kristen@kristenoneillart.com

Trails Change

There are things that we take for granted in this life. (Everything?) Perhaps one of those things is that we think the trail we’ve been down a thousand times will be there again tomorrow. And another is the opposite. That the trail we’ve been putting off will wait for us. I painted the Oregon Coast Trail series as a way to vicariously go on the hike. I still intend to go, just not all 382 miles at once. But, just like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail – trails change. How many spots that I painted will I be able to see? And they will be a different experience either way – different lighting, and weather, and perhaps season. At Ecola State Park there have been mudslides and trail changes. Will I ever see the view I painted? Treasure your moments. (Click on the image below to see the full painting) Ecola State Park Follow me here: Share this...

What Hiking and Painting Have in Common

I paint hikes and was recently asked the simple question of, “What do hiking and painting have in common?” It was an intriguing question because I had never framed up my thoughts in this way before. But, they are a few things the two have in common for me. Hiking is a way for me to simultaneously escape and to recenter. When I am out on a trail, I get to be away from my list of to-dos. I am reminded of what is important in my life. Getting to sit down in the forest I will let out a sigh I didn’t know I was holding in. While walking I will feel my muscles work and my body move – instead being stuck behind some computer for hours. We all seem to need a way to do this, and for me, hiking is that way. And so is painting. When I paint I am free of other distractions. I am working on accomplishing some task – color to use, shape, scale… whatever the question, I am problem solving. It is a mediative process for me. Even on those days where I blast music and practically dance the paint onto the canvas. And if I haven’t painted in a bit, I find myself getting edgy and grumpy. Just like that itch to get back out on the trail again. When hiking and painting I find myself really looking at the world closely. How does that branch move in the wind? Where does the sunlight fall? How many colors does the water reflect? I don’t have that experience separate from...

Selling A Piece of Me

“Do you find it hard to sell your art? An extension of you!” This was a question I received from a fellow artist last week. When we, the artists, spend so much time, energy and creative juices bringing forth a new work, I can understand where this question comes from. For some of us, this act of creation can feel similar to connections we make with our children or our pets. At first I did struggle emotionally with selling my art. Then a few wonderful things happened to me: I sold two paintings to a couple during a group exhibition in Omaha. I was married at the time, and my husband got laid off for a month. I used the sales of the paintings to pay the mortgage payment. That felt great. Then something even better happened. After the exhibition I arranged to drop off the paintings to the buyers. They invited me into their home. They showed me where they planned to hang the paintings. Then brought out the paint samples. They were going to repaint their living room to best show off the work! Then they explained that purchasing the art was the first major purchase that they made in building their new life together. Not only was my art to decorate their home, it was to kick off their new home together.  I consider this such an honor. In college I painted, “A Road to Home” while completely homesick. It features a mountain road going through the Coastal Redwoods. A wonderful woman bought this piece for her husband upon his retirement. He had worked for the Forest Service for 30 years and...

8 Steps to Build a Straight Frame – When Your Painting Isn’t

Occasionally you will have a slightly crooked painting. Perhaps it wasn’t constructed right, or in my case the stretcher bars moved slightly while I was stretched the canvas. Normally you could cut your frame pieces simply by measuring each side of the painting. But, you don’t want to continue the crookedness. Here is how I solve this problem when making a wood frame: Lay the painting down flat – paint side up. Cut one corner’s worth of wood that you are framing – this should give you two pieces with 45 degree angles cut. In my example I am working with the upper left corner. Use a corner miter clamp to make sure that your angle is “square.” If you don’t have a clamp, you can fashion one of your own, but you will consistently need to check that it is still square in all the following steps. Put the corresponding corner of the painting in to that corner of the frame as flush as you can get. Lay out the other two boards (in this case the right and the bottom). Make the other three corners square (right angles). When all 4 corners are square you will find gaps between the painting and the wooden frame. (These gaps wouldn’t normally exist on a square painting.) Measure how large you have to make each length of the frame to have it compensate for the gaps. Follow me here: Share this...

