Friday, August 26, 2016

Norway - August's Virtual Paint Out

Norway is a Scandinavian country in northern Europe, bordered by Sweden, Finland, Russia, Denmark, the North Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. It is slightly larger than Montana with a population of approx. 5,214,000.

Its wide latitudinal range from temperate south to arctic north and its diverse landscape give Norway some of the most visually impressive scenery in the world. It has one of the longest and most rugged coastlines in the world.
Because of its substantial quantity of natural resources, Norway has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Today, Norway ranks as the second wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation.

The Land of the Midnight Sun
Because of Norway’s wide latitudinal range, there are large seasonal variations in the amount of received daylight. From late May to late July, the sun never completely sets in regions north of the Arctic Circle while the remainder of the country experiences up to 20 hours of daylight per day. Conversely, from late November to late January, the country receives only a few daylight hours as the sun never rises above the horizon in the arctic north.

Norway Spring, 9x12, oil

Norway Winter, 9x12, oil

Thanks for visiting,

These paintings are available in my Ebay Store – Virtual Paint Out

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

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Paint Your Own Story

Last week one of my Ebay customers asked me about my landscape painting techniques and whether I painted free-hand or worked from projections or tracings.

I only work free-hand, never from projections or tracings, and for two very good reasons.

The first is technical – Nature doesn’t always give us correct compositions. In photographs, besides a poor composition, there can be a loss of aerial perspective, awkward shapes, altered colors, incorrect values, too many details, etc.

The second is artistic - I want my paintings to reflect how I see the subject, filtered through my emotions, experiences and memories. I enjoy making changes as I go along without the restrictions of adhering to a photograph or tracing. I never want to “stay in the lines.” I want my painting to lead the way. After laying in my basic composition, I put the photograph down, only glancing at it now and then, and with my own story in mind, I paint the scene "my way."

Plein air painting has been an invaluable teacher. Painting outside, from life, seeing and studying the effects of changing light, weather conditions and the effects of aerial perspective has given me a greater understanding of studio landscape painting. Taking the time to really look at nature is very important.

Every successful painting needs a concept or story, a central theme - what the painting is about. Your emotional response to the scene. Decide what you want to say and focus all your attention on saying it with paint.

This means examining the photograph for the elements that you need and eliminating the others. Every element that you choose to include should support this central theme. And if your reference material suggests two different stories, paint two different paintings – each with its own storyline.

If you need to add a missing element to your painting, you can always borrow from another photograph. Just make sure the light is coming from the same direction. It’s fine to combine more than one photograph per painting. But remember - one story per painting.

Because we are all unique, with our own memories, experiences and emotions, each of us will see the same scene in a different way. Paint your own story.

Happy painting!


 My Ebay Store

To see all my paintings from our Virtual Tours   My Virtual Paint-Out

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's Happening

Busy summer - 

I have been taking an on-line course in figurative landscape painting with Robert Hagan. He is a marvelous artist and I’ve always admired his work, especially the way he captures light and action. His objective in this course is to portray the actions of daily life. He supplied us with the subject matter and we all worked together under his guidance.

Below is my first finished painting. Now I look forward to incorporating what I have learned with my own reference photos. His painting course is continuing and I’m excited to be accepted into the next session.

Sisters, 12x16 oil

This month our Virtual Paint Out Group is traveling to Norway. I have done my exploring via Google Street Maps and hope to start a painting today. Norway is a beautiful country and I am especially drawn to the snow covered mountains and glaciers.

It has been an unusually hot and dry summer here in Maine. We have had little rain, the storms seem to go around us, leaving the lawns burnt and the gardens dry. It’s been especially difficult for the hay crop and the local farmers. Our vegetable garden is feeling the effects even though we water it regularly. Last night the deer ate the green beans almost down to the ground. Oh well, that will mean more visits to the Farmer’s Market – and that's okay with me.

We are in the midst of our tourist season and sales are good. My Ebay Store is also doing well. That’s always nice to hear.

I can feel the morning warming up; it’s going to be another hot day. Time to go to Norway and paint snow!

Wishing you a safe and happy summer.

Happy painting.


To see all my paintings from our Virtual Tours   My Virtual Paint-Out

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July's Virtual Paint Out - Cambodia

Our Virtual Paint Out Group visited Cambodia this month. For me, this was a difficult region to paint.....

Cambodia, approx. 69,900 square miles (about the size of Missouri), located in Southeast Asia, bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the Gulf of Thailand, is mostly lowlands with some mountains in the southwest and northern regions. A land of paddies, swamps, dense tropical forests and savanna grasslands, and dominated by the Mekong River and Lake Tonie Sap. Ancient temple ruins and colorful pagodas dot the region.

Lying entirely within the tropics, there are two distinct seasons - the rainy, monsoon season, May to October and the dry season, November to April, with temperature ranges of 80° to 105°.

