Friday, May 27, 2011

Painting Spring!

Spring has arrived a bit slow here in Minnesota this year, but it's here and there's way too much to paint!  The Crab Apple trees have already come and gone, the lilacs are going crazy and the green is electric!  This new green of spring for the most part is a bit tough to paint and can be somewhat unpleasing to end up with, however it is what it is and the fact that it's green and not white is a very good thing!  Last week I spent the week painting outside on location at the farm where I grew up.  The little stream piece was done in about an hour and a half in the evening.  I stood on the bridge crossing over the water looking North.  I had my daughter and my dog along with so there were a few distractions but it's life and the fact I was painting 'from life' it seemed pretty fitting!  The added bonus to bringing along a 12 year old and a 6 month old black lab puppy is there is no time to spare!  It forces one to put it down and put it down right!  

Lilacs, gotta love 'em!  And 'gotta paint 'em FAST'!  They don't stay perky for long once cut.  I did this piece in one full day and decided to be finished.  My goal was to use natural light so it would be a bit softer and cooler than the controlled warm lighting I often use in my still lifes.  I like that the shadows are so warm and soft.  There are lots of little temperature notes in the whites that I'm afraid is difficult to view their subtleties due to my horrible photography skills.  The tiny little notes of differences are quite beautiful in their purity.  These delicate degrees of differences are what drive and inspire me to paint flowers from life. It's absolutely incredible the colors that exist!   

"Fresh Cut Lilacs"
14x14 oil on linen panel

"Stream In Spring"
10x8 oil on linen panel

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Paint The Hills Of Tuscany With Kami Polzin

Who Wants To Go To Italy?!!!!  Raise your hand!!!

I will be returning to Tuscany Italy in May of 2012 to teach a workshop and mentoring program in
May of 2012. 
For details and registration info visit the link below.  I can't wait to paint the hills of Tuscany again!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blue Hydrangeas

"Blue Hydrangeas"
16x20 oil on linen

This is my latest studio piece just finished a few days ago.  It was so refreshing to paint live hydrangeas  this time of year around here!  I grow hydrangeas in my garden at home but they're not ready until mid summer to paint so this was a real treat to be able to paint one of my favorite flowers in the first week of May.  I found a potted plant of Endless Summer Hydrangeas in the garden center at Home Depot a few weeks ago that were in FULL beautiful bloom and thought they'd be perfect for painting and better yet after painting I can put the plant in the ground and paint them again and again!  
I painting a lot of flowers from life, and I have to say for ME hydrangeas and peonies (lilacs too) are some of the most difficult flower to paint.  I think it's because each flower has thousands of little petals in each head which makes it easy to get overwhelmed by the 'millions' of sweet little petals in this flower.  I find it crucial when painting these to keep the lights and darks separate and only paint the darks compared to the light, not what the darks look like when you look INTO the darks.  The darks have to be painted in relation to the lights to pull off the correct value and temperature relationship to achieve the saturation of the lights.  
In composing this painting, I was thinking about all the texture in the flowers and the play of the soft elegance of the round glass vase.  I like how it almost disappears into the background.  And then the few little crisp notes in the 3 little fallen petals on the table top!