Friday, December 9, 2011

WIP Pebble Beach- Oil on Canvas

Since we started the relocating in July, I haven't done much painting to speak of.  The only painting I have worked on at all is this 15X30 oil of a photo I took at Pebble Beach- on the awesomely beautiful 17-Mile Drive.
While going through the nightmarish process of packing up everything and trying to downsize at the same time, painting time was pretty much nonexistent.  Along with packing, I needed to pare our home's contents down enough to fit into a 1500 sq ft beach house, from our previous 3100 sq ft.  Now that I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and no longer living surrounded by moving boxes, I hope to make my art a priority again!
While I was getting ready to move, I did find time to get to my weekly painting class now and then- and this is what I was working on.  Now that I live further away, I will not be going to that class as often- but will still get there whenever I make the trip to see family.  Anyway, enough rambling.  I am hoping that by posting this, I will be back to painting and blogging on a regular basis again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stained Glass Window- In Vintage Window Frame

I haven't been painting for a few weeks, due to all the packing and pre-relocating craziness.  I did, however, get a chance to go to the stained glass studio and finish up my latest project.  I started learning stained glass a few years ago and have completed many windows and even a lamp shade- but this was my first project using lead instead of copper foil to construct the window.  I wanted to learn the process of working with lead since it is quite different. I have some old window frames at home that I have kept for this reason- stained glass.  Some of the window frames are from when we replaced all of our windows on Long Island.  My husband continuously tries, with no success, to get me to throw them out.

The first steps are the same as in the copper foil process- making the pattern and cutting the glass pieces.  Then, starting in one corner, I put my first 2 sides of the window (zinc strips) in and start working my way out from the corner.  One piece at at time, I fit the glass in, and cut the lead came strips to fit.  The glass pieces were all ground on the edges with the grinder, but often need more grinding to fit properly.  The glass pieces and came strips are kept in place with horseshoe nails as I go, to keep the window true to the pattern underneath.
The central design with the bevel pieces was simple since they came cut out already- more difficult to fit in sometimes, but already finished edges.
I chose to use clear glass for most of the design- the bevels, and 2 different patterns of clear (glue chip, and a ribbed border).  The outside border is blue streaky glass. 

I love the finished window and, for now, it will just stay on the easel since I am moving and don't need to decide which window to hang it in.  Since the old window frame it is framed with is a beach house window, it is fitting that it will be so near the ocean again.  Working with lead was a fun process, and I definitely plan to do more of these! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finally- A New Post!

 how I've been spending most of my time.
how I'd rather be spending my time.

I have been away from my blog for about a month for two main reasons.  
ONE: No painting has been going on, so really nothing to post.
TWO:  Moving, so I spend most of my time looking for a place to live- and the dreaded packing of the house and trying to sort out what should get boxed up and moved!
Usually, my husband's work involves him commuting weekly by plane to wherever the current contract is located.  This time it involves us relocating.  Hopefully, it will be worth all the trouble- by way of a home located very near the ocean!
I really need to make some time for painting or just spending all of my time packing will make me crazy.  I rarely go this long without painting- even though it is technically work, it is my relaxation.  SO- at least once a week, hopefully, I will get into my studio and paint!  And, needless to say, the studio will be the last room I box up.
Thankfully, I have two really large orders of soldered charms (seahorses, sand dollars, and starfish) to get finished.  That means I have to take a break from packing up, and get these charms soldered.  It will be a VERY welcome break.  I also need to get up to date on visiting the blogs of my fellow artists and see what everybody has been doing!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back to the Beach

"Catch of the Day"
9X12 acrylic on canvas

We are moving soon. That means lots of things to pack, which is bad.  It also means I will be a few feet from the sand and the Pacific Ocean, which is excellent!  I am only about an hour from the coast now, but an ocean view is much better.  When we left Long Island, I knew I would miss the beach being only a few minutes away.  I definitely have missed the frequent trips to Fire Island, and it will be wonderful to live on the coast again (not to mention saying bye bye to the 100+ degree days of summer here).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vintage Baby Shoe

9X12 Watercolor on 140 lb cold press paper

I had so much fun painting my boys' baby shoes that I wanted to continue with the same idea a bit longer.  My mom gave me hers to paint, and also my own.  Then, I will probably move on!  Sometimes, I just get into a fun painting groove and like to stick with it.  I did take a break from the shoes to paint the baseball watercolors, so its not really an obsession yet. I also love the idea that my mom wore this shoe in 1936- a fact she might not love me advertising, along with calling this a "vintage baby shoe".  Nothing to worry about, Mom- my baby shoes are also vintage!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baseball Themed Watercolors

I love baseball and during baseball season, I practically plan my life around SF Giants baseball!  Love to watch the games and the best part is that I can paint while they are on.  It is best when they win, but that isn't always the case- case in point- yesterday.  The Giants aren't scoring many runs (and they are usually in the last two innings) so it is amazing they win as often as they do.  They are in first place in the NL West.  Enough about that...

