Monday, January 30, 2012

"The Discovery", 16x20, oil on linen, paintings of little girls, flowers,dogs, impressionist paintings of children


"The Discovery", 16x20, oil on linen

I absolutely loved painting this. I had never painted a dog before and frankly, I was a little worried. The reference photo (thank-you to the beautiful Tribe/Gallagher family for allowing me to use it!) showed the little girl and the dog looking at something, but most of the dog's face was covered with wildflowers, so I knew I had to wing it . I decided I could make it work if I kept it impressionistic.

Although I see things in the painting that I know I could work on to give it a more finished look, it was painted alla prima, so I am definitely leaving it alone for now. I'll digest it for a few weeks and then I'll probably refine some of the areas that need work, but for now it's at least 95% finished.

So tell me. What in the world are Ellie and Arthur looking at?

(Note: This painting is not for sale at this time.)

"Three Daisies and two Cherries", 8x8, oil on wrapped canvas-painitngs of flowers, daisies, cherries, coffee mugs, small paintings

"Three Daisies and two Cherries", 8x8, oil on wrapped canvas

Friday morning was the last day of Dreama's 3 day workshop on Marco Island. We did an exercise in the morning which was a lot of fun and revealed a lot of things about our personalities. We were given different photos to use as reference, and then we were allowed to start the painting for about 3 minutes. Then, for the next 45 minutes or so, we played "musical easels" -going around the room in a clockwise direction and working for 2-3 minutes on someone else's painting. If we didn't like the way it looked, we could scrape out the parts we wanted to change. We didn't have to use any rules, other than to paint with the other artists' paints and medium. The end result was that the painting we had started with, ended up with about 12-15 other painters strokes on it!

While some of the ladies were totally happy with their end result, I decided that my painting looked like it had a bad case of schizophrenia. So I wiped the entire thing out and started fresh. Above is the end result and I guarantee that every stroke is mine! I used Dreama's method of laying in the first notes with transparent oils and adding the opaques in subsequent layers.

I like the way it came out. Although it has a lot of blue in it, it is definitely an upbeat happy painting.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Let the Sunshine in", 8x8, oil on museum quality gessoboard

"Let the Sunshine in", 8x8, oil on museum quality gessoboard

As I mentioned yesterday, I took Dreama Tolle Perry's 3 day workshop on Marco Island this past week. This is one of the paintings that I did in class. I was very happy to meet Dreama in person as I have always admired her work. I enjoyed the workshop and I was also happy to turn out this happy little painting!

"Wildflower Garden in Denmark"-12x16, oil on linen


"Wildflower Garden in Denmark"-12x16, oil on linen

A few years back, my husband and I took a trip to Denmark to visit my husband's relatives and celebrate the birthday of a cousin. We had a wonderful time and were able to go back in time and trace my husband's history, which included a dad who was a stowaway on a boat out of Copenhagen headed for America many, many years ago. The stowaway dad was discovered at Ellis Island, became a merchant marine, and the rest is history for our family!

The site of this painting was somewhere around the grounds of the beautiful Begentved Manor, or Castle, as some call it. We had just walked over a bridge and were on a winding road with red houses with thatched roofs:

At the foot of that bridge was this incredible wildflower garden, and although I was not a painter at the time, I knew I had to try to capture the beauty of that garden with my camera! Anyway, the trip was wonderful, and I am glad that although I was using a pretty lousy camera at the time, I was able to translate my memories of the moment into a painting!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Show-Off", alla prima, impressionist landscape

"The Show-Off", 5x7 oil on board

There's always one in every crowd!

Old World Charm, 8x10, oil, paintings of France, Strasbourg, French Venice, Le Petite France, Petunias, canals, old cities

Old World Charm, 8x10, oil

In the series of paintings that I have done of Strasbourg, France, this is the only one that was done in a smaller format. It was done with impressionistic strokes, and has a blurred, dreamy quality to it, which I like.

On a happy note, my larger painting of Strasbourg was just juried into the Women Painters of the Southest's juried show to be held in April at The Course Gallery in Jacksonville, Florida.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Almost Evening", 6x6, oil on ampersand gessoboard

"Almost Evening", 6x6, oil on ampersand gessoboard

It's a bit of a magical time of day- not quite daylight and not quite night time. Robert Louis Stevenson called it The Children's Hour.

