Saturday, July 29, 2017

Plein Air Painting at Home

I think it is a bit odd that I paint out of doors everywhere I go, but not so often when I am home. There is always so much to do in the studio when I am here, and I think I am just too comfortable in my own surroundings so that I am not looking for painting ideas.

But, the peonies were just so pretty, I couldn't resist.

The best part was that I was so free with this painting; I love letting pigment flow on damp paper.
I sometimes get caught up in drawing. Does this happen to you? 

I hope you are finding lots of time to paint this summer. Send me a note and show me what you are doing!

Have fun, until next time,

Friday, July 28, 2017

It's fun to Paint Big!

I have really been enjoying painting large watercolors. For the longest time I resisted anything bigger than a full sheet. You know all those reasons - no room for them, costs too much to frame, no one has room on their walls, etc. Mary Whyte told me to paint big, so I finally made the leap.

I tried putting the painting and backing board on two easels, but that was too instead, so I settled for leaving it again my table and sitting in from of it. This meant I could reach the top and both sides. I usually stand when I paint, but this is quite relaxing! 
However, I had to keep putting the painting level on the table when I wanted the paint and water to flow on the paper.

you can see how the paper (140# Arches cold press) was buckling under the washes. I took it to my framer and she mounted it on mat board. This made all the difference.

Now it is just a case of building value and especially temperature on all of the shapes of the painting.

Finished Painting 30 x 40"
"Color of Sky and Stone"

I encourage you to try a painting that is larger than you usually do. You might just find a new passion!
Please leave a comment; I enjoy hearing from you.

Happy Painting,

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Story And a Painting

I have a story for you. Get comfortable, pour a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and sit back and relax for a few minutes. I know it's a busy time; a little quiet time will be good.
On a remote peninsula of Ireland lives a tiny white-haired lady whose name is Mary. Her house is on the edge of the sea. There are stone walls bordering the long, winding lane that lead to her house. They are topped with hundreds of seashells. Here is a picture. You have to see it to believe it - several hundred yards of carefully placed seashells:

I spent an hour wandering around Mary's house. 
I spent an hour wandering around Mary's house one afternoon last May. There are paths leading around big rocks and hidden patches of flowers - chickens high-stepping freely in and out of hidden clumps of wild yellow iris and foxgloves that reach almost to my head. Here and there are old benches where I sat for a few minutes, enjoying the quiet. Just me and the clucking of the chickens, and the soft sound of the sea and the occasional gull. 

It seems as if time stood still. My mind wandered.

A few days earlier, I had been painting at a Stone Circle with several artists in my watercolor workshop at Anam Cara. I love the feminine imagery that is associated with the Stone Circles, and yet I thought that the painting that I did that day had a distinctly masculine feeling. 

On my way back to Mary's house, I passed this scene.


Suddenly I had an idea for a new "Stone Circle" painting. I would place a pale pink rose against a stone; the feminine and the masculine. Here is the painting:

                                                           Old Roses And Stone, Ireland 

 Transparent & Iridescent Watercolor 
                                                                   Framed size 20 x 24  "$600.00

Monday, November 7, 2016

Imagine being called "First Lady of Katahdin"

I was taken aback the other day when my email served up a link to a post about me written by community builder/business strategist, Keith Spiro. I know Keith quite well. He has been a supportive fan of my work since we first met at a workshop that he gave for the Maine Commission on the Arts.  Keith made the trip to Rhodora, Frederic Church's camp on Millinocket Lake where I was teaching a workshop painting Katahdin with me a few years ago, where he got a first hand taste of what I've been doing the past many years.

You can read his full post on First Lady of Katahdin.

I was very touched by Keith's kind words, and I invited him to visit my watercolor studio.  During our conversation that afternoon, he asked if I would answer one question. (We did this without scripting). He asked what Katahdin means to me, and you can hear my answer in this video.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

How "A Cuddle of Sand Dollars" was created.

This painting of a pile of sand dollars on Popham Beach here in Maine was painted in my studio in the dead of winter last year! I thought you might enjoy seeing the reference photo and then the steps that I worked through to complete the painting.

Here is the reference photo:

I knew that this painting had to be large. Otherwise, it would be a "Maine cliche". And so I stretched a piece of paper that was 45 x 50".

I wanted to make a textured surface for the area that was sand. I diluted white acrylic gesso in a dish, and put on my latex gloves. I applied the gesso with a tapping motion, making a surface of tiny bumps. I gradually smoothed out the gesso and stopped short of the smooth water.

Then I painted everything except the sand dollars:

Next, the sand dollars. This was fun! 

However, I did not like the way the planes of water and sky were separate. It was difficult to keep adding pigment because of the gessoed surface. Because it was so big, I was using a large brush and my brush strokes would lift the paint underneath.

I decided that drastic measures were necessary. It was make or break! I mixed up a big bowl of white gesso and tinted it with a little blue, adding enough water to make it easily spreadable.

With the big brush, I quickly laid down a wash of the gesso over the entire painting, except for the sand dollars. Then I added some thicker swirling strokes around the sand dollars.

"A Cuddle of Sand Dollars"
44 x 48"

These thicker strokes created the look of water swirling around on the sand. I was so pleased that my risky move paid off.

This painting was given First Prize in the New England Watercolor Society's Biennial North American Exhibition in Gloucester, MA this past month. Juror Mary Whyte wrote"

        " A stunning painting. Bold in its concept, composition and execution".

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Opening Reception & Awards Today!

I am really looking forward to driving to Gloucester, MA later this morning. It is a thrill to have a painting given an award. And for me it is especially happy because the juror was Mary Whyte, whose work I admire so much.

I am writing a blog about the creation of this painting, and will have it ready to share with you in a day or two. I have had emails from artists asking about the use of gesso, and so I want to describe how I used it in this particular painting.

A Cuddle of Sand Dollars
Watermedia: 44 x 48"

So off to Gloucester! Wish you could be there - I will write and tell you all about it!
Happy Painting, 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

So thrilled to hear from Pratiques des Artes!

I am so pleased to be invited by Pratiques des Artes to send photos of three paintings for a special edition that they are publishing in October. They are inviting artists from around the world, and you can imagine, I am sure, how exciting it is to be included.

Here is the painting that they requested: " A Mended Bowl".

A Mended Bowl
22 x 30"

I'll be looking forward to receiving a copy of the magazine. Of course, it is all in French!

I am leaving for Provence tomorrow to teach a workshop in and around Venasque. Jackie
Grandchamps of French Escapade is the tour organizer, and she is the best.