Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Costa Rica

Lenticular cloud on Arenal
I decided to play with some of my photos from my Costa Rica trip a few years ago. This was an experiment with triadic colors, water mixable paints, 8" X 10". It is a view of a lenticular cloud on the Arenal Volcano. I did it more impressionistically.  If I decide to paint it more realistically, I will need to do a better job with my drawing and will probably use regular colors.
Boat Billed Heron
This one is a boat billed heron, also 8" X 10", but done in acrylic paint. I'm not putting these up on my website, just practicing.  I have several other old paintings I am going to try to improve. I'm still taking online classes and trying to learn more about composition. I'm thinking about signing up for an urban landscape painting in the fall. I'll see how well I feel by then. I am walking a little better now that I have had a series of injections in my knee, but still have pain (much less though). The fall painting class will involve walking to sites downtown to paint so I have to think about that.
I spent last week on retreat with the National Havurah group in Rindge, NH. I studied psalms in the morning and some art in the afternoon, also lots of singing. Seeing how other people are dealing with their disabilities and being in a beautiful environment has also improved my attitude.  It helps to be in a beautiful environment too even though I couldn't do the walking in the woods that I usually enjoy.  One of the things I miss here and look forward to on these retreats (the next one is a weekend in December) is the hevruta study. That is pairing students in groups of 2 or 3 to study a passage, then we come back to the group and discuss more. It is great bouncing ideas off other people. The Havurah group is very inclusive and everyone was welcome, there were lots of babies and children there too. 
My last post was on Rosh Hashanah cards and I brought some with me to the retreat and sold many of them. There are more Rosh Hashanah designs on my website, not just the ones I posted last time, in the Jewish Holidays gallery.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Painting and Designing

The Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah) starts at sunset on October 2nd. I've started thinking about making cards as I have several people who like to order them every year. One prefers a customized image and that is easy to do with Photoshop. The paintings I've done this year are not really in tune with my thoughts about the holiday so I looked through some of my photos. To buy cards, just go to my website.

I took almost 600 photos in Israel while we were there in March. This one of musicians is from Ein Hod, by the sculptor Benjamin Levy. There are many of his sculptures in the village.

I also liked this sculpture of David and his harp by artist Victor Halvani, but the tree in the background kind of ruins the composition for me.  I did not put this one up on my website, but can make it available. Looking at his web page, it looks like he made several of this sculpture, possibly in different materials. It is beautiful.

When I switched over to a new computer this year I lost all my beautiful Hebrew fonts. I found that the old Hebrew word processing program I had did not work with the new computer even though both are on the same operating system (Windows 7). While Microsoft Word does work in Hebrew, it seems to be a lot more work for me and I'm still trying to figure it out.

I am still painting and sketching, but the summer heat has me down. I do have an air conditioner in my studio so I do not have good excuses for being lazy. I'm also taking online webinars with Johannes Vloothuis. The last one is this Saturday. He's teaching more about composition than techniques, but I am learning a lot about making a painting more interesting and more professional looking.

I made a small acrylic 8 X 10 study first of this image, calling it "Ready to Ride". I'm working on a 16" X 20" painting now.

I actually like the small clip of just the background (the middle photo) the best. I'll continue to work on this over the weekend. The image is from our trip last year to the Canadian Rockies. We went on a raft ride on the Athabasca River. I enjoyed being a tourist and not having to row the raft. We saw a variety of wildlife from the middle of the river. One of my other paintings of the river is on exhibit now in Bedford, NH.  I have an exhibit up at a bank for 6 months. You can see that painting in my postcard from my last post.

On a day when I didn't feel like painting, I did a little sketch of a magpie that I saw in Canada last year.

I started this just as a sketch, but I couldn't resist putting in some color using watercolor pencils. We don't have magpies in New Hampshire (we have crows that are all black) and I understand that they can be very annoying, but I thought he was pretty.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Art Exhibit

I'm very proud to have the Provident Bank hosting my paintings. You can stop by the bank during bank hours to view them.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer newsletter

I realized that I haven't put together a newsletter in along time (last one was in the fall).
Please click on the tab on the top right to read it.  You can click on the image to enlarge it to read the text better. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ein Hod paintings

I finished up two more of my paintings from my photos. We spent the month of March in the artist's village of Ein Hod, Israel (not too far from Haifa). I loved walking on the village roads and paths every day. The weather was beautiful, spring flowers and green all around.
The painting above is on a recycled hardboard. I had an experimental abstract on it, so I gessoed over the painting and sanded it (two layers of gesso). The row boat looked abandoned among all the green trees and shrubs.
Another interesting view through the open gate towards a private home and garden. I did not find out who owned this property, but again, I enjoyed walking and looking at everything.
I have finished a 3 week online class on Landscape Symbols with Johannes Vloothuis, so now I'll  practice on some more of  the examples in the class and hope to improve my skills. I'll probably take another class with him in the future as he is a very good teacher and the classes are not expensive. His videos and downloads are available on North Light Shop.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Practicing - more studies

