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On “location’ at home the first day of the Humboldt Paintout with Peregrin

Most art shows have gone virtual due to Covid-19 but they’re still happening! I recently rejoined our local Redwood Art Association in time to enter the 2nd annual Humboldt Paint Out with was held from September 29- October 3, Monday through Saturday. The sticky part was that, due to a wildfire to the east of us it was smoky for the entire time (three out of four weeks total). Time to “make lemonade”. I was intending to head out and see what, if anything, I could find as a subject but saw the sun rising above the evergreens to the east of us and decided I’d try to capture that. Grabbed my painting gear walked three feet from my studio, set up and got to it. I had already decided to paint in gouache (opaque watercolor) which I’ve used on and off for decades. Here’s the result:

“Smoke Light”

That same day I painted “Smoke” from the same spot trying to capture the visual texture and color of it. So instead of just photos I have some of it recorded in paint.


The next few days were really bad and we didn’t want to be outside at all unless absolutely necessary. But Friday, Oct. 2, rolled around and I decided to hit the road and head north. My original idea had been to do one painting at each of the lagoons- Dry Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Freshwater Lagoon, Stone Lagoon and I hoped that maybe some or all of them, being right by the ocean, might be clear enough to be ok. Alas, it wasn’t smoke but heavy fog that put paid to that idea. I’d also wanted to paint at Prairie Creek State Park, which is also part of Redwood National Park, so I went on north with fingers crossed. And when I got to Orick, not far to the south, SUNSHINE! And, although it was hazy, it the air was ok enough to set up and paint a scene of the namesake prairie. I’d taken one of our collies, Hailey, with me and she happily settled down at the base of my easel for the duration. In fact, she got a little stubborn when it was time to leave.

“Hazy Morning, Prairie Creek”

By the time I was done the smoke was starting to thicken so home I went back into fog and smoke.
At this point I decided to stay home and finish up the event at our house and in our own neighborhood. When we bought the acre we built our house on there were almost no trees left from when the previous owner had it logged. But there was one special tree, a very old alder. I created the basic floor plan for our house and put the window over the sink such that it framed it. It was challenging to paint in the shifting smoke light but I finally felt I’d captured it. I’d been wanting to do this big old bole for years and had only managed a couple of sketches. I did it in the afternoon after I got returned.

“Our Old Alder, Smoke Light”

One more day to go and, of course, it was smoky at first. On the road one takes before turning onto our street one of the properties to the north has a few very tall old pine trees, probably what’s left from a windbreak. After lunch the wind must have changed because suddenly we had clear blue skies! So I loaded up my painting gear and drove the whole couple of minutes or so to the corner where I could set up under some very old cypress trees. I work pretty fast. One of the things I like about gouache is that it dries fast so one layer colors quickly. Which was good because I had about ten minutes to go and back came the smoke. I’d taken photos when I gotten there so was able to get the last bits done in the studio (which is NOT cheating). I did have fun playing with color temperature.

“Neighborhood Pines”

On deadline day, Saturday the third, I scanned all of them, made necessary adjustments so they would be as accurate as possible and submitted them. And then waited, as we do when entering shows. The juror was Randall Sexton, a very accomplished artist who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since I’m not really a plein painter like those who do it as their main art activity I didn’t think much about getting an award. For me it was more about getting involved again in the local art scene and getting started doing location work in gouache. But…to my surprise and pleasure “Our Old Alder, Smoke Light” took 5th place! The reward was a check for $200, a $100 gift certificate from our local frame shop and another gift certificate from a local spa for a massage! I loved that the judge liked the one that is the most special to me.

And wait, there’s more! I also enter the RAA’s “Halloween” show. Once again I used it as a springboard to try out something new, a combination of pen and ink and watercolor. Once again my purpose was to have fun participating. Scott W. Prior, nationally known painter, was the juror and he picked “Quoth, The Raven” for an Award of Merit”!

“Quoth, The Raven” pen and ink, watercolor on hot press illustration board

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the last month or so. I’m currently working on a set of three oil paintings for a Nov. 13 deadline. In my last post I showed the value and color studies for them. I’ll post a full step by step when they’re done.

Life Goes On…Part 16- This ‘n That

Inktober 52: Prompt:-“Tail”

Still doing my Inktober52 pieces every week. As always I’m always finding a way to use animals for my “solution”. For “Tail” I used one of the photos I took a couple of years ago of a pair of young skunks whose mom had brought them into our yard. It’s been quite popular. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any of my drawings, you can find me at www.instagram/foxartist/

Green and yellow zucchini

The vegetable garden is really starting to produce. Peas (Hurst Green Shaft, an English variety) are almost done. Lettuces (Forellenschluss, the original of Flashy Troutback, and Merveille des Quatre Saisons) are being picked regularly, also ‘Little Snow Pea Purple’ the first pod pea we’ve tried and it’s producing like crazy. We like to let some of the green zucchini get big enough to stuff. We had a second helping of that last night.

The “big” experiment has been to try a turban squash. We have quite a nice microclimate on our property but would there be enough heat for one to really grow and get big enough to eat?

Baby ‘Turk’s Turban’ squash

It’s looking hopeful so far! Our growing season goes until the first frost in or around mid-October so plenty of time, I think.

