Sunday, December 02, 2012

Cardinal in Florida Winter

I painted this picture the other day at the open studio at Leslie's house. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I loved the photo I took of the cardinal sitting among the oranges in my orange tree. I did a little play with special effects with the idea of using it for a Christmas card. Done on 9x12 Art Spectrum. A couple of the special effects examples:

Saturday, December 01, 2012

A Pastel Christmas

Today was the last meeting of the year for the First Coast Pastel Society. It would normally be a plein air day but we were not sure what to expect of the weather for the first of December, so we decided to meet at the St. Augustine Art Association for a holiday get-together breakfast, and then work on still lifes we had set up. Since it's heading for Christmas the still lifes all featured Christmas tree ornaments.

The weather was quite lovely in the morning and almost made us sorry not to be out in plein air, but halfway through the morning we had a rain squall pass through, which made the indoors seem pretty good! This is the painting I did, my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

View of my Pond

Today was the second day of the Painting Water with Pastels workshop with Richard Lundgren. Our focus today was on painting still water with reflections. Just as yesterday Richard did a fabulous demo painting which made it all look so easy. And yet we all struggled so in class afterwards. LOL. I may need to work on this some more. On the right there are some large branches that are from a tree that is actually out of the picture, but I'm not sure they "read" quite right and I'm not quite sure how to fix them.

At any rate this painting is from a reference photo I took in my own backyard, standing at the edge of the pond I live on and looking towards the west. It was done on my usual, 9x12 Art Spectrum paper. Note to self: I'm almost out of paper, about time to order more!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Matanzas Morning

I'm taking a workshop this weekend with Richard Lundgren, at the St. Augustine Art Association. It's a 2-day workshop, and the subject is Painting Water With Pastel. Today was focused on painting water with movement. Tomorrow the focus will be on still water with reflections. I find water a real struggle at the best of times. Naturally Richard's wave demo painting was fabulous, and he made it seem to effortless.

I used as a reference a photo I took one morning at Fort Matanzas, when I went there with the Audubon Society to post the least tern nesting sites. It was a lovely morning at the beach. But doing this painting was definitely effortFUL and I'm still not sure what I think of it. I don't love it, that's for sure. Water is still a struggle for me. But I have to keep trying if I'm ever going to learn it. As one of the other women in the class said, "well that's what we're here for".

And it was fun. It's only the second time I've ever tried to paint a wave. The first was in a workshop with Maggie Price a couple years ago. 

Done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum paper, various pastels.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Prince Edward Island Autumn

I love the fall. Even here in Florida it's beautiful, though more subtle than in the northeastern areas, but I still get some color variations. But tonight my mind was further north. I pulled out a photo I'd taken two years ago in Prince Edward Island, this exact same time of year. I love the rolling hills in PEI, and the colors were just starting to turn. This was done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Another St. Johns Sunrise

I had such fun doing the painting of a sunrise over the St. Johns River that I decided to do another one from another reference photo I had taken. Sunrises over the river are just spectacular, and I did have fun doing this one, but I'm not sure I'm quite as happy with the outcome as I was with the previous painting. Still, I'll give it time to set a while and then see what I think. But the colors seems a bit bright (which of course could be adjusted) and the sun just a little too dead-center, which would be harder to modify!

Done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum paper, with various pastels.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sunrise over the St. Johns River

I did a second painting last night as the group art session. The other morning I was taking an early drive to St. Augustine to go on a bird walk, and I was awestruck by the gorgeous sunrise over the St. John River. It was so lovely I stopped at the approach to the Shands Bridge to take a photo. That was the reference I used for this painting, which was done on 9x12 Art Spectrum paper.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Night Heron

Tonight I went to the open studio hosted by a fellow member of the Art Guild of Orange Park at her house. It's a great opportunity to get out and see fellow artists and work on something at the same time. I went on a great birding walk yesterday with the St. Johns Audubon Society and one of the things we saw was a colony of black-crested night herons, both juveniles and adults. I got a few good photos of them and decided I would try to paint the adult tonight. This was done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum paper.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Salt Marsh

This is the second painting I did at our group plein air paint-out at The Fountain of Youth this past Saturday. I love the salt marshes. So totally gorgeous, lots of birds. The weather was lovely and sunny and breezy with blues skies and puffy white clouds. We're just about at my favorite time of the year right now. This was done on 9x12 Art Spectrum paper.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Twisted tree

Today was the first plein air paint-out of the First Coast Pastel Society for our fall season. A group of us all went to the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine for a lovely day of painting. The weather was perfect for an early fall day in Florida. It started out a bit cloudy, but the sun later came out, and there was a wonderful breeze blowing in from the salt marshes. I was attracted  by a gnarled and twisted tree growing alongside the edge of the marsh and decided I had to paint it, so this was my first painting of the day, though I later did a second one as well.

