Monday, December 10, 2012

Backus Museum Exhibit

I am excited about being invited to exhibit my work in the upcoming "Salute to Backus" at the A.E. Backus Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida, January 16 - March 8, 2013.

I was fortunate to work with Beanie in his studio for about 10 years in the very early part of my career.  Actually I had no "career" at that time, just a beginning hobby painter eager to learn all I could from such a great master painter.  I am proud to call him my mentor but also a wonderful friend.

The painting posted here is one of the smallest in my collection for the exhibit/sale, just 5"x7".  It was inspired by a kayak trip up the Silver River.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sandhill Crane 2012 Ornament

 2012 Hand Painted Ornament
Sandhill Crane

The is my new hand painted ornament for 2012.  The Sandhill Crane is indigenous to Florida and can be seen almost everywhere throughout the state.  They migrate in huge numbers and their loud squawking can be heard long before the large flocks can be seen flying overhead.

 My ornament collection has grown and now includes:

Tom Turkey

Roseate Spoonbill
White Egret
They are painted in oil on glass bulbs that measure 4 inches across.  Because each one is hand-painted no two ornaments are exactly alike.  The ribbons vary but I keep the same color bulb for each bird unless I am asked for a different color.

Contact me now to receive your ornament for the holidays.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finished Painting

It is such a nice feeling to finish a painting and have it approved by the collector who commissioned it.   He is anxious to get it hung in his new office and is talking about a second larger painting for his conference room. 

This painting is 30"x40" so I will have to haul out my really BIG brushes for the next one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Commissioned Painting Stage 2

After the sky is painted I progress from the horizon line forward.  Mangrove islands take shape, sabal palms and coconut palms look ok,  and the water is brushed in. 

Everything is moving alone nicely until I realize my composition could be improved.  There is too much "beach" in the foreground.  This is not the best time to make a change from the study, but necessary from time to time.  So, all the beach in the front becomes water flowing around mangroves giving just the needed space for wading spoonbills.

Birds always come last.  When the landscape is finished and dry to the touch I pop the birds in.  Where they go has already been decided, so the challenge is to get them the right size and value for where they are placed on the picture plane.

Painting the birds in after the landscape is finished and "dry" allows me to easily wipe them out if they are not quite right without damaging the work I have already done.

This painting took about 3 weeks to create, photographing it as I worked.  It has been approved by the client -- hoorraay--and gets delivered this weekend. 

Visit my blog tomorrow to see the finished painting.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Commission

 I have been asked to show another painting in progress so here it is.

This is another commissioned painting, 30" H x 40" W.  The client is in West Palm Beach in south Florida and wants the painting to reflect his surroundings.  He wants it to be light and colorful so we decided on mid afternoon light with water, mangroves and roseate spoonbills.  The client knows my work and was anxious to get the painting for his new office so we went right from the sketch above to the final canvas, skipping the painted study.

After stretching the canvas I toned it with yellow ochre since I am going for a mid afternoon feeling.  That means little color in the clouds and a clear blue sky.  The yellow ochre adds a touch of color to the coulds and tones down the blue.  Of course, I don't use white and blue right out of the tube.  If I did, the white areas would turn chalky and the blue would be electric.

Starting a painting is always exciting.  Clean brushes, palette full of paint and the challenge begins.  Every brush stroke is the result of an inner dialogue...which brush to use, what color to apply, where do I begin?

After almost 30 years of painting I have developed my own approach to developing a painting.  I almost always begin with the sky and use large, round bristle brushes.  The clouds are painted in first with the sky built around them.  I know this is backwards to many artists but this application allows me to work the sky paint into the edges of the wet clouds giving me soft edges and "puffing" out the wisps.

I never start a painting/sky unless I know I have time to work the sky until it is finished down to the horizon line. It is critical for me to work direct, wet in wet in order to achieve soft billowy clouds.

Because the composition has already been planned in the sketch I know where all the elements in the painting are going to be placed.

Once I am satisfied with he sky  I begin on the ground elements working from the horizon forward.

My next blog will be about developing the ground elements.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fine Arts for Ocala Festival this Weekend

Fine Arts for Ocala, one of the most prestigious art festivals in Florida, is this weekend Friday and Saturday October 27 and 28th, 10 am - 5 pm each day.

 You can find me in Booth G-11 on the north side of the festival with lots of things to make your holiday shopping easy and priced right for everyone's budget. Of course, I will have my Original Oil Paintings and Fine Art Giclee Reproductions that are great for home or office.  Other items available this year are my Hand-Painted ornaments, ceramic mugs, note cards, post cards and miniature paintings that are perfect gifts for everyone from mom to the mailman.

