Monday, December 19, 2011

Painting a Tuscon Scene-A study in planes

This is the finished painting done from a picture provided to me by my sister, Beth.  It is of the mountains in Tuscon behind her house.
I have wanted to paint these mountains often, as the light on them is so facinating.  When we go to visit, the light in the Tuscon area is so different than ours here in Missouri.  I still am a firm believer that you should only paint scenes of locations you have visited.   The memory of those locations help you to paint the scenes as you remember the places you visit.  With photos, you need to be aware of the lies that photos tell.  If you have not visited the places you paint yourself, you will not know how to edit them and change them for your paintings.  
Have fun and enjoy the journey.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christopher Neal White-Fallen hero and his amazing family

This portrait of PFC Christopher Neal White was painted for his family and the new Lodge at the Chris Neal Farm. He was killed in action on June 20, 2006 at the age of 23 years old in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Our Grateful Hearts Project creates portraits of our fallen soldiers completely free of charge to the families of these heroes.
Their families are heroes too. They have given the ultimate sacrifice of their children, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers and cousins. Christopher's family have taken their grief and turned it into a wonderful tribute to their son and to all the soldiers who have gone to war and given of themselves to make our lives better.
Christopher's family started the Chris Neal Farm called Camp Hope in Farmington, Missouri where combat wounded veterans can come, at no cost to them, to have handicapped accessible experiences and activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking and skeet shooting. Their facitilities are first class handicapped accessible.
They are keeping the spirit of Chris alive in giving hope and enjoyment to disabled veterans. Please consider them this Christmas and donate to help them keep this facility going for our amazing combat wounded warriers. You can contact them at their
If you know of a family that would like a portrait of their fallen soldier please have them contact us at
Thanks to all our soldiers who give selflessly to keep our country and our freedoms strong.
Jennylynne Gragg
Founder of the Grateful Hearts Project

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Portrait of Boo

This beautiful boxer has crossed over the rainbow bridge. He was a much loved pet and constant companion of his owner, a little girl who was going thru cancer. Boo stuck by her side and offered her an escape from the rigors of cancer treatment. He would even let her dress him in all kinds of get-ups. He never saw this as an affront to his dignity. He was a true friend to not only the little girl, but her family as well.
It was an honor to do this portrait of him in the tiara that denoted his stature in the family. What a loving memory for them to keep of this amazing dog.
This is a 5"x7" portrait format.
Enjoy and happy painting,
Run free and be at peace, Boo!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Heading to the Big Cedar Lodge Paint Out in Branson, Mo.

Wednesday, I will be heading to Big Cedar Lodge for the second Paint Out Event in Branson, Missouri. It is always exciting getting ready for such an event. Besides clothing(for all types of weather), you need to pack all your painting supplies, frames, easels for display, business cards, bio, bug spray, sunscreen,, ivy block. Well, you get the picture.

It also means that once again I will trying to reduce what I take and pare down my equipment so I don't have to unload so much stuff. This for me is always a challenge! When I was only doing pastels, it was a nightmare. I am not a minimalist when it comes how many pastels I think I need. I have over 3000 in my studio but obviously can not take that many on location. So, I have three boxes each loaded with around 200-300 pastel pieces. Each box is filled with pastels for a certain location. I have one for painting in Missouri, one for out west like New Mexico and another for seascapes locations. My hubby made a travel box for my supports and papers that work well for toting surfaces ready for painting and also the finished work, in relative safety. The downside of pastels on a paint out is numerous when painting in plein aire, but the results are well worth it.

Oils, on the other hand, are wonderful on paint outs. I narrow down my oil colors to just six, plus white and the Gamblin grays. My main colors are French Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre,Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna and Titanium white plus Art spectrum Clear. When painitng in Missouri, I will also include Olive Green and Phathlo Green plus cobalt blue and cerlean blue. I do on occasion take additional colors but these are my mainstay. By narrowing down my colors, I can create harmony throughout the painting right off the bat.

I usually take my break down table that folds all up in a little carrying case for easy packing.(You can find this marvelous table at Bass Pro Shops) I take my small easel and also my french easel, my umbrella, camping chair that folds in a bag, my backpack, a small box filled with additional paints, and my pallette box. I also include a small old rug or drop cloth for standing on while painting. I spray this with bug spray and have never had chiggers or ticks.

Hope this helps you and if you have any questions, just send me your questions in the comment and I will try and answer it quickly.

