Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

"Summer Evening" by Liz Wiltzen

"Silver Basin" by Liz Wiltzen

Happy New Year one and all!

I love the New Year's holiday. It's fun to ring in the new year with friends, and it's a great chance to think about what I've learned and what I want to do in the next year. As always, resolution number one is to learn to paint better. And there are so many ways to do that, the foremost being to paint as often as possible. Thank you daily painters for spurring me on.

Workshops are also high on my list, both attending and teaching them, which I did for the first time last year. Also a first last year, was to assist in hosting a workshop. This year I'm taking the next step and setting up a workshop to be taught by one of my favorites, Liz Wiltzen. Many of you will remember Liz's 100 in 100 project last summer, where she painted 100 plein air landscapes in 100 days. Liz will teach this three day plein air landscape workshop (think daily painting), August 19-21, in South Freeport, ME. Liz and I will post more details later, but if you'd like to be on the mailing list for the workshop, let me know (my email address is in my profile or make a comment). It's going to be really fun!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Drawing Trees

A Beech (my favorite tree)

Not sure about this one, but I liked the drooping branches.

Perhaps a Maple

I've been reading Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting, which was written in 1929, and is quite a gem. Lots of practical advice. What a good idea to practice drawing trees in winter when the structure is visible!

My next task is to learn to identify trees when bare of leaves. More on that later.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Near Pouzilhac"

"Near Pouzilhac"
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Nathan asked yesterday about the process I used on the olive grove painting. It's the same as I used here, both paintings were done from photos in the studio, with daylight temperature lighting. The lighting is nothing fancy, I just replaced the bulbs in the existing fixtures in the small room I use as a studio.

First I did a sketch (sometimes more than one). For the painting in this post, the sketch is here. Then I toned a canvas with an orange-ish color and wiped it off. Some bits of that are visible where the trees and sky meet. Then I sketched with a small brush and hardly any paint, just the basic placement. Next was a block in of the major shapes with a really big brush, no detail and the sketch was pretty much wiped out, the canvas was covered with the block in (no empty spots). For instance the foreground tree foliage was just one color and value at that point (should have taken a photo...). Then with a smaller brush I went for more detail, for example in the tree foliage, adding darks and lights. I left the sky as it was in the block in. I hope this makes sense.

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Olive Grove"

"Olive Grove"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

What could be better on a snowy windy day than thinking about and painting a Provencal olive grove? It reminds me of a delightful book I received for Christmas, "My French Life", by Vicki Archer, with beautiful photos of Saint Remy de Provence and her own olive grove. And there are Carol Drinkwater's books on that same subject, which I love. I hope they enjoy writing as much as I am enjoying remembering Provence in paint.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Near Pouzilhac Drawing

Drawing for "Near Pouzilhac"

Photo B

Photo A

The rows of French lavender in the previous posts left me looking for other rows. These photos are from Pouzilhac in the Gard region, and unlike most of my photos of tree-lined roads (which are quick snaps from the passenger seat) this time I got out of the car and walked around a bit. In photo A, I was trying to do a straight-on shot, with everything symmetric. I like photo B better, standing on the right side of the road. I think it's more interesting with less symmetry in the foliage. What do you think?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Just a little note to wish you all a Happy Holiday season.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Lavender Field 2"

"Lavender Field 2"
5"x7" oil on gessobord

Here's my second attempt at the lavender field. I really like the little rise on the left side of the field that twists the rows a bit. That asymmetry makes it more interesting, I think. Maybe I'll try some vines next time.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Lavender Field 1"

"Lavender Field 1"
5"x7" oil on gessobord

I'm continuing to work on paintings for our upcoming Provence show at the Yarmouth Frame Shop and Gallery. The lavender had already passed it's prime on our visit in September (except for the spring that poked me in the eye!), so I thank Suzanne for the photo reference for this painting.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Orange with Jar and Bottle

"Orange with Jar and Bottle"
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

It's time to do a few more paintings for our upcoming Provence show at the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery in February. I'm planning to include some of the paintings I did during our September trip, along with a few studio paintings like this one. Thanks to Suzanne for contributing the blue French yoghurt jar.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Girls Looking Out to Sea"

"Girls Looking Out to Sea"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

Since plein air painting is done for a while, I'm back to painting from photos and some subjects that I put aside when the weather got nice last spring. These girls were playing on the beach when I visited Sanibel last March. I had a nice chat with their Mother and did some sketches here. Laura, you get first dibs on these!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Yarmouth Arts Holiday Art Walk

"Island Moonlight"
10"x10" - framed

"Castine Field II"
10"x10" - framed

Just one last holiday show announcement: Yarmouth Arts Holiday Art Walk will be next Saturday, Dec. 4 from 4 to 7PM. 10 paintings from 5 artists will be auctioned, benefiting the Yarmouth Performing Arts Center's purchase of a new piano. I will be at Evans Ceramics (across the street from the Yarmouth Frameshop) with these two paintings. My plan is to run over to the Frameshop a few times during the event for our show there. So much art, so little time!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Originals at the Concord Art Association

"Winter Shadows"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

"Red on Red"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I'm pleased to have recently become a member of the Concord Art Association, in Concord, MA. This summer I did a lot of painting in Massachusetts, spending many early weekday mornings painting en plein air, and it's nice to have a local venue for that work. These are my contributions to the association's Holiday Originals Show, which opens next week.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"What Is It?"

