Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yearning for spring

I'm afraid I've never been a big fan of winter. It's beautiful, yes, but also cold and dark, which in my world translates to fatigue and grumpiness. Spring is clearly coming now, though. You can feel it in the moisture in the air on sunny days, you can hear it in the birds (who are the only creatures I'll freely admit beat my enthusiasm for the coming of warmer weather), and the days are longer, there is actually enough time between sunrise and sunset to get things done: it's wonderful. The only wrench in the gears is that here in New England, there's still a nice blanket of snow on the ground, and I'm ready for flowers. Indoors, however, I've been cultivating a fair number, and, in defiance of the snow, perhaps, have been doing little studies of the various blooms. Find below, orchids, daffodils, grape hyacinths, and ornithogalum. (Oils on panels).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I know it's not technically spring yet, but the fact that we're sooooo close made the reality that today was snowy and cold all the worse. I chose to ignore the weather (as much as possible) and paint daffodils. Below is a rather quick study of the flowers. I've always loved daffodils --I think because, to me, their smell signals the end of winter-- but I've never tried painting them before. I was always daunted by the yellowness of them. But they were cheery subjects to paint, perfect for a day of gloomy weather. 

Daffodil study, 8x10" oil on panel

Friday, March 15, 2013

Step by step, day one

Periodically, people ask me about my process as an artist: what steps do I take to complete a painting? So, for sake of demonstration, I took a bunch of in-progress pictures of my latest Sebbie painting. These are all from today, day one of the painting.  I started with a tinted (imprimatura-ed) canvas, and sketched out my composition with charcoal, as you see at image 1, and then proceeded to block in the big shapes--for the skeleton that meant paying as much, if not more, attention to the negative shapes as the actual forms. And then I got so caught up in the work I forgot to take pictures between 2 and 3... and again between 4 and 5. Remembering to do other things while painting is not my strong suit--this is why I never put things in the oven while I work, no matter how wonderful it sounds to have a nicely baked something at the end of a painting session: I will forget about it while caught up in painting, and it will burn. Ah, well.  But hopefully you can get a rough sense of how my painting takes shape. After the block in is finished (image 6), comes the hard part; I'll keep you posted.







Wednesday, March 6, 2013

quick study of the evening sky

I was working on a still life, yesterday late afternoon, and I kept finding myself drawn to look out the window at the wind blown clouds and the changing light. After maybe the tenth time I dragged myself away from the window, I thought, clearly outside is what interests me, I should be painting that. So I grabbed a panel and set up to paint the changing sky--of course, that time of evening, even in the few minutes I took to set up, the sky had drastically changed. I still got this small (8x10") study done, though, before it changed too much to reference further. It was an exciting challenge.