Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Commissions

The commissions I've been asked to do for Christmas gifts both have a fun aspect.  The gift of the house portrait will be presented along with the history of the house.  An historian researched the home, the builder, original and subsequent occupants, along with the history of the neighborhood.  (This is a package offered by New England Farm and Artist in W. Greenwich RI)

The second commission, of two huskies, were to be set in a "castle."  The client is a fan of the King Arthur stories and wanted them to look "arthurian."  We played around with backgrounds from the internet and added their favorite toys.  More importantly, I decided that I would only use colors that might have been manufactured during that time period.  Yellow ochre, terra rosa and blue black.  Yes, only three colors, and white.  The limited palette and color selections help keep the painting looking as if from that era.  They were also a nice "kingly" size of 2 feet by 3 feet.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Setting the Bar Higher

This coming weekend I will be part of an outdoor art exhibit in which I'm honored to participate.  It may look like an "art festival" if you drive by and see the tents, but it is much more.  It is a small group of juried artists whose work is of a high caliber and who paint in the traditional representational/realistic style.

One Pear
When I was first asked  to join this group, I felt it was a significant milestone in my art career.  My fellow talented artists are an inspiration, set the bar higher and make me push myself to reach that bar.  After three years, it also feels like a reunion of friends.  Our host, the proprietors of the Sunapee Landing Trading Company, make sure we have fresh coffee and homemade pastries in the morning and refreshing drinks throughout the day, all set up in the shade of an enormous apple tree.

The show is a reunion in other ways, too.  I get to see some of my NH cousins and the wonderful woman who purchased "One Pear" my first year is now a friend and has been a fabulous host each year.

The 3rd Annual Fine Artists Exhibition is held in Sunapee, NH down the road from the famed League of NH Craftsmen's Fair.  Click the link below for more info.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Painting to a Frame

Sunny Farm
Farm Road
Earlier in July, I was at Wickford Art Festival as a shopper, not as an artist.  As I visited my fellow artists' booths, I was cognizant of my first  impression when I entered each booth.  As a result, I've decided to start framing my work with similar and consistent style frames, as this was common in the most visually appealing booths.

But, I could not help myself when I came across some bargain frames at Michael's.  (Note to Self:  Stay away from those Clearance Bins!)

I found three cute little frames that look as if they were made from old red barn board.  So I decide to paint some little red barn paintings to go with them.  Since they were only 5x7 inches, I challenged myself to paint loose fast (need to do this more often).

These three paintings will exhibited, and for sale, at Main Street Coffee in East Greenwich, RI.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Narragansett Art Festival

I haven't enjoyed watching a weather forecast quite as much as I did this morning.  High 70's, mild breezes with 0% chance of rain for today and the weekend.  Having set up my booth in high winds and sitting sheltered during cold rain, my fellow artists and I REALLY appreciate this kind of weather.  I hope all the art lovers do, too.  The location is perfect for this weather as I'm across the street from the beach.  Come early to beat the sunbathers, swimmers and surfers.

"Breast Stroke"  18x24
I"m working on some smaller painting of surfers, just in case a waves are small and a few of the surfers come to check out the art festival.

Follow up:  This painting was my submission to the Wickford Art Association's Poetry and Art exhibit.  Below is the poem that was written inspired by my painting.  So honored!

First Swim
The shock of a bald scalp
under a swim cap, a soundless
shriek, mouth agape.

Anticipation. No, trepidation,

Stretching without discomfort
doing the breast stroke, thrusting
forward, pushing away
past months. Water laps

a lopsided swimsuit where
scraped tissue has been; a
weird sensation of asymmetry
bathes the incision like liquid

balm. Mimicking the curves
of the water’s bubbles
and ripples is the soft
geometry of the cap, the goggles.
In baptism, the swimmer renewed.

- Helen D'Ordine

Monday, May 12, 2014

Extra Special Portrait #1

I love doing portraits, despite the challenges, but some I enjoy more than others.  This is the first of two I've been working on with special meaning.

Mrs Douglas passed away last winter and left a gap in the lives of my cousin and his partner.  She loved to snuggle among the down pillows and comforter to watch the birds outside her window.  I only knew her for a short while, but she was an elegant little lady.
Mrs. Douglas

Her coloring was perfect for creating a charcoal sketch using a toned paper using black and white charcoal.  It is good practice in observing and translating values.

Special Portrait #2 will be completed soon (I hope).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wet Paint

Fresh off the easel...  For now.  I say that because as I photographed this piece, I saw changes I needed to make.  So it will probably go back on the easel after a little bit more study.  This was a painting started last October and she has been staring at me wondering when she would be framed.  Sorry Dear, not quite yet.

Breast Stroke 18x24 Oil on canvas

I named this post "Wet Paint" because of a strange dream I had last night.  I was photographing this painting and kept bumping into furniture, brushing against the painting, etc.. I was getting paint all over the place and ruining the painting.  It may have been a premonition as just as I finished the painting, it tipped off the easel.  Luckily, there was just minimal damage.

I think the real reason for the dream is because I have four other paintings in progress.  Where I paint is only 8x8 so I've been careful about where I step.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

In the Blink of an Eye

This post doesn’t have much to do with art, but perhaps speaks to the passion.

In 2009 I spent 6 months in Dallas, subletting an apt from a fabulous artist who introduced me to her friends and family.  My last week there, I had dinner with her brother, sister and some of their friends; one was a photographer Will Pattison.  By the end of dinner, I was in awe of his talent, experience traveling around the world, fearless sense of adventure, but mostly because he was someone who seemed to get 110% out of life.  After our dinner, I started following his blog to get regular doses of inspiration from his photography.  Three weeks later the blog entries just stopped.  I kept checking back and soon learned that he suffered a spinal cord injury in a dirt bike race.  His blog entries continued, with the help of his girlfriend, but the inspiration I received was not from his photography but from his drive and determination to beat his injury,

His posts documented his incremental improvements, much like tracking the movement of a glacier.   After one year, significant accomplishments included eating a sandwich and walking 700 feet while having a conversation-exhausted afterward.  Many posts talked of how his girlfriend was by his side. But, two and a half years after his accident, he wrote a “fairytale” about his princess, with whom he shared his home and life for many years prior to the accident.  She no longer had the strength to fight the “monsters” who took over his life.  She was exhausted and saddened by the loss of who she once was and had to go her own way.  And, I cried as if they were my friends. 

Last July, three years after his accident, he wrote of being able to balance on one foot, drive a car and button his jeans.  He was still in constant pain and his nervous system still was not processing information correctly, so a cool breeze could be unbearable.  But he hasn't posted since that anniversary date.  I like to think it is his way of saying "I'm done making you feel better; better about yourself, your life, your situation."  Time to do something with that inspiration.

F2point8 - Will Pattison
win or die » f2point8