Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Apricots, Cherries & Sunflowers

20"x20" oil on gallery wrapped stretched canvas

"Flowers always make people better and happier; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul."
- Luther Burbank

I bought this small tablecloth about a month ago, knowing I'd paint it. It will probably be one of those pieces that ends up in many of my still-life set-ups to come. I knew when I saw it, that I'd be using my big green jug....with sunflowers, & queen-anne's lace. And of course with the print having apricots & cherries, I knew it would be interesting to put some 'actual' cherries & apricots on the table as well.

I started this one yesterday and finished the last bit up this morning. I paint from life, and I've been exploring a lot of views that are back-lit by my studio window. After dinner painting is over, the light has changed by then. The windows face north, so I do have nice even light all day, no 'hot spots' to cook the room (or my fruit & flowers). Don't you just enjoy the long days of summer?!

While it's wet & unframed:
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Price: $900 USD plus $26 USD s/h
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Monday, June 28, 2010

Lavender Rows

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite archival artboard

"What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable."
- Joseph Addison

I can't imagine life without either of or smiles...and I hardly think they are trifles! Necessities- absolutely!

Rows of luscious lavender, bees humming in the rows, soft breezes, gently winding way along an easy hill...and surrounded by warm air releasing a delightful fragrance. Can it get any better than this?

This is another small view from the lavender farm (Keys Creek Lavender Farm) that I visited during my recent trip to San Diego. I really hope to make it back there next year while the place is in bloom (and bring the paints with me next time!).

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Inland Valley, California Lavender Farm

5"x7" oil on gessoed masonite archival artboard

"If you pass by the color purple in a field and don't notice it, God gets real pissed off."
- Alice Walker, "The Color Purple"

Well, the quote did give me pause for thought....and a chuckle! Yes, how could you not fall in love with rows of lavender. I have been obsessed with the stuff ever since my visit back to San Diego last week. I had lived there for three years, and it's been almost 9 years since I had been back. When I drove into this inland valley to find the farm, it was like driving into an early CA impressionist painting.....took my breath away. Even when you think you 'remember' how beautiful things were, and how much you love a place, it really knocks you out, to go back there. The way the light changes over the course of a morning, the wonderful aromas of warm earth, sage, rose-geraniums, and....of course - the lavender; combine that with the breeze in the trees, the humming of the bees in & out of the mounds of is a wonderful multi-sensory experience. And I can't wait to go back next year for next season's blooms!

Finished up a commission this week, hence the lack of posting; shh, it's a surprise!
(I love weddings!) I have been looking through for every book on lavender, trying to find some beautiful, helpful, books to enjoy on my current passion! I harvested my first crop of lavender this week, here at my own house. I put them in bundles tied off with a ribbon, and placed the bundles in a large shallow pottery bowl by my front door. Oh, it's so nice to be greeted by this fragrance every time I pass by. The memory of my trip is renewed each time I venture across the thresh-hold.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Red Roses For Love

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December."
- J. M. Barrie

I'm always reminded of why I like these little paintings so much! As an artist, I can quickly try out new colors, techniques in a small space, without a huge commitment. I'm liking what I tried out today, a couple new color combinations, as well as using smaller knives that I don't usually use. If you've followed my blog for awhile, you'll see that I use many of the same jars & vases over & over again in my still-life set-ups. I have 3 favorites....but I'm definitely on the hunt for a little more variety in flower containers!

And I especially love the quote...I'm trying to soak in the memories of so many beautiful flowers in the garden. I've got a long winter to last through!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Is For Roses

20"x16" oil on canvas mounted on archival board (Raymar)

"Happiness...Not in another place but this place, Not for another hour but this hour."
- Walt Whitman

I'm just back from a short trip to San Diego, where we used to live about 10 years ago. I still can't believe it's been that long since I'd been out there. Much is the same, but there are indeed some changes since I'd been away. One of the pleasant changes is a lavender farm that is currently open for tours during May & June. The drive up I-15 isn't bad, and once I got off the highway, I remembered that I had been up in Valley Center before. What a pretty place. When I finally reached the dirt farm road that led into their part of the valley where Keys Creek Lavender Farm is, it took my breath away...a painting in every direction that I looked. If you live in Southern CA, it's definitely worth the drive up.

So I've been obsessed about lavender lately....and getting back into my own garden. Sunday there were roses begging to be painted, so I brought them in...finally finished this painting today.

I'm starting a commission this afternoon, and it looks like a really nice week is in store here in CT. Happy Summer!

While it's wet & unframed:
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Price: $500 USD plus $26 USD s/h
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Special - Berries 'n Blue

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite archival board

This one's "from the vault"....tucked away, (secretly hoarding it, it's one of my small favorites). Nothing like lush, juicy berries represented with lush, juicy paint...on my favorite blue & white dishes. I'm reposting this as I've been working on a commission piece (shh! it's a surprise). I do love taking on commissions- they're especially fun when they are done as a gift, birthdays, weddings, engagements, commemoration of special vacations, or even a 'gift to self', they are particularly delightful....I'm glad I get to be in on the fun!

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Price: $75 USD plus $10 USD s/h
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Mama Takes The Plunge!

