Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Serious painting vs. fun painting

"Mac" 8" X 10" acrylic on canvas board

While I am trying to learn how to paint impressionistically, but also realistically, sometimes I need a break just to have fun.  I had taken some photos of our lab mix puppy (now 1 year old) who is all black and decided to have fun with colors.  I based the outside on the painting I had made last year following the Art Sherpa (see my Oct. 24th post)(These are free instructional videos available online).  Then I decided blue and orange (complementary colors) would certainly be more fun than a black dog.  What I learned: Next time I would put the sunflower that is hanging right over the corner of the inset painting. I think overlapping it would look nicer, but this was my first time trying an inset design like this so I'm o.k. with the end result.


Cirrus Clouds over Yellowstone study, 11" X 14", WIP, acrylic on canvas board

Meanwhile I started another landscape, but done more loosely. I like this study and may make a full 16" X 20" painting of it. I'll probably spend some more time on the study as well to finish it off a little.

Glacier National Park, WIP, 16" X 20" on stretch wrapped canvas, oil

I have worked on this painting a little more, but I need to learn how to do shadows on faces before I can call it finished.  Actually, I need a good lesson on painting shadows wherever I see them. I am never happy with the way they come out.  More to study.


Two Jack Lake, 16" x 20" on stretch wrapped canvas, oil

I think this one is done. Two Jack Lake was on our tour of the Canadian Rockies last year (Alberta, Canada). I haven't put it up on my website yet as I'm still thinking about it. Sometimes it is hard to decide if a painting is done or not.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Video Classes

I signed up for Paint Along 30 with Johannes Vloothuis. The classes are online and run 4-6 hours each Saturday, very inexpensive and the recordings may be downloaded after the class is over. This first one is oil paint, Half Dome from Yosemite. I have never been there. I think the taller mountain needs to be even taller than I'm showing in my painting. I was working from his photo.  I was able to watch this one as he was doing it and follow the "chat" from the students.

Second class (photo below) was from Yellowstone where I have been in the past and have painted from my own photo. I had to watch the recording on this one and he was working in pastels.  I used thin oil paints on oil painting paper.  I could not figure out how to make the mist rising up look like it was supposed to look. I like my old painting better that I had done from further back in that canyon. Link here:  Canyon Colors

I did not enjoy working on this one, but I learned more about composition.

Last class which I only watched half of the recording and did not download at all was a watercolor of Murano, Italy. I tried to finish it up from his finished painting.  I did not have the right pigments and paper so I used some acrylics on hot press paper along with some pen and ink (for the drawing).  The teacher changed several items in his drawing after I had already done my drawing from the original instructions.  That didn't help either.  I was frustrated with it and did not enjoy the process.

My conclusion is that I need to be emotionally invested in an image to really want to spend time on it to create it.  I do not relate to other people's photos even if I have been to the same place.

I started a new painting today that I had done a study of before and I am much happier working on my own.  This is from Glacier National Park.  The tourist caravans have canvas roofs that open up so the tourists can stand up and enjoy the views and take photos.  I will work on this for a while, but here is my start and I am happy with it (oil on canvas, 16" X 20").

Sorry it has taken so long between postings. I had knee surgery on Friday and I am already feeling better.  One doctor I saw said I didn't need surgery and he did conservative treatments including shots that did not work. It took me a while to get an appointment with another specialist and get an actual surgery date, but I'm glad I was persistent. I'm looking forward to hiking again. I really missed it this past year.

Happy New Year to all. May it be a better year for all of us, filled with peace and good health (and more art of course).

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Being Thankful

I have so many things to be thankful for this year despite all the pain I've been in with a torn meniscus and osteoarthritis.  I'm thankful that I will finally be having surgery next month and I'm hopeful it will get rid of the pain, or at least diminish it.  I was very sad this year that I could not go hiking, but I enjoyed a couple of easy walks in the woods and viewing my old photos from old hikes.

The painting above is a small  (8" X 10") oil study that I am working on of the California poppy fields in the spring. I was there in 2010 with our children and grandchildren. That part of our family has now dispersed from that area (Antelope Valley/Mojave) to Idaho, Oregon, Colorado with only one grandson who has decided to remain in Mojave.  I have good memories of our time visiting there.  We plan on moving to Idaho sometime in 2017. That will be a big move for us after being in New England over 40 years.  Except for my years in Belgium (1969-1974), I have always lived somewhere on or near the East Coast. I'm looking forward to the move, but not the packing up of the art studio and the rest of the house.  We need to make a few improvements to our house before we put it up for sale next June.  We've been here over 30 years and some things are pretty worn out. Also have some puppy damage too.