Class exercises. I am taking a weekly webinar with Johannes Vloothuis on "Landscape Symbols". The classes are too long for my attention span, but I can go back online and watch the recordings. This was a very reasonable fee for so many hours of classes ($19.99 for three Saturdays).  Now I have to practice what I have learned.  I have also downloaded the classes so I can refer back to them. He is an excellent teacher and provides PDF files of his pointers.  I have his book too (Landscape Painting Essentials). The webinars are through North Light using Lightstream.  Once you have paid and signed in, you can also post questions during the webinar while he is teaching. Here is a better link if you want to sign up for any of his classes or to buy videos.

Top painting shows a mixed group of deciduous and evergreen trees (from my own photo of fall trees at Lake Massabesic). Middle image on left shows a watercolor practice piece from the webinar.  Right image is a study of an abandoned boat (from my own photo) along the road in Ein Hod (Israel).

Bottom image shows (left) deciduous trees practice and top is the mixed one.  I am using canvas panels, canvas paper and Arches oil paper for the oil painting studies.  I am using a watercolor block for the watercolor study.

I have started a new 16" X 20" oil painting and have done the basic block in (below).  The blob in the middle will eventually look like a rowboat.  I rearranged my composition since I did not want to have the boat in the middle (see study above).  I plan on working on this today. I'm a bit distracted as the plumber is going in and out of my studio repairing a leaky pipe. He had to cut into the drywall in the kitchen above to find the leak.  Luckily nothing got damaged as we caught the leak in time.

High and Dry WIP

Ein Hod view 16" X 20"
I think this one is finally done. I've left it for a few weeks in case I thought I might want to fix anything but I'm happy with it as is.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Decisions, decisions

Sometimes I can't decide which photo to paint and which media to do it in. I had done an acrylic sketch of this round house (a private home) in Ein Hod, Israel while I was there, but my sketch did not show how rounded the house was. This time I tried pen and ink first on cold press paper, then I used my acrylic paints as watercolor.  The painting is not for sale, it's just a study for me so I haven't put it up on my website.  I don't like it enough to paint a larger painting, but when I look at it, I remember my walks through the village and all the interesting stone buildings I saw there.

This is the completed sketch from last post, the arches at Ein Hod. Again, I don't like it enough to do a larger painting, although if I did, I would change the color palette to make it more interesting. The doors on the building appear red in the photo, but they are really a reddish brown. I still haven't figured out shadows and need more instruction on those. I signed up for some webinars that start this weekend. I saw that "shadows" was on the list of instructions so that should help me.

I practiced with a few scraps of canvas this week, just some Bob Ross techniques.  He makes everything look so easy, but when I try, I wind up with a big mess.  Meanwhile, I have a friend prodding me to do some "plein air" (outdoor) painting with her. Just waiting for a good day to do that. It's still cold and rainy here, but hopefully we are finished with the frost in the early mornings now.  I'm looking forward to taking my bike out again soon and getting out on the trails. Since I've had a meniscus tear, I haven't been able to walk as much as I like, or to go hiking. I should be able to manage the bike on easy trails since I can do the bicycle at the gym. Now that I am 70 I find that my body takes a long time to heal from injuries, much longer than when I was younger, but I still have the desire to go out and try, especially where the trails are concerned.

I have a big exhibit coming up in July and I've ordered frames and designed some labels. Some of my paintings look fine without frames (just wired stretched canvases), but I didn't think they would look good that way for a professional exhibit. I'll put up more news closer to July. There will be a public reception in July in Bedford, NH. I'll also be reading two of my poems that reflect two of the landscape paintings that will be up. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blossoms and other paintings

I never did learn the names of all the beautiful flowers and blossoms I saw while on my vacation in Ein Hod, Israel. The village is built with old stones, stone buildings, stone walls etc. I painted the blossoms above in my studio from a photo, but I had also done a small study while there. I posted the new image on my website so that you can order cards or prints. Acrylic on canvas board, 8" X 10"

I played with Liquitex light modeling paste on the wall to make it look more three dimensional. I used Liquitex, Winsor & Newton and Atelier artist grade paints.