This was done on 9x12 Art Spectrum paper. The twisted tree was such an attraction that two of the other plein air participants painted it also!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Canna Lily

Wow, these beautiful lilies showed up in my yard today as "volunteers". Well I've been watching the plant grow, rather fascinated to see what it was going to turn into, and today I finally got to see it in bloom. The flowers are gorgeous and showy with bold yellows and reds. I had fun photographing the blossoms from several angles. But the only way I could see to do justice to them was to do a macro painting of the blooms, so I did this painting tonight.

For the first time in years I worked on Canson paper, so this was done on a 12x16 sheet from a pad of Canson, working on the smooth side. I had worked exclusively on Canson in my early years as a pastelist, before I discovered sanded papers. It's not a bad surface to work on, and the price is certainly good for it! It does lack the tooth of sanded papers however. I had wanted to added a few brighter highlights to this but there just was no more tooth for it and the pastel would not adhere.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Misty Marsh Morning

Well, I guess this is the last painting I'll be doing here at the farm this summer, but I have plenty of reference photos to keep my busy also. The scenes of Atlantic Canada seem to be my favorite subject matter. Sadly the mosquitoes have gotten amazingly FIERCE and plentiful the last couple weeks, making plein air a less attractive option, but I did get to do some plein air earlier when there was not such a problem, and I still have lots of reference photos. I did this painting this morning in my "studio" (the farm kitchen). It's from a photo I took a few weeks ago when I was taking the back roads through Point de Bute on my way to Sackville. Done on 9x12 Art Spectrum.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Canadian Life Drawing Four

Well tonight was my life drawing session again, the 4th and last one for me, as this Thursday I'll be heading back down to Florida. We had one little glitch though, the model never showed up! No clue what happened to her, but we waited a bit and she never showed and never called. So Bob, our artist facilitator, bravely took off his shirt and posed for us. As usual we did mostly quick things - 30-second gesture drawings, and 4 and 10 minute poses, so those were all just quick pencil sketches.

But he did do this 20-minute pose and I broke out the pastels for that. Again it's very rough as 20 minutes is hardly long enough to do a painting justice! But it was still fun, and this is what I accomplished in that short time on a sheet of 9x12 Art Spectrum.  I hope they are still around and running classes again next summer!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Down to the Bay

It was another wet and rainy day at that farm. I'd had plans to go to an organic farmer's market, and a summer festival at a local winery today. But was feeling a tad on the "blah" side, and the weather just wasn't conducive to going out and about. So I had a nice long Skype with my little grandson and his mommy and daddy, and then mostly just relaxed and read. I love reading, and reading on a gray and wet and rainy day is a special pleasure. But in the afternoon I decided to paint a picture as well. Obviously not a plein air day again, but I did this one from a reference photo I took the other day when I was on my way to Tidnish, NS for my pottery class.The bay in question is Baie Verte, the little arm of the Northumberland Strait that my summer home is on. Done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Baie Verte Clouds

It's a chilly, raw and rainy day here in New Brunswick. I'm not complaining of course. I love chilly, windy, rainy days. And we certainly need the rain here as it's been a very dry summer. But of course it's not a day to attempt any plein air painting. But it's a perfect day to be indoors and doing something fun, so I painted this picture in my "indoor studio" (the farm kitchen) this morning, using a photo I took the other day as a reference. Ah modern technology. I just pulled up the photo on my laptop and then turned my laptop to face where I was sitting at the easel. :-) Done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Canadian Life Drawing Three

Tonight I had my third Life Drawing  session at the great art gallery in Tidnish, NS, and we had the same model we had two weeks ago when I went for the first time. It was fun, and great to get out and be doing something, though I also picked blueberries this morning and made blueberry jam in the afternoon! LOL.

