kristen@kristenoneillart.com

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...

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...

Oregon Coast Trail series

For years I have been painting hikes. My new series, Oregon Coast Trail, a small step in a new direction of painting a hike that I didn’t take. My hiking buddy, Pete Miller, hiked the entire 382 mile trail in 21 days this summer. (Wow, right?) As he hiked he sent me photos. The First Part of the Series In my first set of paintings I painted as he hike. Everyday I opened up my email to find a new set of photos, I’d pluck one out of the all the amazing sites, and paint it. It was a great way to vicariously enjoy the experience of the hike, without walking 20 miles a day. Current Paintings Right now (September 2016) I am painting 30 paintings in 30 days. With all these photos I am looking through, and really studying one scene as I paint it, I really feel as if I know the whole coast. In fact, I had a new experience this week. While at the doctor’s office I was staring at the photos of the coast on the waiting room wall. I realized that I knew where every one of the was taken! I really have experienced this whole hike, through painting. Select a painting for yourself at my website. The series Oregon Coast Trail is listed under Paintings of Oregon.  Let me know what you think! Are you enjoying this hike too? Follow me here: Share this...

About Canvas and What You Should Know Before You Buy!

My Love Affair with Canvas is Back On! For the last few months you may have noticed that I have been painting on wood panels. I have been exploring options after switching from oil to acrylic paints. I have missed canvas and decided with my last order of art supplies (I miss having a local art store!) to order all canvas. There is a certain glee I get with owning a roll of canvas. It dates back to the time I went with my high school art teacher to the art store and bought an entire roll of canvas and then got to unroll the whole thing down the school hallway. Pre-Stretched verses Artist-Stretched Canvas There are many pre-stretched canvas options for artists. I prefer to avoid these options unless I am buying it in person and can do a close inspection of the corners, make sure the canvas is taut, there are no dents, and make sure there is no warping. I would say only a 5% of the time have I bought pre-stretched. I also prefer to have heavy-duty stretcher bars and pre-made often use a lower quality stretcher bar. My worst canvas pet-peeve is staples on the side of the stretcher bars. Why? It forces you, the owner of the painting, to frame it instead of leaving you the option to show the sides of the canvas and just hang it on your wall. Some artists paint the sides with the image and many times printers give you this option. This is often called “gallery wrap,” but really gallery wrap used to mean that the canvas...

Archival? How to tell if a painting is archival, what that means, and what you can do to protect your art investment.

How to tell if a painting is archival, what that means, and what you can do to protect your art investment. No one wants their beautiful relationship to dissolve into a mess before their eyes. You’ve fallen in love with a painting by an artist whose work is new to you. Will it last the test of time? How can you tell if it is archival? While nothing is guaranteed in this life, there are some simple questions to ask to get an idea of how “archival” a work may be. Before we get started a quick note about the term “archival.” It really should be more along the lines of “durable.” It has nothing to do with archives, except the fact that it might stick around in one for awhile… When we speak of archival supplies and techniques we really mean that the work will last a reasonable amount of time. We are always looking to see if the work will last longer than we do. My personal minimum goal is for my paintings to last over a hundred years. Oil Paintings Most of the older paintings you see in you see in an art museum are oil. (Acrylic painting didn’t come around until the mid 20th century.)  In oil paint the pigment is held together and turned from powder to a thick liquid with oil (linseed oil, poppy seed oil, safflower oil and walnut oil being the common choices). Over the years oil paint has been developed to hold up better over time. In the beginning of new oil colors development you see unstable colors and reactions, such...

Little River at the Wolf Creek Trailhead

The Umpqua National Forest is an easy place to find inspiration. It is also a very large place. Feeling somewhat inadequate in my ability to find a kid-friendly, supremely beautiful hike, complete with waterfall, I went on a hike with a group of folks who know the area well. An especially nice man named Pete, seems to know every trail in Southern Oregon. Pete promised us “the most beautiful hike in Southern Oregon” and he didn’t disappoint. This spot I have painted is right at the beginning of the trail. Here we get to see the Little River at the Wolf Creek Trailhead from above, as it flows under a foot bridge that we stand on. The drought has revealed the contoured bedrock under the river. Bright white rock is shaded by the tall mountains very close to the river. The afternoon sun falls across the rocks and reflects the bright blue sky. Pete stated that he’d never seen the river so low and after our hike we returned and all stood around and took in this scene. It was a striking look, but one that made you almost feel guilty for appreciating the beauty made by the drought. Want to see it in person? Check out the brochure for more info on the Wolf Creek Trail! If you want more information about this painting click here.   Follow me here: Share this...