Thursday, December 18, 2014

Colors of the Riverbank

You wouldn't think that there's a lot of color here in the Northwest at this time of year, but there is!!!! The riverbanks are filled with reddish twigs and the deep green of evergreens, tans and yellows left over from earlier in the Fall. Although plants are dormant, buds are beginning to show on tree branches, a promise of the Spring to come. So here is my interpretation of a riverbank, inspired from the riverbanks where I live.
Colors of the Riverbank • Original acrylic • 12" x 12"
©Melissa Gannon 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Glow in the Woods

Looking at my backyard, I see the remains of the flowers and greenery left from the summer. It's a little brown with some color of berries showing here and there. Well, all this can go into a painting!!!! I gathered leaves, flowers, ferns and stems and used them to create texture in my art. I got so carried away that I had boards all over my living room with the paint drying!!!!! It was AWESOME!
my backyard, gathered plant materials, what happens with plants worked into the first layer
A Glow in the Woods • Mixed watermedia on Arches 140# cold press paper

The above piece started out with a layer of watercolor paint and acrylic ink and lots of plants. After that dried, I added more paint and texture. It's a VERY richly textured piece. 

So, all those plants leftover from Summer can be a COOL addition to your art!!!!!!!!! HAVE FUN!!! 

Friday, December 5, 2014


Forests and woods in the Northwest fascinate me. There is SO MUCH foliage and it looks SO disorganized!!!!!! However, everything is situated for the best light! Hence, to nature, it is VERY organized!!! Using mixed watermedia, stamping and texturing, I made an attempt to artistically represent nature.
Tangles • Original mixed watermedia • 15" x 11" on 100% cotton watercolor paper • SOLD

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Public Art Show

I am currently exhibiting my work in Clackamas County at the Public Services Building-Entry Gallery from November 14, 2014 to Wednesday February 12, 2015.

The address is: 2051 Kaen Road, Oregon City, OR

Thank you to Arts Action Alliance for sponsoring this show and hanging my work BEAUTIFULLY!

Photos of my work at the Public Services Building-Entry Gallery

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quiet Flow

This is a watercolor I've been working on for a couple of days. This is actually my 2nd version of the same piece. Sometimes paintings don't go quite the way you want them to the first time. I live reasonably close to Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge and I have many photos from this area. If you like birds, nature, and quiet, this is the place to go!!!!!! There is a one way road that takes you through marsh, forest, grassland and mixtures of all of the above. In the winter the swans hang out there as well as geese, ducks, hawks, eagles, herons, and all the little birds as well! Bring your camera and or binoculars and enjoy this cool place! The painting below is based on one of my photos from this area.
Quiet Flow • Original Watercolor  on Arches 140# cold press paper • 11" x 15" • Available—click here for price

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Urban Walk in Oregon City

Today, my brother took my Mom and I on an urban walk in Oregon City. Believe it or not, it didn't rain much, the sun even came out and the temperature was perfect for walking!!! This walk was full of variety! We saw barns, cows, trees, the river, trains, cormorants, historic houses and even got a good uphill on the way home! What a perfect activity for a Sunday morning! I took some photos and here they are!
Thank you Joe for a GREAT WALK!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Riverbank Music

This time of year vibrates with color! So many colors to paint!!!!!! Yellow leaves stand out against a deep blue-green background. It's been so interesting to look around at how colors stand out in relation to one another. To help the yellows stand out in this painting I used the Munsell color wheel. According to this color system, the complement of yellow is blue-violet and the accent colors are red-violet and blue-green. A little different color system from what we're used to but very effective!
Riverbank Music • 10" x 10" 
acrylic on 3/4" wrap around canvas, painting continues on sides, ready to hang

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Song of the Riverbank

One of the things that I really LIKE about where I live, is the proximity to rivers! I LOVE how the water and reflections change and the march of the seasons along the banks. Morning and afternoon sunlight highlight the gorgeous yellow leaves at this time of year. This painting is based on one of those river scenes where all the colors and shapes make a song.

Song of the Riverbank 
12" x 12" acrylic on 3/4" wrap around canvas, ready to hang

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Newest Painting

This piece has been in my mind to paint for awhile. I just needed to find the right time! It spilled out over the last couple of days. Although I used a photo, I decided to do a value sketch to figure out the shape of the bird and some of the water ripples and where to crop.
You can see my crop and the shadow and light divisions on the bird in the sketch.