"What Is It?"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

Now that it's so dark, I'm getting back into painting inside and trying out what I'm learning with the Peggi Kroll-Roberts DVDs. This lady was on the beach in Sanibel last March, doing what everyone does on that beautiful island, looking for shells. I wander around pointing my camera this way and that, hoping my models don't notice that I'm snapping their pictures too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Small Works Holiday Show at the Yarmouth Frameshop

6"x6" oil on canvas panel

"Gilsland Snow Field"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

What a season this is going to be for holiday shows! I told you about the "Anything Goes" Exhibit at River Arts in a previous post. We'll also be having the annual small works show at the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery, with an opening on Saturday, Dec. 4th from 4-7PM. The card and two of my paintings that will be in the show are shown above. I would love to see you at the opening.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sketching Trucks

Sketching trucks is like sketching boats, except a bit easier since they don't move (unless someone gets in and drives them away). It's a good exercise when there aren't any boats available. I saw these today at lunch in the parking lot of my favorite sub shop. Don't they say that truck drivers know where the best food is?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jess #2

"Jess #2"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

This is my second attempt at Jess on the sofa, using a photo and the previous painting as references. I wanted to have less contrast in the shadows and lights on her face this time, and I think I got it. I've veered pretty far from the simplified shadow mass exercise though (which should just have one dark for all the shadows) but I like this one all the same.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two Paintings Accepted for "Anything Goes" At River Arts

"Winter Stream"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

"Harraseeket Road"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I'm pleased to announce that two of my paintings have been chosen for the upcoming "Anything Goes" show at River Arts in Damariscotta, ME. This is the first time I've entered a juried show and I'm so pleased to have these paintings chosen. The show runs from November 12th through December 31st. I hope you have a chance to stop by.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jess #1

"Jess #1"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

It's such fun to paint with a model! My niece visited this weekend and was nice enough to sit for me after taking a look at one of the Peggi Kroll-Roberts DVDs. And she was a great model. Here's my first effort, which started out as the lesson on simplified shadow mass, but got too complicated before I stopped. I think the darks are too dark, and there is too much contrast between the darks and lights in the face, but I was happy with it for a first effort. I took some photos for future use when I have no model.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sketching Moored Boats

Moored Boat Sketches

At first glance, sketching boats in the water seems difficult; they move around so much. Here's a tip: when boats are on a mooring, they swing back and forth in response to the wind (the side of the boat acts as a sail, catching the wind), the current, and the restraint of the mooring line. What that gives us sketchers is at least two views of the boat, the extremes as it swings back and forth. Just ignore what happens in the middle and wait for the extremes, the boat always comes back to the same place. Here's a page in my sketch book with a few quick sketches of a friend's lobster boat on its mooring.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Four 10 Minute Landscapes

The four 10 minute landscapes
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

These were done from top left, top right, bottom left, to bottom right, on three mornings at Grigg's Farm in Billerica, MA. The subject matter is pretty much the same in each one. I was trying to translate the Peggi Kroll-Roberts figure studies into the landscape, and the 10 minute limit (which I exceeded several times) was to help me put down the shapes once and leave them. Anyone have any favorites or comments on the progression?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

10 Minute Landscape #3

Grigg's Farm #3
3"x3" oil on canvas panel

This is my third 10 minute landscape at Grigg's Farm.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The 10 Minute Apple goes Landscape

First 10 minute landscape

The 10 minute apple or pear exercise is a great way to get some practice; painting small makes it easier to paint fast, limiting the time means you tend to leave your first marks, and painting the same thing several time gives you improvement "instant gratification". I think it's really fun.

This morning I did two 3"x3" studies just after the sun came up, here's the first one. It was warm and beautiful outside, and it was good to get the brushes out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"On The Mooring"

"On the Mooring"
5"x7" oil on Gessobord

I love Peggi Kroll-Roberts' work, and ordered her 6 lesson CD set last week. I've watched them all, and they're wonderful, as are the images of her work in the included slide show on each disc. I couldn't resist just ripping through them, though I know it will be best to work through the lessons one by one. This painting is my first under the influence, simple chunky composition, minimal number of values and colors. I hope to get to the thick paint shortly...