These watercolors are a baby gift for the newest boy in our family.  My wonderful nephew and his equally wonderful wife recently had a baby boy.  The baseball theme was a special request for a little art over his crib.  These were both fun to paint, especially since I think they will like them.  I am going to paint Jameson's name and birth date on the base ball- I think it will look good painted like a signed baseball instead of just printing it.  What do you think?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Watercolors- Just For Fun

I got to spend the day painting, and I was painting just for fun.  My husband was busy on the phone most of the day, so I just went into my studio and took out my watercolor palette.  Usually on Fridays, he wants to go do something since his work week is mostly mon-thurs, so since he was busy it was like bonus painting time.
I was so excited last week to come across the box containing my boys' baby shoes among other things.  I was thinking that after several moves, I had lost them.  I have been a bit stressed lately with my husband looking for his next contract- what better to paint than something that makes me happy?!  Baby shoes- perfect!  I have been taking photos of random painting subjects lately also- hence, the fortune cookies.
Perfect painting day because I also finished a set of baseball themed watercolors as a baby gift to my nephew and his wife for their adorable new son.  Gotta love it when painting days are stress free and productive!

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Mosquito Lake" Oil on Canvas: Step-by-Step

Mosquito Lake in Northern California

Step One: covering the canvas-
Ultramarine Blue for a cool tree base and ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, and white for the sky and water

Step Two: adding greens- ultramarine and burnt umber with some yellow ochre and cad yellow added to chromium oxide green for the lighter areas- and using a cool grayish blue mix (ultramarine and cerulean with a little umber and white) for some background trees

Step Three:  adding rocks, lily pads, and shoreline details.  Chromium oxide green with cad yellow for lily pads and light green values on shore, lightened as needed with white.  I added  burnt umber and ultramarine blue to chromium oxide green to darken some of the areas at the base of trees and on shore.

Step Four: Trunks here and there- Cad red, burnt umber, ultramarine blue and some grayish trunks using a lighter, bluer version of the trunk mix.  Also a lot of work on reflected trees in the water- same colors as the originals but broken lines instead of solid trunks for a little movement, and thinner paint.  I also added more value changes to the water- darkest in front and lightening up near the shore. Also more lily pads.

Final Step:  I mostly worked on adding more details in the grass and lightened up some of the lily pads in the foreground and mid ground using ultramarine and cad yellow.  I also made the center trunk narrower and added some more darks around the tree trunks.  The main thing that finished it, was the water line at the shore (ultramarine and cerulean blue with white) to add definition between the actual and the reflected images.

Now, on to some new paintings!  I always seem to have a million painting ideas in my head- the hard part is to choose one at a time. 

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend - taking a few minutes to remember all of our heroes past and present!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day Trip: Monterey!

The spectacular Monterey Coast

Last weekend was the Castroville Artichoke Festival.  We had never been before, so it was a good excuse to drive to the coast!  Only about an hour and a half away and so worth the drive.  The photo above is my husband's choice for HIS painting.  It is actually four photos that I stitched together with a handy program called DoubleTake.  I use the program often when I scan large paintings, but this is the first time I used it to make a panorama photo. here is a slight difference in blue shades in the middle of the sky, but my paint brush knows how to fix that.

The festival wasn't as huge as we were expecting, but they did have some good food. We chose artichoke burritos for lunch and, of course, for dessert- funnel cake. YUM...
I also got to visit a friend I hadn't seen in over 20 years- so a perfect day!

FUNNEL CAKE FOR 2- WW points not counted!

