Tuesday, November 21, 2023

1st in a Daily Painting series


Family Time
6"x 6" oil painting on board

Well, here we go! 

I figure, if I announce to my corner of the world that I'm trying to create a habit,  I'll hold myself accountable... and I'll try my best to stay with it! I'm hoping to paint small, frequent paintings. I'd love to give myself permission to paint loosely... quickly and jump from subject to subject, and this feels like a fun way to do just that.. and a fun experiment to try!

I've known about the Dailey Painting movement, but I haven't felt the pull until recently.  There are so many incredible artists out there painting on the daily.  They report that they're learning so much, enjoying  the creating process again, and creating new opportunities around what they love to do... Yes, Yes,  and Yes! Sign me up!

As of now...I feel like the list of paintings I'd love to create is so long, that it kinda stifles me.  Which one to do first? Do I have time to create the image I have in my mind? Will it be a part of a group theme? Where do I store all these paintings.  I can get overwhelmed by the ideas and what to do next.  So painting  a small painting a day (or close to daily) gives me more room to experiment and get back to playing with paint.. not take things too serious and intimidate myself with each project.  So, that's my new goal.
Thank you for checking in and looking!  I appreciate your company.
Wish me luck :)


Friday, August 3, 2018

If not now, when?

Paint Mines, CO

It's evening and I'm sitting in my van watching my dog Bailey sleep.  I'm at a campground outside of Yellowstone Park.  I'll head in tomorrow morning and spend the weekend camping and sight seeing in the park.  So I thought I'd write a blog post and show some of the places Bailey and I've been the past few months. We started in Alaska and my husband drove down through Canada with us.  He got us safely into Washington and needed to get back to his job.  So from there, Bailey and I have been roaming around and stopping to visit friends along the way.  We drove though Washington state, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming... and after Yellowstone Park, I'm headed to cooler weather and a hot meal with my favorite two people on Bainbridge Island.  

You know how a house dog looks generally clean, living in a furnished home with soft couches and pretty rugs, a clean water dish, regular meals ... it's fur is tidy and brushed, trimmed nails, a bright,  clean collar around it's neck.  Now picture what this dog looks like after it escaped under the fence and ran around off the leash for a day and night.  You find your dog...it's been running around like a wild animal for 48 hours, dried mud on it's paws, maybe a scrape on it's face, fur is all wild and messy.  There's a wild look in your dog's eyes, maybe it doesn't come to you immediacy when you call it's name.  

Well, I'm feeling like that dog right now.  The one that's on the run.  Especially the hair part. :)
When I finally get to Seattle...I'm going to have a shower, and scrub up a bit!
I'm going to put conditioner in my hair, and it's gonna feel soft when it dries.
Wear some clean pants and a fresh t-shirt ....lotion, I'm gonna put lotion on, without the thought of  dust clinging to it.  I'm having a moment, I'll admit it.
Tomorrow morning I'll wake up, have some coffee and a banana, and then I'll go explore Yellowstone with my dog and my camera :)

Thanks for reading...I'll check in again soon.
Get out and play this weekend!  If not now...then when?

Fort Casey, WA

Grand Teton National Park, WY

Utah...close to Flaming Gorge

Utah, near Dinosaur National Park

Port Townsend, WA

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What you are seeking ...is seeking you. ~ Rumi

Well....inspired by others and my own insatiable desire to wander,  I've decided to step out and explore for 4-5 months.  I live in Alaska, so that's where the journey begins. 
 I have an 1980's VW Vanagon, so that's my home for a while.  

I only have a few "must do's" ....

* drive down the AlCan (Alaska Canada hwy) and
cross the Washington boarder
* see my friends and family in Colorado  
* a concert at the end of September in California

The rest of the trip is going to be... wherever the wind blows me, leaving lots of room for surprises and miracles. I believe if I loosen my tight grip on how things are "supposed to be", then miracles have room to slip into my life and show me something new and beautiful.  I'm traveling with one of my very best friends... Bailey.  A dog I adopted from the animal shelter in Anchorage.  A dog that had been adopted and returned by 4 families the year we brought her home that sunny October day.
Who knows how many homes she had tried to be a part of over her 7 years.
She was afraid of everything.  She had a rocky beginning at my home, but I have a loving family and we all gave her room to love us, be brave and learn a new way to look at life.  
She's the perfect copilot for my trip, and she's gonna need to let go of some of her fears, just like I do.  We're both going to be brave and let each day come with everything it has to offer.