How to Properly Wire a Painting

The goals of wiring a painting properly are that: the painting is securely and safely hung, and that the viewer cannot see the wire. Materials: Wire. Make sure it is the proper size for the weight of the artwork. Use wire that is meant to hang artwork. This wire is braided and often called “framers wire.” On the package it will tell you how much weight the wire can hold. Wire cutters. I have used a variety of wire cutters over the years. Go with whatever works best for you. Small eye screws, or wire strap hangers. Wire strap hangers are great when attaching the wire to the back. Small eye screws work well for attaching to inside of the frame. Optional: Needle nose pliers. If you wire is too heavy duty, sometimes a bit of help is nice. Steps to attach the wire: Turn the artwork over. Make sure it is on a surface that is clean and won’t scratch the artwork if it gets jostled. Choose the location for your hanging hardware. It needs to be about 1/3 down from the top. If it is too high you won’t have the space you need to hang and not have the wire come above the top edge. If too low the balance will be off and the top can kick off the wall instead of hanging snuggly against the wall. Attach the two hangers or eye screws. Measure the length of wire that you need. The easiest way I have found to do this is to put one end through the hanger loop. Leave yourself about 2-3 inches...

Oldies, but Goodies

Oldies, but Goodies: Henry Cowell State Park Series With all the New Year looking-forwardness that comes with this time of year, I thought I’d try to balance that with a bit of looking back.  I love my painting “Amongst the Redwood Sorrel.” It is one of my favorites. I have no idea why it has never sold. It’s come very close to sold a few times. Some paintings are like that. I went on a hike in April of 2008. My best friend and I were on a hiking kick where we went to the Fall Creek section of Henry Cowell Redwoods every weekend. Here we would burn some calories, shed some work stress (still had my “day job” back then), and enjoy our friendship in a beautiful place. One day the Redwood Sorrel were blooming at the same time as the Trillium. I took lots of photos, and eventually painted it while living in the Midwest. In the heart of the snowiest winter in 40 years I pulled out my paints and saved my sanity with a bit of Spring. Painting the Redwoods can have it’s challenges. The lighting is really, extremely, even. When you have tall mountains covered in very tall trees, it is all shade. With the exception of when a tree has recently fallen, then a patch of sunlight makes it all the way down the forest floor, or in the case of “Fall Creek Light” all the way to the crystal clear creek that flows through the forest. I live about an hour and half from the redwoods now. As soon as I leave...

An Open Letter on Why We Need the NEA

To Anyone Who Thinks We Should Cut the National Endowment for the Arts: Civilization and culture are what happen after someones basic needs are met. They can go forth and be the best that humanity can be, rising above “where is my next meal coming from?” When you look back on cultures throughout history what do you think of? You think of their way of life, perhaps their government, and always their art. Architecture, music, painting, sculpture, writings. We think of who they were, their culture. Not just where on the map they lived. Our culture is what we make as humans that we pass to the next generation, it is the story of who we are as a people. I am a capitalist. I believe that the best things in this life come when you have a government that lets you follow your passion. And lets you serve others to the best of your ability. That service is rewarded with money, which you then have the freedom to spend in the best way you see fit. I believe in a limited government. It should get out of my way because I have things to do. I believe in nice people and in communities that help each other. And, I’m okay if you believe I am wrong. And while all of that is true. While I am a capitalist, and lean heavily towards Libertarianism, I also believe in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). It protects our culture. It promotes our civilization. You want to make America great again? America is already great. You want to cut the...

Enchanted Forest Trail, Applegate

I am so glad I was told the trail was a mile long and never has snow. Both of which are horribly inaccurate, but knowing that might have kept me from hiking to the top of a mountain today. We set off from the trail head at 9:30 am. The muddy beginning of the path was frozen. Have you hiked on frozen mud? Your brain gets in the way. Trust your feet. Not quite a mile in we came to sign post. Which way? We decided to go to the top. It isn’t too much further until you start hiking through the “enchanted forest.” These are some of the larger trees not logged at lower elevations in Southern Oregon. Unfortunately, there were fewer of these trees than I had hoped. But they are great. I think I saw the largest (non-Ponderosa) pine tree of my life. It was very wet out there. Luckily I had my new boots. A few times the path suddenly becomes a creek. Once the trail started to really climb the mountain, water was no longer an issue. At the first outlook I could see the ridge of the nearby mountain. Another steep mile and the views really started. The beautiful Applegate valley lay out before our eyes. The valley floor was covered in mist. Overall I recommend this trail. I hear that it is great in the spring with all the flowers. Not sure if any paintings will come out this hike, but it was sure great to get out and see more of this beautiful world.       Follow me here: Share...