Saturday, January 16, 2016

A New Day!

"A New Day" 15x30" original oil painting by Bonnie Mason

There's just something about NEW things :) New cars, new babies (we were all new once) new years and brand new shiny days. Morning is my favorite time of day- because its all brand new and full of hope. If you've ever driven down Williamson Road in Roanoke early in the morning and crossed the bridge just before it goes down to Salem Avenue as the sun has just come up - maybe you've experienced what I felt as I stood on the bridge taking reference photos for this painting. It was exciting! And not just because I felt like I might be run over at any moment!! lol

There were so many beautiful shadows with gorgeous reflections in them and toasty warm sunlit was a visual feast. I could just imagine all those people rushing by in their cars to work- and wondered what hopes and dreams they had that might be fulfilled that day....You should go and see it yourself some morning. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, October 26, 2015

In Spite of Everything...

"Still Standing" an original oil painting by Bonnie Mason 8x24"

There it stands on the hill
Where it has stood for so many
Bone chilling winters, so many
Blistering hot summers,
So many gently blessed springs
and crisp autumn harvests.
And there it is...
Still Standing.

This and 9 other of my recent paintings will be on exhibit at the Jefferson Center from November 16 - January 15, 2016 for the Double Line Painters of the Blue Ridge holiday show. Please join us there for a reception on Sunday, November 29th from 2 to 4 pm as we celebrate the season and thank you our supporters, family and friends.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My Little Black (um, teal, actually) Book

When I was growing up its seems like the male star in a movie always had a little black book with Very Important Information in it -like the leading lady's telephone number!   lol

 Well, my little book doesn't have telephone numbers but it is indispensable to me when it comes to keeping records about my paintings. Each day before I begin to paint I write the date on a new page. Then I note any other important information like the size and type of support I'm using, whether its toned and if so with what color. Then I write a sentence or two about the subject I've chosen. As I work and make decisions I note the colors used and any unusual techniques. While I'm working I usually have possible titles or fragments of "big thoughts" that run through my head so I write those down - usually when I'm stepping back anyway to see things from a distance and deciding how to proceed. Writing down my concept or dream of what this painting should say can help me get back on track sometimes. Often while I'm painting I'll be listening to music and hear a song with lyrics that seem like they would be the perfect title. If I didn't write that down immediately I'd probably never remember.

After the painting is dry and signed and has passed the "is it good enough to frame" test I use my little book to transfer the pertinent information (title, size, dated created etc.) to my Documentation Book which contains a thorough record of all my paintings. Since I've been keeping records at least.

One last good thing about my little book is how helpful it can be when I'm having one of THOSE days..... You know the kind. When you feel like you're no good to anyone and have never accomplished anything worthwhile. I can riffle through its pages and feel encouraged at the number of paintings I've done and realize the progress I've made since I began this journey. So you might want to try keeping a little record book like this yourself if you're an artist- or even if you're not! Do you keep a painting (or other type) journal? Share your experience below in a comment- I'd love to hear about it!

"First Light" an original oil painting by Bonnie Mason

I'll be exhibiting this painting and quite a few others at Art on the Lawn at the Giles County Courthouse in Pearisburg this Saturday, September 19th from 9 to 4 pm. It should be a beautiful sunny day with lots of good music and art. I'd love to see you there!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

You don't want to miss this!

"Here Comes the Sun"
oil on canvas by Bonnie Mason
Private collection

We Double Line Painters were up bright and early to hang our show "Seasons in Salem IV" at the Salem Museum. Its always amazing to see it come together. The painting above of sunflowers by the window in my kitchen is one of my summer season contributions. 

"Bright Sunshiny Day"
oil on canvas by Bonnie Mason

I was visiting a friend when I discovered this beautiful area on the west side of Salem. It was one of those bright days in autumn when everything seems fresh and clean which reminded me of that old song. Do you know it? I think the first line is "I can see clearly now the rain is gone...." and it just dawned on me that the title of the sunflower painting above is also a line in a song. 

The Salem Museum
801 East Main Street Salem VA 24153
If you have never been to the museum this is a great time to go. The show will be up from June 13 through July 11, 2015. The museum is having a "block party" this Saturday June 13 and the proceeds will support completion of the unfinished galleries in the museum's basement so if you're looking for something fun to do this is a way to combine two events and support a good cause in one outing. A portion of the proceeds from our show will also go to support the museum.
Please visit their website for more details

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


"Song of Spring"
an original oil painting by Bonnie Mason
14x18"     $450

Spring seems to be fading away as I look out the window...

The temps are already in the upper 80's, the grass needs mowing more than once a week, and the cat found the housefinches nesting on my front porch. Sometimes you wish things could just stay the same... but that wouldn't be life. I think one thing I love about painting is that it preserves something that was beautiful- even if just for a few moments- and you can always look back at it and remember.

When I painted these tulips and lilacs I was keenly aware of how quickly things can change. The tulips had moved from their original positions by the time I came back from lunch. Luckily, I had almost finished them before taking a break. I've learned how they turn toward the light from experience and knew I needed to put them in first. Then I painted the lilacs. By the next morning they were mostly wilted. In my rush to arrange them I'd forgotten to pound their stems with a hammer and hadn't quite filled the vase high enough with water. The lilac behind the mauve stemware was still fresh so I was able to capture a view of it and. of course, everything else only changed as the sun's angle changed or clouds obscured its light!!! lol

I love to paint even when it is maddening and hope you enjoyed hearing a little of the story behind this piece.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Working Large

When its 11 degrees outside!

Since its been so cold recently I've enjoyed working on some large studio pieces using reference photos from last summer. When I do a large piece (in this case 24x36") it helps me to use a value wash after I tone the canvas. This lets me work with the shapes - wiping them out and changing things when necessary - until I like the composition. In this case I used burnt umber and viridian but couldn't help myself putting in some of those blue reflections at the bottom. After that dries (use turpentine instead of OMS and it will dry faster) I choose an area to finish "in one go". Then move to another large area the next day. This is because I like to work wet in wet when ever possible.

Below is the finished painting. I used my biggest brushes and took about 2 days to complete it. I really enjoyed working so large for a change and hope to do it more often.

I find it difficult to get a good photo of large pieces. This one has a glare on the upper left hand side which washes the deeper colors out a bit so I'll have to try again some sunny day. If you have any advice - I'd love it if you'd share in a comment below!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I love January!

Gentle Wave

an oil painting by Bonnie Mason

Gentle Wave was a commissioned piece which I started the week after Christmas. One thing led to another and I decided to do two more beach scenes.

Gentle Sunrise

an oil painting by Bonnie Mason

In this second painting (and the one above it) I wasn't thinking big waves. I was thinking soft, gentle, wash over your feet, foamy warm waves which is why it just seemed right to title them as I did.

The First Day

an original oil painting by Bonnie Mason

This last beach scene is titled The First Day because I was remembering how I love to get up early before everyone else is up and go for a walk on the beach as the sun rises. That first time you can just feel your brain, muscles and emotions unwinding. I was also trying to imagine what the first sunrise in this lovely world God gave us was like.....This was an unusual and really fun painting to do because I was able to use lots and lots of cadmium red light, magenta, and purple.

Somehow, doing beach paintings allowed me to imagine myself being warm in the middle of a really cold spell. It was great to get back to my studio and that's one reason why I love January!