My family is very supportive and I am very blessed to have the opportunity to do this. I'll be posting new sights from time to time...and maybe a new drawing or painting from time to time.  The details and pictures will be here on my blog throughout the summer.

If you want to see what traveling in a van with your dog looks like, follow along :)
I have a feeling this is going to be the most amazing summer!

Bailey....my adorable copilot.

She sleeps in the back on all of our blankets, while I drive.

Thank you for looking and reading!  
I'll see you again soon!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Road trip....

These paintings are on display and for sale now at Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge.
I have been daydreaming and painting images of road trips.
Painting is close to a prayer for me....and these prayers are about to come true.

I'm going on a road trip...from Alaska, through Canada and exploring the western US,   
my dog Bailey and I.  I saw Utah last fall, and I need to go back and paint it.  I'm not sure how long the trip will be.  In the morning, I imagine Bailey and I on the road until fall....at night when I'm tired, I wonder if it's a good idea at all.  But morning comes and I have butterflies and excitement again for an adventure I've been dreaming about for years now.

But first, my husband (gifted mechanic) is going to replace the clutch in our VW van....maybe fuel lines, new transmission oil, oil change, new air filter..... by the first week of May.

I'll keep you posted.  If this happens, I'd love to share the trip along the way.

Thank you for looking reading!

Friday, September 29, 2017

1971 Triumph

Oil on canvas  48" x 60"

This is a special motorcycle.  It's a painting of my dad's bike while I was growing up. 
It's a 1972 Triumph ...trophy.
It was the bike I rode on the back of when I was growing up.
Good times.   

I'm thinking about getting myself a new Triumph these days.
They're just as beautiful but have all the modern amenities!

Thank you for looking! 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1971 Triumph Motorcycle

On my easel in the garage.... my 1971 Triumph TR6.  I'm painting a motorcycle of mine.  I grew up riding on the back of this motorcycle, going on rides with my dad.  Great memories of holding onto my dad...helmet...vintage goggles and summer rides. 

I still have a lot to do, but I'm making progress... this painting is 48"x 60" ...the biggest I've ever painted. I've always wanted to be able to roll a motorcycle in the house and have it in a corner like a beautiful sculpture through the winter.... this might be another way to enjoy a motorcycle in the living room.   

Thanks for looking and reading! 

Friday, March 24, 2017

New paintings....

These are some new paintings drying on my wall.
Lately, every time I see one of my paintings, I see a children's story.
I don't try to paint this way...I mean... I do.  What I mean is, even when I know a color should be subdued a bit....so that another subject can take center stage in the painting,  
I can't do it.  It's like saying....this part isn't as special as this other part.  
I know the idea behind painting this way.  I know that amazing artists accomplish gorgeous pieces of art by using this technique.  I just can't seem to do it, even when I set out to try.

Maybe this is just how I paint.  
I'm cool with that, but some of these paintings feel like a page in a children's story.  
Maybe that's the most logical next step.  
I'm waiting for an idea to come to me...and I'm going to start that project.

Anyways, thank you for looking and reading!
I hope spring is filling you up with excitement and energy!
Have a good one!

Here are a few more of my story book paintings...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The light at the end of the tunnel.

12" x 12"  oil on wood panel

I did it!  I got through February.   
It's the hardest part of living in Alaska for me...the month of February.  

Keep my head down and stay busy, try not to notice how cold or dark it is.  
Mentally, I start day dreaming about adventures away.

While I run on a treadmill at the gym, I crank the music and imagine....
body surfing in the ocean somewhere, trail running through the green woods,  
walking barefoot in grass, warm breeze brushing past the bare skin on my arms and legs.
I'm ready to walk out the door in a t-shirt again. 

Now it's March, and when I head home from my studio...it's still daylight!
When the sun is out...I can feel it! Sunshine is warm again!!

Here's something I painted a couple weeks ago, in the mist of my toughest month.

