Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wet Paint and Eatin' Crow!

Ya ever wake up with a song in your head?  I do every single morning.  I went to bed last night watching a video of John Denver and Cass Elliott singing “Leavin’ on a jet plane . . “ and woke up this morning still humming the tune.  Doug even accused me of singing in my sleep!  I happened to mention it to our gracious hosts, Dan and Gail, and after 10 or 15 minutes, Dan said, “still in my head, but I’m resisting the urge to sing it!” 

Hopefully, like a song in your head, some of the nuggets of painting instruction Doug has given this delightful class, will stick!  He shares all. 

This morning we are here on the corner of Walgreens, Hover Car Wash and Mr. Bean coffee shop!  Seriously, of all the places, he chooses here?  That’s Doug for you . . . painting what no one has painted before.  Roll with it, Jeanette, just roll with it.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to regret those comments!

Yesterday we dodged more rain, I’m certain the rain gods were somewhat afraid of this bunch of tenacious painters so the students painted at Thompson Park in the middle of town.  Trees of green, grass of green, shade of the trees that were even more green.  Doug promised Gail he would share the value of Pthalo Green.  The class kicked out some great studies in the park and visited with several “walkers” who “lapped” the park 4 or 5 times.  Read “Students at Longmont” blog to see them and some of their work!
We grabbed some sub sandwiches and headed back to Gail’s and ate on the front porch as Doug started his demo of the beautiful lake across the street.   Here are some progress paintings from that painting.  It turned out beautiful and completely portrayed the peaceful atmosphere of the day.  Still, no rain, a slight breeze and high seventies.

Back to the corner of 18th and Hover, we gaze at the beauty of the Walgreens across the street . . . the hustle of people going in and out to get their prescriptions.  Prestine, seriously.  Oh, and those people shaking and trembling as they make their way into Mr. Beans coffee, coming back out feeling energized and nerves completely calmed!  Seriously, I will regret this sarcasm . . .

Did I mention our amazing hosts entertained us with their musical talent?  Dan and Gail are a mean guitar-banjo blue-grass duo with voices that mix as smooth as the paint on Doug’s pallet.  Creamy and soothing! 

So here we are with the first steps of the painting and already, I’m starting to recognize the taste of the crow that I have eaten on many occasions and I’m afraid this morning will be no exception.  Getting out my chocolate and maybe some maple syrup to help it go down easier . . .

We have had a blast getting to know past students better and meeting new friends.  Our circle of friends continues to grow every single day and these fun people are no exception.  Dapo Obitayo came to the workshop traveling 12 hours to arrive from Waterloo, Iowa.  He shared that he had been following this blog for 3 years now and decided Colorado would be as close we would get to his stomping grounds so he and his darling family made the sacrifices to get him out here for the workshop.  He joined us for dinner last night at The Good Bird and we learned even more fun and interesting things about him and laughed a LOT.  

About an hour into the demo now.  Here’s where we are now.  Either Doug’s on uneven ground or the 100 mph winds have done their thing on that stop sign!    

See the pole on the corner?   As I ran across the street to get water at Walgreens, I casually strolled up to the pole and struck a pose, maybe, just maybe I’ll get in the painting  but yeah, I think I missed the canvas by THAT much.  I think he did a stroke on the easel instead!  Haha   Thanks babe.  ‘preciate that!  I mean, I am Miss Garfield County, 1980.  When asked if I still had my crown, Doug replied, “Have it?  She WEARS it every day!  It’s currently at the jeweler now getting polished and having more jewels added!” 

Pizza boy just stopped by to see if it was okay if he put his “PIZZA HERE” sign up.  He takes a peak, “Wow!  Dang, that’s good!”  Yeah, we know, he’s a stud.  I think this is really what people remember about Doug—taking the mundane, who-would-ever-think-to-paint-this kind’ve subject matter and making it amazing!  

Doug wow’s the crowd by adding a car . . . Damn, how does he do that?  And the final painting turned out amazing. 

Once again, Braithwaite knocks another one out of the park park-ING lot of Walgreens, and once again, takes my breath away.  

I think I’ll go get my crown and have me some crow. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Wet Paint in Longmont Colorado!

Doug and I headed out Tuesday morning for the first half of our driving leg to Longmont Colorado.  We stopped in Grand Junction for the evening and survived the 97 degree weather. 

