Friday, June 01, 2018

Cafe in St. Maxime

 



This traditional cafe was painted from a photo taken in St. Maxime, France. It's located along the French Riviera just on the Mediterranean and is filled with winding cobblestone streets, charming storefronts and sidewalk cafes. Can't you just picture yourself sitting outside in the warm sunshine, enjoying a cafe au lait with a light flaky croissant? 

Zebra


Being in a playful mood I chose unusual colors for this painting which is done on hot press paper.
As you can see the paper allows watercolors to mix and blend easily but offers little control of edges.
New artists working in watercolor are often appalled by this lack of being able to keep the paint exactly where you want it.  As you move forward you move toward being more loose and accepting of letting the watercolor do it!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Anticipation


This painting is a combination of two of my 'besties', chicadees and nests.  It was started with a very free form tree branch and muted leaves, more impressionist than realistic.  The birds sit on the branch waiting for the eggs to hatch.  Ogura lace paper was added to the nest to enhance and soften it giving the impression of a cozy bower prepared for the anticipated baby birds.

The Little Boat that Could

Traveling in southeast Italy, (the heel of the boot) I came across this boat in a marina in Ostuno.
While it was smaller than most of the other boats docked there somehow it spoke to me of being feisty, hardworking and well used.  And a bit charming somehow.  I painted it in watercolor then added pen and ink to give it a whimsical feel.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Golden Birches


I think of this as a birch family.  As students we are taught to have a "momma, poppa and baby" in our paintings to create interest.  Or big, medium and small to be more specific.  It does make for variety in the size of the shapes and eliminates boring compositions.
When I look at this I can almost see momma telling poppa to get junior to shape up!

Beach Ride


Living near the water is always inspiration for painting.  This one is quite whimsical offering a multicolored fence and Key West style bike.  The fence is created by dipping a slim piece of matboard into masking fluid, then stamping it on the paper.  To avoid 'muscle memory' I bend and shape the matboard along with varying the spaces and direction of the fence.  When the mask is removed the bright colors can then be added.

Sunset Snack


The area where I live has many ospreys flying around so I'm quite familiar with them.  The idea was to have the provider bird bring food back to the nest where the little ones were patiently waiting with the guardian bird.  The nest was created by dropping little puddles of paint onto the paper and then blowing through a straw.  It's a very effective way to get long thin streams of paint but boy does it ever make you dizzy!  The birds in the nest were masked out before this process began.  I left the sky to the very end and that presented a quandary because I wanted a smooth finish and didn't want to disturb what was already painted.  I resolved that situation by spraying the watercolor on, changing colors as I worked from bottom to top.

My Old Bike


Seriously?  Yes!  This is my Huffy Sea Pines bike that was a surprise Christmas Gift one year.  I was delighted and still ride it to this day.  In this painting I've added a bit old world charm to indicate the old and the new?  More like the real old and not so old!

Greenhorn



Once in a while it's fun to be playful when I'm teaching a class.  Painting the subject of cows was well received by the group and offered a lighthearted lesson.  I decided to give this cow a bit of distinction by adding a set of green horns topped by a cowboy hat.  Seems like the cow is being patient all the while sending a beady eye to the cowboy who did this!

Country Roads


One of my favorite songs is "Country Roads".  Hearing it uplifts me and gives me joy.  I love outdoors and nature which makes the painting of landscapes a natural for me.  I used unusual colors for this painting just to create a different look:  Indigo and raw sienna.
In some parts the color is pure and in others it is combined.  This helped make different hues and values, all somewhat misty.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring


I have painted several dozen nests but I never cease to enjoy the process of creating another one.
Each nest painting turns out quite different because I  choose to vary the position, colors and style.  I start with a plain piece of watercolor paper and put down some paint with a circular motion to create the body of the nest.  Then comes the best part, I throw paint to create the twigs and branches that surround the nest adding some spatters for good measure.  Deep dark paints fill the center of the nest.  When the paint dries I am able me to wash out the egg shapes which finishes this artwork.

Big Brushwork - 5


This is a favorite way for me to paint.  I start and continue to the finish only using a very large brush and start with  a plain piece of paper.  No drawing is done but I do know what subject I want to paint. This process definitely has some limitations but does ensure the creation of a very loosely done and freeing piece of artwork.  Ask most watercolor students what they most want to do and the answer is invariably "paint loose and free"!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wildfire!

Birch trees are a favorite subject of the artists in my watercolor classes.  These are started with pieces of masking or artists tape that are shaped to get rid of the straight lines.  A colorful diagonal sky is washed in followed by darker paints on the bottom of the page.  Previously I had painted several renditions using spring or summer greens and yellows.  This time I wanted to paint autumn but somehow wound up with the look of a wildfire!

