Friday, June 28, 2013

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on panel

One of my friends commented that even laundry in France is tres chic! :-)

But the line of laundry catching light in the afternoon sun right behind the church in this small village of Frayssinet was irresistible.

Our days have been packed with demos from Dreama, painting on our own (whether in oils or our watercolor sketchbooks). So much to do, so little time to blog.  Some days we stay on location in Frayssinet, and other days we've been taking short side trips during the day. And the eating....oh my - we are being spoiled rotten with the most incredible meals! That part alone is going to make it hard to go home! I have had the most imaginative, delicious, and visually beautiful meals here at Le Vieux Couvant. I feel like I should be writing a food blog about that experience alone! 

A visit to a lavender farm in Lherm was a visual and fragrant treat.

 We've saved a seat for you! Can you imagine anything better than being surrounded by lavender and roses? (Yes, those are climbing roses growing up that tree!).

Greetings from all of us in France! We really DO wish you were here! So much beauty to share!

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, June 27, 2013

French Blue Shutters

8"x8" oil on gessoed masonite board
For more information, or to purchase, click here.

I am enjoying everything about this workshop,  and feel like I'm gaining some new painting ideas each day. I'm playing with some things I left behind long ago, and also taking in some new ideas that I hadn't seen quite like this before.  I am finding these lessons on  transparent under-painting quite helpful with what I already do and know. Now, how long it will take make me to integrate some of these new ideas into my working ideas, I don't know. But I'm really finding some great freedom in this process. 
 This is the 'salon' window that looks into such a wonderful room.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

French Laundry

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on panel
For more information or to purchase, click here.

The last two mornings we've spent painting out on location here at Le Vieux Couvant. So much to choose from here! This is the little cottage where Dreama and her husband are staying, (so it could be titled "Dreama's Laundry"!  
I have used an electric dryer for most of my life, but can you imagine having your laundry air-dried with the fragrance of honeysuckle and rosemary wafting through the fresh air into your fabrics? 
Quite nice!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Day In Saint-Cirq La Popie

Here we are, (me with my art assistant!) leaving Le Vieux Couvant in the morning to head over to Saint-Cirq La Popie, for a bit of sketching, photographing, perhaps some shopping and of course eating!

Looks like we're going to need lots of exercise to handle all the food we've been tempted with on this trip! Somehow I don't think this bicycle will be much help though!

Have you made your selection?

For my foodie friends, lunch today included a bowl of gazpacho...with a dollop of basil ice-cream with a light twirl of balsamic on top.  PERFECT summer-time dish! 

So....pull up a chair to join us for some cafe au lait,  soon we'll head back to Le Vieux Couvant for some late afternoon painting! In addition to the oil paintings, I've been working on some post cards, and some travel journal sketches & paintings.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Our Front Door In France

8"x8" oil on gessoed masonite artboard
For more information, or to purchase, click here.
Once you enter through the French blue-green iron gate (see yesterday's post) and you are within the courtyard of the old home, you are surrounded with rustic beauty.  Roses are bountiful, climbing, rambling...and are accented with delphiniums, topiaries, lily of the valley, honey-suckle, grape-vines, and many other flowering delights. The big front door has a central brass knob to turn to enter. A staircase surrounded by climbing roses takes you to an upper terrace (as well as our art studio) and gardens that Monet would have been envious of! 

Each day we've managed to pack in three gourmet meals (oh, those recent 10 pounds that I lost have probably found me again).  We've managed to fit in side trips to wonderful little towns in the country-side, open-air markets, as well as excellent demos from our fearless leader, Dreama....AND have daylight to paint! Thank goodness for long daylight hours in this part of the world. It's light out until 10pm. By the end of the day, we are totally spent. But each morning we are all excited and eager to find what the day holds for us! 
Some of our painters in the courtyard:
and a funny 'hog van' I spotted this morning!

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Welcome to a Brand New Day - SOLD!

10"x8" oil on linen mounted on board

What a day of fun. Getting together with a group of like-minded artists is usually a pretty enjoyable event, add in some gorgeous scenery, phenomenal food, a picnic by a river in France mid-day (with food we had selected at an open air market in the morning), and painting in our own private garden was pretty incredible. Yesterday was filled with great demos and some painting time. 

