Monday, October 13, 2008

Short stocks, go long...peppers!

Painting usually takes my mind off such things, but I awoke like Rip Van Winkle last week to a much diminished stock market...very stressful. Well, we might not have as much money, but we can still enjoy a bottle of wine, some bread, and Italian peppers. Could be worse!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Weir Farm Apple Tree - Plein Air Study

I got alot out of today's workshop with Connecticut artist Alain Picard -- I focused on finding big shapes, using a range of values, unifying colors, and working out a composition that helps the eye move through the painting and defines a foreground/middle and background. There is so much information in an outdoor scene, it helped to have someone talk about how to simplify and make sense of it.
I don't know if it was due to the workshop or if I was just having a better day-- but there is a big difference between today's effort and last week's attempt at Tilly Foster Farm.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Plein Air - Tilly Foster Farm - 9" x 12" Pastel

This was done at a paint out sponsored by the Putnam County Arts Council. The weather was overcast all morning, then started to rain. Plein air is not my strong suit, although I'd like to get better at it. The good news is that I am taking a plein air workshop tomorrow...hopefully I'll learn something useful for my next outing.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ablaze - Fall Leaves - 10.5" x 15.5" Pastel

Today I went for color and lots of it, which felt great! Just for fun I did a watercolor underpainting, then put pastel over it in places. It was a fun technique.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mo - Great Pyrenees Pastel Pet Portrait - SOLD

A Great Pyrenees is the closest a dog comes to resembling a polar bear -- they are gentle giants, truly wonderful dogs. In my photo reference, Mo is in shadow, but I tried to create a light pattern to make him more interesting. Also, sometimes it is difficult to paint an all white or all black dog using interesting color without getting garish. In real life he is more creamy in color, but this still looks like Mo.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scottie - 18" x 24" Pastel

Usually I think this size lends itself to more of a head and shoulders portrait. Doing the whole body in this format means the head is quite small. But this painting was about the cute pose and light falling on the figure, anyway. This is my son Scott years ago; he is now 14.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lana No. 2 - Viszla - 9.5" x 12.5" Pastel - SOLD

Another painting of my friend's beautiful viszla, Lana. I took a bunch of pictures of her back in June, and this one in particular really showed her stunning coppery coat when lit by the sun.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No. 48 - WIP (Portrait of Scott)

Doing portraits of people as a business freaks me out a little, because getting a likeness with a person is a lot more challenging than nailing it with a dog or cat. In this case, I did get a good likeness -- what remains is to work a bit more on the face, the clothes, and the dreaded hand.

Summer Memories - Pastel 16" x 20"

I worked on this forever!!! I started it back in January, and it sat for a long time; with a recent purchase inquiry, I resolved to finish it. Believe it or not, I redid the foreground and background three or four times -- it almost got to the point where I thought I might have to scrap it, but I prevailed in the end.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Fun Project

My niece Marisa is getting married next summer and I did a little project for her. This scene is from the New York Botanical Gardens in Bronx, N.Y. Working in watercolors made it a special challenge. Gives me lots of respect for watercolor artists!
Now that I look at it, I wish I had made the cloud on the right less stark. Oh well, they love it and that's all that counts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gone Fishin" - NFS

I have been missing in action for six weeks, which makes this an apt painting for my return. Except I wasn't fishing. More like end of summer madness, with a new college freshman to move to school, a husband and a dog who needed surgery, etc. etc. Well, I'm back at my easel, and that's what counts.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Girlfriends - 14" x 19" Pastel

Posting an older painting as I work on completing some long overdue projects. The subject is my daughter and her friend from middle school. I have always liked the charming architectural details of this particular school building.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Old City (Jerusalem, Israel)

An older painting that I did using a reference photo from the Wet Canvas image library. I have never been to Israel, but I found this photo intriguing and enjoyed painting it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Debbie's Garden - 18" x 26" Pastel

An older painting from a friend's beautiful garden. She studied and became a master gardener, and all her efforts were spent perfecting the landscape around her grand estate. Her hard work resulted in a gorgeous landscape, with lovely views at every turn.
This was the first time I painted a landscape on a deep red paper; I like how it shows through and contrasts with the greens.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Shore - 18" x 24" Pastel

Today I'm posting an older painting, while I work on my niece's wedding project. This was one of my first "landscape" paintings, done on Sabertooth paper -- a paper so rough that I haven't used it since. Looking back, I see lots of things I would do differently; but this painting reminds me of one of my favorite beaches, and for that reason, I still like it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Three Labs (Louie, Brownie and Tiger) - WIP

