Saturday, June 6, 2020

31 Paintings From May

I love capturing the change of season in my paintings. The month of May was beautiful this year. The trees started the month bare and now they are full with summer leaves. I decided to paint as much as I could in the Spring, to capture the transition that the landscape is going through. I ended up completing 32 paintings, and I am sharing many of them with you in this post, along with a couple from the last week in April. 

I read somewhere recently that the meaning of momentum is having an idea and not talking yourself out of it. That is a good way to sum up my month of painting. If I saw something with good shapes of color, I set up my easel and I painted it. 

May 3 - Park Street, Reedsburg - 16 x 20" $500
I was surrounded by beautiful things to paint on this Sunday afternoon. There was a backlit scene with blossoming trees to my left, and another subject to my right. I decided to paint the light falling onto Park Street and the Queen Anne house. There were buds forming on the trees which gave me some lovely spring greens, and also great contrast of light and shadow.

May 4 - Cornerstone Building with Pink Sky - 9 x 12" - $175
This was the second painting that I worked on on this day. On my way home, I noticed the shape of the yellow tree on the left hand of the painting. The leaves were brilliant yellow, and the tree had been cut back so that it wouldn't grow into the power lines. This shape was enough to peak my interest.and I  painted one shape of color next to another, creating a abstract and simple painting that is a lot of fun to look at.

May 7 - Pawlisch Magnolia - 12x16" oil on panel - $350
There are some signs of Spring that appear before the pink magnolia trees, such as fresh chartreuse grass and bright yellow forsythia, but the magnolia is my favorite sign of spring. I paint them every year and I learn more about them every year. I have painted this particular magnolia a couple of times, once from the porch of the house, and once very close up. On this day, the tree was lit up by the afternoon sun, while the house behind it was backlit. The contrast of bright pink magnolia against the blue/grey house made me want to capture this magnolia again this year.

May 8 - Loganville Barn and Vista - 16 x 20" oil on panel $500
The rolling hills come to life with color each year in the springtime. For this scene, I was looking into the sun, which created a dramatic contrast of light and color. I used a broken color technique for this painting, to capture the shards of light.

May 9 - North Freedom Farm under Morning Light - 16 x 20"  $500
This was painted under morning light, and the contrast is much softer than the afternoon light of the painting from the day before. The painting shares the broken color technique, but this one has a more restrained pastel palette. The effect of the atmosphere decides how my paintings look, I simply have to stay open to whatever the day brings.

May 11 -  Backlit trees in the Marsh - 12 x 16" $350
I am surrounded by fields, farms, the river and marsh. In the springtime, when the light shines through the budding trees, they become so illuminated that they look like they are on fire. The way that I capture the light, shining through the transparent buds, is by using a wash of thin paint to create the shapes of the trees. The thin paint works almost like stained glass, the light reflects off of the white canvas, and gives a brilliant and rich color. If I was to mix white with the yellow/orange of the trees, the color would become chalky, and not have the radiant effect of light. Capturing these sorts of fleeting effects, and learning how we see the light, makes painting challenging but more enjoyable.

May 12 - 8th Street Plum Tree in Baraboo 12 x 16" $500
Baraboo is full of flowering trees in May, and when the sun shines, there is so much beauty in the neighborhoods. I stood in a bank parking lot, and painted this white house and plum tree from across busy 8th Street under mid-afternoon sun. I was starting to pick up a lot of momentum, by painting every day, and I think it will come across that I was in a great mood on this day.

May 12 - East Street with Flowering Serviceberry trees, Truck, and St. Joe's Church 8 x 10" $175
In Baraboo, East Street is lined with Serviceberry Trees, which are a delight to observe and a fun challenge to paint. I can remember painting these same trees 10 years ago, and discovering that Prussian blue (lightened with white) and Naples yellow light created the color of the Serviceberry trees on my palette. Of course the light of the day affects this color as well, and on this day the bright afternoon sun made the lit up masses of trees, road and church even warmer. Two of my students  hung around while I painted this. They remarked that they couldn't tell what I was painting, and that might be true, but I reminded them that sometimes the subject is the color and the light of the day vs. recognizable subject matter.

