Meeting Notes, June 9, 2016

At today’s meeting Loretta U, Tim, Diane, Linda, Annie, Ward, Loretta L, Jeanne, Tom D, Genie, Charlie, Mike, Eunice, Joanne T, Tracie, David, Elo, Jim, Ward, Judith, Tom K, and me, Celeste.

Today’s suggested table topic:  Painting the ordinary and making it extraordinary—What do you know about it? Do you have examples?

Celeste: Recently on Facebook I saw a painting done by Yong Hong Zhong. He had painted the space between his house and another house. This would look like a very boring place but Yong made it look beautiful by pushing color and adding a dark shadow in the foreground. I am showing two paintings.  One has a greenish sky and the other was painted from a photo reference that had dynamic lighting.

(Yong's photo from Facebook)

Joanne T: With watercolor you have to paint with strong color as a matter of course (so that they are not bland). When I was at the Cannon Beach paint out I visited with the artist Sally O'Neill. She painted a bush and a window. It would seem like a very dull subject… but she made it exceptional with color. I am showing two paintings that I did at the Scottsdale art school. These were from photo references supplied by the instructor, Penix.

Traci: This is an interesting topic to me. I enjoy the ubiquitous. I like to look at things and think about how those objects can affect others. What might stir one person can leave another person cold.  I like to look at things and decide if there is a story there. I am showing a painting that I painted at the Rose garden….It is of the bathroom! (Laughter)!

Ward: To me it is all magic! That someone tried to make a picture is magic in and of itself! Every time you paint something it is like you have created a little spell. It is like a conjuring of sorts…. something wasn't there but now, because of you, it is. I am showing a painting that I am working on…it is of a band.

Annie: I was thinking about Michelangelos drawings of hands. He provided them in many different views. If you look at those you will realize just how extraordinary they are! It was so hot recently I went to the nearest movie theater and just followed the crowd in. I went to the movie: “Through the looking glass”.  That movie is an absolute spectacle. .To me it was too real and as a result (to me) it has an icky component to it. The pace was too fast.. it was all overwhelming. I didn’t like it. Sometimes efforts to make something extraordinary just goes too far. I like it when a painting in particular invites the viewer to participate. I am showing a painting I did recently in class. I am also showing the color paintings that I did of some Edward Hopper’s paintings. I have trimmed them out into individual paintings.

Lisa: I identify with reality! When I first saw this topic and I read it I had a thought "Oh yeah, good idea, maybe I should try that”  (Laughter)! I should try to make things less literal. Do you remember the woman who came and shared her late husband's photographs with us? I took one of those photographs and painted this from it.

Diane: The last couple of years have given me an appreciation of the ordinary and the extraordinary. When I first started painting I also started taking a lot of photographs. I see things that I want to photograph---things that intrigue me like shadow shapes or other unusual effects. This painting is my brother’s granddaughter. I have been working on it for a while. It isn’t precisely what I thought it should be-- and yet there is a magic to it. I caught something about her.

David: Well since last meeting I gessoed some boards! (Laughter)! Along time ago I went to a drawing class. The teacher brought in her painting of an egg in an egg cup. You can't get much more ordinary than that, but the entire class was enthralled with that painting. We couldn’t stop looking at it.

Tim: My name is Tim and I’m addicted to art… (Laughter)! Recently I went painting and I meant to take a kit gouache…when I got to my location I discovered that I had my kit of watercolor. Well  oookay, I guess I’ll be painting with watercolor! (Laughter)! I did this painting, you just have to go with whatever the circumstances. I am showing a painting that I did in the studio and I am showing some other plein air paintings. I painted at Benson State Park.

Joanne K: As artists we are always pushing and always making things look extraordinary. That is our job.  Then again, the “extraordinary” can be just what is happening in your own life and how that reveals itself in your paintings. For example, this painting was from a time when my husband was fighting cancer. The painting depicts “upstream” and that is just what we were engaged with…serious upstream challenges. Jim and I have just returned from the Max Ginsburg workshop. We both learned so much. I am showing paintings old and new. I am showing two paintings of my son. One was done in a long time ago and one was done just yesterday.

Loretta U: I don’t know if any of my paintings are at extraordinary at all. Most of my paintings seem mild to me (intentionally mild). I do find these meetings to be quite extraordinary. I always learn things here.

Eunice: The painting I recall as being really extraordinary was a row of garbage cans. It was the most ordinary subject and yet it was painted in an exciting way. I am showing a landscape of some red clover.

Mike: I have found an extraordinary art store.. I have discovered a store called Dots and Doodles in Astoria. I bought this sketchbook there. They will engrave your name right into the cover of your sketchbook for free! Astoria is a lovely town. I took a workshop there. I will be back to Astoria to paint because it is a very paintable place.