As usual it was mostly quick poses, but we had three 20-minute poses so I decided to break out the pastels for a couple of those. Of course 20 minutes is hardly enough to get a lot of detail. It's really barely time for a sketch, so these are hardly "finished" works.  But at least I got to use my colors!

I just used pencil for the second 20-minute pose, but I had enjoyed my colors for the first one, so for the third pose I decided to use the pastels again also.

Also hardly a finished picture! Heck, I could easily spend *thirty minutes* just on the hands alone if I had all the time I needed. But 20 minutes total was all I got.So another down and dirty quick sketch in color. Both done on 9x12 Art Spectrum.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Waiting for the bore - Maccan

Considering I have been coming to this part of Canada every summer for nearly 40 years it's a surprise that I have never before done what I did today. I went to see the Bay of Fundy tidal bore.  Fundy is famous for the world's highest tides, and at many locations the rush of the incoming tide is so strong that it pushes a wall of water upriver against the river's normal flow. As the Wikipedia article says:
Most rivers draining into the upper Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have tidal bores...The bore is fastest and highest on some of the smaller rivers that connect to the bay including the River Hebert and Maccan River on the Cumberland Basin, the St. Croix, Herbert and Kennetcook Rivers in the Minas Basin, and the Salmon River in Truro.
The other day at the Tidnish Art Gallery I picked up a few tourist brochures, and one of them listed the the times of the tidal bores at the Maccan Tidal Wetland Park. I knew that park, having been there to go birding one time a couple years ago, and knew it wasn't too far a ride to get to. Today was supposed to be a "high" bore day at roughly 12:21 PM, though the brochure warned the bore can actually arrive some 20 minutes before or after the posted time.  I had some shopping to do in Amherst, so it seemed a good day to combine both.

After my shopping I headed towards Maccan, not sure how long it would take me to get there, and I actually arrived at 11:15 AM! Hmm, so at best I had at least 45 minutes to wait, and at worst I had a good hour and 20 minutes or so. The day was fine at least, but how to pass my time until the bore arrived?

I then remembered I had my plein air supplies still in the car from my trip to Tidnish a few days ago! It was warm out but there were roofed picnic benches there supplying some shade, which was quite comfortable when combined with the light breeze. Doing a painting would certainly pass the time, and my timing was just about right to complete one! So the above was the painting I did while waiting for the tidal bore to come upriver. As usual on 9x12 Art Spectrum.

As it got closer to the time a couple young heavily tattooed girls from Ottawa showed up with their German shepherd, and a 40ish couple from elsewhere in Ontario with kayaks on their car, and lastly a lovely gentleman of about 80 who lived nearby and said that he came to see the bore every single day, and showed us pictures he had taken of the bore at different times and seasons. He said that he was the one who prepared the Maccan tidal bore chart that we had all seen and which had brought us all there. And they were all interested is watching me paint my picture!

And sure enough, I had just managed to more or less complete the painting when the bore finally came in at about 12:30 PM.  It was certainly an interesting sight to see the steady onward rush of the water as it came upriver, surging past us. And here is a photo of the bore as it came around the bend and past our very excellent viewing location,  and as it came past a bald eagle soared overhead! All in all a very fine day.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Tidnish Dock plein air 2

I had such fun going painting the other day with the group from the Tidnish Art Gallery that when I finished my first painting I decided I would start a second! However I had barely gotten working on it when the other three people all decided to pack up their supplies and call it a day. And suddenly I was left there all alone.

I don't mind working alone in my studio, but I find I don't enjoy doing plein air alone. Once the other three left the joy sort of went out of the day and it wasn't as much fun to paint anymore. But since I had started I decided to slog along and try to finish it. But my heart wasn't really in it very much. Maybe that's why I'm not crazy about this one, but this is my second attempt for the day - usual 9x12 Art Spectrum.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tidnish Dock - plein air

Today was a wonderful sunny and clear day, and I joined some other painters from the Tidnish Art Gallery to go plein air painting. Diana, the organizer, decided we should go to the Tidnish Dock Provincial Picnic Park. That was an awesome choice in my mind. I totally love that park and have always felt its views were very paintable.

