It seems there are some parts of a painting which have to go through an ugly stage. Here it is the background tree. Blobs of dark green are doing nothing for me and I'd like to race to the finish line. But, I warm up my green tea, walk around the studio, and then it is time to mix up a number of greens from emerald to lime-yellow to slowly piece together a tree.
Now that the last roof is completed, I am starting on the sky. Usually I start with the sky and work my way down, but on this piece I took a more round-about approach. I'd love to tell you there was a brilliant reason why, but beyond the "it felt right," there isn't.
One of the things I like about painting scenes like this is that I get to play with colors less frequently used in my pieces of the natural world. I probably used more cadmium lemon in the underpainting of the flag than I have used in 8 months!
Piece by piece, step by step. For me, a painting like this can't be rushed. It is the detail which helps inform the story. Though it might seem tedious from the outside, the chance to work with some different colors to come up with just the right hue keeps me interested, even fascinated, with the process.
Since I spent almost every July as a child on Martha's Vineyard, (biking, swimming, hiking), it holds special memories for me. Mom and Dad retired there so I have been on the Vineyard every month of the year.
The Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven is my gallery home on the island. Owned by a dynamic and artistic Vineyarder, Louisa has been able to gather some of the island's best talent to showcase. Because of my long history with Martha's Vineyard, I am included in her slate of artists.
Wildlife is my main focus throughout the year, but each Spring I enjoy stretching my brushes and completing some of the scenes of Martha's Vineyard which bring a smile to my heart. I may come up with some bird pieces (one of the best places in the world to see endangered shore birds), but first up is a piece inspired by Cottage City in Oak Bluffs.
Sometimes I can't reveal what I am working on because it is a surprise. That is the case with my latest piece. The oil painting is a surprise gift for a client's wife's birthday. I certainly wouldn't want to spoil the event.
As each step of the painting proceeded, I e-mailed my client photos so he could see the progress. When I received the "WOW, it's perfect!" I knew the piece was a success.
Once the painting was finished, I took it to my framer and snapped a number of photos with frame options. Fortunately, the client thought one of the choices was a "slam dunk" and I ordered the frame.
(Note: the owner Holly Swanson of Spokane Gallery & Framing has over 5000 frame choices. It can be overwhelming but I take the subject matter and coloring of the painting into careful consideration before I make 5 or 6 preliminary selections. Usually the first group of framing choices contains the winner.)
I may not show this piece in progress once my client's wife sees her birthday gift, but know my brushes have not been idle.