Fall Color Love

This painting celebrates the fall tree colors. It was based very loosely on a source photo I took close to home in South Dakota, and then became an abstract landscape. The paint was thickly applied with a palette knife.

Since I was playing with so many fall colors right next to each other, I used a limited palette of just 3 colors and white to keep the harmony (Ultramarine blue, Cad yellow deep (cad free), and Quinacridone).

Here it is with me, for size reference. 

No paper towels, or better paper towels?

As part of my effort to go green, I’ve been planning to try to eliminate paper towels. Right now I use shop towels that come from Lowes in a box. I don’t use a tun of them – maybe an average of one per painting. But that doesn’t seem so green.

So far I’ve tried

  • scraping my brush with the palette knife before wiping it. That’s great, and I plan to continue.
  • wiping my brush on scrap cardboard after the palette knife and before wiping it. This is going to get some upgrades.
  • using cut up old t-shirt instead of paper towels. This works best with thick fabric with low lint levels. Thin fabric is no good. I’m going to try more fabrics to try to get the best one.

After trying all that, I’m finding that going totally towel free will take more planning and work, although I do think it’s doable. I’m starting to research paper towels that I feel better about using – ones made from recycled material or bamboo or cotton, for plein air trips… Suggestions welcome!

Healthy studio update – hiding my stool

Today’s improvement was standing up.  

I started the sitting lifestyle when I got a job at Microsoft over 20 years ago. And then 15 years ago when I started this painting career, I kept on sitting for some reason… and so everything is set up for me to sit and changing it seemed like too much effort for some reason.

But right now I’m getting healthy in the studio. So I took my stool, moved it away from my easel, and put some stuff on it. The first couple days of standing felt pretty weird. I paint barefoot and my feet got tired the first day, so the second day I wore my sneakers. Today I’ll stand again, and I’ll be halfway to making a new habbit.

Already I feel better!

Spontanious Combustion? Really?

learn to paint with jessie

2023 is my year of getting green and healthy in the studio, and what is less green and healthy than a fire hazard?

An artist just asked an important question in a workshop, and I thought it was important enough to share with you. 

“Can painting rags spontaneously catch fire?”

Unfortunately, yes, if the rags are not handled properly. 

This seems like such an important issue that I wanted to raise awareness so other artists can start looking for advice for experts! (I am not giving advice here, I’m trying to point you towards the experts who can.)

I spent a couple years in art school and have taken a dozen painting workshops and it’s honestly never come up… So I’m learning right now with you.

So please don’t take anything I say here as advice. Instead, I’m trying to raise awareness, and point you towards the experts on this topic. 

Here’s some information from a couple paint companies

“As the oil is drying on the rag it produces heat, and air gets trapped in the folds. The rag is usually made of a combustible cloth that can become a source of fuel. Heat, oxygen and fuel are all that is needed to create a fire, which is why oily rags, when not disposed of properly, can spontaneously burst into flames. Oily rags should be kept in an airtight metal container, and then transferred into an airtight sealed plastic bag for disposal.”  – Winsor Newton

“Please note that oil-soaked rags should be – at a minimum – properly stored in an Oily Rag Safety Can (such as those offered by JustRite) until they can be thrown out. Even better, soak rags in water, and place them in an old jar or similar container and dispose of them outside in your household trashcan or apartment building dumpster.” – Gamblin

Here’s a conversation about this topic on WetCanvas.com

And here’s some woodworkers talking about the same thing. 

Here are a couple other resources I found. If you find a good resource for information about this topic, please comment below and share the knowledge!

Please be safe! 

New Pear Painting

Not yet titled (suggestions welcome!), 8×10 in, oil on canvas, not yet available.

I’m so happy with how this turned out! I’m hanging onto it so I can reflect on what I like while I’m painting tomorrow…

And here’s my little setup. I’m using construction paper for some color in the background.

On a side note, you can see that everything is on a table. I set it up that way so that it would be easy to film for my workshops. But my goal for this year is to get green and healthy, and I feel healthier standing up! So I’ll be making a setup that’s at eye level while standing and adjusting my workshop filming stuff accordingly.

Have a great day!

Getting Green in ’23

This year one of my big goals is to get my studio green, for my health and to be a good steward of the Earth.

The first thing I looked into is my use of solvents. I’ve been using a pretty limited quantity of Gamsol for a few years, for wash-ins and for brush cleaning. Right now I’m testing out Eco-Solve as a replacement, and my experience is mixed. It seems to work better as a brush cleaner, and I’ve improved my brush care as a result. But I’m not quite sure how I feel about it for a wash-in / map-in on canvas. It has an oilier feel to it.

Gamsol’s website says “Gamsol is the safest solvent that allows oil painters to utilize all traditional painting techniques without compromise.”

The label says “Vapor Harmful”.

Eco-solve’s website says “Made with processed soy bean oil. Non-Toxic:100% natural. Tested by professional toxicologists. Does not emit harmful vapors. Does not irritate the skin. Does not pollute the soil or waterways.”

It also says archival and non-yellowing, which are absolute musts for any painting materials I use. So I’m going to keep using it.

If you’d like to try it, here’s a link to a $5 off coupon. (That’s an affiliate link.)

There is a new Artist Spotlight on Outdoor Painter, on guess who!

My newsletter subscribers saw the behind the scenes story about this…

Here’s the article! (You can also find it here: https://www.outdoorpainter.com…)

Jessie, shown helping to hang her solo exhibit at Johnson Fine Arts Center in SD

How did you get started and then develop your career?
Jessie Rasche: 15 years ago I became a professional fine artist, starting with tiny still life paintings and 6×6” paintings of moms and babies bonding. I painted moms from all around the country, some of whom came back years later for more portraits.

After I got more confident and my work grew, I focused intensely for 2 years on a series exploring how animal groups are both connected and individuals. Through that experience, I learned a lot about how to define a series, paint it, save the paintings for a show, and make show proposals It was so satisfying for all that effort to culminate in several beautiful solo exhibits.

When covid started, I wanted to give something meaningful to my fans, so I started a series of live youtube draw-togethers for restless home-bound people. It was a great experience, so I started teaching zoom painting workshops for artists. I’ve found that I love teaching, and my students are amazing.

Now I paint landscapes, people, and animals outdoors and in the studio. My work sells through my studio and great galleries, and I teach live online workshops to beginning – advanced artists.

How did you develop your unique style?
Jessie Rasche: My mom is an artist and I was exposed to the creative person’s lifestyle and encouraged in my creative endeavors throughout my childhood. I went to art school 30 years ago and have taken many workshops with fantastic artists since then. I feel very lucky to have had that start with art making.

I think we’re all born with a style, but although some of that style is evident right from the start, for me at least, it is a life-long journey to developing the skills and personal insight to let my style be fully realized.

My paintings are each anchored in gesture, with a combination of abstract and representational areas, a strong color theme, and layers of visible interesting marks.

For each of those elements in my work, I’ve dedicated a year (or several) to focusing on developing that skill. Right now, I’m very focused on mark-making and layering paint.

I try to make each painting the strongest one I have painted yet, and plan to keep developing my work in that way.

Thanks for this opportunity to share my art journey!

To see more of Jessie’s work, visit:

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Jessie Rasche, “Opening,” oil, 9 x 12 in., won “Best of Quarry”, 2021 AIS national exhibit wet wall competition
Jessie Rasche, “New Friend,” oil on panel, 16 x 12in., 2021