This is always a fabulous festival....hope to see you there.   

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day #2 Art Festival at Thornebrook Village

Miniature Sunset   5"x 7"
 Day two for Art Festival at Thornebrook Village in Gainesville.  Each day begins with excitement, looking forward to meeting new people, visiting with friends  and talking about painting and art.  I can't think of many other things I would rather do.

Come see me in Booth # 19-A on the south side of the open center patio.  The show is open today from 10AM - 5 PM.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Art Festival at Thornebrook

The Art Festival at Thornebrook is10 AM-5PM Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29-30, 2441 NW 43 Street, Gainesville, Florida.  You can find me in Booth # 19 A on the south side of Thornebrook Village.

This is always a wonderful event to start your holiday shopping.  I will have a variety of things for you to choose from including my hand-painted ornaments (White Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Tom Turkey), note cards, miniature paintings, Fine Art Giclee Reproductions and Original Oil Paintings for home or office. 

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Commission Study Approved

This is the study for my current commission.  The study is 15"x23", half the size of the final painting, which will be 30"x46".  I develop the composition on paper then paint the study for the collectors approval.  At this stage we can tweak the study and easily make changes.

Solving problems on a smaller scale gives me more freedom than if I went straight from my drawing to the final large canvas.  Since the study must be approved by the collector I am confident the large painting will meet their expectations.

This process relieves a lot of pressure on me to read the collector's mind accurately and also gives the collector a guarantee that they will like their finished painting.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Poster Artist for Spring Arts Festival

Kathryn Lehman along with a Santa Fe College Vice President purchased one of my paintings at the "North Florida Landscapes" show at Eleanor Blair's Gallery in Gainesville.  Of course, I was delighted with the sale.

Then, Kathryn called to invite me to be the Poster Artist for the Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival in March 2013.  AND they want to use the painting they had purchased at Ellie's gallery for the poster.  That takes a lot of pressure off of me because they already have the exact painting they want for the guess work.

Sorry, I can't post an image of the painting.  That is a deep, dark secret until it is unveiled at a Reception in the Presidents office area at the college and then be included in a show of my work that will be exhibited for 3 weeks prior to the Festival.  My Booth  Fee is waved and I get a prime location next to the info/poster distribution tent so I can sign posters for those who purchase one. 

Wow!  Needless to say,  I am excited and very honored!!!

Relaxing Weekend at Hilton Head Island, SC

Pina Coladas on the beach at Hilton Head, SC
My husband and I visited friends this past weekend at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  We had never been there and were pleasantly surprised with the laid back, slow pace.
Light House at Hilton Head
I expected the typical tourist frenzy with knick knack shops, putt-putt golf and water parks.  Instead I found wonderfully laid out and well planned sections of homes and condos nestled among lots of trees and foliage.

There is normal shopping in grocery stores, McDonalds, Starbucks, Walmart, etc. but all are discretely built within a cover of huge ugly signs lining the streets.

The beach is gorgeous.  Low tide gives lots of "hard sand" to ride bicycles or walk on and high tide allows even small children to wade in shallow water.

If you havn't been to Hilton Head I recommend you give it a try.  It is a bit pricey but manageable for us "normal" folks.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gator Football

That is a lot of Gators!
I am a huge University of Florida (Gator) fan.  My husband, sons and I all attended the university.  We have had football season tickets since 1971.  My sons freely ran around the stadium during games and passed a football on the field after games.  That was back in the day!  Of course, now walking on the field is prohibited.

So, when my husband retired a few years ago, he set out on a see a game in each of the SEC stadiums.  He is almost finished with that challenge.  We drove to College Station, Texas last weekend to see the Gators VS Aggies game.  Yep, it was a very long drive, but worth the trip.

The campus is beautiful.  Spread out and BIG like everything in Texas.  As we strolled the grounds most people we passed (alumni and students alike) said "Howdy, welcome to Texas".  Some even tipped their hat.  Lots of signage explain Texas A & M's history...beginning as a military school and all male right up to 1965.  As a result, they have carried on lots of traditions which includes having an all male Yell Team instead of Cheerleaders with men and women. 

The ROTC program is still going strong.  The University has the honor for the most graduates being inducted into the military than any other University, except for the Military Academies.

Of course, the visiting team always gets seats in the nose-bleed section but that was OK because We Won the Game!!

I thought this was the last of the SEC stadiums for us but just learned that Missouri has join the SEC and we will play them next year.  The fun never ends (tongue in cheek).