Happy Painting!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Antoher painting exploring shadows

Lately I have been having fun exploring shadows of all kinds. Afternoon shadows are one of my most favorite things to paint. This latest painting is no exception. This is a studio painting done from photos and an onsite oil study. I cannot begin to describe the joy of painting this scene. The scene is in Lakewood along the road where the golf course winds around and thru. Most people drive right by this spot and never notice it. I'm sure the ones who live around this little pool enjoy its beauty immensely.

The entire pond is quite tucked in by hillside and trees. In fact you must get out of your car and go to the edge of the hill just to catch the beauty as it unfolds around you. I have seen lots of wildlife(they always know the best spots) and its peaceful serene setting is what draws them, I'm sure.

This painting, as well as my other new paintings in and around Lakewood, will be the my booth #4 at the Longview Art and World Music Festival starting this Friday. Come on out and enjoy the treasures that will be displayed there by all the artists and be sure and take one home with you.

Hope to see you there,


Monday, September 12, 2011

Second installment in the revision of the plein aire

Okay, the first image is the first try at revision. I decided to extend the sky all the way across the top of the painting. Also made the cove bigger and lost the slant. Started to add some additional color to the background foliage and tweak the sky holes a bit. Still did not like the fact that my focal tree is just kinda hanging out and not the star. Also, in this version, the background trees are not fading back like they need to and am still not happy with the lack of variation in the grass around the tree. Also noticed at this stage that the background hillside is pretty much one line and needs variation and also to be blued-down for it to recede into the background and show distance.

In the second photo of the painting, you will see that I addressed all those issues above. I toned down the size of the sky holes, varied the line in the background trees on the hillside and also brought the line down so the sky holes made more sense in relationship to the sky. The other thing that I did was to vary the colors in the grass and tone down the background colors a little so the tree now takes center stage. I also softened the bushes in the intermediate part of the scene so they would not compete with my tree. By changing the grasses, and toning down and mellowing the background my tree now becomes the star. And I didn't have to change a thing about the tree itself-it just needed the supporting players to get out of its light.

I also softened around the water's edge in the cove to give a little more variation where the shoreline meets the land and to soften the slope down to the water.

Hope this helps you to feel more confident when you need to re-visit a painting-It's fun exploring them with new eyes and finding ways to improve upon your original idea. Especially when you do a plein aire with a limited time crunch. They make a great learning too.

Happy Painting!


Tweaking a plein aire painting in the studio

I know that when I paint in plein aire, that sometimes things just don't work out quite like I would like. So I decided to take an old plein aire painting that I did at Lake Jacomo and revise it. The original is a two hour plein aire painting. It has hung on my wall for almost two years. There were things about the painting that just didn't appeal to me. So, when one of my students asked about the painting and what I would change-I took up the challenge. It is still not an out the door painting as far as selling is concerned but I'm happier with it and glad to get a chance to provide my students with a life lesson.

SO-here goes-
This is the original painting as it appeared that day when I was done.

I will be posting the revisions and discussing my thought process in doing those revisions in the next blog.

what I did not like about this original work is multiple. Didn't care for the top of the painting where the tree(which was my focal point) leaves the right side. Also the fact that the right side of my painting seems weighted down to that side. I also didn't like the slanted lines created by the tree line on the left, the water on the left and the way the ground also seemed to slide down the left side.

So these are my issues-as I see them. In the next blog, I will let you know how they were changed,hopefully for the better. I often change paintings that I have done that don't seem to be working. Some I can enhance and be happy with, others become a teaching and learning tool for me. I feel that you should always be in the learning mode so you can move forward in your endeavors.

Stay tuned-

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Paintings Hot off the Easel

This two paintings are my recent endeavors at the easel. The first is a painting of the putting green at Lakewood Golf and Country Club. This view was captured out the window during the recent reception for my ongoing art exhibit and sale, which will be up till the end of September. As soon as the paint dries this will be joining the other paintings hanging there.

The second painting is a view of the vines at Holyfield Winery in Bashor, Kansas. It was started as a plein aire during the recent plein aire event there. After I brought it home, I decided that it needed a little tweeking. So it went back on the easel to be revamped. I am really happy with the end result. This painting will also be going up at the Lakewood Show along with an additional plein aire painting created during the Holyfield event.