Sculptured Rocks Geologic site (NH) study. This is one of the trails I was able to walk a little on. I could not go down to the creek below because I was afraid I would not be able to hike back up even though I had my hiking sticks with me.  I played with my acrylic paints for this one, 11" X 14". I still need more practice with shadows, but I was trying to get the light showing through the trees in the background too. The rocks were very interesting there.

I am only doing one craft fair this year, on Dec. 10th in downtown Manchester (1000 Elm St., Holiday Market).  I still have most of my paintings up on display a the Provident Bank in Bedford, NH (115 River Rd). The bank made a lovely reception for me this month, but I didn't sell any paintings. I had to take two down since they needed space for their holiday decorations, but there are still 18 more paintings up there. They have a great program that helps artists get exposure by giving them space in their branches for 6 months at a time.

I'm really and truly thankful that my wonderful husband encouraged me to take art lessons late in life. Painting is very enjoyable and while I may never sell many original paintings, people do seem to enjoy viewing my paintings and they buy cards and prints.  I get to enjoy the whole process of creating something beautiful.

We went to an interfaith service last night. The topic was "gratitude" - appropriate for Thanksgiving.  So tomorrow I cook the turkey and stuffing to bring down to family on Thursday.  I am grateful for the family here on the East Coast and will miss them when I move out west, but I'm looking forward to new challenges ahead and spending time with the family out west.

Happy Thanksgiving all.





Monday, October 24, 2016

Still practicing

I think this is finally finished (see last post for earlier process) although I haven't put it up on my website yet. I'll wait a few more days in case I change my mind. (Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, water mixable oil paint on hardboard, 16" x 20")

Meanwhile, I did a group of studies of gates from my photos in Ein Hod last March. I find myself fascinated with all the wrought iron doors and gates. There were a few wood ones too.  I don't think I'll make any paintings from them, but they were interesting to sketch. I did pencil sketches first, then went over them with markers. Good practice.



I have done some paintings with gates in the past and they are on my website.

After watching a video showing how to use oil paints in a watercolor style, I practiced painting from my photo of Taylor Mill in Derry, NH.  Unfortunately we have been in a drought situation and the water was not running over the wheel. I had to imagine what it would look like. I'm hoping for lots of snow this winter, then I'll go back and take another photo or paint plein air. It was an interesting old building.
Taylor Mill study, 8" X 10", water mixable oil paint on canvas board.

I decided to get away from realistic paintings for a while and watched an online video of sunflowers done in a Van Gogh style. That was fun using acrylic paints.

Meanwhile, even though we have not had enough rain, the fall leaves are still looking very beautiful. This is a photo of the tree behind my house. I love the fall colors.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Art Exhibit

The reception for my exhibit is coming up in a couple of weeks.  The bank has posted more information on their site as well. Here is the link: Provident Bank

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Painting process

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, oil, 16" X 20"

I think this painting is finished now. I'm going to post the intermediate steps below. Painting done with water mixable paints, brushes and palette knives.

First step, blocking in the main shapes. I blocked in the underpainting with acrylic paints, then started the oil painting over them.
The oil paints lack dimension at this point, the values are too similar. I need more contrast between light and dark.


Working on the colors, details etc.
Starting to see more darks now.
Trying to lighten up the colors on the faraway mountains, but then some other colors were too light.
At this point I knew I was almost done, but needed some help. I went to visit and paint with an artist friend who advised glazing the far away mountains (to get a sense of depth) and darkening some areas. Scroll back to top to see the result.

I haven't posted this painting to my website yet since I'm not sure it's done, the artist's dilemma, when is it done? I think I might fiddle with it a little more.

I enjoyed my trip to Utah 2 years ago and hiking in the national parks with my daughter.







Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What inspires me to paint

I wasn't going to bring a painting to be voted on at the last meeting of Manchester Artists Association, but I liked the mixed media painting I had done "Follow Me" so I matted and framed it. (I had a mat and old frame in my studio for it). I won a certificate and some nice comments from other artists.  My painting is on display this month at the Triangle Credit Union on Candia Road, Manchester. I typed up information about the memorial and the battle site so anyone looking at the painting would learn more about this.


Unfortunately our puppy got hold of the watercolor paper (he seems very attracted to paper, toilet paper, magazines etc.) and chewed a little on it. I covered up the chewed part with the mat, but it also covers the front of the first horse's face. The image I posted on my website shows the full horse.

I guess what inspires me to paint is the beauty all around us. I think of the divine (whether you call this God or some other name) as the Master artist. I remember writing a poem about that years ago (it is in my first poetry book available on Amazon).  I have enjoyed retirement and traveling the last few years with my husband and we both take many photos. I have been doing small paintings in different styles the last few weeks just to keep practicing and teaching myself how to paint better. I have tried some online courses, but found that I didn't want to paint someone else's image.  I need a relationship of some kind with an image to want to paint it.  Unfortunately one way to learn is to copy from the masters, but that doesn't work for me. I need to "feel" something when I am painting as my painting and poetry are both expressions of my emotions.

