Friday, November 17, 2017

Flashback to Plein Air

 "La Mota"
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

I only made it to one plein air paintout this year, but it was great, and a new one for me - located in Roseburg, Oregon, a smallish town about 60 miles south of Eugene.
 On the first day, we painted cityscapes, which I have a much easier time with than traditional landscapes, for several reasons.  After some trial and error, I settled on this corner scene - the strong shadows, the truck, the "stop-go" interplay of that red hand and the green cross.... all attracted me. 

Here's my value plan:

La Mota means marijuana in Spanish, and yes, this is a painting of a recreational pot store. We have these - lots and lots of them - in Oregon now. It was an interesting spot to hang out in front of for an afternoon - at times I felt like I was conducting the most un-surreptitious surveillance operation ever. But no paranoia required, folks! I'm just arting over here. 

 The three paintings I ended up submitting for judging. I don't participate in these events to win - in fact, I consider myself a rank amateur when it comes to plein air. But I enjoy it, I always learn a lot! 

...And here's a bonus for reading this far! I've got a major sale going on in my Etsy shop for the next few weeks. 50% off everything - including "La Mota." Use the code HOLIDAYHALFOFF. And thanks for following my work!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Teaching Figure Painting with Zorn

14 x 18 inches, oil on canvas
Workshop Demonstration

I taught "Beginning Figure Painting" on my home turf this past weekend, at Whiteaker Printmakers in Eugene. It was an enthusiastic, talented group, and I thoroughly enjoyed painting with them!  

Can you spot me in this picture?

We started out with gesture drawings, mixed flesh tones using the Zorn palette, and they painted these lovely pieces - all in two days!

 Here's my color chart, and two little demos - same pose, different lighting, four values.

If you're interested in trying this limited palette technique, I've got two portrait workshops coming up - one this weekend, November 11-12 at Sequioa Gallery + Studios in the Portland, OR area (spaces are still available), and the other in Eugene, at Oregon Art Supply, January 6-7

Live models, and lots of painting! Click the links for details.

Friday, November 3, 2017

"Admirers," And New Paint Colors!

12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

 I did a quick black-and-white oil study before launching into this one, right in my sketchbook, to plan out my composition and value structure.

I painted this during a demonstration of M. Graham's new paint colors at my local art supply store. M. Graham just expanded their line of fantastic oil paints from 50 to 75 tubes, big news! Some of my new favorites are Bismuth yellow, Pyrrol red, and Pthalo blue red shade, all of which I used in this piece.

I love having an audience when I paint - whether it's my online students joining me virtually, a group of workshop students, or friends who come out for a demo, the back-and-forth is always enjoyable. If anything, chattering away while painting seems to help my focus and concentration, go figure! 

I'm looking forward to demoing again, November 8-9, at the Tools of the Trade Show at the U of O. Come say Hi and pick my brain about M. Graham's new colors. I love em!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Early Persimmons

 "Early Persimmons"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

Here's how this one looked, through my viewfinder:

 And the palette I painted it with! Lots of reds in the mix, along with two yellows - a warm and a cool - and one big strong blue.

In other news, my 2018 calendar is out! Order yours by clicking here - or come visit me November 8-9 at the Tools of the Trade Show at the U of O Duck Store. I'll have a few to sell, and some new greeting cards too!

My next still life workshop will be November 18-19th, at Oregon Art Supply in Eugene. Two days of Painting the Dynamic Still Life! Hope you can join me.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Emerald Orb - and Workshop Announcements!

"Emerald Orb"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

My strange little offering from Still Life Open Studio last week. It's always such an adventure - I never know what I will come home with, even though I bring all the objects and set up the still life! 

This painting may be strange, but I love it. It just lingers in my eye.

I want to give you all a last-minute heads up about two still life workshops I'll be teaching soon - one in Park City, Utah later this month, and the other in Oklahoma City in October.  Spaces are still available in both, and I'd love to have you join me!

Green Flash

"Green Flash" 
10 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

My latest! Here it is, on the easel:

I did a black and white oil sketch for this piece, as I often do before beginning larger works. This time I actually managed to stick to the plan! If you squint, the values between the grayscale and the color painting match up well. That's the goal! 

The black and white piece is 6 x 12" on Arches oil paper, and it's available. Click here to bid on it.
Thanks, as always, for looking!

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Knife and Nectarine," And, of course, the Eclipse!

"Knife and Nectarine"
9 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

My latest piece from Still Life Open Studio. Our next session will be September 7th, at Whiteaker Printmakers in Eugene. All are welcome! 

In today's news, I just watched the eclipse! We had 99% totality here in Eugene, and it was pretty cool. And now I can't stop seeing the ring of light around this dark purple plate as the 1% sliver of sunlight peeking around the shadow of the moon. Art does change the way we see the world - and vice versa!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Green Loops

 "Green Loops"
10 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

It's been a while since I ventured out of the square format canvas - thought outside the box, if you will - and it feels good! 

I paint a lot of red delicious apples with my students.  I always choose red delicious over other varieties of red apples because they have the fewest striations, variegations, freckles, etc, to confuse an eye that's trying to discern clear light and shadow patterns. And their velvety garnet color - so rich it's almost purple - gets me every time. 

Here's how this piece came together.....

And here's the still life. Just a side note: I'm actually drinking one of these apples in a smoothie as I'm writing this. Talk about multitasking!

