Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yield to Beauty

10"x8" oil on gallery wrapped canvas (edges are painted)
For more information, or to purchase, click here.

It has been raining for a long while now...and chilly for days on end. I'm told it's Spring...and of course this is normal for New England. 

I'm holding a memory of last summer, of every summer, when sweet peas bloom, fragrant and delicate. The warmth of the sun lifts this sweetness all around you. You can't escape it!

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it,"  observed Oscar Wilde.  I think he's got something there! Be good to yourself, friend!

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Livraison de fleurs en vélo" - Flowers & bicycles in France! - SOLD!

8"x8" oil on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.

Oh, the French really do know flowers! And how to display them. I'm so anxious for warmer weather to get here and have flowers billowing over everything in my own yard.  

So many wonderful sights to see - sometimes the best parts of travel are the inspirations we bring back to our own homes!  So - what might you do with an old rusted bike? Plant it with cascading fleurs - tres chic!

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mentoring Mondays in May! -Gaining direction for YOUR art journey!

 Some of the most interesting paintings start with quite simple beginnings. Sometimes we wonder, "where do I begin? or, now that I'm 'here' where do I go next?" Join me during the month of May for "Mentoring Mondays" from 9:30- 12 noon, $35 for each Monday.  We'll meet the 5th, 12th, 19th. (the 26th is a holiday weekend, but we can determine if we'd like to continue in June). Call to reserve your spot- I have space for a limited number of students!

 We'll be covering values; bright pure colors vs. grays (& how to mix them); edges (soft vs. hard); brush/knife stroke variety; variety of shapes and sizes; and composition.

 Many people find bringing in a new tool such as a painting knife, or a squeegee adds such an interest to their work. Starting out with simple exercises is a good way to get the 'feel' of using tools that are new to you, while also considering all of the following:
We'll be covering values; bright pure colors vs. grays (and how to mix them); edges (soft vs. hard); brush/knife stroke variety; transparent paints vs. opaques and how to best use these to your advantage; variety of shapes and sizes; and composition.

If you have particular concerns, things you'd like to learn, let me know, I want to help you find the next path of your art journey! 
More thoughts on workshops and  finding your direction on your art journey in my next post.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Grand Tulips! (or- Forever Spring!)

36"x36"x2.5" contemporary deep profile canvas
To purchase, or for more information, click here.

So far, "Forever Spring" is in the lead for 'name this painting' (a poll I was taking on FB & Twitter).  Usually the name of a painting evolves in my head as I'm working on a painting. Sometimes the name comes first and the painting follows. 

Here's how this one began, on a chilly Spring day, when I brought a load of fresh tulips into the studio, and I had this wonderful canvas that I was saving just for a big batch of flowers like this: 

I adjust my lights, and place everything how I'd like it. Then I just sit and look at it, and consider how I'd like these shapes I'm seeing to fit into that large square shaped canvas. I squint down...which helps to eliminate color, so that you can see 'value'- the darkness vs. the lightness of each area of your design & how it relates to each other. As I'm looking at these items, I'm also considering the main colors I want in this composition. I decide that instead of these red delicious apples, they are going to be Granny Smith apples, as I'm thinking I want that particular green.  I've chosen green to be the dominant color in this composition with fuchsia red tulips as my focal point, particularly the one with the bit of orange-yellow on the stem...which is just enough of a contrast against all those blue flowers  for a nice spark. One thing that I've brought into my paintings over the years is the avoidance of 'rendering'. I prefer more of an 'interpretation' so that I might control color and design rather than be slave to what I see in front of me. Arranging a still life to work from has become the 'jumping off point' from which my paintings progress. 

Anyway, once I draw in (with paint) the basic placement of each element in the painting, I being the under-painting. 
I lay in these shapes loosely with thin transparent colors.  Usually with a brush, sometimes with a knife on this layer.  When working large, I set aside large blocks of time, so that I can continue to work wet into wet for as long as possible. As soon as the entire canvas is covered, then I keep the layering going, adding those subsequent layers with a palette knife.
Before I add these final layers, I'll use a rubber squeegee straight edge to break up the edges of hard items in the composition. Building up the layers as I go, I end up with this as my final result:
 If you're a painter, and would like to learn some more of these methods, consider joining in on my "Mentoring Mondays" during the month of March.  I'll talk more about them in detail in the next blog post. I have a limited space in my studio for students, so it's definitely first dibs gets the space!  Right now there is room for YOU! 
Here are some additional closeup details from "Forever Spring" (and yes, to bring this in even closer, press the control button  (on the left) and scroll up!)

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Peu Vieux Vert Renault

6"x6" x .75" oil on cradled birch panel
Click here to purchase. 

