Meeting Notes, DEC 2013

At today’s meeting: Loretta, Jim, Tim, Marty, Dave, Char, Nancy, Diane, Jeanne, Tedd, Eunice, Brenda, Joanne, Quin, Katy, Renita and me (Celeste)

Today’s suggested table topic: Blue! (Tell us something you know about it)

I (Celeste) showed a book by Helen van Wyk. It has a nice section dedicated to blue. I passed along that Eric Jacobsen swears by Cerulean blue hue (Utrectht) for his summer skies. Also, van Wyk advises to “knock down” pthalo blue with a touch of black.

Loretta said “I like blue” and she showed us a painting (that was predominately blue).

Jim thought he might bring in landscapes because of today’s topic...but later he decided to bring paintings that used no blue whatever. (So his contribution was to consider the absence of blue!) He brought in two portraits. Jim is going to see the Zorn exhibit in January.

Tim told us that blue paint used to be made from real lapis. He brought in a small lapis sculpture to show us. He also showed us a tube of lapis paint! At one time lapis blue paint was more valuable that gold.

Marty showed us the “Blue Dog” book of paintings by George Rodrigue. Blue dog paintings sell for 6 figures! Marty has been in communication with Kerry Dunn and he is working to put together a workshop (here in Portland) with him. Stay tuned!

Brenda shared great news...she is now represented by Attic Gallery in downtown Portland. She has 5 large pastels installed and they are showing her urban plein air too. Very exciting! Come to First Thursday (tonight!) 6-9 and help Brenda celebrate! She brought in an oil and a pastel of the same scene. Interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two!
(Congratulations, Brenda!)

Renita told us about being mesmerized by a moving blue shadow shape during a restaurant dinner date. Trippy, Renita! She hasn’t been painting lately, but she plans to get back to it. She brought us calendars from her “day job” at Windermere. Renita also wants us to know about her call to artists for the US Bank. (See the announcements section below)

Quin used to use a lot of blue...but she doesn’t use much of it now except for nocturnes.
She stays away from pthalo (now) because she has learned how overpowering it is.

Katy did a series of blue paintings. She brought one to show us.

Joanne shared her process for doing a commission. She paints a study from a photos before going larger. She's worked enough from direct observation that her paintings done from photos share a similarity with plein air/alla prima. (She showed us a recent painting example).

Dave likes Prussian blue. He likes what an intense dark it makes when combined with Aliz crimson. Dave showed us a (surprise) painting he did for his grandchildren of a beloved pet (that recently went to the rainbow bridge).

Char showed us a painting she did in her back yard.

Nancy showed us paintings that employed blue and told us about her upcoming shows/receptions (see announcement section).

Diane told us about a BBC documentary that was about white, gold and blue. Sounds is the blue link:

Diane also told us about an art teacher who had her class paint all the blues that they observed in the sky onto one card. It taught her that the sky is not one all-over blue.

Jeanne never puts pthalo on her palette. but she is seldom without Ultramarine blue and Cobalt blue. "I mix blue into everything"! She brought in a plein air painting from the beach.

Tedd wanted to share with us a new wireless light bulb available through Apple. You program the color via software and change lighting with limitless colors!  How would that be for life painting sessions!? ($ 65.00) Pretty interesting. Check link:

Tedd also told us about the Zorn exhibit (He said “you must go!”) ...he also had a recent workshop with Kim English. Participants painted in timed increments (15 minutes, 40 minutes etc) over and over for five days! He showed us some resulting paintings. English “looks at everything as shape”

Oh, also Tedd thinks we should have a look at an artist named John Cook: 

Eunice uses blue a lot ...but she has learned to tone it down. “It can look garish, if you don’t.” Eunice is hoping to go to the Zorn exhibit.



Attic Gallery Brenda Boylan (tonight, first Thursday) 6-9
Last chance (Dec 6)to see Eric Sandgren, Dee Vadnais, Kathryn Coitnor Lower Columbia College:
Lan Su Chinese Garden, Saturday, Dec 7, 3-5
Joanne Kollman West Linn Library, Sunday Dec 8, 1-4 pm
Kat Sowa (Studio 30) Open House, Saturday, Dec 7 10-6
6635 N Baltimore in St. Johns

Call to Artists:
Contact Renita Gerard for a month-long show at the US Bank 16th and Weidler. (She will give you further details). She needs artists for all 12 months of 2014. Renita Gerard  email:

Next meeting: Dec 12, 2013 Topic you? do you not? what do you know about it?
December 13 notes:

At today’s meeting: Dave, Loretta, Tim, Harriet, Tedd, Eunice, Joanne, Jim, Khanh, Scott, Donna, Jeanne, Lisa, Diane, Kay, Kristina, Za and me (Celeste)

Today’s suggested table topic: Varnish...what do you know about it?

