Friday, December 28, 2012

January 30 day Painting Challenge! (I'm doing it!)

Yikes!!! I just signed up to do Leslie Byrd Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days painting challenge! (Not without some fear and trepidation!) I confess...I have had major difficulties getting motivated to paint recently. Something in the election kind of took the wind out of my sails and then there has been major family commitments as well and holidays and and and....

So maybe this is just the thing I needed to get going again! I will post my work here and on Leslie's blog as well ( Wish me luck and even pray for me if you will!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Donating Art: A Struggle, A Rant and a Rare Occurrence

Artists are asked all the time to donate their work to benefit various worthy causes. As a co-owner of a gallery for many years I can tell you that almost weekly someone called or came in for that specific reason. I heard "give me your art so I can make money" so many times that I had to begin to define some personal parameters and some personal responses to this. I think anyone who knows me would agree that I am a generous person both with my time and my why then does this bother me so much?

Perhaps I need to say this: I live in an area where art is not valued the way it is in some other areas of the country and I am on a personal mission to change that!  Perhaps that is why this is such a sticking point for me. Perhaps the attitude "Let the artists make the sacrifice" or "wouldn't it be lovely to have art?" or whatever the discussion is in various committee meetings begs this question: Why do people who normally do not perceive monetary value in original art (the "beer" fund is much higher than the "art" fund) then think there will be monetary value for fundraising?

As a group my gallery members once gave works to a worthy local organization. We were told that we could set a reserve price and that nothing would sell for less than that. We later found out that this agreement was not honored and that many of our pieces that normally were worth between $200 and $600 were sold for $10-$15!!! One of our artists later had one of his collectors purchase one of his works from a rummage sale for $10!!!

So I began to create boundaries around my giving determined to maintain the value of my work. Life is a circus but my art is not!

All that being said: Open the floodgates!!!...Cancer has occurred in my sons beautiful girlfriend of many years is undergoing chemo at this writing. There is a fund raiser to off set the enormous costs of treatment being held at the Art*Bar in Riverwest ( ) this coming Thursday Sept. 20th and donations of any kind will be auctioned off. I have donated five pieces of art for the cause...this is what I have to give and give I will. For "love covers a multitude of sins"! 

These 5 pieces will be auctioned off at the Art*Bar this Thursday for the Save-a-Sweetheart fundraiser offsetting the Cost of Chemo Treatment for one very beautiful young woman!!! No reserve...all proceeds go to this cause!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Third Place Award and Two Sales!!! PRAIRIE PLEIN AIR EVENT

On Tuesday this week a group of about 20 area artists were invited to participate in the first Prairie Plein Air Event on the beautiful and private grounds of the West Bend Mutual Life Ins. Company. I was lucky enough to be one of them. We were able to paint anywhere on the property which is mostly a wonderful naturalized prairie from 8 till 3pm. Then we could submit 2 paintings for the competition. Oh it was a good day!!!!

I walked some ways into the prairie at first...measuring my ability to haul my stuff against the view I saw! This fibro girl has to think about that kind of stuff. I found this tree popping up at the path into the field and felt I had found my first challenge. I set up and began to work. Guess what?? The resulting  painting "Entrance to the Barber Prairie" won the Third Place award and was purchased by West Bend Mutual becoming part of their permanent art collection!!

Entrance to the Barber Prairie
12x12 oil on linen panel
I took a break and walked a good deal into the property to stretch my legs and my mind. I had a bite to eat and some caffeine. All the while I had been painting the first one this small group of wild flowers I had seen earlier  (yellow cone I am told) called to me. It was actually somewhat distracting to me. So I quickly set up and began laying in pieces of bright color and then I got out my trusty palette knife and started to place pieces of color in the basic shapes of those flowers. It was a fast painting which sometimes happens to me when I have been thinking about it for some time. I was excited to hear today that "Shooting Stars was also purchased by West Bend Mutual for their collection!! Like I said...I was a good day! Thank God!

Shooting Stars
9x12 oil on linen panel

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Honorable Mention and Two Fiery Dragons

My weekend began well when my painting "Porch Light-Study" received an Honorable Mention at the State of Inspiration awards ceremony on Friday evening. And that was followed by a fun dinner with some of my favorite kind of people...artists!