An ancient civilization, it’s history is complex and violent. The population of over 15 million is 90% Khmer, 5% Vietnamese, 5% other. The major religion is Buddhism. The present government is a constitutional monarchy.

The Vietnam War extended into the country from 1969 until 1973. 

Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia. As of 2012, more than 2½ million people lived on less than $1.20 per day and 37% of the children under age 5 suffered from chronic malnutrition. The majority of the native population continue to live in small remote villages.

Today the country faces numerous challenges and social issues, including widespread poverty, poor infrastructure, government corruption, hunger and a lack of basic human rights. The rate of deforestation is one of the highest in the world and threatens the country’s future growth. 

But while per capita income remains low compared to most neighboring countries, Cambodia now has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia with growth averaging 6% over the last decade resulting from a expansion in agriculture, textiles, the garment industry, tourism and increased foreign investment and trade

Cambodia, 9x12, oil SOLD

Cambodia, 8x10, oil

These paintings are available in my Ebay Store – Virtual Paint Out

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

Thanks for visiting,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June's Virtual Paint Out - California's Napa Valley

The Napa Valley is located northeast of San Francisco and is considered to be one of the top Viticultural (wine growing) regions in the United States.

Napa Valley Winery, 9x12, oil

The early settlers primarily raised cattle, grain and fruit crops. By the late 1800’s there were more than 140 wineries in the area. Several of the original wineries are still in operation.

With the great silver rush in 1858 miners flocked to the region. While gold was being prospected in other areas of the state, Napa County became a center for silver and quicksilver mining.

Viticulture in the Napa Valley suffered a setback with Prohibition in 1920, compounded by an insect infestation which killed many of the vines throughout the valley. These two events caused many wineries to shut down and stalled the growth of the wine industry for years. But for some farmers, Prohibition offered a unique opportunity for growing and shipping grapes to home winemakers across the country. When Prohibition ended in 1933, this new industry suffered when the price of grapes fell to below $24 per ton. Thankfully during these years the resourceful farmers had planted over 500,000 fruit and nut trees in the valley and this helped to soften the blows to the agricultural economy.

The years following WWII saw a growth in businesses related to agriculture, cattle and tourism with wine grapes again becoming the primary focus. Today the Napa Valley is home to over four hundred wineries and is visited by approximately five million people each year. 

I always enjoy reading a bit about our destinations. It's a fascinating world. I wonder where artist, Bill Guffy, will send us in July? Only two more days to wait! Join us, new members are always welcome. 

Thanks for visiting,

This painting is available in my Ebay Store.

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Belted Galloways

The Belted Galloways at The Aldermere Farm in Rockport, Maine, is my second painting for this month's Virtual Paint Out trip along mid coast Maine.

A view of The Aldermere Farm with Lily Pond in the background.

Belted Galloways, 9x12, oil

A bit of history -
The Belted Galloway is a breed of heritage beef cattle originating from Galloway, in SW Scotland. The exact origin of the breed is unclear although it is thought that the white belt distinguishes these cattle from the native black Galloway cattle. Belted Galloways were imported to North America beginning in the 1940s and the Belted Galloway Society in the United States was founded in 1951. The breed is slowly increasing in numbers in North America and globally.

Belted Galloways are primarily raised for their quality beef and are known for their gentle temperament and striking appearance. In the United States, Belted Galloways are often nicknamed Oreo Cookie Cows because their color pattern is reminiscent of an Oreo cookie.

The Aldermere Farm, located just south of Camden, in Rockport, Maine, was established in 1953 by Albert Chatfield Jr. who later bequeathed it to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust in 1999. The Aldermere Farm preserves the oldest continuously operated herd of Belted Galloways in the United States.

The farm is a member of The Belted Galloway Society which is committed to promoting this special breed of cattle and preserving the purity of the breed by maintaining pedigree records and data, also providing official information relative to the breed and the society’s guidelines.

One of the problems with Google Street Maps is that the areas covered usually are the main roads and cities. There is limited coverage of the small towns, rural roads and secluded areas that I love to paint. I was pleased that the road to this farm was included. 

The Virtual Paint Out is great fun and I enjoy riding the roads and exploring new locations without getting in my car. Tomorrow starts a new adventure. I wonder where Bill Guffy will send us!

Thanks for visiting,

This painting is available in my Ebay Store.

To see all my paintings from our Virtual Paint-Out tours, please click here.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May's Virtual Paint Out - Maine

This month our Virtual Paint Out Group is traveling to the Maine Coast. Using Google Street Maps we start on Route 1 in Rockland, Maine and travel down-east to the small coastal town of Milbridge. There are many islands in our assigned destination, but unfortunately only a few are covered by Google Street Maps. One island, Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park is covered. I'm looking forward to this month's painting trip.

Acadia National Park, 9x12. oil

This painting is available in my Ebay Store.

To see all my available paintings from our Virtual Paint-Out tours, please click here.

Thanks for visiting,

The Virtual Paint Out