This is an old city. It could be a city anywhere in the world- Paris, Charleston, Philadelphia or even the gaslight district of San Diego. Make it what you want it to be. And then let the magic begin....

Sunday, January 08, 2012

"The Pond at Horseshoe Farm"- 14x11 , oil on linen

SOLD"The Pond at Horseshoe Farm"- 14x11 , oil on linen

This scene looks out over the pond and stables at the Strawbridge's Hetheridge Farm on St. Matthews Road in Chester Springs, Pa. It also happens to be the scene that I used to look at every day from my back yard when I lived in Horseshoe Farm in Chester Springs.

The painting was done from an old grainy photograph taken with one of the very first digital cameras that ever came out, so I had to rely heavily on memory as I painted.

In this painting, I decided to make the stables the focal point, even though it did not stand out in the photograph. The sun always came up over the pond in the morning, but I believe this photo was taken at the end of the day, when the sky in the background was receiving reflective light from the setting sun.

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

"Country Cupboard", 12x16, oil on linen

"Country Cupboard", 12x16, oil on linen

This is an older painting that I took out and re-worked a bit yesterday. I had trouble photographing it, and am starting to think I need a lesson in photography! Since I bought a new camera a few months ago, I have not had much success photographing my artwork. I am using a Nikon Coolpix 14.1 megapixels. Weirdly, my old Kodak with only 6 megapixels seemed to do a better job and have more range of color. This camera seems to have a mind of its own and takes pictures randomly, even when I am not pressing the button. The pictures never seem right to me and do not do the artwork justice. The area in the center is always clear and the perimeter is fuzzy. I could really use some help, I don't even understand the menu!

Any suggestions anyone?

Monday, January 02, 2012

"The Dream House", 20x16, oil on linen

"The Dream House", 20x16, oil on linen

Many people entertain hopes of someday living in their dreamhouse, but I suspect that few people actually get to live their dreams. I feel fortunate that I actually did buy my dream house, and got to live in it for 13 years!

I sold real estate on the Pennsylvania Main Line a while back. No matter how many huge, fancy and impressive homes I saw during that time, I never wanted any other house but my beautiful farmhouse on Houndstooth Lane in Chester Springs.

The house was fabulous. It was a reproduction of an old farmhouse with three fireplaces (one, a walk-in), stone and log facade, cedar roof and magnificent wood floors and old world mouldings throughout. The best part were the views from every window, which were absolutely breathtaking no matter what season. There was a huge pond and horse farm behind us, and I often went out on the balcony of our second floor bedroom and just gazed out over the rolling hills of Chester Springs for what sometimes turned into hours. Sometimes I went down to the pond and wrote poetry. Usually I just fed the fish in our koi pond and read a book or had a glass of wine. It was a great house, but Chester Springs was a gem as well. Here is an aerial view of the house:

Located in historic Chester County, Chester Springs is best noted for historic Yellow Springs, which was the village just down the road from my house. Wealthy Philadelphians would ride their horse and carriages to Yellow Springs in the summer in the late 1800's, to bathe in the rich mineral waters of the springs in the village. The area is rich in mineral waters, including many ponds as well as Pine and Pickering Creeks, which flow through Chester Springs. Washington's army was housed in a home in the village there that acted as a hospital during the Revolutionary War and is now a restaurant. (Or at least it was when I lived there!) There is also an art school there and the road is aptly named Art School Road!

The surrounding area was magnificent, with many old gentlemen's farms perched on dozens of glorious acres with flowing springs, golden ponds and rolling hills untouched by development. Here is a photo from Red Hamer's book, "The Four Seasons of Chester County". The photo depicts the estate known as Pine Creek Mills, which dates back to 1750 and includes many buildings and a grist mill. It was also once the home of noted illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post, Joseph M. Clement. Pine Creek Mills is right down the road from where I lived in Horseshoe Farm off of the historic Horseshoe Trail, and the scene below is just one of many inviting scenes that I would love to paint en plein air someday. I added the view of Pine Creek and the stone foot bridge to my dream house painting because it depicts the area so well!

Although I miss Houndstooth, I am still glad that we moved to Florida 7 years ago, because it finally gave me an opportunity to do something I had always wanted to do, which was to paint!

Hopefully if I go back, the house and neighborhood have not changed too much, and I am happy that I still have the memories of that lovely place, and was able to actually live in my dream house for many years!