I (Celeste) expressed my lack of solid knowledge pertaining to varnish. I have watched the Gamblin video about Gamvar, but I haven’t used it. I have used Kamar (spray varnish) on finished paintings.

Loretta hasn’t had good experiences thus far with varnish. When varnishing a painting the dull spot remained dull. She doesn’t know why!

Tim has also checked the Gamblin website for information on varnish. Recently he actually “mined” pigments in Estacada! (he showed samples and a small painting he did from the red pigment). He also shared Thomas Kitts’ new book of paintings and the recent plein air magazine that features Thomas painting during a white white rafting on the Rogue River.  Tim also showed us a “mitten” that he made for cold weather painting.

(It’s Tim’s birthday today---Happy Birthday!)

Harriet Reiss is new to us (Welcome!) She has moved here from Maryland. She is a watercolorist and she showed us two of her paintings.

Tedd uses Gamblin varnish. He told us that once he got stuck with questions and he called Gamblin and they helped him. He showed us a painting he did with just Aliz, Ultra blue, yellow ochre, sap green and white.

Eunice doesn’t know much about varnish. She told us about a new app that makes photos look like watercolor.

Kay saw the Zorn exhibit in SF as well as the Hockney exhibit at the DeYoung. (She loved them both. Don’t miss the Hockney if you are there for the Zorn!) She said she doesn’t often varnish.... because she doesn’t finish her paintings! (We laughed in recognition).

Joanne uses a Gamblin varnish that doesn’t require mixing. She likes a matte finish and strives for that. She realizes that there are considerations for choosing one product over another...for example, she sometimes paints thinly, and she wants to maintain that delicate look. Joanne reports that some of her ‘subjects’ for her paintings came to her reception at the West Linn Library (that was very cool).

Jim doesn’t varnish...but will consider doing so. He knows that it is ok to varnish after one year.... but he is always busy working on new paintings and not thinking about the year-old ones. He is working on a ‘market’ painting.

Kristina has used retouch varnish. She shared a recent painting.

Khahn (new today) tells us that he uses a credit card to apply liquid varnish. He does that to avoid brush marks. He showed us some recent paintings. (Welcome!)

Scott (Artist and Gamblin Rep) showed us a painting he did in Sedona. He shared that he wasn’t completely pleased with it when he painted it.... but over time he has changed his mind and now he appreciates it.
He showed us a sample painting that had all the Gamblin varnishes on it (in 6 sections to show the differences).

He said:
“Give thought to why are you varnishing in the first place. The reason will help determine which process and product to use. One reason is for aesthetics (to bring out depth or gloss) and another is to protect the painting. There is anxiety associated with varnishing...but if you screw up you can remove it and do it again. You can varnish a painting when you test the thickest application of paint with your fingernail. If it has no give, you can varnish".
Scott told us that he uses one brush for varnishing...and he doesn’t clean it afterward! (whhhaaa??) He allows the varnish to dry on the brush.... and when he goes to varnish again he puts the brush in the varnish and the brush goes back to soft again. (Wow!)

Here is a video from Scott about varnish:

Donna doesn’t know much about varnish. She showed us the art “kit” that she is taking to Paris beginning tomorrow! Bon Voyage, Donna!

Jeanne has not used varnish yet. She told us that she went to San Francisco exclusively to see the Zorn. She flew there and did it in ONE Day and for under 200.00. She used mass transit and ate at the café at the legion. Don’t miss the three Corot paintings on the main floor! There is a great Matisse show also at the Museum of Modern art. Recently Jeanne went “birding” at Sauvie Island and got the idea to paint from her car. She returned and did just that and showed us the resulting painting. 

Brenda said the counterpart to varnish for pastelists is fixative...but she recommends that you never use fixative on  a pastel painting! She showed us an oil painting that she varnished with Damar and a new pastel that she recently put on facebook that has received more likes than any of her other paintings. She tells us that her First Thursday reception at her new gallery (Attic) was great and she thanks everyone for coming!

