Friday, August 4, 2017

Bees, Hornets and Painting Outside

I posted this a few years ago but it's worth reading again. Works with Deer Fly bites, too.
When painting outside, bees and hornets are often attracted to your wet oil paint with painful results. If you get stung, relief is right at hand. I thought I would share this amazing old-time remedy with you.

Yesterday I was stung by a small hornet while painting. Ouch! I immediately found some plantain leaves, crushed them between my fingers and applied them as a poultice to the sting. In less than five minutes the burning pain was completely gone. Today there is only a small red area to remind me - no itching or tenderness.

Plantain leaves are easy to find in lawns, fields and along the sides of the road. This humble weed seems to grow everywhere, at least here in the north. The crushed leaves produce a liquid that is good for all insect bites, poison ivy and other skin rashes, minor burns and abrasions. You can also use it in combination with olive oil to make a healing lotion.

Wishing you many happy painting adventures.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Lilacs and Hydrangeas

Today I put the finishing touches on two paintings that I started last week. This is a busy time for me with the gardens and the beginning of canning season. Strawberries and raspberries have been turned into freezer jam and sauce for shortcakes. Our early peach tree gave us a small basket of fruit that I canned the other day. Next week I will pick up a bushel of Jersey peaches from our local Amish store. Then it will be vegetables from our garden and local blueberries.

I spent this afternoon in my studio painting with Elvis and Johnny Mathis. Every time I listen to my Elvis CD's I think of my dear friend and student, Lois. We spent many hours painting and singing with Elvis. Those were the greatest of times.

Thank you Elvis, Johnny and Lois for a very nice afternoon.

Lilacs in the Window, 8x10, oil

Hydrangeas, 9x12, oil

These paintings are available in My Ebay Store - Florals

Thanks for visiting with me.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Malta, July's Virtual Paint Out

Malta is a small group of islands (only three are inhabited) in the Mediterranean Sea about 50 miles south of Italy. Covering just over 122 sq mi, (slightly less than two Washington, DCs), with a population of about 450,000, it is one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries.

The landscape consists of low hills with terraced fields and deep harbors. The highest point is only 830 ft above sea level. Although there are some small rivers at times of heavy rainfall, there are no permanent rivers or lakes. Malta relies heavily on trade for goods and agricultural products.

With its sunny Mediterranean climate, the islands of Malta are said to have the best climate in the world, with yearly average temperatures ranging from 73° F in the daytime to 61° F at night.

I noticed some horse-drawn tourist carriages in the various cities. Maybe these horses are getting a relaxing time out.

Cooling the Horses, Malta, 8x10, oil

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

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful summer weather. Thanks for visiting with me.

My Ebay Store

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More Lilacs

My previous two lilac paintings have gone to new homes. One painting to the new bride and groom and the second painting to New Jersey through my Ebay Store. I really enjoyed painting lilacs. Maybe it was working with purples.

So this week I did two more. I finished them today and listed them in my Ebay Store. The first one sold within a half hour and when it is dried and varnished it will live in Alaska.

Lilacs, 9x12, oil. SOLD

Lilacs and Clementines, 9x12, oil

Purples are fun to work with as long as you remember to add a bit of umber in the shadows to help control the intensity. 

Our Virtual Paint Out Group is visiting Malta this month. Maybe tomorrow I'll start on that painting.... or maybe I'll paint lilacs again.

I hope you are doing what makes your heart happy. For me, it's painting.

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mock Orange - Painting Steps

 Our Mock Orange bush was so beautiful this year. How could I not try to paint it?

For Liz, one of my previous students, who wrote, "Please help. I haven't painted in a long while and I can't remember how we started a still life....."

Reference Set-Up
Set up a shadow box with strong light and dark patterns. The reference set-up is just that - reference. Now you need to make the painting your own.

The initial lay-in. 

Make sure that your subject fits nicely on the canvas. Note the gray toned canvas.

The mass tones.
Working in the middle values and basic colors, keep all edges softWork carefully and deliberately. Be sure you are pleased before you continue to the next step. Make any corrections now.

The modeling stage.
This takes the longest. Don't rush through it.  Work your shapes, colors and values. Work your edges and background. Finalize the foreground. When you are pleased, put it aside to dry.

The finishing stage.
Mock Orange Blossoms, 11x14, oil

Add the final highlights and accents. Respect what you have already done. This is not the time for major corrections. Then put it aside to dry. Look at it again in a few days, add bits and pieces if needed. Done.

There you are, Liz. Hope this helps. The main thing is to work deliberately and correctly each step of the way. Don't worry about copying the reference exactly as it is - make this your painting. Happy painting. Send me a picture when you are finished.

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Florals

Happy painting, everyone. And Happy 4th of July!
My Ebay Store

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.

(Update: The first lilac painting was modified and refined, then listed in my Ebay Store and now has a new home in New Jersey.) 

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 seeing 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 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 SOLD

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.