Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Well, I've never tried this before, but here goes... auctions.  In the beginning of February, I decided to try to sell a few little paintings on my own.  I joined Daily Paintworks, a site for artists where you can upload all sorts of paintings and drawings.  The site allows you to sell work using different methods, and one of them is the auction.  I've added works, at amazing discounts, using Buy it Now buttons and Buy on Etsy buttons, so I figured I would try the auction, too.  So far, it is really hard to get noticed.  There are tons (really) of artists selling on this site.  

The thing that is appealing about selling this way is you don't have to frame the painting.  Ah, for me, that's a relief.  I am constantly switching frames from one painting to another to avoid having to buy more.  Not having to frame something is great.  The buyer can frame it as they see fit...perfect.

Here is one little painting that I just put on auction.  It is a 6" x 8" oil on panel that was painted plein air in Deerfield Beach, FL.  I did upload a picture of me painting it on the DPW site, but I don't see it, so I will post that here, too.

I am heading down to FL again to teach a couple of workshops in landscape painting, so I am sure that I will have many more studies soon.  If you are interested in the class, let me know.  

Here is the link to my "gallery" of affordable paintings on Daily Paintworks.  Thanks for supporting living artists! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Girls with Curls

Sporadically, someone will ask if I ever make videos, so I thought I would  try out a little test.  Since I painted a couple self-portraits with curls and bows, I got out my ipod and filmed looking into the mirror, then showing you my painting in progress.  My thought was that I would take a couple of videos, and you could see the whole process.  However, I was getting frustrated with my first attempt, and wiped out the painting.  But, here's a 25 second video.  

The point is...never take yourself too seriously, and never be afraid to wipe out a painting.  Painting is a life-long journey of discovery.  Learn from mistakes, and keep the old adage, "When at first you don't succeed....try, try again", in mind.  In my experience, add a few more "tries" to that quote.  Happy Painting!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Alla Prima Self-Portraits...Again

I paint directly without drawing on the panel

Color notes start right away

Massing the shadows, massing the lights, and testing the value range

Thinking planes 
My daughter showed up for lunch, and she took this picture with her iPhone 

I have battled curly hair my whole life.  Normally, I wrestle it into submission with hair clips and a flat iron, and it looks pretty respectable.  However, neat hair makes for mundane  painting.  So, for the last couple of days, I have let the curls win and painted some fun self-portraits.  

To make this one more interesting, I tied a ribbon around my head and set the bow at a jaunty angle.  Corny, but effective.  I placed the mirror (I paint looking in the mirror) by the easel, and the skylight illuminated one half of my face.  The curly bangs formed a nice cast shadow across my forehead.  

Here I am looking in the mirror...ready to start

Alla prima demands quick decisions.  It allows me the freedom to react, build, change, and enhance the painting as I move along.  It is drawing with the brush, and the head emerges out of the background and into the background creating depth and mystery.  This painting is on a small gessoed panel (9"x6") that has a gray tone.   

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More Winter Painting in Gouache & Watercolor

Winter Sunset - 5.5" x 9.25" - watercolor & gouache on location

Sunshine & Shadows - 5.75"x9" - watercolor & gouache on location

Vermont is a beautiful place to live.  I have lived here since 1979, and most of the plein air studies I do are painted close to home in and around the Cambridge/Jeffersonville area.  Sometimes, I don't have to go far at all, because the best views are right in your own backyard!  This was the case in the 2 little watercolor and gouache studies shown above that I just painted. 

My property sits down below the road, which means that at sunset my house is in shadow, but the sun skims over the hill and dramatically blasts into the trees.  I love this light!  In the top painting, the sun is coming from the right, but in the bottom painting, the sun is more flat light, which is always challenging. 

Although I paint in oils, I have been doing these little plein air studies in watercolor and gouache for years.  I started back in the 70s, after buying a book on Turner's Early Sketchbooks.  Turner made zillions of studies for larger paintings using this sort of technique, and I find painting like this  enormously satisfying.  There is an immediacy to working this way, which is extremely helpful when painting under fast-changing conditions.  Also, their portability can't be beat.  

I haven't offered too many of them for sale, although I have occasionally  sold some in galleries.  Most of them I keep as notes for larger paintings.  Since I have been rethinking brick and mortar galleries, I have decided to sell some small studies myself and let galleries handle larger paintings.  These little paintings can then be offered  unframed and at a discount.

So, if you get a chance, visit my Etsy Store, or Daily Paintworks to see more.  Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Winter Painting

As much as I love painting outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall, I still have issues with painting outdoors in the winter.  Last January, when 2 women painters from ME (Renee Lammers & Suzanne Brewer) were visiting Jeffersonville, VT, I painted with them.  We painted in 2 different spots in Waterville.  Here are a couple of pictures of one of my paintings and my set-up.  I am painting along the Lamoille River, just off of Hogback Road.

Although it was cold, I could still manage to paint.  This was late afternoon, and as the sun dipped lower,  the watercolor and gouache which was  in thin washes in the enamel tray palette started to freeze, and the water in the brush started to freeze, as well.  That is when I called it a day.  But, I was still pleased with the results and patted myself on the back for braving the cold and painting.