Lisa doesn’t know much about varnish. She has been taking a portrait class. During one of the sessions someone brought a puppy (and everyone seemed more enamored with it than the model!) Lisa showed her painting of the puppy.

Diane likes cold wax medium for both watercolor and oil.

Za uses water-based oils and she normally uses a spray varnish because she doesn’t want to have any brush marks in the varnish. She showed us a recent painting from life from Studio 30. She made design decisions about it after painting it (for example, removing a white element that competed with the rest of the painting).

Thanks all, for sharing your paintings and ideas. Thanks also to David Burbach for the photos from today's meeting. 


Jef Gunn will offer an encaustic workshop to be held at Studio 30, details to come.

Guardino Gallery until Dec 30

Broderick Gallery until Dec 31

Next meeting Dec 19 Topic: Making a gift of a painting...your experience. Good idea or not? 

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Meeting Notes, Dec 19

At today’s meeting: Harriet, Chris, Tim L, Tim Y, Nancy, Jeanne, Kay, Stephanie, Marty, Dave, Char, Joanne, Tedd, Eunice, Dave, Thomas and me (Celeste)

Today’s suggested topic: Giving away your art (as a present)...what is your policy? Do you do it or not? Your experiences.

(Notes on this topic are presented anonymously in random order):

I make it my policy to not give away paintings. I have done it on very rare occasions and only within my family and when I was sure the recipient REALLY wanted a specific painting. I think giving away paintings may send a bad message.... making people de-value what we do.

I give paintings to relatives and have enjoyed doing so.... I don’t like “artist swapping parties”, however, because of the disparity in what you might give versus what you might get. I find those things awkward.

I’ve given some of my paintings to friends and family and I realize that these are the paintings that might live in perpetuity. I have traded paintings for services and I once painted something specific for my brother.

In 1974 I moved away and (apparently) I gave away my art. Many many years later I saw a painting on a wall in a house and thought wow.... they found an artist who paints just like me!.... but then I made the realization that that was actually MY painting (that I didn’t really remember painting or giving away).

I do give paintings away.... sometimes in exchange for housing at an event. If you do that sort of thing, I recommend that you be very generous and give your host an excellent painting (not just one that you think might not sell). Sometimes I’ve even given my host a choice of my paintings...and let them make the decision. And when it comes to any gift-giving situation...(as an analogy...) make sure you aren’t giving a puppy to someone who actually wanted a cat...or maybe didn’t want a pet at all.

I’ve traded paintings and given away paintings for years...and I like doing it. I consider it a perk of being an artist. I saw some of my work somewhere where I didn’t expect to see it...(maybe someone gave my work away to someone else??) You’ve got no control over what happens to your art once you sell it or made it a just have to be all right with all of that.

My friends all like my work.... and I sometimes give them something they’ve expressed an appreciation for. Trouble is, I realize some might be “lying” in order to encourage my painting career...(and maybe now I’ve “stuck them” with something they might not really want!)

I’m not sure that anyone wants my paintings.

I’ve given away lots of paintings and I have a lot of inventory. I like giving my family paintings –what I don’t like is giving paintings to auctions for charity. It can be disheartening when the painting doesn’t bring enough money. It is an unsatisfactory experience.

I’d give my family paintings...but it’s unclear if they would want any.

My brother hadn’t seen my work in years. At a recent event he asked me if he could trade an old painting that I gave to him in the 80’s... for one of my newer works. I donated a figure painting to a cause. The painting was printed on a publication cover and it had a wide audience. That exposure was beneficial on several levels for me.  I liked a book entitled “The Gift”. The book is entertaining and explores all aspects of gift giving.

When I give away a painting...I usually want it back!

I’ve given away some paintings.... because I could tell they REALLLLLY wanted it.

When I was a young person I had no exposure to paintings at all. None hung at my house...and I really had never looked at a real painting. I had the opportunity to visit the home of a young Asian friend. There were paintings everywhere and one transfixed me. The girl’s father came over and took the painting off the wall handed it to me and he said, “This is your painting now”. ....”But why, I asked...why give this to me?” The man said, I’ve owned it and enjoyed it, but now it has spoken to you...and now it belongs to you. That experience figures into how I fell in love with art and that very painting still hangs in my home today.