Charlie: If you think back to when you were in school you will remember what it’s like to think that most everything is extraordinary!  I think we should try to regain that type of newness and freshness in how we look at things.

Genie: The most ordinary subject painted in the most extraordinary way is by John Singer Sargent. It is a painting of a campsite. It’s just a tent and yet it is the most remarkable painting. I brought in a painting of a cat that I did for one of my daughter’s friends.

Tom D: What is extraordinary for me is not always what is extraordinary for others. For example, I have one of my best paintings hanging up at home and people visit and say absolutely nothing about it! (Laughter)! To me it is remarkable when composition and color come together to make everything just right.

Jeanne: I have always liked the Bay Area figurative painters. In particular I admire David Park. There is not a lot of information on him because he died at a young age. There is a famous story about him where he took everything out of his studio and took it to the dump. When he came back to his studio it was empty and he began painting only figures. I have this book about him. He paints an ordinary scene, but makes the figure (like in this example) very large in the foreground. I am taking a class. The teacher had our model do different poses for only 15 minutes… we had to put all the poses on one canvas! I did what David Park would do and made one figure much bigger than the others.

Loretta L: I have trouble with plein air. I can’t improve what is already so beautiful. I brought in a painting that I did in Jennifer Diehl’s class. I love how she taught about strong contrast.

Tom K: I am addicted to fear! (Laughter)! I have recently spoken with a young curator and he taught me a couple of things. First of all we should no longer date our paintings-- did you know that!? I understand the reasoning behind it. No more dates on paintings. Also the young curator says that a lot of artists are signing on the back and not the front. I paint a lot of hours on one painting. I will go back to the same location and paint again there. Oh, I have advice for the other Tom...when people come over to your house ---go over and stand next to your painting like this (Laughter)! I recently painted plein air and was congratulating myself for remembering to bring everything, but when I left I forgot the painting that I painted! Everyone needs a Joanne Kollman in their life because she found my painting and brought it here today to return it to me (Laughter)!

Judith: Recently I painted a triptych of Renaissance-type paintings. They just didn't have that extra until I added a lime green stripe. The paintings were in a show at PCC in the Sylvania campus. I won first prize ! (Applause)! I think one of the most important things we can all do is to remember to “follow through”!

Elo (new, Welcome!): I believe that painting is a lot like meeting people. Some people don't reveal how extraordinary they are until you get to know them. ..until you get to spend some time with them. Most people are extraordinary and I think maybe most paintings are too.

Jim : I'm very excited because I believe I have experienced a turning point in my work. For a long time people have liked my art and I will think of myself yeah yeah it's OK but in my heart I wasn’t exactly happy with where I was. I have taken a lot of really great workshops. I have taken a workshop with Ken Auster and a couple of workshops with Ned Mueller I have benefited from all of the workshops I’ve done so far.. but this one really was special. Maybe it is a little bit because Max Ginsburg and I are around the same age. (Laughter)! Seriously, we remember a lot of the same things, like WWII (Laughter)!  Ginsburg is gentle but demanding. He taught us that the beginning is the most important part of a painting. He taught us to look closely at the model because the changes that occur within a two inch space are important (temperature changes, shape changes).  Good drawing is important. Ginsberg likes dramatic lighting. I've adopted his way of painting on a greenish background. He teaches that you must imply and suggest instead of relying a great deal on fussy detail. He taught us to paint “across” the form. You don’t use a lot of paint until the end.  I had a wonderful time and liked spending time with Joanne --she talks a lot , but that’s all right. (Laughter)! I am showing two paintings that I did at the workshop. I feel that this may be the best I have ever painted. (Applause applause)! (Congratulations, Jim, and thank you for the Workshop report).


Ward Stroud is going to be teaching  a watercolor class at OSA July 14 and 15th. He also has a demonstration upcoming at Dick Blick. He will have a workshop at Dots and Doodles in Astoria in the near future. He will have other announcements in the future also! Stay Tuned!

Next weekend is Joanne Kollman's workshop at the beach. This is June 18 and 19th. You can come for one or two days. Participants will be able to participate in a show through the Cannon Beach Gallery.  There will be other extracurricular activities like a barbecue and a talk by Jef Gunn.

Studio One-Eleven: some space available at their session on Sunday from 430 to 730.

Interested in a Max Ginsburg workshop here in Portland? (2017) Email Joanne:

Lavender festival --Hurry! register here:

A Recent issue of Plein Air Magazine features Jennifer Diehl

Podcast with Plein Air Magazine and Thomas Kitts:

Thanks all for coming today and sharing your ideas and paintings. Next Thursday June 16, suggested table topic: What is on your studio materials /equipment wish list? Is there any equipment or materials that you are dreaming about owning? No wish too big or too small! let’s discuss

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