We arrived Wednesday around 4 welcomed by our wonderful host, Gail Denton.  She was enjoying her lovely front porch as we pulled in.  We got settled in and then she taxied us around Longmont to show us some great ideas for painting places.  Bathrooms.  Check.  Pavilion in case of rain.  Check.  Plenty of parking.  Check.  Wow, what a time saver for us!  And here’s the view right across the street:

Doug and Gail checking out the painting possibilities . . .
We had a relaxing evening with Gail and her husband, Dan, who fixed a great dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed some home-made cheese which Gail makes in all her spare time!  Wow!  This woman is ambitious!  We all checked our weather apps anticipating where we should paint the next morning.  Although the weather showed rain, Dan and Gail nod their heads with a shrug, “eh, we don’t take a five-day forecast very seriously!”  And they were right!  Couldn’t have asked for better weather today.  73 degrees and a little breeze. 

All the students met here at Gail’s at 0800!  We made introductions, handed out directions to our destination, and away we went.  We were about 7 cars back and Mario (Gail) was in the lead!  Of course, we got caught by a light and away they went.  Doug said “where are we going?”  “Uh, well, funny thing, I handed out all the directions.  Oops.  Google it . . . I’m thinking!  Golden Pond . . . turn here.  Eh, nope.  Wrong side of the pond.  Thankfully a couple of students followed us and re-directed us back to the right place! 

What a great place to paint!  Slight breeze and 70 degrees.  Perfection!  A family or birds had built a nest up inside the rafters of the pavilion we were using and were more than a little vocal about the inconvenience of our being there invading their space.  Hoping no one got “splatted” on sitting below their next!

This bird is a little annoyed at us invading their space!
Doug starts out with sharing his pallet.  Pthalo Green here, Lizerin Crimson there.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was talking about a favorite rock band.  Those ARE great names, aren’t they? 

Checking out the set up . . . got it!
We talked “value study” and all shades of purple.  We talked thin paint, thick paint, color matching, rhythm and notes.   Doug does an amazing job of helping everyone understand the logic behind shapes and the darks and lights.  We talked soft edges, hard edges and more thick and thin paint.  So here’s how Doug first blocks in the value study in all shades of purple and then removing paint with a q-tip or paper towel.  

Now color.  Thin is dark, thick is light?  Oh man, I can’t remember!   The light peeks out from behind a cloud only for a minute.  Just long enough to change the color matching.  Hmm, do we stay with the “prior” color or go with the new?  You decide! 

More detail now.  Every stroke counts!  Less detail as you get up close, more “photographic” as you back away.  Below is the final painting.  

Realism and abstraction all in one painting.  Who does it better than Braithwaite?  From my perspective, no one.  Just sayin. 

See you tomorrow! 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Wet Paint, Urban Workshop & an Unfinished Portrait of Mickey Mouse

Wow, where did 2015 go?  And 2016 is flying by so let me catch you up on our happenings!

Doug continues to wow me after almost 30 years!  Yep, we're approaching the big 3-0.  I know, how is that possible when I'm only 39?  Trust me,  the math works out.

We are thrilled to see the weather cooperating with plein air painting (and golfing) and taking Max for his daily walks.  Speaking of Max, one of Max's fellow four-legged friends was laid to rest and Doug did a great little painting for our friends, Bob and Julie.
Tasha (10 x 8) oil on board

He had so much fun painting this one, he's started one of Max!  

Speaking of four-legged friends, this is a common sight first thing in the morning as Doug catches up with his FB perusal.  Jeffrey is the favored grandchild (I still don't have any "human" grandchildren yet so these are as close as I get!).   He belongs to our daughter Amy and we "share" custody of him!  hahaha  

Notice how Max is tucked back behind Jeff.  Jeff will literally step right over him to get to his place of honor--on Doug's legs.  Max is very happy to just sit "near" Jeff.  Jeff, however, does get a little annoyed but he is tolerant.
Doug also found time to build me an amazing sewing room this winter.  It is the most amazing room ever!  It started like this:

I know, it's quite embarrassing but quite frankly, how can I kick out some quality craft projects and quilts in such a disaster.  Even Oscar the dog is sizing up the place . . . it's a disaster.

So Doug went to work, working on the sewing room in the mornings then out to the studio to paint in the afternoons.  Getting some ski paintings out to the galleries.  Here are a few of my faves:

Fly Like an Eagle
9 x 12

Rocket Man
6 x 8

Man Versus
16 x 48
Doug also painted a little painting for our sweet neighbor Joe, who painted my sewing room for me.  He worked tirelessly to get it painted.  This is a painting done of the driveway between our two houses and a beautiful Sunset sunset!

