Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why Am I Writing This Blog?





"Time Passing" 
Monotype with Collage

Time is valuable to all of us, right?!! Then I ask myself why spend time with this blog? And, it does take time. So, today, I have to seriously question what is motivating me to do this. 

I entitled my blog, "Enjoying the Gift". But, I have made the decision today to change it to "Sharing the Gift". Because that is exactly what I want to do! 

Why? Because I was raised to believe that it is better to give than to receive. And, I have come to realize that that statement is absolutely true! 

I believe we each see the world in a unique way and we can express that way we see it with our gift of artistic expression! Your means of artistic expression may be in fine art, music, interior design, dance, writing, gardening and so much more. You may communicate what you see, feel and experience in not just one but many of these. 

Teaching and producing art gives me joy! I feel passionate about both! I see this blog as a way to share my gift with you and EXCITE you to discover yours. If you already see yourself as an artist, then I ask you to share your discoveries with me and others through this blog. If you have doubts about expressing yourself as an artist, I ask you to send me your questions and I will try my best, and with the help of fellow artists, to discern your unique artistic gift of expression. 

It is NEVER TOO LATE in your life to take this challenge. My husband Marty accepted this offer from me almost 4 years ago. I plan to interview him in an upcoming post to see what he has experienced. From what I am observing, he is really seeing more and enjoying his semi-retirement more than he had imagined he would! AND, by sharing my gift with him, he is making me a better artist and teacher! 



Monday, June 2, 2014

Starting Sketch on Location and Completing in Studio


These two sketches were done in Stowe, VT. on our 2011 trip. 

It was midday and we were exploring the town. I started this sketch from the inside of our rental car. I was able to come close to completing it but stopped when I took a break and saw this wonderful store front across the street. 



It was too complex for me to finish in the limited time we had to see the town together. So I took many photos of it. 

When we returned home, I worked some more on it. I love the fact that I did not overwork it even though it is a complex subject. 





Using the Sketch to Develop Painting in Studio

In the first image here is a watercolor sketch executed in a little over an hour on our 2011 trip. This place we discovered near Gorham, Maine. 

It was the most beautiful place we were able to take in the fall foliage on the trip! I was so happy to have time to try to get the image on paper as it affected me! 
As you can see, the COLORS of the trees and their reflections motivated me to paint the scene.


This next scene was painted just a few months ago. It was inspired by the sketch I just talked about. The image size is only about 6" x 9"...with mat...10" x 14".   

I decided to do it as a demo for Marty in our art studio one day. It was really easy to do. I was amazed! I used the sketch and my photographs of the scene to help me. You can see that I zoomed in on the subject of my sketch. I wanted to focus on the section where the edge of the trees were contrasted with the trees behind them and also the beauty of the stream in the middle of all this color. By doing this, I was transported off of the distant bank, where I sketched; and' I was placed closer to where I saw and experienced the true beauty of the scene! Ah, the power of art! Thank you, God!

TIP: What I learned from this is to be sure to take many photos of the sites where you do sketches. Be sure to vary the focal lengths...zooming in and zooming out. And, it is never too late to paint from the sketches you make. Sketches along with the photographs capture and record the feeling of the scene and preserve them for the artist!                                                                                 

Challenges of Painting on Location

This painting in my sketchbook was painted on Oct. 8, 2011 at Blackberry Crossing in the White Mt. Forest in NH. This is accessed by traveling along The Kancamagus Hwy. Beautiful! 

But, when I look at this painting or sketch as I call it, I recall how difficult it was to find a place to set up and capture it. With Marty's help, I was able to carefully balance a small folding chair on the rocks...one of those beach chairs that sit close to the ground. I was surrounded by rock...sharp ones and a whole lot of weeds...maybe even snakes...but I chose not to think that was possible. I was determined to paint there! I was the adventurer that day. 

After helping me set up, Marty returned to our rental car to listen to the Saints game on the car radio while I painted! At that time, he was still a neophyte to the art world.  I wonder after almost 4 years of painting with me, he would be strongly tempted to choose my course of action over his at that time...Probably not! LOL!

Value of Painting on Location..."Plein air painting"

I was looking back over my sketchbook for a trip in the Fall of 2011 that my husband Marty and I took to New England to explore the turning of the leaves. Over the next few posts, I would like to share some of those with you.  

I am realizing that I get most inspired to draw, paint and take photographs when I go on trips. That may be because I do not want my time away from home to end. When I look back at my photographs and paintings from trips, I feel excitement all over again like I am being transported back to the most memorable moments. And, I find myself telling stories about that moment in time...how I felt, what I did, what I most wanted to capture. 

Marty and I started our exploration along the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts. We were in a rental Yukon SUV and we were determined to find something to sketch & paint despite the rainy, cold weather. We came across the Hall Tavern Farm near Shelbourne. We stopped on the opposite side of the road from it and put all of our watercolor paints, water and brushes in the middle of us on the console. We started to paint with the car running, heater on, and windshield wipers going at full speed. The scene kept changing because of heavy, low clouds sometimes hiding parts of the buildings from our view. But, it was so challenging and so much fun! 
About midway into our time there, a man pulled alongside of us and stopped to study us. He could not imagine what we were doing! We smiled at him and kept on painting. I am sure he thought we were crazy and pulled off and continued on his way! 



This is the painting that I completed in about one hour. I believe I captured the feel of the heaviness of the clouds. 


This was Marty's very first plein air painting adventure. He will not allow me to show his work but I was impressed! He was hooked and continues to join me as I paint on location here at home and on our trips. What a blessing that is to us both!





Back in Touch!



It has been quite a while since I adding any posts to this blog. It has not meant that I have been away from artistic endeavors. Very much the opposite. 


Since my last posting on the paintings on sites important to me in Covington, I have been fortunate enough to have sold those two paintings in juried art shows in this area and sold another one named, "A Walk in the French Quarter". 
Here below is the stage of underpainting and then completion. 

 

What was really interesting about this sale was that a family was in from California for the Christmas holidays. They were looking for a special gift for a relative who will be turning 60 in the late 2014. They heard her admire this painting and the family decided to buy it and hold it until her birthday! The same family bought the larger Covington painting. All done on New Years Eve! Great way to end 2013!










Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Three Pelicans


"Three Pelicans"
Original Watercolor
40" x 26"

This painting was inspired by a special trip to the Wildlife Sanctuary in Pensacola, Florida, in the early Spring of 2010.  My dear artist friend Paula Payne worked there and she gave me a close encounter with the wildlife.  I was truly impressed by not only the facility but the caring people who worked there to help heal injured wildlife.  I took some great photos of pelicans when I was there.  A couple of months later, the horrible oil spill on the Gulf Coast occurred.  Besides the tragic loss of life of the men who died as a result of the oil rig catastrophe, the images of the oil-soaked wildlife being rescued really upset me.   I revisited the images I had of the pelicans and started to work with them with the help of my art imaging program Adobe Photoshop.  I overlapped and edited the images until I had the view I thought most showed the haunting look from the birds.  I wanted the pelicans to plead with their eyes for help to protect them.  
This painting is a favorite of mine and my husband Marty.  It hangs above our fireplace mantle in our great room.  I have sold quite a few high quality giclees of it (limited edition of 150). 

The first photo is the middle stage of the painting.  The second one is the completed painting.