 While perusing a weekend market morning in a small village in south west France, I came upon this little old green Renault. It had seen a lot of miles, but still had a sense of adventure about it.  Made it quite easy to imagine a road trip through the countryside, windows open, hair flying, singing at the top of our lungs! (Hey, do you know the words to any French songs?).  Allons-y! Let's go have an adventure!!

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wide Wetlands (dyptich)

6"x24" x2" deep cradled panel -dyptich, 2 (6x12")
To purchase, or for more information, click here.

and here's a close up of the left side:
 (side 1),
and below is side 2, the right side:
I've been wanting to paint a wide panoramic view of what I see out at Barn Island. Usually I just choose one small area to paint. The place is so expansive! Actually I could go on with additional panels and continue the view as though I were standing in the midst of the place.  haha, but that's another project for yet another day!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fiery Flair Tulips

12"x12" oil on gessobord
For more information, or to purchase, click here. 

I am continuing to will it to be warmer weather up here lately (with these hot colors I've been painting with!).  I think it's working. I actually went outside without a jacket on and didn't freeze! I'm guessing it must have been in the upper 40s? Our own tulips are about 4 or 5 inches out of the ground so far! I'm hoping they'll come up in a beautiful display like they have the last several years! It's such an incredible sight to see! Don't you just love it when Spring really starts to show her face? It'll be time to start digging in the dirt once again! 

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Angel Trumpet Lilies oil sketch and One.Trivial.Little.Acorn

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

So, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I would tell you what was on my answering machine the minute I came home from the airport.  It was a nurse, from Florida Hospital Altamonte; letting me know that my mom "had taken a tumble in the parking lot at the mall and had broken her hip".  Ugh!! No way....I spent the next 24 hours on the phone- with the hospital, the place she lives, her pastor at her church, security from the mall where her car was in the parking lot still, her surgeon, physical therapy, social worker for rehab....gee, the list goes on & on.  Finally, once I figured out what was going on I bought air fare to go back down there and make sure every thing was going to fall into place the way we hoped.   It took a lot of planning in a very short amount of time, but mom is doing quite well (for one who has gone through a MAJOR surgery! At this point she has been through weeks of physical therapy, and still has to use a walker for the time being. Luckily, she started out in good health. How did this happen? She stepped on an acorn in the parking lot when she got out of her car! One....trivial....little....acorn.

Friends reminded me to "take care of myself" and work some 'me' time into the equation so I wouldn't go crazy. So I did take one late afternoon and visit Leu Gardens, a beautiful botanical park close to where mom lives. Every season is lovely there, and I was determined to bring my little paint-box over there & get an oil sketch in during the last hour before they closed for the day.  These lovely lilies were in bloom, hanging down like bells! They used to grow in San Diego (where I used to live) and I had always hoped to be able to paint them one day. This was from a tiny little "thumb-box" pochade that I sometimes take on trips. I find it more difficult to work with, holding all that in one hand and using a brush or knife with the other. I really prefer using a box that I can attach to a tripod, so there's less stuff in my hands. It would have required more stuff to haul on the plane though, and I didn't really have time to plan for that.  

Well, the whole incident reminded me that we never know what is around the corner for us.  The week before we had gone to the beach, and really enjoyed such fun together.  I had brought my watercolor sketchbook to the beach, and had just enough time to get some really quick sketches in.  One page, just enjoying our surroundings and being amazed at the aqua color of the Gulf of Mexico, and the cleanest white sand at Clearwater Beach. 
The three of us (my mom, one of my daughters, and me) were enjoying the sunshine and warmth of a Florida February day. Sea gulls were stalking other beach goers that had brought a picnic lunch. 
 Little by little, other gulls joined in the lurking....and even though there were three people at this gathering, each had gotten up to do "something else", turning their backs on the gulls, and had stepped just far enough away ....ATTACK! The gulls made good on their opportunity.....another group of beach-goers ran over to try to rescue the lunch and scare off the gulls.  I felt immobile, with a lap full of book, paint, water and no place to lay it down to chase birds! My daughter was asleep on her beach towel, and mom was engrossed in a book with her back turned to the chaos.  Oh my, well at least the only beach drama of the day was due to sea gulls. And I did get a quick sketch of mom while she was reading.
  I think when she realized she was being sketched she wanted to get up and move yes, it was very hurriedly done.  I had just begun to sketch my daughter asleep on her towel, when the bird chaos that point we were all hungry for lunch.
So I ended up using the page for some notes and a place to put my airline luggage stickers.  I didn't think much of the little sketches, barely scribbles, just for fun, not really much put into the planning of the page, etc.  Then.....within days of that beach trip, they became a precious memory of a very sweet day of fun- 3 generations of women enjoying a winter day at the beach, and each others company.  
Now I realize.....those little "inconsequential sketches" ....just like that dinky little acorn....happen to be very significant.

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