Friday, December 30, 2016

A Perfect Ending to the Day

"Day's End",Aptos, CA 12x16 oil

Visiting my daughter since she moved to California has opened up a new plethora of painting possibilities. Her location is perfect for me, a beach lover. While she is at work during the day I can load up my painting gear on her bike and head to different locations along the beach or high on the cliffs overlooking the beaches. Whether it is early morning or late in the day, the sky and water are always dramatic. During the day the beach visitors provide varied additional subject matter. No two days are ever the same and the beauty is always present. This view from Seacliff Beach looking towards Capitola provided an uncluttered composition to focus on the intensity of the experience as the sun went down. I tried to capture the water's movement and undulating colors while implying to the viewer the sounds and smells that accompanied my experience.

A Cape Cod Ritual

"Cape Cod Pastime"  16x20 oil
Every summer when we are at the Cape we pick different spots to watch nature at it's best. Depending where we are during the day, we have some spots we consider prime for this. Skaket Beach is one. Local people come with families and if the tide is low, the reflections of the sunset along with the silhouettes of watchers and their reflections create a dynamic and colorful scene. The little rivulets between the sandbars form patterns of color and shapes that are quite beautiful. In this painting the blue/orange colors help capture the intensity of the landscape. The silhouetted figures represent the various ways people reacted, some in small groups others strolling along the water's edge and some just alone and taking it all in. I was back from the crowd on a bench watching both the people and the sunset. Occasionally boats or birds would appear, but I decided to leave them out this time and make it more about the relationship between nature's palette and the watchers.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Man's Best Friend


 Dogs, dogs dogs!!
Dog lovers are a special group. The requests to paint dogs are more frequent than any other request. Being a dog lover myself, I enjoy doing them and love the expression of joy when people receive them. The hardest part is doing a dog from someone else's photo if the dog isn't accesible to me.  All of these were done from photos that others sent me. The challenge is to try to express something of their personality when I can only use my experience of various breeds to guess at how that might translate to these furry companions.

Hollyhocks Galore!

This past summer  hollyhocks lined the walkway to my back door. They greeted me when I went out and welcomed me when I returned. How could I resist painting them? When I was little, my mother always had hollyhocks planted in her summer gardens. These old fashioned flowers are one of my favorites and remind me of  our summers in Marshfield, MA and of our family summer home. I set up my easel and a small stool and quickly started blocking in the flowers. I decided to do a cluster of them, looking up to emphasize their 7 foot plus height. I eliminated the other flora in the scene to keep the focus on the hollyhocks and their rhythmic movement and red/green harmony. The result is fun and spontaneous as I had to work quickly to keep up with the fleeting light.

Painting the Still Life

Margarita Time 11x14 oil

Muffin top 11x14 oil
 Working with still life setups hones observational skills and keeps a focus on composition and color harmonies. Although I thought I would never do another after 36 years of teaching, I have come to appreciate how helpful they are in keeping me focused on the elements of design. I also enjoy painting objects that I have a connection to, often because of personal experiences or family connections. Is it hard for others to connect for these same reasons?
Still life with Starfish 11x14 oil