Sunday, November 21, 2010

COLOR Class starts tomorrow

my plein air painting of a church in Gardiner this weekend 12" x 9"

It was a snowy weekend - perfect to get me thinking about color. I know, to most snow is white. But to an artist it's anything BUT white. Since the painting class I'm teaching starting Monday is emphasizing COLOR in this session, it was a great opportunity to get focused on color. I went right out and looked for a plein air spot that was calling my name. The snow gave this church in Gardiner a subtle quietness that I wanted to capture on canvas. A good challenge for color mixing! Now, I've pulled out some color theory books and set up a couple still lifes for the class tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a session on COLOR. For me, color may just be the reason why I paint. I like Richard Schmid's quote.....Color is to seeing, what flavor is to eating.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Snow, wildlife & plein air painting

Snow has landed in Gardiner - with it seems to come wildlife. This morning there was a herd of pronghorn across the river in Yellowstone National Park and a herd of mule deer at the school football field. This afternoon I took these photos from the gallery of a herd of elk across the river in Yellowstone, 'thinking' about making a river crossing. The fresh snow sure makes for a beautiful landscape, so of course I got in some plein air painting too!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We're going SOLAR

Solar thermal panels are being installed as we speak! We have a wonderful south facing view of Yellowstone National Park - so we get LOTS of sun. Going solar seemed like an obvious thing to do. I'll be posting some photos of the progress...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Yellowstone Lake and Lamar River - Two of my favorite spots in Yellowstone National Park

A Ray Of Hope - plein air study 12" x 9"
Yellowstone Lake Oil on linen

I've painted at the Lake many, many times. It can be a tricky place to paint because of the weather - volatile and often windy. But this day was a gift - even though there were storm clouds, the wind held off until I finished the painting. If you look close, you'll see some sand that blew into my wet paint! I'm using this study for a larger painting I'm just beginning.

Canyon on the Lamar - plein air study 9" x 9" Lamar River Oil on linen

My plein air set up is very portable. So it's fun to go into more remote places of Yellowstone Park to paint - places many people never see. I hiked in, carrying my easel and painting supplies in my back pack. When I found 'the spot', the best vantage point was on a rock in the Lamar River. I have a habit of stepping back often to see my painting. I had to curtail that on this one! While I painted, two eagles soared and circled above me. I don't think it gets any better...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recent plein air paintings

Tree Serenade - study 7" x 12" Oil
Lamar River's Edge - study 9" x 12" Oil

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A glorious fall for plein air painting...

The weather could not get any better - it has been absolutely gorgeous here. I've been getting out to plein air paint every chance I can. I've even been dragging out a big canvas to work on - 34" x 44". I've been painting at some of my favorite spots in the world... Yellowstone Lake, Lamar River and Paradise Valley. I'm heading up Tom Miner way today. I'll post some photos when I 'come inside'.

Friday, September 24, 2010

New moose sculpture on it's way...

Detail of the moose in clay and wax.... soon to be in bronze!

John just finished a new moose sculpture that is on it's way to becoming bronze. We should have the 'finished product' in the gallery within a couple months. Check back - we'll have photos posted 'hot' from the foundry.

Monday, September 13, 2010

wildlife galore out our windows....

We live in an amazing place (I know I've said that before). I took some photos over the weekend out the windows. Here are some of our wildlife sightings. Almost unbelievable what we can see in a day right out the window. I missed the photo of the kestrel pair, mergansers and the osprey with a trout in his talons, but here are some of the other highlights....Otter at the riverOsprey fishingPronghorn / antelope
Fawn on the bank (There were two, but the other is hidden by the tree).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some photos from the week...

Early Light by Shirl Ireland 8"x24" Oil

Painted plein air during the Plein Air on the Yellowstone week long event

This painting took Third Place in the Show of wet paintings at the end of the week.

