Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Some recent still life work

 When the peonies bloom, I am compelled to do at least one painting of them before they fade away. In the painting below, the big luscious blooms and the subtle colors begged me to paint them. Peonies are one of my favorite flowers.  I like to make them the focal point of my painting with some supporting elements that pick up the color in the flowers. The dark background provided a good contrast with the flowers. In the second painting, it is the grapes and the light that command attention. This still life was a bit more complex and took 3 sessions to complete. The subject matter was brought  from a foggy beginning to a strong highlighted finish. The hydrangeas were layered from blocked in shapes, then more defined form, with the  final layer of pink blue and yellow petals adding visual blending by the viewer to emphasize  their color subtleties The grapes actually shriveled up before I finished.  I replaced them with ones that were a bit fuller and had a stem which I  highlighted  to draw the viewers eye into the painting. The bright light hitting the yellow pitcher is repeated in the grape reflections adding warmth and a glow to make them jump out and feel accessible to the viewer.
Peonies with cherries/11x14/2017
Grapes and the big yellow pitcher/11x14/Oct.2017 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Another Beach perspective...

JOY! 9x12 oil
Depending on where I park myself at the beach, I can view sunsets as a totally different experience each night. In this painting, I moved a short way up the beach from the previous post's painting. The pier creates a foil for the sunset. The vertical posts, unmoving against the horizontal landscape with it's constantly changing elements provides me with contrasting elements for my painting. The reflection of the pier in the water embodies that contrast. I chose to do only a small section of the pier to focus on the sun at the dramatic moment when it starts to disappear. As the waves crash under the pier, they dissolve into the shadows and then reappear as they approach the viewer. The meandering lines of the reflection, the edge of the receding water against the dark sand and the intensity of the colors in the foreground are used to lead the viewer back toward the drama of the setting sun.

The Beauty of Nature

"Mesmerized " 24x30 gallery wrap/Oil
Sometimes on an evening walk I just stop and watch the waves. The beauty and the sounds of nature are mesmerizing.  The power of the waves and the patterns of the spindrift leave me in awe as I absorb each crashing moment. Cloud banks low in the sky let the luminous colors peek through. the color dances off the water while the light illuminates the tops of the waves. I let the distant water fade out of focus to keep the viewers eye on the wave and focus on details in the foreground to bring to bring the viewer to the moment at hand. The sky peeks through the clouds above signaling another day gone by. This painting was all about capturing the mood of the moment.

Another evening in Aptos

Beach Solitude 16x20 oil
 When I visit, waiting for my daughter to get home from work provides me with a perfect ending to each day. I walk the beach in front of her home and watch the colors that swirl and change as the sun gets closer to the horizon. The colors reflect in the wet sand and water. The sounds of the waves accent the patterns of the water as it advances and recedes.  The distant shore in Capitola becomes an amorphous shape silhouetted against the horizon. Although I have painted the same scene many times, no two are alike. I am enchanted and enjoy the solitude and time for reflection this ritual provides.

A Good Friend=priceless!

A Good Friend- priceless!  12x12 oil

While friends from VT were visiting us in Boston, my 2 year old granddaughter and her little buddy displayed an amazing independence as they toured the city with us. When we got to the Boston Common, the girls walked over to the Brewer fountain and climbed up on the edge where they sat and chatted without a care in the world. It was such a natural move for them that it symbolized, for me, what being with a friend should look like. It felt like a youthful version of seeing 2 elderly people on a park bench. They felt no sense of danger or social barriers. Their tiny figures juxtaposed to the 3 figures of the goddesses in the fountain gave the scene a timeless quality. Painting it felt like preserving a moment in time, somewhat like the bronze figures that  grace the corner of Park and Tremont Street. I wanted to focus on this juxtaposition, so minimized the crowds of people and cropped the fountain to extend off the edges.  Bright colors and light  make the girls the focal point.

Starfish still life

"Starfish, baskets and lantern " 11x14 oil still life

My obsession with the sea makes nautical still life subjects appealing to me. 
Collecting starfish is a pleasant childhood memory. Those were carefree days spent with family and friends at the seashore. The vintage lantern and baskets, for me, evoke the sense of times passed with a rhythmic and sensual feeling to them. The palette was limited to unify the painting with a warm color harmony of blues and oranges.

Finding Dory

Finding Dory 10x10 oil

Three Dories 12x24 oil
Dories are a staple of New England waters, whether tucked in a little cove or moored in a harbor. They come in all shapes and sizes and make for interesting compositional choices. I feel like they have a story to tell. They are waiting to take someone to their boat, to go out fishing or  awaiting an owners return from an adventure at sea. They bob and drift and capture the imagination. In the small painting, I wanted to portray an intimate scene of a neighborhood of dories. I discovered them floating in a little inlet in Chatham. In the larger painting I was struck by the 3 identical dories moving with the tide as they danced about in the harbor in Kennebunkport, ME. They were out in the open and free to move about practically shouting out "look at me" as they swirled around with the current. The repetition of boat shapes in both scenes provided good subject matter and interesting choices. The 3 identical dories have many more possibilities for future paintings as I play with a variety of placements and lighting. The water's movement varies with every boat move and makes for many good arrangements as well as colors and reflections.