Capturing the Sunrise

This is a series of three pieces I painted as the sun rose over Lake Michigan at Illinois Beach State Park this morning. The first piece is tiny-5×7-because the sun rose so much more quickly than I could paint it. The second one shows the sky in transition. Shortly after I started it a dense fog blew in, picking up the colors of the sun and muting the light surrounding it. By the time I started the third piece, the sky was thick with fog, though there was a tiny sprinkling of light at the water’s edge where the sun rose above the fog. I recently read a quote in the book, Hawthorne on Painting, in which Charles Hawthorne is reported to have said, “A painter spends his life in despair trying to paint the beauty he sees…”  I felt this so acutely this morning, striving to emulate beauty that seems so far out of reach. But Hawthorne says later on the same page, “If a man lives a lifetime and seriously and humbly studies these things about nature-the beauty of the spots of color made by objects as they come together-it cannot but react on him as a man and, by the time he has painted for forty years or so, he’ll begin to have a glimmer of what beauty is.” So I’m making it a goal to hold off judgment of my work for another thirty years or so.

SONY DSCSunrise Before the Fog, 5×7, acrylic on gessoboard

SONY DSCSunrise as the Fog Blew In, 11×14, acrylic on gessoboard

SONY DSCAfter the Fog Blew In, 9×12, acrylic on gessoboard

Prints of these paintings can be purchased at Fine Art America by clicking on the appropriate painting. All three originals are also for sale.

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Vacation Sketches

I just got back from a week in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. While there, I visited a new art store and used what I bought painting at the beach in Fish Creek. These paintings were a fun challenge, since the supplies I bought were limited-a palette knife, four paint colors (three primaries plus white), and clay board. I had no brushes, and I was missing most of my favorite colors. Combined with some great photos, I’m hoping to use these sketches to paint some bigger pieces during the cold, miserable winter months when I’m missing the beach.

SONY DSCOvercast Day-Fish Creek Beach, 9×12, Acrylic on Clayboard

I painted this on the one day I had scheduled for painting without any children along, so I was disappointed when I woke up and it was raining. I stuck with the plan, though, and by the time I got there I was greeted by an absolutely stunning overcast morning sky. It sprinkled on and off while I was working, but luckily the piece was small enough that I was able to put up the umbrella and keep it dry. The rain on the palette actually helped to keep my paint from drying up on me. Prints of this piece available here. 

SONY DSCPier at Fish Creek Beach, 8×10, Acrylic on Clayboard

I painted this piece my second day painting. The sky had cleared a little, and there was even a little sun by the end of the morning. My five-year-old came with me, pastels and paper in tow, and we worked side by side for a little while. She also spent quite a bit of time taking photographs with my cell phone, presumably for a larger work she has planned as well. Here is her interpretation of the same beach.

E's fish creek beachUntitled, 12×9,  Pastel on Pastel Paper

She’s kind of amazing.

Reading the Kindle on a Rainy Day

I painted this all in one long eight hour session yesterday. I think it was the first time since college I had a live model for that long, and I was shocked at how much easier it is to paint a person from life than from a photograph. Hours and hours less time with better results. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone other than my amazing husband willing to sit still for 8 hours without compensation. SONY DSCThis painting is 18×24 in, acrylic on canvas. Prints are available for purchase at Fine Art America. 

Life Drawing

SONY DSCIt’s been a while since I worked from life instead of photographs. It’s hard to find people willing to sit and hold perfectly still. My kids did the best they could; I did the best I could. But still, though there is more imprecision involved in drawing a moving target, there is a freshness in drawing from life that I need re-injected into my work from time to time.

House Series #3-In Progress

This is the the third in a series of houses I was commissioned to paint. (Here are the first and second). Since I was taking final pictures of the second piece, I happened to take some in progress photos of this as I was working on it. So here is a slide show of the work in stages from start to finish:

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Just like the other two pieces in this series, this painting is acrylic on paper, 4×6 inches. The owner of this house said her favorite thing about the house was that driving up it felt like she was arriving at a resort. I’m hoping the sun drenched lawn and summer trees feel like vacation.

SONY DSC

Now that that’s out of my system…

I spent a lot of time building my technical skills-being able to draw or paint what I see, and have it look as it should. Recently, though,  I’ve been feeling like I  have to use them, and at that point I think they start to become a liability. I’ve posted before about whether or not turning a photograph into a drawing adds value. I’m still not sure it does.  I love how this turned out:

But I’m still feeling a little like that was pointless, because the original photograph was just as awesome (maybe better?). So this summer I’m making a commitment to do something more exciting.

(Combing through past blog posts to find the links above, I was surprised to find that apparently this this is a yearly tradition. I posted about taking my work in a new direction in early summer of both 2010 and  2011. I’ll have to find a way not to be so boring in April of 2013)

Fits and Starts

WordPress sent me a graph of my posting habits for the year:

That fizzle at the end? Also a graphic representation of the napping habits of the local native toddler. So as always, just when I think I have a momentum going the dynamic struggle among inspiration, motivation, time, and creative energy stops me again. So in the spirit of finding a new way to work, again, I am experimenting with a new medium. Which breathes new life into my work through a sense of adventure and experimentation.

First successful experiment to follow shortly.

Happy New Year

2011 was an excellent year in art for me. I participated in two group shows and a street festival and started putting new pieces on the blog on a consistent basis. I sold work some work, gave some away, and all in all have more pieces being seen and making an impact than when the year began. My goal for 2012 is to find more time to create, and to find more ways to get my work into other peoples’ lives.

Happy New Year and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to look.