Saturday, December 31, 2011

Plein Air in Jordan

After teaching art every day in Jordan I had a couple of hours before sunset to take my paints outside and work on these landscapes. The biggest challenge was finding places to hide from friendly children who would surround me. So I sought out deep ditches and remote wasteland behind giant boulders to crouch in hopeful seclusion. Inevitably I was found and ended up painting under the interested gaze of shepherds, farmers and sometimes whole families. I can't blame them. I love to watch people paint too! And the concept of being happy while being alone doesn't really exist in Jordan's people oriented culture. My friends would ask in amazement if I was really going painting "la hally' - alone. They really think I'm crazy now.

These paintings, and the one in the previous post both show Wadi Hasa. The giant sandstone cliffs are the same geology as Petra, which is a few miles to the south.  

The haze in the air is partly clouds but mostly dust from a windy day in the mountains to the north.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas from the Holy Land

I have just returned from teaching art workshops in Jordan. While there I was so lucky to be able to take the time to do some plein air painting. This is Wadi al-Hasa which is the large and beautiful canyon that bisects the small town where I stay.

While I painted this young shepherd and his flock walked by. Surprisingly he asked me what time it was and then hurried off. Somehow I always thought of shepherds as being timeless. The sun was setting and by the time I finished my painting the stars had appeared in the purple dust stained sky - and glory shone around. Happy Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Milk White

I haven't painted any dairy farms yet but I was so tempted by these beautiful white cows I saw photos of. They are called British White. This painting measures 9x12 inches and is painted with a little more bravado - and paint - than my usual detailed style. I have been influenced by my plein air adventures!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lucia Douglas Gallery

I'll be part of a group show at the beautiful Lucia Douglas Gallery in Bellingham from Dec 2-22 and Jan 4-14. There is a reception on Friday night from 6-8 and I'll be there. I'm looking forward to seeing art from my friends Susan Melrath and Jennifer Phillips and for the first time I'll see work by Emily Peck, Alison O'Donoghue and Kim Murton.

So if you live in Seattle but are driving up past Bellingham for the holidays, why not stop in! It's right off the Fairhaven Parkway.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Old Apple Tree

I met these goats in the Methow Valley this spring. The tree is an old apple from Piper's Creek Orchard here in Seattle. 


This year's Turner Prize may go to an landscape painter, George Shaw. A landscape painter! There is a nice video about him here.

He reminds me of Seattle's wonderful Christopher Martin Hoff.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Swans not Turkeys

A wet and beautiful Thanksgiving Day in the Snoqualmie Valley. The river is rising.

A tree farm.

Trumpeter swans resting on their migration south. I painted one of these amazing birds here a couple of years ago.

Weird and wonderful plants. I think it is kale but it was pouring so hard I ran back into the car without checking. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I heard a while ago the idea that many secularist people are treating environmentalism and conscious food consumption as a new sort of religion. Maybe this is so and maybe I am a believer.

I think about this when I wonder why I am drawn to the organic farms I have been painting. Wild nature, not arable land, is the traditional subject of nineteenth and twentieth century American and Canadian landscape painters. But for me there is something brutal about nature. I walk in a forest to be filled with awe, but not to find comfort. If one of the functions of religion is to bring solace to the human condition, then I  look for this solace in the gently managed landscapes of sustainable farms. They remind me of all that is positive in being human. They are places of nurturing.

For much of human history art has been used to express ideas of religion. Giotto did not paint still lifes. Raphael did not paint abstracts. The study of European art history is frequently the study of religious expression. (Music of course followed the same journey) Some think that the greatest European art of the pre Renaissance was the cathedral - a celebration of art, science and community, drawn together under the flying buttress of religion.

When I am alone in a farm field, surrounded by the extraordinarily harmonious combination of nature and civilization, I am consoled as my medieval great great grandmother must have been when visiting her church. And maybe she also felt this when tending her crops at the end of a long day.

This painting is 36x48 inches and is oil on canvas. It is a reworking of a painting I started a couple of years ago. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cabbages for Kings

The rich golden light of the November afternoon saturated all the colors in this Full Circle Farm field. The cabbages were dazzling against the green grass and the shadows were deep with the sun so low. Wow. I felt like a queen surveying a palace of jewels.

This painting is 9x12 inches.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November Trees with Leeks and Parsnips

I was so lucky to enjoy yesterday's glorious weather at Full Circle Farm. A couple of paintings were made, many little airborne spiders were lifted gently off my sweater and my boots were dignified with farm mud.