May 13 - Young Birch Trees and Stream on Terrytown 12 x 16" $400
This stream is near Baraboo Hills campground, and I drive past it often. I started to notice that the early spring birch trees are quite lovely last year, but never got around to paint it then. On this day, I got a chance to paint it, and I am glad that I did. The blue of the sky was reflecting off the little stream, and the yellow/green leaves on the young birch trees were shimmering in the afternoon breeze. Everything was fresh on that day, with spring light and color.

May 15 - Baraboo Neighborhood - 18 x 24" $700
I painted this neighborhood a few years ago, and returned because of the beautiful light and color on this afternoon. There was a bright red cherry tree in blossom next to the blue house, and behind that a large magnolia in front of the grey house. Some painters feel like green is a harsh color and they try to tone their greens down. To me, there is very little that is more beautiful than bright green grass on a spring day. If I was to subdue the green, some of the poetry of Spring would be lost.

May 15 - Baraboo Church  8x10" $175
The golden hour effect of light flattened the shapes of the trees and the church on this afternoon, which made them very graphic and fun to paint. On the right hand of the painting is the Little Village Restaurant and the Al Ringling theater. I was visited by a fellow teacher on this day, and also someone who was picking flowers on the square. The abstract shapes that make up this painting were painted rapidly, and as the light faded I was pleased that I was able to capture the fleeting effect in the language of paint.
May 20 - Baraboo Porch, Gazebo, and Cherry Tree 16 x 20" oil on panel $500
This was a beautiful, sunny afternoon which came after 4 days of clouds and rain. I originally went to Baraboo with the idea to paint near the library. On the way, I saw this scene, and stopped to paint it instead. It's easy to make plans of where to go and paint, but it's often better to just go out and keep our eyes open for subjects.
My goal with this scene, was to have the yellow of the house and gazebo remain in shadow, while the railing on the porch was in light along with the blue shed and pink cherry tree.

May 20  - Rock Springs Flowering Tree and Shed 12 x 16" $350
Corbin joined me on this evening painting session, and I always enjoy it when she comes along with me. I think I paint better when she is along because she is always giving me such good compliments as I'm painting. She knows that I'm pushing for more abstraction and it's never a bad idea to have a second set of eyes on a painting. This backlit scene was very dramatic, and the light was changing quickly as I observed, mixed, and painted the flowering tree that was in front of the shed. Backlit scenes make for dramatic and easily seen shapes, and there were plenty of sparkles of color on the edges of shapes for me to play with. 

May 21 - Dandelions 8x6" $100
It seemed like the dandelions came out all at once, when we had our first hot days of the spring. I had a good time simplifying the dandelions into orbs of grey and blue and violet. These were on the side of the driveway at the farm, and I sat on a milk crate to be closer to them while I painted them.

May 22 - Reedsburg Cherry Blossom 16 x 20" $500
I set up and painted on the sidewalk by Main Street in Reedsburg on this cloudy afternoon. Whenever I paint in an area where I am highly visible, I know that I am going to have plenty of interaction with people and I like that. It's nice to get into the neighborhoods and talk to people and hear how they are doing. On this day, I was visited by an old co-worker, from my days of stocking shelves at Pamida, as well as a dozen other people. Everyone was in a good mood on that day. I suppose it was because it was a Friday, and the Cherry Blossoms were in bloom. 

May 23 - Lightning Storm  - 8x10" $175
We started getting some hot weather on this week, and on this day the storms rolled in. It was sunny when I went out to paint, but there was a strong, warm breeze, and then the storm rolled in. I painted quickly on this day, and made it back into my car by the time the storms came crashing down. I've never painted a lightning bolt into a painting before, and I won't make a habit of it, but it seemed like the right thing to do on this day. 
May 25 - Lilac Still Life 12 x 16" $400
It's good to measure the success of a painting only on how good it feels while painting. On this day, the fragrance of the lilac bouquet was so fresh that it would have been hard to make something that I wasn't satisfied with. I love impressionism and I love broken color. Painting is at its best when you are perceiving the subject through all of your senses.

May 25 - Lit up Dandelions - 8x6" $150
The long shadow, cast by the barn, was creeping towards me while I painted these dandelions. There were a couple of dandelions that were lit up in the foreground while I painted, while those in the background were overtaken by the long shadow. I enjoyed painting the contrast in color between the lit dandelions and those in shadow.

