Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mud Bird on the Deck Rail - Sparrow in the Sun

4"x4" oil on gessoed masonite archival panel

"I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn."
- Henry David Thoreau

It's funny where & when ideas show up that excite us visually as artists....and the connection from them to other ideas we've been mulling over. Eating my lunch yesterday at the dining room table, I was gazing out at the deck to watch the birds eat their lunch at the feeder outside, when this little sparrow lands on the deck railing perhaps to look at the line up to the feeder? The sun was brilliant outside and just caught her in such wonderful light, it reminded me of the '100 Mud-Heads' project that Frank Gardner is working on, inspired by Charles Hawthorne's Mud Head paintings. I've been wanting to recruit some of my neighbors for a mud-head project of my own, but this little bird in the brilliant sun light made me put down my sandwich and grab a pen. An envelope on the table in front of me was the closet piece of paper. As long as the bird stood on the deck, I would sketch him. They were like quick gesture drawings, and I was enchanted by her poses.

Painting is unframed, a perfect little size to place nearby on a shelf. Price includes shipping/insurance to continental US.

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Price: $50 USD
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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Perils and Pleasure of Plein Air/Split Boulder at Bluff Point oil sketch

6"x 8" oil sketch on linen mounted on panel

"Do not be timid and squeamish.....All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes going out to paint en plein air is filled with risk. You can manage a lot of risk by just being prepared. It does get easier over time. But there are those outings where you know you'll have to put some extra thought into it. I've been wanting to bring my paints out to the end of Bluff Point (here in Groton, CT), where the big split boulders lay at the edge of the water. It's about 2 miles out from where you park your car so I knew I'd have to pack really light. I've narrowed down my gear over the years and I've written about my back pack & set-up in a previous post back in April. But there's no way I'm willing to haul that out for two miles on a warm day! So, I decided I'd put my little "pochade box" to use. Some folks call it a thumb box, as there is a hole in the bottom for your thumb to fit, so you can hold it while you paint. It holds a little 6"x8" panel, a tiny palette for your paint, and room for short handled brushes under that. Not much room, but not much weight either. I decided to stick to Tim Bell's limited palette that I had tried out the other day, which is a few tubes less than what I normally carry.

There's a bumper crop of poison ivy out there this year, so I made sure to watch out for that as well as trying to keep out of the brushy areas to avoid ticks! Found a rock to sit on that provided a decent view. The only thing I'd do differently next time is to bring a cushion (of some type) to sit on. I usually stand when I paint with my regular set-up (an 8x10" Open Box M). But with this tiny hand-held box, I knew I'd want to sit. I'd be out in the open with no shade, so I had to turn and get myself situated so that there was no sun hitting my canvas or palette. It can be done, but it wasn't easy. I wasn't sure I was going to be happy at all with this little study. I had hoped to use this as a study for a larger work. The air was perfect out there today & the fragrance of salty sea air mingled with wild honey-suckle is pretty wonderful. Like the fisherman who claims "Even a bad day fishing is better than a good day at......(you fill in the blank). I knew that I'd had a good morning whether I was happy or not with the sketch. I pulled it out of the box a few hours after I got home & looked at it from across the room. Yes, truth! The essence of that brilliant light that I was after was there after all! So, for the box I rarely use, I did find that it served me well to keep things really small and light for this little bit of exploration! I plan to get some more sketches out there. It is one of my favorite places to hike and has been for over the last sixteen years. We have a lot of family memories there.

So even though I wouldn't consider this one a 'finished painting' I did get what I was after. A good collection of color notes to remember the day by and serve me well as a good resource for a larger painting. I've added a little photo of the thumb-box (or pochade box, sounds like po- shawd) so you can see what a tiny thing it really is. I don't love using it, but it really serves it's purpose for a long trek!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

His and Hers, Oceanfront; beach, Atlantic, Chincoteague/Assateague National Seashore

8" x 10" oil on gallery wrapped, stretched canvas, with sides painted

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”

- Henry Beston

After several rainy, dreary days this week, I was feeling like I needed a day at the beach. So I painted one, remembering a wonderful visit to Chincoteague, VA last September. Even though I go down to paint at the annual plein air paint-out & sale, I always try to take a lot of reference photos to bring home with me. I'm going back there this year, and painting this scene brought back memories of what a beautiful place those two islands (Chincoteague & Assateague) are.

Price includes framing and shipping/insurance to continental USA. Please contact me for framing selections. International buyers please contact me for shipping fee.