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Collectors

 A commissioned painting is a challenge for me.  The collector has a particular image in  their head of what they want ... my job is to understand what that idea is and get it on the canvas.

Showing the finished painting to the collector is always stressful.  Did I interpret their thoughts right?  Is the mood of the painting what they want?  Did I execute the painting to their liking?   ... and the list goes on.

Catherine and Bill visited my studio/gallery yesterday to see their painting for the first time.  Much to my relief they loved it.  Those first few seconds are tense until a smile breaks out. 

This delightful young couple has looked at my work for several years - usually visiting my booth at the Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival in Gainesville.  At the festival last March they took the plunge and commissioned a painting.  The painting was successful to a large extent because they had given a great deal of thought to what they wanted and were able to explain it to me.

It is refreshing to meet young people with an interest in collecting original art work.  They understand what it takes to create the artwork and that it will last a lifetime.

By-the-way,  Catherine and Bill added a second painting to their collection that afternoon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Private Commission - Better Photo

The photos of this Private Commission I posted previously were taken in my study.  This photo was taken outside on a slightly overcast day.  No real shadows but also no direct sunlight.  These colors are more accurate.

Photographing paintings isn't easy.  I usually take a bunch in different light and hope to get at least one good one.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Private Commission -Finished!

The Private Commission I have been writing about is finished!  It is so satisfying to put down my brushes, step back and declare the painting to be complete.

I was almost finished but there was something not quite right but I couldn't figure it out, so I let the painting sit untouched for a few days and didn't even look at it.   Often, taking a break and "sleeping on it"  is the best approach for me.  Back in the studio this morning, all refreshed and ready to tackle the problems. . . refined an area, changed tree tops that were too big for their distance from the viewer, pushed back a clump of bushes and ADDED Birds.

The collector suggested several different birds, all of which are found in this terrain.  The photo is a close up of a Great Blue Heron in the fore ground, Wood stork in the middle ground and those white dots way back represent White Egrets.

The photo on the right shows White Egrets taking shelter among the marsh grass with one flying off looking for a better place to hide from the approaching storm.  Let me explain "white dots" representing egrets in the distance.  Because I have larger egrets in the foreground that are easily recognizable the viewer automatically understands the white dots are egrets.

My husband Harry is my best critique.  He gave the painting a thumbs up so I signed it and photographed it for my inventory books.  Now to unveil it for the collector.

My next private commission is 30" x 46" and will have lots of interesting elements.  Can't wait to get started.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Private Commission - Middle, Fore Ground and Water

The background and middle ground are pretty well set.  Now work on the fore ground and water begins.

Value and chroma are strongest in the foreground.  More detail can also be seen.  I have made a few minor changes from the study but kept the integrity of the painting that was approved by my client.

I paint the water in after the ground is established so I know where reflections should be.  By-the-way, remember, reflections and shadows are not the same.

A summer storm is moving across the prairie, therefore there is lots of wind in the trees and on the water.  Yep, gotta put those ripples on top and get the water moving.

The painting may look complete but it isn't.  Some tweaking needs to be done and....what would a Florida landscape be without a few birds?!?

Birds are added after the painting is dry.  That way if I don't get one quite right I can wipe it out and repaint.  Makes life a bit easier.  I will post the finished painting next time.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Private Commission - Ground work

Horizon work
Remember, composition, colors, and values have already been worked out in my study.  So, I can go right to direct painting.  This is really fun!  The push and pull of the wet paint can be felt through the brush.  Exciting!!

Close up of Back Ground
The sky is for the landscape.  I generally work from the horizon forward.  Things on the horizon are the farthest away from you and therefore smaller in size with less chroma and lighter and greyer than in the middle or foreground.

I will digress a moment.  My canvas choice is one with a medium texture and tooth.  The rough surface enhances the look of landscape elements.  The nature of oil paint allows little bumps and grooves in the canvas to give an extra highlight to the viewer as light hits them.

Close up of Middle Ground
 As I work forward I continually adjust values and chroma of color.  If all is working right colors appear to be the same whether they are in the fore ground, middle ground or back ground.  Example:  a tree at the horizon appears to have the same color as a similar tree in the foreground.  But, if you actually put the tree colors next to one another on a grey palette you can see the difference in value and chroma.  That is the "trick" to getting distance in a landscape painting.

There is a lot to think about when painting a landscape:  value, chroma, direction of light, kind of light, time of day, type of day, windy or still, etc., etc., etc.  And water adds more challenges:  is it deep, shallow, muddy, clear, still, moving, wind blown, etc.,

Visit my blog again to see how I handle the foreground and then tackle the water.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Private Commission-Lay In

Ultramarine Blue Lay-In

In a previous post I explained my process for developing a painting with images of a study for a 24" x 36" private commission.  The study was approved by my client so I am proceeding with the final painting.

