Thursday, December 1, 2016

WOO HOO! 5 years of Remission and Woodland Trail Revisited

Woodland Trail Revisited, 24 x 54, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016

Dear Friends... Today is the 5 year anniversary of my breast cancer lumpectomy, on December 1, 2011! Can I get an AMEN?? (By the time you get this it will be the Dec 2, but such is the timing of the cyber world.) And what a wonderful 5 years it has been... our two beloved children married the loves of their lives, two beautiful grand boys joined our family, and life is as full as ever! 

I chose to share this painting today, because it ties-in to my 5 year journey in a special way. I painted the first version right after the BIG ORDEAL, when I thought I was really fine, as in, "back to normal". But the painting was really dark (and a little scary in my opinion). I am not a dark person, so maybe I wasn't quite okay yet. :) It stayed hidden in the coffers for the last five years, until this summer, when I "revisited" it. I was finally ready to paint-in the joy and hope that I actually feel. The changes may be subtle, but to me, they are night and day. One friend said, "keep it, to document that time." But I am all about redeeming those dark places, and the process was very therapeutic for me! 

It brought me great joy when a sweet, young couple bought the "new" painting from my solo show at the Lady Bird Wildflower Center this fall. It will be in the background of their lives, as they raise their family and do life together. It just feels right... :) Here's to pushing through, fighting the good fight and emerging healthy and happy on the other side! Thank you, God!

Woodland Trails, the first version... 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Super Moon Monday and painting in the dark...

Super Moon Monday, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Last night few of us from Plein Air Austin met up in Zilker Park to paint the super moon. We had so much fun, and watching that moon come up was exhilarating! As for painting it, this was my first "moonrise" ever and the light changed fast (and many times)! In the matter of an hour we watched daylight turn to sunset, and pitch dark turn to moon rise. 

Blocking in the scene was a giant guessing game, anticipating where the moon would rise, how big it would be, how dark the sky would be, and how light the buildings would be. But my biggest challenge was that I didn't bring a clip-on light for my easel. DUH! I'm not sure why I didn't think of it. I resorted to using the flashlight on my cell phone, and skootching in close to my friend's easel and light. Lesson learned! A brand new clip on light is already ordered and on it's way to me!

It was a race to the finish and a great adventure! Many thanks to my painting buddies Tricia, Lynn and Jane... we have already committed to meeting up (same place and time) for the next super moon in 2034!! ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Peaceful Sky and Artist Reception

Peaceful Sky, 12 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Please join me at the artist reception for my solo show this weekend!

"Laurel Daniel's Works of Nature" 
Reception: November 13, 1-3 pm

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
McDermott Learning Center
4801 La Crosse Avenue
Austin, Texas

If you are in the neighborhood, please stop by! Admission is free for attendees (just tell them at the kiosk that you are my guest). Hope to see you!
Click HERE to see entire show online.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Misty Shore - Workshop Demos

Misty Shore (full color demo), 6 x 8 oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

This weekend in Austin, the sky was overcast and on the verge of raining, at all times. And don't you just know that I was teaching a Plein Air workshop? Wouldn't it be nice to know these things when scheduling, so the sunny, blue sky weekends could always be chosen? Well, it really wasn't so bad. We got a lot of painting in, despite the fact that we were poised to seek shelter at all times. 

One really great thing about overcast days is that the light never changes. We were able to do value studies in the morning followed by full color paintings of the same scene, with the same light and same values, in the afternoon. These were my demos of that. 

Misty Shore (value study demo), 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Students working hard on value studies...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Avenue B Grocery

Avenue B Grocery, 8 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Several weeks ago, I met up with a group of painters from Plein Air Austin to paint an older, Austin neighborhood. I love this little store. It is Austin's oldest, continuously-operated grocery store, was built in 1909, and on is 10th owner!! They make delicious sandwiches and are VERY well-loved by the locals. 