If you haven't had a chance to see the exhibit and sale, please take a jaunt to the Lakewood Country and Golf Club in Lee's Summit, Mo. to see all the paintings. Remember, Christmas is coming and all my paintings can be purchased thru my layaway program.

Happy Painting,


Monday, August 15, 2011

Plein Aire Painting at Holyfield Winery 2011

It was great fun painting at the Holyfield Winery this last week. This painting was done during the week and showcased during the Saturday Art Event at the Winery. Michelle is going to make this an annual event so be sure and mark your calendars for next year. The grapes were in full on display due to the high heat and good rains earlier in the year. They grow several varieties of grapes so there are loads of different colors to inspire the artists.

On the Sale Day, we were all encouraged to bring additional art that we had painted for all the wine tasters to see and enjoy and buy.

All the artists are encouraged to donate a painting completed that week to a charity. The Charity this year is Safe Haven Prison Dogs. It was an honor to paint in this beautiful winery and also help out a four-legged friend.

Will post the other two paintings soon.

Happy Painting,


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some of the paintings on display at the Lakewood Oaks Golf and Country Club Exhibit and Sale

These are just a few of the paintings that will be on exhibit and for sale at the Lakewood Oaks Golf and Country Club, 651 NE Andrews Circle, Lee's Summit, Mo. 64064 from August 1 thru September 30, 2011.

The Opening reception is August 6, tonight, from 5-6:30pm with wine and cheese. All are invited to attend The restaurant is open to all for your dining enjoyment.

I will be offering my layaway plan for all paintings over $150.00. I will also be accepting commissions for portraits and landscapes. If you get started now, the painting you commission will be ready in time for Christmas Gift Giving.

So come out and see the artwork and meet new and interesting people.

Happy Painitng,


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mystic Road-New Studio Painting

Every once in awhile, I try on someone else's shoes. In this case, it is the start of the new studio paining. The initial drawing was done in burnt siena and just enough to work out a few issues. Sometimes when you've been painting for awhile, it is nice to get out of your own skin and try something new. Usually, I do a full value study under my paintings but in this case, I decided to try something new which I watched a fellow artist due for a plein aire painting. It did speed up my "getting to the painting" quicker but I found that I do miss the map I get with a full value study. So, I will probably keep the full value drawing phase(even in plein aire), but maybe do a smaller study size and try this quick way under the actual painting. I'll keep you posted.

This road is like many roads in Missouri. The foliage during late spring and early summer almost masks out the sun and it is filtered through little breaks in the trees and also reflected from where the sun hits the leaves. This is a composite from one of my favorite roads in Augusta, Missouri and also one of my favorite paths in Lake Jacomo Park. This is a really great way to get the best of both paths in the studio,something I can't do when plein aire painting.

Hope you enjoy the painting and the new adventure in my studio.

Happy Painting!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

PFC Bentz III, KIA 6/20/07

The painting of this fallen soldier is on our website at The Grateful Hearts Project does portraits for free for the families of fallen soldiers. Just go to the website and check out the Gallery of Heroes in the Works category.

If you know of a family that would like to have a portrait of their fallen soldier, just have them contact us thru the website. The artists volunteer their time and materials for free and all the framing and shipping is free to them also.

The painting of PFC Bentz was created by Bev Rose and has been shipped to him Mother.

Thanks to all the soldiers and their families who have given the supreme sacrifice that we may live in this wonderful free country.

Jennylynne Grag
Grateful Hearts Project coordinator and artist

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finally Finished! Serenity Among the Lillies

Well, it's finally finished. This first attempt at turning a plein aire experience into a studio painitng. It has really been a journey. Thanks to all who gave me input and especially to Donna A. who is always my "third eye"! I am happy with the ending and will now put this on my website at for sale!

It is on to the next,
Happy Painting everyone,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blue Springs Garden Tour Painting