Early Retirement 8" x 12" Oil

Friday, August 13, 2010

Plein Air Painting Event TONIGHT

If you're anywhere NEAR the Livingston Center for Art and Culture (on Main Street in Livingston, MT) come on by tonight for the grand finale of the week. About 20 artists (including me!) have been painting up a storm outside in Park County. Now, we're framing and hanging 3 wet paintings for the show tonight between 5:30pm and 9:00pm. The show will also be hanging tomorrow, if you can't make it tonight. Hope to see you there....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In between plein air painting this summer ('tis the season!), I have fit in some studio painting, too. This was done during one of our Art Live! events here at the Gallery this summer - when we invited people in to 'watch the process'. So if you were here watching it's creation - you can now see the finished product!... I love seeing bison in the geyser basin by Old Faithful - it's a quintessential Yellowstone image to me. For the composition, I concentrated on creating interesting shapes on the canvas. And the warm and cool colors made it fun to paint. Over the years, I've collected some great antique frames - this is one of them. I thought it went really well with the painting.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Amazing sights right out our windows....

We were just watching a new elk calf nursing out the gallery windows - right across the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park. As we were watching an osprey landed in the tree tops over the river. It's an amazing place we live - I don't think it gets any better than this....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Carol Guzman - June 11th

Carol Guzman, a very good friend (aka 'painting sister') is having a show of her bird paintings at the Tierney Gallery on Main Street in Bozeman, MT. The opening is this Friday, June 11 from 6pm - 8pm. I paint with Carol often, so I've seen a lot of the pieces in the Show - it will definitely be worth the trip! We're certainly looking forward to it. It coincides with Bozeman's first Art Walk of the season, so there will be lots going on. Should be a great art night out - hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

NOW, is a great time to see wildlife in Yellowstone

If you are anywhere NEAR Yellowstone, make a point to go wildlife watching in the Park. There is A LOT of 'action' in there right now. Near the Bunsen Peak area, there's a grizzly with 4 new cubs - VERY unusual to have that many new cubs. The 'runt' is often seen riding on her back! Look for them in the Bunsen Peak area. Wolf pups at Slough Creek are out of the den now too. New bison calves with their 'orange' coloring can be seen in many areas of the Park. And you may get luck and see one of the first elk calves of the year.... to name just a few of the highlights. If you make it in, I'm sure you'll have your own highlights from the trip!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spring at the edge of Yellowstone National Park

coyotes at a wolf kill

Living at the edge of Yellowstone keeps you close to nature and aware of the cycles of life. It feels more 'raw' here, and I like that.
The first week of May, brought snow to the banks of the Yellowstone River. It does make for a beautiful landscape. Also, this week, wolves killed an elk in the Gardiner River a couple miles away in the Park - which brings in scavengers of all sorts and makes for amazing wildlife viewing. This is Spring in our neighborhood....

ravens at the wolf kill

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Plein Air studies

These studies were painted at just about the same spot in Shields Valley - one last week, one this week. With the weather so different, I thought it could be interesting to paint from a similar vantage point and compare them. For me, plein air painting is a great teacher of how the light and different weather affects the colors and tones in the landscape. And what a beautiful landscape to try to capture in paint! While I was painting, I watched a pair of bald eagles and saw my first flock of white pelicans of the Spring fly through. And on my way home, I saw a pair of sandhill cranes and a flock of bluebirds - sure signs that Spring has arrived in Montana.

Monday, April 26, 2010

May Event at the Gallery....

Stop by the Gallery in May for our Pre-Season Preview -
Fridays: Noon - 4 pm and Saturdays: 9 am - Noon...
or anytime by appointment or chance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Our first visitor of the morning...

