Sunday, October 16, 2016

MORNING HAS BROKEN

 

SOLD 
Morning Has Broken

I have been working on this painting for a long time.  First, the photo was taken several years ago when
I was out on a farm.  The colors on the weathered wood attracted me, and the composition of the scene was very pleasing.  My imagination took over when it came to the colors.  Early morning light on these wood fences would draw the eye to the painting, and the angles would  help the viewer move around through the painting to see the complete composition.    The sky colors seemed to change each time I saw another sun rise, of which there have been many this summer in South Dakota.. 

This painting is 30" by 40", done in oil, and will be on display for the first time at the First Lady's Art Showcase in Pierre, SD, this weekend, October 21 and 22.  There are many more colors than can be shown in a photo.

 
 
 
 
 

 


Monday, August 22, 2016

NEARLY FINISHED

It's been some time since I last posted, but I have been painting.  Between attending plein aire festivals and working on the one we are planning in Watertown, I have been working on this large 30" x 40" painting of an old corral I saw on a farm when attending a quilt festival.  I knew I wanted to paint it because I was attracted to the old colors on the boards and to the composition.  I now have to put it away and get to a commissioned piece and finish the planning for Paint the Northern Prairie. 

The photo for some reason makes the painting look more purple than it really is, but here is a sneak preview.  So far I'm liking it.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

COUNTRY SCENES for PAINT THE NORTHERN PRAIRIE


 If you drive out into the country in the Watertown you will come across many possible scenes to paint.  These photos were tall taken on the Northern Plains.








 There is a lot of water in the area, and if you go on the back roads you will discover many delightful areas to paint.











                                                                        Another little water area.  In September
                                                                         the colors should be much like these.

There are many small towns within driving distance from Watertown.  Many of them are old but some are still in use today and well kept up.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

POINTERS RIDGE

I started this painting at a workshop in Sioux Falls a month ago and have just gotten around to finishing it.  It is from a photo I took at Pointer's Ridge NE of Sioux Falls when I attended a get together of the South Dakota Artists Alliance last summer.  There is another get together on the 24th of this month, so I'm hoping to get back there and do some plein air paintings.  The painting is 16 x 12 and is done in oil on linen board.

The workshop was a really good one and I learned more about using the brush for certain techniques which I had been working on in the past.  It was well worth the cost.

Pointer's Ridge

Friday, May 27, 2016

FULL MOON, STARRY SKY

I've been very slow at getting new posts on my blog, but I really have been painting.  Right now I'm trying to put finishing touches on earlier beginnings.  It will be good to get them on the walls and off the floor.

I was on my way home one night from my nephew's house.  The moon had been beckoning me for many miles so that I finally had to stop and take a picture.  It was so bright and full that I had to paint it, although the photo had been sitting there for quite some time.  There are times it works that way.  Either I am ready to start on the painting almost immediately or I put it away until I can see in my mind how I want the painting to look.  It is painted in oil on gallery wrapped canvas and is 24" x 12".


Full Moon - Starry Sky
 
 
 
I've Got a Secret

I did this painting a few years ago but was never really happy with it.  After I had posted it on facebook with some other paintings, the children's aunt wanted to buy it.  So, I had to fix the problems.  I ended up painting nearly the whole painting over and I'm glad I did.                                                                         



Monday, April 11, 2016

GIFT OF MOMENTS IS NOW AVAILABLE

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Last week was an exciting week for me.  In January 2014 I took my first 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  It was very well received.  I have done two challenges since then, but am thinking this last January will probably be my last.  I would suggest this to anyone who is having trouble deciding what to paint, and for anyone wanting to loosen up.

Just after I started the challenge, I met a poet who had collaborated with a photographer on a book.  It sounded like an interesting concept, so I approached him.  Bruce Roseland, a very good poet from South Dakota, was very gracious  and receptive of  the idea.  As I did a painting and put it on my blog, he wrote a short poem to go with.  It was very interesting and surprising how much he could see in my paintings.

The book is finally here.  We called it "Gift of Moments" because it was like a gift every time he opened the blog and when I read the poem.  If anyone is interested, the book is $15.00 plus shipping.  Anyone who purchased one of the paintings in the book will receive a book for free.  You can reach me at symensarmstrong@gmail.com.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

DAY 30 - DELICIOUS HOT CHOCOLATE

Last day of the challenge.  This has been an interesting challenge with never a time an idea didn't pop into my head.  I thought my "Fiesta" placemats and napkins made an ideally colorful background for the chocolate, which doesn't really have a lot of color in it.  The glass mug gave me another challenge which I welcomed.  This brings back memories of our Sunday evening meal when I was a kid.  Hot chocolate and egg sandwiches.  Maybe I'll have to plan on that for tomorrow. 

 Now, on to something different.  On my way today to paint with the Arlington group.  We'll see what happens there.

Hot Chocolate

Friday, January 29, 2016

DAY 29 - CHOCOLATE AND MILK

This one is way too easy.  The last one will be done tomorrow.  I thought it was a great way to finish up a series regarding food.  I had fun trying different color combinations and mixing colors.  I was surprised how I could make a beautiful brown by mixing red and turquoise. 