So, I decided to stop whining and go outside and do a few snowscapes this winter.  I loaded my watercolor and gouache supplies in a backpack, parked my car, and hiked a little ways and set up.  The snow by the river was much deeper than I thought it would be, and by the time I got to where I wanted to paint and stamped down an area to work in, I was already cold.  

I quickly sketched out where I wanted things to go and started to paint.  To my amazement, the paint rolled into little ice balls.  These ice balls refused to stick to the paper.  What?  I kept trying for a while, but it got worse.  The watercolor supplies went back in my backpack, and I try drawing, instead.  By the time I got to this point, my fingers were completely frozen...especially my thumbs.  Apparently, thumbs are pretty important, and I couldn't draw either.  After these 2 lame starts, I packed everything back up and retreated to the car to thaw out.  

With the heat on in the car, I thawed out and so did my brush, which had a solid ice core.  The view wasn't what I originally intended, but that's OK.  Painting out the window of my car was better than not painting at all.  So, here are a couple of pictures of what I did before heading home for a nice, hot cup of tea.

Where there's a will, there's a way.  I guess my way of winter painting is best done from my car.  Thanks for visiting. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Plein Air Event Continued..

Karen Winslow painting in Stowe - 11"x14" plein air study
Continuing the previous post...  In late September, 2013, I was in a local plein air event in Stowe, VT, where I painted a couple of oils and 3 watercolor/gouache studies.  Since I painted mostly along the beautiful Stowe Recreational Path, many people stopped by to chat and see what I was doing.  I asked one of these people to take a picture of me.  In this shot, you can see my plein air oil painting set up.  I am using an Open Box M easel on a tripod with a little vertical palette box, that my husband made,  for my premixed value scales.  There is a bungee cord that goes around the back of the easel and to triangular pieces of wood to keep the box from slipping, which secures the palette box in place.   The little basket for my brushes is clipped to the tripod.  I keep the easel opened all the way so that the mixing area is vertical, as well.

When I have my ipod with me, I often take shots of the painting in progress.  I thought you might enjoy the sequence.  Because I paint very quickly, I do not "draw" the scene on the canvas, but rather place a few lines for placement, then start massing in right away.  Here's my process...

Here's the start...a very simple "idea" or placement

Massing in my basic darks and lights

A photo of the scene

Putting in a little more detail and color

Tightening up on some of the details, while trying to hold on to the light effect
Thanks for visiting.  I hope you enjoyed the demo :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More Plein Air Events

At the end of September and beginning of October,  2013, I participated in one more Plein Air Event.  This one was held in Stowe, VT, and it was hosted by Vermont Fine Art Gallery.  I chose to paint along Stowe's beautiful bike path that runs from behind the church on Main St. and meanders along the brook for about 5.5 miles  up the mountain.  It is a great path for biking and walking.  

I did a couple of oils and 3 watercolor/gouache combinations.  I thought you might enjoy seeing my equipment.  In the top picture, you can see my folding camp stool (which is very compact and folds completely flat), my watercolors, collapsible water cup, paper towels, enamel tray, brushes, and painting board.  Normally, I tape 2 pieces of paper to both sides, which gives me plenty of options and saves time.  Everything fits into a backpack or bag for ease of transport.  

The Stowe Bike Path, or recreational path, attracts many visitors, and I had a lot of folks stopping by to see what I was doing.  I asked one of them to take some pictures of me with my ipod.  Here I am working on my first study in watercolor/gouache.  I had started 2 oil paintings prior to this, so this was my 3rd painting for the day.  The second picture shows the other painting I did, which was further up the path.

This one is my last plein air study for the event, and it is painted in watercolor and gouache, as well.  This view of the church is an iconic view of Stowe, and I painted it from from a parking lot along Route 108 at the beginning of October.  The fall foliage was at its peak.  

These 3 little watercolors went into the gallery show, and all of them sold....which made me pretty happy.  The event was new for Stowe, and it was just to call attention to the art of plein air painting, I think.   It came with some nice perks, such as gift certificates for art supplies and framing, something I always need!  

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Plein Air Events

Painting in progress 7/20/13 - Jericho, VT Plein Air Event

Here is the finished piece - 8"x12" oil on linen by Karen Winslow

7/20/13 - my second painting of the day at the Barber Farm in Jericho, VT

7/20/13 - my third plein air study  of the day - watercolor/gouache 

8/16/13 - Waitsfield event - first painting of the day

8/16/13 - working on a watercolor/gouache - Waitsfield, VT

8/16/13 - second painting of the day - watercolor/gouache

8/16/13 - third painting - watercolor/gouache

8/16/13 - fourth painting - watercolor/gouache 

8/17/13 - painting the round barn in Waitsfield, VT

8/17/13 - plein air study of the round barn by Karen Winslow

8/17/13 - second painting of the day in progress - covered bridge in Waitsfield
The popularity of plein air painting has soared over the last 15 years, or so, with groups and big events happening throughout the world.  Plein air events, or "Paint Outs", are held annually, and huge plein air conferences draw artists from all over.  Because of costs, I don't normally participate in these big events, but I did join in on a couple local events just for fun.

