Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Laurie's Chickens" 12x12 oil on canvas

I went out last week to photograph Jeff and Laurie's chickens.  It was a cold day but sunny and Jeff stepped outside to feed them peanuts so that they would stand in the sun. They are beautiful birds!

Friday, December 7, 2012

First Still Life of the Season

Like hunters, skiers and outdoor people of all kinds, I look forward to the autumn/winter and its colder weather.  Not, however, to be out in the cruel elements, painting, but to be inside painting, hugged by the heat of my wood burning stove.  This is when I turn to still lifes for inspiration. It is easy to be excited by the sand and the dunes and big open skies. It is much harder to get worked up over lemons, limes and pitchers.  However, I did my best by setting up a crowded table, throwing tons of wood on the fire, drinking plenty of coffee and pitching forward, head first. Here's the first of the season, a large oil, 30x30.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another Landscape Takes Shape

I decided to use a fresh canvas for this painting, mainly because I actually had one.  I was sick last week and spent several evenings stretching and priming canvases. Feels like a waste of time but it is nice to work on a white surface now and then.  This time I decided to work from a late-summer pastel as I just can't face up to still lifes yet. They feel so wintery. Following is the progression from drawing to finished painting.  What I don't know is if it looks better at the next-to-the-last stage or the last one.  I am open to input!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Small Landscape Takes Shape

The other day I decided to paint pears as a change of pace.  I drew them in sepia paint, life size, on an 8x8 canvas and added a red background.  It was rich. I highlighted the bright yellows and put dark brown shadows under the pears. I touched greens and blues in the bodies. Then I lost interest.  The more I painted, the less I was able to concentrate.  It was not long before I scraped all the paint off and then rubbed out the images with a rag.  Of course a landscape immediately started taking shape. The blue of the water gave me great peace. I kept one eye on a pastel I did this fall while sitting on a tall dune, looking north from the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.  Ahhh... there is nothing like the beach to keep one grounded and calm.

Monday, October 29, 2012

How a two year old Marsh Landscape turns into a Michigan Jungle

Last week I went outside in that weirdly warm weather to catch the leaves before they were all plucked by the wind.  I went to my friend's 20 acres and found trees with that last little bit of yellow so I set up my easel and pulled out an old painting of the marsh.  I didn't hate that older painting but it didn't sell and I needed a canvas, being too lazy or busy or something to stretch a new one.  Following is the progression. Charlie is lurking in some of the pictures, fussing in the fallen leaves. 
(Go ahead and play "Where's Charlie?" but don't forget to watch the painting change!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How a Bad Portrait of Jane Morphs into a River Landscape

I went into the dunes to pastel yesterday morning and returned home to oil paint on my deck. What glorious fall weather! Always looking to conserve, I used a painting from last winter that I had hoped would be Jane's senior portrait but that looked less and less like her as I painted. It turned out to be a very useful underpainting for "Autumn on the River."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I went outside to paint today.  I have actually been out quite a bit, mostly doing pastels - so easy to carry - since my last blog 100s of years ago, but am too lazy to get them on here.  Today was different cause I changed a portrait into a landscape, right there on Lake Shore Drive.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Anatomy of a painting

Yesterday was a beautiful day in West Michigan. Windy and sunny, near 60 degrees.  I packed up my pastels and headed for the Dunes State Park with Charlie, my dog.  We backed into a tall dune, out of the wind, and I worked on two small pieces.  When I got home I decided to paint from one in oil on a large canvas, 36x48.  Initially I just wanted to cover the canvas with one layer of paint.  I couldn't stop painting, working till 11 at night (LATE for me). I put a few finishing touches on today but wanted to keep the plein air energy that came out of producing it in one sitting, from a plein air pastel. Along the way, I took photos of the progress just for fun.  (Also, sometimes if you lose direction in a painting, you can go back to an earlier version and find it again.)  Plein Air in March!! Yea!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Still Painting

It's been a long time since I've posted but that does not mean I'm not painting.  I'm just a lazy blogger...  I consider this a "plein air" painting even though I was warm and dry inside, as I painted it one January afternoon from out my window.