Almost daily painter, traveler and art lover
It's all about art, what else is there?
@lisahutart on instagram

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Day 229 and 230 Matanzas Late Lavender

I love my artist network. My friend Jeanne Echternach connected me with a local California artist who suggested I paint at Matanzas Creek Winery. Not only a winery, they grow lavender and even though it blooms in June and is harvested in July - they kindly leave some uncut for us latecomers to enjoy. They also have a pretty nice gift shop and I managed to bring home a few lavender related products. I pretended I was shopping for gifts, but really I'm keeping all of them. Always willing to do my part to support the economy.

I'm so glad I thought to ask advice on where to paint, I never would have found this great spot. Thanks Jeanne and Penny. Feel free to check them out:
Matanzas Creek Winery in Sonoma
Jeanne at
Penny Popken at

Matanzas Late Lavender
9x12 pastel

Getting Closer
9x12 pastel

Another hard day at the office, it smelled so good!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Day 227 & Day 228 Half Dome

Last week I took a road trip to Yosemite and Sonoma, CA. Along with my pastels, I brought watercolors, markers, pen & ink and acrylics. As if I'd have time to use half of it ... I'm a little over ambitious sometimes.

At the top of Glacier Peak there is an amazing view of half dome. I wandered off the trail away from the bus loads of tourists, popped up the umbrella and did a couple watercolors in the journal. Thanks to my friend, Tracy Haines - I'm bumping up "travel journal" on the to do list. Check her out on

On a side note, we always see interesting things along the way. Would you EVER stay in a hotel called "Clown Motel"? Sounds like I made it up, right? See below. I can't even image why anyone could think this is not creepy. Apologies to all clowns out there.

 Day 227 Half Dome View
Ink & watercolor 9x12

Day 228 Half Dome Trees
watercolor 8x10

Such a pretty spot mere yards away from all the tourists

And a hotel I can't image anyone stays at ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Day 226 A Little Chicory

I painted at Bear Creek Park this morning with PAAC, it's always nice to have the camaraderie of other artists at paint outs. Especially helpful when you are struggling to "un-slump" yourself - I keep saying the slump is over but it's really not. I've been painting consistently and enthusiastically since January 1st and I figured at some point I would start to struggle. Yep, struggling.

First I painted this chicory plant and then tried another painting that I wiped out. A small boy going by looked at my wiped off canvas and said "where's the paint?" Yeah, that's what I was thinking too  - I never wipe off paintings. So, I'm going to slow down, quit announcing that the slump is over (I had hoped positive thinking would fix it) and just keep painting when I can.

I'll still end up with 366 paintings at the end of this year, you just may not see them all. I'm traveling next week so look for some interesting plein air work from the west coast!

A Little Chicory
5x7 oil

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Day 225 Waterfall in Hanakapiai Valley

I'm currently working on several canvas' and painting things that relate to the fall season. On a creative whim "waterfall" popped in my head and off I went in that direction.

Last time I tried to paint a waterfall was in Hawaii last spring. It seems a lot longer than just a year and 1/2 ago. It was a 4 mile hike to get to the Hanakapiai waterfall. We hiked the Kalalau trail along the Nepali coast in Kauai. It ranks as one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. I was also with the 3 people I love most in the world - so that makes it an extra special memory.

Anyway, I only carried a small selection of pastels and small paper and remember looking up at this huge waterfall - overwhelmed - and the small painting didn't turn out that great. Much happier with this version, maybe I just needed a bigger canvas?

Waterfall in Hanakapiai Valley

Friday, August 12, 2016

Day 224 Digging Deep

When I was in college we would have to do 200 "comps" - small sketches or compositions for page layouts for an advertising class. The first 25 or so were easy and seemed great. Then they start getting sort of bad around #75 to #100, who can come up with that many ideas? Then you are faking it and drawing really, really crappy stuff just to meet the number and thinking the teacher is nuts. You are so burned out by #150 and digging deep for new designs that sometimes something breaks through. #193 might actually be a good design buried in that last desperate push.

It was a great lesson in pushing yourself artistically because the good designs were never in the first 25 or so after all. We think we have the good idea early on.
Example A: Using a mountain for your logo because we live in denver. Resist the urge.
Example B: Ever using the font Papyrus. It's bad enough as a title but please, please never use it in body copy. The graphic designers know what I'm talking about.

