Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mountain Day

The road in.....

I had hoped to post this last night, however I was way too tired. I tried listing a few things in my Etsy shop, but when my typing kept coming out like gobbledygook, I knew a blog post was never going to happen.

So, we climbed our mountain on Saturday. Who climbs mountain in Maine in May? Well, I guess that we do! We should have known what we were in for when we saw all the roads that were washed out on our way in. There was still a bit of snow and ice in the woods and on the trail, and for quite a while we were hiking up the run off - which at times was more like a river. However, we eventually made it to the summit. It was a misty grey day, so not much for views. The mist parted momentarily for us to catch a glimpse of the Crockers, but we were pretty shrouded in the rest of the time. My 11 year old has reached the high point in every New England state, so now he is obsessed with climbing at the 4,000+ footers in  New England - he planned this trip! A long, long wet hike - that ended with three tired little boys and a very wet and exhausted pooch.

I just realized I have less than two weeks to prepare for my next local show. I promised them a bunch of still lifes (more about that later) so I had better get to work on them! I can't believe the kids will be out of school in just a few weeks. It is going to be challenging to figure out how to get my painting time in when all three of them are at home. Today would have been a lovely plein air morning, however I am off to teach reading skills to kindergartners....I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (for those of us in the US) weekend......

Friday, May 27, 2011

We Remember

We Remember

We are off to climb a mountain......

Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
And thanks to those who have served our country.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kelsey Arboreteum - Heather Patch

Kelsey Arboretum - Heather Patch

This is one of my favorite spots in the little arboretum around the corner from my house. There is a wandering little path (called "Heather Patch") to a wooden bench at the edge of beautiful little patch of heather. The heather always reminds me of our honeymoon spent in Scotland. I can't wait until the patch is in full bloom.

This came out a bit dark. I am finding these landscapes really, really difficult- and it is making me realize that it is important to push myself out of my comfort zone and get out there and paint them as often as I can. I hope the practice will help me grow.

My worst nightmare (!) happened while I was working there today....someone actually showed up in this quiet little spot. It was a dad with his little girl and they came over to talk to me and see what I was painting. I was at that early stage in the painting, just roughing in a composition, where it looks like absolutely nothing at all but a bunch of messy bright red lines - I was mortified to have anyone see it! But the little girl was really cute and asked a lot of questions, so I was brave and didn't run away  ;-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grey Day at Stiles Pond

Grey Day at Stiles Pond

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em....right?
I got tired of waiting for a nice day  ;-) This is another local body of water.

While I hope that we see the sun at some point around here, for now I will just count my blessings and say a prayer for the people of Joplin.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Intertwined - New Painting SOLD

Relationships Series
6x4 inches
acrylic on watercolor paper

One more pepper painting!
I am really enjoying the shapes, colors and shine of these peppers. I will be taking a break from them now - I have some paintings I need to get done before the next local show. But don't be surprised if the peppers show up again.....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Piquant - (or The Peppers Have a Name!)

Relationships Series
6x4 inches
acrylic on watercolor paper

Yes, it is the same painting as in the last post (and I am actually working on another painting of these peppers!) - but I finally have a name and a price, so I decided to create a new post because I needed a clean link for DailyPaintworks.com

I didn't get much painting done in the last two days - definitely a family weekend. Between soccer games, a little town fair in the town where my husband grew up and a long rail trail bike ride, the brushed remain untouched...all the more incentive for a productive week coming up! And I did get a few ideas from the fair for a few more paintings to add to my Carnival Series, so look for those soon.....

"Piquant" - $33 includes shipping and handling in the US
(please contact me for international shipping)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Long Peppers

Just had to post this one.....I've been having a tough time finishing it,  not really sure why. And now I don't know what to name it! It is part of my Relationships Series, but the right title hasn't come to mind yet.
But it is done, so I am going to post it - and hopefully have a name for it tomorrow.....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Green Pepper - Vegetable Challenge

Green Pepper in Orange Bowl
4x4 inches
acrylic on canvas
available at MiXtMedia Gallery

Here is my latest - a response to the Vegetable Challenge on DailyPaintworks.com
I love painting fruit, so I figured why not give vegetables a chance?! I am sure I will be painting a few more veggies very soon.....

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Well, not much painting got done this weekend. Family obligations, households chores, etc. etc. When I had a little time on Saturday, I was feeling too restless to paint, so I took my dog for a very long walk to check out a few nearby areas that I had been considering for some plein air practice.

We checked out three different places, and I found some lovely spots in all three. It has made me very eager to get back out there painting again - but of course it is supposed to rain all week  ;-(

One area near my house is a tiny little arboretum. My neighborhood once was a nursery for a man who specialized in rhododendrons and azaleas. He was well known for bringing many species from the south to New England. Most of the houses on my street have these huge banks of rhododendrons left over from the nursery days. This arboretum is a tiny bit of his old showing garden that gets maintained by the town's horticultural society. It is a lovely spot, with little paths leading to little somewhat wild gardens with many of the old plantings. It is a little early for the great rhodie showing, but right now there were some lovely Korean Azaleas and Pinkshell Azaleas in bloom. These are the Korean shown below - the petals have little ruffled edges, a little fancier than the standard azaleas we normally see around here.
Now let's hope for a more productive week!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Mango - SOLD

My Mango
4x4 inches
acrylic on gessobord

One of my favorite fruits, in one of my favorite bowls!

