Sunday, March 17, 2013

Summer Dreams

8"x10" oil on stretched canvas, gallery wrapped with sides painted (design continued around sides)

Yesterday a couple neighbors and I went up to Boston for the annual Spring Flower & Garden show. It is spectacular- and quite amazing how they bring in all these huge flowering trees and shrubs, granite slabs, stone fountains, etc.  to set up those wonderful exhibits!  We come away feeling like we've been on a great vacation far away.  It is definitely the turning point that makes things feel like Spring is really officially here. I know it's been on my mind non-stop - warm weather, sitting out under the shade trees, with cut peonies from my garden in a big jug on the table.  

The garden is beginning to show signs of life! Tulips, daffodils and Spanish Bluebells are poking through the soil, working hard to grow, waiting for those warm days when mankind and plant-kind feel great turning our faces to the sun! 

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Friday, March 15, 2013

"Her Finest Silver" ACEO Blossoms in Silver Pitcher - sold

3.5"x2.5" oil on fine canvas board

It's been a while since I've painted any of these fun little ACEOs...I decided it was time again! It was also nice to have a tiny picture...of a pitcher of flowers in the studio today, too! Flowers are the best antidote to winter. Spring is also here in southern New England!

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!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Brilliant Minds Think Alike Sunflowers

6"x6" oil on gessobord
$100, For more information or to purchase, click here.

When the rain is falling outside, sunflowers inside are about the cheeriest thing ever! This variety had sort of small compact bloom heads that were quite interesting.   Truth be told, I never met a flower I didn't like! But these were particularly charming!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bright Spot In Your Day Sunflowers - SOLD!

5"x7" oil on gessobord
For more information, or to purchase, click here.

Sunflowers hang in there for such a long time! They're so cheerful! Still trying some of these techniques with layering & using brushes AND knives.  We're having glimpses of Spring-like weather now & then. Maybe it won't be too much longer before I'm back outside painting again!

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Friday, March 8, 2013

"How Thoughtful Of You" Floral Lilies Gerbera Daisies

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite panel
For more information or to purchase, click here.

My dear daughters sent me a lovely bouquet the other day. Wonderfully fragrant with Stargazer Lilies, Gerbera Daisies, and other little blossoms, of course I couldn't resist painting it.  It's always so nice to be thought of ....and wonderful to have fresh flowers! (especially for a painter!). Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sunny Delight Floral (SOLD) and Painting Tips and Supplies

5"x7" oil on gessoed masonite panel

For more information, or to purchase, click here.

Wow, some days, life interupts your plans, and it's so difficult to get on with what your original intentions were. Like painting. Fortunately I finally got a bit of studio time before these flowers began to bite the dust. The blue fluffy things (can't remember the name of these blossoms) were starting to drop their petals, so everything will get cut and put into new arrangements tomorrow for a different painting!

