Saturday, August 31, 2013

Over the Water, Ireland (and I'll be over the water as this is posted!)

The colors of land and sky in the west of Ireland are a landscape painters dream! Such vast expanse of beauty, the subtle variations of blues and greens vibrate against each other.  Painted on location in County Kerry. 

Another painting "from the vault" that I'm sharing (at, well, frankly, birthday suit prices) to celebrate both my birthday month and traveling back to Ireland! Just a few of my previous Irish series remaining. I've held on to some of these for several years now. 

I arrive in Shannon airport at 6am Sunday morning. Usually just a bit earlier than the airport cafeteria opens. I love the last bit of this flight when the sun is just coming up over the horizon, and I catch my first glimpses of Ireland stretching out below me! One on of my flights many years ago when my husband came with me, he gave me the biggest compliment, "Hey, that looks like one of your paintings!". 

Each time I back come home to the states, I've been known to bring home a beach stone or two.  Between the paintings and the stones, it's the closest way to 'keep it with me', until I return again.

Labels: , , , ,

Show me your shamrocks!

Okay, I'm waiting to board, still practicing some blogging with the iPad!  I've got some time to waste here at JFK airport. I had a wonderful lunch (though a very terse waiter!). At least I know that "my green chariot awaits" (Thanks Aer Lingus).   Security wasn't as bad as it initially looked. Now, to make sure this blog entry gets posted....hope this isn't too difficult!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Brilliant LIght Over Portmagee and Puffin Island; I'm off to paint in Ireland!

Click here to bid!

Just the thought of Ireland evokes so many thoughts for her children that have emigrated to all points of the world. Within those of us...there is a longing internal memory of those rolling green hills, laid out before us like a rumpled bolt of green velvet fabric.  Do you hear it calling? 

September is my birthday month, and in anticipation of that as WELL as this trip to Ireland, my gift to you is this opportunity. I have some special offerings on some 'paintings from the vault'. Some of the few remaining paintings of Ireland that I have done over the last few years. If you missed out, follow the above link (the one that says 'click to bid'). It will take you to several ebay listings and I'll be adding several over the next few days!  Spreading some birthday love with no wrinkles added!

I am finally packed,,,,,okay, okay, all except for my carry-on. That is always the last minute 'sit and stuff'. I've figured out which jackets, which sweaters, pants, socks, and most important, which paints and which size panels! 

Which brings to mind- how does any one actually wear clothes and paint big canvases....and not pay HUGE airline fees for bringing an over-sized suitcase or an extra suitcase? "Mr. Travel" - aka Rick Steves obviously does not haul along painting gear!  

Yesterday I had everything placed in a super-large suitcase and still had room left! (WHAT? when does that ever happen?). I still had enough room for one of my shorter neighbors and her dog, too.  I was thinking this was looking rather too large. I vaguely recalled something on a recent AerLingus email about luggage sizes and limits, so I went back to find the information. Holy cow! Glad I did- the limit is 62" and under 50 pounds. Well, I hadn't gone over 50 pounds yet, but I was wondering about that size limit. Turns out it is length + width + depth.  Well, this suitcase was a good deal over. I looked up what the fine/penalty/fee/gouging was to be??? Yikes - $100. A hundred bucks ? No way. So the un-packing ensued...and re-packing began, into a medium sized suitcase. (Didn't the three bears have an adventure like this?).

So the dreaded packing part is pretty much over. Tomorrow, hubby delivers me to the airport. I've made chili & roast chicken for him to have a few leftovers. Then he resorts to the Indian restaurant and the BBQ place for the rest of my trip. They have become like family and know us quite well now. The guy who owns the BBQ restaurant saw me in the grocery store one day and said, "Hey, you must've been out of town again, your husband was in here for dinner three times last week!".  Poor guy! It does work out better when my trusty art assistant gets to come along!  

I do you hope you'll follow along on the adventure! Here's hoping I have a good wi-fi connection so I can share the scoop with you! Get ready for a little armchair travel adventure. I'm bringing my watercolor postcards along, too...could there be some gifts involved for you? Why, yes! Make sure you are signed up for this blog (see the upper right hand column to enter your email address), so it arrives in your email inbox and keeps your name in the hat to win a watercolor postcard from Ireland! I'm so grateful to my loyal blog readers, I always love the input, and sharing thoughts and ideas with you! 

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Round The Bend In Dingle Town

6"x6" oil on gessoed Masonite board
For more information, or to purchase, click here!

So here's an experiment.... This evening I'm blogging on my iPad, just to make sure I can figure this out without too much frustration. So in between laying out clothes and paint gear today, I had to sit down and at least paint something small.  So this little scene is from one of my previous trips over. I had been looking through old photos of travels to Ireland and decided I may as well get a quick bit of painting time in, too.

