Thursday, October 28, 2010

What’s in a Title–part 2


While the subject of meadows comes up frequently in my paintings, fishing is another topic I paint quite often (as in this painting, ‘Fishing on a Warm December Day’).

Not that I’m much of an angler myself. I can’t quite deal with putting a slimy, wriggling worm on a hook, but once ‘somebody’ (bluntly speaking, my husband), puts it on, I’m content hanging the bait in the water and become mesmerized watching the bopper dance on the waves. Catching a fish is great excitement, but taking it off the hook……..weeellll, whoever hooks the worm (aka. sweet husband) has to take the fish off, also.

Despite all my shortcomings as a fisherwoman, though, hanging a line in the water, being outside, listening to the birds, etc. is a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a few hours.

My first introduction to fishing came in the form of a book, Hermann Hesse’s ‘Unterm Rad’ (Beneath the Wheel). It deals with the intense stress an intelligent young boy is  dealing with trying to fulfill people’s expectations. His outlet is fishing, and Hermann Hesse describes it in such a beautiful way, that many who read the book, want to try it themselves.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to (or how not to) paint a portrait

MaraMonday morning is Figure Drawing day at the Huntsville Art League. This week, we had a beautiful young woman as our model, which in itself presents a challenge. No wrinkles to serve as  landmarks and ‘architectural’ scaffolding.

She asked me how I go about drawing or painting a figure. A caveat before I proceed: I’ve been known to do an in-depth study of a nose and turn it into a beautifully rendered horse’s head. Interestingly enough, I tried to draw an actual horse’s head from life this weekend and failed miserably, but I digress.

The first thing in drawing a portrait is to get the features placed where they ought to be. I use a wooden steak skewer to help me measure distances, angles, etc. Which works very well for marking distances that are fairly far apart, such as the width and length of the head. What I learned this Monday is that with my wiggy contact lenses and fuzzy vision, measuring small distances is not quite so accurate. So not much of a likeness.

Regardless of likeness or lack thereof, I then proceeded with the painting process. It started out pretty good, but what can go wrong when one uses such faint values to be almost invisible. I had a feeling of problems ahead when I realized that my only red on my palette was a strong hot pink (another lesson learned: pack my stuff the day before. Monday mornings are not a good time to think with a clear head about which colors to put on a palette, and just grabbing one leads to such situations as this one.) So I threw realism into the wind and decided to use all colors on my palette, get the values believable, and have fun. Which I did. Lots of it. And I learned another thing about watercolor as a medium: when I don’t want it to drip, it will, but if I actually want a drip, it won’t do it. Go figure…….

Monday, September 27, 2010

What’s in a Title?


As I was going through my paintings, I noticed that many of them had the word ‘meadow’ in the title. I have at least 5 of them, all done in the spring time. All started as plein air (on location ) paintings (this one is titled ‘Meadow along Hays Greenway.’)

After the long, gray winter weeks come to an end, I love to finally get outdoors without having to worry about freezing my toes off, find a warm spot in the sun and paint. And meadows on a spring morning are just about the best places to be. Especially when they just start to green or when they are full with clover and buttercups.

One time I was out there for so long, a deer went right across the scene I was painting. I wish I were a better painter and could just add it, but I think I need LOTS more practice for that. Especially since the deer don’t exactly hold still.

Watch for the next post where I will talk about the other most frequent word in my title.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First Green

First-Green-Redone It’s been a very busy summer, but it’s time I start posting again. The painting ‘First Green’ came out rather well, and it was accepted into the Unique Views of Huntsville show at the Art Museum.

The actual location is on the Madison County nature trail on Green Mountain. In the springtime, the creek has quite a bit of water in it, and it’s a very peaceful and quiet place, especially early in the morning. During the summer and fall, the water pretty much dries up, and the landscape shows a different kind of beauty.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Feeding the Donkeys


I couldn’t resist this grouping of animals and child. There is something goofy and funny about donkeys.

I chose a limited color palette to tell the story. After working out the composition, I made a detailed drawing, then transferred the outlines to watercolor paper. I covered the sheet with a mixture of raw umber, burnt sienna and raw sienna, carefully preserving the white of the paper. This gave me a wonderful ‘roadmap’  on where to go after that.  I worked up the patterns with multiple glazes and  blending colors with a soft brush. Since I wanted a soft feel, I smoothed any hard edges.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Meadow – The Painting


What drew me to this scene was the strong blue color of the tree range in the background, contrasted to the yellow and bright green strip of meadow in front of it.

I went back to the scene 2 days later, and all the trees had filled in during that short interval. It’s amazing how quickly things change.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Meadow


What a great way to start the day. A sunny meadow, the birds are singing, the light is beautiful (well, there is the pollen, which can be annoying, BUT it seems to contribute to the lovely light).

This little scene was painted at the Hays Nature Preserve. The park has been expanded, with a bridge going over the Flint River to this meadow. I’ll have to explore that area some more……..

Friday, April 9, 2010

Beginnings of ‘The First Green’


I think I’ve come up with a title, ‘The First Green.’ While I was on location, I noticed new fern sprouting, flowers starting to bloom, and the new plants had this lovely warm yellowish green one only sees in early spring.

I’ve laid in some light warm washes, and added some darks to show me where I need to go. The painting, though, is starting to take over, and I need to follow. Let’s hope we both want to go in the same direction…..

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The First Greens


It’s spring time, and the newly emerging flowers and plants just invite a stroll through the woods. So I packed my paintings stuff, and fortified with antihistamines and such, I went to my favorite spot. This is the small sketch that resulted from the plein air painting venture.

I’ve started a larger piece from this, and so far have not loused it up……