Jamie Kirkland Art Studio

Let the beauty we love be what we do. ~Rumi ~

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For the next couple of blog posts I thought I would share some of my favorite things, in my studio practice… I don’t know how many of my subscribers are artists so you’ll have to let me know if this post is helpful.

I recently subscribed to iartview iartview.com you can download a free trial in the App Store. I have always enjoyed when collectors send images of my work in their homes and I have been fortunate to get a lot of those images over the years. This app iartview allows me to see pieces fresh off the easel and how they might look in an environment. I am drawn to the simplicity of the interiors that the app offers. I can also up load images of other rooms and change the scale of the painting by moving my fingers across the image.

It is always helpful to get a fresh perspective on work. I look forward to your comments!

The original Inspiration for this painting Cloud Burst 36×48 came from a photo I took on a recent road trip. This painting ended up with eight layers of paint or eight different painting sessions.

I often start with a particular image and then my dialogue with the painting takes precedence. I knew I wanted a variety of blues and for those blues to be in different shapes. I have incorporated new tools also with brushes, palette knives, plaster scrapers, impasto Brushes anything that moves the paint around in a interesting way. I love pushing the abstraction. That is what interests me on this artist journey. I hope you like it too.

This painting was just delivered to Contemporain Gallery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  www.contemporaingallery.com




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Some of my favorite compositions have come from photographs taken on the fly when we have driven over bridges. I realized that I really prefer an elevated point of view so that I can see farther in the distance. I have used inspiration images from the back of a riverboat, top of the boardwalk, pulled off at a scenic overlook, a pier out into the ocean or the back deck off the second floor overlooking the wetlands.

Another thing I noticed in this group of images is that they all contain water. I did live for many years along the Gulf Coast of Florida so I enjoy painting oceans, wetlands, inlets and rivers. In addition the shape of the water cutting thru the land creates lovely curves and wonderful simple abstract shapes. In my current work I am simplifying the elements of the landscape even more and really pushing the layering of paint and subtle value shifts as my primary focus. All in the effort to create a feeling of place and sense of color harmony.

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Twice a year  Canyon Road hosts a paint out. One in the Spring and one in the Fall

http://visitcanyonroad.com. I spent Friday and Saturday painting at Winterowd Fine Art, 701 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM. I can’t help but think about all of the years I have participated (you can tell by the variety and lengths of my hair in some of these photos).

Santa Fe is truly an artists paradise, being one of many artists painting on Canyon Road reminds me of how wonderful our creative community is. When I first moved to Santa Fe in 06, I attended a seminar for Women in the Arts. I was astonished to hear how many residents of Santa Fe list Visual Arts and their primary source of income. There are many critique groups, workshops and figure drawing groups here in our community. I have always found artists here to be incredibly generous with information. I love to talk technical stuff with other painters… paints, varnishes, mediums, travel gear you name it!!!

If you are a studio painter like me you would probably enjoy an opportunity to be out in front of the gallery painting and talking with all of the interested collectors that come by. Santa Fe attracts visitors form all over the country. I like being a small part of what might make them feel welcome and comfortable asking questions about art, painting and process. It is also a great opportunity to support the wonderful women at Winterowd Fine Art. they are on the front lines everyday sharing my paintings with collectors. I am beyond grateful for all they do. Okay I’ll be back in October, if not before!




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Living in Santa Fe has allowed my Husband Ralph and me the opportunity to host visiting Artists. The Santa Fe Plein Air Fiesta in May is a big draw. Santa Fe also hosted the Annual Plein Air Convention just one month ago.

I hope everyone who has the opportunity says yes to hosting an artist. not only are they talented painters but also wonderful people get to know. I already feel at home with them because we have so many interests in common.

I find each time my own world is expanded and I am inspired by their joy an enthusiasm . They teach me about different parts of the country to paint, new mediums and techniques and new locations here at home that they find inspiring. I have received way more than I have provided!

If your area sponsors a Plein Air painters event contact them to offer host housing and enjoy your creative guests!!!

Thank you Theresa Beck

Nancy Smith Klos

Bob Beck


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Thank you to Winterowd Fine Art here in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Karla Winterowd for facilitating this memorable commission. A collector of my work contacted the Gallery to inquire about the possibility of my creating an original work of art commemorating their trip trekking thru Nepal and the Himalayan Mountains.The painting was to be a surprise gift for her husband’s birthday.

Having completed numerous commissioned pieces over the years, from this painting 8×8 to 60×120. I have come to enjoy the variety of experiences that each collaboration brings.

This collector has purchased several paintings over the years. I found the request both exciting and challenging. I really like that aspect of commission paintings. They always push me out of my comfort zone and I learn a lot. The collector sent four stunning images to choose from. After making the selection the work flowed nicely. I am sharing the response forwarded to me from the gallery. Needless to say I was deeply touched to read their experience with the work. I look forward to the next opportunity.