Milk and Chocolate

Thursday, January 28, 2016

DAY 28 - MARSHMALLOWS

Now what can we make with these soft gooey things?  Maybe roast them by the open campfire?  Whatever, it will be good!

Marshmallows

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DAY 27 - YUMMMMMMMMMMM.

Here it is - a banana split.  So many memories of sharing these with friends in the local café in Alton, Iowa, after seeing a movie there.  So many calories, but we weren't that concerned about that then.  Two spoons are definitely in order here.

Banana Split

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

DAY 26 - BANANAS

I'm sure when you see this one you'll know what I'm making.  Stack up all the ingredients and you have a mouthful or two or three of rich goodness.  Maybe you'll want to share with a couple friends!  I wanted to get a look at the bananas from a different view point - thus the foreshortening. 

Bananas

 

  

Monday, January 25, 2016

DAY 25 - CHERRIES, CREAM, AND NUTS

We're almost there.  Just whip up that cream, chop the nuts, and put a cherry on the top.  Tomorrow's painting will be the dead giveaway.


Cherries, Cream, and Nuts

Sunday, January 24, 2016

DAY 24 - CHOCOLATE, STRAWBERRY, CARAMEL

These three can make anything taste wonderful.  But when you put them together in the same dish they are unbelievably good!

The Sweet Stuff

Saturday, January 23, 2016

DAY 23 - ICE CREAM

Time to build again.  I can remember times in my college life going to a café after a movie and ordering this.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm - so good, but so many calories.  I haven't had one for years.  We start our building with ice cream.  I thought putting it on an elegant dish would elevate it somewhat.  The dish is one I inherited from my maternal grandmother.

Ice Cream

Friday, January 22, 2016

DAY 22 - COFFEE ANYONE?

With that good looking dessert I just finished, a cup of coffee seemed like the right thing to add.  Actually, a friend of mine asked me to paint the old coffee pot with a cup of coffee to use in her talk at the Watertown Home Show in February.  She happened to ask just at the right time so that I could incorporate it into my 30 day challenge.  She likes it and it is sold.  Look for it at the Home Show in Watertown in February and in her ad - just look for Plain Jane.

Coffee Anyone?

Another first - I had never painted a checkered tablecloth before.  Once I figured it out, it went quite well.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

DAY 21 - PUMPKIN CHIFFON PIE

Here it is.  The recipe is in my mother's hand.  The recipe is finished on the back, so if anyone is interested, I can send the full recipe.  The "pie" is put in a cake pan, and the recipe includes "oleo" which was pretty common back in the day.  I would use butter if I were to make it now.  Now for a cup of coffee to go with would be nice.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

DAY 20 - POWDERED SUGAR AND KNOX GELATINE

I thought I would just throw the last two ingredients in to give you second thoughts about what this might be.  Sometimes it's fun to do the fine details, and then again, it also feels good to have it finished.  Tomorrow you'll know what this is going to be.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

DAY 19 - GRAHAM CRACKERS

This seems like such a mundane subject to paint, but with a little color, things brighten up a little.  Getting the crackers ready for their photo shoot was interesting.  They were very good models.

Graham Crackers

Monday, January 18, 2016

DAY 18 - EGGS AGAIN?

Here we go again.  It seems eggs are used in nearly everything we make to eat.  When I was signing this painting the thought came to me:  "Why didn't I paint a hen this time?  It would have gone well with the dairy cow."  Oh, well, that's the way thoughts come sometimes, either too early or too late.  Maybe next time.

Eggs

Sunday, January 17, 2016

DAY 17 - WHO LET THE COW IN?

Okay, who left the gate open so the dairy cow could come into my recipe?  Oh, well, she is responsible for three of the ingredients, so guess it's all right.  No, not beef but butter, milk and cream.

butter, milk and cream

Saturday, January 16, 2016

DAY 16 - SPICES

MMMMMMMMMMMMMmmm the wonderful aroma coming from the oven when these spices and flavorings are added to the pumpkin.  This should bring out ideas of what the recipe may be for.

Spices

Friday, January 15, 2016

LOOSE ENDS

This painting is a collaboration between a poet friend and me.  He wrote the poem for our Arts Night @ the Pub January Blues show, and asked me to do a painting around the poem and include the poem.  Another challenge in a month of challenges.

The poem truly does depict the "blues" and I could see what I wanted to paint as I read it.  The poem itself I printed on canvas specially made for printing.  Then I used matte medium to attach it to the large canvas. 



LOOSE ENDS

I got up real early feeling blue,
found the same face looking back in the mirror,
same face, no tears.
Been a week since I've heard from you.
I drove to a different city
so I could be lonely in a different place.
Went to a coffee shop,
held a cup hot,
watched people come,
watched people go,
left when the cup got cold.
Small pieces of me I leave behind.
Pushing on,
like a book unread,
lie a story never said.
All those years nose to the grind stone,
hand at the wheel, steady as a rock.
I shout at the sky, I shout at the road,
I shout at the cars passing by:
I'm on my own, back to square one,
In a blue funk.