You can see more behind-the-scenes studio pictures like this, all day every day, on my Instagram. ;)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Plein Air Still Life on Whidbey Island

sarah sedwick lemon still life painting
 "Five Lemons"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

In my last post, I shared pictures from my recent opening at Brackenwood Gallery on Whidbey Island. It was a fantastic opening, and the fun didn't end there! The next day, I did a plein air still life demonstration outside the gallery doors, enjoying the cool island weather, and the gallery-goers who stopped to chat. I even had a canine audience, as you can see!

sarah sedwick painting plein air still life

The light was a little strange, as it was cloudy and hazy with smoke from nearby wildfires - a kind of grainy, golden light. Not bad, but not as dramatic as the stunning summer sunlight I got for my demo afternoon last year!

sarah sedwick oil painting process

Here's a look at my process: a simple black and white oil sketch (in a sketchbook) to plan the value pattern and composition, an underpainting on the canvas in sepia tones, and color laid directly over that, alla prima.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Reflecting Pool," A Solo Show, and Gallery Gratitude

 "Reflecting Pool"
14 x 18 inches, oil on canvas

Ta Da! My sole solo show of 2017 opened earlier this month at Brackenwood Gallery on Whidbey Island, Washington, and I got to be there in person to enjoy the festivities. 

I've been saving this painting, "Reflecting Pool," not blogging it, waiting for this show to open. It's the last - the final! - painting I will be posting from my artist's residency at Playa earlier this year, and it's my favorite piece made there - my favorite of the twenty paintings that I brought home from that powerful, miraculous month of work. 

Here it is, hanging in the gallery:

 And here is another shot of the show:

Here I am posing after the opening with the other artist who has a solo show in the gallery right now, Pete Jordan. His beautiful Whidbey Island landscapes are such a perfect counterpoint to my still lives... majestic in every way!

Thank you, Brackenwood, for making me look so good!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Six Cuties, and Stages of the Painting Process

 "Six Cuties"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Here are the stages this painting went through: still life setup, underpainting, and color application. My favorite phase of the painting process is definitely the underpainting. Still life setup is the hardest part, and the finishing touches are so agonizing...but the end stage can be fascinating.
(Click the link to tell me!)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Tangerines on Turquoise"....and Tons of Teaching!

 "Tangerines on Turquoise"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

July was a whirlwind month, busy and full. This painting was a demo I did for students in Portland, over a two-day period. Here's my palette - heavy on the red-oranges. I really wanted to emphasize the red glow that reflects back and forth when oranges cuddle up together, and those saturated contrasting colors on the oranges and the plate.


...And this, believe it or not, is some of the student work from that class! What a talented bunch - not beginners. They did great. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Strawberries for the Fourth!

strawberry art oil painting still life
 "Four Strawberries"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Red, White, and Blue. Happy Fourth of July, all!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Red Red Radishes

radish oil painting still life
 "Red Red Radishes"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Why are so many artists drawn to radishes as a subject? Is it the complementary color scheme? The texture contrast between the smooth radishes and their feathery leaves? The challenge of capturing something that is literally wilting before your eyes? The movement in those twisting root threads? Or just the inviting, saturated reds?

Check, check, check! I resonate with all of it.

Here's the palette I used for this piece - a before and after:
And here's my model, my work-in-progress, and the finished piece. You can see more images like this on my Instagram page. It's like an ongoing mini-blog, with lots of behind-the-scenes stuff - and even a few selfies!

radish painting work in progress

Oh, one more thing! I snuck an unblogged painting onto DPW auctions - it's starting at $100, you can check it out here. :)

Thursday, June 22, 2017


scissors painting art sarah sedwick
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas
Framed, $500
 This is about as close as I have to a work-in-progress for this one - it's also an artist's-residency-in-progress shot - from my time at Playa back in February of this year. I've almost finished posting all twenty of those paintings here - but I still have a couple up my sleeve! 

Here's the finished painting. No clip lamp in sight -  I used only window light on my subject, making this a pretty rare piece for me. If you click on the picture for a larger view, you'll see my clamps and screwdriver sitting there on the easel - the unsung supporting cast of painting tools. The only one missing is the pliers. For opening stubborn paint tubes.

...And here's "Boundary" in its truly finished state. All framed up and hanging out with his friends. All four of these paintings are available, framed or unframed. Visit my Etsy shop or send me an email anytime. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Three-And-A-Half Lemons

"Three-And-A-Half Lemons"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

 I'm able to bust out these little black-and-white oil sketches so quickly because I keep a pre-mixed value scale palette on hand at all times - in my freezer. Oil paint will develop a dry "skin" after a day or two when left out on the palette, but frozen it will keep for weeks. 

I also find it incredibly helpful in my color work, not to have to start from scratch each time I set out to paint. If the thought of all the preparation involved has ever stopped you from heading into the studio, consider keeping a pre-mixed palette on ice!


So many tips and tricks stored (like palettes in a freezer) in the recesses of my brain... I'll be unpacking lots more of them this weekend at my still life painting workshop, here in Eugene. Spaces are still available - click here for info! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Four Elements

painting cups ribbon dishes still life
 "Four Elements"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

This still life was not originally intended to be an allegory of the four elements - it got its name because it has, literally, four elements. Looking at it just now, however, it came to me that they could be symbols - the fish dish for water, the orange ribbon for fire...the blue cup for air, and the white It's "feet" are on the ground, anyway. 

I recently visited an astrologer, and was told that I have a lot of the Air element in my birth chart. One interesting thing about that: air signs are connected to birds and their feathers. Go figure!

A black and white oil sketch for this piece. Paint in my sketchbook - something I've been doing a lot lately!