Thursday, September 30, 2010

True Colors

"Mr Murphy's Dahlias"
20x16 oil on linen
I got a new mac! I've been spending the week trying to figure out how to use my new computer and having just a bit of 'getting used to' editing photos. (LOVE the mac by the way!) I need to get Photoshop, this picture is not great but you get the idea and I thought I'd better get it posted before I get too far behind. . . .
The story behind this painting is about to begin! My 10th grade english teacher Mr Murphy now retired and seemingly pretty happy about that, grows the most lovely dahlias. I've been seeing Mr Murphy at the local farmers market every Saturday for years, but since the flowers don't last long and I wanted to do a somewhat larger piece of the flowers I knew I'd need a full weekend planned out to do this painting. Finally last Saturday was the day! Now, to add to the story, my Grandma and aunts and I have been religiously planting and digging up our red dahlias that go all the way back to my great Grandma in South Dakota for as long as I can remember now, and I couldn't imagine not including my Great Grandma's too! As lovely and Mr Murphys are, ours are special to me for so many reasons and they seem to have a mind of their own in the funky way they like to grow. This is the reason for the 'character like' one on the left reaching out and saying hello.
Compositionally speaking I was thinking of how I could possibly make such an idea work. Not to assume that it does, feels like a bit of a risk but I like it! With all this hot red in a painting I knew I would need something to balance and cool this piece a bit, hence the blue cloth on the table. Red and blue is a nice color scheme. I think of the sweep of red traveling through the painting as a large s shape and I placed the 2 little pedals on the table to lay the surface flat and also to help carry the eye around again. Lots of red for this painter but that's what they're all about, their True Colors!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wisdom Tree

"Wisdom Tree"
11x14 oil on linen panel
This painting was commissioned to me through St Croix Prep school this summer and I chose to paint this old tree that was left on the school grounds. I feel that trees are so metaphorical in so many ways from their roots to their branches and all they've seen and been through and survived. There is something very intriguing and strong to me about an old tree and all it's character, especially when it stands alone. I think about of those who have chosen to leave it for the future and how easy it would have been to cut down. The school was built only over a year ago and at one time the grounds were farmed. Lucky for us there were Ones along the way that decided the tree should stay.
Isn't she beautiful and alive!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some September Plein Air!

"Just Off Nason Hill"
11x14 oil on linen
September painting is awesome! The colors are rich and usually, the weather is pretty comfortable. This is a piece I painted specifically for someone who just graduated law school, is an avid biker, and spent many of his days biking this route. Nason hill is one of the most challenging around for bikers and this special biker has fond memories of this route. I, the painter on the other hand chose this composition because I was totally intrigued and inspired by the beautiful sweep of this road and the sharp tension of the telephone wires. I've always loved to paint telephone wires, in fact I once turned down a large commission because I insisted the telephone wires belong and the collectors did not agree. :) And at THAT time I could not afford to turn commissions down! Stubborn artist huh? :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Meaningful Concept and Process

"Hydrangeas And Cool Light"
12x16 oil on linen
I'm finding lately that I'm interested in painting art that tells some kind of a story. Whether the viewer is aware of the story or not, it's important to me, and makes the process of creating art more interesting and important in my mind.
In this piece, like most of my floral pieces, the flowers are from my garden. Growing and cutting the flowers are a part the process of making many of my works. I've had the green clippers you see on the right of the canvas since I was 19 years old and I've used them in every floral piece I've done since. Usually I take the clippers out of the scene when I start the painting but in this painting I was inspired by the story they told and thought all the leaves I had clipped off to design the composition of the hydrangeas were definitely part of the story and should stay as well.
I painted this piece using natural cool light. It was a bit more difficult since my time was limited so I came back to work on this 3 different morings. Unfortenetely I do not have north light in my studio, my windows face the west, so time is an issue
- but a good and challenging one!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Floating Over the St Croix Valley

I haven't painted in one full week!
This last Saturday, just minutes before I was about to walk down the isle as my sisters Maid of Honor in her wedding, my friends Scott and Kimberly called to let me know they had a couple of openings on their balloon for a sunRISE ride in their balloon. Not wanting to pass this opportunity by, I took them up on their offer after only sleeping 3 1/2 hours the night before. I'm sharing this 'non-painting' experience with you because it was truly one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had! I hope you enjoy.
the fog in the Valley is often times thick along the river, quite stunning
filling up with 'hot air' :)
and the beautiful lift. I like the human figure next to the balloon, it gives one perspective on the grandness of the balloon
just above the clouds!
looking over the St Croix

touching down on the water reflecting us in the balloon

Love this perspective on the poplars