Monday, March 25, 2013

New Works by Vivian Olsen


Featured Artist for the Month of March

Every so often I like to break away from painting with oils and experiment with new ways of painting - mainly to loosen up. This time I started with Chinese brush painting techniques and did several fast ink practice sketches on Chinese rice paper.

I liked what I was doing but wanted to use a more substantial ground so I chose a pastel paper  and taped it to a board. I placed the board slightly vertically on a table easel. I had done pencil sketches of the burros so, using them as references,  I began drawing freehand with ink and a Chinese brush, loosely placing in lines and dark washes. 

After I had a good black and white drawing I changed from ink to watercolor. From that point on I continued painting with a loaded brush, allowing the paint to drip down. 

No pastel was added to the "Two Amigos"

I loved the loose effect I was going for so I painted the "Baby Ravens" next. Using the Chinese brush painting techniques again I sketched in the forms of the birds with ink, then diluted it to fill in gray values. After brushing in some darks I added watercolor washes, still using Chinese brushes and using flowing paint. Finally, I finished the painting with touches of pastel and a hint of blue metallic watercolor which is sold as a powdered pigment. 

I'm energized by this new method and will continue using it to create energetic  and fun paintings.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vivian Olsen - Artist Feature

The Bumpy Road to Here

"Ebony and Ivory"   Pastel
Vivian is inspired by Nature and aided by imagination  - two ingredients which combine to create paintings that seem to come alive and glow with vibrancy and light. Observing the wildlife around her has always been her passion and enables her to paint expressive portraits of wild animals, especially birds.

With both a Master’s in Science-Biology and an Art Degree, from New Mexico Tech University in Socorro, N.M.   she is well-equipped to be the professional wildlife artist she has been for 30 years, as well as becoming a secondary high school art teacher. All through her teaching career she continued pursuing painting and exhibiting her paintings and etchings. 
"Sunset Cranes"  Oil
 To further her knowledge of painting she has attended many art workshops with a number of established artists, including George Post, Nita Engle, Zolten Szabo, Albert Handell, Steven Quiller, Richard McKinley, Terry Isaac, Camille Pzewodek, and Dawn Emerson. She traveled during her summer vacations taking classes and painting in France, Italy, Spain, and China. 

Over the years she has garnered awards from the Sandhill Crane Festival in CA., the Festival of Cranes in N.M., the Governor’s Gallery Invitational Exhibit of Santa Fe, N.M., and best of Show at NM Macey Center’s 1st Annual Open Exhibition.  She is also a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society. She is represented in Eagle Crest, Oregon at Silver Leaf Cafe and at the Tumalo Art Works Gallery in Tumalo, Oregon.

View her website at:      
                                    and blog: 

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Little Smith Rock Action....

Hiking at Smith Rock State Park and continuing the planning and preparations for the first annual Smith Rock Paint Out, it only seemed right to share some photos from our morning outing. For more information on the Smith Rock Paint Out please visit our website at and LIKE our Facebook page at

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vivian Olsen - Artist for March

 Setting Her Course

'Summer Deer'   Watercolor

Vivian Olsen was destined to become a wildlife artist. Her love of animals began when she was young and spent her free time exploring the California countryside where she lived.  Animals became her playmates. She felt an emotional attachment to the animals her family owned and she developed a rapport with the wildlife she observed in the surrounding hills and marshes. Being an artist was always a major part of her life and throughout her school years she was recognized for her special artistic talent.
'Sandhill Cranes'     Oil   

       Her life’s interest in drawing and painting wildlife was established during her early adult life when she worked as an assistant to a research biologist in the back country of South Dakota, Idaho, New Mexico, and Old Mexico, where she helped to observe, capture, and tag ducks and cranes in their marsh habitats. During those years Vivian did paintings and illustrations of wildlife for publications printed by the Wildlife Research Center at the University of Idaho and the Fish and Wildlife Department of South Dakota. 

She also raised several Sandhill Cranes for research purposes - and three lovely daughters.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

VIVIAN OLSEN - Featured Artist for March

               What  comes first - Emotion or Creativity?

Vivian Olsen
As an artist Vivian draws inspiration for paintings from her imagination and from distant memories of animals and places she has loved. Animals give her a sense of peace and calm and represent her conception of what is most perfect and good, so in her paintings she depicts her subjects as peaceful and beautiful creatures. The themes of her paintings are peace, joy, simplicity, and beauty.

Color plays a major role in her paintings because of the emotional feelings and reactions colors can impart.  She loves to use golds, oranges, and reds along with the earth colors of nature to create strong contrasts.  She designs her compositions with curves which provide the viewer with an easy visual movement through her painting
'Quail Family Hideaway'    Oil
and furthers a sense of tranquility.

She says,  “I love the act of painting because it minimizes stress as I move into what I call my “art zone”.

Vivian asks, “Does the ACT of painting STIR up deep emotional feelings, or is it necessary to have the emotions FIRST to even be ABLE to create?”