Jun 24, 2010

Opening Lace mini pastel

Opening Lace  5" x 5" pastel

This is the third in a series of four small pastels of flowers. I love the Queen Anne's Lace, and wanted to focus on the some of the flowers as they look just before they completely open. For this painting I used more pastel pencils to keep the delicate lines of the buds crisp. One more painting to go!

Twin Crocus mini pastel

Twin Crocus  5" x 5" pastel
This little painting is from the crocus photos I took in my front yard this spring. I did a little photoshopping on the image because the color in my painting looks different than the photos. There is a lot more purple in the pastel, and I think the tweaks I made are bit closer than my digital camera captured. Anyway, I'm shooting for a series of four small flower paintings today. Half way there!

Daisies mini pastel

Daisies  5" x 5" pastel

Recently my husband and I took a weekend trip to Martha's Vineyard with some friends. We toured the island and I took a lot of pictures for painting reference. I took quite a few of window boxes, planters and gardens. These little daisies were charming! 

Jun 23, 2010

Garden at Capron Park pastel

Garden at Capron Park 10" x 8" pastel
Today felt like a good day to get back into some pastel work, so I cleaned up the studio a bit (it currently looks like a frame shop exploded in here) and busted out the pastel tray. I want to create more local pieces, so I looked through my Attleboro photos and decided on this composition.   

Detail of pastel
For those of you who haven't been to Capron Park, this is the Edward L Anderson Rose Garden. The garden has a beautiful design of concentric circular beds and rose covered arbors. This part of the park is especially peaceful to walk through, and I hope I captured that in the pastel. I'll be framing this piece tomorrow to bring to the Expo with me, where I hope some Attleboro residents will recognize the scene.  

Jun 17, 2010

Chickadee painting

Chickadee in Summer  7" x 5" acrylic

I have so many local images I would like to paint - more from Attleboro, Providence, and the Blackstone Valley. But first I just needed to paint a black-capped chickadee. I love watching these guys play in the trees outside the windows of my studio. Thankfully, the cats haven't gotten to any of them yet.

Jun 16, 2010

Capron Park painting

Capron Park 7" x 5" acrylic

I spent the last couple of days chasing down options to display paintings for art fairs in my tent. It was a bit complicated, but I have a plan worked out - more on that later.

Today I am back to painting, and thought it would be appropriate to include some subjects from the Attleboro area, since the Expo will be right downtown. This acrylic is from one of the photos I took in the rain last week. I love the stone and wood combination of the bandstand. There's some nicely contracting textures to paint.

Now I better get crackin' and start another tonight - the Expo is just over a week away!

Jun 14, 2010

Providence Art Festival

Some lovely displays at the Providence Art Festival

Saturday I spent the afternoon and evening seeking inspiration in Providence. I went to the Providence Art Festival downtown to see artwork and get an idea of how other artisans set up their tent displays. After seeing some great displays, I have a few ideas of what I'd like to do for my Expo display. I was in Providence about 4:30 when the rain and wind were picking up as well, so I got a first hand look at what a stiff breeze will do to a pop up tent. There were some tents that were weighted down with barbells, sandbags and home made weights, and a couple that had no weight but an adventurous artist trying to hold the tent in place. Luckily the wind never got to the point that anyone lost artwork or a limb.

Some tent weights

I also saw some professional looking weights - the one on the left here is a solution I found online which you can make at home, but looks a lot better than cinder blocks. I'll be trying that out today.

Tent weight made of PVC, eyebolt and cement, as well as a purchased one

After looking over display and weight solutions, I went back through the tents to really enjoy the arts and crafts of the participants. There was a diverse group of artisans there, and if I had some lottery winnings on me I would have come home with a lot of pieces. But since I am on a budget, I just picked up a few smaller pieces.

The best part of events like this is meeting the artist behind work that you like. When I saw something that I really liked, I made sure to ask the person attending the booth if they were the artist. I had some wonderful conversation with several people and got to understand their process or their inspiration a bit better.

Katy Meyer spoke with me about how she made her silk scarves and paintings. She had some pieces of her hand-painted silk matted and framed as wall art, which looked fantastic. I love the saturated colors she uses, and the whimsical style of the art, so I might have to check out her online store when I have more money to spend.

Christopher Belleau had beautiful pieces of art glass at the Fest - we discussed the difficulties of porting all the work to his booth, as the artists were not allowed to back a car up and unload on  the spot. With hundreds of pounds of glass, that must have been a feat for him to port everything from the parking area.

