Sunday, June 18, 2017

Lilacs, New and Improved

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been working with still-life again. Switching between still-life and landscapes requires a bit of thinking. The techniques are different because of the obvious differences in the two subjects. In still-life painting shapes are more exacting, details are sharper, colors more intense and the light is controlled. Aerial perspective is present but to a different degree. Maintaining accuracy and freshness without overworking is always a concern.

My second lilac painting is finished and I can see an improvement. It may need a bit of this and that, but it is basically done. I need to put it aside and look at it with a fresh eye. This new painting will now be the wedding gift. The first one will be seriously evaluated and portions may be scraped away and repainted.

Painting is great fun. The challenge of different subjects with their different requirements is a fascinating battle and I look forward to each day in my studio. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed teaching so much was to explore this whole concept with my students. We all worked very hard and my reward was when I could see them reach a new and deeper understanding about the theory of painting. And in teaching, I continued to learn. It was a great partnership.

So here is the new and improved painting of lilacs that will be my gift to the new bride and groom.

Lilacs for Her Wedding, 9x12, oil

Tomorrow I begin another painting.

Thanks for visiting with me,

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lilacs for Her Wedding

A dear friend is getting married in a few weeks. She was disappointed that the scheduling didn't allow her to have her favorite flower, lilacs, at her wedding. So that solved my problem of what to give as a wedding gift. I've painted  "Lilacs for Her Wedding" and now it has to dry and be varnished. 

I enjoyed the painting so much that I’m currently working on a series of lilac paintings. 

Still life has always been my favorite subject to paint, especially flowers with copper, brass or transparent glass. I’m fascinated with the contrasting textures – the soft, delicate flower petals vs. the hard, reflective surface of metals and glass. And the colors! And the shine!

The colors on my palette have changed from the general, soft landscape colors to brilliant colors. I’ve dug into my supply and pulled out all the purples and violets, bright rose and magenta for the flowers and the brighter earth colors for the copper and brass.

A few years ago, in my studio at the gallery, I tried to paint as many of the spring flowers as I could. Every day I brought in a new arrangement and worked feverishly, trying to capture them before they wilted. Our visitors enjoyed watching the process often returning the next day to see the results. Many paintings went home with them. One flower I could not capture was my very favorite, the peony. I couldn’t get the lush softness, try as I might. So this year I will try again.

Lilacs for Her Wedding, 9x12, oil 

Yesterday I started a new lilac painting. The pictures below show my initial lay-in and the first full layer of paint. There will be many subsequent layers added as I make adjustments and build up to the lightest values. Tomorrow I will add another layer and put it aside to dry before continuing. Since the paintings need to dry between layers, I usually have a few paintings at different stages to work on. My technique for still life painting is slow and deliberate while trying to maintain a feeling of energy and freshness. The danger of overworking is always present.

The initial lay in.

First full layer of paint. Many more layers to go.

Thanks for visiting with me. Happy painting.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Guatemala. June's Virtual Paint Out.

This month our Virtual Paint Out Group traveled to Guatemala, another interesting country to tour. I enjoy reading about each destination's geography and demographics. Information courtesy of Wikipedia and other sites.

Guatemala, located on Mexico's southern border, covers 42,042 sq mi (a bit smaller than Tenn.) and is home to about 15½ million people, making it the most populous region in Central America.

An interesting country with a few large cities, small remote villages and miles of uninhabited land. The scenic countryside is a combination of dense forests, stunning mountains, dry plains and perilous rain-forests. There are 33 volcanoes, some active. Ancient Mayan sites are scattered throughout. The earliest evidence of human inhabitants date back to 18,000 BC.

The tropical climate is rainy, hot and humid in the lowlands, but higher elevations are cool and dry. Some of the highest peaks may even receive a dusting of snow.

The major exports are livestock, fruits and vegetables, sugarcane, coffee, cardamom and precious metal ores. It is the largest producer of Jade in the world. Chocolate originated here with the early Mayan culture.

Guatemala is a poor country with a less than 70% literacy rate and the highest number of gang members in Central America. Its numerous criminal organizations are among the most sophisticated and dangerous in the region. An average of 101 murders per week was reported in 2016, making the country's violent crime rate one of the highest in Central America.

Guatemala High Country, 8x10, oil

This painting is available in my Ebay Store – Virtual Paint Out

To see all my paintings from all of our virtual destinations - VirtualPaint-Out.

Thanks for visiting,

Friday, May 12, 2017

South Korea. May's Virtual Paint Out

This month our Virtual Paint Out Group traveled to South Korea.

South Korea is a beautiful country located in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Occupying about 38,000 sq mi, it is slightly smaller than Kentucky and home to about 51 million people. The peninsula is also surrounded by almost 3,000 volcanic islands.