Friday, May 13, 2011

WIP "Mosquito Lake" Oil Painting

oil on canvas 12X16

reference photo

Mosquito Lake is a beautiful lake up in Northern California on the way to Lake Tahoe.  The lake is on Ebbetts Pass in the Sierra Nevadas at about 10,000 ft. elevation (Alpine County). It is one of our favorite day trip destinations.  It seems that every time we go there, the water is perfectly still and makes for perfect photos!  I have been meaning to paint this for months and finally got to it.  I am working on it in my painting class and should be done with it this week.  I have to add some more details and glaze in some more darks at the shoreline, but it is almost finished.  When it is completed, I will post some photos of the start-to-finish progress.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Well, so far, this Mother's Day is a giant success and its not until tomorrow!  My husband surprised me with a new camera.  I have been using the same smaller point and shoot for a few years and it was doing a great job, and it fit in my purse so I could take it anywhere with me.  This new one will definitely NOT fit in my purse or my pocket, but it is AWESOME and I still have the other one for my purse.  I'm sure he's thinking, this will give me better photos to paint from.  I am sure it will- when I get it figured out- there are a million different things it can do if I can learn how to make it do them!  If my photos are better, does that mean I need to paint better paintings?  I think I will take this one step at a time.  I have heard good things about this camera (Nikon D3100) and so far, I love it.  I have been outside in my garden, trying it out on flowers and got side tracked with a few shots of my poodle.  
Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful moms and grandmas out there!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

California Poppies Watercolor

I painted this watercolor for my mom.  I think I have to give her credit for my love of California Poppies.  She loves them and we grew up with them growing in the yard outside.  Now, I have them spread around my garden- blooming right now.  Although I have painted many poppy paintings for her- watercolors, acrylics, oils- this is probably my favorite.  This watercolor is 16X20 on 140lb cold press paper. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vintage Sand Pail Watercolor- "Pig Family at the Beach"

I collect vintage sand pails and I think that probably makes me crazy, but whatever.  For some reason, I am drawn to all kinds of vintage items- I just love the history.  Sand pails are particularly interesting to me because I love the colorful designs. I can justify (or at least try to) buying them, since I paint them- sort of a "business expense".  Of course I am only kidding about that, and nobody (especially my husband) buys that as an excuse!  I am not as crazy as some of these collectors who will pay hundreds for them- I only buy them if they are a GREAT deal(in the tens, not the hundreds) and I REALLY love them.  I got this one for $35 at an antique barn on Long Island AND it included the shovel.  The rusted edges only make it more interesting to me to paint.

This watercolor is 18X24" on 140 lb. cold press paper - rough surface.  The sand pail is a vintage (1940's, I think) T.Cohn pail. It was completely fun to paint, and I often go back to painting these sand pails when I just want to paint for fun, and for me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wine Cork Watercolor- Parador "Castle"

I haven't gotten any painting done and realized it has been a week since my last post!  I have been waiting for my face to stop hurting after an especially "uncomfortable" 3+ hours at the dentist last Friday.  I was going in for an extraction and thought I'd be a little uncomfortable for a day or so and back to painting. Wrong.  Be very wary if you ever need to have a tooth pulled that has had a root canal.  Brittle roots- need I say more?

I did this cork watercolor a few weeks ago for #47 in my 100 Paintings Challenge.  I love the castle stamped on the cork.  I don't know if it represents the winery or another castle, but I loved it.  It is always a surprise to get a great cork, since you can't see it until you have opened the bottle.  I haven't been to this winery yet, it was a nice delivery from our Napa wine club.  The wine was very good, so it isn't all about the great cork!  Just a bonus if you are an artist with a thing for painting corks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fun with Watercolors and ACEOs

ACEO, ATC, whatever you call them- they are fun to paint!  These papers are 2.5 X 3.5 inches.  They just seem like pure fun to paint since you don't have a large piece of watercolor paper in front of you waiting to turn into a "serious" painting.  I have also been trying out the canvas ACEO papers for oil paints.  I have been seeing many artists on Etsy putting these tiny paintings in their shops and decided to give them a try.  I painted more of them, but didn't want to post too many at once, so will post more later. I found some small frames just the right size for them, and if you are like me, you probably like your paintings more once they are matted or framed.  The small size is also just right for painting two of my favorite subjects- wine corks and sea shells!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Displaying Our Artwork- When does "just enough" become too much?

I have some recently finished paintings to hang.  My dilemma is a recurring one for me.  Are my walls too full of art already?  The thing is, when I finish a painting, hopefully I like it.  But I like the ones that are already being displayed on my walls also!  Most of my paintings have memories attached for me... places I have visited... such as Paris, Italy, the beach, etc.  The paintings, like a photo album or scrapbook, bring back memories.  It would be easy if I just took down the older paintings to add the new ones.