In the painting below,  I tried to juxtapose warm and cool colors. If I didn't change the color value too much but wanted to show a different shape, I changed color temperature. Some of the water is similar in value but because of the warm and cool shapes next to each other, the shapes show up. I also referred to the Munsell Color Wheel for ideas of which colors to use as highlights. This color wheel is a little different from the traditional 12 hue color wheel. Using descriptive brushwork, warm and cool color oppositions and differing color and value shapes, this piece has a lot of energy!
Swan Moment • 6" x 6" • View on Daily Paintworks

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Painting the Impressions of Lavender Fields

Adventures in purple characterized art class today as we painted our impressions of lavender fields in watercolor. Purple and green always go together partly because they make up two thirds of the triad, purple, orange and green. I wanted everyone to concentrate on color shapes and not worry about specifics! In other words, JUST PAINT!!!!! Below are the paintings that we created today!
Fields of lavender! What AWESOME pieces!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Paintings from Art Class Today

Today in class we painted leaves! Everyone enjoyed painting and everyone had a different interpretation of the subject. Below are the works from my class today! Autumn, that cool time of year when the wind blows a lot and the air is filled with colorful leaves!

Thanks everyone for allowing me to post your AWESOME work!

Always wanted to take an art class? Visit my website at Melissa Gannon and click on my classes page for my Winter schedule!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nature's Paintings

In downtown Portland today a chill wind blew from the East. Leaves flew through the air, surfing the currents, floating gently to the ground. Sunshine added light and shadow, illuminating everything it touched. Looking up, I started taking pictures of leaves in the trees looking like stained glass windows with the sunlight. My Mom pointed out the many colored leaves on the ground. And you know what? It was a complete painting, complete with a color scheme. AND…All the elements of design were present—line, shape, color, movement, size and perspective; as well as the principles of design—unity, harmony, contrast, rhythm, repetition, gradation, balance and dominance. Nature creates some of the best paintings!!!!!!
Aren't the colors AWESOME????
All text and photos ©Melissa Gannon 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Steps to Creating a Painting

Painting with acrylics is rewarding and very awesome because white covers everything! If you don't like something, you can paint it over! This gives a freedom due to the fact that anything can be changed.

In painting Autumn's Magic Wand, I went through several steps. On a toned canvas, I laid out the design and blocked in some of the color. You can see the orange tone of the canvas. This will unify the painting. Also it's neat to see what the colors do against the background color. Play a little! Putting strokes of white shows how bright that will look, pink sings against the orange, deeper reds show Autumn and suggestions of green indicate conifers.

In this next step I decided to add a little blue, remember that blue and orange are complements and blue will always look good next to orange! So it's a very safe color to put in. I've added to the background and added reflections. White stroked onto the tree trunks begins to make them pop.

 Now to add even more color! More white and yellow white in the sky for the sunspot, a little light blue to sing against the yellows and orange, dark in the foreground, more detail in the trees and more reflection. See how adding more white in the reflection area begins to change the color balance and value balance of the painting.

Autumn's Magic Wand ©Melissa Gannon 2014
View on Daily Paintworks
Here is the completed painting. Even more detail has been added to the foliage in the form of brush strokes, the land in the background is lighter and the foreground foliage stokes add character and interest. Overall, the toned orange in the background still shows through to add to the chorus of color.

All text and photos ©Melissa Gannon 2014 All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Acrylic Workshop — Acrylic Impressions — An Autumn Painting

Today I taught a workshop in acrylic—an impressionistic Autumn painting. Combining a couple of photos, I talked about composition and color, and did a demo. Everyone had FUN! Some people painted their first acrylic painting! A great way to spend the day and celebrate the season. Below, with permission from the artists, is that work that everyone did today. Everyone had a unique interpretation of the subject and an individual color scheme. What AWESOME work!
What colorful celebrations of Fall!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bike Ride Views

Today the sun appeared after a morning of chilly, misty fog! Every time the sun comes out here in the Northwest, I immediately feel that I should be outside celebrating!!!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!! SUNSHINE!!!!!! So, this afternoon I went for a bike ride and brought my camera, the better to appreciate the views of Autumn! Some of my photos are below.
Views on my bike ride today! What a difference the sun makes!!!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Leaves Overlooking the Water and Kitty Perfection — A green-eyed kitty out for a walk!