10"x8" oil on stretched gallery wrap canvas

"And girls,
They wanna have fu-un.
Just wanna have fun."
- Cyndi Lauper

I love to see a grown woman un-self-consciously having a grand fun time! Make all the kids jealous I say! I saw this woman on my last trip to Ireland, last summer...on one of the warmest days I'd ever experienced over there! Several people braved the chilly waters of the North Atlantic to jump, dive, splash and play in that day. She looked like she was having the most fun of all that day! That my friend, is pure joy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

All In A Golden Afternoon (Norfolk Botanical Rose Garden)

6"x8" oil on Belgian linen mounted on archival artboard

"You can learn a lot of
things from the flowers, for especially
in the month of June. There's a wealth
of happiness and romance, all in the
golden afternoon..."
- from Disney's Alice in Wonderland

Have you ever been to a place that made you believe in magic? Something about it that took your breath away at the site of it? Turned the corner and there it was....even if only for a moment, then the light changes, the moment forever gone? There's a wonderful botanical garden in Norfolk, VA where I had spent many happy days painting while I lived there...and from time to time when I get to visit there. The rose garden seems to go on forever. In the late afternoon on this particular day, the light was golden...and I knew I'd remember it forever. Made me start humming "Golden Afternoon", from Disney's version of 'Alice in Wonderland' from my 2nd grade days....have a listen:

Find yourself a bit of magic, take a walk in a garden; doesn't matter if it's yours or not. Enjoy the light, the shade, the fragrance. Take off your shoes, walk barefoot in the grass....there now, don't you feel better?

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******Notes for artists: I've had another artist friend ask me about the roses on the picket fence I painted the other day, specifically, what kind of palette knife do I use to get that kind of detail? My answer - the bigger the better. I actually use a rounded tip knife, same one, on almost every painting I do, my current favorite is a Langnickel P-5, the blade is a little over 3 inches long with a rounded tip rather than a pointy one. You can move a lot of paint with that thing, yet still have the edges & tip for detail. Give it a try if you're inclined to paint with a knife....and want to really learn to 'mass things in' rather than 'draw & color it in'.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June Morning, Eden Roses; Plein Air in the Artist's Garden

5"x7" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

"When you're safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home.”

- Thornton Wilder

Welcome to my latest new subscribers! I do hope you enjoy the paintings, photos & stories! I always love hearing comments from my readers!!

Gosh it's good to be back home again from a long trip. We had a really fun visit with our daughters down in the DC area (northern VA). We always pack in a lot of fun with them....seems the days go by way too fast. Saturday we went to see one of the farewell performances of Riverdance at Wolf Trap Theater (Sunday was their last performance in the US). They were excited to see two cast members they knew from their competition days of Irish dance! And as awesome show! Later that day, dinner with old friends from the Navy was like a reunion - the kids had all grown up together from toddlers - does that qualify as family? I think it does!

Sunday we drove over to Baltimore to see the Red Sox play the Orioles in Camden Yards Stadium (what a great place). Extra innings (free baseball as my daughter says!) and a surprise ending (according to my Baltimore brother - who joined us with his girlfriend). Another really fun day!

Monday made for a long drive home, I always miss those I leave behind....but it felt good to walk into our home & climb the steps to the studio. The roses that I had painted on Thursday were still looking pretty good after sitting all weekend by the window.

This morning was gorgeous- a fine welcome home - and perfect for painting in the garden. Those who have followed my blog know that I paint my gardens a lot. It is something that I've had in my head all these years of moving around as a Navy wife...gardens and a picket fence with a 'cottagey' style house. I really think that all those years, it was like a symbol of stability for me...that eventually we'd come to when we left the Navy. As an artist, I find that it (the fencing) holds this wonderful quality of reflecting color of what ever surrounds it, whether sun or shadow, soil, plant or blossom. It's a frame work for many of our 'garden rooms' - spaces that we can view from the inside looking out - an extension of our indoor home spaces. And it's a symbol of comfort, that 'knowing you have a place that is yours'...And as much as I LOVE to travel, I had craved that comfort of "place" all those 26 years of moving with the Navy. I think it's a basic human need - not just as shelter, but to have a place where we are protected and loved.

While it's wet & unframed:

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Price: $100 USD plus $10 USD s/h
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Eden Roses In The Dragonfly Teapot - sold

8"x8" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

"One may live without bread, not without roses.”

- Jean Richepin

I thought we were expecting a line of thundershowers across our end to the state today...of course, it never materialized. By that time I had cut off several blossoms to fill this favorite teapot that I use for holding flowers. This variety of rose has a soft fragrance (but not overpowering) and is climbing part of our fence-line...draping over it just beautifully!

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Peonies In Asian Pottery

8"x6" oil on Belgian linen mounted on archival panel

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are
the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- Marcel Proust

Many years back, as a Navy wife stationed in Virginia Beach, I met a fantastic gardener. She had the most wonderful 'cottage garden' and on top of that, she worked for a florist who bought many of the blooms in her yard! They were special things that not many other florists carried...or could get at all. Now I was a newbie in the neighborhood garden club, trying to learn what would grow in the latest environment I had been transferred to. This amazing gardener had invited us all over to tour her garden....and upon finding out I was a painter, I was invited back to paint whenever I wanted! Oh what a treat!

Fast forward to the future...we have retired from the Navy, and have settled in Mystic, CT....and are in the second summer of our own cottage garden. Dear hubby does most all the heavy duty grunt work (like tilling up those CT rocks). But I frequently do some 'therapeutic' weeding to keep up appearances!

Ever since I had seen peonies in this fabulous little garden in Virginia Beach, I knew one day (when we quit moving around), I'd be growing those too! AND cutting some for my own arrangements without the trip to the florist! They are such luscious flowers. Many thanks to Cristin Larson, aka The Garden Consultant for helping us choose hardy varieties of plants that make this place look like Monet's dream! And thanks to my husband for tilling up the ground to plant these peonies!

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Peonies In Asian Pottery

About This Painting:
Here's what's currently blooming in my garden. It's nice to have enough to cut & bring inside to my studio for painting!

Media: oil on Belgian linen mounted on professional artboard
Size: 6 in X 8 in (15.2 cm X 20.3 cm)

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