I guess I should be grateful for February... 
it's the month that I dream up adventures to go on for the rest of the year.  
Get myself out into the big, wonderful world.

What was planned this February? 
So far...I'll be plein air painting in Utah, visiting my sister in Colorado
 and hanging out in New York City.  

Thank you February 2017...
it was challenging as always, but interesting.

Thank you for looking!
and reading

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Late Afternoon Glow

"Late Afternoon Glow"
24"x 24" oil on canvas

The Alaskan winter days have beautiful lighting.  It's either looking like sunrise or sunset most of the day, unless it's plain 'ol darkness...then it's just dark.

This painting was done from a reference photo taken at 3:30 pm.  The sun just rides along the horizon in December.  This glass building was glowing.  If I turned around, I wouldn't be able to see the sun from my vantage point....but this building was reflecting everything from the southern skyline.

Traffic....if your a night lights junkie like me, traffic in the winter up here is pretty beautiful.  
And if I'm not wearing my glasses... all those lights have a large halo effect.  

Of course, this painting and the colors are filtered through my heart and mind...
a little bit amped up...... cause that's what I see.

Artists, don't be a journalist with your art......be a poet.  
Show the world your heart.  Don't be scared... show us what you're made of. 
I love that about art.

Thanks for looking!!
 and reading.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

First painting of 2017

Tangerines and an Apple
12" x 12" oil on canvas

It's wonderful to be smearing oil paint again.

It's winter wonderland here in Anchorage, Alaska...so all seems to be white, blue and different shades of grey.  This is a great way to infuse my brain with color.....saturate my view with warm, vibrant colors. 

Happy New Year everyone!
I hope 2017 blesses you with love, good health and happiness!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Diamond Jim's

"Diamond Jim's"
11"x 14", oil on panel

This is a road side painting I did a while back.  Done in the comfort of my car.
Diamond Jim's liquor and gifts, is on your way out of town... heading down the Seward Highway, just outside of Anchorage, Alaska.  
Super cool sign!

This sign at night, is lit up, and that's another painting waiting to happen.
This is the warm up to that painting.

I love neon and really ....any lit sign at night...glowing in the dark.
(My 'Vegas' background shinning through)
If I was a bug... I'd get zapped. 

 On that note, goodnight.....it's late.

Thank you for looking and reading!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December First Friday at Pink Raven Studio

12"x 12", oil on canvas

December First Friday is tomorrow night at Pink Raven Studio!
From 5pm until 7pm, there will be refreshments and fresh art by myself and artist
Stephanie Zuck!  Come visit us, we would love to see you!

Downtown  Anchorage, Alaska
135 Christensen Dr., suite 1B
on the corner at 2nd Ave

Pink Raven Studio Facebook page...

Thursday, November 17, 2016


36" x 48", oil on canvas

This past month, I've been experimenting with just smearing some paint.

Usually I have colors in mind when I set out to paint something.  So I thought, wouldn't 
in be cool to just start playing with the paint?  No direction in mind, just let the painting 
steer itself.  This was fun, engaging and relaxing ...almost like a meditation.  

Funny, I went into it this with the idea that I wouldn't have to "Think"....turns out, 
I was aware during the whole process.  There was no auto-pilot with this one.  If I wasn't working the colors, I was playing with shapes, contrast and textures.  And I love that each person that stopped in front of it, means something different to each of them.  

No one asked me questions about it, they just began telling me what it reminded them of, or what it looked like to them.  I LOVE that!!  Something so vague....it lets people interact with it in such a personal way.  I'm not imposing MY interest on them (well....except for colors)
They can relate it to anything they love or are interested in.  
It doesn't have to be a big statement about me and what I'm trying to say or what I'm interested in.

I really love that part.  
So...expect to see some more of this.  Every now and then, I'll have to take a brake from old stuff and girls wearing goggles!

Thank you for looking!  Enjoy the day! 
We're alive!!  That's something to be very grateful for.
The dream isn't over yet.....get out there and play!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Boxer

"The Boxer"

Another example of my letting go and allowing some truth to come through.

I had a master plan on this painting.  This was the quick beginning that I was planning to add to.
I had an image of someone already in my head ....kind of a "Bring it" moment... courage, in the moment....no fear.  An idea that kept presenting itself, and I wanted to capture it, in a painting.