Almost done...will look at it tomorrow with fresh eyes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Three Labs (Louie, Brownie, and Tiger) - WIP

Going slowly, as I try to keep the long,late afternoon shadows and warm light on each of these labs, and also try to get a likeness on each be continued

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dana - 15" x 18" Pastel

I enjoyed painting this, and while I still see some things I might have done differently, I am going to leave it as is.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dana - WIP

I have painted people many times, but after umpteen dogs I am trying my hand at portraiture again; it isn't as easy as I had remembered. I decided to paint my daughter. She's 18 now; tempis fugit!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Curiosity (Vizsla and Butterfly) - 13" x 18" Pastel

OK, I could see how some people would think this is a bit too sweet. But I had fun doing it anyway.

Since the initial layout, I moved the foliage and the rocks around to come up with a more pleasing composition, and rubbed the pastel into the paper (with a styrofoam packing peanut, which is a good tool for this), for a less textured look.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Curiosity (Vizsla and Butterfly) - WIP

Started this today purely for fun. Had an idea in my head and had to get it on paper. After I sketched it out, I realized that it reminded me of a painting my dad did roughly 45 years ago -- purely a coincidence, I think.
I did this on a leftover piece of Art Spectrum Colorfix, and I forgot how textured and grainy it is. As I work on finishing this piece, I will rub some of the color into the paper in certain areas, to reduce the spots of paper showing through, which I think is a little distracting.

Friday, June 27, 2008

German Shorthaired Pointer - 11" x 14" Pastel - SOLD

This commission was harder than I thought! The challenge was to paint a GSP with a solid brown head and ticked body -- And while I needed to add highlights to give the head dimension, I needed to do that without making the head look "ticked" (spotted). Also painted a different style of background than my usual. The client loved it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Golden Open Acrylics! (You've got to try these)

I went to Ward Pound Ridge today with the LHVPAPS group, and we got to demo a new line of Acrylic paints that are coming out in July. Seeing is believing, but all I can say is that this is great stuff and you've got to try them. Wonderful consistency, water soluble, stays open like oils. Can't wait to buy them. Unfortunately, I left my painting there so I couldn't post it. Great stuff!

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Boy", a German Shepherd - 12" x 16" Pastel - SOLD

I was given this photo of a beloved German Shepherd to paint. According to his owner, Boy was big and strong, but deceptively gentle. Folks would be frightened by his looks, and he in turn was terrified of lightening.
This project presented a challenge. This was the only picture of Boy that I had as reference, and because of the indoor lighting and flash, it was less than ideal. Still, you could see his features and coloring pretty well, so I did my best--and upon seeing it, the owner remarked, "that looks just like Boy!".

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lana the Viszla - WIP

Viszla's...I never really knew this breed, but it turns out that they are the national hunting dog of Hungary. This viszla, Lana, is an incredibly energetic, smart, lovable and loyal dog. All that, and good looks,too! I got a good start on this painting today, hope to finish tomorrow.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Distant Shore - WIP - 18" x 24"

I'm not sure whether this painting is a lost cause. I muted the distant shore and cooled down the colors to show distance/atmosphere, but I don't like it as much as I did before. I added a foreground, and am still playing with the shapes of the grasses that I added, but I still like it better without. I'm confused about what my focal point is --if it is the distant shore in the background, does that mean that the higher contrast and stronger colors from yesterday work better? At this point, the values and colors in all the areas are all too much the same, and I'm not sure where to go with this. I don't have any reference to use for the foreground, so I'm just winging it, without much success. I'll put it away for now, and when I have more time will try to resolve it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Distant Shore - WIP - 12" x 24"

I'm not sure where I'm going wwith this; I started on a beach scene that was 18" x 24" and included a figure in the foreground. I really didn't like the figure or the foreground, so I decided to crop it as a panoramic view of the distant shore. I am still trying to work out some of the compositional issues, but perhaps I can make it work.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Holly the Beagle - WIP

This little beagle is a sweet girl and a bundle of energy. She was so constantly in motion, it's a wonder I was able to take her photo. Today, I did the initial block-in and started to work out the painting; I'm looking forward to finishing it tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lemon Reflections - 18" x 24" Pastel

Enjoyed the intense colors of today's still-life. The reflections were really fun to paint. Not sure how to crop it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sophie (Tribute to a Sweet Cat)

I had a cat named Sophie, and unexpectedly, she died.