May 26 - Grandma's tulips 8x6" $100
There are so many perennials in my grandma's flower garden, and I get to enjoy them every year. It really is a gift to live on the farm, and I think of her out in her garden, taking care of the flowers whenever I paint a subject like this.

May 26 - Thunderhead 8x10"
This was the first day that the humidity turned the floating cumulus clouds into towering thunderheads . I watched a few of them float by, and finally found some shapes that made sense to me and painted as quickly as possible. 

May 28 - Sunset Sky 6 x 8" $100
As the sun set, the drama in the sky heightened above the spring green trees. 

May 29 - Monroe Street Volkswagen 12 x 16" $450
I was in Madison a couple of days on this week, and I noticed this shiny blue Bug parked in front of Percy's  VW service station. I came back the next morning, and the car had moved, but it still looked great. The owner of the shop let me know that the owner of the Bug was on the way, and that I had an hour and a half to paint before the car would move. I set up and worked quickly to capture the light falling onto the curves of the bug.
I met so many great people on that day! The owner of the Bug was happy that I decided to paint it, and I also spoke to a family whose house I painted near 3 years ago. I had a great conversation with that family, they said that when I painting near their house, there was a vintage Jaguar parked nearby, and they thought it was mine. That made me smile. The painting that I worked on that day happened to be a springtime scene of a magnolia in front of a white house, and the woman ended up purchasing it off of the easel. When I went inside, she had a great collection of art, including some work by Elliot Clausen.
 Adding to the challenge, was the weather. The sun would shine for a few minutes, and then clouds would roll in for a few minutes. I mixed the colors when the sun was shining, and painted when the sun was behind the clouds. I captured the essentials of the bug, and was able to finish just as the owner took the car home.

May 29 - Observatory Drive 6x8" $100
I have spent a lot of time on the University of Wisconsin campus, and I have created a lot of good memories there. When I was in my early 20's, just graduating college, the clutch in my Ford truck went out in the exact spot that I painted this from. I thought I could reverse the truck, into a parking spot down the hill, but ended up going sideways into the road, and had to stop traffic and wait for a tow truck. It's funny that I think of that more than all of the times that we used to skateboard down the steep hill. That's just my take on this location, and I'm sure those of you who have spent time on campus have your own stories to add.
May 30 - 40's Plymouth - 12 x 16" $350
I was leaving town, to go paint in the country, when I spotted some chrome and shiny paint reflecting the light. The owner of this car has won over 18 trophies in car shows for it, one for each of his Grandchildren.

May 31 - Rolling Hills Farm - 12 x 16" $350
On the last day of May, I found myself in a neighborhood that I hadn't painted in before. This is the Alt family farm outside of Plain. I stopped in and introduced myself to the farmer, and let him know I was hoping to paint the farm from the side of the road. He was very nice, and let me know that I could pull my car onto a field road, and drive up a hill, in between a hayfield and cornfield to paint if I liked. He was right, the view was even better than I had seen from the road. I'll be back to paint in this area in the future. The rolling hills and old barns make for great compositions.

April 27 - Mom's Backyard - 12 x 16"
This is the backyard, where I grew up. The magnolia bush is near where the treehouse used to be. This was a white magnolia, the first to bloom during the spring.  I had a great time mixing and painting the springtime colors.

Apri 26 - Morning Daffodils - 6x8" $100
My neighbor let me know that her daffodils were in bloom, and I went over the same morning and painted them. I sat on the ground, so that I could be near the flowers while I painted them.

April 26 - Daffodil Still Life - 8 x 10" $200
My neighbor even sent me home with a daffodil bouquet, so that I could enjoy the flowers even more. She had several varieties, some were cream colored and some were rich yellow. I enjoyed painting the flowers. They only last for a couple of weeks, but this painting will remind me of spring for the whole year.