Well, I decided to continue my "larger format" experience in the "real world". I have been having fun with the larger formats in my studio and decided that I needed to try and capture that same feel and size in plein aire. I was inspired by Zak Barnes and Guido Frick who paint on large canvases outside.
It was quite a learning experience! For one thing, the larger format acts like a sail in windy conditions, which we had on Saturday. So, I bungee corded everything. Even then, I still had to, at times, hang onto the side of the canvas to keep it blowing into the lake. The other thing I had to remember was that larger canvases take MORE PAINT! After I ran out of a mixer that I loved twice, I really laid out the paint to avoid that problem. We were also painting in pretty much full sun as the umbrella refused to stay in place and after retrieving it from the water's edge, I gave up on that venture. Also painting larger requires more time-a lot more time. The smaller formats in plein aire I can usually whip out in a couple hours but this larger format takes a lot more time-thus the sunburn.(note to self reapply sunburn creme more often!!!!!!!) Other than those couple of issues, the process is basically the same.
I also decided that I need to expand my vision. So, this is the first structures done in plein aire also. It was just a huge day of "firsts". I am happy overall with the results. I may tweak it back in the studio and see if it can be fine tuned. Really though, the vision I had for the painting was pretty much completed on site. This is something I will definitely try again. I had a ball, even with the wind and sun issues.
So keep your seats for more to come-
En Plein Aire,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Studio Painting-coming into its own

This is the painting as of last night. I decided to leave the grasses on the right, the rocks and the space above the rocks. I added the lily pads, refined the plant on the left and added back in some darker water on the left above the lily pads and plant. At this point, I have decided to turn the painting to the wall and let it marinate for awhile. I have enjoyed the process of "going bigger" and am moving on to another painting based on the lakes, ponds and golf course where I live.

All my bigger paintings will be going to the Lakewood Golf Club for my exhibit there in August and September-more on that later.

Also, I will be painting at 804 SW 15th, Oak Grove, Mo. this Saturday from 9am to 4pm during the Blue Springs Garden Tour. The garden I am painting in has 11 gardens and a small lake. As I love water, this just seemed the perfect spot for me. Chrissy, my daughter-in-law and student, will be joining me on this adventure. After the morning rain, it should be a fun day. So come on out and say hi!

Happy Painting and Collecting,


New Phase for the Studio Painting

This is the second phase of my plein aire to studio painting. I have finished with the water, refined my rocks, added some grasses and am ready to move to the next phase. It has been an interesting process. Lots more time to think than the plein aire experience. That has proved to be a good and bad thing. I think the key, for me anyway, is not to overthink but to try and capture that spontaneous feeling and excitement that I get when plein aire painting but also to have it be more refined in my decisons. It is time now to put away the reference material and let the painting come into its own.

Happy painting,


Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Direction-From Plein aire to Studio-Going Bigger

I am starting a new painting which is a little (okay a lot) different for me. I am using a plein aire painting and reference photos to create a larger studio painting. I will be posting my progress into this new journey of unknown. I have long wanted to go "BIGGER" but always been a little reluctant. Not sure entirely why but probably just time, money and FEAR! I have finally decided that this will afford me an opportunity to expand my market and hopefully expand my collectors in the process. Plus-let's face it-it's just FUN!

I also want to encourage my students to expand their horizons and lunge forward into the unknown. I have discovered that a few things are evident-like more expensive canvases, more paint(definitely using my limited palette range), more time(but this is actually a plus by not feeling "rushed" to finish like when I do plein aire), and I can paint at 3am if I chose in relative comfort-even in my pj's if I chose.(not really an option in plein aire).

So, here goes-
Hope you grab a chair and join me on this journey-

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Stems Paintings from the Overland Park Arboretum

These paintings were created on site at the Overland Park Arboretum during the Stems Plein Aire Event. This is an annual event and fundraiser for The Arts and Recreation Foundation of Overland Park. This event is in its third year.

I have participated in the first years event which was an invitational event by the MidAmerica Pastel Society. The second year, I was out in Taos, New Mexico painting in plein aire there and didn't get back in time to due that year even though I had signed up. This year, we got back from the Augusta, Mo. Plein Aire event in time to hit both the George Owens Nature Park plein aire and the Stems plein aire events.

One of my paintings in the George Owens Nature Park event received an honorable mention in the judging at that event.

The painting of the water lillies and rock wall named "Tranquility" and the painting of the water, rock and willow called "Willow, Rock, Water" sold during the VIP events at the Rice Gallery in Leawood, Ks.

The first day we went out was nice and very pleasant. The second and third it rained but we were used to that from the Augusta Mo paint out where it rained almost every day this year. It is nice to be painting in oils instead of pastels cause oils don't mind the water. Pastels, on the other hand, are not fond of water.

There were wonderful paintings created by all the artists during the Stems event and you can still purchase some of the paintings that will be at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center or at the Stems A Garden Soiree Event in the Stems Plein Air Paint sales tent.

So get out and support the arts!

