Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autumn's Little Siren - sold

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite

Ginger and cinnamon
fill the air
A patchwork of leaves
lay everywhere
Cold, clean mornings
and an indigo dawn
Crystal frost
on the emerald lawn
Golden apple cider and
delicious pumpkin pie
These are the things
I love at Autumn time
- Sabrina Bytheway

Little paintings with lots of paint, strong contrasts and color are just SO MUCH FUN!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Family That Plays Together - sold

20"x20"x1.5" oil on deep gallery wrapped canvas

"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us."
- Ashley Montagu

I truly enjoy working with families coming up with a painting to hold their cherished memories! It is a wonderful experience as I get to enjoy the feelings of those happy times, too!

Some painters tips regarding the painting process:

First, I tone the canvas....& indicate general placement of where compositional elements will be.

Then I start blocking in. I usually start with things that are most distant and build up to what is in the front being placed last.

Once I get most elements blocked in - I start adjusting edges & shapes of the elements, do they still lead me to the focal point? Do all supporting cast elements stay secondary to the focal point? (asking these types of questions as I go.)

On blocking in the figures, if they come from various reference materials (in this case various photos), I measure & compare relative sizes & judge visual distances to be in perspective. Adjustments are made while the paint is still wet. I'm working from photos and a small oil sketch study that I've done in preparation for the larger work.

When I'm happy with all the compositions elements then I come into the foreground....in this case the deep golden wildflowers and dried grasses. These I layer with gentle brush strokes on top of my undercolors. In picturing "gentle" brushstrokes....imagine picking up a baby bird....the hold is firm, yet careful, with directed intent, so as to not crush or disturb what's underneath the surface!

This painting belongs to a family whose favorite vacation get away is the calm of Assateague National Wildlife Preserve. I do welcome requests for commissions. Please contact me at roxannesteed@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In Memorian

I hope your day will bring you the peace and calm that you need right now.

"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."
-Claire Nuer

Today's painting is "Lillies and Koi". It is a re-post of an older painting from a few years ago - but is dedicated to a friend who passed from this life today(Wednesday as I write this). This view is actually a small version of a very large tryptych (three big panels making one huge painting) that she had purchased from me a while back. It is the focal point of how we met.....and began an interesting friendship. I told her of how I was interrupted in the process of painting this work by a horrible car accident leaving me with severe injuries that took many long months to heal. The work was 30"x60" large for me at the time! Months later, after I healed, I was able to finish what I had begun....and it became a symbol of strength for me....that I had survived this thing. She came across it in my on-line sales and contacted me. When I told her the story, she was amazed, she too had survived a horrible car accident, yet had severely debilitating, painful injuries that did not heal....that would affect the remainder of her life. She told me she found such peace and calm from this painting, she had to have it. So there began our email friendship of writing. She had collected many paintings from me over time, but I really looked forward to her emails in my inbox. She challenged my thinking in so many good ways. And truly made me believe that art CAN change the world for the better, even if just one person at a time....AND she'd remind me - don't ignore your calling!

I believe in serendipity....and that God will have certain people come into our lives for a reason. We need to pay attention and be open to the possibility that these can be life changing....and a true blessing. I know my friend's passing will leave a hole in my days to come - I will truly miss her.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Egret Rising - sold

"You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair."
- Chinese proverb

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

Here's a warm-up for today. I hope to get started on something larger this afternoon!

Today's painting is "Egret Rising". I got to spend some time watching egrets & herons while painting down in Chincoteague the other weekend. They are such beautiful birds- there were so many of them feeding in a marshy area where we were painting. They were squawking & chattering as well as gorging on some kind of marine worms....and then all at once they took off & left us in silence.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Bouquet!

22"x28" oil on canvas

My husband lets the florist know that choosing some great flowers will end up in a painting! This makes it doubly fun for me! Out comes a cheery yellow French linen tablecloth, my favorite green jug -....and lots of paint.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Misty's Marsh, Chincoteague

"Every year the Chincoteague fire department rounds up the wild ponies of Assateague. island, and then auctions off the colts and yearlings to thin out the herd. A young brother and sister, Paul and Maureen Beebe, have set their hearts on owning one particular wild three-year old pony, The Phantom. Only they have to earn the money, the Phantom has to be captured in the roundup (which she never has), and then they have to outbid everyone else for her in the auction. And even the Phantom herself has a surprise for Paul and Maureen: a foal named Misty." Review written by Kathy Li

8"x10" oil on Belgian linen mounted on professional artboard (Raymar)

Saturday morning we painted at one of the marsh areas over on Assateague, the National Wildlife Refuge where the wild ponies are. Artists love to paint this side in the morning as the sun is behind us & illuminates the trees and grasses so beautifully. Frequently the ponies end up grazing through while we are there painting in this area. The day was hot, humid and bright as opposed to the day before- Friday was an overcast sky. The contrasts are frankly quite fun for painters to have such a back to back contrast from one day to the next!

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

End of the Island, Chincoteague

“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.”

- Dale Carnegie

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on board

This is Friday late afternoon's painting. After lunch we drove around the island to check out other places,...& ended up coming back close to where we were in the first place. But this part of the marsh had a ton of egrets feeding in the marsh when we set up. They stayed there for almost the whole time we painted, leaving after they gorged themselves for another 2 hours. Then, practically in unison.... they arose & left all together.... This is the marsh after the quiet.....