Monday, March 9, 2020

New Paintings

Valentines Day Still Life Boquet 24 x 20" oil on panel. $850

 Corbin took a polaroid picture of her Valentines Day flowers, and when I saw the photo, I knew that I had to paint the bouquet. I juxtaposed some floral drapery behind the flowers, which play off the bouquet and add rhythm by repeating the shapes. I also added some bananas and peaches to the setup, which are a look back to my goin' bananas still life paintings from 2013. This piece has presence on the wall and is full of fun pattern and color. 
February Twilight 6 x 8" oil on panel. $85
I am often driving home from painting during twilight, and have made it a point to paint the after sunset effect more often this year. The colors in twilight are similar to those in a sunset, with the beautiful yellows, oranges and reds in the sky, but it is much easier to paint because the sun is already gone for the day.

Independence Tractor 14 x 18" pastel on colourfix. 14 x 18" $450
A neighbor of mine parked this striking red tractor near the road on Independence day. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the flag was up. The red tractor stood out even more than it normally would, because of the contrasting deep green shadows on the trees directly behind it. I made a small oil painting of the tractor that day, and used it as a reference, along with a photograph, to create this pastel painting in the comfort of my studio.

Tractor After the Blizzard 12 x 16" oil on panel. $375 
I painted this tractor the morning after the biggest blizzard that we got this year. I love the mornings after the snow. On this day, the storm had passed, and the morning light cast long blue and violet shadows from the tractor. I used a broken color technique, similar to that of the Impressionists, to capture the winter light and atmosphere.

6th Street, Baraboo 11 x 14" oil on panel. $350 
This was painted on the week after the Fall Art Tour last year, when the colors were at their peak. Baraboo is full of colorful trees in late October, and this afternoon was one of the nicest days of the Fall. The wind came a few days later, and blew most of the leaves off of the trees.

Ableman Road Farm - Golden Hour 6 x 8" oil on panel. $85
A barn, barn, silo, and quonset shed are bathed in the late evening, golden light. This was painted in early February, when the days are short, and the sun sets early.

Grote Hill Road in Winter 6 x 8" oil on panel. $85
This is a favorite place to pull over and paint, and I return a few times each year to capture this farm and the bluffs behind it. on this afternoon, there was a wonderful quality of light falling onto the snow. I mixed and painted all of the different colors that I perceived quickly with strokes of thick paint.

Mountain Road Cows #1. 6x8" oil on panel. $85
This was a great day of painting out on Mountain Road. The cows posed for me, and did not move much. They looked like trophies overlooking the vista.

Early July Bales 12x16" oil on panel. $375
I noticed this field of haybales one evening, and quickly set up to paint. The golden hour light was very intense, and very beautiful on that day, the field, bales, and trees were transformed by the summer intensity.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Valentines Day Boxes

I am opening my online store, and to celebrate, am offering a Valentines Day Box promotion!

The boxes will each include a framed 6x8" painting that is ready to hang on the wall. The paintings are all listed in this email, just click the link below any painting and you can view them at my new online store.

The boxes also include a handmade card, that is left blank on the inside. These boxes are ready to give, they even include the card. Also included are a couple of stickers and a couple of extra treats that are sure to please.

Thanks for considering my paintings. If you are interested, I am running a promotion for free shipping, and the price is $85. Pick your painting, Receive a special box full of handmade Valentines fun, and enjoy the day. 

The free shipping promotion is valid through Saturday February 8th at 11am. If you order by Feb 8, you will receive your Valentines box by February 14th.
To view the online store, please visit:

Thank You,
Kyle Martin

Monday, September 16, 2019

Save the Date for the Fall Art Tour - October 18-20 2019

Terrytown Barns 20x24" 
2019 is the 26th year of the Fall Art Tour, and we are a month away! The Dates are October 18, 19, and 20th from 10am - 6pm daily.

The tour is always a high point of my year, and I'm sure a hilight of all the artists on the tour. It is our chance to open up our studios and share our work with the public.

There are 43 artists studios who will be open to the public that weekend. We have a brochure that acts as your treasure map to the studios. I am attaching the artists listings from the brochure below. If you would like your own physical copy of the brochure, you can email me at: and I will get one in the mail for you.

I will look forward to seeing you on the Fall Art Tour!

My Chicken Coop Studio in 2018. I show over 100 framed landscape paintings every October on the Fall Art Tour.

