Dreaming of the north: My finished sunrise painting

New painting finished!  This one is kind of a mix of camping memories from northern Canada and Alaska.  We’ve had so many good camping trips in the north during our marriage; camping in a hailstorm on Denali when I was four months pregnant, fighting off bugs in Peace River, and seeing grizzly bears in Bella Coola.  The sunrises in the north are so beautiful:

Northern Sunrise, 20″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2017 Kathryn Beals

I’ve been trying to work more with yellow lately.  I find it tricky to use, but it looks so good in landscapes when done properly, so it’s something I’ve been learning through trial and error.  Here are a couple detail shots:

I’ll post the progress pictures soon, but for now check it out as a paper print or canvas print in my Etsy store.

New Bowen Island Painting Finished

I have a new painting finished and up in my Etsy print store:

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First Paddle, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2016 Kathryn Beals

This is a painting of my little daughter learning to paddle her own kayak in the ocean off of Bowen Island, in the Gulf islands of British Columbia.  We spent a lot of time there last summer swimming in the warm water.

Here are a few progress pics I took along the way.  The color is a little different since I was painting at night under incandescent light.

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Painting in the sky quickly with my big brush.  I used mostly Ultramarine Blue with a bit of Anthraquinone Blue and of course, Titanium White.

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Then I added the beginning of the trees and ocean, again with the big brush to keep me from getting caught up in details.  The paint was drying quickly and I finished this part in about 10 minutes, taking pictures from my Apple watch:

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Here’s one of the little tricks I learned from my portrait painting days. To save time and avoid perspective drawing errors (something I’ve never been great at) I resized my reference photo in a photo editing program, printed it out and taped it to the canvas with graphite paper underneath. Then I traced the general silhouette onto the (dry) canvas underneath as a reference.

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I taped the photo next to my working area and painted in the kayak and girl:img_8629 img_8640

Here are some detail shots from the finished painting, in proper lighting.  Pretty clouds:Version 3

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For the reflections under the kayak, I just added the colors of the kayak and her lifejacket as I was working.

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I find water reflections tricky in general and this was a good opportunity to practice.  In calm water, the reflections are always sharper than I expect them to be.  I used very stark contrast this time and I like how it came out.

The original painting is not for sale, but you can buy paper prints or canvas prints of this one in my Etsy store, which donates partial proceeds to Leave No Trace.

My first Death Valley National Park painting

I’ve finished the first of several paintings I’ve planned to do of my trip to Death Valley National Park last February.  I ran the Death Valley half marathon in Death Valley National Park just as the wildflower superbloom was starting, and it was a wonderful experience.  Just as the sun was rising and the runners lined up at the start line, the race director lead the crowd in singing “America the Beautiful”.

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Death Valley Superbloom, 20″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2016 Kathryn Beals

You can click on the images to see detail shots from the finished painting.  I had fun working with yellow on this one:

Here’s a gif of the painting coming together.  You can watch my coffee cup moving around:

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The painting is now live in my Etsy shop as a photo print or canvas print, and up on my website.  The painting is for sale and I will be entering it in several shows this fall.

New Death Valley paintings coming

Hi!  I’ve been keeping pretty busy with my three little ones and managing my print store, but when I find time to paint I’ve been working on some paintings from a trip we took to Death Valley, California earlier this year.

I ran the Death Valley half marathon in February, and we caught the very beginning of the wildflower superbloom, a rare natural event that comes after just the right combination of rain and temperature.  The race went along Hwy 190 near the Furnace Creek Ranch, and was one of the most beautiful I have ever done.

We also did some stargazing, since the site is far out in the desert and away from light pollution.  My daughter was really hoping to see a scorpion, although we didn’t find any.  It was a wonderful trip and I had lots of painting ideas when we got back.

Before starting, I painted a few quick practice studies on small canvases to try out some ideas.  Each took about 10 minutes:

I started on the uppermost scene, a field of flowers at dawn.  It’s not finished but here are a few progress shots:

Stay tuned!  I’m hoping I’ll have this one finished soon.

New firefly painting, step by step

Hi!  I’ve been pretty busy with baby #3, but now that he’s coming out of the newborn phase I’m finding time to paint a little bit.  Here’s a painting I’ve just completed:

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Fireflies, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2015 Kathryn Beals

Here’s a photo of me painting with my little guy from my Instagram:

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You can watch a very quick demo of the process below, or click through to read the steps in more detail.