My latest reading material has been revisiting the Impressionists. Analyzing the way that Monet, Renior, Cezanne, and other impressionistic painters used color and created compositions has been very illuminating. I have read these books before but every time I look at them again I see something new. Closing my eyes, I see dabs of alternating color!!!!!!! How to make reds sing, what to do with yellows, what kinds of color combinations work—all this and more were so well addressed by these painters.

So while creating my newest pieces colors danced in my head and vibrated together. Leaves Overlooking the Water is inspired by the turning season and the river by my house. I took the photo while wandering along the riverbank. I want to paint from this photo again; I think that there are multiple painting possibilities in this reference. Below is the reference photo and the painting.
This is a photo of leaves above the water.
Leaves Overlooking the Water • Original acrylic on cradled gessoboard • 12" x 12" • Buy now on Etsy

My latest kitty painting, Kitty Perfection, practically painted itself! It's SO AWESOME when a painting does that! This calico kitty with blues and greens on a peachy background vibrates with color and brush strokes. A fun piece with a great composition. The painting is below.
Kitty Perfection • acrylic on cradled clayboard • 8" x 8" • Buy now on Etsy

 All text and photos ©Melissa Gannon 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Just Finished!

This morning I decided that I'm REALLY FINISHED with this piece! I have changed the colors in the background at least 3 times, tweaked the color on the bottom right at least twice, and added different colors and highlights to the rooster's comb about 5 times!!!!!!!  Oh, and I've worked on the feathers quite a bit as well and underneath the paint is a layer of collage for added texture.
So, here it is: Anticipation
Text and photos ©Melissa Gannon 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Star Attraction" — A Unique Piece

Have you ever started a piece, never finished it, and when you looked at it again didn't want to finish it? Well, that's how Star Attraction began. Looking at all my available canvases to paint on, I came across an older piece which had never been completed. Deciding that this canvas would be the perfect size for the rooster that I wanted to paint, I gessoed over it with kind of a pink color and went to town! Well, my first issue, which I didn't think would be an issue, occurred when I figured out that the collage of acrylic skins showed through my painting and detracted from my rooster! What a bummer! I wondered if I could pull the painting together and fight the weird directions of the collage pieces. (You can see the under collage above the rooster's comb; it's that star shape radiating out.) There was more collage that didn't fit in the feathers. Not wanting to abandon the piece and liking my brushwork, I pulled out my collection of acrylic skins and figured, why not??? So this piece would have more than just the brushwork! Lighten up already!!!!! I put a lot of skin pieces in the red comb of the rooster, in the breast feathers, the tail feathers and sprinkled some through the background. I thought the stars collaged in the upper right hand corner added a little whimsy! All the texture really adds interest to this piece and experimenting a bit provided creative challenge.
"Star Attraction" • 10" x 8" • $100.00

Text and photos ©Melissa Gannon 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Seasonal Note Cards from my Etsy store!

Think about the upcoming holidays? Can't wait for that shivery, wintery feeling?
Here are some seasonal note cards from my  Etsy Store: Melissa Studio Fine Art
Check them out!
Christmas Cats

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sand Dunes in Watercolor

Today's watercolor class created color complexity using glazing. Many folks have questions about glazing, so I thought that it would be a good exercise to incorporate it into a painting. We undercoated with yellow and blue and glazed over that with orange. You can see the beautiful results below!
As you can see, everyone had a different interpretation of this interesting subject.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Traveler's Song

Traveler's Song…poetry with paint…presented quite a challenge! I decided I wanted an Autumn piece with Snow Geese. My first step after figuring out where to put the geese was to mask the birds and trees with masking fluid and masking tape. Then I washed on watercolor paint and acrylic inks, tilted the paper to let everything flow, added texture with saran wrap, lace and whatever I could lay my hands on.
First wash of Traveler's Song with all the masking removed   

What next? How do I add while keeping the texture and spontaneity already present? I decided to add some blues in the water, add more leaves and more detail in the tree trunks. Nearly finished, I spent several days looking at the piece trying to figure out what little details would make the piece SING without going too far. The finished product is below.
Traveler's Song • mixed watermedia on Fabriano 140# paper • $600.00
Just feel yourself watching the Snow Geese winging their way. Smell the smells of Autumn and see the colors and the colored light!