Below is my block-in... so you can see how I got started...

 and a view of the painting in process with store in background.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bay Pine

Bay Pine, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Our last morning in Spanish Bay was gorgeous, but I only had a short window of time to get out and paint. To go or not to go? That definitely was the question. Painting with a ticking clock in my head has its challenges, but sometimes it's perfect for a quick little sketch. Since I had considered painting this sea view several times AND it was close by, I decided to give it a go. What a delightful morning I had! I LOVE those Monterey Pines and when that sailboat showed up, I knew I had made the right choice! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Windswept By The Bay

Windswept By The Bay, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

This is another plein air piece from California. I spied this little dwelling next to the sea and knew immediately that I would go back to paint it. Some things just have my name on them! I loved the way it was nestled into the windswept cypress trees. When I got started, the afternoon breeze was just beginning to pick up. By the time I finished, my umbrella had blown off and had to be put away, my easel had tipped over once, and I was painting furiously to catch the scene before the wind drove me inside. One thing is for sure... I saw first hand how those trees got their twisted, leaning, weathered shapes!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sea Spray

Sea Spray, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to paint in Carmel, California. My husband had meetings in Spanish Bay, so... there I was, and I just happened to bring my paint kit along! ;) The famous 17 Mile Drive was right outside our hotel, so I got out early to study that glorious, rugged coastline. What I didn't anticipate was how many tourists would be stopping by that same spot, and how many people would ask to take my picture. It was pretty funny. I can only imagine the number of family slide shows I ended up in! 

I finally asked one of them to take a picture with MY camera too... so I could have a picture for my own slide show! Here I am on my rock in full painting mode... a beautiful morning with no winds. Pretty idyllic!

See that little Sea Gull in the top right corner sitting on the rock? He watched me paint the entire time I was out there. He was great company!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Waving Tassels, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

This is another painting from St. Simons Island, after Hurricane Matthew. At one point, the storm forecasters were predicting that the storm might wipe out all the beaches and flood the island, if "the surge" coincided with a high tide. Fortunately, it did not. The beach is intact. People are out walking their dogs and children are picking up shells.The sea grasses are waving and glistening as if Matthew had never been a threat. It's the simple things that we sometimes take for granted... this was a good reminder to really "see" our world, and to breathe it all in.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rising Tide Waters and a visit to St. Simons after the hurricane

Rising Tide Waters, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Many of you have been kind enough to remember my connection to St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast, and to ask how our family weathered Hurricane Matthew. Thank you for that. It was a nerve-racking time for us to be far away as the wind and waves were charging the coast. 

The island was closed for 5 days, and as soon as it opened back up, I got myself down there to check on things. Felled trees were the biggest problem across the island, and some areas were hit pretty hard. One neighborhood lost 700 trees... hard to believe... and if you have been there you know how beautiful those trees are. Overall, I am thrilled to report that the island was spared the widespread flooding and damage that was predicted. Our family and home-away-from-home are safe and sound. I even got out to paint a few times, and was relieved to stand before this gorgeous, golden marsh again, with brush in hand. 

But here is the most important thing to know... I saw neighbors helping neighbors and a very grateful community working together. Disasters often bring out the best in people. Have you noticed that? There is still work to be done (there and all along the coast where Matthew hit), but the camaraderie was a beautiful sight to witness. And our sparkling little island is still there. Thanks be to God! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hill Country Bell Tower

Hill Country Bell Tower, 12 x 9, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Today was a beautiful fall day in Texas... a liiiiittle bit cooler (okay, to some of you it would still seem hot, but we'll take it) and crystal blue skies. Plein Air Austin had a paintout scheduled at this lovely outdoor chapel in the Hill Country, called Chapel Dulcinea. It's not only a great painting place with quiet vistas all around, it's a gorgeous, intimate wedding venue. A pretty cool fact is that getting married here is actually FREE... couples need only reserve it with a down payment that is returned when they use it. How awesome is that? Pretty rare in this day and age... Read about it HERE.