‘Gold Band’ lilies

New to the garden and the last lilies to bloom this year are these spectacular ‘Gold Band” lilies from Old House Gardens, a wonderful employee-owned business that raises and sells heritage varieties of bulbs and tuberous plants that are often not available anywhere else.

Finally, back to the “Art Dept”. I currently have a show up at the Arcata Healing Arts Center, a lovely peaceful venue located at 940 Ninth St. Arcata. All the paintings are from my various trips to Mongolia, sometimes in realistic settings, sometimes using decorative motifs common in Mongol art. It will be there through the end of the year. The Center is open by appointment only, but quite a bit of the art can be seen through the windows. I love how my work looks on those warm golden walls!

The Opening Weekend of “Wildlife Art: Field To Studio”!

Group shot 1

I’m back home after my three plus week trip back east and pretty much caught up. I had a great time at the Explorers Club Annual Dinner and down south visiting a number of wildlife refuges. The frosting on the cake was the opening reception on March 31 and also weekend activities for “Wildlife Art: Field to Studio” at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. Five of the seven participating artists were able to attend. From left to right in the photo above: David Rankin, Alison Nicholls, Susan Fox, Sean Murtha and Karryl. All our hard work has paid off. It’s a fantastic exhibition that I’m so proud to be part of!

Here’s a album of photos from the events…

Susan Fox poses with some of her paintings
Susan Fox poses with her takhi paintings

Sean Murtha with some of his work
Sean Murtha with some of his work

Karryl chats about her sculpture with a guest
Karryl chats about her sculpture with a guest

Alison Nicholls with the Un Ambassador from Botswana and his wife
Alison Nicholls with the UN Ambassador from Botswana and his wife

David Rankin in front of his work and Karryl
David Rankin in front of his work and. on the left, Karryl

Looks like I had a young admirer
Looks like I had a young admirer. We each had one of the framed “fieldwork boxes” on the wall with our work to carry out the main theme of the exhibition, which is that we all do fieldwork, including sketches, paintings and sculpture, which inspires and informs our art.

Carel Brest van Kempen's work. And the snake. Seemed appropriate.
Carel Brest van Kempen’s work. And the snake which was one of the models for a Saturday morning event.

Sean Murtha checking out Kelly Singleton's fieldwork box
Sean Murtha checking out Kelly Singleton’s fieldwork box

David Rankin created a video featuring all of us in the field and examples of our work
David Rankin created a video featuring all of us in the field and examples of our work. It’s playing on a loop at the gallery.

I was honored
I was honored to have guests from the Mongolia Permanent Mission to the UN and some of their friends

Lillian Tung Lum and guest
Exhibition curator Lillian Tung Lum and guest

Curator Claudia Schipper
Curator Claudia Schipper

Curator Alice Sherwood (right) and Alison Nicholls
Curator Alice Sherwood (right) and Alison Nicholls

On Saturday morning the gallery hosted a special event for children, bringing in live animals from Animal Embassy for them to draw.

Chris Evers of Animal Embassy and green tree snake
Chris Evers of Animal Embassy and the emerald tree boa

African bull frog; A young one, less than half the size of an adult. They are the second largest species of frog in the world
African bull frog; A young one, less than half the size of an adult. They are the second largest species of frog in the world. He was the model for my groups.

Explaining how to see larger shapes first
Explaining how to see larger shapes first

Scorpion, one of three who “modeled” for the kids

All the kids did a great job!
All the kids did a great job! David Rankin on the left showing how to draw a scorpion

We had five tables going
We had five tables of young artists going. In the background you can see Sean Murtha and his model, a small parrot

A final group shot
A final group shot. As animal artists, of course we couldn’t resist the opportunity to pose with the emerald tree boa

“Wildlife Art: Field to Studio” will be open until May 4 at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. You can find out hours and more at the Flinn Gallery website.




Check Out Our Great Promo For “WildLife Art: Field to Studio”!

"A Fine Fall Morning (Hustai Takhi)" oil 16x24"
“A Fine Fall Morning (Hustai Takhi)” oil 16×24″- One of my paintings that will be in the exhibition

The opening reception for “Widlife Art: Field to Studio” is barely a month away. I picked up the last of the frames today. There will be a frame-a-thon in the studio on Monday. But also time for working up drawings for a new body of work, taking things in a new direction, so stay tuned for more on that. In the meantime, here’s the link to a great promotional presentation created by David Rankin, one of the artists in the exhibition. Enjoy!

Coming in August- An Exhibition Of My Mongolia Paintings At The National Museum Of Mongolia In Ulaanbaatar!

Done for the Day  oil  17x30"
Done for the Day oil 17×30″- one of the paintings in my upcoming exhibition

I am proud to announce that “My Mongolia: The Paintings of American Artist Susan Fox” will be hosted by the National Museum of Mongolia from August 9-16. The opening ceremony will be on Friday the 9th from 4-6pm.

The exhibition has literally been a year in the making since the seeds of it were planted when I in Mongolia last year.

I will be showing at least one painting from each of my seven trips, over two dozen in all. The subjects range from argali to Mongol horses to herders, horse trainers and Gobi landscapes. All are original oils created from my experiences, memories and the thousands of reference photos I’ve taken over the years. A number of the pieces have been juried into various national shows, sometimes more than one.

If you live in, or will be in, Ulaanbaatar I hope that you will come by and share a little of my Mongolia.