Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Montauk's Finest

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I had so much fun painting these two working fishing boats out on the docks of Montauk, NY.  The air, the light, the water, the boats and the fisherman themselves made it so exciting. I had to work fast not just because of the setting sun, but also because Montauk is a very busy fishing port. Moments, and I mean moments after I finished up this painting, a gigantic fishing vessel pulled right up against the dock I was painting on, completely blocking my view. That day, timing was everything.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sagaponack Farm

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This is the same barn as featured in my last post. However, this is it in early morning light. It continues to astound and at times frustrate me at how dramatically a scene changes as the light changes. The warm glow on the old wooden doors and the cast shadows under the eaves are what drew me to this barn in the first place. By the time I had the sketch done and began to paint, however, the sun had moved behind the barn and I had to stop. The warmth and mood were gone. So, the next morning I went back and there was the barn in the light that initially caught my eye. Only now, there was a tractor parked in front as well - oh, the perils of painting a working farm in plein aire!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tractor at Foster Farm

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Working farms on the end of eastern Long Island are slowly giving way to big showy houses hidden behind high plantings of privet. So when I happened upon this barn, with its tractor standing in plain sight, I was elated. The day was hot, and humid and bright which only made this beautiful turquoise barn even more enticing to me. I spent a wonderful afternoon under a great big shade tree, painting it. Without that big shade tree, though, I do not think I could have lasted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


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This past summer I decided to get out of my studio and go paint in the great outdoors. For this painting, I only went as far as my own backyard. I am not going to lie, this was a struggle. The white extensions of tiny bell shaped flowers seemed to paint themselves but the hosta LEAVES were another story. In general, leaves are difficult, after all, they are green (a tough color for me,)  and without much variation from one to the other. What made matters worse was that in this particular composition, they also took up over half the canvas. I tried painting them in full sun in the morning, but then as the day progressed and they started to fall into shadow, I liked that too. So then I started over and painted them in the shade. I literally chased the light for about three days when I finally surrendered to what it was and decided to "leaf" it alone. In the end, I am happy with this dancing flower bells painting. I am certainly better acquainted with "green" and am much less daunted by leaves in general. Oh, and I'm betting there is another hosta painting in my future ... next summer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cascade of Yellow Roses

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This was painted in plein aire in my front garden. On the first day of painting, I got in a good sketch and a smattering of color and felt pretty good about my start. After all, a 30"x48" canvas is a very big canvas for me. Later that night, the skies burst open in a downpour of torrential rains and in the morning, my beautiful yellow roses looked a mess. They were drooping and in spots their stems were broken. I don't remember what annoyed me more at the time, the battered rose bush or my now defunct painting sketch. I had been thinking about making this painting since the summer before and I was determined not to let a deluge get in my way. I propped up the broken branches with brooms and rakes from the garage and proceeded with the painting. I was now painting heavy clusters of yellow blooms, cascading downwards in a spiral. It was actually quite beautiful... even more beautiful than the original sketch of perky upright roses. In fact, when my art dealer saw the finished piece, she commented that what made this piece special, was that the roses were facing downward. Of course, this was not my original plan - Fate?, Mother Nature?, Dumb Luck? Something? intervened and the plan got better.  Hmmmm... I find that painting, like life, is funny that way.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pink Peonies in Grey Pot

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The challenge here, was that the wall and the ceramic pot were both the same color. Of course, that is what made the still life setup so beautiful to me, but also what made it so difficult to paint.