Now for the experience of trying new things...when you've been painting one way for many, many years, and start introducing some new ideas, there is always a learning curve.  Dreama Tolle Perry uses almost all transparent paint colors. I had not seen this used quite to this extent. So it's quite a different method of working for me than Henry Hensche's methods.  But, wanting to introduce some new thoughts in here, I've opended Pandora's box. Camile Przwodek had said to us in one of her classes, "once Pandora's box is open & all that new knowledge comes flying out, you can't put it back in the box. You then have to decide how to deal with it".  So in other words, you have to decide how to deal with what you've just learned.  So I think the instruction is going to be interesting - and I'll be trying out some new things, and deciding how I might pull some of this into my own work.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I have arrived!

I can't believe my good fortune...and I do wish you were here to share it with me! Oh if I could have tucked you away in my luggage and brought you with me! What a joy this place is.  I knew that a workshop with Dreama Tolle Perry would be MORE than painting....but a whole uplifting outlook on life! In this group of sixteen artists, MANY of them have studied with her several times and as we met this evening to chat and get to know each other, we are surprised and happy with how our paths have entwined.  Yes, one of those "it's a small world" experiences.

Bill and Corrine, the owners of Le Vieux Couvent share their home and meals with us so graciously. I truly feel like I'm in a place that I belong, a place that envelops each of us in creativity.

Even though I was exhausted from the travel and lack of sleep, I felt energized by the beauty that surrounded me. So off I went with camera in hand to take photos of Le Vieux Couvant and the surrounding area.
So while it's a bit overcast today, the company is warm and engaging- and we are all ready to begin our workshop tomorrow!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Peonies In Sunlight

20"x24" x0.75" oil on gallery wrap canvas (edges are painted)

By the time you read this, I'll be flying out of Boston, en-route to Paris, France. I am so excited over this trip, and can't believe it's finally here! I expect to gain lots of insights from our workshop leader, Dream Tolle Perry - and I'll be glad to "share the scoop" with you! I know that as I write this (Tuesday), she's already had chocolate in Paris (France, not Kentucky) and arrived at our destination to prepare for the sixteen artists that are due to arrive on Thursday at Le Vieux Couvent! 

Meanwhile back in Connecticut, I've been painting, between packing and preparing. Everything that has bloomed in the garden has been ripe for the picking, cutting, arranging, etc. The peonies were no exception. Standing out in the backyard painting in my "art dining room" of both sunny and shady places has really been rewarding.  It's taken a lot of sweat effort from hubby and myself.  I've got roses pouring off the fences right now. I hope they'll continue until my return.

Back to packing, au revoir!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gold and Purple Splendor in a Glass

6"x6"x .75" deep oil on cradled panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here. 

Yes, this is the same bouquet, just another day, turned a bit differently, (so the purple flowers show up more) and different lighting as well.  I find it exciting to follow Monet's example of showing up to the same views day after day, at different times, different lighting, and truly observing.

By the way, if you haven't seen these cradled panels before, they are delightful to paint on. I usually use the 1/8" panel for my small panel sizes. But these deeper cradled panels are nice when framing is not desired, they stand away from the wall just a bit and make a clean, uncluttered contemporary look.  I have plans for a set of these, to be hung together as a grouping, or on their own.  Edges are a pale blonde-wood. This one makes a nice set with "Sunflowers In A Glass" posted previously. 

Now, back to packing! Still trying to get the last few panels in that suitcase. Wondering if I should undo it all and start the process over? The hardest part of traveling (for me) is just getting out the door! Pull up a chair, log in, and follow along for the rest of the month. Hopefully the wi-fi's reliable, as I know I'm going to want to share these lovely views with you! 
Did you notice yesterday's travel advisory (noted in my 'Cheer Factor' newsletter?)

***WARNING - Arm-chair travel is usually the precursor to serious travel stand advised. Of course, you may share this notice with all your friends!

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sunflowers In A Glass

6"x6" x .75" deep oil on cradled panel
For more information, or to purchase, please click here.