Did you know that mango peel contains urushiol - the same stuff that is in poison ivy?

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Chosen One - Plein Air Sketch

The Chosen One
6x4 inches
acrylic on canvasboard

Hmmm - I hope Blogger is back to normal soon. I couldn't post last night. And forgive the missing posts -they are supposed to be restoring them soon.

Anyways, today was another plein air backyard day with my six year old. And the black flies. Ick for the black flies....I had to scrape them out of my little paint pots when I got inside. And remove a tick, too - which by the way, if you live in tick country like I do, I highly recommend this little tool: http://www.tickedoff.com/  I actually got it to use on the dog, but I have found that it works great for getting ticks of myself in those hard-to-reach places (and don't worry, I bought more than one  ;-)

Anyhow, still refining my set up. I toned a few panels - a little too much - I need to lighten them up a little. I also was having a lot of problems with getting my (acrylic) paint to flow well with the wind and the sun, etc. I used to mix in a little retarder in the old days. I was trying to avoid that, because I felt like it "deadened" the color a bit. But I really need to do something....I figured it has been 20 (!) years since I tried retarder - I know they have made advances in acrylic paint formulation, so why not in the mediums? So I have some from a different manufacturer on order. In the meanwhile, I added a drop of gloss medium instead. It definitely helped with the flow - but I'm not sure about the little bit of "gloss" factor when working out in the sun. I will keep experimenting!

Now off to finish my pepper painting for the DailyPaintworks Vegetable Challenge.......

Monday, May 9, 2011

Millbrook Farm Plein Air Sketch

Well, I made it out of the backyard today!

The weather was perfect, so I decided a little more plein air practice was in order. After I dropped the kids at school, I headed over to Millbrook Farm Conservation Area. I live in a fairly rural town in New England. Lots of woods and water - and fortunately, a lot of protected and conservation land. I went to a place I hoped wouldn't get too many other visitors. It was a beautiful morning, a little windy, with a couple of red-winged blackbirds making a racket and keeping me company. Lots of good scenes in the one little spot, I'm sure I will go back there again. It is a good early morning spot - too much sun later in the day. I have to admit, I was terrified of the thought of anyone coming by. Just when I was thinking about picking up, someone else did show up with a kayak to do some fishing. He didn't even look twice at me - so I guess I was afraid for nothing! I know that I need to get past this fear of working in public.

I see a lot of things in this sketch I would do differently, but I am pretty happy with the fact that I ventured out today! Baby steps, right?

Sunday, May 8, 2011


3x3 inches
acrylic on canvas

A new little painting in my Floral Miniatures Series....I haven't done one in a while and had forgotten how much fun these little 3x3 pieces can be! I was trying to capture these buds just as they were beginning to burst open.

Happy Mother's Day to you all! Thank you for visting my blog - I truly appreciate all of you!
"Becoming" - $33 includes shipping & handling in the US
(please contact me for international shipping)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Where the fairies hide....

Where the Fairies Hide
6x4 inches
acrylic on canvas panel

So I made it back out today...and I feel a little better about this painting than the last backyard sketch that I did. I am starting to accept that some days may be just sketches, little paintings I can use to inform later studio work. It is hard to convince myself that not everything is going to work out as a finished painting!

I am practicing painting outside just in my backyard for now, tweaking my set up, figuring out what will work for me and trying to gain a little bit of confidence before I venture out into the world with my paintbox ;-)

I worked on canvas panel instead of watercolor paper today - which was an improvement. I am not a fan of canvas panels in general, I'd rather work on plain panels or stretched canvas, but for right now these are easy - an relatively inexpensive (since I know I will probably go through a lot of them this summer!). I concentrated on just working quickly, getting everything laid out, keeping details minimal. This concentrating on such a small area while painting a landscape is new to me! I changed brushes, changed my palette - both improvements to my set up helped the work flow better. Today was windy, another challenge, plus I also had the added bonus of having my six year old outside with me. I figure if I can paint with styrofoam airplanes being launched towards my head, I should be able to paint anywhere, right?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Bloom

First Bloom
2.5 x 3.5 inches
acrylic on watercolor paper

See - I do have something blooming in my yard!
I have two azalea bushes with these lovely pinkish-purplish blooms. Today is rather gray and overcast...I think I will have to try to paint these again with a warmer light.

"First Bloom"- $13.50 includes shipping & handling in the US
(please contact me for international shipping)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Clustered - New Painting - SOLD

2.5 x 3.5 inches
acrylic on watercolor paper
One more of the tomatoes on the vine.....they are becoming one of my favorite subjects! Now off to frame a bunch of these little ones - tomorrow I need to go set up my May exhibit at the local art cafe.....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sharing the Ugly, Too

Okay - I know that part of the sharing of the process here is sharing the good, the bad, the ugly. Today, it is the ugly  ;-)

The Ugly

I painted outside today for the first time in many years. Just a quick little sketch - I just wanted to break the ice and make it out there. I've been wanting to get back to plein air painting forever - and I seem to have built up a wall of fear around me that keeps me from actually doing it. I made it one of my goals this year to get back out there.

So I made it outside. I really wanted to try my new set up - and it seems like it is going to work out well for me. That I am happy about. The painting itself - not so much. When I used to paint outside, I was working very differently, and my plein air work was quick, a litttle larger, and very gestural. I think I now need to re-visit what I want to accomplish by painting outside. It is going to take some experimenting, but I hope I will find my way.....