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My Yosemite painting at Pacific Art League

I’ve been busy!  Last week I dropped off my Yosemite snow painting for the Pacific Art League’s Anniversary Exhibit in Palo Alto, with my three day old baby in tow.  We didn’t make it to the reception last Friday night, but the painting will be on display until September 24 and is for sale through the gallery.  Posting here will likely continue to be light as we adjust to the new addition, but I’m still filling orders through my website and Etsy store.

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Left: Outside the Pacific Art League gallery, with my painting in the front window

Right: Wander, 30″ x 40″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

Wander is for sale through the gallery for $1000, and is available as a photo print or canvas print in my Etsy store.

Summer exhibitions at Pacific Art League

This post is long overdue, but here is a photo of my painting Beyond in the Pacific Art League gallery show earlier this summer.  We couldn’t make it to the reception this time, but we stopped by the gallery with the kids.  This is one of my favorite paintings and reminds me of summers on the lake near where I used to live in British Columbia.

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Beyond, 24″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

Next month at the gallery’s Anniversary Exhibit, I’ll be showing one of my largest pieces, Wander:

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Wander, 30″ x 40″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

This is one of my more surreal ones, and it’s based on a winter camping trip in Yosemite where we snowshoed through a burned forest at midnight.

Beyond and Wander are available as canvas prints in my Etsy store.  The original painting of Wander will be for sale through the Pacific Art League gallery for $1000 starting September 4.  I’ll try to make it to the reception, although I may be busy with a newborn by then!

New Tofino Beach Painting, in Progress

My husband and I took a trip to Tofino, British Columbia this spring, and I’m looking forward to making several paintings from the trip.  We both grew up in different areas of Vancouver island, and I have painted many scenes from this beautiful place.  This trip, we went kayaking around Meares Island, hiked in Pacific Rim National Park, and did a lot of walking around Chesterman Beach.

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I’m starting with this scene of Chesterman Beach, which I have painted before from a different angle.  We stayed at the beautiful Wickanninish Inn, which you can see off in the distance on the right.

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I started with my usual masking tape horizon, and started painting in the wet sand with Micaceous Iron Oxide:

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I decided to enhance all the colors and go for an interesting sky, which I’ll probably still experiment with as the foreground takes shape.  For the sky so far, I used mostly Smalt Hue and a bit of Anthraquinone Blue, mixed with Titanium White and Titan Buff.

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I removed the masking tape and started painting the land on the right:

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Then I painted in the rest of the land, and added the surf area in bright white:

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At this point, the painting is still in progress.  I’m not happy with the colors of the sky and water yet, but the shape is coming together and I’ll add some transparent layers until I get it where I want.

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Here it is in gif format:

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My Experiment with Wax Painting

As a child and beginner painter, I started out in watercolor, but found my style when I tried acrylic on canvas for the first time.  I’ve tried painting in oil and pastels (and have never been good at drawing) but I always come back to acrylic because I love the way it looks and feels on the canvas.

However, it’s always great to try a new medium.  While visiting my family in Canada this month, I tried creating an image in wax, my mother’s medium of choice, and it was a great experience.  She started me in her chosen method of melting crayon chunks on a canvas with a heat gun, and let me figure it out from there.  I took photos of the process:

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It was great to try a less controlled approach, since I usually struggle against overworking and adding too much detail when I’m painting.  I did miss my brush, but I was able to influence the spread of color by tipping the canvas back and forth as I melted the wax.

I would call this one an abstract, but the general idea was to capture the old growth cedar forests near where I grew up on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.  We just got back from a trip to Vancouver Island, and I’m looking forward to doing some new paintings of these trees in Tofino:

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Juried Spring Show at Pacific Art League, April 3-23

I’m happy to announce that both of my submissions made it into the upcoming juried exhibition at the Pacific Art League gallery in Palo Alto, California, opening April 3.  I’ve never had two paintings in one show before and I’m excited!  These two pieces will be featured in the Spring exhibition:

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Glory, 24″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

This one is from memories of camping in the mountains with my husband.  You can find this painting in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print.  I’ve got a cool time lapse video of this one as well.

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Regrowth, 24″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

Regrowth was inspired by the view from a friend’s cabin in Montana, ten years after a forest fire.  Regrowth is also available in my Etsy store as a photo print or canvas print.  Both original paintings will be for sale through the gallery for $1000, although they will not be available until after the show ends on April 23.

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