Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Springhouse in Shadow", 11x14, oil on linen-, Vixen Hill Farm, paintings of springhouse, Maryanne Jacobsen art

"Springhouse in Shadow", 11x14, oil on linen

It's funny, but since I have returned home from our short trip to Chester County, Pennsylvania, I have realized that my normal palette of impressionist colors aren't quite sufficient in painting these old fieldstone structures.

A palette of burnt sienna, yellow ochre, raw sienna and  raw umber would definitely have been helpful to have had on hand for the tones in the stonework of this old springhouse, but since I rarely use these colors I had to mix them myself. After a little trial and error, I finally got some good earth tones on my palette and was able to complete this painting.

This springhouse was not only charming to look at, it provided the water for our cottage while we stayed at Vixen Hill farm. The water was cold and pure, absolutely delightful! I was a little concerned because there has evidently been a drought up there and the water levels were very low every where that we went, including the spring outside our cottage, but upon tasting it I knew it was perfect. If only I could have taken some home with me!

Here is the reference photo of the springhouse that i used:

I loved the slice of light down the center contrasted against all the shadow patterns and knew this would make a good composition!

I was surprised to learn how many people have no idea what a springhouse is! Having lived for many years in Chester county where there seems to be a springhouse around every corner, I had no idea that they were  rather 'foreign' in other areas of the country!  (sort of like what Santa Fe's adobe structures would be to northeasterners!)So in case you are clueless, a springhouse is/was a small stone structure that a natural spring ran through. The combination of the cold water and thick stone created a naturally cold environment, and before modern refrigeration had been invented farmers and settlers used the spring house as a storehouse for their root vegetables and other perishable foods.

 For more info about Vixen Hill farm, just go back and read my most recent posts!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"A Marriage made in heaven", 11x14, oil on linen

"A Marriage made in heaven", 11x14, oil on linen

This was the sunrise view that I could see from my backyard when I lived on Houndstooth Lane in Chester springs. I envy those two trees. They get to see the view each and every day, season after season!

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Croquet Lawn at The Claremont", 11x14, oil on linen- Claremont Hotel, Southwest Harbor Maine, vacations in Maine, lovely places to stay, impressionist paintings of Maine

"Croquet Lawn at The Claremont", 11x14, oil on linen

 Last summer we had a lovely vacation up in Maine, and one of the highlights of our trip was a short stay at The Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor, near Acadia National Park and just 15 minutes south of Bar Harbor.

My husband had told the kind lady at The Tourist Center that his wife was an artist and that we were looking for an 'artsy' place to stay for a few nights. Since it was the height of tourist season I wasn't very optimistic that my dreams would come true, but that's where I was  wrong.

When we arrived at the Claremont that night, the sun was about to set, and it was very foggy and pretty cold for my thinned -out Florida blood. We immediately went down to the boathouse for a drink near the fireplace, and there we were told that this was where Barack Obama had had lunch with his family during their Maine vacation the year before.

Although I was not particularly impressed with that information, I was very much impressed with the beauty of the Claremont Hotel, which was directly up the hill from the boathouse and swathed in swirling tendrils of fog.

We enjoyed a comfortable room with fireplace, and the next morning arose at the crack of dawn so I could go down to the boat ramp and paint. (If you see a tiny speck at the bottom of the ramp, next to the boat house, that's me painting!)

Imagine my surprise to see that as the fog burned off, the gently curving crests of the mountains on the other side of Somes Sound were revealed, the Sound being the only natural Fjord in the United States.

I painted carefully trying to understand this strange light condition that is so very different from Florida where the shadows are generally cool and the light warm. Here, with the fog still lifting, it was the opposite. If you would like to see the plein air painting that I did that day, here is the link.

Over the next few days we continued to marvel at our luck in finding such a lovely place to stay, where a generous breakfast was served each morning in a lovely dining room overlooking the Sound.

One evening a brief shower came up as we were having dinner and a double rainbow appeared in the sky!

The painting above is one of the cottages that are on the property , just beyond the croquet lawn, where believe it or not, guests can enjoy a good old-fashioned game of croquet during their Claremont stay! Here's the photo of the cottage and croquet lawn:

My challenge in the painting was to capture that elusive light temperature, where the shadows are somewhat warm and yet becoming somewhat cool, and the light is neutral.

I do hope to go back there again sometime. It was one of the most relaxingly lovely hotels that we have ever stayed at. If you do go yourself, be sure to make dinner reservations at The Red Sky restaurant, which was another winner in my book!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Morning on Valley Forge Mountain", 8x10, oil on board-Valley Forge, encampment, Washington , Revolutionary war, historic areas


"Morning on Valley Forge Mountain", 8x10, oil on board

Last week I spent the week in Chester County, Pa. where I spent the majority of my life before moving to Florida in 2004. It was a very hot week, in the triple digits all week, so activities had to be done in the early morning hours before it became too hot.

My husband and I used to take numerous walks and bike rides in Valley Forge Park when we lived up there, so it made sense to start the week with an early morning walk on Valley Forge Mountain.

The light was stunning as you can see from my photo below:

 We managed to see a few deer on our walk, but the population has evidently been thinned out, due to Lyme's disease and the traffic hazards. There used to be herds of deer everywhere in the park. I was happy to at least see a few, and managed to catch this one with my camera before he ran off:

Few people realize how close we came to losing the war! Valley Forge was a critical turning point for  America as it was there that the troops received their much needed training from Prussian military expert Baron Von Steuben, which eventually turned the war around.