Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Signed It!

"I don't have a title for this piece yet, but it was such a delight to paint. In Igo, a tiny hamlet near our home, my husband and I found this lilac bush on a Sunday drive. It was in unusual profusion this year. Two days later, I returned and painted it with enthusiastic brush strokes." --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: Whether I paint on location or in the studio, I usually leave the painting sitting in view for a while. Though this one was almost perfect, I saw a few minor adjustments to make. The only time I'd sign it right away would be if a buyer was writing the check. ;)

Sunday, April 21, 2013


"Bygone" - Oil - 12" x 16"

"Almost yearly, I paint with other members of Alla Prima International, a group of professional artists and friends who have known each other since the early 80's. A couple of years ago, we met in Cambria, California, for two weeks and painted the coast. One of our members is from Paso Robles and guided us to vineyards and wineries in the area. This one had an old truck, reduced to a skeleton and listing, in its workyard that gave character to the buildings and old silo." --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: White buildings aren't just white. You can see in this painting the warmth of the sun and the reflected light on the shadow side. Note that the shadow under the eve and the top of the shadowed wall is warmer because of the reflected light bouncing off the ground. Fun to paint!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Three Whites and a Red" - DOLLAR FEATURED AUCTION - Starts 6 PM PDT

"Three Whites and a Red"    6" x 8"     Oil

"I wonder how many times I have painted that apple. I have a variety of the most realistic artificial fruit I can find in my collection of still life objects. I can throw together a large still life for a class or for my own use in minutes. Looking back at my paintings over 35 years, I see my old, faithful 'friends'."  --- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS: Small, daily paintings are now the rage. Once the standard rite of passage of the beginning artist, these are still a wonderful exercise. Just watch the growth of the daily painters who show their work online and you will confirm their value.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Saturday in the Studio"- Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Saturday in the Studio"   - 24" x 24"  - Oil

"My teacher, Sergei Bongart, was one of the best floral painters ever. I love to set up large arrangements, usually below eye level as he did, so the blossoms are more visible and splash the color around. These roses are from our garden and the teacup was my mother's china. Funny how I hardly noticed it as a kid and now that she's gone, I can see its grace."  --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: If you are not familiar with Sergei and his work, please look him up. He was an extraordinary teacher and produced powerful work. There are at least two books available and are well worth the price.

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Forest Floor" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Forest Floor"   - 12" x 16"  - Oil

"For many years this painting has been one of my favorites and it was in my personal collection. It was painted in the Trinity National Wilderness Area here in northern California. Friends had invited me to their cabin which is on the last privately-owned section within a wilderness area in the country. I enjoyed the shade and the magnificent trees while the others climbed to 'Horse Heaven'."  --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: The answer to most compositional problems is 2/3 to 1/3. Here, I extended the group of tall trees 2/3 of the way across the canvas and left the rest more open. That allows the eye to move through the painting with comfort. The ratio, of course, is based on the Golden Mean. If you are not familiar with it, it will be worth your effort to read about it. Those ancients knew what they were talking about and the truth is still true today.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Florida Palm" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Florida Palm"   - 8" x 6"  - Oil

"Strong sunlight and a shadowed background always catch my eye. I tell my students, 'To find a plein air subject, look for light against dark or dark against light.'."  --- SFG 

NOTE TO ARTISTS: Nothing insures a successful painting than a subject that is in strong light against a dark background or vice versa. The subject is almost incidental. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Week in Coolidge AZ

My husband and I just spent a... I can't think of the right word... remarkable, tremendous, unbelievable, great, whatever ... week in Coolidge, AZ, with my painting buddy Chuck Prudhome.
He took us to overwhelmingly beautiful painting spots, historically interesting sites, and on purely fun explorations.
I took only 270 photos - I tried to conserve my camera battery to cover everything.
His "little sister" Roberta Stone, also from Redding, baked mouth-watering cran-raisin oatmeal cookies for us and joined us to paint when she could.
Another great painting buddy Geri Acosta joined us to paint and, on "girls day out" went with Roberta and me to Scottsdale for a gallery tour. THANKS TO ALL.
In Tubac

On location

Oh, that food!