Sophie was a courageous and independent cat. She would boldly stare down the dog she once found fearful; she would venture outside despite her once timid nature; she would demand your attention when she wanted it, and ignore you fiercely when she didn’t.

She could be really affectionate when she was in the right mood-- she'd rub up against you to be petted. Once she had enough of your hand, she’d saunter off to partake of other comforts…a warm patch of sun, the soft seat of her favorite chair, a windowsill with a nice view and a gentle breeze.

Ten years ago, she came into our lives along with mama cat Mooshie, and they have been together all these years. I imagine Mooshie will miss her the most(do cats miss each other?), but I will miss her too.

Who else will appear out of thin air when I munch on a late night Dorito, demanding I give her a taste? Walk across my desk and nuzzle me for attention when I am deep in thought? Jump up and walk across my pastels mid-painting, and then track colorful pussycat pawprints across my sofa?

Sophie effortlessly became part of our lives. She was a beautiful, soft and constant presence, and then died quietly and suddenly. She didn’t demand much, gave us love, and was one of life’s treasures that you take for granted until they are gone. We will certainly miss her.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Dancers - 18" x 24" Pastel

I am posting some older and larger paintings as I work on a few commissions. This was a still life of a beautiful statue that my teacher (Rae Smith) set up; I did it all in NuPastels, using a kind of scribbly technique. It came out kind of cool, and I have always loved this painting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Diane's Patio (Flowerpots)

I am posting this older painting to remind myself what I like about painting in the first place. If I don't rush, if I take a good photo of a subject that appeals to me, if I paint in the studio without thinking about how I ought to be painting outdoors like the "plein air" folks, if I don't try to do a quick fast painting for the daily painters site, I can actually create something beautiful. Maybe it is time to go back to basics, because I have been all over the place lately.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stone Barns at Blue Hill - Plein Air Pastel Paintings

It was a beautiful day to paint outdoors; I met two fellow painters, and we all painted this scene. I worked really fast, completing two small paintings in about three hours. I tried to quit before "overwork-itis" set in:)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Abstract No. 1 - 12" x 12" Pastel

While whining about yesterday's awful still-life, my hubby humorously suggested that it might be easier to paint in the abstract. O.K., Why not. P.S. - when I showed hubby this effort, he said "next try finger painting or put some paint on Trixies paws and let her walk on the paper". I guess it wasn't a very successful experiment.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bamboo (WIP, and Finished!) - 18" x 24" Pastel

I don't quite know why I felt compelled to paint bamboo...but I did and it was actually a really fun subject. The top is the finished painting. In the earlier stage, I had gotten a little heavy-handed with the background darks, so I scraped them back. I don't imagine this subject will appeal to a lot of people, but I like it and will frame it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tools of the Trade (Still Life with Paints and Brushes )

A still life of what was lying around in the studio. I'm not crazy about the larger painting (18" x 24", felt like working large today), but I really like this vignette. I may just have to crop it that way. Incidentally, I have been experimenting with underpainting. You can see the drips and texture in a few places.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shopping For Flowers (Garden Center)

I could browse for hours at the garden center, looking at all the beautiful flowers. Another sign of Spring!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Spring! (Magnolias and Forsythia)

I just had to paint the beautiful flowers of Spring before they are gone. This is more of a color study, and more abstract, than my usual style. I guess I got carried away! Incidentally, the colors I am getting with my new digital camera are a bit off. Time to figure out why...I guess I will have to actually read the manual:)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Stone Barns at Blue Hill - 9" x 12" Pastel

My first attempt at plein air this season. The surrounding hills were absolutely beautiful-- but, my gear was so heavy, I ended up staying in the courtyard. I need to figure out how to travel lighter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sunday Paper - 18" x 24" Pastel

Spotted this guy relaxing with the paper; loved painting the light. Worked on it all day yesterday; have one or two things to fine tune, and then I will sign it.

Plein Air Season!

OK, my friends Jamie Grossman and Peggy Post have given me the plein air bug. I have dabbled in this before, somewhat unsuccessfully...but this year I plan to get out a lot more and (to quote Tim Gunn) "make it work". To that end I have just bought a new field easel set-up. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Deep in Thought - 11" x 15" Pastel

I tried to complete but not to overwork this--now that I see them side by side, there are some things I liked better yesterday, but on the whole I am happy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Deep in Thought - WIP

Only had an hour or so today, to block this in. To be continued...