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Price: $450 USD
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mystic River, CT; at the Intersection of River Road & I-95

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival board

"Memory is the diary we all carry about with us." - Oscar Wilde

Rain was on the way, but there was just enough time to get down to River Road, beside the Mystic River. Way up high on the bridge, the traffic of I-95 is rumbling overhead, muffled by the breeze through the trees along the road. A fisherman down below the bank casting a line into the river. Joggers, walkers and cyclists are making their way down the road beside me. The temperature is dropping as the rain nears and you can smell the changing weather in the air. This painting is available at auction at DailyPaintWorks.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Geraniums and Cedars, Harkness Park

5"x7" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."- Henry Adams

Every little nook & cranny at Harkness Park, here in Connecticut has something interesting in it's many gardens, so it remains a pleasure for me to spend time there and paint, and hike, and photograph, and meander, and picnic...you get the idea. It's a wonderful place.

I began this painting as a little exercise to try out some new (old) paints. I was going through artist Tim Bell's website, and finding out what materials he uses. He keeps a very simple palette, which I tend to do, too. But he even specified his brand of paint, Maimeri Classico, and the colors he uses: Flake White, Cad. Yellow Deep, Cad. Red Deep, and French Ultramarine Blue. His point was to find the closest to the true primaries on the color wheel. I realized that I had several tubes of Maimeri Classico and Puro from when I used to be a part of an artists' co-op in Virginia Beach. A vendor had brought us many samples of his paint. I had tried it, & while I liked it, I was familiar with my old Winsor Newton colors. But today I decided to pull out my old colors (which were not these listed, but true primaries none-the less. My first dip into the blue and I realize it's pthalo blue, so intense, and I haven't touched a tube of that in years. But since this was a 'sampler' to try out my new (old) colors of Maimeri, I decided to just go with it. My focus lately has been a real effort to exaggerate the warms and cools within the painting...and even with these basic colors, you could truly get a lot of mileage out of these. I ordered some small tubes of Tim's preferred colors, to give that a trial run as well. So we'll see where this bit of experimentation leads to.

I'm also trying something new on the business end of things. I have joined up with Daily Paintworks, in order to sell my smaller works at auction. (Yes, those 6"x6" and 5"x7" sizes. The starting bid will be at 2009 prices - $100 for these sizes, unframed. You have a golden opportunity for finding your favorite little painting at a very affordable price. Click here to place your bid!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Escargot Begonias

6"x8" oil on Belgian linen, mounted on archival panel

"We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are." - Tobias Wolff

Swirls and whirls of leaf shapes - the only way I know how to describe this plant. I was looking to buy one last year, and the only nursery I knew that had them sold out. This year I was ready! I knew if I wanted one of these, I had to get it while the "gettin' was good"! Sure enough, my friend went to go buy one a week later, and they were all gone. Funny name for a plant, but it does swirl in pattern like a snail shell, bigger and bigger. Hoping I can figure out how to propagate these so I can have some more!

I've found a frame that looks fabulous on this- black with a gold inset, I'll need to order this size. Price is $350 for framed painting and includes shipping to the continental USA.
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Price: $350 USD
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coastal Living, plein aire at Harkness Park

8"x8" oil on gessoed masonite art panel

"Let there be spaces in your togetherness
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you."
- Kahlil Gibran

What a perfect day out by Long Island Sound, here in southeastern Connecticut. Nice and warm, no humidity today, just a bit of breeze, no stiff winds, just perfect.

I've been wanting to get out to do some 'tree portraits' of various kinds. There are several groupings out there at Harkness Park that are very old and huge, with interesting shapes massed together. This morning the sun was coming up behind this grouping of trees, so they were backlit. By the time I finished painting the sun was high enough to light bits of the tops of the trees. I also find it interesting while painting in familiar places, the variety of the quality of light...and looking for warm & cool light, and where these planes hit on each object lit by the sun.

For purchase information, contact me here.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Eden Roses Along the Fence at Morning

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on archival panel

"Art is a staple, like bread or wine or a warm coat in winter. Man's spirit grows hungry for art in the same way his stomach growls for food." - Irving Stone

I was headed out this morning to go paint along the shoreline, but caught sight of the Eden roses on the fence....summer is filled with so many wonderful things, and it goes...so....fast.....

I pulled my gear out of the car and set up right there in the garden. So many things are just getting ready to pop out with blooms soon, day lilies, hydrangeas, Montauk daisies, and more.

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring another day of sunshine for some more painting outdoors!

Contact me here, for framing information. Price is $450, framed, includes shipping/insurance to continental USA.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Last of the Lilacs

5"x7" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

"Be in awe of all that is alive. Be in natural wonder. It is the pace of peace."- Gunilla Norris

While it poured rain outside this morning, I decided to work inside from a photo & memories of the lilacs that grew at my previous home. The old shrubs were packed with blooms the last summer I lived there, and made for some great painting & photography...and some great memories of fragrance and beauty - yes - even those memories leave great visual impressions!