Hi Jamie and Karla,
I hope you both are well! The painting arrived on Wednesday.  I didn’t open it before I gave it to My husband, so we were both wonderfully surprised. As you can see by the look on His face, the painting is much loved. Thank you again for your willingness to make such a special memory for us. And, we put it up next to windswept so you can see how fabulous windswept is in our kitchen! He always tells people that our kitchen was designed around windswept; in a sense, he’s right!
With incredible gratitude,
your collector

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I posted the picture of David Leffel on the convention stage giving a talk and demo on my Facebook page with the caption.. one of the most inspiring talks about art and artist life I have ever heard… My galleries here in Santa Fe, Karla Winterowd asked me why I felt that way.. I described to her watching this artist receive a lifetime achievement award the night before and despite age and some physical limitations this man was so joyful, humble, kind and forthcoming. I could tell he was taking great delight in sharing with us some of his most memorable experiences and encounters over his long impressive career. He continued to reiterate that you have to stay open and willing to learn. I sure aspire to have those qualities at 83. He said that they called the artists at The Art Students League in New York that could only adhere to strict rigid painting systems as “Masonites” …..

Here are some more quotes from David

“painting is a problem solving discipline”

“One piece of paint next to another piece of paint”

“If you think Its simple you’ll see simple solutions, if you think it’s hard, it is”

“Ask yourself, what am I not seeing, how am I not seeing properly?”

“Light is how we tell the story”

“Old Masters didn’t teach hope… as in I hope this looks good”

“Fear is the biggest problem creating us against us, we create the fear”

“Edges are the soul of the painting”

“everything you want to learn is right before your eyes”

“1500 Careless brushstrokes can’t add up to a beautiful painting”

This convention experience was one of kindness and generosity. Very inspiring and uplifting and I won a Strada mini outdoor painting easel!! My friend artist Anita Louise West won a prize too!! I got to see some old friends, Scott Gellatly and Dave Bernard from Gamblin Paint Company. They are so fun to paint with, and my painter friend from Utah the very talented Shanna Kunz. There were so many artist demos that my head is swimming with ideas to put o the canvas. Next year will be in San Francisco, Yeah!!!

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I wanted to share an inspiring phenomena that happens out here in the West. In meteorology, Virga is an observable streak or shaft of precipitation falling from a cloud that evaporates before reaching the ground. (from Wikipedia).

I find these delicate tendrils so fascinating, they are the opposite of the weather I grew up with in the deep south of very high humidity and torrential downpours. Because our climate is so dry in New Mexico we see everything with greater clarity and can watch a panorama of weather effects moving across vast amounts of space.

You really have to be in the right place at the right time to catch them. My favorites are from the West Texas plains and Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. In this slide show are some of my inspiration photos and paintings.

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The dramatic vertical cliffs of Diablo Canyon Recreation Area make the area a hiking and climbing destination near the Rio Grande. The eastern cliff walls are on BLM-managed land and the western cliff walls are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Diablo Canyon has been featured in movies such as The Missing, 3:10 to Yuma, and Cowboys and Aliens. The cracked basalt of Diablo Canyon offers some of the best multi-pitch tradition and sport climbing in New Mexico.

We drove out on Easter Sunday, a rare cloudy day in New Mexico. Traditionally plein air painting holds the challenge of fast moving, ever changing light. the sun moves quickly across the sky. Not so with flat light which invites all the lolly gagging you might want to do. We had a picnic a short hike did some photo reference shots all in good time.

Because of the location I brought a couple of colors for the palette that I don’t normally use in the studio. Transparent Earth Oxide and Indian Red. These colors added a richness to my earth reds.

I started with a light lavender sky. I thought it would be a nice compliment to the sandy yellow/buff foreground . I found a spot right away that gave me a vantage point of being above the pinions and junipers. The composition of the canyon walls seemed to call out for a square composition. I chose an 8×8 wind river panel of portrait grade linen. I prefer a really smooth surface. I  keep my compositions simple and more abstract. My main reason for the journey is to come home with an experience and a color study. I like allowing each plein air experience to filter thru my regular studio practice and observe the ways I am impacted rather than set out with a too specific goal in mind and push to make something happen.

When I think of what it is like to sit several hours in this kind of environment the word that comes to mind is eternity…. The rock formations, so imposing impact you with the reality that they have been there a really really long time and will be  there long after I am gone.. I find comfort in that idea. We enjoyed a conversation of imagining ourselves in a covered wagon and looking for native american indians positioned with bows and arrows up on the rim. This while we sat less that half a mile from the car sitting in our camp chairs having a picnic.

Now that I am back in the studio I will carry this memory and glance at my study and think of mixing the colors and see where is shows up in the work ahead.


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On the third day of our trip Mallory Agerton and I decided to explore every river crossing we could find all around Fredericksburg. We happened on this spot of perfection located just off the old Kerrville Road. This is where the Pedernales River intersects Bear Creek.

We immediately named this location The Huckleberry Finn Place. It is so picturesque. It looks like a Disney movie location. It was a joy to spend hours and hours there looking and listening.

For a painter it has such a unique vantage point of being able to comfortably sit and look down river. Typically you’re only option is looking across the river. This spring time the trees are lush and drape so gracefully across the water. The reflections are dazzling. We arrived at the crack of dawn and so enjoyed watching the sun come up to our left and glaze the treetops.

I am more of a studio painter than Plein Air Painter but I enjoy getting out and having the opportunity to study nature, especially with a my painting buddy Mallory, her enthusiasm inspires me to make the effort to be up early fortified with  Illy Coffee, lunch packed and ready to go before the light comes up.
This trip was the maiden voyage for my Strada Easel https://www.stradaeasel.com. It is lightweight and easy to set up. Valuable qualities for out door painting gear
I am tickled to say that my color study was purchased out of my studio in Santa Fe by collectors Jane and Drew Scott,  Texas expats.

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