Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Patty's Winter Barn

My sister Patty has long asked me to do a painting of a red barn for her, and particularly a red barn in the snow.  Of course I have no *photos* of a red barn in the snow. I looked in the Resource Image Library at Wetcanvas but saw nothing that grabbed me. I guess part of the problem was that I had no interest in doing just any old barn. 

In fact if I did a barn I wanted to do our barn in Canada! It's not red, but has red doors and red trim, and I thought that might do. But we only go there in the summertime so I have no photos of it in snow. 

So this is sort of a combined picture taken from three sources: 
1) A photo of the barn and edge of the farmhouse shed - but at high noon, so a flattish light and no shadows.
2) A plein air painting I did of almost identical scene, done in the green of August, but in late afternoon with long shadows.
3) A photo of a cabin in the snow from the Wetcanvas RIL

So I merged those three and used:
1) The vantage point of number one
2)  The long afternoon shadows of two
3) The snow and snow-covered trees of three

And the above is what I wound up with! It's done on Art Spectrum Colourfix, the standard 9x12 sheet, but the picture is just 8x10 as that's the size frame I have for it,  and I'll give it to Patty for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Cardinal

For the last few years, since I took up pastels, I have painted a picture to use for my own Christmas cards, which I have made myself. Choosing a subject is always the first step, of course. Now I happen to love birds, and bird-watching is another hobby of mine. I have feeders in my yard, which is a certified Wilfdlife Habitat, and I count birds every winter for Cornell University's Project Feeder Watch. So my card last year was a bird (a Carolina wren which can be seen here after I had Photoshopped it a bit) and I wanted to do a bird again this year.

This past Sunday was my first day home from my Thanksgiving trip to NC, and I woke early to find it snowing. The snow quickly turned to rain, but it remained raw and rainy all day. The birds were out in force though, since I had topped off my feeders upon my return home. I had at least 6 cardinals. I think even the female cardinals, with their more subtle colors, are lovely, but of course the bright red males really stand out cheerily in the grays of winter. No wonder they feature on so many Christmas cards.

Well now I'll join the pack I guess, LOL. This is from a photo I took on Sunday, where one of the male cardinals posed so perfectly me on the dogwood branch. As soon as I uploaded the photo to my PC and saw how it had turned out I knew I'd found my Christmas card picture, and was finally able to paint it last night after finishing my Amaryllis picture in art class. I'll still need to Photoshop a border, and see if I need anything else for it.

He's done (like most all of my recent pictures) on a 9x12 sheet of rose gray Art Spectrum Colourfix paper. Once you get using Colourfix regularly it's hard to go back to Canson, although I still like the larger Canson size better.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


This is from art class tonight, and the plant is absolutely fake, LOL. But it sure looked pretty real. As Christina said, real flowers are wonderful, but they make fake ones these days that look almost as good as real, and you can take as much time to paint one as you want, without any worries about fading or wilting!

However I'm still speedy Gonzales, so probably would have no worries about painting live flowers. I only spent 90 minutes on this one. But it did look quite real, and the reds in it were lovely. I had a lot of fun trying to get up-close and personal with the blossoms.