Thursday, December 30, 2010

Taking flight

Detail of glass elevator panel
Kestrels always make me smile, so I enjoyed this very much. Finished the job yesterday afternoon.

Full panel at upper level
Finished pathway on glass door. This is what you see when you enter the foyer of the house.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Progress shot No. 2

Still very much a work in progress. I'm enjoying the addition of some contrasting colors, and adding subtle greys and yellows to the formerly white areas.

Look for another update tomorrow morning.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On the easel today

30 x 40" canvas in progress. Oil paint and wax medium. This is one of the Cracked Concrete series. I'll be adding a lot of translucent wax/oil layers to it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Work in progress: Maggie

Source photo, taken by her owner.

Work in progress as of about 3 pm, 12/22.
Plain grass backdrops are boring, yet hard to avoid when you're taking photos of something dog-sized. So that's where the artistic license comes into play, giving this a lot more depth and some sky so the dog (and the picture) can breathe.

This is very much in progress and I will update as I continue. It's due by 3 pm tomorrow! 

This dog never got the memo

The one about Pit Bulls being vicious, that is.

Portrait of Peanutbutter, 12" x 9" oil on panel
Peanutbutter is a love bug. Keeps me company while I paint at the Elevator House.

Here's the snapshot I used (took this myself) as a basis for the portrait:

I'd have preferred to take pics in a spot with plenty of nice, unbroken sunlight, but that wasn't available, so I worked with what I had.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


My friend, fellow artist Jennifer Lowery, now has a blog.

Her newest drawing:

Tiny Trojan Horse

I am utterly charmed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

More from the Elevator House

Moments after I finished painting, in the foyer of the Orono house.
This is FRESH paint -- I put down my brush and picked up my camera. If you look closely you'll see I haven't even removed my dropcloth from the floor yet.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Caffeine. It's a beautiful thing.

While working on the Elevator Project, I sampled Russian Caravan Tea sent to me by a friend. The smoky scent was very strong when I opened the box, but it brewed up rich and subtle, great with honey and a touch of cream.

Those of you who enjoy tea may like to give this a try. Strange, exotic, quickly addicting.

Kestrel Elevator

Flying Kestrel, detail of Orono elevator project. This is almost 16' above the floor of the home.

The Kestrel does have a friend, naturally.

The full results of my time on the scaffold -- a complete scene to replace the former view into a dim, bare elevator shaft.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why you haven't seen me lately

I've been making art way out west of here, in Orono. That project with the glass elevator -- it is coming along quite well, but I've been getting home late and very tired.

Here is where I'll be today, painting the upper levels:

It's farther along than this, right now; I've got the upper panels base coated and the top of the willow tree sketched in. Will be finishing the tree and adding two kestrels today, but by the time I'm done it will be dark out and photography will be difficult. Photos to come when I'm able to get them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Florida in January!

That's where I will be, working with my good friend Martha Dodd on a mural project in the first half of January.

I will be sure to post photos. This is going to be so much fun. I don't miss Florida too much but I do miss my friends and family, and January? Good time to be there and not in Minneapolis.

Hazards of Moving

I now have TWO parking tickets from the City of St. Paul, within the last month.

This is because I am a noob who hadn't figured out the rules yet.


I do love it here, though.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The charm of little things

I've got a big, vintage peep-hole window in the door at this new apartment. This is because it's a 1920s building (and makes me feel as if Jeeves and Wooster might show up at my door at any moment).

The design of the tiny window-shutter is so charming. I am going to use it as the basis for a piece of art.

So what's in your world that inspires you or makes you smile? A chair, a cat or dog, an inherited teacup, a pair of old boots? Think about it, notice it. Being creative isn't just about making things; it's also in what we choose to see.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Screwy Little Houses

Screwy Little Houses, found wood pieces, oil paint and wax medium, about 7" high

This is what it looks like when I am purely playing and having fun. These bits of wood were half-buried in the late October leaf litter near ACVR Warehouse in St. Paul. I dug them out, thrilled to find three in one spot, immediately thinking of tiny houses.

They're now at Anita Sue Kolman Gallery at the Northrup King Building, at $35 each or $90 for the set of three. Designed as a group, they hang on a wall and cheerfully keep each other company; I hope they will go on to brighten up a small space for someone this winter.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Anita Sue Kolman Gallery has my art for the holidays!

Several pieces of my original art, starting at just $35, are now available at Anita Sue Kolman Gallery in the Northrup King Building. Come out Saturday 12/4, 12/11 and 12/18 from noon to 4.  I'll be there from 1:00 to 2:00; hope to see you!

