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:

bowen

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.

img_8264 img_8296

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.

ultramarine anthrabluetitaniumwhite

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:

img_8306 img_8347

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.

img_8581 img_8594

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

bowen_detail2

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

Version 2

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.

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.

IMG_4955   beyond_i

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:

Wander

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!

My rowboat painting in the Pacific Art League gallery

One of my very favorite paintings, Beyond, will be part of the Pacific Art League‘s member exhibition next month, starting July 3.  The opening reception will be from 5:30-8pm in downtown Palo Alto.  This painting is based on a memory of rowing around Echo Lake in British Columbia at nighttime in the summer.  It really looked like this!

beyond_i

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

The original piece will be for sale through the gallery for $1000, and you can also find this painting in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print.  Here are some closeups of the canvas prints so you can see the detail:

giclees-8 giclees-5

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.

IMG_1089 - Version 2image1 image2

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.

IMG_1137 image6

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

wick-2 wick-4

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.

smalt titaniumwhite titanbuffanthrablue

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

wick-6   wick-9

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

wick-10  wick-12

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.

wick-16

Here it is in gif format:

wick1

Snowshoeing in the Coast Mountains, Finished Painting

This is a painting from a winter camping trip I took in Garabaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia.  My husband and I snowshoed up a steep trail and camped in view of the Coast Mountains.

alpine_iw

Alpine Trail, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

This is one of my older paintings, and I was still in a beginner phase where I tried to copy photos too closely without improving the composition.  However, I’m glad I turned up the intensity of the blues to capture the shadows on snow.  This is the original photo that I worked with when I got back:

alpine_original

This was another one of those trips where, due to bad snow conditions and overly optimistic planning, we arrived long after dark.  We did get to see this amazing sunset over the mountains, and I’m glad we stopped to take photos: Continue reading

Finished Painting: Lupines in Bella Coola

This is a painting I did several years ago after a trip to Bella Coola, north of where I grew up on the coast of British Columbia:

lupines_iw

Bella Coola Lupines, 16″x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

This is one of those paintings that just came together quickly without any planning.  I painted it on my mom’s kitchen table with her paints and brushes and a borrowed canvas, and it took about 45 minutes.  If I were painting it again, I might have planned the composition a little better so that the end of the tallest flower had more contrast against the sky or mountains, but I like the unstructured quality of it and it’s a nice memory.

Here are two photos from the place we visited:

IMG_0624  IMG_0622

You can find this painting in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print.  The original painting is not for sale.

Winter Camping: Finished tent painting

This is another one of my winter camping paintings, inspired by a snowshoe trip in the coast mountains of British Columbia with my husband.

Sweet Dreams

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

We really enjoy winter camping; there are no bugs or bears to worry about, and comparatively few people.  Water is readily available in the form of snow, the ground is soft and the views are amazing.  If you can come prepared for the cold and the early sunsets, it’s great.

IMG_0381

This is me, standing against the peak that I later put in my painting.  Like my duct tape gaiters?

kathrynshowshoe_edit

You can find this painting in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print.  The original painting is for sale through my website.

Vancouver Island Storm Painting, With Video

This is another one of my paintings from Vancouver Island, the area where I grew up:

chesterman_iw

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

This is a scene from Chesterman Beach in Tofino, and was featured in this article from Luxury BC.   I filmed video of this one and made it into a speed painting, so you can see the whole process:

Around halfway through you can see me using masking tape to make the horizon.  For this painting I used a limited palette of mostly Carbon black, Payne’s gray and Titanium white, with some Smalt hue and Ultramarine blue to add color to the sky.

Continue reading

Vancouver Island Sunset Painting

This is one of my paintings from Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  I grew up in Port Hardy, at the northwest tip of the island, which has the most amazing beaches.  Even though I have moved many times since then, the northwest coastal climate always feels most like “home” to me, and I have painted many scenes from this area.  This painting is from Tofino, a place further south down the island:

Tofino

Vancouver Island Sunset, 22″ x 28″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

I’m calling this one a sunset, but to me it could be either the glow just before dawn or just after dusk. Here are some detail closeups with the scraggly trees on the rock against the colors of the sky:

Tofino

Tofino

I find it’s tricky to get the right combination of blues, yellows and pinks in a sunrise or sunset without it looking too bright.  A little bit of pink and purple go a long way.  I always end up starting with too much color, and then blending in some white to take it back.  Glazing medium can be really helpful for skies, because it slows the drying time of your paints and allows you to blend for longer while you’re figuring out the right balance.  Acrylic paints dry relatively fast (especially in a hot dry climate) so mixing in a few drops of glazing medium on your palette helps to buy you a bit more time.  With most of my skies, I don’t have a plan of how they will look when I start painting, I just begin with colors I like and blend directly on the canvas.

I usually do skies in one sitting, as quickly as possible, and then let the canvas dry for a few hours before doing the rest of the painting.  This is one of those paintings where I find my Sta-wet palette really helpful, because I can keep my same color mixes wet and use them later.  After painting the sky, I used the same colors (blended with black and white) to paint the water:

Tofino

One thing that helped me was to visualize the water getting lighter in shade as it gets closer to the horizon, with the lower beach being dark and the water at the horizon (farthest away from the viewer) fading to pure white:

Tofino

You can buy this painting in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print.  The original painting is for sale on my website.