I took this photo of the bison that 'browsed' by our gallery this morning. Not many towns have bison grazing down the main road!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sometimes It Snows In April

Sometimes It Snows In April - study
by Shirl Ireland
Seems to be an appropriate time to announce this.... Sometimes It Snows In April was juried into the Custer County Art and Heritage Center Show which ended last month. BUT, at the end of the show a select few were chosen for a traveling exhibit which tours through the end of the year. I'm honored to have had this painting chosen for the traveling exhibit.
The scene depicts a very messy but memorable day, just about this time last year. I was heading into Yellowstone Park often, looking for the first bison calf of the year. Unfortunately for the new calf, it was a very messy morning to arrive. I did a plein air painting with coyotes yipping nearby and wolves howling in the distance. I went back in at the end of the day to a different scene.... the herd was out of sight now, but I could see one mother bison with her new born calf fending off an advancing black wolf. I watched for quite sometime as they 'jousted' back and forth. Eventually they disappeared from sight over a ridge.
The title for the study was easy - There's an old, very mellow, melancholy Prince song whose lyrics run through my mind every time I say it.... Sometimes it snows in April, sometimes I feel so bad.....It certainly went with the mood of the day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Juried into the Hockaday Museum's Minatures & More Show

Blue Ribbon by Shirl Ireland Oil on linen 9" x 12"
Exciting news! My plein air painting, Blue Ribbon, was juried into the Hockaday Museum's Miniature and More Show. The show culminates with a benefit auction in May. I'll ship the painting out this week. Also, I'm working on a smaller 4"x6" sketch that I'll send along as a 100% donation toward the auction. I'll post a photo of the sketch when it's complete, along with more details of the Show.
Blue Ribbon was from a plein air 'marathon' in Yellowstone last fall. I was on a mission -- And what a fun day it was!... I painted Yellowstone Lake, a scene in Hayden Valley and then finished up with this painting near Ice Lake (not too far from Norris Junction). The challenge of this painting was to 'catch the light'. Clouds were rolling in and out, but when the sun was out, the colors were absolutely glorious! I certainly was inspired to paint it....So I'd wait for a sunny glimpse and 'paint like mad'. Sometimes the 'rush' from plein air painting can be like drinking 10 cups of coffee - that's how this one felt. I didn't even notice my cold feet!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Elk River Art crossing....

We watched a small herd of elk cross the Yellowstone River behind our Gallery today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cat Nap

A new bronze sculpture by John - Cat Nap - of a 'dozing' lynx. This piece John had been working on for a LONG time, years in fact, on and off, always going back to it to get the restful position of the lynx to look 'just right' along with an interesting variety to the texture of the fur. When you know it's going to be in bronze, lasting much longer than a lifetime, you want to be REALLY happy with it! So it feels particularly good, finally, to be very satisfied with the piece AND now see it in bronze.

For the photo, we thought the piece would look quite at home behind the gallery on the rocks overlooking the Yellowstone River. Cat Nap can be for interior (with or without the walnut base) or for exterior (without the base). We have it inside the Gallery now, so stop by and see it in person.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So much to blog about, so little time....We have A LOT going on - so much so that it's hard to find the time to write about it!

I'll start with an easy one - I'm teaching an art class this month that is a lot of fun. I tried something a little different... March Art Madness = Have It Your Way. Painting or drawing - it just needed to be fun and motivational to you. You can bring your own project or I set it up for you - it's up to you. One project for the entire session or different exercises each week - you can choose. Many people who had taken my classes had mentioned they'd like some direction with a project they were working on at home. So this gave them that chance to 'bring it on down'. It certainly keeps cabin fever from setting in!

We run the gamut - we have people drawing figures using pencil and charcoal, some painting still lifes, others doing landscapes and even one VERY large canvas. Experience ranges from 'brand new', to 'haven't pick up my bushes for 20 years', to an art teacher along with a senior in college who is a painting major... and lots in between. The diversity really keeps it interesting (and keeps me on my toes!) - I've talked about values, edges, brushwork, color, composition, and materials in both drawing and painting. We've discussed line drawing, tonal drawing, proportions in figure drawing, perspective, limited and full color palettes for painting, soft versus hard pencils for drawing and blending, oil painting mediums and their uses, 'rules' for creating the illusion of distance in a landscape, seeing the reflected colors in still life, and so much more. I hope it benefits everyone to hear about so many different art principles and methods - after all that's the way art principles are in practice - all interrelated. So why shouldn't class be!