Pear Squares #1 and #2, 6 x 6" oil on panel, $50 each. Below, Pleasant Company, one of two Happy Pomegranate paintings, 9 x 12" oil on panel.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Outward Bound

Someday, I'd like to teach workshops on making salvage art.

Outward Bound, 7 x 9" found objects, oil paint, wax medium. By Tracie Thompson, Nov. 2010

This is one of the broken-windchime bluebirds from my grandmother's backyard in La Belle, FL. The breaker box window, I found near an abandoned building in the Everglades, along the old Tamiami Trail.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hopkins Honda Part Deux!

Detail of Finance Office window. I had such a good time with this.
Scene on the Finance Office window
Entry doors to the Service Area.
Next time I'm in the market for a vehicle, I'll look here first. The people at Hopkins Honda are great, and you can tell they really love working with each other. I always enjoy my time there.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Greyhound sketches from life

Thanksgiving Greyhound #1 (Treat!), carbon & pastel pencils on paper, by Tracie Thompson
These were all drawn from life yesterday, 11/24, at my friend Kelly's house where I had dinner and a wonderful time.  About 6 x 9" each; will fit a 9 x 12" frame. I sell these at $40 each; $35 if you buy two; $30 each for three or more. Will ship anywhere.

At this size and price, they will make a nice set for an entry, den, or small space. If you need them matted I will do that and charge at my cost.

Thanksgiving Greyhound #2 (Sleepers), carbon & pastel pencils on paper, by Tracie Thompson

Thanksgiving Greyhound #3 (Oh, Dahling), carbon & pastel pencils on paper, by Tracie Thompson

Thanksgiving Greyhound #4 (Thinking), carbon & pastel pencils on paper, by Tracie Thompson

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Snowy Owl on window at Hopkins Honda, by Tracie Thompson
Have a blessed and beautiful day, y'all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peanutbutter the Pit Bull

Sketch of Peanutbutter, 7 x 5" carbon pencil and pastel pencil on paper, by Tracie Thompson
 Peanutbutter is such a loving, sweet guy. This is a preliminary sketch for an oil portrait of him. I took a snapshot that I used for this, as Wiggly Dog doesn't stay still long enough to draw him well from life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Morning at the Greyhound House

I'm dog-sitting for my friends, who've gone on a cruise just as winter has kicked in up here.

Greyhounds are -- if anyone has wondered -- very sweet, quiet, mellow dogs. People imagine they must run around all the time. They don't. Mostly they lounge on cushions like spoiled royalty. Fortunately for me, they lounge in amazingly lavish poses and are tremendous fun to draw.

Much work to do this week (see my prior post about the glass elevator -- that begins today) so I hope I have enough time and energy to make dog drawings.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Going UP!

I get to paint ... an elevator. And it's glass, and ... here's the "before" shot from today:

Note the tapestry hung over lower level pane to hide the machinery within.
It's getting an Old-World-Style landscape that will block out the glass surfaces entirely, since the elevator is not in use at all.  Work begins Monday 11/15; watch this space for updates.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Barn swallows in the kitchen

This is at 1214 Van Buren Ave. in St. Paul; the house is a cute little remodel, up for sale.

 The design was my idea -- something soft and elegant to add character to this kitchen without overwhelming it. The colors are taken from the wood and countertops already in the room.

Total working time was about 12 hours. It's acrylic paint and a lot of water-based professional-grade faux finishing glaze.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Midnight Sketches

Wall Street Bull sketch #1, 8 x 6", by Tracie Thompson  
These are for a commission which, if I get it (all speculative at this point) will be 36" x 24". I found myself with a very unexpected deadline on them, so was up pretty late. 

Wall Street Bull sketch #2, about 6 x 4", by Tracie Thompson 
I'm pretty pleased with the results.  I like the second one better, for the setting in question (clean, somewhat minimalist office area). Will be interesting to see what the client has to say.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Animal expressions

Ziggy the Cat, 7 x 5" pastel and carbon pencil on paper, by Tracie Thompson

This is one of many reasons it's intriguing to me, drawing and painting animals. They have this quiet dignity about them. Ziggy, finished last night, is a great example.

This drawing was done on commission. Ziggy's human emailed me a few photos; I picked one as a basis for the portrait. For these small pieces I ship them in a pretty, soft white archival mat, so they fit a standard 8 x 10" frame.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What to do when stranded

Stranded, in the sense of being at Hawkins Automotive while they made several long-overdue repairs to my '96 Ford truck (and if you're wondering? Really good experience w/those guys; I'd recommend them).