I am getting some last minute pieces done for the tour, including these sunflowers. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

New Summer Paintings and Video's

I always try to get the best images of my work as I can, but a photograph of a painting will always leave something to be desired. If you would like to see my summer paintings in person, please set up a time to visit my in my chicken coop studio, or plan to visit me on the 2019 Fall Art Tour which is October 18, 19, and 20. 
Ableman Road Farm golden hour 11x14" Sold

Early Summer Irises 16x20" $550
This was a fun afternoon of painting. These irises are in my neighborhood, and they only lasted a few days before they wilted in the June heat. I found them one morning while walking the dog, and painted them in the afternoon. The video below will give another perspective of the painting.

Ableman Road Farm Late Evening 11x14" Sold

Afternoon Clouds and Cows 11x14" $400

Baraboo River and St. Joes Church 12x16" $500
This was painted in early May. It was one of the first nice evenings of the year, there were buds appearing on the trees for the first time and great golden light. For me, this meant that I was seeing colors in the landscape that I had not seen for some time. I painted this from the parking lot of the new Baraboo police station, in the shadow from a huge quartz rock that they excavated when they were digging the foundation for the police station. 

Vernon County Farm 16x20" $550
I set up my easel in Vernon County a couple of weeks ago and painted this farm in a valley. There is a little stream running alongside the pasture, and several layers of hills in the distance. Vernon county is just far enough away that I don't paint there very often, but when I do get there it all feels new. I also filmed my painting session, and the video is below.

Belter's Cows 24x20" Sold
I drive past these cows every day on the way to Baraboo, and have painted the farm several times. On this day, the barnyard was flooded, and the water made for an interesting blue shape at the bottom of the canvas. One cow in particular became very interested in me, and I became interested in her as well. She sort of stole the show on this one.

The Neighbor's Farm 12x16" $400
This was a demonstration painting that I did for my plein air workshop in June. The workshop group and I stood in a freshly planted corn field,  under a shade tree while I painted this. The focus of my demo was on shapemaking and simplification. I filmed the demo, and put together a short video of the painting's creation below.

Carl Beth's old Farm 9x12" $250
This farm is just down the road from my place under late light.

Door County Still Life Demo 11x14" - $350
The still life with oranges and blue glass bottles was painted at the Peninsula School of Art in June. I had 12 great students in the class, and this was the demo on the first day. The class focused on painting still life, and I set this still life up outdoors and encouraged the students to do the same.

Lautenbach's Orchard Country Winery in Door County 9x12" $250
I was in Door County to teach a workshop in early June. We had a late spring in Wisconsin, so on June 2nd I was painting cherry blossoms. I painted at Lautenbach's during the 2017 Door County plein air festival, and they were happy to have me paint the spring colors.

Late Evening Cows 16x20" Sold
There is a smell in the air at this time of night on the backroads. This reminds me of the humid air that is cooling as the sun sets. 

Lemonade Still Life 20x24" $750
This was one of those afternoons, during the dog days of summer, that called for lemonade.  I captured some shots of the  painting session, with my dog at my feet, and made a video of it below.

HWY S Farm Late Light 12x16" $450
I taught some youth classes at UW Richland this summer, and painted this farm on the ride home. In this version, the trees to the left of the canvas were casting a shadow onto the barn, while the background fields were bathed in golden light. 

Golden hour on Tim Harm's Farm 11x14" $400
This was painted on my driveway, looking towards the neighbor's farm. The freshly planted corn field foreground falls into shadow while Tim's barn is illuminated by the late evening sun.

Spring View from the North Bluff in Baraboo 11x14" $450

The Peninsula School of Art in Spring 9x12" $250
This was a demonstration painting that I gave at the Peninsula School of Art in June. The building depicted is the School/Gallery and it is a very interesting structure. It is sort of like a double layered round barn with a cupola. The gardens at the school are always well done and on this day there was a blossoming tree that I could not resist in the foreground. 

Summer Peony Still Life 20x16" Sold

Roecker Farm 16x20" $550

Late Spring Farm 12x16" $400

Terrytown Bales 16x20" Sold

Mud Season Farm 11x14" $400

Golden Hour Thunderhead Study 6x9" Sold

July Thunderhead 16x20" $500

Wilson's Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim 12x16" $450
Wilson's is one of those places that makes Door County special. I had such a nice time painting it, with the red and white striped awning and afternoon light hitting the facade, that I wonder why I hadn't painted there sooner.