Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Crazy Surprises!

So the craziest thing happened to me last night.  I was with my husband and we were sitting at the kitchen table.  I saw that my "The Art of Watercolour" magazine had come in the mail so I started to flip through it and mentioned how I would love to try to get into this magazine.  No sooner had I said that, I turned a couple more pages and saw this:

Imagine my surprise! I was dumbfounded! I had forgotten that a few months ago on a whim, I entered this painting into a contest hosted by the magazine.  I don't enter many contests and I've had so much going on lately that I never thought about it again after I hit "send."  

"Canal House Copper"
14" x 11"
(watercolor on aquabord)

I am grateful and humbled to have had this painting chosen. "The Art of Watercolour" is a beautiful and inspiring magazine full of incredibly talented artists and full color reproductions of their stunning work. My little story is an example that anything is possible as long as you throw your hat in the ring.  :)

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Christmas Paintings

"Deerfield Christmas"
14" x 11"
(watercolor on aquabord)

Bricks, bricks and more bricks!  I can't tell you how long these took . . . it was crazy-making.  I don't know why I labor so long, but I do. For a while, the pushing around of pigment is fun . . . almost meditative . . . but then it becomes so tedious and boring I can barely force myself to finish. 

"A Jolly Old Elf"
12" x 12"
(watercolor on aquabord)

Santa came together pretty quickly, but as I got closer to finishing, I did lots of work on details and bringing out the pigments of his skin.

I'm planning on having cards made up of both of these prints for Christmas cards.  I'll be sure to share those with you when they come in.  :)

Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, August 28, 2017

So Much To Share

14" x 11"
(watercolor on aquabord)

It's amazing how time flies.  I knew I hadn't posted in a while but I never imagined it had been a month!  Whoa!

Since my last post, I've finished the two Christmas card paintings, a commissioned home portrait and have been working on this painting. It's from a photo I took last November in Georgetown, Washington D.C. I think after this one, I am done with painting bricks for a while. 

I hope you all have been enjoying your summer!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Summer Reading and Commission

A couple weeks ago my husband and I stopped into our local used bookstore and I picked up this autobiography of Norman Rockwell. What a pleasant read! Like his paintings, his anecdotes are charming and detailed illustrations about very colorful characters. Loved it!

In other news . . . I can't remember if I shared my finished commission with you. It's a painting based on a few black and white photos of a childhood home. It's a little more interpretive than what I usually paint but most important was for me to portray a sense of place and nostalgia that would conjure up happy memories for the recipient. Hopefully I was able to achieve that. 

"Ebenwood Farm"
12" x 12"
(watercolor on aquabord)

I am always grateful when approached to do a commission. This was no exception . . . and a treat to reconnect with an old classmate.  Thanks, Mitch!  :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"S" Is For Summer And Spontaneity!

Last week I had the good-fortune of taking a spontaneous trip to Nantucket for a couple days. My dear friends are vacationing there for a couple weeks and invited me to come stay with them. With my husband's blessing I hopped the ferry last Tuesday morning and came back late Wednesday night. It was a glorious break . . . beautiful, fun, artful and inspiring. Needless to say I have lots of photos and paintings planned!

I am back at work now, planning my 2018 calendar and working on paintings for Christmas cards.   

"Deerfield Door" - almost finished
14" x 11"
(watercolor on aquabord)

"Kringle Santa" - wip
12" x 12"
(watercolor on aquabord)

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Switching It Up . . . Again

work in progress
14" x 11"
(watercolor on aquabord)

Hello All!  My posts have been spotty at best this summer, but that doesn't mean I haven't been painting. Although I admit I've been spending more time working outdoors, reading and traveling around collecting photos for inspiration. 

In typical fashion, I've bounced around from painting to painting. I must finish the images for this year's Christmas cards, so I put my Baby Lilacs aside to again continue making progress on this little ditty. It's getting there . . . 

I hope all my Northern Hemisphere friends are enjoying your summer!