Late October on Nicollet, pencils on brown paper, 9.5 x 6.5", by Tracie Thompson
When you've got "enforced down time," drawing beats reading old issues of Car & Driver or Entertainment Weekly. It prevents boredom and frustration, and gets people to talk to you when they otherwise might not. In all, it was a very good afternoon, repair bill notwithstanding.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

St. Paul Skyline

A view out the window at Old Town Artists, where I have my studio space:

Skyline from the Studio Window, oil on panel, 9 x 12", by Tracie Thompson
Sometimes, it's worth just stopping to notice the way sunlight falls on buildings.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Last Chance Bouquet, or How to Get Free Flowers

Last Chance Bouquet, by Tracie Thompson. 12 x 12" oil on panel.
These came from the intersection of Highway 52 and Plato, in St. Paul. There was a convenient empty parking lot right across the way from where the wild sunflowers, little white asters, and tiny purple thistle-like blooms were waving in the wind.

If you can find the few moments and the place to pull off the road, this is one of those unexpected happy-making things life has to offer. The flowers feel like taffeta, smell a little like honey, light and sweet. The ordinary jar you put them in becomes charming in an instant. And it feels fun and subversive, gathering flowers while other people zip by in their cars.  Be safe, of course, in traffic, but if you get the chance -- why not?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kitty, Kitty

Gracie Asleep. Sepia pencil, carbon pencil, wash; 7 x 11", by Tracie Thompson

Sketch based on Gracie. Ballpoint and watercolor, 8 x 11", by Tracie Thompson
This, for me, is one of the joys of tending my friends' animals: I get to use them for art models. Gracie's human isn't home yet, and I can't wait for her to see these, particularly the pencil/wash drawing at top, which (unlike the ballpoint sketch) truly looks and feels like delicate little Gracie.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Into the Great Wide Open (with a sketch book)

That's today's plan. I am not sure where I'll end up. Gonna spend a couple hours drawing, then get back to studio to pick up a commission I need to finish.

Whatever comes of the drawing session, I'll post the results tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ace the Quarter Horse at the Extreme Cowboy Race

Drawing of Ace, 9" x 11" sanguine pencil on paper, by Tracie Thompson. Oct. 16, 2010
Ace belongs to my friend Jerusha Steinert, who is a remarkably effective, insightful trainer of horses people. This drawing was begun from life and finished from memory today (I had to move along when it was only half complete) at Equifest, just before Jerusha and Ace competed in the Extreme Cowboy Race.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Season of Drawing Classes

The Bone I Found, and What I Made of It. Mixed media on paper, 13" x 10", by Tracie Thompson
"Beyond Beginning Drawing" is my Wednesday evening class at Bloomington Art Center. If you've got a little skill and want to push it further, come play! Bring your own objects for still life; use mixed media; combine photos with reality -- I'll help you clarify what's in your head. (I have beginner classes, too). Wednesdays, Oct 27 - Dec 8, no class Nov. 24, 6:30 - 8:30 pm.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Show News, Classes, and Railroads, oh my!

As part of my prep for some large paintings I have planned, I went sketching & photographing freight cars today.

Hopkins Freight Cars, 9" x 12" pencils and watercolor, by Tracie Thompson. Oct. 11, 2010

This is prep work for my upcoming show at Robbin Gallery in January 2011.

My drawing classes at Bloomington Art Center begin again on Oct. 27th! I have both introductory and intermediate classes available. 

Meanwhile, finishing a few animal portrait commissions and taking on a small custom finishing job for Mary Mackmiller at Mackmiller Design + Build.  Oh, and drinking plenty of espresso, because Art Crawl was so much fun it wore me out! I finished four paintings in those three days.

Anyone who wants to see work in progress should plan to come out for the Spring Art Crawl, when I'll be doing the same thing, working and chatting with everyone.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Off to the CRAWL (with Greyhound drawings)

Among other things, three of these sketches, which I matted up this morning to fit 11" x 14" frames:

These are drawn from life -- hurriedly, since the lounging dogs do move. The dogs belong to my friends, Kelly and Glenn Williams, and they are pure, lazy love.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fresh Sketches for the Art Crawl

Stairway Landscape and Draft Horse at Noon (drawn from life at the Draft Horse Classic).  These are both 9" x 12" mixed pencils and watercolor on archival cotton rag paper.  Available unmatted at $45 each.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quick California Drawings Post

These are some of the things I'll have at the Art Crawl this weekend. All mixed media on cotton rag paper, sizes about 7" x 8" to 8" x 11".