The first was the 3rd annual one-day Jericho Plein Air event. It was held July 20, 2014.  The day started gray, but I managed to produce 2 oils and a little watercolor/gouache, between the sprinkles.  This small event had around 80 participants, who were given maps to various painting spots.  Artists checked in at 8am, and then dispersed.  At 3:30 or 4pm, you had to bring in your work and frame it for display.  Even though I produced 3 paintings, only one could be displayed.   Painting in an event is entertaining, and it makes you focus and excuses!  I like that. 

My second event was in Waitsfield, VT, which is about an hour's drive from my home.  This was a 2-day event.  After check-in, artists were free to paint anywhere in Waitsfield, but the Mad River was right by the check-in, and it was simply lovely.  Most of the artists set up their easels up and down the rocky shoreline along the river.  The first day, I produced a small oil and 3 watercolor/gouache paintings. The following day, I painted an oil of the historic round barn in Waitsfield in the morning, then, I went back to the river and painted another oil  looking towards the covered bridge.  Around 2:30pm, organizers came by to prompt artists to start matting or framing their work, because  the event ended a 5pm.  Holbein was one of the sponsors, so the neat thing about this event was getting some free tubes of Holbein paint! 

I am going to offer some of these studies on Daily Paintworks.  All of them are unframed.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

New Venues For Selling Paintings

With the internet available to most people, selling paintings has opened up for many artists.  Artists can open their own "stores" on  websites such as Etsy or Daily Paintworks and not have to depend on brick and motar galleries for sales.  If you are a prolific artist, this is an excellent option.  Many "Painting a Day" painters have become almost legends, with articles in major news papers and huge followings.  Julian Merrow-Smith and Duane Keiser were pioneers in this movement.  Often, these painters put their works up for auction, with the starting bid being $100.  The famous daily painters not only produce a painting a day, but actually sell a painting a day. That's impressive!!  This seemed pretty appealing to me.  I paint a lot, and when you paint a lot, you need to sell a lot.  Otherwise, your studio begins to fill up, and paintings stack along the floors, fill up the walls, line the shelves, etc. If you paint a lot, maybe you can relate to this, too.   Additionally, framing all of these paintings, so that they can sell in galleries, is very expensive.  Artists that sell works through these "store" websites, can offer the paintings unframed, and that is great.  It also makes shipping lighter and everything more affordable.  Obviously, I have been rethinking how I sell my work.

With all of these pluses, I decided to try a new venue..Daily Paintworks.  I perused the website, and it was  amazing to me to see how many artists were selling.  It was fun to discover  new artists, searching through pages of work.  There are tons of artists out there quietly working away, working hard, and  honing their skills.  After all, the more you paint, the better you will get! 

So far, I just uploaded a few pieces to see if anything happens...if anyone even notices.  If you have a minute, take a look at the site...there's a little badge on the side here.  Since I paint many little watercolor/gouache studies, I will probably try to sell a bunch of these, besides small oil paintings and demonstrations from classes I teach.  Instead of trying the auction thing, though, I just set some reasonable prices that fit in.  The people that seem to sell consistently have smaller paintings that are almost always the same size, either 6"x6" or 5"x7".  I will go that route, too.  It keeps art affordable, and I think everyone needs a little art in their lives!  

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Oscar Anderson Easel Revisited

Jack Winslow using the Anderson Easel 

Jack Winslow plein air painting in 2008 

Close-up from underneath of clips holding the palettes sticks to back leg

Close-up of the back leg and palette sticks from the back

The label

Close-up of one of the legs, showing how you can adjust height

Close-up of the clip when it is locked in place

Close-up of the clip unlocked

In closing the easel, the 2 palette sticks, together with the back leg, clip together

Palette sticks and back leg from back
Back in 2008, I posted a few pictures of my husband, Jack, and me out landscape painting (See July 5, 2008 post).  Jack was using a large easel, commonly known as the "Gloucester Easel".  It was made by Oscar Anderson, a MA landscape painter active in  the  early to mid nineteen hundreds.  The easel we own belonged to Thomas Curtin, another artist who painted  in Cambridge, VT, and who passed away in 1977.   The Anderson easel is primarily useful for large outdoor paintings.  Since I generally work pretty small, I tend to use the Open Box M, now, because everything can be stuffed into one small, light backpack, but Jack uses the Anderson when he works on large plein air pieces.  His paintbox, as well as his premixed strings fit nicely on the "tabletop" that is formed by the V-shaped palette sticks. 

 I received an email from another artist asking for close-ups of the mechanisms.  Since other artists might be interested, as well, I took these photos.  I hope they are helpful.

Because of the resurgence of outdoor landscape painting, and creating larger plein air pieces, new companies are making easels that are similar in design.  The newer easels are larger,  and they are price around $350-$400.  One of those companies is Take-it-Easel from Vermont.

Jack's finished painting of Mt. Mansfield