Sarah Whitman creates floral hairpieces from hand-dyed silk, inspired by Japanese art. At this point my money was practically jumping out of my pocket at her, so I nabbed a lovely purple hair flower and a card with a heart she created from woven Japanese papers.

Jyll Ethier-Mullen, whom I met at the recycled art show (she and her husband run the West Side Arts gallery) had her paintings at the Fest - wildly imaginative and colorful illustrative work.

Greg Stones had a gorgeous booth (you can see his with the fabric panels at the top of this post) and an awesome selection of small watercolors. His work is quirky, very funny, featuring zombies, sheep and penguins. I was thrilled to go introduce myself to Greg, and let him know I was a fan. I had seen his work years ago, with tiny martian people in his landscapes. At the Pawtucket Armory show last Christmas, my husband and I bought a signed copy of his book Goodbye, Pengiuns which hilariously depicts ten penguins as they vanish, each in a bizarre fashion.

Christine's tent with gorgeous artwork

Christine Wendel Farrugia had the most beautiful charcoal drawings of animals I think I've ever seen. She creates images of the animals from her farm in Connecticut. She was very generous with her time, and we spoke at length about the farm, how she works, and art festivals. I bought some art cards with her work, and added her blog to my Google Reader. Speaking with her really made the day for me, despite the rain (and the crazy 'fro my hair turned into).

After the Art Fest, I spent the rest of the night taking pictures of waterplace park in daylight, and then again during the waterfire. I hope that between the two I will have some decent reference for paintings. The waterfire was challenging as by that point the steady drizzle had turned over to a steady downpour. But with enough lighter fluid, even the damp firewood started to burn. At least the crowds were light! All in all an awesome day.

Jun 12, 2010

Marsh painting

Marsh  6" x 6" acrylic

After spending Friday up in New Hampshire visiting family, it's time to get back to the art! Here's another small acrylic. Now I'm off to check out the Providence Art Festival and see if I can get some pictures of tonight's waterfire. I'm hoping the weather cooperates, but it's been rainy up here in Douglas, so I'm bringing the umbrella just in case!

Jun 10, 2010

Painting reference

I've been thinking about what paintings to bring with me to the Attleboro Expo for the Senses later this month. I'm creating a slew of smaller works - pastels and acrylics 8" x 10" and under, as well as matted prints. Some of these are based on subjects I have painted before and some recent photos. But I'd like to explore more local scenery for the Expo.

My husband grew up in Attleboro, and helped me map out some ideas of photo ops in the area. Now that I have a plan of attack, I'll be on the road to take lots of reference pics. I'm not too encouraged by the sky here in Douglas - it's pretty gray. Maybe I'll get lucky and get some blue sky.

I'm going to check out Capron Park, downtown Attleboro, maybe LaSalette shrine - anything else that looks inspiring as I cruise the area.

I'm also looking forward to spending some time in Providence on Saturday. The Providence Art Festival on Westminster street looks pretty awesome, so I'll be checking that out. Plus there is a waterfire that night, lighting at 8:12 pm, so it would be a good day to hit the city and take more pictures.

Jun 8, 2010

Crocus painting

Crocus  6" x 6" acrylic

This is the last of the paintings I completed since the weekend. I think it actually looks better in person that I captured in this photo. Must be all the glare off  the acrylic. I worked on this one last night, finishing up around 1am. Honestly, I love that the house is quiet and I can dive right into these pieces, painting all hours until I am happy with them. Seems to me that I got started on this after I made dinner, wait...what did we have for dinner? My brain must be fried because I have to stop and focus to remember the last cooked meal...Oh! Seafood cassarole, cauliflower and garlic bread. 

OK - so after a late dinner I cleaned up and got this painting done - probably 2 1/2-3 hours. Late in the day to start, but at least I got another painting complete. This one has a lot of movement as the ground in my reference photo was kind of blah wood mulch, so I took some liberties with the texture.

It's funny, but these little flowers were tough to paint. I have a pastel of crocus that I completed recently, and I think the acrylic was a bit more work. The color is very saturated and transitions greatly in value from center to edges of the petals.

Crocus  10" x 4" pastel

For comparison, here is the pastel I created of the same subject. The pastel was tough to get saturated enough, but easy to blend from dark to light. The acrylic was more intense (I must be short on brilliant blue pastels) but challenging to blend correctly before drying on the canvas.
Which medium do you think worked better? I'd love to get some feedback on this.