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Price: $150 USD plus $10 USD s/h
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Morning Sun on the Rose Arbor

8"x6" oil on linen mounted on archival panel

"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity." - Lindley Karstens

Thank goodness for a long bit of sunshine today! We've had so much rain lately, I felt like I need to keep checking to see if I've grown gills yet. This past Saturday my hubby and I went over to the Stonington Garden Show, for a bit of inspiration. Even though I don't have the ocean view, I love this garden we have. It's designed to have many intimate spaces almost like outdoor rooms or passages that connect. Passing through this arbor and gate, this climbing rose is a fragrant one, and is so delightful to pass underneath it! Just a little bit of peace and serenity in my own yard.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Rose Oasis

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

"Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see." - William Newton Clark

Table for two, old stone patio surrounded by roses arched along a picket fence. A variety of other blossoms, fragrance wafting on the gentle breeze. A cool front has taken the humidity of the previous day and blown it out to sea. Come join me in this enchanted space where hummingbirds flit among the blossoms. Feel your heart rate slow, your shoulders relax...and just - be. Please contact me here for more information about this painting.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hazy Summer Morning at Harkness Park

8"x10" oil on Belgian linen mounted on archival panel

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it." ~Russel Baker

This morning came all cloudy, remnants of the previous nights storm. The humidity was rising, and as the sun tried to burn through, you knew it had the potential to be sweltering! But I found a place in the shade, with a good view, and an ocean breeze, what could be better? A bit of protection from the sun and swelter, fog-horns off shore a constant reminder of the weather. The horizon melded with sky in the distant haze, looking like there was no beginning, no end. What a feeling for a summer day!

For more information about this painting, contact me here.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Happiness

16"x20" oil on linen mounted on archival board

"Summer is not so much a season as a melody, that tune of contentment we hum as the days begin to beautifully blur." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Finally, we have reached my favorite time of year. Everything wonderful is starting to bloom in the yard. It's the third summer in our garden, and everything is really reaching a wonderful state of lush! Peonies, Siberian Iris, Knockout roses, catmint; and that's just what's blooming right now. Later there are other rose varieties, hydrangeas, lilies, daisies, black-eyed Susans, and more! After all the still-life florals I painted this winter, it's especially fun to take this outdoors. Out on my back patio, the morning light is wonderful. (well, so is the late afternoon, but that's another painting for another day!). A light breeze to ruffle the hems of the tablecloth is a delight after the gusts of last week. I think this is going to be a good gardening year!

I made a few tweaks on this after bringing it into the studio, I'll need to re-photograph & post an update once I get that done. Thanks for following along with my blog & enjoying summer with me!

For more information about this painting, contact me here.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Verdant Hills - Tarrywile Park Plein Air Festival 2011

8"x8" oil on gessoed masonite archival artboard

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir

My last painting at Tarrywile Park. It felt so great to have all these rolling hils stretch out before me, with the tall grasses waving in the breeze. What a wonderful gem we have in our state. It is so rare to have that huge amount of greenspace available, open for hiking, painting- true recreation!

This Saturday (tomorrow, June 4th) is CT Trails Day, and also the Art Exhibit & Sale in the afternoon, from 2pm-6pm. If you're in driving distance, come on over. For more information, and directions, check out the web-site to the park, here. The exhibit will be held inside the mansion on the grounds- a great opportunity to see inside this architectural marvel (as it's not usually open to the public) as well as the works of art done on the grounds this week!

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Morning Sun, Red Barns, Tarrywile

8"x10" oil on Belgian linen mounted on archival board

"A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they're not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they're not so bad."
- Arnold H. Glasgow

This morning it was so windy to be out painting, I think it was the remains of Wednesday's tornado in Springfield, MA. As soon as I had set my easel up and put out some more fresh paint,....whack! There went my easel, just picked up by the wind and slammed down, even though I had it weighted down. So I just had to paint with one hand holding on, to make sure it didn't blow over again! The red barns are now used as the education building here on the property at Tarrywile. If you live in the Danbury area of CT, this is a wonderful park. Mark your calendar for Saturday, the reception, show and sale for the Plein Air Festival goes from 2pm-6pm. I hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rolling Hills of Tarrywile - Plein Air Festival 2011

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

Eleanora Duse

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on archival board

This week I have the good fortune to spend some time exploring on the other side of Connecticut. There is a wonderful place right in the middle of Danbury called Tarrywile Park. It consists of a magnificent Victorian mansion built in 1896 and over 700 acres of pristine open space. Artists will be painting through out the park from May 31st through June 4th. On Saturday there is a plein air exhibit and sale in the mansion from 2pm - 6pm. For more information about the park & events, click here!

Looks like it's going to be a super week out there! My first spot to paint was this one behind the red barns, looking out across some of the rolling fields there. It's truly wonderful to have access to this kind of open space. Lots of hiking trails, it's a great place to get yourself "one with nature".

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