All is Calm, All is Bright

 

This is one of my "Big Brushwork" pieces, meaning I only use a large brush when painting. This was a 1 1/2" wide flat brush. It has certain challenges particularly when trying to create fine grasses and other smaller lines. The benefit is that it gives the ability to paint a very loose watercolor that is clean, crisp and bright.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fixer Upper

 
This dilapidated cottage is located at Eden Lawn Plantation in Jensen Beach, Florida. Somehow even though it is falling apart it has an appeal that I wanted to capture in paint. And, living in this town made me want to preserve some of the memories from the past. Eden Lawn in it's heyday was a community of cottages surrounded by lush tropical foliage and even had colorful parrots flying around free! Sounds like a little bit of Eden, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hydrangeas in Terracotta Pot

Lately I've been using lots of blue paint along with the purple that I've always favored.  I swear I have to refill the purple pan in my palette more often than any other except yellow.  Both seem to disappear very quickly.  What better to paint using these favored colors than hydrangeas.  Add a touch of red violet or opera and they almost paint themselves.  On another note a new student looked at my blog before joining one of my classes and said she liked that my paintings are 'happy'.  I like that too.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hydrangeas

This painting I call a 're-tread".  Like the tires with that name I decided to try and give it new life. (After first discarding it in a pile used for painting on the back)  When I lived on Long Island my hydrangeas flourished on my property.  These bushes had a long history of coming first from Brooklyn in my grandmother's garden, to my mother's garden and then when I had my first home, cuttings were given to me.  I developed a love for these large, colorful blooms that filled my yard with beauty.  So now when I can, I happily paint them.  Good news!  When I moved to Florida my daughter Heather took some of these plants and now they flower beautifully in her garden in Sturbridge MA!

Goin' Bananas


I love to use an 'oiler boiler' otherwise known as a fine line applicator.  This is a little plastic bottle that has a long needle like tip which is used for enhancing a painting.  It can be filled with acrylic paint in whatever color you choose.  Generally I like to use black or even white but this time I decided to try silver to see the effect.  First I painted the bananas and added a loose colorful background.  Then I outlined the the bananas in silver paint to add just a touch of whimsey to this painting.  Am I goin' bananas?

Dune Walk II



This painting was done with a neat little technique that allows it to be framed easily and without a mat.  Cut your paper to fit a frame before you begin.  Then starting with blank watercolor paper use masking fluid to paint a line about 1/4 inch thick around the perimeter of the paper.  Place this line about 1 1/2 inches in from edge.  Make it a bit wavy to give the painting some charm.  You do not want  nor need the line to be rigid and absolutely straight.  After the painting is complete, remove the masking fluid.  Add some additional touches by breaking through the edges in several places.  You will see I added some grasses and a seagull this way.  Creative and a bit different?  I think so.  And you can immediately put it in the frame and you are done.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Standing Guard

I don't see many robins in our neighborhood but I have fond memories from up north where we saw many of them.  I think we're all familiar with robins egg blue as a color that is quite special and appealing. So, too,  the beautifully colored eggs of robins give us the good news that spring is finally arriving.   Well, if we were lucky enough to have a nest that we could peek into.  In truth, there is something very elemental about nests, eggs and birds that relates to the seasons and also to the continuity of life.  I truly enjoy painting them.

Waiting

I love to create nests using various painting methods and adding lace paper for texture.  It takes many layers of paint, splashed, spattered and applied with a brush plus lots of creative thought to get to a completed piece.  Recently I've begun adding birds to guard over the eggs in the nest.  This adds a feeling of expectation to the painting due to the bit of mystery about the impending births.

Hutchinson Island Lone Tree

This is a painting of the coastline of Hutchinson Island in Jensen Beach FL. Located there is a lone pine that leans toward the water which creates a naturally charming composition.  It's one of the favorite paintings that we do in my watercolor class and one that most everyone has success with.  It's simply sky, water, rocks, sand, the tree and some scrubby foliage.  Add some shadows and you have a lovely painted image that invites you to enjoy the view.

Blowing Rocks

While on a visit to Blowing Rocks State Park in Jupiter FL, I was awed by the natural beauty in the surrounding area.  It is located on a barrier island so it has the ocean on one side and the Indian River on the other.  This watercolor was developed from a photo taken on the river side.  The water is a gorgeous shade of aqua blue, there's lots of  varied colored foliage along with some bare wood that has twisted and bent into unusual shapes.  I love having paths in my paintings because it resonates with my belief that we are all on a path as we go through life.

The Owl and the Moon

My latest venture is into painting moons.  Seems like an easy thing to do, right?  Well, no, really it isn't.  After drawing a circle, adding a star studded sky, then what?  Multiple colors were added and allowed to drip down and form lacy patterns.  It still needed something else so I decided to add a branch with an owl on it.  Who Who  else is up in the dark and bright eyed along the moon?

Botanical Impint

This is one of the very first paintings I created using cuttings from the garden, spray paint and lots of imagination.  The very first part, the white impressions, looked so good that I hesitated to touch it further.  Finally, after a time I decided that I had to try 'using watercolors' to fill it in just to see what would happen. The result is a very happy looking painting that is one of a kind, unique and quite appealing.