Welcome painting

Wickford Welcome  5" x 7" acrylic

This painting I finished on Sunday. My best estimate would have to be 4 hours, but maybe it took me a bit longer on this one. I'm not much for architectural subjects, and my hands really want to make curvy shapes rather than straight ones. So I don't often paint such structural compositions, but this doorway just captured me when I walked by it in downtown Wickford, RI. The brickwork is actually yellow from flaking paint with a lot of the original brick color coming through.

Working on this piece and trying to get the lines both straight and casual looking was a challenge. I really don't want to add so much tight detail that you lose that brushy effect, and make a technical illustration instead of a loose painting. An artist that I admire who does this well is Mike Bryce in Pawtucket, RI. I've met him a couple of times through friends and at art events, and his style is just masterful. 

Looks like I need to paint a lot more hard edges and get my perspective down pat. 

Red Bridge painting

Red Bridge  7" x 5" acrylic

I just finished this painting Saturday. I think it took me between 2 and 3 hours to paint. I'm going to try posting right after I get these finished so that I can better track my progress and the time involved. 

This scene is from a photo I took when on an art vacation in Vermont. My friend April and I made it up to the Stowe area for a retreat, where we toured the area, took photos and created some artwork. The local visitor's guide had an article on waterfalls in the region, and we passed this little covered bridge as we were on the road.

As you can see I am using my new Utrecht easel (birthday present from my husband) for most of these paintings. The easel is pretty large, but can handle the little canvases too. I have a tabletop easel that works great for smaller pieces, but I am trying to get in the habit of using the full easel and it frees up my work table for the paints and my laptop, which I use to view my reference photos.

Queen Anne's Lace in acrylic

Queen Anne's Lace  6" x 6" acrylic

Another painting for the Attleboro Expo for the Senses, this study of Queen Anne's lace makes for an enjoyable subject to paint. I'll probably try a few more variations of these flowers from some photos I took lat summer.

Attleboro Expo for the Senses

Lilacs  7" x 5" acrylic

Thanks to a good friend Kim, I found out that The Attleboro Arts Museum is working with the city of Attleboro to create the Expo for the Senses at the end of this month. Luckily I was accepted as an artisan for the event, and will be selling my paintings and prints from a booth there on Saturday June 26th! The Expo runs from 12 - 5 pm and there will be music, food and handmade arts, crafts and jewelry for sale. The event is free and outdoors in downtown Attleboro, MA.

I have some pastels that I am framing for the event, but am juiced to create a bunch more paintings this month. Here's the first one I painted to get in the groove - back to acrylics for a bit. I'll be working on lots of small canvases to keep the work affordable, and it's really fun to paint quickly, and see progress in a short period of time. This first piece took me around three hours. Our lilac tree lost a few branches earlier this year, so I cut all the flowers and got them into water as fast as I could. Lilacs don't last too long once cut, so I took lots of photos to make paintings of later. I really like the yellow/purple combination.

I'll be posting more artwork as the paintings progress. I've been back to work on my Heart Art project as well, so I'm looking forward to lots more art blogging!

Jun 3, 2010

I am Ms. Crankypants

So one of my goals is to be a happier, more productive artist. I really want to be creative, leave anxiety and worry behind me, and be actively working towards the future I want.

Today, however, I am Ms. Crankypants.

We have two beautiful Australian Shepherds and two cats, and one of them has given me poison ivy. The dogs are the most suspect, based on the location of my rash. It seems that I ran my hands through somebody's fur and then unknowingly spread urushiol oil over parts of my body (including my face) when I got ready for bed. And I am not a happy camper.

My husband has checked the dog run, pulled anything looking suspicious, and with the advice of our vet, washed the dogs with Dawn dish detergent. I have laundered and wiped down anything I have touched that might carry the oil, and it looks like the rash has stopped spreading, so we are successful in that at least. I've been scrubbing down with Zanfel and am working on drying out the rash with a cream from the doctor. I just prepped some oatmeal for a bath that I am looking forward to tonight.

Husband is working from home this week, which has been helpful to me, but can't be too much fun for him what with my current state. It's somewhat depressing to be covered in itchy rash, and off and on I am pretty damn irritable. After one particularly low moment in which he said something along the lines of: "Well, I'll do what I can but it's challenging to get rid of the plants", I think I lost my mind and yelled some demand about him being more positive and to just lie to me and say it will get better (!) for the sake of my sanity. I eventually regained my senses, but it's been rough.

Since that outburst, hubby is doing his best to lift my spirits with much joking and poking and general silliness. He has also been kind in telling me that he thinks I am beautiful (hard to believe it when parts of your face look like sandpaper). I truly hope none of you out there get poison ivy, though it is unfortunately likely some of you will. I am looking forward to feeling human again soon.