This is an earlier study I did while in Israel (from a different photo). I brought small tubes of Soho acrylic paints with me and I was not happy with the texture and quality of the paints.  I bought a set knowing I needed some for travel, but they were not really artist grade. The colors were pretty though. The study is 5" X 7".
In order to travel with paints, you need to have a data sheet from the manufacturer along with the tubes of paints in your luggage (to prove to TSA that they are not flammable). I requested one from Jerry's Artarama where I bought the paints and they supplied me with the document.  I gave the tubes of paints to an artist friend for her students rather than bringing them back.  I already had enough stuff in my luggage! Another friend advised me not to sign any of my studies, just leave them as studies. I did not have an issue with this in Israel, but I understand that can be a tax problem in some countries.
I am working on the bottom study now. I did the top one while I was there. I need to fix my drawing. I was a little too lax when I put in my shapes on my canvas and lost the second arch on the right. The small painting on the right is another earlier study done in Israel of the pretty blossoms on the wall.

The views in Ein Hod were beautiful. I found painting this very challenging and I'm not done with this 16" X 20" painting yet. I still need to adjust the colors a little, but I think I got a sense of the place.  Always more to learn.
To learn more about the history of Ein Hod: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ein_Hod
To learn more about the village: http://www.ein-hod.info/
We rented an apartment through airbnb, but I checked it out with artist friends first. It was a great choice! Please contact me if you would like details.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Birds and animals at Ein Hod, Israel

We are finally back from our month long vacation in Ein Hod, the artist's village near Haifa, in Israel. It was a wonderful vacation and I am still tired and have not completely adjusted to the time zone. Meanwhile, I took around 600 photos so I have organized a few to show here.  The birds were not terribly cooparative as far as my photography skills went, but I got a few photos. I wasn't quick enough to photograph the lizards I saw, but did manage to photograph one snake.

The cats walk around like they own the place. They are not really pets. Someone does feed them and make sure that they get neutered, but basically they are in the village to keep down the population of scorpions and snakes. We didn't see any scorpions there, but I checked our shoes every day before putting them on. The dogs also wander and are very friendly and well behaved. It is pretty safe in the village for them since the only car traffic is from the people who live there (there is a gate to come into the village, also a visitor's parking area outside the village for everyone else). I think the village has about 500-800 people living in it. To buy a home or apartment there, you have to be juried in as an artist or photographer.

The cats wandered around the back yard and patio

 I'm not sure why this mirror was in the alley, but the birds didn't seem happy with it.

 The bamboo grows very tall there. I watched this bird and enjoyed his singing.
 Ceramics from the Magal studio in Ein Hod. I bought a few small things there.

 The small doves seemed very similar to the ones we have at home.

 The little dog across from our apartment finally got used to us walking and stopped barking at us every time we walked by.  He looked like he is guarding the whole neighborhood in this photo.
 These two dogs barked at me as I walked by on the street. They were quite loud, but did not come out on the street. Other dogs I saw on my walks were friendly.

 This dove on the next rooftop was quite large, larger than the ones I see here. It was also very loud and had a different song than I am used to.

 A pretty calico cat was watching us as we sat in the cafe and had some coffee and snacks.
 Several people had chickens in the village. I also heard peacocks and roosters, but I did not get a picture of them.

 The cats came right up on the patio. We noticed that they liked to drink the water from the drain pipe after the rain.
 One of my favorite statues. There were so many it was hard to decide which ones I liked the best, but I like dogs so I took several photos of this statue.

This photo was taken at the Dado Beach near Haifa. Our friend took us there on our last evening so we could get some photos of the sea and the sunset. The village has warm and friendly people and almost everyone spoke some English. Now we are back to winter in New Hampshire, with cold temperatures and snow.  Next week I'll try to organize some of my flower paintings and put them up. I loved all the bright colors and pretty flowers (and so much green!) in Ein Hod in March.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Art and History

The old mail boxes at Ein Hod are now an art piece. I thought this was a good recycling use.

The time is going fast here, We had a wonderful guided tour of Haifa and Akko and learned more history of this area. Those two cities have mixed populations of Christian Arabs, Jews, Bahai's etc. and there are no nasty stabbings there like in Jerusalem.The Bahai gardens were beautiful.

We could see snow on the mountains in the distance, but the camera did not pick that up.
We saw the inside of a mosque in Akko, very beautiful.

We learned more about the sheik who was in charge of building this mosque. He was known as Al Jazzar, the butcher. He was apparently a nasty person. I don't know if that is true or not.

The shuk (market) was busy and interesting. I think the fish are mostly local as Akko is right on the Mediterranean.

Since Akko was an important port on the Mediterranean in ancient times, there is a lot of history there, from the Crusades, the Templars, the Mammeluks and more recently (last century), the British.

Templar tunnel (underground) connects several walkways under the city.