Monday, May 28, 2012

"Last Light, Gordes", 8x10, oil on linen, paintings of France, Provence, Gordes, beautiful cities in France

"Last Light, Gordes", 8x10, oil on linen

I was happy to be able to fit in a quick study this weekend. This was painted in under two hours but it was the only time I could find to paint this weekend! If you love Provence, (as I do!) you may want to grab this one. It's much prettier in person!

Gordes is considered one of the most beautiful communes in Provence. According to the French, a commune is the lowest form (uncomplicated) of city gov't and is an equivalent to what Americans would call a village or municipality. According to Wiki: The French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, meaning a small gathering of people sharing a common life; from Latin communis, things held in common.

 I thought that was really interesting!

Built on the foothills of the Vaucluse, in the lovely Luberon, Gordes is one of the most well-known hilltop villages in the region, and one of the most beautiful communes in France. It is a typical Wedding-cake type village perched almost precariously on a hilltop, bewitching visitors from all over the world.

Many artists have stayed in the village of Gordes and have contributed to its fame. Some, such as AndrĂ© Lhote, Marc Chagall, Victor Vasarely and Pol Mara came to stay.  To learn more about Gordes, and see some photos of the region, please go here.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Calm", 16x12, oil on linen, by Maryanne Jacobsen, boats, Nova scotia, Peggy's Cove, Halifax, palette knife paintings

"Calm", 16x12, oil on linen

After doing the smaller painting of Peggy's Cove last week, I decided to do a slightly larger one. I also changed the horizon line so that I would have room for lots of clouds. I used the palette that Kevin Mac Pherson recommended in one of his books, which includes Cad yellow, Cad red light, Alizarin crimson, Ultramarine Blue and Winsor Green. Not sure I even used the green but I guess I might have to give variety to all the blues.

Overall, I really like the way this one turned out. It reflects the beautiful cool blueness in Nova Scotia's waters on a summer day while also acknowledging the warmth in the overall atmosphere of the light. Nova Scotia can be a very cold, foggy place most of the year, but whether cold and foggy or sunny with clouds, it is truly a lovely, almost mystical place.

Nova Scotia is not easy to reach. There used to be a ferry from Bar Harbor to take you there, but they have discontinued the ferry and now it is at least an 8 hour drive from Bar Harbor to get there. The tides are dramatic and otherworldly in this beautiful place, and the terrain has the same lovely reds and golds that you find in Acadia National Park.

I hope you'll take a moment to let me know what you think of this painting!

This painting can be purchased through Galerie du Soleil in Naples, Florida.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Humble Abode", 8x10, oil on linen, Florida Cracker Shack, Marjorie Keenen Rawlings, Cross Creek

"Humble Abode", 8x10, oil on linen

I was going through some photos today and came across a group of photos I had taken a few summers ago after a trip to "Cross Creek", the backwoods Florida home of author Marjorie Keenen Rawlings. Rawlings is most familiar to us through her beloved work  The Yearling, about a boy who adopts an orphaned fawn,. The book won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939 and was later made into a movie, also known as The Yearling.

I discovered that few people know much about Rawlings, though many have read The Yearling in school.  So here is a little history about Rawlings from Wikipedia:

In 1928, with a small inheritance from her mother, the Rawlingses purchased a 72 acre (290,000 m²) orange grove near Hawthorne, Florida, in a hamlet named Cross Creek for its location between Orange Lake and Lochloosa Lake. She brought the place to international fame through her writing. She was fascinated with the remote wilderness and the lives of Cross Creek residents, her Cracker neighbors, and felt a profound and transforming connection to the region and the land.Wary at first, the local residents soon warmed to her and opened up their lives and experiences to her. Marjorie filled several notebooks with descriptions of the animals, plants, Southern dialect, and recipes and used these descriptions in her writings.

As one enters Cross Creek, the first thing that you see is a sign that says the following:
 In spite of the excessive heat, humidity, and lack of creature comforts, Rawlings embraced this wild harsh land that few today would want to call home.

The painting that I did above, was not of Rawlings home at Cross Creek, but of a replica of an old Cracker Shack that was on the property and served as a home to the hired help. The humbleness of the property is evident, but what is not evident is the sense of profound peace and stillness that emanated the grounds.

Save for the occasional crowing of a rooster, the place was wrapped in a blanket of quiet serenity.

Above is a photo of the cracker shack , and which served as my reference.

I have enormous respect for the people who braved these harsh lands and forged their homesteads upon ground that  many today would consider uninhabitable!

I enjoyed doing this painting in my air-conditioned studio. It reminded me that I have much to be thankful for and also reminded me that I would have a hard time surviving on a remote homestead such as the one that Rawlings lived upon and called home! Yet overall, I could appreciate the sense of mystic loveliness that Rawlings described and which was etched on the sign above.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Time to Go", 14x11, oil on canvas board, great blue heron, Gulf, beach, tropical scenes

"Time to Go", 14x11, oil on canvas board (aka "Just Leaving")

This painting received the People's Choice Award at The Venice Art Center's annual Fall Member's exhibit. It is always wonderful to have your peers vote for you! This was one of the art center's most popular exhibits this year, so I was very happy to learn that the people who attended the exhibit had liked it enough to vote for it.

