Thursday, April 20, 2017

Almost There


This painting is almost there. I am going to let it sit for a while. Taking a step back will give me a chance to assess the details which will give it that extra something and finish the piece.

With an upcoming gallery show on Martha's Vineyard, my next oil painting will be a departure. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pheasants

Since my last post I couldn't help playing around a little with the grasses. There is still more to do but I am ready to move on to the birds.


For me, painting pheasants is a balancing act. There needs to be enough detail so they read as pheasants, but I am not interested in doing a scientific illustration depicting each feather. Often a perfect rendering can leave birds feeling static and this is a painting designed with movement.
Once the feathers are painted, I may even soften their edges by dragging the wet tips into the background.

The red for their heads is a challenge. Cadmium red, cadmium orange, rose madder, and cadmium yellow mixtures are a start.
For the iridescence of their necks I am using several colors which rarely make it to my palette (cobalt violet, cobalt turquoise blue, chromium oxide green) along with ultramarine blue and cerulean blue  To fully accomplish the effect I may need to glaze on some brilliant color once this layer is dry.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Grasses

With my background blocked in, I work alla prima on the grasses. Alla Prima is Italian for "first attempt." For painting purposes, it defines the method of applying wet paint on top of wet paint rather than waiting for each layer to dry.
I find this method gives me a sense of freedom along with the ease of blending each stroke. My brushes are wiped with a paper towel often so a fresh clean stroke of paint can be applied, avoiding a muddy look.
Not all of the grass will be done this way. Once the birds are painted, I will go back into the grasses and add finishing touches. Some parts of the grasses (the darkest areas) may already be dry.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

New Painting in progress

This next piece is not from my Florida trip but is one I have wanted to do for a while.
After drawing in my subject I start blocking in the background.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Florida reference trip

When I have the opportunity to spend time with animals in their natural habitat, I take it. There is no substitute.
I just returned from a trip to Florida and the main species I wanted to see there was the Roseate spoonbill. Knowing one of the best spots is Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, that was my first stop. It has been 15 years since I have been to Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and this trip certainly exceeded my expectations!
Below is one of the more than 600 reference photos I took of Roseate spoonbills. The other 1400 reference photos are of various wading birds, herons, cranes, and two baby alligators.

Monday, March 20, 2017

American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher
12" X 9"
Original Oil

Painting water is such fun. It has so many different moods that it is easy not to repeat oneself.

One of my favorite spots in late May is the barrier beach on the southeast shore of Martha's Vineyard. Nesting birds fill the beach. In one particular place on the inside shore, I can almost always spot oystercatchers. Each year I look forward to seeing them. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Quick Finish

A quick finish is a painting completed within a set period of time. Usually this is in front of a crowd and then the painting is auctioned.
Next week I will be painting a quick finish at the invitation of the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana. This coincides with their main fund-raiser, The Russell Event. The Quick Finish is Friday morning, March 17th, and I will have a another piece, Morning Mist, auctioned at the Friday First Strike Event.

I believe I'll have about 2.5 hours to work on my piece, then put it in the frame. The quick finish auction will take place once the 20 of us have our framed paintings ready to go.
Things I need to prepare for:
the absence of my handy-dandy hand rest on my big easel since I'll be bringing a small free-standing metal easel
chatting during my 2.5 hours with all the wonderful, enthusiastic patrons who attend
unpredictable lighting
 ...and time will pass much faster than I think!

This is the piece I am bringing. It is 20" X 16". The elk's body is not completed and I haven't started on the grass. I'll also add the bull's breath in the night air. An artist can bring a piece which just needs a signature but what is the challenge in that. Wish me luck!


Morning Mist
Original Oil
37" X 23"
Friday Night First Strike Auction, C.M. Russell Museum

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On the Road Again

It seems I just returned from my last show and am on the road again for my next one.
This upcoming show is NatureWorks at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center, Tulsa, OK. It is open to the public February 25th & 26th with a VIP reception Friday evening the 24th.

Below are two of the new pieces I will be unveiling:

Reticulated     Original Oil    5" X 7"  

 
Tandem          Original Oil       11" X 15"

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Lions

This piece I unveiled at Safari Club International. Though many of the art patrons prefer paintings of male lions, this is a painting I really wanted to do. (My first piece to sell at the show was a male lion.)

When I think about what to paint for a show, there is consideration for the crowd. But, some pieces I do because they move me and tell a story. I spent lunch on the Serengeti with three lioness one day and they were so comfortable with us, they napped. When I can be with wildlife and observe their natural behavior, that is always a special moment.