The sun was pretty hot though, so I wanted to set up somewhere that was in shade. Of course the view I really wanted to paint was only accessible if you sat out in direct sunlight! Two of our group, Melanie and Don, decided to brave the sun so that they could paint that view. But I sat under the shade of a big tree and faced the opposite direction. So the above is what I came up with from that viewpoint. My usual 9x12 Art Spectrum. Funny how you see things when the painting is online that you don't see in real life. The bushes above look too perfectly rounded and curved, as if someone had gone over them with a hedge clipper. Yet I didn't notice that at all onsite! LOL. Well that's easily fixable.

It's always fun to paint with a group, though. So it was nice to be out and about with Diana, Melanie and Don. We may do it again, and Diana is thinking next time we might try the marshes at Baie Verte - another favorite location of mine!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Canadian Life Drawing Two

Tonight I had my second life drawing session over in Tidnish, NS. This week instead of a slender young man our model was a full-figured older woman! Much more fun to draw actually. :-) I enjoyed getting out and seeing other artists - though all of them were far better at drawing the figure than I am! But I still had a good time, and broke out my pastels for one of the 25-minute poses. This is on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum.

Tomorrow at 10 AM I'll be going back there to join a group for a plein air session, so getting to try lots of different things. Last Thursday I took a pottery class there! I'll have to post those here too once they are all glazed and fired.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

High Marsh Road

I went to Sackville yesterday to buy some larger drawing pads, and pencils, for my life drawing class on Monday nights. I went early so I could take a walk through the Sackville Waterfowl Park before the expected rains hit! But I also took the scenic route home - over the dirt roads through the Tantramar Marshes and through the old covered bridge. I drove slowly, enjoying the scenery in the rain, and kept seeing little sparrows flitting in and out through the shrubbery and grasses on either side of the road. They were too small and fast, in the rain, to make out details, so I kept trying to take photos of them!

Alas none of the photos were decent enough to permit an ID, but as I was looking at them I decided one looked like a great shot for a painting! I had not even been trying to take "artistic" shots since it was a gray and rainy day. But I had a quiet morning today, and ended up doing this painting of High Marsh Road.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Canadian Life Drawing - One

Here I am up in New Brunswick, Canada for a month. The other day I was riding over to Amherst, NS for some shopping, by way of the lovely back roads through Baie Verte and Tidnish, NS, and I found the only Tidnish tourist bureau is now an artist's cooperative gallery! I stopped in to take a look, and found they also are offereing classes there - including a Monday night Life Drawing open studio. $10 a session gets you two hours, from 7:15-9:15 PM. So I decided to go! Alas it was not conducive to pastel painting. There was an artist facilitator, and he had the model (a young man) just doing lots of 30-second and 5-minute and 10-minute poses. I was certainly not able to use pastels in that time frame, and didn't want to use my nice Art Spectrum paper either.

So I had to use the small 5x7 sketch pad I had stuffed in my bag, working much smaller than I usually prefer. But it was interesting and a fun experience, and at the end there was a 20-minute pose, so I decided to dare my pastels and Art Spectrum 9x12 paper and the above is the result. Not very great of course. With only 20 minutes I had to be super hasty. To do something like this reasonable justice would require at least 45 minutes for me, and hopefully at least an hour. And I don't think I'm going to get that with these sessions!

But I still enjoyed it, and will plan to go on Monday evenings during the month I'm up here. They are also trying to get a group together to do plein air, and I expressed interest in that as well. We shall see.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Early Oceans - acrylic on tile

This one doesn't really have a title. It's just an acrylic done on a 6x6 tile. It's a summer art project for the Art Guild of Orange Park, and these are all going to be sealed with tile sealer, and then used as appetizer plates at our September meeting. So they are just a way to play around. But I had such fun with this one that I said I'd enjoy doing a second tile.

I didn't have any sort of reference for this one. I just made it up out of my head, but wanted to try something that could incorporate part of the natural color of the tile, which is the sandy foreground.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Stroll

I decided to paint a full painting for the first time in my newly organized studio today. Well, I first touched up a painting I needed to make some changes on (may post that later). But that didn't take long and just wasn't quite enough. So I pulled out a reference photo I took last November when visiting my sister Amy and her family for Thanksgiving, in North Carolina. One of their family traditions is to go for a walk on the beach at Fort Macon State Park and this year the weather was wonderful for it. The whole family went, and I took a photo of my nephew Chad and his girlfriend Shannon. This was done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum paper with a variety of pastels.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

My Studio

One of the things I was excited about with my new home in Florida was that I was going to be able to have one entire room to devote to being my studio! Except I've been in my house for 8 months now, and the studio room was the one room of the house that was still a wreck with boxes stacked all around. I also love quilting and fabric arts (though have not done much of it lately) so my studio also needed room for my sewing machine and fabrics, and I had boxes and boxes of fabrics and nowhere to put them.

