Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Joy of Painting People

I've been painting portraits since my last post and will be for a while longer as we near Christmas. Since some of them will be gifts I don't want to post them and spoil the fun!

I forgot how much I enjoy portraits. I feel like I get to know the subject while I'm painting and if I already know or have known the subject, it feels like a personal visit with them. It reminds me of all the love I have for them, their sense of humor and kindness. It's an intimate experience even with animal portraits.

Here's a portrait I painted a decade ago and gave to my eldest sister, Mae for Christmas. She'd given me her piano and so many other things that I just wanted to thank her in a special way. And I loved the subject! This is Sherpa who accompanied Mae's group on a trek in Nepal. She'd bummed a cigarette from Mae while they rested along their journey and let Mae snap the photo.

Nepalese Sherpa, 16 x 20, Oil on canvas, NFS

Monday, November 23, 2015

Manatee Island I

While on a manatee tour in Cocoa, Florida, we were dropped off on a small island were we could walk on sand bars through shallow water to look for manatee pods. We weren't lucky enough to see any, but the little island provided lots to photograph for future paintings. I loved how the bushes were on the very edge and nearly in the water. They created wonderful shadows in the water.
Manatee Island, 6 x 6 in, oil on panel

Monday, November 9, 2015

Resting River Pool

The pool along this flow of the river was no doubt formed by an unfathomable number of years of crashing water carving out a hollow where beautiful blue-green water swirls and then spills out again along its journey downstream.

This painting was done in two phases - the woods and the primary values first, then the rocks and water for no other reason than time allotment. The water was done wet on wet and since I've been painting water a lot recently, I've learned to add color without losing my pure whites or my darkest darks. Something I thought couldn't be done effectively with wet oils without getting muddy colors.

I think I'll stick with water for a while. It seems the more color layers I put down the more colors I see - like the top layers reveal the deeper colors within water.

 Resting River Pool, 7 x 5 in, Oil on stretched canvas

Monday, November 2, 2015

Wildflowers Along the River

I see this painting as a study as I was pulled away while painting it and couldn't return for several days. By then I feel like I changed direction without intention - reaffirming the importance of finishing my small artwork on the same day, alla prima.

There's a totally different approach I have for larger paintings which includes getting far more detailed and spending more time. The joy and the challenge for me during these small paintings is to eliminate the minutia and see my scenes as shapes and forms, colors and value. I'd like to paint this scene again sometime down the road!
Wildflowers Along the River, 6 x 6 in, Oil on panel

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Rooted Rock

There's a reason why New Hampshire is called "The Granite State". Rocks can be found anywhere and everywhere! Perhaps growing up and living the bulk of my life there contributes to my love of rocks of all shapes and sizes. I love to find trees that are seemingly growing from these rocks. Their roots are exposed and are so interesting to me. I'm drawn to their form and their ability to maintain the life of the tree despite the unusual growing conditions. Their shadows create the perfect environment for moss growth on the rocks that support them.

Painting this series of landscapes has allowed me to explore the variations of color that can be found in nature. Mixing batches of colors in advance and altering my base colors has enhanced my otherwise drab or flatly colored woods and foliage to give more meaning and depth. I'm finding that I absolutely love Pthalo Blue mixed with any number of colors including yellows and umbers to get my greens and earth tones. The time invested in the pre-mixing work has gone from being a dreaded step to one of my favorite parts of the painting process. Now, if I could only learn to consistently capture the colors of my paintings more accurately in my photographs I would be very happy!
Rooted Rock, 6 x 6 in, Oil on canvas panel

Friday, October 23, 2015

Beyond The Stone Wall

The bright sunshine on this field in New Hampshire cast such strong shadows on everything it touched. I imagine field hands have sat beneath this tree to stay cool and rest away from the sun.
Beyond The Stone Wall, 6 x 6 in, Oil on canvas panel

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Along The River

I seemed to dilly-dally on this painting, and it sure was fun remembering the experience of being there. This is another area within The Gorge in northern New Hampshire. The scent of damp earth and greens and the constant sound of the tumbling water was so rejuvenating. Under the canopy of trees, the warmth of this August day was muted enough that I needed a sweater.
Along the River, 6 x 6 in, Oil on canvas panel