Monday, June 26, 2017

No Rest For The Weary

14" x 11"
(watercolor on aquabord)

I finished up "Signs" -- my fourth painting from my Amsterdam,  The Netherlands series.  I've also begun some new paintings.  I was inspired by my beautiful baby lilacs this season and have messed around a bit with the color.  So I have a couple paintings of this subject planned.  I'm also toying with architectural structures as a theme, so I've been playing around with some images I captured while visiting Georgetown (Virginia) over the fall.  (Don't worry, I haven't abandoned Amsterdam . . . I've got those paintings planned and ready to go.)

works in progress
left to right:  "Baby Lilacs" -- study?
Georgetown painting -- unnamed

Finally, I am working on a commission for a friend.  I will be very busy this week.  I've been painting a lot and so my house and gardens are a mess . . . ha!  Hopefully I can become a little more balanced in the upcoming weeks.  But I figure if I can paint enough, maybe I can hire a housekeeper and gardner!  Ha!  (one can always dream, eh?) 

Have a great start to your week!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Inching Along

"Signs" - work in progress
14" x 11"
(watercolor on cradled aquabord)

Just taking a minute before bed to post my progress.  Have a good night!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Signs Progression

#3 -- pulled out the lettering on the black sign
I like this much better

Thought I'd catch you up on my progress on "Signs." I can't remember what I've shared of this one already.  As you may tell, I paint things, then I take them out, then I paint them again.  I find this process adds to the realism.  (oh . . . and it allows me to try things that I can change if I want) 

 #2 -- More work . . .
got rid of the lettering on the black sign as it just wasn't working

#1 -- First pass . . . just laying down the basic washes and a some lettering
I masked out the lettering on the black sign, only to hate it -- ha!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Laundry Day

"Laundry Day"
11" x 14"
(watercolor on cradled aquabord)

I let this one sit for a while and did a little more tweaking on Monday.  I think it's finally safe to say "she's done!" Now it's off to varnish!

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Part Two

"At CCD"
8" x 8"
(watercolor on cradled aquabord)

This is the painting I did for Sister Angela who has taken another position within the Diocese after 30+ years serving the people of our church. Together, Father and Sister were a team and built a beautiful and loyal community within our Parish. It is very sad to see them go.

These two folks have great senses of humor, so I'm hopeful that Sister "schooling" Father at CCD will be well-received.  :)

More Amsterdam paintings to come this week, so stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Taking Risks

"Watching the Red Sox"
8" x 8"
(watercolor on cradled aquabord)

I took a little detour from my Amsterdam paintings to work on a couple of gifts. While I haven't yet delivered them, I'm pretty sure the recipients don't follow me online, so I think I'm safe. And yes, that's a priest.  :)  Our dear Parish Pastor, Father Fitzgerald, has retired after 30+ years and we are all sad to see him go. He and his loyal sidekick, Sister Angela actually look a lot like these Fisher Price people -- Father and Sister are the cutest, most adorable little people I know . . . and one of the great teams in history. 

Anyway . . . I did a painting for each of them . . . this one is for Father. But there is a painting lesson in here that I wanted to share with you. Take a look at the version of this painting mid-way, below:

It's horrible! The reference image had the background darker, and in shadow, so that is what I aimed to paint. And if you are familiar with the Fisher Price toys of this era, the blue on the walls is a weird, almost dirty looking blue. Too often I succumb to being a slave to the photo -- something I am really striving to avoid these days . . . but alas, I was sucked in and my painting was lifeless and dirty looking.  There was no way I could continue it like this. I would either have to do something drastic or start over.  So I went "drastic" and decided to wash off the background. (This is one of the perks of aquabord.)

To the sink I went . . . and carefully holding the board under the running water, only where I wanted to "erase," I began to get rid of the majority of paint in the background. The Winsor blue is a staining pigment so I knew it wasn't all going to wash off, however, I wanted to leave a ghost image so I knew where to re-paint. 

Luckily, it worked like a charm and I could revise the background.  I brightened it up, making new decisions about what the painting needed as opposed to what the photo was showing me.  

So I validated two valuable lessons here (I say "validated" because deep down I know these things, I just don't always apply them):

1)  Let your painting speak to you . . . and be sure to listen. It will tell you where to go and what it needs.  Don't just paint your reference photo.

2)  Take a risk on a painting that isn't working. The worst that can happen is you start over . . . the best is that you salvage something that would never have worked in the first place.

Thanks for popping by.  Tomorrow I will share the painting I did for Sister Angela.  :)