeliness of bird feet–especially on this Cardinal. I must say, the feet weren’t my focus today.
Due to a low battery and my power cord being at my studio I am keeping this blog short. No real info about either of these birds. However, I am much happier with Mr. Steller–letting the paint dry a little gave me the ability to paint the correct blue over the top of the existing paint without blending in and changing the color.
I hope you enjoy these birds as much as I’m enjoying painting them and loosening up with my brushes. Possibly I will go in and do some small touch ups after the paintings have dried but overall I consider them done. I also may change the background color on a couple of them. Some don’t have enough contrast.
With the name Common Yellowthroat, you’d think these little songbirds would be a more common sight. A couple of years ago while observing the rookery of Great Blue Herons while they could still be seen–all the leaves had not yet come out–I heard an odd little buzzing like sound in the tall grass. Every once in a while I’d hear what sounded like a low warning chirp. Taking my camera closer I looked and looked but couldn’t see anything. Eventually I saw a little movement in the grass and blindly pointed my camera in that direction and took a few shots. I didn’t know what that little masked bird was but it was so fluffed up and cute I could hardly wait to get the bird book out and I.D. it. This year I found a pair of them not far from our house. Sadly, a housing development was coming in and they mowed all the grass where they were living. I hope they were able to get at least one brood raised.
Speaking of their broods–they raise 1-2 per year with 1-6 eggs. In less then a month the chicks leave the nest. Eggs are incubated 12 days, and in 12 days they’re ready to leave the nest. Common Yellowthroats migrate and are found breeding all over the US accept Alaska but winter over in the Southern states and Mexico. Maybe that’s why we don’t see them much around here.
Today I remembered to take pictures of the process. They are posted after the finished painting if you care to see them.
How can we do a series of birds from A-Z and leave the Robin out? Being the second most common bird in North America, a part of the Thrush family and State bird of Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin–it is obviously a favorite of many. Lately our backyard has been a popular stopover for migrating birds. They are actively keeping our worm population down and gorging themselves on fallen apples.
As promised, Orin collected some interesting facts about Robins while I painted.
Robins like to be first–they are first to arrive in the Spring, first to build a nest, first to lay eggs and first to get up in the morning to sing and first to get the worm. (Mind you, this is not exact science so don’t quote me on this.) Robins are also intelligent enough to know a Cowbird egg from their own eggs and shove them from the nest. Maybe they can see color?
This is something that was interesting, they can live up to 13 years, however, only about 25% of all the birds that fledge actually survive their migration and some have the opinion that every 6 years there is a new population of robins. You might say, it’s a good thing they lay 2-3 clutches of 3-5 eggs a year. If you think about it, they’re kinda like the rabbits of the sky–reproducing a lot but with a short lifespan.
Well, enough about robins for now. Don’t stay up too late, I know it’s Friday night but you don’t want to miss the robin singing in the morning.
Today’s quick paint project. I took the picture of this cute little guy sitting on a log next to his mate this past winter. They were just waking up for the morning and he kept stretching and preening as she swam away. I knew I wanted to paint him when I saw him.
Tomorrow I plan to start including Orin (The Bird-Watcher) in my post. He will give some fun facts about each of the birds I’m painting. By the way, these quick little paintings will be for sale at the Clark County Open Studio Tour, November 14 & 15. I will paint a bird for each letter of the alphabet (the X is a surprise installation).
Who knew that it’d be so hard to make time to do a quick paint project. Yesterday turned into a no paint day but I did get the rest of my show hung at Lava Java and a couple of neglected friends visited. You might say, I had a much-needed break.
Today, I did touch ups on my Eurasian Dove. Here is the final result–
Today I completed another painting and started a third. As you can see, these are quick and thick with paint. It’s taking a little bit for me to get real comfortable working like this with birds but I think I kinda like the results. Here is my process.
So far each of these paintings have been done on 5″x7″ 1/4″ mdf boards painted with 2 coats of gesso. For my ‘rough sketch’ I am using raw umber with a touch of ultramarine blue and cadmium red light mixed thin to tone the board. Then I go in with thinner and carve in my bird.
The second step is to apply color. I blocked that in next, without too much detail. Again, I’m establishing my values and hue. I don’t have a picture of the next step but you can basically see it in the final painting. After blocking in my colors the paint is usually too thick and wet to work with so as it sets up I paint the background color around the bird. This too is a little like carving because I take this opportunity to correct any proportions that may be off. I decided to use bright backgrounds on these paintings just for fun.
We have a lot of Killdeer living in the soccer field behind our house. Often you can hear them calling in the middle of the night. I took a picture of this particular bird a couple of years ago. I thought it was cute all fluffed up and shaking its feathers out.
I haven’t decided yet if Mr or Mrs Killdeer is finished. I’m kinda liking the looseness of this painting–tomorrow will tell. I’m not exactly sure how long this took, there were a few interruptions. I would guess about 1 1/2 hours–maybe less. I’m hoping to get to where I can do one of these in an hour or less.
The next painting in this series is a Cormorant. I took the picture of this bird in Anacortes, WA this past spring. I will probably do a full-blown painting of it, along with some of its buddies, but for the sake of this series I’m keeping it simple, loose and bright. I’ll finish it tomorrow. My challenge on this one is the size of the panel–it wanted to get too big so I had to really carve it out once I got the color blocked in. I think the proportions are pretty good now. The paint should be pretty set up in the morning–can’t wait to finish it.
My calendar has been so full lately I’ve not had a chance to update you all on what’s coming up–I will keep this short and sweet so it doesn’t get confusing and so I can check my blog post off my list and head to bed. In anticipation of all the work ahead this is how I feel and probably how I look–
Upcoming Events For Kara Krieger-McGhee Art
October 2–30 Show hanging at Lava Java, 2 S 56th Pl, Unit 102, Ridgefield, WA
October 3 Art Collaborative project for Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge Anniversary and Grand Opening of the newly remodeled Carty Unit unveiled–10-11 a.m. I believe.
October 3 Plein air painting at the wildlife refuge, Carty Unit–1-4 p.m.
October 4 Beginning a month long painting challenge–a small bird portrait a day–trying different techniques, posting daily. Also, I will be spending the month painting and preparing for Clark County Open Studio Tour.
October 11 Opening of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society Best of America Show—Look! Flying Jewels!, Is honored to be a part of that show.
November 6 Artist Reception for 3rd Annual Clark County Open Studio Tour, 5-9 p.m., North Bank Artist Gallery
Nov. 14, 15 Studio will be open for CC Open Studio Tour–my new studio address is 711 NE 1st St, #105, Battle Ground, WA.
December 4 Battle Ground First Friday–studio open
December 5 Special studio event–this will be a surprise and more announced in the future
That should do it for now. I’m really excited about starting those small, daily portraits. I think they will be fun to share and I’m looking for feedback on what people like or don’t like. Until next time–good night!