Just a quick view of how some areas of my studio get at those times when 'life' keeps interupting and the mess never gets cleared away. So all the 'fun stuff' starts piling up...and becomes not so fun any more. Judging by this tabletop work space, this studio is ready for the next episode of 'Hoarders' (ACK!!). Seriously, I like to work in a clean, calm space. I'm over due for a major clean-out. When we were still in the Navy, and would move every three years, it acted as sort of a forced clean out. In getting ready for the move, we would end up tossing or giving away, or selling things we weren't taking with us, and would really pare down the load. Time to have a 'field day' and (pretend) I'm getting ready for a move (?). 
If you've been following this blog for a while you notice that I'm tweaking my working style just a bit. Sort of blending some techniques of old ways, and some new ways. Our learning is a cumulative thing, always taking in new ideas, blending them with things we already know, (or have known). After the last several years of working only with a rather wide, round tipped palette knife, I've been wanting to mix things up and layer things a bit differently. I still am in love with texture and color, but I do like having underlayers, and deep dark transparent colors showing through under increasingly opaque lighter color.  And even though I love the thick textural work of a wide knife, I do want a bit more detail in some areas. I also want to pay more attention to edges, which can be cumbersome at times with large knives. 
Now, as I've said before, I never throw out a good tool, even if I'm not using it. I know it will eventually come in handy for something, and get re-purposed! So here are some of the tools I've been using - some for a long time, and others, I've dug out of former stashes tucked away, and found new jobs for old tools that were in great shape.  So above, you'll see my two favorite painting knives, one pointy and one rounded, and a new thingy I've re-purposed from a bull-dog clip and one of those rubber slabs you carve into to make stamps or prints. I now use it as an 'interuptor' or an edge breaker. Got the idea for this technique from Julie Ford Oliver's 'fracturing' technique. Which was really quite interesting. It involves a good bit of 'adding & taking away' - until you really have an interesting surface quality, and if you pay attention to edges, a maintain a strong focal point (ONE item gets to be the star...not everything all over the place).
Artist friends, tell me you've done this before....walked into an art supply store and thought "Wow, that is one fine looking brush, I think I should get that...not that I need it right now, but I think I might- and this one is just made so beautifully, I have to have it because it's just so well made"...etc. etc. yeah. I did that. Bought this Rosemary brush at Plein Air Convention last April, and have finally brought it out of the 'tool box' and wow, I do love it! It IS indeed one fine brush! next below that is a Winsor Newton Monarch, I've had forever, don't use it often, but when I do, it responds just the way I need it to. Next down from the top is an 'Egbert' brush made by Robert Simmons (no, not Richard Simmons, haha). It's like a super long flat & filbert got together & had a gangly long legged teenager. Not good for much, but every now & then totally redeems itself by making the place look good! It actually is nice to softly flick an edge without overdoing the whole 'soften that edge thing' into an oblivion of mush. 
A couple other bristle flats that I've had forever round out the crew, but I've also put an old angled water-color brush to good use. (After all, it was taking up valuable real-estate space, and it's earning its keep now!) And then the lonely rigger, that I hadn't used for AGES, now getting some use as a drawing tool (for soupy paint in the early stages). 
Oh yeah, I've been asked before, what do you have your paint in? It's the paint box part from 'Art Box & Panel' that James Coulter makes. I love it as a plein air set-up! It's a little bigger than my older Open Box M (which yes, I still do love) but this allows me to go a good bit bigger without adding too much more weight. I also like to use the box in my studio, too. I just set it on my rolling taboret when I'm working at my larger easel. 
Hope that's helpful! - I'd love to answer any questions you might have about plein air set-ups or studio gear!  

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Iris Garden

8"x10" oil on gallery wrapped stretched canvas with edges painted
For more information or to purchase, click here.

Ahh, can you tell, I'm dreaming of spring? And tomorrow we have another snow storm on its way in here. Fickle weather! I was out walking this morning, and it definitely felt like spring. I was sure that snow was over for good. Oh well, I've been mixing in some older brush and layering techniques along with some of the things I've learned over the last several years working with just a palette knife. I think it's good to continually tweak what we do as artists. 

I used to collect and trade iris with friends and neighbors each time we would move (which was about every three years with the Navy). During one Navy move we finally had to leave them where they grew. But during that time while I was trading & growing, it was always fun to trade for a new color, and my iris garden began to look a bit like this! Now I haven't grown iris in many years, and I find I do miss them. Perhaps it's something I might find a spot for in this garden I'm tending now!

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Yellow Bucket of Flowers (sold) & Don't Worry, Be Happy Flops

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite panel
For more information  click here. 

Yay, it feels great to be back in the studio PAINTING! It's been a busy winter, who woulda thunk it?

I recently got back from a short trip to Hawaii! Now, before you get all excited, it....was...very....short! In fact, I spent as much time in airplanes and airports as I did on the ground there. But it was productive three days, none-the-less.  I took a sketchbook....and a swim-suit....and that's about it! Oh yeah, some flip-flops (umm, they are called 'rubber sandals' over there in Oahu) don't make the mistake to call them the wrong thing! 

You definitely need a pair like this! Yes, even in a freezing winter (like I'm having here in CT). I can just slip these babies on and feel like summer is really going to get here! (hey, it worked for Dorothy, even if those were ruby slippers, not rubber slippers). 
and yes, those things really do make GREAT prints in the sand! (or wet tracks on sidewalks!) Woohoo!  Where did I get those? Subscribe to my Cheer Factor newsletter, and I'll tell you all in the next issue!

ALSO***** "a save the date notice" for Saturday, June 8th- this summer. I'll be releasing some very exciting news....think gardens, blooms, summer fragrances...sigh! More about that in my upcoming news- letter, too!

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Abstract View of the Woods, study - sold

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival board

Sometimes, I do studies, just from things I've seen...places I've been to many times, like this spot in the woods where I've hiked many times. This one, I wanted to keep the shapes quite simple and strong, rather abstract, and leave all detail to the 'part between your eyes and brain' that tells you exactly what that is! Quite a fun exercise in paint!

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