This is an experiment of working on black gessoed canvas board. I found an old photo of the old Notre Dame Bridge in Manchester, NH.  I really liked that bridge and was sorry when it came down. I started in monochrome, but decided to add some colors as I went on, not only to the bridge (which was green), but also to the millyard buildings and the river.  The inspiration photo was grayscale, not color.  I'm not sure if I'll do any more to finish this, or just leave it as is, a study of the bridge. Acrylic paint, 8" X 10".

This experiment is also acrylic paint on canvas board (8" X 10"). I remember walking the trail along Lake Massabesic years ago and taking the photo of the two fisherman. I took several photos that day and tried to frame them with the trees. I enjoyed the memory, especially now that I have knee problems and can no longer hike.  Again, it is just a study and I don't know if I will make a larger painting. I can see several areas that definitely need to be improved, but that is the point of the study. I'm not aiming for perfection in a study, I'm trying to work on details as well as get paint on the canvas. I do not post the studies on my website.

Ready to Ride, 16" X 20", Acrylic on stretched canvas

While I had the acrylic paints out, I convinced myself to finish this painting. I wasn't happy with some of the trees so I tried to improve them.  This one shows the boats that were waiting for the tourists. We were on the Athabasca River in Alberta (Canada) and had a wonderful experience on the boat ride, saw a bald eagle and an elk too as well as the beautiful mountains.

So, I have been going back through my photos from my travels the last few years and finally started another 16" X 20" painting, this one of the Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park (Utah). I have blocked in broad areas of color so far in acrylic (underpainting) and started on the oil painting.  I must admit that while I really love New England, I also enjoy all the colors of the west and I'm looking forward to our move to Idaho in 2017.






Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Studio work

 
Since I was frustrated with trying to work outdoors, I went back to my photo collection and decided to play with my art supplies in my studio.  This is a memorial at the Little Bighorn Battleground in Montana. While the native tribes joined together against Custer and won this battle in 1876, they subsequently lost the war. The painting is a mixed media piece, 9" X 12", pen and ink with acrylic used in a watercolor style on watercolor paper.

I am trying to draw or paint every day to improve my skills. I have taken some video classes online, but find it very difficult to follow along with someone else's images. I think I just like working with my own images since I have an emotional connection to them.

I also played a bit more with my idea of sunflowers. I like this one so far and will probably work on it a little more. Mixed media, acrylic background with oil painting over it on canvas paper. 8" X 10".
 
I did go out one more time with my friend to try the plein air painting again.
The Back Door, 5" X 7", water mixable oil on canvas board.
Again, I found this difficult and I didn't like my image enough to work on it as a studio piece.



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

plein air vs. studio painting


A good friend of mine convinced me to try plein air (outdoor) painting (again). This is only the second time I have tried this. I also painted a couple of paintings in Vermont two years ago (see posts from August 2014), but finished them in the studio.  I'm not sure I'm even going to bother finishing these two since I was so unhappy with them.

It was hot and sunny. My friend provided a big beach umbrella and I sat at a picnic table.  I didn't get the sense of the farm in my painting (in my opinion), or the colors. She even had some bugs get on her canvas.  I guess I am a little jealous of painters that can just put everything down so beautifully no matter where they paint. In the 2nd picture the Canada geese came out looking like ducks. Of course they were moving around quite a bit too which made it difficult for me to render them and I didn't have the right small brush with me. I tried to pack a limited amount of brushes and pigments in my pochade box not knowing how far we would have to walk. At some point I might try painting the pond again from one of my photos. There were corn stalks growing in the distance and I would like to try to show them better.

The top photo shows a view of the sunflowers.  The farm was having a fundraiser and invited artists to paint the sunflowers so there were a few of us out there. The fundraiser was for the Make a Wish Foundation and I was happy to make a donation to them. They are a good organization.

Meanwhile I bought a couple of small aluminum panels, 4" X 6" just to play with.  I liked the way the colors show up on the aluminum, but I don't think I would like to work on this surface on a larger painting.

I decided to try again with the sunflowers in my studio this time. I like this one a little better and think it would make a good background for a card with a nice verse. All of these paintings were done with water mixable oils. I think I will go back to acrylics for the next ones I try.


I'm not sure where I'm going with this hobby, but I will continue to learn. I've had some physical and emotional issues to deal with this year and we are now planning on moving from New Hampshire to Idaho next year to be closer to family. That will be a big change for me, but I will keep painting, maybe even start writing poems again. Trying to stay positive.

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.