About Me

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I have been creating things since I was old enough to hold a pencil, a crayon or a needle. You may be surprised what you find here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Snuggles, the Gentleman Cat

I finally completed a painting of Snuggles where he doesn't look like he's angry or mad. I think it's because his eyes tend to bug out just a bit. He has the best personality, he's sweet and gentle, and I can't remember the last time he used his claws on a human being, unlike our other two. Even if you are doing something he doesn't like, he never scratches.

He is a beautiful long haired tuxedo cat with a magnificent tail that a skunk would be proud to own.

This was the first painting I tried with my new acrylics (even though it's not the first one posted on the blog). I particularly liked the way the Paynes Grey somehow managed to do it's own shading. I did his entire black coat with the grey, and it streaked the lighter shades pretty much all on it's own, I only had to add a few highlights when I was done.

I added the butterfly a bit later when I decided he needed to be looking at something. I always say that I think he's near sighted as sometimes he seems to not be as confident as the other two when he has to jump from point to point. He thinks about it a lot before he makes the jump, he's really quite tentative. So it made sense for the butterfly to be really close and it shows his gentleness. Although in real life, it wouldn't stand a chance!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Playing with Acrylics

I have been experimenting with acrylic paint for the past week. My subject matter has been cats. The reason for the switch (and it's not permanent) is that I find myself 'making mud' when I overwork the oils and wanted to see if I would be happier with acrylics given their faster drying time.

I have now painted three paintings and the answer is a resounding NO. They set up way to fast and I have a real hard time blending the colors when I want to. So, overall, I'll probably stick with oils for the most part. The acrylics have their place, for instance, today when I wanted to paint on the three season porch. I wasn't worried about making a mess, I just sat in my chair and painted.

The painting above is of Dessie (short for Destiny) when she was just four weeks old. I found her in the middle of a busy intersection one morning last October where someone had thrown her away. She was so small that she didn't really walk very well, and she was so lucky that no one hit her. Adding her to our household was a no-brainer. This was my second painting using acrylics.

In the next couple of days, I'll share the other two cat paintings I have completed this week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Birds of a feather

This week the goal has to been to paint every day. Usually I paint at least 8"x10", and the larger the better but I had a few 4"x7" canvases all prepped so I thought I would try to paint something on them. Not feeling inspired to go outside and paint, I looked through my stash of photos - nothing there that inspired me either. So I resorted to browsing through books and calendars, something I haven't done since the early 90's.

In a coffee table book called "Maine", I found two photos of birds that I thought might be interesting to try. I have never tried to paint a bird before. The Black-capped Chickadee is the state bird and the photo was taken by Randy Ury, although since I plan to hang these two painting together, I reversed the image The Cedar Waxwing photo is credited to Alan D. Briere.
Neither of these photos will be sold, they are for my personal use only.

Painting every day is both a challenge and a lot of fun. I spent part of one afternoon outdoors where I had been invited to paint with someone I know, but for the most part, I painted alone in my studio with a lot of help from my three cats. Fortunately, they didn't walk in my wet paint and track it everywhere. I am always afraid that I will have to be cleaning oil paints off their fur and paws. Any tips?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer Goodbye

This is one of the daily paintings I have done this week. It is an 8"x10 oil done on canvas from a photograph taken by my very talented friend Joe Hannaford with his permission. Joe is an artist, a photographer and a well respected local graphic designer. His photograph is called "Waiting for Summer" but given the time of year, I thought that Summer Goodbye might also be an appropriate name for the painting.
I think I was able to include a lot of detail in this fairly small painting in the time that I allotted to work in it. I did some under painting first to try to lay in the shadows. This was a bit problematic as oils stay wet for a long time and there was a tendency for the colors to blend more than I wanted them to.
Cloudy skies and water are real challenges for me. I struggle to get them even close to what I want them to be. Maybe that's why I like to paint fair weather skies, a whole lot easier, but I will continue to work on this and on lakes, rivers and oceans to improve my skill sets.
I hope you like today's offering. Now to go paint something since I have set myself a challenge of doing a painting a day. I also plan to head over to the Currier Gallery of Art, a local art museum later this week to be inspired by folks who really know what they are doing. I love to see all the art I follow on the Internet, but seeing great art in person is still the best.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Favorite Things Still Life

I have been working on this painting for a while. I really struggled with the shadow on the bottle and I'm not sure I am done yet, but wanted to post it anyway. I had to stop because I was in serious danger of over painting and making a real mess.

Being on vacation this week is a real God send. I am getting to paint every day, in fact, starting yesterday, I decided that while I was on vacation, I will paint a painting a day. I have completed two already and will show them here later once I have decent photos of them.

What a luxury to be able to paint for hours every day. Sometimes I think it's against the odds to be able to do so. We recently got a dehumidifier, which is great, but it's in the laundry room off my studio and it puts off a tremendous amount of heat. Hubby seems to have a built in radar about my planning to use the studio, as he has managed to turn on the dehumidifier every day about an hour before I go in. Mentioning that I would prefer he didn't doesn't seem to register. In my next house, the studio is going to be far away from the laundry room (I hate listening to the noise of the washer and dryer when I am working) and away from other household noises if at all possible. I love the sounds of silence, and even though we live on several acres, it apparently is very hard to come by.

Today I braved both the sounds of laundry and the heat from the dehumidifier and painted for four hours, finishing a fairly detailed painting. It was great fun and I can't wait to share it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vacation? It must be "Wine O'Clock"

I was scrolling through some photos of paintings that I have done over the past year and came across this one. It is a clock I made for a friend's birthday.
I had a lot of fun creating this, no reference photos, just pure imagination. And I had fun experimenting at all levels. This is done in oils but when I did glaze coats, I added some crushed pigments that were iridescent gold and mother of pearl. Gold on the background and mother of pearl on the grapes.
Since I am on vacation this week, this clock reflects my relaxed attitude. I am not wearing a watch and any time could be "wine-o-clock". Perhaps even right now, since I have finished painting for the day. My next post may well be the still life I have been working on for so long.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cawley Pond outing

My friend, Pat, owner of "ART CACOON", invited me out for an afternoon of painting last weekend. We painted at her parents place on Cawley Pond. It was a fun afternoon, and a real challenge for me. This is my third outing in nearly as many years attempting plein aire painting. I struggle with selecting an area to focus on, with trying not to capture too much and the urge to work with the tiniest brushes.
When she invited me out to paint, I made a decision not to take apart my studio to fill my French easel. I went out and purchased a basic set of beginner oils, and an inexpensive set of brushes to keep packed up and ready to go. I prepped three 8"x10" canvases all set in Art Cacoons, so when I got there I was all ready to paint, I just had to pick an area to focus on.
It was mid to late afternoon and we had a couple of hours, the sky was clear and the pond was fairly calm. The area in the front with the cat 0' nine tails was actually out of my site line and they have all gone to seed this time of year, but I wanted to include them in my painting so I took artistic license.
I'm pleased because while this was sitting in my studio drying last week, my husband looked at through the doorway and decided, and I quote, "From here it looks like a photograph". That's high praise coming from him.
I am on vacation this week and will be spending a lot of time working on the still life I started several months ago. It has evolved quite a bit since the original sketch, and I hope to finish it this week. That is unless I take off with the French easel and spend more time learning from life.