Sunday, February 07, 2016
"Oak Shadows", 16x20 , oil on Panel, Maryanne Jacobsen art, Sarasota Florida, New College Sarasota, Ringling Museum, Ralph Caples, live oak tree
Winter can be a beautiful time to paint outdoors in Florida. Recently I bundled up and ventured out in temps that were below par for Florida- 50ish, I believe. Yup, a little cold for us Floridians, and windy, too, but the sunshine makes it all worthwhile. It was brilliantly sunny that day and the sky was that truly gorgeous blue that is the reason why Florida artists need cerulean on their palette! (Cobalt and viridian mixed are a decent substitute.)
Anyhow, I went to the Caples mansion and carriage house, which borders on the beautiful Ringling Estate. Ralph Caples had a personal and professional relationship with the wealthy Ringlings next door and if you want to learn more about the Caples history you can read about it here.
As soon as I arrived on the site, I become enamoured with the patterns and negative spaces that the immense oak tree was creating with her branches, and so I decided to paint it. The carriage house next to it seemed to figure into the composition as well, although I knew it would be a lot to do in one painting session.
I worked on the painting for about two hours before calling it a day. I packed up my car only to discover that the battery had gone dead because I kept the hatch up while I was painting, meaning that the light drained the battery. A kind man jumped my battery and all in all it was an almost perfect Florida painting day except for the battery.
Over the weekend I used my plein air sketch to recreate the scene above on a larger canvas. Those live oaks with the Spanish moss hanging from their limbs can be quite challenging to paint, as was also the complexity of the architecture of the carriage house, which was modeled after the Mediterranean Revival style. Overall, though, I was pleased with the outcome.
Be sure to visit the historic sites of the Ringling Museum, and the Caples sites, if you ever visit Sarasota. Both properties are on the waterfront of Sarasota Bay and the scenery is quite lovely and the history quite interesting.