Not to mention paintings, boxes of pastels, beading supplies, quilt batting, canvases, pastel paper.... I just needed more storage space. So finally this past Monday I went out to look at storage units at Home Depot. I had planned to just buy an open metal shelving unit, but while I was there I was quite taken by this inexpensive Martha Stewart 9-cube organizer that can accomodate fabric boxes that fit right into the cubes! The oraganizer is stackable so I bought two of them.

I had to shift things around a small bit to make room for the organizers, but that gave me a good spot to put the IKEA children's easel that my grandson and I love to use when he comes over for visits.

And the organizers look great. Some of the cubes I left open, and some I bought boxes for - so I now have boxes for things like acrylic paints, beading supplies, picture hanging supplies, small bits and bobs of fabric.

It looks so nice I may have to paint a picture today. :-) Or start a quilt!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

St. Johns Barn - acrylic on canvas

I had such fun painting my 6x6 tile with acrylics, so I decided the same scene might even work with a small acrylic canvas. Pastels are still my passion but I have also been fascinated by acrylics ever since I saw the demo done by Ellen Diamond at one of our Art Guild meetings. I really wanted to take her one-day workshop that she ran for Art Guild members, and signed up for it. But when I priced out her supplies list for the workshop it would have cost me $200-300 just to buy her required supplies! That was a lot of money just to try something out to see if I liked it! So I canceled out of the workshop.

But in the meantime I had bought a few acrylics and a few small 8x10 canvases. I think one thing I like about pastels is working directly with my hands on the support, and one thing I dislike about acrylics is using a brush. I just don't enjoy using a brush! But at the very least the Ellen Diamond demo suddenly made me realize I could use my hands to put on acrylics too! Why not? There are no rules that say you must use a brush, right? It just had never occurred to me that I could use my fingers with acrylics too.

So that's what I did on a great deal of this painting. It was a lot of fun doing this scene again for the third time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

St. Johns Barn - acrylic on tile

The Art Guild of Orange Park suggested a summer project for all the members. They provided a bunch of rough tiles, either 6x6 or 4x4 inches, and asked everyone to paint a tile. You could even paint more than one of you wanted. They'll be brought to the first meeting in September.

I took a 6x6 tile, but of course could not use pastels on it! That would only be a mess. So I pulled out the small number of acrylics I have. I decided the same scene I had done yesterday in pastel, for the 5x7 painting exchange, would also work well on the 6x6 tile. It was another rainy day today, so I worked on this painting this morning. It was fun. Maybe I'll have to get another tile or two to paint. :-)

Monday, May 28, 2012

St. Johns Barn

It's funny how there are so many different Floridas. I love St. Johns County, where St. Augustine and Guana River and Fort Matanzas are located. Those are all along the coast, with lovely beaches, and palm trees. Also many tourists, and tourist destinations. It looks more like the tourist literature Florida. But you only have to get a few miles inland to see a totally different Florida.

This painting is from that very different Florida. If you come home to my house from Fort Matanzas you can cut inland at route 206, then take 305 up to 13A, before connecting back to route 13 and then over the Shands Bridge. Along that route you find yourself in the middle of nowhere! Well nowhere that most tourists would venture. It's very rural countryside, mostly farms. Pine trees, not palm trees. You drive along and see miles of pine trees, cattle, corn fields, barns and tractors and farm houses. Oddly, it reminds me a lot of the countryside near my summer home in New Brunswick, Canada.

This coming Saturday we have our final meeting before the summer break of the First Coast Pastel Society and we are all supposed to bring in a wrapped 5x7 painting and have a painting exchange! It sounds like fun, but of course I had no paintings available as I never work in a small 5x7 size, so I had to paint a picture for the exchange.

I ended up doing one of this barn I saw along route 305. The sun was glinting on the roof, and I liked the feel of it. I liked the idea of doing a painting of this "other" Florida also.