DAY 15 - PUMPKINS ANYONE?

New recipe.  This is another of my mother's - something she made often.

We'll start with the pumpkin so you can all get your minds going in the right direction.  I have to apologize for the color in the photo.  The photo has been exposed too much and the colors aren't as rich as in the painting.

Pumpkin
 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

DAY 14 - ALL IS REVEALED

I found the recipe for this Almond Twist many years ago.  It was so good that I took it to our family Christmas.  My mother copied it and made it several times after that.  Thanks for the idea, Susan Symens Hardina (my niece).

Almond Twist

This recipe was written in my mother's hand and also includes my name on the card.  It  is really a nice piece to have and it brought back so many memories of my mother teaching me to make bread.  Every Saturday morning we made a large batch of bread (11 in the family), which didn't last long and was so good when warm and the butter melted on it.  The first time I baked bread she didn't give me measurements but used terms like "a handful of sugar" or a "little salt" and finished "with enough flour to get the right consistency."  Needless to say, I had lots of questions for her about just what all this meant!  I'm thinking I'll have to try to make it again sometime.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

COLLABORATION WITH POET

In Watertown, SD,  Northern Prairie Arts plans a monthly event bringing local and regional literary and visual artists to show, read, and discuss their work.  This month we are having a group show called "January Blues" and have asked artists to paint, photograph, or write about what the word "blue" means to them.

A poet friend, Bruce Roseland, asked me to collaborate with him on a poem he wrote called "Loose Ends."  It has been described as one of his best poems and is really "bluesy."  I had never done anything like this, and I like challenges, so said "sure, why not?"  Here is the painting with the poem printed on a piece of canvas.  As usual, a person learns a lot while trying something different.

After I took the photo I discovered something I had to change in the reflection but haven't taken a new picture.

"Loose Ends" by Bruce Roseland

DAY 13 - YEAST

Today I think most everyone will have this figured out.  The ingredient of the day is yeast, which makes all the difference between cakes, cookies and bread.  Tomorrow I will reveal just what kind of bread this is.

yeast
I can just smell it coming from the oven.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

DAY 12 - ALMONDS AND ALMOND PASTE

Two of my favorite things - almond paste and almonds.  They can make most anything taste good - even coffee!  And I've found the best almond paste is that used in Dutch bakeries.

Almonds and Almond Paste

Monday, January 11, 2016

DAY 11 - MILK

Just a short time to get to the end of the recipe.  Has anyone figured it out?  Today we add milk to the mix of butter, sugar and salt.

Milk

Sunday, January 10, 2016

DAY 10 - BUTTER

Add butter to bring everything together and get that great buttery taste.  Another thing I've never painted.  I think it would have been easier to paint a cow (but not the udder my sister said.)  Oh, well, the reason for me doing this is to stretch, and this did make me stretch!

Butter

Saturday, January 9, 2016

DAY 9 - EGGS

Now mixing eggs with flour, sugar, and salt could result in a number of things.  I had fun with this one.  It's the first time I painted a glass bowl and I learned so much doing it.

Eggs

Friday, January 8, 2016

DAY 8 - FLOUR, SUGAR AND SALT

This could be the beginning of most anything.  It required looseness in order to be done in a day, so is very loose.  maybe I'll get it yet.

Flour, Sugar, and Salt

Thursday, January 7, 2016

DAY 7 - RECIPE FINISHED

Here it is.  Did you guess Western Omelet?  I ordered one of these at the Roadhouse in Watertown last Sunday and was surprised to see that the omelet I was making had the same ingredients as a Western Omelet.  Guess I'll have to try more of these - very good!  Each one of these 8 x 8 oil paintings is priced at $95.00  If you are interested in at least three, I give a 10% discount.  Just email me if interested.

Now on to another list of ingredients to see what they will make.


Western Omelet

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

DAY 6 - CHEESE

The final ingredient and the one that ties all the others together is the cheese.  Personally, I like cheddar jack cheese.  The jack mellows the cheddar and makes everything taste good.

Cheddar Jack

Have you guessed yet?


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

DAY 5 - BABY PORTABELLAS

Continue sautéing with baby portabella  mushrooms.  Just another layer of flavor.

Baby Portabellas

Monday, January 4, 2016

DAY 4 - SWEET ONIONS

The aroma rising from the frying pan with sweet peppers and onions sautéing in butter is oh so sweet!

Sweet White Onions

Sunday, January 3, 2016

DAY 3 - SWEET PEPPERS

MMMMMMMMMMMMM - that nutty aroma coming from the frying pan readying the third ingredient for this breakfast favorite.

Red and Green Sweet Peppers

Each of these  8 x 8 oil paintings sell for $95.  They would be nice hanging together on your kitchen wall, but can be purchased individually.  I do offer a discount when a person purchases three paintings from me.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

DAY 2 - 30 DAY CHALLENGE - HAM

Okay, any ideas yet what you can make with ham and eggs?  Or maybe it's just a little too early to guess.  It is something often ordered in restaurants.

HAM