Friday, April 12, 2013

"The Red Mailbox" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"The Red Mailbox"   - 9" x 12"  - Oil

"Sometimes I wonder why I have not been stopped by a cop as I drive through neighborhoods very slowly, looking at each house carefully. Of course, I'm looking for something to paint, but, were I the house's occupant, I'd think it very suspicious behavior. This day, I ventured to an unfamiliar part of town and found, not a house, but this mailbox and the nearby shrubs in bloom."  --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: Since my son is a cop, I have license to call them "cops". ;)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Saucy Monday" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Saucy Monday"   - 24" x 24"  - Oil

"This studio painting was based on a series of photographs I took years ago in a workshop. We had colorful models and the line of waving laundry that caught the sunlight leaking through the tree canopies. I love the gesture of this spirited 'laundress'."  --- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS: I am so glad that I took numerous photos of the models this day as well as paint. I have painted several paintings from them and never cease to be inspired by the photos. Ideally, I could have the models in front of me throughout the process, but larger works are usually best done in the studio from studies and what I call "photo sketches". The studies remind me of the color and the photos offer details that I've forgotten.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

"Pacific Energy" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Pacific Energy"   - 12" x 12"  - Oil

"Here is another southern California scene painted on location - plein air - just north of Cambria, California. In this limited area, the cliffs are orangey-yellow and beautifully counter the blue-green of the blooming vegetation. It was a sun-drenched day that made painting a special pleasure."  --- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS: Within a small area, as is this park at the north end of Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California, are many choices of subject matter. I could have chosen the dramatic dark-colored formations at the point, the people in the park, the birds swooping over guano-painted outcroppings, the wind-sculpted pines, and so on. Thoroughly investigate your site before setting up your easel. If I have time to paint only one subject, I choose the most dramatic. If I have all day, I choose most obvious first, the one that I will not have to re-design and seems to "paint itself". While I'm painting that one, my subconscious must be working because when it's time to move on, I have usually figured out how to handle the more challenging view.

Monday, April 08, 2013

"Surf and Sediment, Montana de Oro" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Surf and Sediment, Montana de Oro"   - 9" x 12"  - Oil

 "I return almost yearly to the San Luis Obispo, Moro Bay, Los Osos, Cambria, Cayucos area in southern California to paint with friends. The surroundings offer a wealth of subjects. This day, we went to Montana de Oro State Park where the sedimentary layers are intriguing and become an interesting counterpoint to the ever-surging waves."  --- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS: Painting moving water is always a challenge. In scenes like these where the focal point is a stationary object, I determine what action of the water will reinforce the main idea and then watch for it to be repeated as the waves come in. It is impossible to "see" everything that happens at once since you can focus on only one area at a time. Therefore, you must be selective. It can work in your favor.

Artist: Susan F. Greaves, KA, API

Sunday, April 07, 2013

"Fascination" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Fascination"   - 5" x 5"  - Oil

"This one always makes me smile. Daisies never fail to cheer me. The uniform petals - and the not-so-uniform ones, give dimension and life to this 5" x 5" performance. Just add a frame of your choice that matches your decor.   Happy. Happy." -- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS: These small, simple studies are a real kick to do and offer another style and point of view from the many other daily painters. Trying to duplicate someone else's idea or style often ends with less than satisfying results. You may learn something - like how accomplished the other artist is - but it's better to find your own way to say it.

Friday, April 05, 2013

"Springtime in the Vineyard" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Springtime in the Vineyard"   - 11" x 14"  - Oil

"The area around Paso Robles, California, has become a prime area of vineyards and wine production. Many older farms and ranches have been converted. This one was established in the early 1900s as a cattle ranch, but gracefully accepts its new role. The older barns and pens exist alongside more recent additions for the vineyard. I spent a day there with Alla Prima International painting its hills and trellises.)"  --- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS: This painting went through several re-works. I had a good start on the buildings, but the color on the hills didn't seem to work. I eventually had to go to a greener, more spring-like color to express the image I had observed.