Cat Naps
10" X 17"
Original Oil

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Anatomy of a Show

You've seen pieces I have painted in the last several months and I thought I would give you a "behind the scenes" look at my latest show.

Once the paintings are completed, varnished, and framed, the packing begins. My husband and I put together a floor plan of my booth area. The island booth is 20 feet by 20 feet and both the inside and outside walls are filled with my original oil paintings save a small interior corner for giclee canvas prints. I have a total of 135 linear feet of wall space. With this kind of space, a lot of time is saved with a floor plan which ensures I bring enough to fill the space and not too much.

Packing involves lots of lists: booth parts, lights, electrical cords, light bulbs, desks, panels, shelves, step stool, dolly, and the black box. The black box is my catch-all box: utility knife, electrical tape, scissors, description cards, pens, flyers, tape, drapery hooks, velcro, and lots of other stuff. Then there are the paintings and prints. It generally takes 5- 6 hours to pack, all carefully accounted for in layers.

The next day, Friday, we are off on a two-day drive to Las Vegas, Nevada. We have two mountain passes and fortunately the driving was good both ways. Sunday morning we are up at 5 am so we can get to the staging area with the trailer by 5:45 am to stand in line and get a number to drive into the building. (we were #8 but were the 3rd in the building at 7:30 am.) Unload approximately 1800 pounds and it is time to start.

First we lay the carpet and then erect the walls. By 3pm, we quit for the day after finishing all the electrical.

Second day.  We start around 8am and by 3 pm, all the paintings are hung with description cards. Errands include picking up more light bulbs, extra extension cords, new guest book, and another table cloth. On Tuesday, I have a lunch meeting and spend the afternoon with finishing touches.

 Final touches, husband Jim vacuuming

The show (Safari Club International) opens on Wednesday morning.




When the show finishes at 5 pm Saturday, our crew of 7 dismantles the booth and carefully packs all the paintings (including all the sold ones for shipping) in 90 minutes. Many thanks to Jim V., Jeremy, Cody, Sariah, and Kevin, and of course my husband Jim, who all made the packing a fun experience.

Sunday morning we bring our truck and trailer into the building at 6:15 am, use our carefully constructed packing list and my husband and I load the truck and trailer. We are on the road home before 8 am.



Of course once home, we unpack and I begin ordering custom boxes for all the shipments.
It was a great show and I broke all my previous records for sales.

In the next few posts, I'll show a few of the paintings I finished just before the show.

NatureWorks in Tulsa, Oklahoma is my next show. February 24th and 25th at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Show Time

As soon as my 2016 Safari Club International show ends, I am thinking about the 2017 show. This year's show is at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
With a quad-island booth (20 feet by 20 feet) and the design we erect, I have 135 linear feet of wall space to fill.

One of the small pieces I just completed for the show is below.

Ancient Ones
7" X 10"
Original Oil

The small pink dots in the background are the flamingos of Lake Nakuru, Kenya.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Finished

Center Stage
18" X 12"
Original Oil

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Head


Most of this head is being painted with a new small angled flat brush. I can create an edge and a wedge of paint. Small details like the eyes are painted with a fine round brush.

A number of years ago, my husband watched as a struggled with an old brush which had frayed beyond easy use. He asked me how much a new brush cost. I said, "$3-$7." When he asked me how much extra time I was spending because I didn't have a new non-frayed brush, it was pretty clear I had been stingy with my brush purchases. Now if I feel I need a new brush I throw caution to the wind and part with $4.25 - all at once!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Painting


As I work on this piece, I am reminded why I like Jack Richeson toned gessoed hardboard panels. Paint can really slide around on them but they have enough tooth to hold the paint in place. For this piece I am using the umber toned board. While their gray is nice, it does lend a cool tone to a painting.

Before beginning the background, I mixed a number of greens with sap green as my base. Lemon yellow, Cadmium yellow, burnt sienna, and naples yellow all came into play for the brighter greens. The deep background is ultramarine blue, raw umber and sap green. The darkest color was not evenly mixed so I would have some variation and not a solid mass.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Oil Painters of America

Happy New Year!

I have exciting news. Oil Painters of America has awarded me Signature Member status.



 This prestigious organization with over 4000 juried members has at last count awarded Signature status to fewer than 210 members. (Master Signature Member status has 50 members.)


http://oilpaintersofamerica.com/