We are being bombarded with rain today from Tropical Storm Beryl, so it's not a day for traditional outdoor Memorial Day activities. So I sat in my kitchen and looked out at the rain on my pond, and painted this from a reference photo I'd taken.

It's done on UArt paper, the first time I've ever tried it. It worked well and held quite a bit of tooth.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


When I attended the First Coast Pastel Society plein air paint-out on April 7 I finished the previous painting I had posted fairly early in the day. So at that point I took a break and went for a walk around Washington Oaks to see where the other pastelists had set up, what they were working on, and to take a few photos to post on our  FCPS blog.

When I got back to the spot where I had my easel set up I found that a couple women had set up their chairs almost right next to me and were fishing. Since I had finished my first painting and was looking for a vantage point to paint another I decided that rather than move my easel and pastels and all my gear I would just stay where I was and try to paint the two women!

It was fun. Painting people is harder than scenery of course, especially when they don't know they are being painted and, unlike professional models, keep moving around and shifting position, LOL. But I had fun working on it, and just made a few touches in my home studio this morning so I could put it up on this blog. And the two women got a kick out of it when they saw what I had done.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Washington Oaks plein air

Today the First Coast Pastel Society  held our bi-monthly paint out at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Palm Coast. It was a heck of a drive for me, 55 miles from my house. Lyn, our president, had scheduled it there in the hopes that it might attract people from Ormond Beach and Gainesville who had expressed an interest in the society. But despite that none of them showed up and the 5 attendees who did make it all, like me, had a good 50+ miles to drive to get there!

But it was well worth the drive. I avoided I-95 which I never take unless I must, and took back roads to cut over to A1A just south of St. Augustine, and then down from there. Since I enjoy lovely rides the ride was half the pleasure of the morning. And the weather could not have been more perfect! Mild gentle breezes and moderate temperatures. The park has a lovely formal gardens, but I ended up setting up my easel along the Matanzas River among the fishermen and women. I not only got the paint, but got to watch boats going by, and birds flying by also, not to mention a very bold great blue heron who came right up to beg for fish scraps from the fisherfolk.

I admit I began to feel a bit tired by the time I was driving home, but it was still a marvelous day. I enjoy plein air and really should do more of it! So I keep saying, LOL.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Garrett Mountain in Winter

Last night was the last art class of my 4-week session, and we were supposed to paint a winter scene this time. Sort of funny as some of the students are Florida natives, and one admitted she'd only seen snow about three times in her life. I've seen it plenty of times though, LOL. This is from a photo I took up in New Jersey at Garrett Mountain. I tried so hard to vary my background hills, and now that I see the finished product they just look like three identical lumps! Anyway, as per Lyn's instructions, I didn't use any white at all in this painting.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Crisp Maine Autumn

We're still painting the seasons in my art class with Lyn. Tonight our topic was fall. Since I now live in Florida I had wanted to do a Floridian scene. And, believe it or not, I actually have some photos from this past fall that show some lovely autumn colors. Maybe I'll try to paint one this week. But I was still irresistibly drawn to this scene of a lovely red-orange tree at the height of the fall colors that I took up in Maine in October 2010. I painted another version using the same reference photo here.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Fort Mose plein air (two)

Yesterday was certainly a fabulous day. But as it approached midday the sun began to beat a bit strongly on me, even though I was wearing a billed cap, and just a T-shirt and light cotton slacks. I had pretty much done all I hoped to do with my first painting, so decided to try to find a somewhat shadier spot and do something else.

So I came back down the boardwalk, and ended up at a covered picnic table right by the boardwalk entrance.  I did this painting from there, of the roadway into the Visitor's Center at Fort Mose, and the trees lining the road. There was still a lovely breeze blowing, so between the light shade and the breeze the painting conditions were just about ideal.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Fort Mose plein air (one)

Today we had the plein air paint out  of the First Coast Pastel Society, at Fort Mose Historic State Park. I had never been to Fort Mose before, other than a brief flying visit a few days ago to snap a few photos for my blog entry announcing the paint out, so I had no idea how totally gorgeous it was. It's both a painter's and a birder's paradise. There are a couple boardwalk trails that take you out to the edge of the marsh, a trail that takes you out into the marsh itself, a couple trails in the woods. The marshes are lovely, and there is an amazing rookery in view from one of the boardwalk trails. It was a sunny day, with temperatures in the mid 70's F, and a light breeze blowing. One could hardly have asked for more perfect weather.