Honorable Mention at State of Inspiration
Porch Light - Study
12x9 oil on linen panel available
by Wendie Thompson
Saturday was an early start to get to the Bristol Renaissance Faire which is about an hour and a half drive for me. I wanted to get there about an hour before the gates opened so I could find where I wanted to set up and have them help me haul my painting stuff there in one of their carts. (This place is big and there are no carts allowed on the grounds after the gates open) I knew from painting there last year that painting it is like trying to paint swirling confetti! So for my first painting I found this large sculpture of a was roped off and more importantly standing still and had wonderful light streaming down on it from the blessedly mild sunny day!!

The day continued to swirl around me with record crowds expected and believe me they came!!!

So when it came to beginning a new painting I decided to stay right where I was instead of trying to pull all my stuff through that crowd. The light had shifted and back lit the dragon which I was still fascinated with so I painted it again! Both dragons are available.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My happenings this week: Schauer Center Friday, Renaissance Fair Saturday and Sunday and West Bend on Tuesday!!

Wow another busy plein air week coming up for me!

Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 is the awards ceremony for "A State of Inspiration" a WIPAPA juried show at the Schauer Center for the Arts in Hartford WI. I have 4 pieces in this show: 


 Two small studies and two larger pieces from the studies.Can you tell which is which?

Then on Saturday and Sunday I will be one of 20 artists creating plein air work at the Renaissance Faire in Bristol WI (right on the border between Illinois and Wisconsin). I have been looking forward to this all year as I participated last year and had a great time!! I also took many photo's last are some of the paintings that resulted:


Watch me and 19 other artists jousting with our easels!!! Then on Sunday around 3 consider purchasing via auction one of the paintings right off a human easel!
!! Proceeds benefit AWE (Artists Working In Education) who's mission is to provide youth in the Milwaukee area with arts enrichment programs to enhance human potential, advance learning and cultivate community.

On Tuesday the 14th I will be one of 20 participating artists painting on the grounds of West Bend Mutual Insurance Company in West Bend WI. I have never been there but I hear it is a wonderful place!!

Also I have an entry in this August's Bold Brush is a public choice event so if you like my piece on the site it will help me possibly win an award!!! Here is the link: and Here is  what the the painting looks like:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mukwonago: A new Wisconsin Competition

Vernon Marsh Looking West-Evening
12x12 oil
I have had two lovely days painting at a new Plein Air Competition in a place called Mukwonago.   Awards are on Saturday...wish me luck!!

Vernon Marsh Looking East-Morning
20x10 oil

Yerke's on Frog Alley
16x12 oil

Wheat on Road X
9x12 oil

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rachel Weeps: A Word on Abortion

A little over a week ago while in Cedarburg I happened upon a bronze statue in front of a church. I was dumb struck by it. I set up and began to paint it in hopes that I could capture some of what I was feeling in response...I got a start but felt nowhere near finished with this piece and never found time to go back to work on it again. It has stuck with me and today I felt compelled to work on it again. Her empty arms and the grief on her face had me asking some heavy questions as I painted...

Here is the plaque found at the far as I could see it did not identify who the artist is (does anyone know?):

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Wheat Harvest

All week as I have been driving to Cedarburg I have watched as the wheat ripened a crazy yellow-gold color. Quickly it is harvested. As Cedarburg is closer to Lake Michigan then we are the grain hadn't ripened there yet or I surely would have painted it!  So today when the weather is amazing (70's and light breeze, sunny) I just had to paint it!!! This field is not to far from my home. I decided to do a small 6x6 quick study first so as to work out color, value and composition. I give myself about 15 minutes for this. In the study I didn't like how the tree landed right in the middle so I decided to keep it off to the left some in the larger piece. I may go back again this evening when the light is low!
Wheat Harvest-Study 6x6 oil

Wheat Harvest
12x12 oil

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cedarburg 2012: An end and a Beginning!

Strawberry Red by Wendie Thompson
12x9 oil

Today was pick up day for Cedarburg. Final pick up of unsold chance for camaraderie between artist friends and for some saying goodbye to this small, compelling, historical town for quite some time! 

With the addition of "Strawberry Red" (My Paint the Festival piece) I completed 15 painting! Last night I slept 12 hours! I pushed myself...needing to find out if I had the stamina to do a long competition with that much painting and all the socializing as well. I'm good to go!! and while I didn't win any awards sometimes neither did some nationally known I was in some good company.

Just a note about the quality of this years art: STAGGERINGLY GOOD!! I am so excited to see the ante upped in Wisconsin. We are creating a history in plein air painting in Wisconsin that may have potential to benefit generations and that my friends is what it is really (for me) all about!