If you haven't seen these cradled panels before, they are delightful to paint on. I usually use the 1/8" panel for my small panel sizes. But these cradled panels are nice when framing is not desired, they stand away from the wall just a bit and make a clean, uncluttered contemporary look.  I have plans for a set of these, to be hung together as a grouping, or on their own.  They were requested by one of my galleries.  If you are interested in owning one of these, and live too from from coastal CT to make the shopping trek, please contact me, they will be going to this gallery as soon as they are dry, once I return from my travels!

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hopeville Pond Reflections & packing for France!

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on panel

Click here for more information, or to purchase. 

A fine plein air morning two whole weeks ago! It's been a busy few weeks, so I've been painting, but not blogging! 

I'm currently working on a commission....while packing for the trip of a lifetime....and painting some small works in-between.

I'm heading out to France soon, to go paint with Dreama Tolle Perry - and really looking forward to this workshop! We'll be staying at Le Vieux Couvent, in Frayssinet.  I've been planning this since last summer, and now it's finally here! I do hope you'll follow along on the journey!

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Coral Begonia

5"x5" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

For more information, or to purchase, click here. 

Last summer I started collecting begonias of various types. This is a new one, a gift from a friend when I was in the hospital for surgery back in April.'s still alive and blooming! It hasn't stopped blooming at all, and looks like it will keep on going all summer! I'm not actually sure how long they are able to keep going, as I've never had one last that long - until last summer.  Could it be, that after all these years, I've finally got the knack for growing them? I hope so!

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunny Plummy Kind of Day-Sunflowers and Plums Step by Step

8"x6" oil on linen mounted on panel
Click here for more information or to purchase. 

It seems I've fallen into a pattern this summer, paint on sunny weekdays, work in the garden on the weekends, and blog on rainy days or evenings.  This is from one of those sunny days last week! 

I did take the time to photograph some steps along the way. For those that have been following this blog for a long while now, realize that I continue to integrate technique as it suits me.  Sometimes putting together things I've done in the past in new or different ways. For the last several years I had been painting with only a knife, no under-paintings,  just straight working onto the support (whether canvas or panel).  Prior to that I had usually made an under-painting of some sort before proceeding.  Of late some fellow artists work has caught my eye that has a wonderful 'thin transparency to  thick opacity' type of quality to it.    I'm enjoying this - altering my painting surface,  in a way that I'd call 'additive & subtractive' - disrupting edges as I go, still in love with the textural quality of the paint.  C.W. Mundy,  Julie Ford Oliver, and Jon Redmond are some of these recent influences. 

So, for starters, I laid in a transparent red on the linen surface, wiped back a little, then added some darker transparent areas.  
Then proceeded to draw in general shapes - for placement - and continue laying in the large dark shapes, then scrape back in some areas to keep transparency. 
And no, that is not black paint as it appears in this photo. For this dark I'll use alizarin & ultramarine & usually viridian. I use a warm & cool of each primary on my palette, sometimes I'll include either a sap green or viridian. 
 I start blocking in mid-tones and lights....again breaking up those edges, or scraping back some of the paint in places altogether...not allowing anything to get "too precious". 
Continue on, adjusting/maintaining the values that you intended for your composition. 
It DOES feel like a juggling/balancing act! I am working under a large patio umbrella to shade my canvas and palette.  If you don't have access to a bit of shade, at least turn your canvas away from the sun. Working with that brilliant sun on your work surface (canvas and palette) can be blinding..and make your final work appear very dark once you bring it inside. 
Bring in the knives to make your final adjustments! Palette knife that is, unless you are terribly disheartened by what you've done so far....and if you are.....either scrape it back & re-adjust, OR turn it aside for another day. If it's a total scrapper, it's experience under your belt. Usually coming back to it with a fresh eye reveals what you 'might have' done better. If your paint surface is still wet/open, go for it. Food for thought!

Over the years methods that stick with us are the ones that really speak to us. I know when I look at any painting, I like to see PAINT used liberally.  Perhaps it is from one of my instructors from almost two decades ago who encouraged me to lay out much more paint on my palette, "stingy paint, stingy painting" (thank you John Bannon).  I knew then I wanted a lush palette,  and the boldness to use that paint. Not all of our intentions come to us exactly when we wish it. I've found it's a lifetime commitment, a continual effort to  show up at the easel and just paint!

Labels: , , , , , , ,