The above image is of my initial lay-in.  The drawing is done with a brush using Ultramarine Blue oil paint to establish the various elements in the composition that were worked out in the study. 

When I am satisfied with the lay-in I begin work on the sky.   I specialize in landscapes and prefer wide vistas so getting the sky "right" is crucial.  For me, Florida landscapes are mostly about the sky, setting the stage for what is happening on the ground.

I generally work from the top down to the horizon line on my first pass.  Then work all areas needing additional attention.  As the ground is developed I will continue to tweak the sky.

My next post will show how I get the ground elements off and running.  You are welcome to ask  questions in the comment frame.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"NO" to School Taxes-So Sad

I, along with lots of others, voted yesterday in the Primary Election.  I won't name names but will say that I am happy this morning about some winners and sad about some.

One thing I am greatly disturbed about is "Voters say NO to two school taxes" (newspaper headline).

My children received a good, well-rounded public school education that included reading, writing and arithmetic in addition to art, music and a well stocked library.  The NO vote "means that the community does not support music, art and library programs" so "we will be eliminating those programs", Superintendent of Schools said.

This negative vote saddens me on two levels:  1.  I live in a community that enjoys the arts (Appleton Museum of Fine Art, Ocala Civic Theater, Marion Cultural Alliance, Fine Arts for Ocala, Etc.) but is not willing to pay to nurture the arts in our children.  2.  Many people in my community are not willing to contribute to the education of today's children seeing no benefit to them since their children are no longer in public schools.

Although my children were out of school years ago I continue to vote YES when asked to help the public schools.  Like the song says "Children are our future".  They deserve a well rounded education that opens many doors to careers not only as accountants, plumbers, or lawyers but also museum directors, concert musicians, actors or artists, to name a few.

The next time a "no voter" goes to a movie, attends a concert, sees an art exhibit, or enjoys a play I hope they will realize how dull the world would be without "The Arts".

Monday, July 30, 2012

Step #3: Painted Study

#4  Finished Sketch
Step #1 Gather information from the client about the content of the commissioned painting:  what type of scene as well as time and type of day. 

Step #2  Review support material (photos and plein air studies).  Decide on the pencil sketch size and draw several compositions before choosing the final one.

Photo #1
Step #3  Study:  The painted study is in the exact proportions as the pencil sketch and the final painting. 

The composition is drawn on the canvas with brush and ultramarine blue as you see in Photo #1.

The additional photos posted here show the progress of the sketch. 

The sketch can make or break a commission so I work on it the same way I would any other painting.

The finished study could also be considered a miniature painting.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Step # 2: Preparing for the Painting Study

Step #2  Preparing for the Painting Study   This photo shows the canvas prepared for the sketch (8"x12"), 1/3 the size of the final canvas (24"x36") so you can get an idea about sizes.  I applied a grey wash in acrylic to the study canvas because the scene is going to be a stormy day on the prairie. (The white rectangle in the lower left is my paper towel roll)

The wash color chosen depends on the scene and time of day or night I will be painting.  Example:  A beautiful, sunny clear mid afternoon could have a white or ultramarine wash.  Early morning could have a light pinkish color.  Early evening a golden color.  But sometimes I will use a contrasting color.  Remember there are no rules.

My pencil sketch and painting study are the same size as shown on the right.  If you are good at math you can reduce the sketch size to what will fit in your sketch pad.

I always draw the composition on the canvas with a brush using ultramarine blue.  You can see the hash marks around the edges that correspond with the hash marks on my pencil sketch.

Step #3  Executing the Painting Study
I will post photos of the study at various stages of development, so stay tuned.

If you have any questions just click "comments" and post.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oklawaha River Tour

Today was a first for first air boat ride.  I know it is a bit odd for a native Floridian, but my only excuse is that I am a city girl - born and raised in the big metropolis of Miami.

I am delighted that friend and Gainesville artist Eleanor Blair  invited me to join her on a tour of the Oklawaha River guided by Forest Service Rangers Ray Willis and Bobby Grinstead.  Although leary of very fast air boats I figured I was in good hands with these professionals.

The day was perfect, enough cloud cover from time to time to make it tolerably cool and no one else on the water.  Didn't see much wild life, which was not a surprise with the loud fan motor on the boat propelling us around bends in the river.  Bobby did a good job of driving, cruising down the river and slowing at picture perfect spots.

