Sunday, June 5, 2011

Catie's Trees

I don't post for months and then I post twice in one day.

Catie's Trees is based on a photo I took it at the house of a sweet and talented young woman named Catie. Trees are one of my favorite things to paint because for some reason I don't get all hung up on the details. Fall trees are the most fun because all my favorite colors are there - warm reds and yellows. I use reds and yellows in so many of my paintings and my house used to be filled with them.

Catie's Trees
Oil on 9x12 Gallery Wrap Canvas


I finished this a couple of months ago, but never posted it, so here it is. There is one thing I want to fix, but since it is always risky when I go back into a painting after a long time away I will leave it alone.

Oil on 12x12 Raised Panel

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Portrait in Progress - 2

Next phase - I'm struggling with the skin. No, she doesn't actually have a 5 o'clock shadow. Hopefully I'll have time to work on her today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Portrait in Progress - 1

Last May when I went to NY for Karin Jurick's workshop I spent hours roaming the city taking photographs. I took over a thousand pictures and whittled it down to about 500. I go back to them often for inspiration.

It was May but it was an incredibly hot afternoon and I was having a beer and fries (very nutritious and pre gluten intolerance diagnosis - aaahhh the memories) at Chelsea Pier and thoroughly enjoying every moment. I saw a woman sitting with her friends and I thought she was so beautiful and timeless in her bohemian, earthy way.  I've been too chicken to paint her until now but now I am giving it a chance.

I haven't finished, so I'm going to show a few stages of the painting. One of the biggest struggles is that my paintings go through so many phases; I like many of those phases but then they are lost. I think really good artists recognize the "phase" as the place at which they should stop. I haven't gotten there yet.

This is what I did yesterday. First I sketched her with white watercolor pencil on black gesso. Then I thought it made sense to create her as negative space so I did the background first. I don't know where the background came from because it just sort of happened, maybe it was remembering the heat of the day. I do want to remember this kernel of whatever it is - this "phase" - because I think this is something I could work with in a future painting.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sometimes a Yellow Vase is Just a Yellow Vase

When I have had the chance to paint (which is rarely these days) I've been doing studies rather than trying to do a finished painting - mainly because I don't have time.

I used to collect pottery and then I got tired of having all this stuff around so I packed most of it away, sold it at a yard sale or brought it to my studio. Vintage pottery generally has great shapes and colors, reflects light in interesting ways and works well in still life setups. I did this study to play with yellow and try to figure out how to show the shadows and light with a very limited palette. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hey Dad

Here's this week's challenge entry. The rules were:

"Paint this image using only burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and titanium white. That's it. No other colors. With that combo you can have it look pretty darn close to a full color painting by achieving a wide array of values and temperatures."

Here's my version. Not loving how it turned out but it was a fun exercise. Check out the other paintings to see how each artist interpreted a pretty straightforward photo.

8x8 Oil on Canvas
I can't see a Zippo without thinking about the big box of tchotchkes we had in the basement when I was a kid. When I was little my father was a salesman for a paper company. Like all good salesmen he had a big supply of branded freebies for his clients and prospects, which ended up in our basement. There were pens, ashtrays, pads of paper and - best of all - Zippo lighters with a little tree logo on them. And yes Dad, Carol and I pilfered goodies from the box on a regular basis.

That was a looong time ago. I just googled and not only is Boise Cascade still around but they have the same logo that they had in the 70's.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 10 MInute Challenge

Almost two years ago (wow - I can't believe it was two years ago) I took a workshop from Carol Marine. I had no clue who she was, or what I was getting into and I'd only been painting for about 8 months or so. I signed up because I saw it listed in my local community center flyer and I thought "cool - something remotely interesting is happening in Westford". It was a great experience because I learned a lot, although I was a neurotic basketcase because it was way over my head. I didn't even know I had learned so much at the time, but even now dribs and drabs of what she taught come back to me.

I've been following her ever since. She recently started a weekly painting challenge on where she posts a photo or challenge and a bunch of painters take the challenge. I just found out about it and its already on its 3rd week, but I'm really excited to try it every week.

Four Yellow Cups
8x10 Oil on Canvas

This painting was my first challenge. These were the rules: "Get a timer. Divide your canvas or canvases (I used 2 - 6x6in Raymar canvases) into 8 or so small squares (or rectangles). They should be smallish – a couple or 3 inches square or thereabouts – they don’t have to be perfect. Now choose ONE object. Just one. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Paint your object in the first square. When the timer goes off – stop! I mean it. Repeat until you are done. You can rotate your object and/or change the light for each new square."

I didn't do 8 - I took an 8x10 and broke it into 4. I actually did two of these exercises on Sunday because I liked it so much, but the other photo was too blurry to post. 10 minutes is SO short, but it really helped me loosen up and it just isn't enough time for neurosis to set in.  I just have to paint the color, shapes and light and STOP.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fall Morning

Back at the studio for the last two weekends. I didn't paint for over a month. Same old reason -work taking up my time and energy.

It's an all or nothing thing with me - once I start painting I don't want to stop and that means the house doesn't get cleaned, dinner doesn't get made, and the laundry piles up. Hours go by unnoticed and it is the only time my mind shuts off. It is the greatest thing ever, better than any drug, drink, mindless TV watching, or retail therapy. When I walk into my studio, or start a painting, I am so filled with calm and gratitude for this small part of my life that it helps me put the silliness of work stress in perspective.

Fall Morning
Oil on 8x8 panel
This painting is based on a photo I took of this gorgeous tree near my house. It's just another tree for most of the year, except for the one week when it hits its peak fall color.  I tried painting it before but it didn't work out very well. I'm pretty happy with this one though. I can't seem to capture the painting's vibrancy and saturation with the camera without making the contrast too harsh. This is the best version, though it flattens the shadows quite a bit and there is a bit of glare.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sorry Zack, More Fruit

Latest fruit still life. Working a little bigger these days - this is 8x10 and I have another 8x10 in the works. I took the week between Christmas and NY off (btw - Happy New Year!) and got 3 full days of painting in. Make that 3 full days in the studio  - procrastination ate up 1/3 of the time. On the last day I didn't start painting until about 3:30 and then lost complete track of time. Before I knew it, it was 9:30. I wish my "real" job was like that.

Apples in Light
8x10 Oil on Canvas

The title is an apology to my son who thinks fruit paintings are "boring". He may have something there.