"Laurel Daniel - Oil Painting for Beginners" 
4 Hrs 15 min - DVD or Digital Download - $35 + s/h

Monday, September 26, 2016


NEW VIDEO: "Laurel Daniel - Oil Painting for Beginners" 
Available at Liliedahl Art Instruction Videos 
4 Hrs 15 min - DVD or Digital Download - $35 + s/h

Dear Friends, I have been waiting patiently to share this exciting news with you!! MY NEW INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO HAS JUST BEEN RELEASED! WOO HOO!!! I am thrilled, to say the least!!! So, here is what it's all about... 

I was approached last summer to do this and worked hard with my producer, Eric Rhoads, to present "everything you need to know" about getting started in oil painting. Segments include basic information for beginners on supplies and how to use them, setting up studio space, color mixing, values and clean-up. It also contains several demos, including a "paint along" demo of my painting process from start to finish, which will be useful to beginners and experienced painters alike. 

Click HERE to see a short YouTube trailer about the video...

Please check it out and/or share it with interested painting friends!!! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hydrangea Bouquet - on display in the annual American Women Artists Member Show!

Hydrangea Bouquet, 20 x 20, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
SOLD at The Bennington 

I am very pleased to be participating in the annual American Women Artists Members Show. This is the first time in many years that I haven't made it to the festivities, but it just wasn't possible this time around. Thanks to Facebook and friends posting, I can experience a bit of the fun through pictures and stories being shared! If you are near Bennington, Vermont, please go see the show. It's always over-the-top inspiring and a feast for the eyes!

American Women Artists - Annual Member Show
The Bennington Center for the Arts
Bennington, Vermont
Show runs through November 13
Reception: Friday, September 23, 5-8 pm

Monday, September 19, 2016

Workshop Wrap-up

Pear Demo, 6 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

This weekend I taught a still life workshop that focused on the relationship between color and form. My students were hard working - they listened, and experimented and trusted me. :) It was so much fun in every way! It's never enough time. 

This little demo kicked off our time together... a lesson on process AND on building a painting using the "7 Elements of Art" - line, space, value, color, shape, texture and form.
Line and Space


Color and Shape

Texture and Form

Here are some classroom out-takes... see what I mean?? Very focused!!!! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer Cloud Drifts

Summer Cloud Drifts, 10 x 8, L. Daniel © 2016

There is nothing like drifting clouds on a summer day to calm the soul. Wouldn't you agree? Technically, it is still summer (until the autumn equinox), and here in Texas it still feels like summer. But, September! How did that get here so soon? Kids are back in school, routines are getting established, and activities are starting back up. Routine is good, (we all do much better), but I do love the cloud drifting days! 

2016 Upcoming Workshops:
Still Life: Color and Form - September 16-17, Austin, 512-323-6380 
En Plein Air: Shape and Movement - November 4-5, Austin, 512-323-6380
Both FULL with wait lists.

2017 Upcoming Workshop:
Strong Starts En plein air - March 30 - April 1, 2017, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Anderson Fine Art Gallery, 912-634-8414

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Seaside Lookout

Seaside Lookout, 12 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Perfect shade... dappled light... ocean breeze... oh, the glad freedom of summer!!! Painting this view was really delightful. Until... I looked up and saw a girl with her cell phone looking for Pokemon. Let's just say I was a little worried that I was about to be swarmed. Then, she went away and I was back to my peaceful, seaside quiet. (Apparently, Pokemon was somewhere else. Thank goodness!)

Please join me at these upcoming fall workshops:
Still Life: Color and Form - September 16-17, 2016, 9am-4pm.
En Plein Air: Shape and Movement - November 4-5, 2016, 9am-4pm. 

Contact: The Contemporary Austin School of Art 512-323-6380, or click HERE.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunlit Terrace

Sunlit Terrace, 12 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

This is one of the summer cottages in the millionaire's village on Jekyll Island in Georgia. It's especially dramatic in the slanted morning light. I love imagining a family "taking tea" on the terrace next to the house. It must have been a great playground for the kids in those families!