Photos and text ©Melissa Gannon 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Golden Woods in Watercolor!

Today we celebrated Autumn by painting a piece with BRIGHT colors!!!!!! Trees clothe themselves in yellows and oranges at this time of year—truly an inspiration for a seasonal painting! We started by masking the trees and then freely adding flowing, magical colors! Watercolor is SO SPONTANEOUS! Time passed quickly and we all ENJOYED!!!! Thanks everyone for coming!!!!!
Some of the steps we took to make COOL ART!

Our BEAUTIFUL Autumn painting!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dynamic Change—painting process

Recently I've been combining watercolors and acrylic inks as well as black ink. Try putting that on your wet paper!!!!! Major BIG black spot!!! To this painting soup, I'm adding ox gall liquid as well as spattering gum arabic. Over all this wet paint I place saran wrap, lace, cheese cloth and whatever else I can come up with. Then comes the hardest part, letting the whole piece dry! If I'm patient enough to do this, when I remove all of the texture it's a lot like unwrapping a Christmas present!!!! WOW! Lots of color mixes and color flows! 

Next comes the hard part. How do I define what I want without losing all of that cool texture? So this process involves a lot more thought. Using acrylic inks which are opaque helps because the ink can cover but stay watery enough to blend in with the watercolor already in the piece. In this piece a lot of the blue in both the sky and water was added with acrylic ink. I thought it was too yellow and wanted to add color variety as well as set off the oranges and browns. The cool blue also really makes the yellow POP!

All content of post including photos of artwork ©Melissa Gannon 2014
Dynamic Change • mixed watermedia on Arches 300# paper • 22" x 30" • $600.00

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Evolution of a Painting

Watercolor painting is exciting to me! Color moves, blends and swirls. Acrylic inks mixed into the beginning wash add color excitement. Adding Ox Gall Liquid to the paint increases granulation and Gum Arabic creates shiny areas where it's applied.

This piece began with a
reference sketch. To keep the whites of the tree trunks, I used masking tape and scattered masking tape pieces throughout the piece. To finish this piece with sparkle, I spattered white acrylic ink on top.

The Serenity of Change
Autumn brings changes of color, of temperature, of daylight and the air just crackles! This piece shows that change can be serene. Everything is as it's supposed to be.

All content of post including photos of artwork ©Melissa Gannon 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

"Autumn Cluck" The story of a painting!

How does a painting begin? Where does it lead? What happens? Well, I can tell you that it doesn't always go where I think it will and the result is quite often a surprise even to me!

This painting began with a sketch from one of my reference photos. (I'm always looking for good chicken photos!) It's a simple sketch and of course I thought that I'd have a simple painting! Weeeellllllllllll...........I started last night. My first issue was the tail feathers in the upper right hand corner.........too dark.......too weird...........wrong color..........wrong angle.........OK, I finally sorted that out and then the shadow in the lower right......too dark......wrong color......hmmmmmmm......Figured out how to make that work and then of course came the background. After I found the right balance of color, it just looked empty!!!!! Keep it simple, I'm thinking...well, it's TOO simple!!!!!  Put in a fence, a building, a line, what????? This morning, since it's Fall and the leaves are falling—I like to hear them crunch when I ride over them on my bike—I thought, maybe I'll work some leaves in. Well, you know, that was just right!!!!!!! So, here it is—Autumn Cluck!
All content of post including photos of artwork ©Melissa Gannon 2014

This is the sketch for the painting.

 "Autumn Cluck" • 8"  8" • Sold • acrylic on 3/4" cradled clayboard

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pear Design in Acrylic Workshop!

Today's workshop topic was Pear Design using Acrylic paint and collage. We had a great time stencilling, collaging, and just applying COLOR!!!!! We worked with pears for the design because pears are EASY to draw! The time went incredibly FAST! Below are photos of our work today! Thanks to everyone for making this a GREAT DAY!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A wonderful painting day!

Fuchsia Hangout • 8" x 8" • $100.00


Today I finished "Fuchsia Hangout." Using a mixture of fluid and heavy bodied acrylics in my brush lends a different look to the paint strokes. Color sparkles through this piece, gems and jewels of different sizes and shapes.
All content of post including photos of artwork ©Melissa Gannon 2014