(---In keeping with today's meeting topic Tim Young surprised us with a beautiful array of "Santa" pins/ornaments as presents for all of us  --Thank you Tim!)

Also...thanks, once again to David Burbach, for the photography of today's meeting. 


Renita still needs artists for the US Bank email her

All the same shows that were announced last time are still ongoing.

Thomas Kitts' popular Essential Alla Prima techniques workshop has openings. Jan 31-Feb 3
at Kat Sowa's Studio 30. (Thomas also is offering the same workshop in Hood River Feb 28-March 2 at the Columbia Art Center. He'll have another workshop available in Carmel, Ca (details to come).
Find out more by emailing

Stephanie Cissna is showing at NECC (and Kristina Sellers shows in Jan):

OSA has lots of new programs in the works...check the website:

Next meeting Thursday, Dec 26
Suggested table topic...Childhood art memories...anything (good or bad) that comes to mind about your younger self and the subject of art / painting.

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Meeting notes from Dec 26, 2013:

At today’s meeting: Loretta, Diane, Tim, Lisa, Cam, Dave, Char, Jeanne, Jim, Tedd, Stephanie, Eunice, Nancy and me (Celeste).

Today’s table topic: Childhood art memories (share a memory of your (younger) artist).

(Anonymous and in random order):

I drew buildings all the time when I was a young person. I drew from history books.

My mother and father were artistic. I would draw things like from the Nutcracker Suite...(dancers etc) and other kids 'commissioned' me to draw things for them.

When I was a young boy a lion actually escaped from the zoo! I drew a picture of that and my drawing was published in the newspaper! 

In school my teacher had us draw something for Easter. All the kids did drawings of standard bunnies. I depicted my bunny driving a convertible sports car (with the floppy ears of the bunny blowing back). The teacher made a really big deal out of this drawing.

When I was young boy there was a painting in my home that inspired me. I won a children's art contest. That set me on my life-long artistic journey.

When I was 10 years old my mother paid for painting lessons (in Monterey, no less!). I won a prize with a plein air watercolor painting ....and it was published!

 I was discouraged to do art by my parents. They weren’t in favor of my being an artist at all! They thought artists were crazy. I took up art when I was older.

I got to see some Vincent van Gogh paintings on a field trip. It was life changing. I also got to work on a mural. These were moments when I just knew...'this is for me'.

When I was a very little girl I posed for a painting. (My parents commissioned it). The artist had me hold paintbrushes while he painted me.... but later, when I saw the finished painting the artist had omitted the brushes.  That baffled and upset me (as a child). Also when I was four years old I was given a coloring book, but the next day the coloring book was ‘gone’ and I never found it!

The Beatles were popular when I was growing up, and the other kids paid me $2.00 each for drawings of them. I made money!

I was taken to an Indian dance when I was young and I did a picture based on the front cover of a promotional flyer for it. That picture won a prize!

My family enjoyed all the fine arts, like theater and dance as well as visual arts. Because of their influence I became a collector as well as an artist.

I did a paining of an Iris and the memory is vivid. I also studied calligraphy and became the person everyone came to whenever they needed any kind of sign. I became the “sign man”.

Other news:

Celeste showed a 6x6 Randy Higbee frame.

Eunice showed a new communication from Roos Schuring.

Studio 30 is continuing on Fridays..Are you on the email list?

Lisa’s portrait from today is from her workshop with Robin d’ amore:

Nancy tells us that OSA is looking for proposals for future exhibits. Are you interested in a group show for Alla Prima Portland?

Additionally OSA offers many opportunities:

All the shows mentioned last time are still ongoing this week.

Happy New Year!

p.s. ---Editor's note: thanks for the cards, presents and birthday wishes...I appreciate it very much! (Celeste)

Next meeting: Jan 2, GREEN! What do you know about it?

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  1. Always love to read the "minutes" - hope to join you all one day, that would be so fun!
    On varnish, I only ever do it to even out the surface. In an Oregon workshop I learned that darks flatten, so it's good to mix in some linseed to compensate. In my France workshop this last July, I learned that umbers flatten more than siennas, so I switched from burnt umber + ult blue for my darks to burnt sienna +ult. Makes a difference.
    I typically varnish only if surface looks uneven, and if so will spray or paint on a retouch varnish after a couple weeks drying time (retouch varnish allows painting to continue to dry/cure underneath). If it's been 6 mo to a year, I'll do damar varnish for final protection.