This painting was also one of two selected for The Best Of Worldwide Oil Artists, Volume 2.

I need to go to the beach and paint this weekend. It always makes me feel happy to live in Florida when I see all the herons and cranes everywhere. Right now it is very, very hot and humid here, so I am looking for any inspiration I can find.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Aragorn", 9x12, oil on board, cats, pretty cats, flowers and cats, tulips, yellow tulips

"Aragorn", 9x12, oil on board (Note: Feel free to click on the image in order to see the painting better!)

This beautiful cat belongs to my friends Jens and Marianne Christensen, who live in Germany.

Jens is a talented musician and you can hear two of his beautiful classical pieces here, while also perusing some of my original art!

I must confess that although I have painted cats numerous times before (see here and here and here), this lovely kitty almost drove me crazy. Indeed I wiped this painting out three different times and started over, though I probably should not admit that!

Today I tried once more and this is the final result.

Indeed, I think it would have been easier to paint Lucrezia Borgia herself than Miss Aragorn!

This painting will be going to Germany when its dry but feel free to send me your kitty photos if you would like me to do a portrait of your precious pussycat.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Summer's Day-Peggy's Cove", 10x8, oil on linen-Peggy's Cove, palette knife seascapes, Nova Scotia, boats, Canadian provinces

"Summer's Day-Peggy's Cove", 10x8, oil on linen

I painted this one rather quickly, so I wouldn't get mired down in details, and I was happy with the outcome.

Impressionist paintings are intended to portray a brief moment in time, painted through an impression of the moment captured in the artist's memory, and without a lot of fussy details. There also should be passages that are kept vague, so that the viewer can fill in the details and the "rest of the story" for himself.

I have gotten away from impressionism for reasons that I can't even explain. I hope to return to that journey and this was a good start. The painting was done with only three colors, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and cad yellow. Just goes to show  that you can create an impressionist painting without a lot of colors on your palette!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kathleen's Tea Pot, 8x10, oil on linen, paintings of teapots, flowers, daisies, white mums, oranges, blue teapot

"Kathleen's Tea Pot", 8x10, oil on linen

This painting came about as a result of my thoughtful friend Kathleen. Kathleen is an author and has spent many years living in England. She is married to an Englishman and she and her husband spend part of the year in England and part of the year at their home in Florida. We are neighbors and attend the same church and I feel very fortunate to know Kathleen and Chris.

Recently they invited us over for High Tea and my hubby and I had a delightful time on their patio sipping true Earl Gray brewed tea and eating the fresh shortbread that Chris had just baked. At one point we were in the midst of a conversation about knighthood when suddenly I must have gotten a weird look on my face because everyone stopped talking and looked at me.

I found myself staring at the lovely blue teapot on  the table and thinking how well the blue would look against a fresh orange. When they asked me what was wrong, I confessed that I had lost track of the conversation because I was enamored with the teapot!

The next day I continued to think about that darn teapot  as I went out to the mailbox to pick up the day's mail. And there on the bench on the porch was the lovely teapot!

It was so nice of Kathleen to think of me and allow me to borrow her teapot for this painting. I struggled a bit with it at first but in the end I was happy with the result. Here was my set-up for the still life:
To learn more about Kathleen Smith and the books she has written, please visit her blog at this link.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Crow's Nest View", 8x10, oil on linen, plein air, Maryanne Jacobsen, Venice Beach, north Jetty, The Crow's Nest, boats, water, Gulf of Mexico


"Crow's Nest View", 8x10, oil on linen, plein air study (Note: you can click on the photo to get a better view of the painting)

I painted this morning at the North Jetty. The last time I painted here, I painted the trees along the path over the little footbridge that faces west and north towards the Gulf. Today I elected to paint the south view across the jetty where the boats come out of the inter-coastal on their way to the Gulf of Mexico. There's a restaurant there called "The Crow's Nest" and it's always a fun place to dine.

Unfortunately, the two boats that were docked at The Crow's Nest left before I could finish painting them so I had to wing it from memory. It was a pleasant, though very hot day and there were tons of happy fisherman all around, as well as egrets, pelicans and herons. A manatee passed through the channel and there was also a dolphin sighting.

Because I was so far across the water from the restaurant and south jetty, I had to just squint down to see the shapes. The clouds were in interesting formations so I decided to put them into 'the story', too. Overall a really nice day to paint in the sunshine!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Forever Young, 8x10, oil on linen, roses, ballerinas, little ballerinas, figurine, chasing light, red roses, yellow roses

"Forever Young", 8x10, oil on linen

My husband bought me the figurine of the little ballerina years ago, and I have always loved looking at it.

One of my first dreams was to become a ballerina some day, and I still remember my first dance class at the Summer Recreation Center when I was four years old.

Many years would pass before I had a chance to learn to dance, but even today at 60, I cherish those years in ballet class, immersed in classical music and my own psyche- always trying to do better in spite of the difficulties.