The climate is temperate, with heavy rainfall in the summer, pleasant spring and fall temperatures and cold winters. The terrain is a mixture of forested hills, stunning rocky mountains, lush coastal plains and some tropical jungles. There are 21 National Parks in South Korea, but the only areas of true wilderness are the mountainous forests.

The country is split into North and South Korea and shares one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders, but in the minds of most of its citizens, it remains a single nation that cannot be divided. Over the past four decades, South Korea has achieved incredible economic growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. North Korea, closed to Google Maps, remains a mystery.

View from Wolchulsan National Park, South Korea
9x12, oil

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Virtual Paint Out.
Thanks for visiting,
My Ebay Store.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tunisia, April's Virtual Paint Out

Tunisia, in northeast Africa, covers 64,000 sq mi. and has a population of about 11 million people. It is bordered by Algeria, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. It is an ancient culture dating back to 5000 BC.

The northern mountainous region has mild rainy winters and hot dry summers. The fertile eastern coast is one of the world's premier regions for olive cultivation. The flat south and central plains are semi-arid, merging into the Sahara Desert.

A Code of Personal Status was adopted shortly after Tunisia’s independence from France in 1956. This law gives women full legal status and applies to all Tunisians regardless of their religion. This remains one of the most progressive civil codes in North Africa and the Muslim world.

Education is given a high priority. A basic education for children between the ages of 6 to 16 has been compulsory since 1991. While children generally acquire Tunisian Arabic at home, when they enter school at age 6, they are taught to read and write in Standard Arabic. At the age of 7 they are taught French, while English is introduced at the age of 8.

Dar Elbidha, Tunisia, 9x12, oil
Dar Elbidha is a luxurious resort on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Virtual Paint Out.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Brown Zippered Bag

Rural communities like mine, without a physical library, are eligible to receive books by mail from the Maine State Library. Library books are ordered through their website catalog and are sent by mail to the patron’s home. The only cost is the minimal return postage. It is a excellent service, eliminating the drive to a library in a neighboring town.

I do miss visiting the actual library. The grandkids and I have spent lots of time in the Belfast library, but finding that much anticipated brown zippered bag full of books in our post office box is a delight.

As a child growing up in Connecticut my girlfriend and I spent many hours in the library. We would walk from my house, through the neighbor’s back yards, into a small patch of woods, then to the railroad tracks that ran behind The Bon Ami Soap Factory. We followed the tracks into the north end of town, walked past the few shops, past The Blue Moon Tavern and on until we reached the library.

The library was a small stone building. The four rooms had high ceilings, dark paneled walls and ornate trim. I can still picture the tall shelves of books and the little wooden foot stools used to reach the highest books. There was that calm sense of quiet that only a library has and the wonderful smell of books. A librarian worked behind a tall counter, busily stamping and sorting books. She always gave us a stern look to remind us that only whispering was allowed. After carefully choosing our books, we returned home by the same route.

It’s sad how times have changed. There wasn’t any danger back then for two young girls to walk that route alone.

This morning we received a brown zippered bag from the state library and spent the day reading, trying to ignore another gray day and snow falling on this first day of April. I’m lucky to have a husband who loves books as much as I do.

No painting today, but I did find out that our Virtual Paint-Out for April is Tunisia in northern Africa. Another challenging trip……  Maybe tomorrow……..

Thanks for visiting,

My Ebay Store

Monday, March 27, 2017

March in Maine

March in Maine is like an unruly child. Days of sunny blue skies, warming temperatures and melting snow change overnight to gray skies, cold temperatures and snow squalls. It’s a month of sweet smiles and temper tantrums.

We still have a foot or so of snow on the ground, but bare patches are showing here and there. Deer are seen foraging in the bare ground and the cold nights and warmer days herald the start of our maple syrup season.

The red wing blackbirds (my personal harbingers of spring) have been here since the first week of March, almost three weeks early. Hopefully that means an early spring even though today we had snow and freezing rain again. Our sons now have to travel farther north to grab a few more weekends of snowmobiling.

I did get my studio cleaned and reorganized. March snow storms have added to the snow coming off the roof and onto our back deck. This has prolonged the “igloo effect” in my studio. The dense snow pile blocks the daylight and adds a bluish cast to the darkened room which is surprisingly cozy.  

I’m still working on digitizing our old slides and they are providing some great reference photos. This is a slow trip down memory lane for us. My husband and I first view them to decide which ones to keep. Then I scan the chosen ones onto an SD card, color correct them through Photo Shop, re-size, sort and file.

Our Virtual Paint Out Group went to Ghana, West Africa this month. That was a difficult region to paint but I did find an interesting scene, painted and posted it to the group's site. No matter where he sends us, I enjoy exploring and always submit at least one painting. Our group has certainly covered many miles over the years. Wonder where we are going in April?

There are only four days left in March and I am so looking forward to April. This unruly child has been extra naughty this month and needs a long nap.

Stay warm and well. Thanks for visiting. See you in April!


 My Ebay Store