Jason Sacran Best of Show Award winner!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Last Two for Cedarburg: The Heat is On!!!

Have you ever noticed that competition brings out the best in some people and causes others difficulty? Or maybe it's more like this: Sometimes we all can rise to the challenge and sometimes it gets the better of us. I have been peeking at my friends art this week in Cedarburg and I got to tell you...most have risen!!! I am literally blown away by the pieces I have seen and that's just a handful.  Many artists paint a bunch of paintings and then (because we can only submit two for the main competition) they have to try and figure out which ones the judges will like. It's more or less a toss of the dice as judges are people with preferences too!

I painted two more yesterday after watching Micheal Latala's wonderful demo at lunch! By the way it has become unbearably hot here the last few days...90"s + humidity...dangerously hot! I got to go to a friends house to paint in the afternoon but got to take a most welcome dip in her pool first!! 

Susan's Tigers
10x8 oil

I went to cool down and get a bite to eat watching the sky the whole time...It looked like another promising sunset. My friend Judith Reidy joined me for some lively conversation. I love that part of the competition! Then I decided to head west where I knew I could get a good view of the sky:

Magic Trick
12x9 oil

Now comes the really hard part...picking only two out of 14 to enter. Any suggestions???

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Creek, a Sunset and a Nocturne: Cedarburg

Porch Light by Wendie Thompson
12x9 oil I am having way too much fun in Cedarburg. In the last 5 days I have created 12 paintings! Today I am resting and catching up on my computer stuff so I can go again tonight or tomorrow! I am so excited about the painting above (Porch Light) as it is only the second nocturne (painted at night) that I have done and the first one is the only painting I have ever burned!! I went painting with my friends Anthony Sell and Jason Sacran yesterday. Thanks for the encouragement you two!! 

I slept in some yesterday as about this time in the competition my fibro begins to really catch up with me forcing rest. Then I took off for Cedarburg arriving around  3. I found Jason by Cedar Creek working on a drop dead gorgeous piece of the rocks and small falls. It has a really abstract quality about it. I set up and began to paint as he finished. We agreed to meet later and try to catch the elusive sunset.

The Rocks Cry Out by Wendie Thompson
12x12 oil
As the sun began to lower I drove out to Granville Road and found a beautiful opening in the fields and trees and plenty of sky view. I set up and began painting. I little later Jason joined me and we watched the sky do it's magic.

Light Show on Granville by Wendie Thompson
12x12 oil
Towards the end of this Anthony Sell showed up and we started talking nocturne. The night before those two have painted at night and I gotta tell you...contenders...both!!!! We were really blest with a soft breeze, low bugs and no lack of opportunity in downtown Cedarburg. I didn't have the "gear" so I set up close to a window with florescent lights which provided me with some light. Still I found my "color memory" kicking in. I always keep my pallete layout the same so I sort of knew where to lay my brush however until you get these pieces in the light you really don't know what you have! "Porch Light" is the result!

Here are some more of the pieces I've done this week:

Reaction to the Roses by Wendie Thompson
9x12 Quick Paint oil
At the edge of the Grain Field
by Wendie Thompson
12x16 oil
Sunset on my Mind by Wendie Thompson
10x8 oil

Corn Rows on Bridge Street by Wendie Thompson
20x10 oil
Hope to see you all at the reception, awards ceremony ans free party this Friday (22nd) from 5-8
ONLY 3 DAYS to BUY GREAT ART: Friday 12:30-8 Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 9-3

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cedarburg: Wow Scary Start!!!

Totally pumped about getting up early and heading off to the Port Washington day for the Cedarburg event I decided to load my car the night before. As I lifted my Art Cart to put it in something in my back well, snapped! OUCH! I really didn't know how bad I hurt it till the next morning when I could hardly move. Ice all night and a handful of Ibuprofen barely touched it. I considered not going was not going to happen. I confess...I shed a few tears on the way. It hurt to breath and I was scared.

So I decided to paint small, unload my things one light armful at a time and paint only where I could be close to the car. Here is the result:

Fishing Buddies
6x6 oil

I did it but I was totaled. I went to lunch with some good friends. Then I took a nap in my I just go home or try to paint another one? I decided to try to paint again. I had been itching to paint at the Port Washington Inn, a great B+B that I had stayed at before and I knew they had a great garden! I grabbed some more Ibuprofen and decided to try again. Here: is attempt #2:

Port Washington Inn: Roses
9x12 oil
I have to pick between the two for an entry for this portion of the competition. When I was done I high tailed it back home to an awaiting ice pack and some dinner. An easy, hopefully early night was on the menu!

