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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Sun Dappled Walk

The Gorge was among the many natural land sites we visited while in New Hampshire. The days were sunny and dry. The strong shadows from the sunshine can often go unnoticed. But not on this day.

I took a bit longer with this than I have been on my daily easel paintings. My paint was just too wet to get the shadows the way I wanted, so I began this painting yesterday and completed it this morning.

Typically I choose the paint tubes of the colors I plan on using and just dive right in. But I've been unhappy with the greens that I've been getting. And I wanted to use a different color for the dappled sun and shadows other than what I've used in the past. Taking my time, mixing various colors and combinations prior to even starting was how I began this painting and will likely be the way I begin all of my paintings in the future. While mixing, I got a real feel for the variances in what I saw in my reference photo and what I wanted to feel in my painting. The frustration of trying to get a color (or fix a color) just the way I wanted while in the midst of painting was all but gone since I'd created most of my colors ahead of time. In the end, it probably took me less time making this another good practice to add to my journey in improving my artwork.
A Sun Dappled Walk, 6 x 6 in, Oil on canvas panel

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Hen House

When my parents sold our big house and moved into a smaller one, this hen house came with it. It hadn't been used for its original purpose in years, but had electricity and was dry and solid. As young adults, all of us siblings had secret ideas of what we'd like to do with it. But for the most part, it was used for storing seasonal yard items and our personal treasures. 
Tar paper siding and the same colored roof, we painted the trim "barn red" per my father's request. They didn't have the same color matching tools available today, so the color was more of a dark pink than red. The photo was taken in Spring before all the trees had filled out

I found myself tightening up again in technique and color in this piece. So I continued painting with a palette knife to add a bit more fun if not flair. If you are a painter and haven't painted with a palette knife, it is fun to work with. Like buttering bread!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sunrise Seating

Waking up shortly after sunrise, the sun was slowly drying out the dew where it shone. The Adirondack chairs near the river at the lodge where we vacationed in Franconia, NH would soon be spotlighted and were beckoning to be occupied.
Sunrise Seating, 6 x 6 in, oil on canvas panel

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cloud Filled Lake

The cloud reflections on Lake Massabesic were so vibrant on this warm day in August. The sky was deep blue, giving them the perfect backdrop.
Cloud Filled Lake, 6 x 6 in, Oil on canvas panel

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Grand Pine

There were plenty of places to capture my attention while visiting New Hampshire in August and Lake Massabesic has always been one of my favorite places for landscapes. Grand old pines are abundant there and appear in several of my earlier paintings.

Grand Pine, 5 x 7 in, Oil on canvas panel

Having been away from my easel for three days had a surprising effect on my painting. I never realized how missing a day or two can break the flow of progress. The little, seemingly insignificant things learned in one painting need to be practiced in the next several paintings to become second nature. Although my goal is to paint every day, I can't always predict when my employer will call on me for extra help.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sebastian Inlet Boardwalk

I really wanted this painting to stand out with color. I looked beyond the obvious for undertones and painted color freely. It was really fun to paint. There is some reflection from the wet paint and I'll probably need to get a polarizing filter for my camera.
Sebastian Inlet Boardwalk, 5 x 7 in, oil on canvas panel

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Stony Brook Marsh

I began this painting using a different technique with a complementary undercolor and tried limiting my palette for color mixing. Although I was out of my comfort zone I learned a few things and am glad I took the challenge.
This is just a slice of a beautiful marsh in Stony Brook, NY, where my niece had her wedding several years ago.
Stony Brook Marsh, 5 x 7 in, oil on canvas panel

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Three Cows Grazing

On a large hill in New Hampshire, just north of the White Mountains, I came upon a group of grazing cows with open farm land in the distance. They looked at me with curiosity just for a moment as I stopped to take their picture.
Three Cows Grazing, 5 x 7 in, Oil on canvas panel

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Driving By Pennsylvania

While on a road trip from New Hampshire to Florida, I grabbed every chance to capture beautiful landscapes with my camera. On this particular morning, the sun had just risen as we were driving on the highway through Pennsylvania.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Old House On The Hill