"Shasta Lennies" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Shasta Lennies"  - Oil - 24" x30"

"Snow-capped Mt. Shasta can be seen for over a 100 miles in northern California and, in my mind, is the queen of the Sierras. This summer evening image shows the shadowed forest at her feet while the red-hued base and sunlit snow glow behind. Since my husband is a pilot, I couldn't help notice the lens-shaped clouds trailing to the northwest as the mountain wave condensed the moisture on the far side.(It can be quite thrilling to unexpectedly encounter that wave in flight.)"  --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: This painting is a studio painting based on photos and my firsthand observations. Don't be afraid to experiment with lighting. Lighting, more than almost any other element in a landscape describes the feeling of the artist when he saw the subject. "Pushing it" a bit will intensify the effect. 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

"Santa Fe Garden" - Auction Starts Today On eBay at 6 PM PT

"Santa Fe Garden"   - 8" x 6"  - Oil

"Adobe walls are everywhere in Santa Fe and they glow with color whether they are in sun or in shadow. While visiting friends there, I set up my easel on the patio and painted this portion of their garden framed by the patio wall. The contrast of light and shadow enhanced the bits of color sprinkled through the beds."  --- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS: It's difficult to paint when you are traveling. Usually, I don't want to miss any of the fun the others are having, or I'm tempted to read or nap, or I don't want to interupt our sightseeing, but I'm never sorry that I made the effort. Not only do I have a painting to show for it and skills are reinforced, but I have a bit of a diary of the trip. I may forget other things we have seen, but I never forget a painting location.

"Silo Outside St. Paul, Oregon" - New eBay Auction

"Silo Outside St. Paul, Oregon"   - 8" x 10"  - Oil

"The historic town of St. Paul, Oregon sits on French Prarie south of Portland. The economy is definitely agricultural, as this scene shows. The quick sketch was done from our son's house and shows a nearby diary. It was a cool day with soft lighting as evidenced by the light, nearly colorless sky."  --- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS: Sometimes quick sketches have more life and "air" than a longer, labored piece. Learn to stop when you have the essence of the subject.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Announcement: New Website Direct to eBay Auctions

For those of you unfamiliar with eBay and for those of you who would just like to see my listings more quickly and easily, I have a new website URL that goes directly to my eBay listings. It is I hope you will visit frequently!

"Morning Light Near Tucson" - Oil - 9" x 12" $85

7-Day eBay Auction - Starts Today at 6 PM PDT
"Morning Light Near Tucson" - Oil - 9" x 12"

"I am lucky to have artist friends across the US and visiting and painting plein air with them is not only fun, but inspiring. This day, I went out with friend Geri Acosta and we painted the mountains near her Tucson home. I enjoyed designing the diagonals to represent the intricate planes before us."  --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: Be conscious of where you are leading the eye. Many of my landscapes are orchestrated diagonals for this purpose. Here, the diagonal at the base of the near hill in shadow on the right is countered by the long diagonal that leads the eye across and up to the right. The triangular outcropping stops the eye and leads back down to a similar triangle to the left. And so on....

This Week's Dollar Auction

Have some fun! This 8" x 8" painting has a starting bid of $1. 

"Southwest Color" ---- 8" x 8"
Happy Bidding!


Do you know that you can "share" auctions from the item page? Look for the Facebook, etc., icon near the top right of the item page.


Monday, April 01, 2013

"Silo Outside St. Paul, OR"

7-Day eBay Auction Starts Wednesday, April 3, at 6 PM
"Silo Outside St. Paul, OR" - Oil - 8" x 10"

"The historic town of St. Paul, Oregon sits on French Prarie south of Portland. The economy is definitely agricultural, as this scene shows. The quick sketch was done from our son's house and shows a nearby diary. It was a cool day with soft lighting as evidenced by the light, nearly colorless sky."  --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: I often use a "story line" like the line of buildings and trees in this work. Variety and balance are essential and I arrange the other elements in the painting to lead the eye back to this crucial grouping that defines the work.

"Lilacs Plein Air" - Oil - 14" x 18" Starting Bid $175

Available On eBay Now
"Lilacs Plein Air" - Oil - 14" x 18" Starting Bid $175

"Painting lilacs every year is a special pleasure. I usually place the arrangement in my studio and paint in a haze, drunk with the intoxicating aroma. For this painting, however, I set the blooms outside and enjoyed the perfect spring weather. I was pleased to have captured my bouyant spirit."  --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: Have you ever noticed that your paintings often reflect your comfort as you are painting? There is nothing wrong with looking for a shady or, if it's cold, a sunny spot to set up your easel. On this day, I timed my painting session for early afternoon when the shadow begins to creep across our deck. I put my easel in the shade and the still life was in sun. That's why I titled the other painting of this setup "A Perfect Day."