This  painting is 5"x7" and is oil on canvas. The parsnips are the bright green leaves on either side of the leek bed.

Full Circle posted this wonderful link on their web site about the root systems of vegetables. It blows my mind! A carrot root system running 7.5 feet down. Really makes you wonder what your veggies have been eating down there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Price List for My Exhibition in Wallingford

An Announcement!

I you are on my mailing list you can expect to get this email invitation some time soon. If you would like to be on my mailing list just ask! It's nice to keep in touch.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chickadee on a Swing

The chickadees are very active in my garden right now eating sunflower seeds. Their call makes me think of winter. 

I have called this "Chickadee on a Swing" in reference to a favorite Fragonard painting "The Swing". The style of the background is similar.

This painting measures 5"x7".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I visited this friendly goat with a sweet face on a farm in the Methow Valley. This painting is small. 5"x7" and is oil on canvas. It will be part of a show I am hanging on Wednesday at Fuel Coffee in Wallingford and will be priced at $250.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Small is Beautiful

This small plein air study from Full Circle farm shows the wonderful different colors of mixed farming. Each bed contains different plants. I have learned that brassicas like cabbage are usually blue-ish in color. So are alliums like onions. Green lettuce and escarole have a florescent lime green appearance. And red lettuce is a lovely crimson and brown. Some of the kales are dark purple. I was also interested in the clouds this day. Each one had an aura of light around it.

This is post card sized (5"x7") and is part of the show at Cafe Fiore in Sunset Hill. I have priced it at $150. Now my friends can lecture me again that I should put my prices up. I love them.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nourish - Plein Air Studies of the Farms of the Snoqualmie Valley

On Sunday I'll hang a show of my plein air studies of Full Circle and Oxbow Farms. The show will run through November and December at Cafe Fiore in Sunset Hill, just north of Ballard. (3125 NW 85th St)

The 9"x12" landscapes are $350 each and the 5"x7"landscapes are $150. The food paintings vary in price. Zucchinis on a cupcake stand called "Cupcakes for the Twenty First Century" and the Radicchio plant are $500. "Blackberries" and the "Zucchinis in Sunshine" are $350.

You can contact me to purchase by emailing me at or calling me at 206 217 0031.

Update November 18: I have added red dots to the paintings that have sold. And an 'NFS' to the one painting that is not for sale.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grabbing a Moment

Today was sunny. A rarity on Seattle in October. Some moments we need to stop and turn our faces to the sun and treasure its wimpy warmth. 

This painting is on canvas and measures 5x7 inches.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Super Model Chicken

Super model chicken says "Work it baby!" to all those participating in the Seattle Farm Sanctuary Walk for Animals this Sunday. This little painting measures 5x7 inches.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gorgeous, Amazing, Beautiful Day

A couple of days ago we had such a sunny warm unexpectedly gorgeous day and I was so lucky to spend it painting in the field at Oxbow Farm. 

My friend Tina and I had some fun taking pictures to help me find a portrait photo for the Artist Trust website. Here I am with the children's play tractor.

Megan came out of the barn to warn us that there was a bear on the farm that afternoon. Eventually we were lucky enough to see it on the other side of the lake eating snowberries. The lake area of the farm is a restored wetland with native planting managed with the help of Stewardship Partners.

I hadn't brought a hat so when it was time to paint I had to use a Washington State road map to keep the glare out of my eyes. I love maps!

Here's the finished study. Mount Rainier was 'out' and I couldn't resist putting it in the painting, (in the upper left) along with Cougar Mountain (in the upper right). What a wonderful day.

There are red lettuces in the foreground. Then green lettuce and the dark purply stuff is kale.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation

I have donated this painting of a sleeping kitten the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation who are holding a fundraising auction on 22 October. It is painted on a stretcher I made years ago and have used for various paintings. So there is a rich texture of history adding to the soft monochrome.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Upcoming Shows

I am showing my work in four different places this fall. The first show, at ArtsWest in West Seattle, opens on Thursday, 13th October. I'll be there starting at 6pm so stop by and say hello!  Here is a list of paintings that will be there and their prices.

Through the month of November I will be returning to Fuel Coffee in Wallingford.

And for November and December at Fiore Coffee in Sunset Hill, just north of Ballard.

Finally from Dec 1 - 14th January I will have some new pieces at a group show at Lucia Douglas Gallery in Bellingham.