What does this have to do with my painting today? Aspen have been painted a million times, there are probably thousands out there that look similar to this. I may have a few excellent painter friends shuddering that this is the equivalent of using Papyrus. It might be. But, if I keep painting them, and I will - who knows what may happen?

Digging Deep
18x24 pastel

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Day 223 Size Matters aka Vivid Grove

Well, usually size doesn't really matter. Except ...
Size matters when you are trying to text on a teeny tiny keyboard on your phone.
Size matters when you have to park in a underground parking garage.
Size matters when you order ice cream.
And, size matters when you paint a 6 inch canvas vs. a 3 foot canvas; you may have to
approach it differently.
Today I gessoed a lot of canvas to get ready for a weekend painting frenzy. Every size from 4"x4" to 38"x38". Which made me think a lot about size. After spending all that time priming canvas I realized I had to wait for it to dry (rats) so off to the pastel paper I went.

I also taught my MIM class today at Windcrest, it's always a joy to paint with these folks. Today I worked with the sweetest lady who is losing her vision. It's a great challenge to find ways for someone to be successful at painting when losing your eyesight. Big brushes, bright colors and lots of direction. Today felt like a "big" successful day.

Vivid Grove (a more appropriate title!)
12 x 24 pastel

New studio and I already ran out of floor space!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Day 222 Hotel de Paris Museum

This morning I went to Georgetown with PAAC and painted the Hotel De Paris Museum. It dates back to the silver mining boom and was a luxurious french restaurant and hotel. There are so many cool buildings to paint in Georgetown I can't wait to head back. It also made me yearn a little bit for a trip back to France.

I love architecture but lack a few skills. Add "learn better perspective" to my to do list (my perspective teacher in art school was too busy drinking rather than teaching). I knew that would come back to haunt me one day.
Maybe my talented daughter who is in college in a Masters program for Architecture will come home for Christmas and help me out with that? Hint, hint ...

Hotel de Paris Museum
8x10 oil

Debby McAllister - looking pretty comfy
Great painter check out her stuff at

Monday, August 8, 2016

Day 221 Miss Delilah

Tuesdays are a favorite day because I paint with PAAC every Tuesday morning that I can. Last week we went to Hudson Gardens (I just didn't get around to posting it) and it was no surprise that I gravitated to the extremely colorful dahlia garden.
In addition to being exceptionally colorful, huge and awesome, they had the coolest names ever. Neon Splendor, Pink Princess, Miss Delilah, Prince Charming, Honeymoon, Mango Madness, Cherry Drop, Daredevil and oddly ... Ahoy Matey. I couldn't follow the "stream of consciousness" trail on that one. Along with coming up with new Crayola crayon colors and names, can someone find me a job where I get to name flowers too?

Miss Delilah
9x12 pastel

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Day 220 Friends in High Places

I've missed painting and posting - I finally hit a slump. That's when you come up with excuses to not paint. Like ... I'm still moving (I'm not, I'm moved), I'm still organizing the studio, it looks hot out, too busy, "I'll start tomorrow", etc. Then I realized that I watched all 3 of the Back to the Future movies over the last week (as if I haven't seen them before?) and wasted 6 good hours that I could have painted. We won't even discuss binge watching all 7 seasons of Nurse Jackie on Netflix ...
So, here's to Day 220. I was up in Grand Lake yesterday and text my friend Laura to paint. I had pastels and couldn't really paint in the rain (it was pretty cloudy out) so Laura asked someone she knew at the Grand Lake Yacht Club if we could paint on their covered porch. They were nice as could be and let us even though they were getting ready for a pretty busy day/evening with the last day of their Regatta. I'm waiting to get turned down on these requests but so far so good! People are awesome.

The sailboat races started and off we painted. FAST. The horn blew before I knew it with a 5 minute warning. I always think I'm gonna have time to paint 2 but it never happens. Can barely finish one.

It did start to rain - so I'm grateful for having Laura look out for me and my pastels and the GLYC for letting us paint on their awesome deck.

Friends in High Places
10x12 pastel

Laura Kratz - friends in high places
elevation 8,369 ft to be exact!