Monday, October 5, 2015

"Make Way for Elouise"

"Make Way for Elo"  12x12 oil

Our son and family live in Boston near the Public Garden. Having our first grandchild near the swanboats and ducklings is especially rewarding for me as I spent many days there with my grandparents when I was a child. The sculptures are the work of a Framingham artist making the ducks an even more special connection. After working all summer on a commission for someone, I was eager to get back to doing something I held close to my heart. And what that was was so obvious when I saw Elo with the ducklings on" grandparents day". Her red coat reflecting in the brass, their similar heights  and stances made this call out to me. The day was overcast and dreary so I decided to infuse the painting with reds to warm it up and unify it. The reds harmonized nicely with the greens of the brass. After 2 months on my last painting, I was able to complete this in two 3 hour sessions. I enjoy the spontaneity, the color harmony and, of course,  the subject matter in this painting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Beacon Hill Trifecta!"

"Beacon Hill's Trifecta"  12x16 oil

My winter Beacon Hill painting...
As I completed my most recent Beacon Hill painting, I was excited to learn that my winter version of Beacon Hill, completed recently, was just awarded first place in oil painting and Best in Show at Norwood 's Art in the Park. I spend a lot of time on "the hill" since my son and his family moved here last fall and I find it a visual feast. Being enamored of historic architecture and antiques,  this is my newest painting paradise. While I sought to impart the cold, mysterious snowy atmosphere to the winter scene, I wanted to give the view from MT Vernon Street the same warm and glowing feeling I experienced that hot spring morning. My son and I had just finished breakfast at the bakery at the bottom of the hill and were walking back to his place. The view of three steeples lining up and being illuminated by the strong light when looking down the hill was impressive. I like the constant contrast of the old flat brick facades with the rounded brick facade portions added later. I initially was planning to include an overhead branch in my foreground, but decided that the composition was even better without it. Instead I decided to include  the "no parking" sign on the lamp post that is so Beacon Hill. The pure cad red right out of the tube popped it immediately to the foreground.  I kept colors strong and warm, with many gradations in my red bricks to bring out the forms and move the viewers eyes through the painting. Having completed 3 seasons so far, I look forward picking my "summer scene".
Adding an edit as I learned that this painting also received first place in the 2015 Foxboro Art Association show.

"Beetle Rock"

Plein Air painting of "Beetle Rock" in Marshfield, MA  8x10 oil
Spending all my summers on Old Rexhame beach in Marshfield, left me a strong yearning to return as often as possible. In April, as soon as the weather turned warm, I packed up my easel and paints and headed for Rexhame beach. The tide was going out, so I knew I would be able to spend a couple of hours painting my favorite rock before the ocean claimed it once more. The wind and tidal pools helped determine my angle. This angle is the one I saw as I walked up the beach from our house as a child. My friends and I spent many hours climbing on and around Beetle Rock. We would swim out to it and sit on it waiting for the tide to go out and then climb down and go about looking for the  treasures among the rocks. Hours of collecting starfish and crabs, sea glass and shells occupied summer days. Horseshoe crabs and  lobster buoys were especially prized, but all would be returned to the sea  when we walked back to Old Rexhame . I painted mid-tide, silhouetting the rock and portraying the sense of the many large and small, wet and dry rocks surrounding my focal point. Detail in the foreground rocks was kept at a minimum to keep the focus on my main subject  Further out in the background is "Haystack rock"which was also important to the composition. We had names for all the big rocks and it is so interesting to hear they are all called by the same name by new residents so many years later.  After finishing this painting, I turned toward Old Rexhame and painted "Tank rock"-another of the named rocks from my childhood. The color harmony, salty taste,  smell, dampness and sound of the ocean are all part of the sensory experience I wanted to feel when I finished  this painting.  It was about the rock, but it was also about the sensual experience of visiting it again.

Warm and Cheery

"And the star is..."  11x14 oil

"A Colorful Spread"  11x14 oil

Using warm colors and subject matter, I wanted  to impart  a cheerful, positive feeling to the viewer. Surrounding oneself with positive energy is, I think,  important. My lifelong love affair with the ocean and beaches attracted me to the starfish as the center of attention for "And the Star is...", and I could visualize the painting in a summer home near the beach. The range of colors in "Colorful Spread" is a  little different for me, but again I was drawn to the positive feeling and warmth it imparts. Maybe it was the long snowy winter, but these little beauties made me smile.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Boston's Swanboats

"Reflections of Youth" 16X20 oil 2015

 After an especially tough winter, Bostonians look forward to spring. One sign of spring in Boston is the launching of the Swanboats in the Boston Public Gardens. Each day they are lined up awaiting the tourists and residents who flock to ride around the lagoon. At night they return to their dock and bask in the late afternoon sun awaiting the next day's riders. Swanboats were a major fascination for me when my mother took me as a child. I enjoyed outings there with my own children and many students over the years. Now I look forward to taking my granddaughter for her first ride this spring. The sight of the boats brings a smile as old memories surface. It's a happy place. I wanted to create a happy painting. I used greens punctuated by red to create a smooth diagonal path in the painting. My focus was on the variations in the whites as the light bounced off the whites of the swans.  The warm and cool whites presented many variations in tints of color which when put together appear to be white. The ripples in the water formed wonderful reflections as the boats quietly bobbed in place. The horizontal linear patterns and horizontal painting format were employed to bring a sense of peacefulness to the viewer.

Beacon Hill Beauty

"Embracing Winter "of 2015 12X16 oil 

Boston had record snowfall this winter and neighborhoods were coated every few days with a  fresh white blanket. The snow piled up, cars were buried and paths became narrower and narrower as navigating the streets became more and more difficult. While frustrating for many, for me the freshly fallen snow presented an opportunity to see the beauty of the city in a different light. This scene of Beacon Hill is from the first storm, Juno, in January. It continued snowing for another 6 weeks giving me plenty of time to work on my painting. The late night view afforded the scene an ephemeral  untouched, untrodden freshness. The old fashioned lamp posts illuminated the scene in a unifying manner and created wonderful patterns as light and shadow alternated on the banks and buildings. The color harmony was strong and allowed me to focus on creating a mysterious glow bringing the viewer deep into the nocturnal space. I used rags instead of brushes in the first phase of painting. When I switched to brushes later, I kept edges soft and minimized details to give the viewer enough information to fill in the scene on their own.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A perfect combo-Flowers and the finch.

Two of my favorites-the goldfinch and echinacea. My Mom had bird feeders all over the yard.  When I bought my house, I bought bird feeders galore and the two of us enjoyed many hours watching the feeders, looking up the birds in bird books, and keeping track of how many we saw each year. Although my Mom has been gone for more than twenty years now, I think of her when I watch the birds at the feeders. My mother-in-law was an avid gardener and introduced me to many new varieties of flowers to grow. I have been blessed with so many beautiful creations to enrich my life and enjoy and I love to share them through my art. Georgia O'Keeffe said she painted flowers really big because she felt people didn't stop to look closely enough and really enjoy them. Maybe there is a bit of her in me.
I tried to portray the subject matter fairly realistically and contrast it with a  dreamscape-like background. Since finches are tiny colorful birds, I painted this on an 8x8 canvas punching up the color a bit.