I'll keep posting these events here, but you can also sign up to 'like' my Facebook page at Jean Bradbury Art and I'll make sure you are up to speed.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cupcakes for the Twenty First Century

Summer vegetables are so pretty that I have been storing them under glass on cake stands on the kitchen counter. So many people are eating more thoughtfully these days, whether for their own health or the health of the planet. I like to think of these as the cupcakes of the 21st Century. Look out Wayne Thiebaud.

This is 12 inches square. The squashes are from Full Circle Farm and Boistfort Valley Farm.

A Grant from Artist Trust!

I have received a grant from the AMAZING Artist Trust to help with my series about the sustainable farms of the Snoqalmie Valley. Thanks Artist Trust. I am so excited!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Under the Plum Tree

This morning I put aside my series of farm paintings to finish a piece that I started in the last week of August. It was the week my daughter left for college for the first time. The end of summer always makes me wistful but there was extra thoughtfulness this year in the dried grasses, fallen fruit and cloudy weather.  

A couple of years ago I painted a small piece with similar feelings called "August Breaks My Heart".

"Under the Plum Tree" measures 18x24 inches.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The field at Full Circle Farm with, from left to right, green cabbage, radicchio, escarole, red cabbage, a single row of red lettuce and green lettuce. Maybe another brassica like cabbage on the far right. I wanted to show the mixed farming that is healthier for land and crops than massive mono cultures of big ag. It also produces a beautiful patchwork of delicious colors. This is 12 inches and was painted outside.

While we were down in the field Jessica picked this young radicchio for me and I took it home to my studio to paint. I can eat it now that it has been recorded! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tractor Tracks

Thanks to Jessica at Full Circle Farm for showing me around and letting me hitch a ride on the pick up. The roads are a bit bumpy. And thanks to Christina for welcoming me each morning.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Farm Skies

I have been looking so hard at the land but a farm sky is an amazing thing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Two Studies from Full Circle Farm

A small study of the berry field at Full Circle Farm. I think of it as "August Sun and September Shadows" There is also something about it that reminds me of the art on those cheesy calendars we used to find hanging in abandoned farm houses in New Brunswick.

A little sketch of Griffin Creek which is the salmon stream that runs through the farm. The shade and overhanging branches create important habitat. I sat on a narrow wooden foot bridge while I painted this and was scared of dropping any brushes or leaning back suddenly and falling into the water. Despite this it was such a treat to paint on a sunny hot day in September in such a magical place! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Painting for Snoqualmie Valley Tilth

I am donating this little painting to an auction to support Sno Valley Tilth. The auction will be held at Jubilee Farm near Carnation on September 24 and you can read about it here. Tilth organizations in the area support sustainable farming and gardening. The painting measures 5x7 inches.

This landscape sketch of beautiful Oxbow Farm shows some radicchio that has gone to flower . And the golden yellow leaves of the cranberry shelling beans from the upper painting! It measures 9x12 inches.

Thanks to Luke, Sarah, Adam, Megan and everyone for letting me sit in their fields at Oxbow while they worked.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sitting in Farm Fields

I started my new series painting the sustainable organic farms of the Snoqualmie Valley! While the weather is good I have been sitting in the fields painting out of doors and it has been dreamy. This is a 12 inch sketch of the lake at Oxbow Farm which has a restored wetland. 

It is a challenge to paint quickly "en plein air" as opposed to my usual studio style and I have been toying with approaching it in various styles but this one is a basic impressionist study.  I'll take my little studies into the studio soon and make some large and detailed pieces in my usual style. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Plein Air

I haven't posted for a while because we finally got some real summer weather and I have been outside. I've been taking the easel up to the roof deck to paint "en plein air" with the sun on my shoulders. Here are zuccinis from my farm box (with a cucumber I grew myself!) And blackberries from the alley. 

The light shifts so quickly that a very fast, sloppier painting style is necessary than my usual. It suits the relaxed feeling of summer. These paintings are 12 inches square.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rush Hour in the Jordan Valley

This painting is based on the goat herds that I saw coming home every night when I was in the Jordan Valley this spring. Patient, timeless animals. So much history in their faces and the sound of their shuffling feet.

Goat herds remind me of water flowing over the landscape. They appear to be almost one organism but in this painting I remind myself that each creature has it's own life, story and character. Similarly I try to remember not to generalize groups of people. Everyone has a specific story.

I was playing here with all the browns in my pallete. Burnt umber, raw umber , Van Dyck and blues, black and my Naples yellow light.

You can see what this painting looked like a month ago here. I like the white but it made the goats look like ghost goats.

And here it was a little while ago with an apple of Sodom plant that I didn't like.