Please join me at these upcoming fall workshops:
Still Life: Color and Form - September 16-17, 2016, 9am-4pm.
En Plein Air: Shape and Movement - November 4-5, 2016, 9am-4pm. 

Contact: The Contemporary Austin School of Art 512-323-6380, or click HERE.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ready and Waiting - with Process Shots

Ready and Waiting, 8 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Rows of boats always compel me to stop and take a closer look. Their shapes and lines create interesting rhythms across the landscape. I loved how these were peeking through the foliage and catching the light. It was fun to get just a suggestion of the hulls and masts!

Here are a few process shots from the scene to the finish. I have to admit that once I start painting, I forget to stop and take pictures, so there are a few missing steps. (Best laid plans, as they say!!!)

The scene from my easel

 My block in

Adding color

Final painting

Painting friends... 
Please join me at these upcoming fall workshops:
Still Life: Color and Form - September 16-17, 2016, 9am-4pm.
En Plein Air: Shape and Movement - November 4-5, 2016, 9am-4pm. 

Contact: The Contemporary Austin School of Art 512-323-6380, or click HERE.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Beach Walking Day

Beach Walking Day, 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Walking the beach is one of my favorite things to do, and these folks had the right idea... they got out early to beat the heat (like me)! I didn't initially plan to include the people, but they seemed to walk right in! I couldn't say no. ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Warm Welcome - Fall Workshop Info

Warm Welcome, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel  © 2016

This welcoming entrance belongs to a friend of mine here in Austin. Her gardens and entire homestead is a delight to behold! In addition, she is such a generous soul, she allows me (and other painters) to come over to paint all the time. The gorgeous back lighting in this scene stopped me dead in my tracks! Many thanks for another sweet morning of painting, JM! 

Please join me at these upcoming fall workshops:
Still Life: Color and Form - September 16-17, 2016, 9am-4pm.
En Plein Air: Shape and Movement - November 4-5, 2016, 9am-4pm. 

Contact: The Contemporary Austin School of Art 512-323-6380, or click HERE.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Wild Sunflowers

Wild Sunflowers, 16 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

These Sunflowers are abundant in Texas at this time of year. They seem to thrive on the heat and searing light, and pop up spontaneously in the wild. I love them BECAUSE of their resilience, and also for their wispy and whimsical beauty.

Painters, please join me at my Austin workshops this fall...
Still Life: Color and Form - September 16-17, 2016, 9am-4pm.
En Plein Air: Shape and Movement - November 4-5, 2016, 9am-4pm. 

Registration begins at The Contemporary Austin School of Art on August 9 for Members (by phone 512-323-6380) and August 11 for Public (by phone and online). For catalog and more info: Click HERE.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Courtyard Umbrellas

Courtyard Umbrellas, 12 x 9, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

This is one of my favorite plein air pieces of the summer, and another from my painting days on Jekyll Island. This courtyard sits outside of Crane Cottage which was built in 1917 for Richard T. Crane. Crane, a manufacturer from Chicago, was part of the "Millionaire's Club" that gathered for fun and frolic on the island back in the day. Now, this cottage is home to a restaurant called "Courtyard at Crane" that serves up delicious lunches. I brought my own lunch that day, but it's charm, charm, charming inside too!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Windswept Turret

Windswept Turret, 16 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016
Available at Anderson Gallery

Back in May, I had a couple of fun days painting on Jekyll Island at the Georgia coast. The Jekyll Island Club Hotel always captures my imagination, not only because of its gorgeous Queen Anne architecture, but also because of its interesting history. At the turn of the century, Jekyll Island was a favorite destination and private club for "tycoons, politicians, and socialites". The Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Pulitzers and J.P. Morgan are some of its famous members who built homes on the island (many are still standing and can be toured). This hotel was their clubhouse and as you can imagine, it was the scene of some serious wheeling and dealing. 