I'd love to get some feedback from you all on my blog content. Would you prefer to see sketches in a separate blog, and only paintings here? Responses via email or blog comments would be much appreciated.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Cafe Cat"

Cafe Cat #2

Cafe Cat #1

This ginger cat was lounging on a bench at one of the beautiful cafes along the place in Tourtour, Provence. The bottom drawing was my first shot, and I drew the cat itself as sort of a contour drawing, then put in the other details. The top drawing is more of a suggestion, asking the viewer to supply the details. Which one do you like best, top or bottom?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Chateaudouble Cat Sniffs"

The Chateaudouble Cat is back again. I love this pose, and it just fell off the pen on the first try. There's something chunky about the shape and the markings that makes this one come together for me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Chateaudouble Cat"

Drawing 2

Drawing 1

We met this cat in Chateuadouble, a beautiful town in Provence with magnificent views. I love the way the name is pronounced in French (Sha-toh-dew-blay). This little guy gave me a couple of poses (he'll be back again tomorrow). This time, it took two passes to get a drawing I liked and I'm showing both. Which one do you like best?

If only it was as quick to do an oil sketch as a drawing! I think that the freedom of being able to just toss it, makes it so much easier to get a good one. No pressure.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"An Elegant Cat"

While I was in France, I took some photos of dogs and cats, and especially enjoyed watching them in the outdoor cafes. I did some drawings from the photos in a direct manner with pen, no pencil first, which I'll show over the next few days. In this first drawing, it only took one try to get something I liked. It doesn't always work that way.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"It's Fall"

"It's Fall"
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Today was so beautiful I just had to get outside and paint. Here's my homage to fall, taken from the treetops over a neighbor's house in Maine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Nubbin - Late Afternoon"

"Nubbin - Late Afternoon"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I'm having a hard time adjusting to the fall sunrise, there just enough time to paint before work. Not to mention all the rain that's been between me and the sun ever since we got back from France. But that's enough complaining. I've been experimenting, trying a few new things, which has led to some wipers, and if I'm lucky, some learning. It's kind of fun to take one subject and paint it over an over, trying different approaches. So, once again, here's the Nubbin. This time I was trying to use more paint, and to go quickly, inspired by the recent posts of Liz Wiltzen and Kathryn Townsend. I have a ways to go, but I am learning something.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Dull Day on Casco Bay"

"Dull Day on Casco Bay"
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

I went back to paint the Nubbin again on Sunday, with heavy overcast skies. But when I got to my spot, I saw layers in the islands that aren't usually visible. Maybe it was raining back there somewhere. I couldn't resist painting the layered islands. The Nubbin will be there next time.

I'm teaching my Daily Painting and Blogging Workshop at River Arts in Damariscotta again this fall. This time it will be on two consecutive days, November 6 and 7th. It should be lots of fun. Check out the River Arts website for details. I'd love to see you there.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Nubbin #1"

"Nubbin #1"
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

The Nubbin is a little island off Princes Point in Yarmouth, Maine, where we have our cottage. I've only set foot on it once, because we try to leave it for the birds and sometimes baby seals. I've painted it a few times before, and thought that it would be a good subject for some experiments. This one was with a big brush and a short time table (about 40 minutes). I did a warm up version first, and now wish I hadn't wiped it. Next time I'll keep all versions for comparison. That's what experiments area about, right?

Friday, September 17, 2010

15 Days in Provence #10

"Garden Steps"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I've only managed one painting while here in Vallabrix, too much site-seeing, but lots of fun. I'll post more sketches later. We are off to Aix tomorrow and then home on Sunday. It has been such a great trip.

These stairs are out our backdoor and go down to a beautiful walled garden with a pool. I totally recommend this house. Email me for details if you are interested in hearing more.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

15 Days in Provence #9

Vallabrix street


We left Tourtour and are now in the small village of Vallabrix near Uzes, on the other side of Provence. There will be less painting and more sightseeing for the rest of the trip, with our somewhat larger group. These are sketches I did yesterday morning while waiting for the bread van to come by our house. On top is the street to the left of our front door and on bottom I moved my tea mug around to get some different angles. And the bread finally arrived!

Monday, September 13, 2010

15 Days in Provence #8

"La Calade - Tourtour"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

Claude and Martine Genet of Maison de la Treille

"La Calade" is the last of my plein air paintings from Tourtour. There will be more paintings from this area later from the sketches and photographs we all took. And we are planning a show at the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery in the coming winter. Stay tuned for more info on that.

I can't let the blog leave Tourtour without mentioning our wonderful hosts at Maison de la Treille, the B&B where we stayed in that wonderful village, Martine and Claude Genet. They made us feel so at home, cooked superb meals for us, sent us to wonderful restaurants, and just generally took the best care of us. If you want to visit this area, I can think of no better place to stay, have tea, or eat lunch or dinner.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

15 Days in Provence #7

"Rue de Lavoir - Tourtour"
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

"Rue de Lavoir - Tourtour" in process

Tourtour has many twisty and hilly streets with tall buildings in terra cotta, stone or pastel shades. The shutters add more bright splashes of color. I stood in a corner of the "place", where outside cafes and restaurants serve drinks and meals, to paint this one. I had my picture taken several times and got quite a few comments (in French) from passers by. A far cry from Great Brook Farm where I usually paint!