For the sake of sharing some quick news and carrying less heavy stuff, this may do the trick. But I have a feeling I'm going to miss having my laptop. What I won't miss is the shoulder strain from carrying too much.

To make this work, I got a card reader from the Apple store, so I could download photos into my iPad. Now these gizmos only hold so much data, so it won't be something I do all the time, but for travel, I hope to make it work. Once you get your photos downloaded into your ipad, you can alter your photos a bit by cropping, etc.  In order to load your photos from the photo file on your ipad, you need to have downloaded the 'Blogger' app. That will allow you to access your photo file.  

Well, it's a good deal later, and I'm back to edit this on my laptop. Center the text, re-size the photo so that it's not over-run by text from the side-bar, as well as add a link. Whew, that feels better!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cliffside Sunbathing in Irish Wool (sold) - returning to Ireland!

This painting is already sold, but you might find some other available Ireland paintings here.

So, I'll be packin' up my bags shortly. Pulled the big suitcase out of the basement this morning. I'm trying to decide upon whether to take panels to paint on, or cut pieces of canvas.  I've got a nice roll of oil primed linen, and a friend of mine recommended taking cut pieces of linen taped to foam core board or gator-board to paint on.   It makes for a much lighter load with them unmounted. What he does with the wet pieces on his way home is to stack them, with a piece of corrugated cardboard with a window hole cut out of it, in between each that each painting is not touching another. When all the pieces are stacked and separated it's still pretty light...but - I'm thinking this still takes up a lot of space in your suitcase AND would cause me to take up more time cutting card-board, just to get ready.   Plus, just looking at layers of cardboard (in my shipping closet) that adds up to a pretty thick stack.  I think my methods I've been using for the last decade have served me quite well.  

I keep the paintings relatively small, 8x10 linen covered panels are my favorite.  I also like to bring 6x8s and 9x12s and sometimes 12x12s.  Over the years I've collected a slew of panel boxes. Various makers make some great sturdy boxes.  The lightest ones are made by  Check them out here!

I've been going through my supply of paints. I bag them up in zip-lock bags by color. I have two batches, one group that I will use up first, and if I run out of any color, I carry a back-up supply in a separate zip-lock bag. I try to pack those baggies in between a soft, cushy sweat -shirt so that the tubes won't get mashed or damaged. I pack them in the suitcase that goes with the checked luggage.  I'm taking more than I used to on this trip. I've been using a bigger variety of transparent colors than I used to as an under painting, so that takes up a bit more space. But I'm excited about what I'll be painting this trip, as the last time I went over was 2009. 

My carry-on luggage piece is actually my painting back-pack. Once I arrive at my B&B, I'll re-organize my equipment from suitcase to back-pack, so that each day I'll have my gear handy.  It's usually the "getting -there" that is a hassle (ie- packing). Once you arrive at your destination, the fun finally begins! 

I've got myself a card-reader for my ipad, so I'm hoping to blog via my iPad and not lug my laptop over there! Gosh, I've learned a lot already, just planning for this trip. Now lets see if I can put it to good use! 

I've got a special request already for some sheep paintings! My previous trips over to Ireland have been mid-summer, June and July when the lambs are still fairly tiny. I have no idea what they'll look like in September. They're so cute when they're tiny- yet they can spring up in the air as though they had springs in their little legs! It's been hard not to try to sneak one on board to come home with me. I guess it would be hard to pass one off as a service animal..."Yes, sir, that's my 'seeing-eye-sheep', quite the trooper"! I'm sure I'd get busted in security for that! 

I do hope you'll follow along on the adventure! These views are some of my favorite on the planet! Make sure you don't miss a thing by filling in your email address in the box at the top right hand column that says: GET MY LATEST PAINTINGS EMAILED TO YOU DAILY!  Each new blog post and painting will show up in your inbox each morning! 


Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer Morning, Ebb Tide Marsh and Packing for Plein Air Travel

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.  

Summer mornings of acid-lemon green grass
shimmering in warm air.

Sunlight is melting through the trees -
cresting the upper most branches. 

The heat doesn't pass the treeline...
not until the sun arcs over the tops.

Then the marsh wakes up
alive with noise...
a 'quiet noise' of its own nature...
bugs, birds, breeze.

And I have captured my prize, 
and am on my way home. 

Do you have a refuge? A place you love to go, to "get away from it all"? Hopefully it's got a better view than your basement! What a good excuse to get out into nature. Away from cell-phones, deadlines, commitments. They will all be there anyway, waiting for your return. Having a refuge (especially one that's not much further than your back yard or neighborhood) is a good way to balance life!