So a friend of mine graciously said yes to model for the painting. 
(even though it was totally out of his comfort zone)

This quick beginning, the part I thought was just a rough draft to what was to come....well, this was the "jewel".  This was the gift I was given that day, but I threw it away!!!   I painted over top of this....and let's just say, it was an epic fail.   After this start...I tried to paint a look that wasn't there.  I tried to paint a person that wasn't there....ignored the kindness, playful nature, more vulnerable look coming back at me.

I'm so glad I took a photo of the painting... before I began my painful effort of "Trying" to paint something that wasn't there.  
This is a painting of the person that was in front of me.

I was so lost in my "idea", that I didn't see.... 
I got what I'm usually after, I tapped into a tiny piece of the guy in front of me.
A good lesson for me, 
stay open...let go...things may not go as planned, and that's a good thing!!!

Thank you for looking!
and reading ...

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Drawing people

Drawing someone in front of me....I find it difficult, but of course......  the challenge is still fun.  

Most of the time, I'm trying to capture a tiny essence of who I saw.  My quick, rough gesture drawings capture so much more than a can get when I have time to think and "try" to draw correctly.  I like the drawings I've created in less than 20 minutes.....the most success I've had, in my opinion, are the 1- 5 minute sketches.  They might be only a few lines, but they can say more than a drawing that I've worked the technical aspects. What I win in technical points, I usually lose in emotion, capturing movement or their personality.

The more I go on pure instinct, leave my inner critic back at home, the more "life" there is in the drawing.  That inner critic...she's such a pain!  
She's always hanging out with me, but she doesn't get to vote as much as she used to :)

Thank you for looking!
Have a great weekend! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Friday!

"Cold One"
11"x 14", oil on canvas

Happy Friday out there!  Here's a cold one on me!

Beer enthusiasts ....do you know what kind this is?  I didn't work at any 
letters or words....but, I did try to be accurate with the color shapes and it's surprising
 how many people knew just what brand of beer this was!  

I bought a 6 pack of these about a month ago...trying to bribe a few guy friends into 
posing for a portrait painting.  Shameless....I know...I'm not proud of it.
I have a lot of practice painting women, but not so much practice painting men.

I have a few of my husband and son...but I was curious to see what venturing out 
and painting others would be like.  It was a nice experience, and it was fun to hear their stories and
 to try capturing these kind people in paint.

Thank you for looking and reading!
Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Show Time

"Show Time"
24"x 24", oil on canvas

Did I tell you I was born in Las Vegas?  I was.  
Neon, music, live performances, fashion...it's deep inside me, 
and sometimes a little needs to come out.

I like circus stuff too.... clown paintings, I like velvet clown paintings.
Okay, confession is over.  You know too much.

Thank you for looking!  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Speak Up"

"Speak Up"
11"x 14" oil on canvas

I just love old things.....and I absolutely love shiny metal/ chrome old things.
So, needless to say...gazing at this old microphone was just hypnotizing
 for me.  It makes me think of old theaters, velvet seats, popcorn and my date's hand on my leg
in the dark (public... but somehow private)  space.

When I'm in my own world, painting..... it's transporting.
Good stuff.....mini vacation. 

Thank you for looking and reading.  :)  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Painting lessons

Would you like to learn to paint with oils or acrylics?  

Would you like guidance with color mixing and painting in a loose, colorful and expressive manner?

I am offering a low-key, personal teaching approach for those interested in painting, but aren’t sure how to get started or how to go about it.

The lessons would be in my art studio downtown at
Pink Raven Studio
135 Christensen Dr, Suite 1B, Anchorage, AK
On the corner of 2nd ave and Christensen Dr

First session is  2 hrs, easel and materials will be provided, cost is  $50
For the 2nd session and beyond.... you bring your materials to paint with
2 hour painting session, cost is $40 
or if you prefer more time,
3 hour session, cost is $60 

My studio is open Tuesday thru Friday from 12-6pm, if you let me know a good time, I’ll try to accommodate you.  Only 3 students or less at one time.  
Beginners welcome!  

email me with questions at  Marianne@MarianneElson.com
or...stop by and say hello at Pink Raven Studio!