Saturday, December 27, 2008

View from Highland Forest, 9" x 12"

I finally got to work in my studio! Still no heater but dearest Santa really surprised me with something way better: a beautiful tiny laptop and a large monitor which I'll be setting in the studio so I can paint directly from my photos!

Today we have a "heat wave" (50F!) that will continue for a few days, so I better take advantage of it to do some more painting.

This one is from Highland Forest Park, looking north. The park is open year-round and it's only 20 miles SE of Syracuse. We used to go cross country skying with friends when the kids were young. The reference photo was taken 3 years ago, when my daughter and I tried snowshoeing for the first time--it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be but we had fun.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Stream at Leetonia, 13"x19"

No heater in my studio yet, but I got a nice soft mat to put under my easel, and today I bought thermal leggings. I'm gearing up to work in "the freezer". You'll see something new soon! In the meantime, another oldie, started last year and finished in March.

This stream flows through the property of friends of ours, who invite us and a bunch of other people to share their cabin during Memorial and Labor Day. The area is near Colton Point State Park in northern PA, where the Grand Canyon of the East is located. We've seen wild turkeys, black bears and coyotes outside the cabin's door! It's hard to believe that before the reforestation project by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1930 the area had been completely deforested.

While most of the guest relax or listen to music--there are really good musicians in the group, for me it's a great time for birdwatching, taking photos, and painting. And just in case you are wondering, I do take the time to socialize!

For this one I had the chance to do a 1 1/2 hour study on location before the rain forced me to quit. Months later, when I was ready to do a studio painting, I had to rely on my plein air study to do the background because that information had been lost in all the photos I'd taken. This taught me the importance of doing studies on location whenever possible.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Silhouettes , 8"x6"

I feel I'm cheating here. The main reason I started this blog was to force myself to paint during the winter, and here I am, posting another painting done a little while ago. You see, my studio is the entrance of our very old house, and in the winter time we reduce our quarters to conserve energy, so the studio area is basically closed. The only time it is used is to let visitors in or when I feel brave enough to do at least a few minutes of work at the easel. Why don't I move the easel to a warmer area?, you might be thinking. Sure I could, but the main reason I don't is because pastel dust can get everywhere. I think it's safer to keep it confined to one area. I'm hoping Santa will feel sorry for me and get me a nice heater for Christmas. That's all I ask. Really! Well, besides the new Gray set of Terry Ludwigs (my favorite pastels)...

Anyway, this is a scene from my backyard looking west. At the time, I was trying to get good pictures of the colors in the sky and clouds, but after printing the photo I found more interesting the back lit house and trees.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oregon Coast

After working so hard to get ready for last Thursday's Fair I'm giving myself a very short break from painting. I wanted to post my most recent pastel but found a few things that needed fixing, so I'm posting instead this one which was painted this past spring.

I have to confess that I've never been in Oregon. The reference is from a photography- aficionado friend of mine, who often sends me pictures he thinks would be good for pastel paintings. Most of the time I use my own references but in this case, as soon as I saw the house (which it's actually a restaurant), I knew I had to paint it.

It took me several months to get the courage to start it, because I had to work with two photographs of the area taken at different angles. One emphasized the sea and the beach, and the other the cliff and house. One thing I've learned is that you have to be at least 90% sure of your composition before you start, for the painting to develop well. Small changes as you work are OK, but if you start changing the focal area, you're asking for a headache. So, I needed to be sure of the composition before applying the first stroke. I visualized myself walking along that beach in order to get believable angles. The rocks were the area I ended up changing several times. Rocks are my pet peeve! So far, it's one of my few large paintings (18"x26").

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On the Hill, sold

Tomorrow Thursday, I'll be participating at the Newhouse Craft Fair, at Syracuse University. I was lucky that a potter friend of mine referred me to the organizer, so I'll be the only artist showing paintings. I'll run from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. in the area of the Newhouse III building (Waverly Ave.).

This painting, which is 7 1/2" x 9 1/2", will be for sale at the event. It's based on a photo I took this summer from the Onondaga Community College area.

This is also my second painting that kind of "paints itself". I did not have any problems while executing it, and most important of all, I knew when to quit. Of course, it's a very simple composition, but I've ruined many paintings by overworking them.