I took at least a hundred photos and I am sure Eleanor took even more than that.  Who knows, maybe we'll have an exhibit of our paintings from this trip sometime in the future.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Step 1: Developing a Painting

I have two commissions going at the same time,  one farther along than the other.  So, I thought some of you might like to see this one from start to finish.  Remember, this is how I work, the process being developed over about 20 years.  It may or may not work for you but will perhaps give you some pointers on developing your own way of working.

Step 1.  Get a clear idea about the content of the painting and the finished size.  If it is to be a painting for myself this is purely what I want to paint and the size I need.  If a commission,  I have in depth conversations with the client about the size and content: time of day, lighting, etc.  They look through catalogs of my paintings to help them formulate their ideas.  After a lot of conversation I develop a pencil sketch to show them my interpretation of their thoughts expressed to me. 

I have plein air painting field studies as well as photographs that I have taken to use as support material.  I never copy a photograph, but take elements from several to create the final composition.  The painting you are following here is being developed from a number of photos of Cedar Key.  They all were taken on a beautiful sunny day which presents another challenge....changing the sunny day into a dark, stormy afternoon that the client wants.

The pencil sketch is drawn to scale.  In this case the final painting will be 24" x 36" so,  my sketch is 8"x12" or 1/3 the size of the final painting.  Each 1" on the sketch equals 3" on the final painting.  Yes, I actually mark off each 1" and number them as you see here.  When I get to the large canvas every 3" is marked and numbered on the sides just like the sketch.  I do not draw graph lines.  I just "eyeball" an element  in relation to the numbers.

I am awaiting on the approval of this sketch.  When I get the approval to continue I will post the painted study as it progresses.

Go to my web site to see more of my work.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

More Commissions Ordered

 Closing Sabal Palm Gallery in Ocala gave me a since of peace and I was looking forward to a quiet, lazy summer.  I have a full inventory of paintings that I had created to fill the gallery so I am good to go for the fall show pressure as in past years.

Somehow my life got crazy all of a sudden.  First, my husband and I decided to take our two older grandchildren on a two week trip in our camper (I will tell you about that later).  Then the calls came in.

In my last post I told you about a second commission for a collector.  I had secured the commission before I left so, when I returned from our "camping trip" I began work on sketches for the 30"x46" painting and will post photos soon. 

Another painting has been commissioned.  This one is 24"x36".  The collector is very specific about the content, which is helpful.  I told him it would take a while because I am currently working on a commission....he was ok with giving me the time I need.

I just received an email last week from another collector who has ordered a 30" x 40" painting for his newly built office in West Palm Beach.  He understands my prior commitments and is willing to wait for the painting.

As the saying goes "when it rains it pours".  Believe me I am not complaining...just explaining!

By-The-Way, I have been juried into Thornebrook Festival Sept. 29-30 and Ocala Arts Festival October 27-28.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Developing a Painting - Start to Finish

"Something Timeless"  36"x40"  Oil on Canvas
Most of the time I produce paintings for the "normal" sized home -- 16"x20",  18"x24", 20"x24", 24"x30", etc.  So when I get a commission that is fairly large compared to my usual size choice I get a bit nervous.

That is what I am dealing with right now.  I recently delivered a 34"x28" commissioned painting to  clients.  They loved it an ordered a second painting - 30"x46".

I realize many artists paint mural sized paintings on a regular basis,  I just don't happen to be one of those artists.  Come with me on my journey to produce this painting as I share the experience here on my blog.  The process begins with stretching the canvas (no easy task), developing a composition (always a challenge), painting a "miniature sketch" for client approval and then tackling the painting itself.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

One Door Closes Another One Opens

"High Summer"   34"x 28"  Oil On Canvas
Three years ago I joined with a fellow artist and opened a gallery/studio in Ocala, Florida where I live.  The gallery went through several transformations during that time, but the result was always the same...I was more a store keeper than an artist.

The gallery gave me the opportunity to visit with clients and friends, talk with other artists, support the arts in my community and share information.  The down side was that I was not painting as much as I wanted and needed to.  It felt as though my creative juices were drying up.  My passion is painting, so, after much thought I closed the gallery when my lease expired May 31.

I have been fortunate to have had a successful art career for almost 20 years before I opened the gallery.  During that time my work has been represented by galleries, shown in museum exhibitions, sold at numerous jurried art festivals and even took me to the White House.

I am anxious to get back into the studio full time and build a strong inventory for the coming season.  Check in with my blog to see new paintings, show dates and art events as they are scheduled. 

I am very excited about what lies ahead---keep watching!!