A Soft, Blue, Mighty Hunter

I have been having so much fun in my studio lately!  I’ve decided that if I keep up this pace I will proclaim 2016 “The Year of Production”.  Barring any major situations this year, I foresee that it will be.

I know I introduced you to Impending Doom and thought you’d like to see the cause of “doom” at this point, Mr. (or Mrs–I’m not sure) Blue Heron.  I am ALMOST done–I say that because I’m not yet happy with the value contrast in the feathers on the upper part of its body.  I rarely glaze any parts of my paintings but in this case, I believe I’ll have to let it dry and go in with a little glaze.  Of course, you will have an opportunity to see the final product.

Blue Heron almost done
Almost done!  (This is obviously at an angle)

I have discovered that one of the best ways for me to really “see” what changes need to be made in my paintings, is to take a photo of it.  For some reason, it becomes fresh to me.  As I look at this photo of my painting I discover things like a dot, floating below the chin of the bird, that has to be removed.  I also notice that there is a thin whitish line that intersects with the top of his head, part of the cloud, that needs to be softened or removed.  I make mental notes of those things and if there are lots of things that need changed, I make actual, physical notes.  I’m pretty sure I’ll remember those.

Brush and BH
Almost done!

As you can see here, there is very little contrast in the feathers, which means, there is no depth (If you squint your eyes the surface looks flat).  I tried to add a darker value but because the paint was wet it just wanted to blend in and get messy.  Titanium white is mixed in with these colors and white always takes longer to dry, so I’ll have to wait until at least Saturday to be able to come back in and fix it.

BH eye closeup




You can possibly see a little better what I was talking about regarding the dot in the yellow area and the white line in the clouds, intersecting the birds head.

The remainder of the painting is coming along well and will be featured in my next blog.  Besides working on this piece I prepped four canvases for painting and completed this smaller painting called Reigning Kinglets.  It’s a 24X30″ painting on gallery wrap canvas.  While walking my dog up on the trails at Lewisville Park I “saw” this painting in my head.  I’d taken the drippy branches reference picture a couple of years ago and had saved it thinking they needed to be painted.  As I walked along, past a flock of Kinglets flitting and floating along the trail with me and in the branches of the trees, I thought, “That would be cool to use those branches, dripping with rain, add Kinglets and name it Reigning Kinglets.”  Here it is–Until next time–happy birding!


A New Adventure

Before I even had a chance to write my goals for this year–including all the steps to reach them–a goal was met, which dictates all the remaining goals for the year, PAINT!

Here’s what happened–a gallery owner and her husband saw my work in a publication (American Art Collector).  Her husband said, “Watch this artist”.  She contacted me via email and said, “We love your work”, we met at the gallery on Tuesday, January 5, and the rest is history.  I now have my first major gallery representation at Northwest By Northwest Gallery in Cannon Beach, OR.

I feel honored to be represented by NW by NW Gallery, hosts of some very prestigious artists.

The cool thing about this is, “Gallery representation in Cannon Beach, OR” was the first thing I was going to write in my goals for the year.  I feel so blessed to be able to check that off my list and move on to the next thing on my list–PAINT–which is exactly what I need to do to reach the goals that Joyce, the gallery owner, and I have set.  My focus will be on producing more pieces to add to the bird-watcher series, which means, it’s time to start blogging about the adventures of Orin T. the bird-watcher–something I’m sure you are looking forward to.

Yesterday, I began cleaning an area in my studio for the still-life where the Great Blue Heron will “live.”  This is the fourth painting in the series, the creative juices are flowing–it’s wonderful to feel excited about this series again and to have a place where it can be seen by so many.

Heron props
Heron props–soon to be arranged.  Orin T. is feeling overwhelmed by the project.

Upcoming Events

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–

frazzled blue
Which way do I go, which way do I go?

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 ShowLook! 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!

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge Art–progress

For those of you who may be interested in how the collaborative project is going, here’s what I’ve got done so far.  My phone is not cooperating real well with the light so it’s hard to really depict my piece well, but you can see I’m pretty much done with my smaller piece and now working on the background.  You can see where our pieces will be laying over the top of the big tree.  I plan to be done by Friday with everything.  I can’t wait to see what Bud and Beth have done.  This will be the last peek of the project until it is complete–there has to be some element of surprise, right?

A little more touch up tomorrow--the paint is too wet right now.  But almost done.
A little more touch up tomorrow–the paint is too wet right now. But almost done.
Start of the big oak and the location where my painting will go.
Start of the big oak and the location where my painting will go.  It will be a little more to the right but I didn’t want it to fall off the easel  😉

A Worthy Project For The Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge

The name of my blog is kinda a dead giveaway–I love birds and love painting birds.  Much of the reason I love birds is due to my youth.  One place we would frequent was the wildlife refuges in Ridgefield, WA, in particular the Carty Unit–which is an all walking refuge.  Back in the day we’d just run across the railroad tracks to get there, then they built a bridge over the tracks (much safer but VERY steep and slick in the winter), recently, for the 50 year anniversary of its conception, they have made even more improvements.  Back to my youth–many happy hours were spent climbing the huge oak trees, running through the tall grass and playing hide and seek, checking out birds nests, ant hills, and eating blackberries–playing!  As I got older I took my children down there to enjoy it.  Now my children are taking their children.  Refuges are an important part of keeping the balance between wild-life and human-life.  They are truly a place of refuge for us all.Continue reading “A Worthy Project For The Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge”

A Squawking Rookery

What beautiful weather we are enjoying here in the Northwest!  I am a little confused about the time of year it is right now–this is typically one of the coldest parts of the winter–and I think maybe the birds are confused as well.  Every time I’m out walking or hiking I’m hearing birds making mating calls.  This last Sunday, again in preparation for the next painting in The Bird-Watcher series, (subject matter–Great Blue Herons) we headed to ‘the bottoms’ in Woodland, WA, to see if the Great Blue Herons were nesting.  I was not disappointed!Continue reading “A Squawking Rookery”

A Picnic For a Stealthy Bird

Some of you may have thought that I, BW, no longer existed and that this blog was solely about the artist.  You’ll be happy to know that we have an adventure planned.  A picnic!

Here I am preparing to head out.

Preparing for a picnic adventure
Preparing for a picnic adventure with Great Blue Herons

My camera is packed, notepad on hand and a tablecloth to sit on, just in case its damp outside (personally I think we need a checkered tablecloth though–maybe Kara will listen to me on that).  The only thing missing is my bird book and food, but we plan to collect that when we get to the bird refuge.  We will catch creepy, crawly snakes, scurrying mice and flopping fish, all delicacies meant to entice a Great Blue Heron.  (Hopefully, Mr. or Mrs. Heron does not mistake me for food.)

During our picnic I will be collecting important information about Herons that I can pass on to you.  While studying the Heron in its habitat, we plan to get some good reference photos that Kara can use to replicate our picnic in a painting.  Our goal is to have the fourth painting in The Bird-Watcher series done by the end of April.  A lofty goal since this is going to be a big painting, but it is attainable…I have faith in her.  I’m sure she will keep you posted as this process progresses.

In closing–I thought you might like to see the ‘selfie’ I took last summer.