In ballet class the struggles are endless, improve your turn-out (my knees tell that story!), increase your extension- higher, higher with that leg! Point the toes harder, harder, try your best to make your flat feet look curvaceous and lovely! Jump higher, turn faster, increase your stamina, more plie! More pirouettes! More, more , more and ever more.

In spite of the fact I started dancing late and my body was never suited for ballet, I loved each and every one of the thousands of ballet classes I took over the years. Loved them so much that I wanted more than anything to share that love with my own students. Sometimes I would spend hours composing choreography for ballet classes for my students.

After all these years, all I can hope is that they enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed teaching them!

Today I no longer dance. I paint. The challenges are just as great, but the fun for me is not in the challenge but in seeing the result.

I struggled with this one. Painting  the figurine proved much more challenging than I would have expected. The light across the table mesmerized me as it swept over and beyond the figure and bouquet of roses. I hope I was able to capture a little bit of that magic!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

"A Morning at Snook Haven", 12x16, oil on board by Maryanne Jacobsen, plein air, Myakka River, river scenes, Snook Haven, Old Florida

"A Morning at Snook Haven", 12x16, oil on board

Today the Light Chasers painted at Snook Haven, an Old Florida style park on the Myakka River that has canoeing, a restaurant, a stage featuring live music and , of course Snook.

Whether of not the snook were biting is beyond me as I was too busy painting the river scene below:
 I finished most of it onsite, but tightened it up a bit when I got home. You can see that I realized that I'd misjudged the lighted portion of the river towards the top and adjusted it at home once I saw the photo of the scene:

It was an especially great day, for two reasons!

Number one: Fellow artist Terry Mason and I got to see our friend Jane Sither again! We had met Jane at the Calvin Liang workshop back in March and Jane traveled quite a distance to paint with our group today! Jane, we are so happy you were there! Please join us again very soon!!!!!!!!!!

Jane is a fabulous painter! She adores plein air painting and her dedication is obvious. She nailed these two canoes in only two hours!

After we'd all painted we had some lunch at The Snook Haven restaurant. Although the service was slow, it didn't stop us from having some fun! Man, not only do we paint well: we dance better than the Broad Street Mummers , too!

                                                                                                    Here's the group of us relieved to have finally rec'd our lunch. Diane Mannion is sitting next to me and she just took the Top Prize at The Women Painter's of the Southeast first annual juried show for her painting, "Mahogany Woman". I was so happy to see Diane receive this award last Saturday night at The Course Gallery in Jacksonville!

The second exciting thing that happened today is that I am now the proud owner of an original Terry Mason painting! Terry is a wonderful artist, totally committed to plein air and representational art, and the fearless leader of the Suncoast Plein Air painters, aka The Light Chasers! Terry painted the same scene that I did from a different angle, and you can see she did a great job with that old boat they use in Terry's river cruises! (It's a different Terry, of course!) :
I love everything about this painting and it now joins my small collection of art of artists I admire, which includes Hodges Soileau, Clayton Beck, Julie Hanson and some of favorite fellow daily painters including Dreama Tolle Perry, Karen Brunson, Julie Oliver and Karen Margulis!

I just love days like this!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

"Return to Zion", 16x20, oil on linen, Zion National park painting, The Watchman, Virgin River, Palette knife landscapes, Maryanne Jacobsen art


"Return to Zion", 16x20, oil on linen

I think this needs a little more work, but it is 95% finished.

Last week I used a limited palette to paint this very same scene of The Watchman and Virgin River at Zion Nat'l Park in Utah. I only used 4 colors in my last study (plus white) and I'll confess that it was pretty challenging for me to work without my usual array of pigments.

So today I decided to try the same piece again, only larger, and with my usual pigments that number about 12-15, plus white. What I wanted to find out was whether or not having more pigments to work with, enhanced or detracted from the overall painting, using the last painting of Zion as my comparison.

Although the larger canvas gave me more freedom to work, I actually must concede that I like the small painting with the limited palette better! I still need to add the tree branches on the left when the paints are dryer, but other than that, the scene is the same in both studies. If you haven't read that blog post, here is the picture of the smaller painting:

The problem for me with using a limited palette is that I do a lot of palette knife work and that requires tons of paint!

So , before I started the smaller painting of Zion, I used those 4 colors (cad Yellow pale, Ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and windsor green) to create all the other colors that I figured I'd need- Purples, warm greens, orange, grays, etc, etc. That meant using a heck of a lot of mixing space to find and create these colors!

I am sure it gets easier to mix these secondary colors with practice, but the problem for me is that when I go outdoors and paint en plein air, there is a limit to how much mixing room I have! So is it better to lay out all my dozen or so paints beforehand, as I usually do, and have them Johnny on the spot, ready to go? Or is it better to just bring these  4 little tubes and hope I can create a decent painting with limited mixing room?

Not sure if any of this makes sense, but if there are any artists out there that have gone through the same experiments with mixing on a limited palette and have a solution to the "Mixing Room" problem, I would love to hear from you!