Monday, December 26, 2011

from the kitchen door: photos

On a whim, I moved my birdfeeders from the sideyard to the back, where I can see them from the kitchen window and door ...what a good move; I see so many more birds now. This morning robins, sparrows, mourning doves and a tufted titmouse.
I've been taking pictures through the door, which, at first it seemed to me did not yield the best pictures, but these near-silhouettes have a sparingness that appeals to me.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

bluetit & nuthatch



For these two I decided to tackle the background first ... since it always seems to be a problem later.
The bluetit is adorable, but not native to the U.S. and I've never seen one; both are from photos at Paint My Photo.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

chickadee & robin

Neither of these is quite finished ... In the chickadee one I want to add something to the upper left area and for the robin, calm down the branches a bit with some snow!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

seagulls in the sand

(5x7 each)
Painted alla prima, all in one go, on some 90 lb. paper I have had for awhile ... I used to use it for quick sketches in life-drawing classes, but I haven't taken a life class in awhile. It won't hold to much (any?) working, but is good paper in case you accidentally do something you like!
The photos I painted the seagulls from were taken by my teacher Marie Natale.
Below is a photo of my cat Smilla being adorably cat-like. She makes me smile everyday.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

backyard birds

(7x10 each)
I could not get the shape of this sparrow right and had to keep adjusting his outline, which necessitated the use of some opaque white, which I also used in his throat. I try not to use opaque colors, or white, but, when it comes to painting, whatever's necessary! I also added a wash of quinacridone gold over the background at the end and tossed on a little salt.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

winter scenes



A couple of little winter scenes done before I went to Chincoteague last weekend. As usually happens, since I've been back, Tuesday, I have been too busy catching up to paint!
It was pretty cold in Chincoteague, and Peter and I surf-fished for striped bass nonetheless. We didn't get any, but on Sunday I got a few pictures of the Saltwater Cowboys as they rode their ponies on the beach. This wasn't one of their pony roundups; they were just out for a rare pleasure ride, as one cowboy told me. I'll do a post on them soon.

I found out--too late!--that my birthday, 12/12, is also the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I took this picture of her in Santa Fe in October and have been wanting to paint it.

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Thursday, December 08, 2011



Chickadee without snow overlay and with ... the snow has the added benefit of covering up the (not so great) pine cones!
I'm going away for the weekend--down to Chincoteague, Virginia, where I'll have nowhere to go and nothing to do. Heaven.

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

making winter scenes

the original

My teacher Marie Natale, who makes a living from her art and teaching, taught us this trick for turning a painting into a snow scene.
Lightly secure a piece of workable acetate over your painting with tape then paint "snow" on the acetate using bleed-proof white or Aquacover liquid paper (available from various online artshops); add a little color for shadows or volume.
Then photograph the scene and print it out.

the snowscene

the painted-on acetate
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Saturday, December 03, 2011

a daily paintworks challenge


Last week's Daily Paintworks Challenge (which is still active, if you want to participate) was to paint in the style of an artist you admire. The first hurdle was choosing which of the many painters I admire to emulate; my friend Mike suggested Cezanne, whom I hadn't thought of and realized immediately was perfect.
I started looking through my Cezanne books at still lifes; when I first began painting and drawing again after graduate school and before I started taking any classes, I drew and painted many apples on white cloths.
But I kept being drawn to the many portraits of Madame Cezanne: her solidity and placid expression.
The woman in these paintings isn't Hortense, but I borrowed the general pose, the hands, the skirt, and the wallpaper from Cezanne.

First (right) and second attempts

winter is a'comin in

Preparing for winter by making shortbread, getting out the crock pot, planting spring bulbs, stocking up on red wine, and looking to winter-themed painting subjects. It's been a very wet fall. and so maybe we will have snow this year. I hope so!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

virtual paintout: arles

It's been awhile, but I joined in this month's Virtual Paintout of Arles, France. I found many charming streetscenes using Google Streetview but found them harder to paint than expected. I thought a streetscene, with it's succession of receding box shapes and flat planes would be "easy" to paint. Not so.
The scene above was my third attempt.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011


The last couple of years I haven't been home at Christmas, and so didn't put up a tree ... I always miss having a tree more than anything. This year I'll be at home, so I've begun unpacking all the boxes and looking over all my ornaments.
When I worked in the Flatiron building in NYC I was just a block from a huge ornament wholesaler that would open its doors to the public during the holiday season--I accumulated, or maybe hoarded, a nearly insane amount and variety of tree ornaments.
The last few times I've put up a tree, though, I've found myself gravitating to gold and silver.
But the themes are the same: birds, trees, stars, snowflakes, pine cones, reindeer, Santas, fairies, and boats.

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