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Morning Marsh, Chincoteague - sold

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Maya Angelou

9"x12" oil on linen mounted on professional artboard (Raymar)

Today's painting is called "Morning Marsh". What a wonderful scene, the lovely abstract shapes in the land and water here on the island of Chincoteague, (VA). We painted in the morning, had lunch (oysters, YAY) and painted again in late afternoon.

It's so good to be visiting my VA friends again - I do miss seeing them & wish we weren't so far apart! It's a joy to get together & be a part of this large paint-out here in one of my favorite places! And...I'm eating all the fried oysters I can! YUM! We had a great day painting, I'll post the afternoon one tomorrow!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Peekaboo Lamb, Portmagee, Ireland - sold

"Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way."
- John Muir

7"x5" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

I'm not sure how to tell how old this little black-faced sheep was, but he seemed young and inquisitive. My friend and I had gone to paint in one of her friend's pastures that has an incredible overlook, just outside the village of Portmagee (Ireland). A couple sheep kept an eye on us. The older one acted like he could care less, but this young one, had to get a look at us from every vantage point! He was incredibly cute peeking over the ledge with all the wildflowers, looking as if he had climbed up from the sea! The sun was shining bright & high, the light was brilliant that day!

*****Well, I'm almost all packed to head down to Chincoteague, VA Thursday. It's an eight hour drive for me. But I look forward to this every year! I get to paint with dear friends (from when I used to live down there) and from Thursday through Saturday, we paint, eat, talk, paint some more...and sell! Saturday night is the show and sale at the Comfort Suites hotel, 4195 Main Street, Chincoteague, VA. The show hours are 6-10pm & coincides with 'The Art Stroll' in town. The Fifth Annual Plein Air Event is sponsored by the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mountain Road From Portmagee to St. Finian's Bay

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
- Irish Blessing

16"x20" oil on canvas mounted on professional artboard (Raymar)

On each visit to Ireland - we always go across the channel from Valentia Island to Portmagee, then take the road up and over the mountain around to St. Finian's Bay. It's a wonderful place to go paint...and delightfully close to the "Skelligs Chocolate Factory"! I don't recall a day when I've been down that road when there isn't fog at the top.... for at least part of the day. When the fog settles it lends a dramatic mood to the scenery. When the weather blows through and the clouds lift, it is just another kind of beautiful! These 2 cottages are settled into the mountainside and the road is winding and SOOOOO narrow! Down below are crashing waves of the bay! Up and down the mountainsides are every shade of green you could ever imagine...and then some. For purchase information, click here.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Rooster at the Lucky Star Bar, Aran Islands, Ireland

“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.”
- Carl Sandburg

9"x12" oil on stretched canvas, ready to frame

This was one of those unexpected sights. On my trip over to Ireland this past summer, we took the ferry over to the Aran Islands. We stayed overnight at the largest island, taking a long walk during the day. In a land with much green & blue, there was this brilliantly colored pub where these fabulous chickens were strutting all around! A big dark shiny rooster with amber colored feathers near his head, was napping on the wall of the courtyard in the front of the pub. It was mid-afternoon and the place was closed up tight. But the whole scene just struck me as quite funny!

For purchase information, click here.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gathering Shells on a Crisp Day, Assateague

It's Friday ....hope you have plans for an enjoyable weekend.

"One learns first of all in beach living the art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much."
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh ('Gift From The Sea')

10"x10" oil on Belgian linen (stretched on stretcher bars)

Today's painting is called "Gathering Shells on a Crisp Day, Assateague!". Off season at the beach, in particular - Assateague National Wildlife Preserve - is such a beautiful time, things are quiet. Late fall into winter the grasses dry to a golden color, and on a sunny day, the sky is bright & clear - there's a crisp breeze in the air.

I do take commissions - perhaps for your favorite travel or family memories! Contact me at roxannesteed@gmail.com for prices per size & to discuss your ideas!

If you are interested in this particular painting, please contact me at

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Celtic Crossings - sold

Welcome to Wednesday!

"Ireland's ruins are historic emotions surrendered to time." - Horace Sutton

16"x20" oil on canvas mounted on professional artboard (Raymar)

The other night it was raining, and I was dreaming I was back in Ireland. This is one place my mind always likes to travel back to....these ancient stone crosses in a large expanse of bog, on Valentia Island, down by St. Brendan's Well. In the distance you can see Doulus Head, and part of Dingle Bay & the cliffs at Culoo. It is so close to staggering cliffs, you can hear the surf crashing, and the wind waves the grasses in all directions on a summer's evening, yet it is so quiet you can hear your heart beat. It is such a peaceful place to 'just be'....and when you touch these ancient stones, you sense that you have touched humanity from many hundreds of years ago. How can one place bring such a sense of calm, yet make your heart race with the simple beauty of it all? When I talk to people who have traveled there, they have had that similar experience. Not a one has left the placed unmoved, or unchanged. And...it continues to call you back there. It is that 'sense of place' that wraps itself around your heart....and reels you back in. I must begin to plan my 5th return visit....

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