Today, it is still a grand hotel with big covered verandas, bay windows and beautiful grounds. It feels a bit like stepping into yesteryear. You can read more about it HERE. If only walls could talk... ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dappled Trail

Dappled Trail, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

"Dappled Trail" is a late-in-the-day painting on that same unmarked road from my last post. It seemed like there was something to ponder in every direction. In lieu of walking down this path, I stopped to paint it. I may have to go back that way sometime! (Think I can find it again? Oh yes... most definitely, I can.) :)

My apologies for those two miss-fired blogposts in your inbox this week (one was blank and one old one reappeared). It was "operator error" on my part, and I am so sorry!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Morning Solitude

Morning Solitude, 12 x 9, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

"Keep the Momentum" was the last of my show tips as I presented my solo exhibit at the end of April (see blog posts from January-April 2016). Although that really IS good advice, what I didn't mention was that I would be traveling for the next two months (which blew my momentum right out of the water)! I went from Texas to Georgia to New York to Italy, and back again. I saw children and grandchildren, in-laws and siblings, and lots of dear friends. I played with my grandsons (never enough!), collected pottery shards at the seashore, ate delicious food (Neapolitan pizza and pistachio gelato are just two highlights), saw beautiful cities and countryside, and danced at two weddings! It was a whirlwind of fun and rejuvenation!

Now that I am home, I am excited to be loading my brushes again and getting back in the flow. "Be it ever so humble..." there really is no place like home.

Thank you all for your kind "welcome backs" and words of congratulations...
It truly means the world to me. 

A note about "Morning Solitude" (painted en plein air in May, while still in Georgia)... This particular painting location was a sweet reward for following my gut and an unmarked road. Marshes and creeks always bring me joy, but this one was exceptionally quiet and tranquil. Well worth the detour!!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Swirling Sky - Plein Air Magazine Photo Essay

Swirling Sky, 12 x 9, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Sorry to have disappeared for the last two months... I have been off traveling and visiting with family, and having a grand old time!!! More to come on that! 

Meanwhile, I am thrilled to share that my plein air painting "Swirling Sky" was published in a photo essay in the June/July issue of Plein Air Magazine. The essay, entitled "The Many Moods of Clouds" by John D. Cogan, is illustrated with the works of 18 distinguished landscape painters, and I am honored to be included. If you receive the magazine, check it out on page 21! Thank you, Plein Air Magazine!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Value Studies - Process Shots from Workshop Demo

Jekyll Beach Value Study, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016
Workshop Demo - Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA

Last weekend I taught a workshop on St. Simons Island, GA. The focus of the workshop was color and value in the landscape, and we drilled way down to understand those concepts. On the first day, we took a break from color and painted value studies. Below is a review for my students and for anyone who would like to try it!

Mix a strand of 5 grays, plus black and pure white (7 values total). 
Make sure the grays are distinct from one another.

Get started with a sketch of simple shapes to compose the scene. 

Divide the landscape into 5 values, using John Carlson's Theory of the Planes...
Working dark to light, use first gray (darkest) in foreground uprights found in rock shadows, second gray in middle ground uprights (trees), third gray in distant uprights, fourth gray in ground plane (water) and fifth gray (lightest) in sky.

Values come together as they recede... darks get lighter and lights get darker. 

(Note: usually the lightest light will be found in the sky, but in this scene the white sand reflecting the sunlight was brightest.)

Use subtle value shifts to indicate highlights in each plane.
Save pure white for highest highlights (rock light), and pure black for calligraphy and darkest shadows in the foreground.

Mix a strand of warm values using yellow, black and white.
Mute each value in this strand with white (muted strand not shown, sorry!)

Use warm values to indicate how temperature behaves when color is added.
Color intensifies as it comes forward, and it weakens (mutes, cools) as it recedes.

Hard at work, mixing and identifying values...
Many thanks to a wonderful group of students, you all did GREAT!