One of my art blogger friends, Pat, showed some of her walls with paintings recently and it got me thinking.  Who better to get feedback from than fellow artists who may go through the same problem with art display!  As you can see from the third photo, I have a batch of newly framed paintings (oils) waiting for me to decide where they will go.  I am not a speed painter, these were finished over a period of time and just needed framing.  I found some frames I love- plein air frames with gold or silver leaf- so, now they are ready to go up.  The wall in the top photo goes up another 10-12 feet and my husband and I thought we might just continue to hang them higher up the wall.  I am lucky in that my husband does not think there can ever be too many paintings on the walls and keeps pointing out blank spots.  Magazines and TV always seem to be showing me rooms with empty walls or maybe one or two paintings. That is simply not going to happen at my house.  So- my question is this- what do you do, rotate your art, just stop framing?   I am not going to stop painting any time soon, so our supply of artwork won't suddenly dry up!  I have been sharing with family and friends for years as gifts, and whenever I am lucky enough- I sell them...
Thank you so much for your input-

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wine Bottle Watercolor

Watercolor and ink on 9X12 140 lb cold press paper

When I saw this wine bottle on the store shelf, I knew I had to at least try to paint it.  How could I resist?  So fun and colorful and full of tiny details.  Well, there were quite a few times when I almost just gave up thinking I had taken on too much.  There were details on the label that I hadn't even noticed until I started to paint!  The artist that designed this label is so talented.  As usual, when I took a few steps back from the watercolor, I liked it more than up close.  I need to do that more often- when we paint we are too close to the painting to really look at it.  I left out a few of the tiniest details and that was the key- knowing when to stop.  I did decide to add the wine glass when I was finished with the bottle and it seemed to need something else.  When I added the ink outlining (on the label) with my rapidograph, it really helped make the details stand out.
This was one of those times that leaving the background white seemed right to me so I just added the shadows.
I forgot to mention the bonus- the wine IN the bottle was really quite good.  I was buying the bottle anyway- it wasn't the least bit important to me how good the wine was.  Sometimes, it is just about the label.  The cork was even worthy of painting, with the elephant on the end!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blood Oranges on Silver Tray- Watercolor

Blood Oranges on Silver Tray  9X12 Watercolor

I finished this watercolor and posted it to the 100 Paintings Challenge, but never got it posted here.  Not exactly organized, I guess.  I have had fun with a few watercolors this last week, and have a few more to post in the next few days.  We got hooked on Blood Oranges while on vacation in Italy and didn't realize how difficult they are to find here in California.  Apparently, they are only in season for a short while.  Needless to say, we buy them up in large quantities when we come across them at the store- they are delicious and the colors are beautiful.  I set them on this silver tray since I am always wanting to paint reflections.  I even had to polish the tray, but it was worth it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Cape Disappointment" 18 X24 Watercolor

Cape Disappointment 18X24 Watercolor

Seaside and beach scenes are among my favorites to paint, and although they are usually photos I have taken- this one is not.  I saw it in a magazine quite a few years ago and really wanted to paint it.  This beautiful place is called Cape Disappointment and is located on the coast of Washington where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean.  I just know this is a place I could live!

I know I have just drawn 2 new watercolors that are ready to paint, but I got sidetracked and wanted to finish this one.  I have quite a few unfinished watercolors on the end of my painting table in my studio and, sometimes, I am in the right mood to actually finish one or more.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Works in Progress- Two New Watercolor Sketches

I think you can see why I needed to paint this wine label!

The castle design on this cork is exactly why I love to paint corks!

I am in the mood to paint corks again and chose these as my latest.  When I saw the label on the wine bottle I just had to buy it- didn't even care if the wine was going to be good, or not!  As an added bonus, the wine was very tasty! The wine is a Petite Sirah from Michael-David and another good one from the many available nearby in Lodi, California.  I loved the colorful, fun label and there is even an elephant on the end of the cork.  You might be getting the impression that we chose our wines because of the label art, but that is not exactly it. The label may be the reason I pick up a bottle in the first place, so it does matter. The cork is always just a pleasant surprise if there is a good design since you can't see it until you uncork the bottle.  As artists, we all have our favorite subjects to paint- and wine corks just happen to be interesting and fun to me!

Monday, March 14, 2011

ACEO Watercolors

I bought these little ACEO watercolor papers a while back and finally tried them out.  How could I resist them in the art supply store?  So cute and little- they even make tiny envelopes for them!  I like that they make great practice projects, since you don't need to set aside hours to paint these little watercolors.  I can focus on one item- like a shell or cork and there is no pressure, just fun painting practice.  This time, as you can see, I only used a few of the colors on my palette and kept it simple.  I see many more of these in my future!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sea Shells!

oil on canvas 8X10

oil on canvas 5X7

These are #37 and #38 of my 100 Paintings Challenge.
  I was taking my time and in no rush at all since I have a year to do this challenge- well, I guess I really need to get with it or I will be passed up very soon by a participant that is on her second 100.  Should this worry me?  Maybe I should just let it happen and continue to have fun!  I am enjoying the challenge because all of the artists participating have different styles and there really is much to learn from the experience.  So- back to the easel!