Happy collecting,


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Plein Air in Augusta, Mo.-Fun in the outdoors

These are the paintings that I painted in Augusta, Missouri at the Plein aire event last week. It was wonderful to paint there again and revisit some of the places I painted before and discover new ones. These are only the ones that I think should see the light of day, the rest shall remain a mystery(probably even to me).

The first painting is of a cliff in Klondike Park. This park is not included in the paint out but it is a beautiful park in an old quarry along the river and the Katy Trail. It has so many places that cry out to be painted. There is a lake and beautiful white sandy beaches. Of course the bluffs are amazing also and if you are willing to hike, a expansive view of the Missouri river.

The second painting is a different view of the entrance to Blumenhof Winery in Dutzow. I had several people stop and ask what attracted me to this painting. In truth, it was the light on the concrete culvert. It is always strange to me how we humans seek to channel nature and how nature always wins out in the end.

The third painting is of a church in Augusta, Mo. The red dogwoods against the white building were enchanting and the stained glass windows mimicked the colors in the trees. I painted there with about four other artists and it is wonderful to see our different versions of the scene.

The fourth painting is of the old farm across from Balducci winery. This painting was done done during the sunset paint sponsored by the winery. I paint this view every year and it is amazing how it changes but remains the same. The light in the sky was so subtle. This view does not get the brilliant reds and oranges of the main sunset but more the "left overs" of the sunset.

The fifth painting was painted at Blumenhof also. This is the view of the creek which runs along side of the entrance to the winery. The foliage was such a brilliant green along the creek and the sun lit it up like it was on fire. I tried to capture the feeling that I had while standing there and looking at such brilliant beauty.

Hope you enjoy these paintings and if you would like to purchase any of these just contact me through facebook or my website at

Happy Mother's day everyone. Giving art, especially the ones created in plein aire, is a wonderful way to sustain our view of nature which can often times disappear forever after we capture it on canvas.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Student paintings-today's work by the students is awesome

The top two paintings were done by Joyce and the lower painting by Chrissy. They both did great today! Joyce was working on two paintings for an upcoming exhibit at Advanced Surgical in Lee's Summit, Mo. Joyce has decided that she does better under pressure, at least as far as completing paintings in a timely manner is concerned. I must agree. She has finished three this week alone-GO JOYCE!
Chrissy has been working on getting faster from concept to finished painting. She will need these skills to make her a faster plein aire painter. Today, she took a painting from idea, to concept, to drawing to completion in around two-three hours. Well, done Chrissy! I think she is ready for our Augusta Missouri plein aire trip coming up at the end of April.
These two students have been with me the longest and are really coming into their own as artists. I am so proud of both of them. Great work today gals.
See you next week in class for more fun and games-
Happy Painting,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If Life Gives You Lemons----

Well, here in Missouri the weather can take unexpected turns. Yesterday, it snowed after a lovely spring day the day before. I had planned on painting in plein aire and when I woke up to big fat flakes of snow coming down everywhere, I was disappointed. However, remembering my Grandma's words "If life gives you lemons-make lemonade". I donned my coat and braved the cold. This is another painting from the series "Paintings from the Porch". This painting is a 12"x16" and is now available on my website at

Happy Painting-looking forward to spring,

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Painting on a grey day

My students have been complaining about all the grey weather we've been having lately and the fact that winter is dragging on forever. The 50 degree days we get every once in a while is not helping. We even had a wonderful 70 degree day right before it snowed and iced like crazy. With this welcome back to winter, I decided to paint some oils from my porch. These were created looking into the backyard and across the cove. I had a great time painting these and just wanted to share what you can do on a wintery grey day. You need to watch your values, as they will be limited in this kind of atmosphere, but they still provide a nice range of color to work with and capture the mood of the day. These paintings will be up for sale on my website soon. If you are interested please contact me as I have a special "without frame" price and they are hot off the easel.
Hoping your winter is coming to an end,

Friday, February 25, 2011

New art venues coming up

Well, it will be a busy spring and summer. I have posted the art shows and plein aire events for the spring, summer and fall on my website at Check it out and I hope to see you at one or two of them.

The first one coming up will be the Robert Tindall IAA show at George Owens Nature Park, followed by the Blue Springs Art League show at Vesper Hall in Blue Springs, Mo.

Check out the other events on the website under "events".

Well, Buddy and I are headed out to paint on the porch, so enjoy your day,