Now, how to balance packing?? At this point in the summer, after much travel and toting my gear around locally, I need to sit down and re-organize my back-pack. (Yikes! You can see what a wreck it is now!) This little bag has been SO handy. It's a little rolling back-back I bought at Walmart for about $35 many years ago.  And yes, it has been used as carry-on on some air-travel trips and checked baggage on other airline trips.  It's taken a beating and still survived. But it's just the right size for making you keep your gear light so that you can carry it on your back if you need to, OR roll it on its wheels with the handle extended if you wish to do that.  I usually carry bug-spray, baby-wipes, paper-towels, bull-dog clips, plastic grocery bags for trash, a painting apron to keep clean as possible and have pockets handy, a wide-brimmed sun hat with a cord/strap if it gets windy. 

For my paints I take one tube of each color that I'll need. For trips lasting several days to a week, where I'll be doing a lot of painting, I'll bring two tubes of the colors that I tend to use a lot of: ultramarine blue, cad lemon yellow, and Titanium white (or a large tube of T. white). For longer trips I'll take two sets of my paint colors, each set bagged separately.  For some locations, it's not possible to go buy new paints if you run-out. I always put them in zip-loc baggies, just in case one of them starts to leak or ooze. You just never know. Anything I can do to help stay clean is the better way to go. For now, I bag up reds together, blues together in their own bag, and then yellows in their bag, etc.  For the longest time I'd only use a warm and a cool of each primary, plus white.  At this point, I do like to carry along some transparent colors to use as under-painting.

 Also, Guerilla Paintbox is running a special (33% off & free shipping) recently on their little Mighty-Mite brush cleaner- (that green lidded thing below). It's small and handy enough to fit in tight spaces.

I've recently learned to pack a pair of wind-pants in the front pocket of my pack during certain parts of the year. It can be bitter cold in some areas if the wind picks up, and they are light and don't take up too much room. 

So the thoughts are how to do this with as little weight to haul to the airlines, yet have only as much gear as you truly need!

In my brush pack here, you can see that I've been suffering from a recent case of B.A.D. (brush acquisition disorder). No I don't need all these with me on my upcoming trip! 

I'll keep my canvases fairly small on this trip. Usually when I'm flying I keep my panel sizes under 9x12...and 8x10s have been a big favorite of mine.  Below is one of my favorite products: Raymar art panels. When they came up with the thinner, lighter weight panels called "Feather Lite", what a difference that made. It doesn't look like much, but those panels weigh a lot when they're all stacked up together. I love their oil primed canvases, but they do make a nice smooth finish acrylic gessoed canvas that's less expensive yet still has a nice surface to work on.Oh, and that funny looking grey plastic box in the first picture of gear is one of Raymar's wet-panel holders. It's for 8x10s but will hold 8x8s or 8x6s as well. It's a great little holder and VERY light weight. That's the best way of getting those wet paintings back home!

So, along with all these gadgets, I take bull-dog clips (did I mention those already?)

They are handy for clipping your trashbag onto something so that it's not flapping in the wind (so annoying), or anything else you might want to clip down tight. They are handy. I usually bring 2 to 3 of those.

Last of all, I have 2 favorite travel easels.  I love the medium size Artbox & Panel setup that I have, but to really scale down light I've been using an OpenBoxM - the small 8x10 size. It fits into this back-pack really well, and is light-weight, but big enough to handle an 8x10, 9x12, possibly larger, but those are the sizes that I work in with this when I'm keeping things as light as possible.  
 The tripod that I use with it has its own carrying case, so I throw that over my shoulder as well, when I need to hike in to my location. 
There it is in the long black zip-bag. This is the only piece that doesn't fit into my back-pack. When I fly, I put this piece in my regular suitcase that goes with the checked luggage.  It's relatively light as far as tripods go, but it's pretty sturdy. It's a SLIK F740 (see the ArtBoxandPanel website).  I've had other tripods that have been disastrously difficult to use, or too heavy or too light. This one is 'just right'. 
 So your mission, if you choose to accept to watch me take this mess and organize it into something I can travel with next week!

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer Sketchbook Scenes; Ireland vistas & plein air travel......

"Every summer has a story, but this year, it's more like a novel."

So much has happened this summer - and mostly good, some of it even grand; and the not so good, well, it's forgettable.  

I love savoring those grand moments, whether they were big or small.  From first blossoms on a new plant, a new pumpkin on the vine, to a far-away travel destination, a new recipe success, and a fun visit with an old friend; watercolor sketchbook journaling from the garden.

As summer winds to an end, I'm thinking of plans for this fall.  A bit of travel (a place that I've been to many times, but not for several years- Ireland!!) So, share this blog post with your friends, I'd like to grow my Facebook Page, to share the journey of Ireland! 
My wonderful artist assistant (hubby) will be "holding down the fort" at home, so in the coming days, I'll be figuring out how to pack as light as humanly possible since he won't be there to help me haul stuff or get it in his suitcase through the airport! I've been on plenty of plein air trips; several of them overseas. Each time I learn a few new tricks and tips that make it a bit easier. 

