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Author Archives: Pam Van Londen

Artist, web developer, graphic designer, and university instructor will work for gourmet meals and gasoline.
Challenge 18 ~ Interior Tiles

Challenge 18 ~ Interior Tiles photo reference. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of June, 2011.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Need a little air conditioning? This sterile tiled room provides a temperature confusion…green, gold, and red are warm colors but the shininess and subject are man-made and cooling.

Will you abstract this image or paint it precisely? Will color or line be your main element? Will you focus on perspective or texture?

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Challenge 17 ~ Conoes photo reference. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Challenge 17 ~ Conoes photo reference. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of May, 2011.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Sleek and silent the conoeists row. They can see what the birds and critters can see.

They are on the water because they want to see the brilliant changes in the water’s color as they slide by shadows, reflections, ripples, shallows, and deep drop offs.

Will you paint every detail or suggest the place?

Will you keep the palette subtle or bright and wild?

Challenge 15 ~ Beachtown

Challenge 15 ~ Flowers photo reference. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of April, 2011.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Can’t get to the beach this weekend? Transport yourself while you paint.

Did these pedestrians stop for ice cream or salt water taffy as they made their way to and from the shore?

The old light pole flowers have been so well tended. And the sky’s wispy clouds are lazy-day nap-inducing. A slight breeze brings the clean salt air to your nose.

Can you paint these thoughts and feelings?

Challenge 15: Flowers March 2011

Challenge 15 ~ Flowers photo reference. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of March, 2011.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Are you still buried in snow or have the spring bulbs opened up to show their smiling faces?

This bouquet ought to cheer you up regardless of your ability to find fresh ones out of doors.

Try painting it with passion and loose strokes to accentuate the carefree look of the various petals.

Photo © Pam Van Londen 2008

Challenge 14 ~ Clear Lake photo reference. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of February, 2011.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Lakes reflect the surroundings, the sky, and even you if you bend over far enough. They also, if clean and clear, are a window into a world most of us do not often get to see. What varieties of fish and flora can you see through the rippling water?

The glassy surface here shows circular patterns and softened and stretched reflections.

Photo © Pam Van Londen 2009.

Challenge 13 ~ Aspen Grove photo reference: Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of January, 2011.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Aspen groves are a popular landscape scene for plain air, impressionist, and abstract painters. How can you paint them so your work stands out from the others?

Tea house interior

Challenge 112 photo reference: Staircase. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of December, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Winter brings us indoors to enjoy the coziness a home can offer.  This historical home is now a tea house in Independence, Oregon.

The light creates interesting shadows on the walls [where paintings could reside].

What is upstairs?

MacKenzie River waterfall basin

Challenge 11 photo reference: Blue Water. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of November, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

One of the advantages of living in the Northwest of America is the prevalence of clear water.  This blue water can be seen at the bottom of a waterfall on the MacKenzie River in Oregon.

I call this color Caribbean blue or cerulean with a touch of pthalo. What do you call it?

Kids in a sack race near the finish line

Challenge 10 photo reference: Sack Race. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of October, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Ahh, the end of summertime. Fun and joy abound when kids get together to play and compete in friendly traditional games.

How many happy expressions can you capture here? Can you replicate the transfer of weight and pull of gravity for each figure?

Half a watermelon with two forks reflecting the sky.

Challenge 9 photo reference: Watermelon. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of August, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Awe, summertime. How does the sun affect your view of color? In this photo, I see an outrageous red contrasting with a fork reflecting the blue sky.

Teen cooling off at an urban fountain

Challenge 8's reference photo: Urban Fountain. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of August, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Is it the actual subject that makes this image interesting, or is it the patterns angles, and curves created by the stair bricks, marble blocks, drain grate, and water ripples?

What if the figure wore a different costume; what would it “say?”

Does the water symbolize something implied?

Zoologist demonstrates hawk abilities

Challenge 7's Photo Reference: Zoo Demonstration. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) to save this file to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of July, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Birds create drama…they are wild and could leave you at any time. So the moments you get to spend with them are full of awe and respect.

Can you capture that feeling on a flat surface? Paint the facial expressions as if the moment is fleeting. Can you tell by the wings that flight is imminent?

Portland, Oregon's Oaks Amusement Park benches

Challenge 6's reference photo: Park Benches. Right-click to open in a new window and save to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of June, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Oaks Amusement Park benches are brightly colored and their curves and grooves create fantastic  shadows patterns.

The detail is complicated but perhaps you can zoom in, simplify, or abstract the scene to make it your own. The perspective is also a challenge if you are working for realism.

Portland Rose Festival water parade

Challenge 5: Water Parade. Right-click to open in a new window and save to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo for the month of May, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Years ago, I watched the tail-end of the water parade portion of the Rose Festival in Portland, Oregon. The boats were so colorful and the water appeared blue because we had a clear blue sky.

The scene is busy! Will you paint all the details, abstract and simplify, or zoom in to capture just a glimpse of the action?

The Monthly Painting Challenge has had 37 pieces submitted since January 1, 2010. Our total number of visiters since then is 7,736 and the average number of visitors per day is 76. Won’t you join us?

Brick wall with electrical meters

Challenge 4 Reference: Brick Wall. Right-click to open in a new window and save to your hard drive.

This reference is from historical Independence, Oregon.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

Patterns created by the three differing materials: metal, brick, and plant, make for an excellent realist or abstract subject.

The lack of strong shadows and subtle colors may attract you to the subject, or you may choose to dramatize them with more contrast.

Can you add imagery to the large blank brick areas? Perhaps you have something to say in words in that area.

Last month’s challenge included 15 artists.

Johnson Creek in Winter © Pam Van Londen

Challenge 3's reference photo: Creek Reflections. Right-click to open in a new window and save to your hard drive.

Use this reference photo to paint from, for the month of March, 2010.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.

The success of a complicated landscape composition often rests on simplification of the details. How will you simplify the branches and trees? Can you render the subtle color changes or will exaggerating them simplify the scene? Is there a section that you can zoom in on to create a focal point? What tools can you use to abstract the image, or render it perfectly? Does the size of your canvas make a difference in how you add strokes of paint?

Pennsylvania Snow

Challenge 2 reference photo: Pennsylvania Snow

Use this reference photo to paint from, for the month of February, 2010.

Right-click to open the photo in a new window and save to your hard drive.

The photo is of some tall dried grasses on a snowy day in Pennsylvania, taken on a cross-country trip in 2005-06. Several kids at this park were enjoying hide-and-seek inside the tall fronds.

What attracted me to this image is the circular motion created by the lower and higher grasses counter-balanced by the footprint’s circular pattern. Even the clouds are helping create a spherical, fish-eye illusion.

View the paintings submitted for this challenge.

Navarre Beach, Florida © Pam Van Londen 2006

Bay Water, challenge 1 reference photo

Use this reference photo to paint from, for the month of January, 2010.

Right-click to open in a new window and save to your hard drive.

This reference is from Navarre Beach, Florida. I was traveling the USA by motorhome with my daughter and stayed here for a week. The lighting was subtle and the water clear so we could see the sand under it for quite a ways.

Previous hurricanes had ruined many of the privately-owned peers seen along the bay.

View the Paintings submitted for this challenge.