I was totally overcome by the marsh, so spent most of the morning at the end of the boardwalk trail, looking out at the marsh and the trail that led out into it. Eventually the sun did grow a little hot on my head, even though I was wearing a brimmed hat, and I had to stop. But my then I had done the painting above, and felt I'd gone about as far as I wanted to go with it.

But I loved it there and can't wait to go back. A new Florida discovery! In addition to my painting I also saw 22 bird species while I was there.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Warm and Cool

When talking about the seasons in class we talked about the warm and cool colors and what they conveyed.  Lyn also talked about how the background color can also affect what you see. So in class last night she gave each of us 4 small (about 3x4) pieces of Wallis paper, and we underpainted each of them, two with a warm background color and 2 with a cool background color. I chose orange and blue-violet for my two colors. They we were supposed to pick out both cool and warm pastels, and experiment with each on the two backgrounds. I first selected a set of cool colors - a cool lighter and darker blue, a cool lighter and darker green, a cool red, a cool yellow, and a cool purple. Then I tried to pick the same colors, with similar values, but using warmer shades. And did my experiment.

The example above is my cool colors done on the warm orange background.

Here are the exact same cool colors done on the cool blue-violet background.

Now we see the warm colors done on the warm orange background.

And last we see the warm colors done on the cool blue-violet background.

Sometimes I wonder if I really have a subtle enough eye to be an artist. Yeah, I can certainly see the difference between the cool and the warm colors. But I struggle with seeing any difference made by the background. Okay, I've seen it in works by other artists. But I'm the sort who is not happy with my own paintings until every little speck of the background is covered by pastel. So if the background is totally hidden how can it make a difference what color it is? I guess it can affect *you* as you paint.

In general I'm more a cool color fan than I am a warm color fan. Yet my favorite background for painting on is Art Spectrum Colourfix Rose Grey, which is a nice slightly warm mid-tone color.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Guana River in Spring

We continued discussion of warm and cool palettes in class tonight, and how they can help convey the mood you want to present. We did some fun experiments too, which I may post tomorrow, trying little samples with warm and cool colors, on warm and cool backgrounds.

It was fun, so I decided I would paint the same scene that I painted last week, but instead of using the warmer summer colors I used last week I tried to choose cooler colors that would indicate the Spring season.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Guana River in Summer

I have had almost no time for pastels since moving to Florida, but this past week I began taking a 4-week class with Lyn Asselta at the St. Augustine Art Association.  This is what I did in class on Thursday night. We are supposed to be painting the seasons in pastel, and learning about choosing cool or warm palettes to represent out chosen season. Tonight we were supposed to pick either summer or spring, and I decided to go with a somewhat warmer summer palette.

I totally adore the GTM Reserve Guana River center which is where my reference photo was taken, so it was fun trying to incorporate that area into a painting, using some of Lyn's suggestions in class.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stinker One

LOL. I was doing some straightening up in my studio room this morning and came across some acrylic paints. Since it was sort of a quiet day I decided I might try to use one and paint a painting! Silly me. My mom used to try to get me to work with oils, acrylics and watercolors when I was young (as that was what she used) and I hated all of them. Hated fine arts in general until I discovered pastels and fell in love!

But I gave it a try, and ended up hating the result as much as I've always hated the pastels and oils I tried. I found my wrists could not hold steady when holding a brush. I hated not being able to go in there with my fingers. I hated the result. But it was all a learning experience so I might try it again anyway. I have nowhere to go but up. :-)

At any rate, this was done on an 8x10 canvas, and is my back yard.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

First Coast Pastel Society

Today was the first meeting of our newly formed First Coast Pastel Society.  It's great to be part of a new pastel society here in my new home. The mission of the new society is:
"To promote the use of soft pastel within the FCPS membership and the community at large as an important and continually evolving fine art medium."

Our moving force and first President is Lyn Asselta, PSA and she's been a real dynamo at getting the group off the ground. We has 15 attendees at our first meeting, which I thought was a pretty good turnout, and we had a great time watching Richard Lundgren, PSA, demo how he prepares his own surfaces for painting upon gatorboard.