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Morning; Ebb Tide

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on panel
Click here for more information, or to purchase.

Lately we've been having really nice weather....the kind that other places should be very, very envious of. The kind of weather where you can leave your windows open all day and night and be very comfortable ...and it's August! 

So one early morning last week, I planned to get up early and head back over to Barn Island, to continue my quest of marsh scenes in all seasons of the year.  In the early morning, the sun is just warming up the grasses, illuminating them to their brilliant limey green color. The distant tree line is still back-lit, but starting to warm through at the edges as the sun begins to climb it's arc through the sky.  

Birders are out in the preserve, hoping to spot that one particular species that will complete their "bucket list" of birdies.  Another older gentleman walking two golden retrievers, one of them a gangly five month old pup as tall as the other dog. Two joggers light through, seeming to barely touch the earth beneath them, their footfall is so light. And one painter, that's me.  We are the "usual suspects" of who frequent this sacred space.  It IS sacred to me, I love being out there. It reminds me how important it is to have public open land for recreation just like these mornings. 


Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pleinair757; Back Bay Gambol Farm

12"x16" oil on linen mounted on panel
Click here for more information, or to purchase.

As of August 11th, 2013; this painting is in a traveling show through out southeastern Virginia.  Visit the PleinAir757 website for location information.  Painting is framed in an elegant,  heavy gold leaf frame with simple lines.  

The last morning of the paint out the weather held out beautifully! And luckily I had a place in the shade to stand.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pleinair757; Crepe Myrtle, Beach Cottage

9"x12" oil on linen mounted on panel
Click here for more information, or to purchase.

By late afternoon of the first day of paintout, the heat and humidity were steadily increasing, and rain was threatening. I had a great spot at a friend's beach cottage, standing in the shade.  When at all possible, I try to have a "Plan B" if the weather looks dicey. She had a nice screened in porch where I could have finished painting this view if the weather got really bad. Luckily - stormy weather held off for a good bit longer!

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Plein Air757, From Lynhaven Bay to Town Center (and Way Beyond!)

11"x14" oil on linen mounted on panel

Click here for more information, or to purchase.

I've just returned home from Virginia Beach, and the Pleinair757 paint-out.  What great fun- Karen Kinser- artist and organizer extraordinaire has hosted this event with her group of amazing volunteers for many years now (six or seven?) The 757 is the area code/geographical area that the painters can choose to paint in. This is a rather broad chunk of south-eastern Virginia!  Having lived there for many years myself, I'm always anxious to get back there to paint, and visit, and hang out with friends. It seems the time goes by so quickly and I'm headed home again. 

This view of Lynnhaven Bay is up by the boat launch on the southwest side of the Lesner Bridge. It's close to where I used to live, and I've driven by there countless times, but never got out to walk up that dune. Holy cow- you can see all the way to Town Center! The weather was warm during our painting days, but really nice early in the morning. Big cumulus clouds started rising up during late morning. I was certainly jazzed at the scenery, and happy to be out on the water!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Morning, Heat Rising

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival board
For more information, or to purchase, click here.  

This was the second painting of the day, Wednesday morning. The heat is rising, and the bugs are getting hungry! The marsh is waking up and quite busy! Yet the temperature is still comfortable out, perhaps a stronger DEET cocktail is necessary (or I missed a spot behind my knee where one hungry horsefly persistently bothered me). 
 What our eyes see when painting from life, is so much more exciting than what a photograph can "see". 
It's Friday again (already!) and time for the final drawing of those water-color post-cards from France!
I'm emailing them this afternoon (Friday) and with their permission, I'll list the winners on my blog tomorrow! 

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Clear Summer Morning

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival panel
Please click here for more information, or to purchase.

Another thing I love about summer in New England...when we get those clear summer days, the weather is comfortable, everything is growing, marsh grasses are brilliant high-key-limey green out in the brilliant sun here on the coast. Yes, I'm still working on my "Barn Island Project", getting back there to paint in every season of the year. I love to see how the colors change over the course of a year - even standing in this same very spot to paint! This one was the first of the morning. I'll show you the second one tomorrow!  I'm still playing around with the new techniques...using some brushes again, and a bit of palette knife...sometimes more, sometimes less. Only adding what needs to be added, editing is the key!

Tomorrow I'll also have the third and final drawing of my water-color post cards from France. If you are a blog subscriber, your name is already in the hat! If not, find the column on the upper right hand side of this blog to enter your email and subscribe!  I'll draw two names (but I'll only print your name with your permission!).  

I do hope you're having a wonderful summer, where ever you are, and where ever you go!

Labels: , , , ,