Thursday, August 28, 2008

Are They Done Yet?

Utah Skies
12" x 16"
Oil on RayMar Board

Little Colorado Canyon
14" x 18"
Oil on Canvas

I have an artist friend, Laura Wambsgans, who has an unerring way of looking at a work in progress and knowing how to tweak, add or delete colors or to refine a drawing section.

...................Unfortunately, I do NOT share Laura's experience and skill. I probably need to put these paintings away for a while because I've reached a state of frustration. I know they need refinements and more work, but I don't know HOW TO MAKE THEM better.

What would you suggest? I'd really like to hear your thoughts.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Apparently I'm a "Daydreamer"

Blogging and Internet Surfing has
led me to yet another interesting

Take a moment to take this little perception/personality test. At the very least you'll see some beautiful and interesting photography! Additionally.... it's kind of fun...

My result for The Perception Personality Image Test ...
NBPC - The Daydreamer
Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Color
"You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow."

Right now I'm working on a painting of the stunning and extremely steep canyon which is home to the "Little Colorado River". It's east of the Grand Canyon and what it lacks in width, is made up for in the sheer drop as you gaze down to the river. I'm hoping I can pull off a painting which shows its beauty. The block-in is the WIP on the left top.

I have so many paintings I've started and which I haven't finished... it's almost criminal. I'm still working on figuring out what it takes to "finish" a painting. Guess I'd better get hopping!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Searching for "The O.C."

The family at Las Brisas and on the Laguna cliffs

Tyler holds a live clam
A "PIRATE" ship in Redondo.... And FINALLY... Giorgia sees "The Bait Shop" from the TV series... "The O.C."
If you've been reading my blog, you know that my in-laws from Italy have been visiting for almost a month now.

We've gone to many, many beautiful spots across the United States and I've loved showing off the variety and glory of my country. However, Giorgia, my 16-year-old niece had not yet achieved her dream. She's a fan of the FOX show, "The O.C." She knows all the characters, their lives and their hang-outs. What SHE wanted to see was not Yellowstone, or The Grand Canyon, or the Arches National Park. Even Las Vegas paled compared to seeing where the O.C. was filmed.

Unfortunately for her, neither my husband nor I had ever watched the show. But while she was here, we set out on our quest... which we thought would be easy. We went to Newport, of course actually IN the O.C. We stopped at Newport Pier, Balboa Island and Laguna. All beautiful places and well worth the visit, but NOT A FAMILIAR place was to be seen! We did see some great scenery and at a wonderful meal at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach, but the quest was not finished.

Someone told us that the TV program was filmed in Venice. Okay... (mind you she remained unconvinced when we attempted to tell her that the movie/TV industry often creates sets for these shows)... She had SEEN the actors move indoors and outdoors in the O.C. through seamless doors and action shots ... It was all real to her.

Well after traveling to Santa Monica Pier and Venice, she was again disappointed. Finally we decided to Google the darn thing. Guess what!!?? The O.C. was filmed in Redondo!

On our last day we drove to Redondo... We had another great time and (thankfully) Giorgia found "The Bait Shop" where all her heroes and heroines hung out. She actually recognized the area! She was happy.

Ahhhhh the magic of Hollywood, TV and youth!!

Today, I'm sad because the family left to return to Bella Italia. I will miss them all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Painting Utah.... Ahhhhhh

Okay... You can ooooh and ahhhh about the painting on the right...
It's a painting I bought about two years ago by an Arizona artist named Michael Maczuga. Notice the gorgeous greys and the wonderful colors in the center of interest. It's a scene from somewhere in Arches National Park.... a place of overwhelming beauty. It hangs in my living room and I have been drooling over it ever since I bought it. I'd love to paint just a little bit like he does. Too bad he doesn't seem to do classes.

I was using Maczuga's painting to see if I could emulate the technique while painting a scene of a canyon just north and west of Arches. So far, no luck. It looks like he started out using a palette knife then went on to use a heavily loaded brush. I LOVE his painting. Mine.... not so much. I think I'm going to scrape down the sky on mine and re-do it. Then I think I've got to find some way to create more interest to lead the eye through the painting. Always trying new things... always trying to improve.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Afternoon In Zion

Afternoon In Zion
10" x 8"
Oil on board

I've been back three days and was feeling the need to paint some, so I decided to try this little painting of an afternoon scene in Zion National Park, Utah. The sun was hitting the hill on the right side of the painting and bringing out the red color of the beautiful rocks. We are so lucky that progressive thinkers set aside so many wonderful national parks for all the generations to see.

Interestingly enough, throughout our travels we saw almost more Europeans traveling and enjoying our wonderful country than we saw Americans. I guess the exchange rate is great for them so the US is benefiting from the tourism dollars!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Leaving Montana and Wyoming

Here are a few more images from our stay in Montana while visiting Yellowstone which is in Wyoming. We stayed at "The Willows" just north of West Yellowstone.

Picture #1 shows the Italian Fortunati family.
Picture #2 is me with our first bison sighted behind me.
Picture #3 is me with my Dad at the cookout.
Picture #4 is Tyler with his rainbow trout.
The last shot is from the back porch of "The Willows" (found on ) looking toward the hills where we went horseback riding. It was a beautiful way to remember our last morning there.

More to come.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Cookout, A Horseback Ride and Whitewater Thrills

Here's to Montana! We are staying at an absolutely beautiful vacation home north of West Yellowstone. The family who owns it named it "The Willows".... found it on the internet through VRBO and I have to say that we really got lucky! The place is gorgeous, it's in a wonderful spot and everything you could ever need is here! There are twelve us us here now - a real family reunion. My daughter, Francesca, and her husband, Greg, flew up from San Diego. My husband, Gastone, Tyler and I and Gastone's brother, Roberto, and his family (Vania, Nicola and Giorgia) flew in from Italy then drove up in a large van and my son, Jon-Paul, and his wife, Alexandra, drove up separately with my dad, Jim.

Between visits to the park (America's jewel and a "you can't miss this" place to be) we have been enjoying the deer and cranes and many beautiful birds who share the landscape in front of the five huge picture windows on the lake side of the house. In addition we've ridden horses up through beautiful hills and wildflowers to a delicious cookout complete with a wonderful guitar playing country singer. (The place is called Parade Rest and I highly recommend it.) Yesterday we went on what was for most of us our first white water rafting trip. They even let my almost 90 year old dad go down a good part of the river. We had a ball. Another recommendation... Montana Whitewater does a great job.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Beautiful America

Flowing chocolate at the Bellagio in Vegas

New construction at Hoover Dam

Finally my husband's family from Venice has arrived and Tuesday we took off for our trip across some of America's beautiful land to Yellowstone. Too much talking, missed turnoffs and many other silly mishaps led us not to follow our originally planned trip, but led instead to some terrific scenic roads across less-traveled areas. So far we've visited the obligatory outlet stores on the way to Vegas.... (the Euro-Dollar conversion makes shopping in America THE thing to do), some really ugly places in Vegas AND the gorgeous Bellagio.... very impressive. We've seen Hoover dam and the new awesome construction project which has begun an arching bridge across the Colorado River downstream from the dam..... really amazing what man and God can build!! Then we headed for Zion... truly one of nature's gorgeous spots. North across Utah... WE HAVE TO GO BACK!! There's too much to see in too little time.

Right now we're in Jackson... resting up before our week in Yellowstone. The boys went fishing and I walked and wandered from the Elk preserve through old town (where I found lots of interesting art in galleries) and back to our hotel... about 2 miles.

More adventures to come.

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