I woke this morning feeling still a little twitchy but somewhat human again...I am SO thankful!!! I set off to Cedarburg again hoping for the best and trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I drove around some looking for the scene that screamed "paint me" to me. Then I decided to walk around this charming historic downtown to some friends...get some coffee. That's when I found the Schroeder House. Built in 1856 it is a real beauty. I set up and decided to do a small study first:

Schroeder House
8x10 oil

I struggled some with the architecture...not my strong suit. But I loved the baskets of begonias so I got out a larger panel and focused on those!

16x20 oil
Again it wore me out. I had lunch, nap...and painted again...but I'm not ready to share that one with you to you tomorrow!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Getting ready for Cedarburg: What does it take??

Tomorrow the largest and to me the most exciting open plein air competition in Wisconsin begins and I am frantically getting ready to participate!!! Not only is there some big prize money on the line but there will be so many of my artists friends coming from all over the state and even the country! Oh JOY...Not only do I get to do what I love the most but I get to do it with some of the best folks on the planet and there is potential that I might knock off a "Good one" and win a prize!  I have learned that anything can happen when painting on location and so I have developed a sort of "boy scout" (be prepared) approach to my preparations.

"Rainy Day Blue" by Wendie Thompson
Last years First Place Winner: Rivers Edge
10x8 oil Available I am a list maker and I started this list quite a while ago. I found that what works best for me is to start the plein air season by limiting my canvas sizes to a rectangle, a square and an oblong. That way I can purchase frames in different colors in those three sizes ahead of time (gold, silver and dark). Because once you are out in the field you need, especially in quick paint, to turn your work in framed...only you don't know what it will look like yet. I have seen great pieces of art go unnoticed because of poor framing.

Here is my list:

Palette knives
Paint tubes (I hate to run out of a favorite color when painting so I bring extra)
Paper towels
Turp jar and extra Gamsol
Medium (I have been using Walnut oil)
Umbrella ( I have two: a Shade Buddy which sticks in the ground and one that attaches to my easel)
Canvas panels: For an 8 day paint event like Cedarburg I will bring about 30
Trash bags
Bug spray: I have been using those great Off clip ons!
Fold-able raincoat
Two small tarps in case I need some extra rain protection
Apron and a warmer paint shirt and I keep an old lightweight sweater in the bottom of my cart
Gallon size freezer zip lock bags...Every thing goes in these as organizers esp. liquids!!!
Frames as needed
Camera and batteries
Wet painting carriers
Water: I keep a case in the back of my car
Coffee: I love Starbucks Double shots!!!
My ARtComber cart...I love this thing!!
Lawn chair

I'm probably forgetting something but all of this goes in my car. Most of it fits in my ArtComber Cart that has great big wheels. One thing I can tell goes in neat but somewhere between when I leave the house and when I get back it is all over the car! :) Heaven help me!

"Selfless Abandon" by Wendie Thompson
12x16 oil
2011 Cedarburg Entry

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Painting Beloit and Evansville

117 Main
12x12 oil on panel
(Evansville WI)

So much painting this week!! On the 31st of May the Beloit Plein Air Competition began with work being turned in on Thursday June 7th. I painted 2 days as it is an hour and a half drive for me! This year we were allowed to paint on the whole Beloit College campus. What a beautiful place! I was drawn to the corner of the Campus called the "Poetry Garden" over and over again. Then one evening the dam on the Rock River grabbed my attention. Here are my results!

"Entrance to the Past"
20x16 oil on panel
(Beloit College, Beloit)
"Silent Verse"
20x16 oil on panel
(Beloit College, Beloit)
"Taming the Wild"
12x9 oil on panel
I painted a studio piece of my friend Carolyn walking through the Peonies in Green Lake:

"Carolyn in the Poenies"
20x10 oil on panel
Then I spent a morning painting with my friend Marcia in her amazing flower garden:

"Marcia's Roses"
9x12 oil on panel

And an afternoon painting with my friend Gail near my home in Ashppun: 
"Farm on Davidson
12x12 oil on panel

And finally I painted in the most delightful small town called Evansville WI... Magical!!! (See first photo...117 Main)

All works are available!!!!

Next up CEDARBURG!!!!


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