Today, I am beginning a series of landscapes. The first in this series is from a photograph I took many years ago while on a camping trip in Colebrook, NH. The view from the long climb up to the site was often breathtaking. I've kept the photo hoping to one day paint the old house in the distance that was long since vacant and was beginning to sag from years of wind and weather and winter.
Old House On the Hill, 5 x 7 in, Oil on canvas panel

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Ching Shell

I really pushed outside of my comfort zone on this painting. I resisted the urge to smooth out the painterly quality and get the colors to be exact to what I was seeing. It was a good exercise for me. As for the subject matter, I've found great wisdom in I Ching or Book of Changes. These coins have been tossed many times for insight and reflection.
I Ching Shell, 5 x 7 in, Oil on canvas panel

Saturday, September 19, 2015

New Boston River Flow

Several birthdays ago I went on a field trip with my sister to take photos of landscapes to paint. One of my favorite spots was the river that runs through New Boston, NH. I've painted a large and detailed painting of the river, but wanted to paint another view for this blog using my developing looser style. It's a great place to fish too.
New Boston River Flow, 5 x 7 in, oil on canvas panel

Friday, September 18, 2015

Aloe In Blue Bowl

Three small aloe plants, plucked from the yard and put in a small blue bowl. I planted these last year to add to a group of small decorative items in our spare bedroom and despite the little vessel they have survived and thrived. There are reds and blues and blue/greens and reflections of the bark against the leaves that I tried to capture. I used a larger brush, longer brush strokes to keep it loose.
Aloe In Blue Bowl, 5 x 7 in, Oil on canvas

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Farmer Joe Doll

When I didn't have time to paint, it seems I always knew exactly what subject I'd choose. Now that I'm making time to paint nearly every day, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the variety and often just draw a blank. I made "Farmer Joe" when I was a kiddo. He's always been a favorite and I've kept him for decades! His hair is made from a tea-dyed, stretched out cotton ball and his "American Gothic" expression makes me laugh. He just needed to be painted!
I'm consciously trying to loosen up on my style. My well worn habits are like gullies in the road and bit hard to get out and stay out of. But I'm working at it!!!
Farmer Joe Doll, 5 x 7 in, Oil on canvas panel

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Caneww

On her daily hunt for lizards and other minor beasts, Canewwy captured a bumble bee. She was trying to stay awake to keep her eye on her just-barely-alive prize. She looks sweet despite her evil ways.
The Caneww, 5 x 7 in, Oil on canvas panel

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Canal View

This the view of the canal behind my house in Barefoot Bay, FL. Unedited, it would have included a community baseball park with all the fencing. I took quite a bit of artistic license with it. Being the first entry into my Daily Easel paintings, I found myself using the same tight style...part of the journey, I suppose.
Canal View, 5 x 7 oil on canvas panel

My Daily Easel

I recall very clearly my first art instructor in college telling us to keep a daily sketchbook. What a burden! At the end of the semester, I rushed to get a dozen or so sketches down on paper to submit. Needless to say, that wasn't what she was looking for. Skip ahead to today and my "if only" is that I wish I had learned the lesson she tried to teach. Doing anything daily will improve skill, comfort, creativity and exploration.

If you string all of my painting years together, I've been painting for a handful of years. But in truth, it has been a few decades of sporadic painting. Not for a lack of want but for want of an income in the traditional, go to a "real job" sense. My subject matter and mediums have run the gamut. I've certainly grown as an artist and have been honored to be in juried shows and art associations. I have shown my work in galleries and won some awards. And yet for me, something has been missing from my work.

The daily painting movement has been around for years and now I've caught the bug. By painting a small painting every possible day, I intend to find that something that's been lacking. To continually grow and redefine myself as an artist. Instead of reigning in my painting style to fit what I think it should be so my work will be liked, wherever those ideas came from, to developing a loose and free-er style. To do this I am willing risk having days that elate me with daring successes and others that result in wiping my canvas clean only to try something else.

I intend to paint until I am no longer able. So along those lines, beginning today, I'll paint and post a new painting each day for as many days as is possible for me to paint (while still working a "real" job.) I'm going to enjoy this! I hope to inspire other like-minded souls to join the movement and have fun painting again.