Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sundown on Chesapeake Bay study - sold

8"x6" oil on linen mounted on board

I haven't shown this little study yet! 

When I drive down to Norfolk, VA from CT it seems I always reach the Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing right about sunset time, it's a full day drive of about 10 hours.  Sometimes the sky colors are amazing....and it's all I can do to stay on the road!! Now, being that I can't paint and drive at the same time, this one was done from memory shortly after crossing, which turned out to be quite an interesting study! I was determined to remember the colors and favorite shapes that I saw, so I could commit them to canvas. It's an exercise I've been meaning to do more of- committing what you see to memory & painting on from that point!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Flowers For Vincent

8"x6" oil on linen mounted on archival panel

For more information or to purchase, click here.

Winter frequently brings me square head-on into a big artist block! I'm not sure if it's a mental rebellion to cold weather or what. So, I have been toying with some fresh ideas in my studio. One that I've been noticing is a method Julie Ford Oliver calls "fracturing".  It's sort of like 'lines interrupted, with subtractive & additive painting going on'. (I'm sure that clears things up!).  Visit her blog here to see more of this idea.

It's quite different from the painting method I'd comfortably morphed into over the last few years.  I had been using very thick knife work and Henry Hensche colorist theory I had learned from Leif Nilsson and Camille Przwodek, painting directly.  For the last couple years I had really focused on shapes and values.  Julie's method is more of a building up of layers. I'm enjoying this in the studio (hey, I've only tried this twice). But I'm trying to imagine how I'd use it outdoors, when the weather is decent enough to paint plein air. 

I'm a firm believer in all that we learn is cumulative. Building on things we've taken in over the years.  Always tweaking, finding new things that pique our interest.  In visiting museums over the years, I recall two separate retrospectives, one of Monet, and another retrospective of Renoir. Seeing how their work changed over their life-times was quite illuminating to me! It's okay to morph into that next stage.  The thought of it is a bit terrifying ...and yet, quite exciting.  Will I make a drastic change? (I doubt it, yet I never rule out what exploration might bring). 

As an artist, how does change in your artwork make you feel? Excited? nervous? exploratory?

As an art lover or collector, how does change in an artist's work make you feel? Interested, worried, curious, happy?

I wonder if it's my longing for Spring, that always puts me on edge at this time of year? Yearning for new growth, outdoors as well as in my 'art spirit'.  Well, I'm going to keep exploring some of these ideas. Hold on tight!

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Flowers and Fechin (sold)

8"x6" oil on linen mounted on archival panel

By the time mid-winter sets in, I am snow weary.  I'm getting antsy to be outside, but either it's too cold, or as in yesterday's case, it was possibly warm enough, but there was no place for me to park in my usual painting spots without risk of getting my little car hung up on an ice berm. (and doing some permanent damage!).  By the time I got to the 4th place of looking yesterday, I did find a place to park in a safe place, where I could actually walk out to a safe place to paint, without falling into a deep drift of snow....I was tired, hungry, and seeking 'facilities'. Yes, I shot the whole morning looking for a 'place' outside to paint. By the time I got home, my husband had delivered flowers for Valentine's day! - Yay!!! Some wonderful painting material and beautiful colors to cheer up a dreary winter case of 'ice-blues'.  

Painting ...and learning to paint, is all cumulative. You spend years learning, experimenting, combining some techinques, eliminating others.  All of it eventually comes into play at any given time to make up you 'the artist'.  I have been toying with combining several different techniques that I have employed over the years, using both brush and knife, laying some thick & thin areas with transparent oils in the darkest areas, topped with ever lighter layers.  Thanks to my hubby for the wonderful flowers. I usually never stack things on my art books in my studio, but I had placed this bouquet on top of my Nicolai Fechin book (that was on top of the large Edgar Payne book).  So of course I decided to paint them this way as well!  I hope these flowers last, I think I might spend the next several days painting more bouquets!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Orchid Blossom ACEO (sold) - From Beach to Blizzard

3.5"x2.5" oil on fine canvas board

I've had the good fortune of getting this orchid I bought a few winters ago to bloom 3 times! This is it's third year, and of course I'm thrilled - not only because I've figured out how to get it to bloom, but I've also painted it each time it has bloomed! This year, I thought I'd also offer an ACEO version of this graceful flower! Have fun bidding!