Sunset Sunset
8 x 10
And here is how the sewing room turned out:

So the sewing side is on the right - the "office" is on the left.  He built literally everything--the desks, the shelves, the shelf that holds all my paints, wrapping paper station, everything.  This guy's a keeper I'm telling you!  I'm absolutely in love with this room and having a ball.  Be jealous, ladies!  I'm pretty proud!  I did find this little cross stitch in my organizing efforts.

"We Interrupt this Cross-Stitch to have children!"
 I seriously started this before I had Ryan, back in 1987 or 1988.  It went unfinished and I think I'll leave it as it is.

My first project was piecing this quilt that my mother started many many years ago.  She passed away about 8 years ago and I now have a place to finish some of her wonderful projects.  They saved literally EVERY piece of fabric (and there's a lot of polyester pants and "leisure suits" pieces here.) Some of the blocks were actually PIECED together to make one square.  Love and miss her every single day.

Doug also competed in the Drigg's Digs Plein Air last year and came away with First Place as well as first place for the quick draw in the park.  From there, he headed to Southern Utah for a month of teaching and painting my home town.  It absolutely killed me that he was spending so much time in Escalante and I couldn't go with him.  That's such a fun competition, bringing in over 100 artists to compete!  This painting took 2nd place.  This is a little lane heading out to the Liston home where I spent lots of time as a young girl.  It's now part of the Craig Heitteman and Jill Jessen collection!  So thrilled - Jill looked at it and squeeled.  She fell in love with it!  

View of the Blues
(Robert & Louise Liston Home)
12 x 16
 Here are a few more from down south that are now in the Torrey Gallery.
Boulder Quakies
8 x 10

2nd & Center
8 x 10

11 x 14
 He then did a couple of beautiful pieces for the Sears Dixie Invitational at Dixie State University in St. George.  It was great to be invited among some of the great painters of Utah.  There were 130 artists and this painting took 2nd among the oil painters and sold on the opening night:

"Twinkle Twinkle"
25 x 31
So much has happened and since I've had a new sewing room, I'm not making time to blog!!  Well, now I have a space to do it and I'm sitting here at my sweet desk as we speak so I will keep you updated! In the meantime, look at our website and you can always see new work.  Doug's also doing THREE workshops this summer!!

First one is a 3-day workshop (May 18-20) in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City!!  First time ever!!  "Setting an Urban Beat" and you don't want to miss this.  He may even touch on his technique of getting a plein air study then taking it back to the studio and how to use the study to do larger pieces inside.  Here's a couple from downtown Salt Lake City:

Rhythm of the Saints
20 x 24

Positively Painted
18 x 24
Second one is in Driggs, Idaho on July 23-24 in conjunction with the plein air competition .  I think there are only two spots left there so hurry if you want to go north!!

Third one is going to be in Longmont Colorado!  August 4-7 - this will be a 3 1/2 day workshop with 7 sessions and I'm coming to facilitate the FUN part of the workshop.   To register for any of the workshops, go to our website at and then to "workshops" and there will be links and information on how to register!

Please give me a call if you have questions regarding the workshops or if you want some quilting tips!  I truly do appreciate that you share with me a love of Doug's work.

I also will really appreciate any of you who have more grandchildren than you can handle!  I think my grand-dogs have me well trained so I'm ready to graduate to real babies!!  If you have any to share, let me know!  Otherwise, I will do my best to be patient!

Last note, in case you didn't catch this magazine on news stands, super proud of this guy for getting the cover of Plein Air Magazine in November of 2015 and a wonderful article inside written by Editor-in-Chief Steven Doherty.

November 2015 Cover
Gills Rock Geometry
10 x 10
Click HERE to read the article
There are still more amazing paintings on the website if you want to check that out!  He's been a busy busy guy!!

Thanks for reading!!

All my best,


Friday, August 7, 2015

Wet Paint, Polka Dancing and a Grand View!

Went to spend a couple of days with my Dad in Richfield, Utah and we had such a good time.  Saturday morning, we got up and got "spiffied" up cuz I think we're probably going to Ace for our favorite biscuits and gravy.  Sure enough - dad's got on his purple button up shirt and he looks great!  The young gal who serves up the biscuits knows my dad well.  "Well good morning Mr. Griffin!" as she takes his arm and walks him around to his table.  "The usual today for you and your daughter?"  Dad grins, "You betcha!" Good stuff, indeed.  Mental note:  it's going to take probably 6,000 steps to burn off this gravy.  
My dad, Bill Griffin, age 88, and his baby girl off for biscuits and gravy!
he's kinda into selfies, ya know . . . 