For those of you not familiar with the acronym ACEO, it stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals.  The miniature paintings are the size of a baseball trading card, 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.  This category of art has become increasingly popular on eBay the last couple of years.  These can be displayed on their own, or with a tiny little easel (like the kind you can find in Michaels Arts & Crafts type stores) on a display shelf, or these beautiful gems can be elegantly matted and framed with perhaps a mat of 4 inches wide.  ACEOs also make wonderful gifts! 
Well, yesterday I promised to tell you the beach to blizzard saga. I got to visit my mom (she's 80 now!) who wanted to take a trip to the beach. Although she lives in central Florida, she doesn't drive that far any more. We both wanted to go visit Clearwater Beach over on the Gulf of Mexico where we had spent many summer vacations when I was a child. 
Of all the places I've ever lived or visited, it's my favorite beach in the world! The sand is so soft, and the water is so warm...and yes- I would live there if I could! During our stay at the beach, we drove over to St. Petersburg to visit the Sunken Gardens, and the Museum of Fine Art there as well.  After a few days of fun, we took mom back home to central Florida.  I got to visit my favorite museum, The Morse Museum, in Winter Park, FL which has a magnificent collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany works. They had added a new wing since my last visit - this place is a MUST SEE if you are an art lover visiting central Florida.  Well, somewhere in all this fun, I got a text message from Southwest Air letting my know that my Friday flight was likely to be cancelled due to the expected blizzard. So...I ended up changing my flight home to Thursday, and luckily got a spot on the last flight out the day before everything went haywire! I did get back home in time to get groceries, along with every other person in town! It looked like the day before Thanksgiving at the store- shopped clean! The place was packed. Luckily the shelves weren't totally empty!

The rest was a matter of waiting for the mess to begin, and wonder how long it would take to dig our way out of it. It started as icy rain in our area, and blowing sideways, so that a layer of ice coated several sides of the house.  And by the time all was said and done, it was over 2 feet of snow (some drifts a good deal deeper, and some spots a little less).  The plows hadn't made it through the neighborhood for most of the night, so the road was still covered when the snow finally stopped coming down on Saturday.  Luckily our power stayed on (that's not the usual case in most storms).
And I do mean lucky...notice the power cord to the snow blower? It's electric. We'd still be digging out if we had lost power. Also notice the mail box. There is no longer a street visible down there. Things have come about slowly and and surely after the storm. That's a lot of mess to move. It's melted back a tiny bit at this point, but it will be a good while until it is totally gone. Powerful stuff, and I don't know that this Floridian will ever get quite used to it!  It's too cold for plein air (for me anyway) but the studio is nice and inviting! 

You'd think that all that ice-busting, snow-throwing work would be enough out-door fun (?), but I did manage to get out late Sunday afternoon for some cross-country skiing with a neighbor at a woodsy park nearby. The sun was out and all the snow was rather spectacular!



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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Orchid Blooms and a Blizzard!

8"x6" oil on linen mounted on archival panel

This is the third year in a row that I've been able to get this little orchid to bloom! I've found just the right window for it, and have figured out how to feed it to keep it happy! The rest is up to nature.  I originally bought it to paint, and each year it blooms I paint it again! Each time I try to give a different 'twist' to my efforts, even though it is the same plant and not a whole lot biger than when I bought it. This year is used both brushes and palette knives in my painting technique. Even when I've become very comfortable with a particular technique, as I have with using just palette knives, I always enjoy the challenge of trying something just a bit different now and then-to manipulate the edges as well as the surface texture of the paint.

What a crazy few weeks it has been - since I've last posted.  I've survived a tornado in Atlanta with my mother-in-law. (Seriously - we were ready to hunker down in the basement of her southwest Atlanta home, just as a tornado was touching down in the northwest Atlanta area- VERY frightening!).  Just the day before this tornado, we had a lovely stroll through the  Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  Filling our senses with the visual color and textural beauty of camelias, the fragrance of paper bush blossoms, the quiet zen of a Japanese garden. All the while I'm dreaming of summer, filling my creative well with  ideas I can hardly wait to work into my own garden.  Don't you just LOVE this gecko-gate??!!

Then I left Atlanta to go visit my mom in Winter Park, FL. We took her down to Clearwater Beach for a nice little vacation.  I got a text message from Southwest Airlines that my flight home on Friday would likely be canceled due to the incoming BLIZZARD. Oh my, so I switched my flight to last Thursday so I could get home, buy groceries (since I had already been so long) and help my husband dig our way out of this expected mess!

How DEEP did it get at our house?? Stayed tuned for tomorrow's blog post and I'll take you from 'Beach to Blizzard' in no time flat! We have finally dug ourselves out - just in time for the next snow-fall!

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