"Shall we stop at K-Mart and check your blood pressure?"  "Yep, just as well.  Pull right up there to the front the no-parking red zone! that's where we always park - we'll be just a minute."  I do as I'm told and do, indeed, get a couple of glares, but no worries.  Dad knows right where to go.  Slides his arm into the cuff.  146/92.  He looks at me.  "That's pretty good, ain't it?"  I said, "Not bad at all."  Somehow, this dictates if he's going to feel good or bad for the day.  I said "I think you'd probably be able to do a little dancin' with Molly Brown at the Polka Party!"  His step quickens just a bit as we head back down the aisle back to the car.  Out the doors, the car's still there.  Whew.  Dodged that bullet!  

Back home in his easy chair, he manhandles the remote control and gets us to RFD-TV.  Oh boy.  We made it just in time for the polka party!  My Dad smiles as the music starts up and we watch those people dance.  He's in heaven as his mind is flooded with memories of wonderful times dancing with my mom, playing his own accordion and making people happy.  I'm reminded again, as my Dad tells me almost every time we talk on the phone, "Honey, slow down a little bit and stop and smell the roses." Dad and I had a great day, stopping to smell the roses.  Here's a clip of Molly B's polka party!

Made me realize that life's just too short to inflict yourself with so much stress and feel the pressure to work too damn hard!  Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do some of those things you normally wouldn't do.  One might be to take a quick dash to Richfield, or maybe take a river trip down the Grand Canyon with a bunch of your painting buddies!  Oh SNAP!  That's just what we did!  Doug was so thrilled to get invited by Cody DeLong and a dozen other great artist friends to make this trip.  They went the end of May and were gone for 10 days.  A true painting trip!  

One of the two rafts heading to shore!
6 x 8 oil on panel
They were led by the Arizona Rafting Company who provided all the meals, sleeping accommodations and the guided tour down the river.  Up first thing in the morning to a fabulous breakfast, then pack up their gear, pull out the paints and find a spot to capture a little bit of heaven with a paint brush!  Clean up, pack your stuff and ride the river for 25 or 30 miles.   

Stop, dock the rafts, pull out the paints and do it again!  He came home with about 18 little painting studies.  Here's some of my favorites!

It was the trip of a lifetime.  So many great painters, old friends and new friends!  Here's a shot of the group.  Hope I get all their names right!  

L-R:  Michelle & Bill Cramer, Doug Braithwaite, Hai-Ou Hou, Susie Hyer, Dave Santillanes, Heather Burton, Cody DeLong, Josh Bean, Rosie Sandifer, Amery Bohling and Dennis Farris.
He came home and immediately started working on some larger pieces from his studies.  Here's what he's done so far:

"A Grand View"
30 x 40
This was entered in the Union Station's "Traces of the West" Show - I think it was still wet when we took it in!  It was awarded 1st Place!  

Here's the other one - a bit smaller, but love the soft colors and the feel of the day.  Peaceful indeed.  Love. Love. Love.  

"Canyon Grazing"
18 x 24
Doug also finished a beautiful piece just before he left on his trip for some friends who live in Hawaii.  They were such fun to work with and were thrilled to take a little bit of Utah snow back to their home in Hawaii!  Thanks to Sid and Allyson for letting Doug share his talent with you!!

"A Superior Landing"
24 x 31
Enjoying a day off today and wanted to find a minute to catch you up on our happenings.  Doug's had an amazing year so far and I still need to share his great week in Drigg's Idaho with you as well!  Maybe tomorrow!  I'm going to be sitting at my company's booth at the Weber County Fair!  Compass Minerals!  Come say hi!  

I'm going to now go find some more roses to smell!  which is code for, I'm going to go put my feet up and have a beverage . . . my new favorite drink:  iced tea and lemonade . . . ba bye diet dew . . . 

Hey, just a reminder, we always welcome you to stop by the gallery and/or studio here in Sunset.  And another reminder, take time to do something wonderful for yourelf . . . we have a couple of spots left in the Torrey 3 1/2 day Workshop September 10-13.  I'm taking time off to go with Doug so I'm looking forward to it!!  Go to our website and click on workshops!  

All my best,