Archive for the ‘Oil Painting’ Category
Monday, May 13th, 2013
There’s a new shop in Schoharie!
“Where? What? Tell me!?”
It’s called the “The Hive,” a gift/antique/funky stuff shop that just opened right on Main Street in Schoharie, New York. Proprietors, Theresa and Michael, had a great launch yesterday after months of hard work. There were the most delectable goodies and steaming hot java to enjoy while I browsed the shop and engaged in lively chatter. Theresa has brought her unique, fun style to the shop as I knew she would.
“So what does all this have to do with a roosters?” you might ask.
Well, let me explain.
As you may recall Schoharie was hit hard with devastating flooding when Hurricane Irene hit back in late August 2011. Recovery for the Town has been slow but steady for those who decided to stay and rebuild. Theresa and Michael live nearby and decided to make a new commitment to commerce in Schoharie by investing in one of the flooded buildings. I saw the building when they started this project and it essentially needed… everything.
For a project like this you need someone with vision and Theresa has vision in abundance. So as the demolition and renovations began Theresa invested in one of the “Roosters” (cut from 3/4 inch plywood) available from the local business owners association. You see Saratoga has it’s horses and, of course, in the rural landscape surrounding Schoharie the Rooster has become the Town’s mascot of sorts!
I felt complimented when Theresa asked if I could be willing to paint her rooster with completion to coincide with the shop’s opening! So as The Hive’s renovations progressed I set to painting “The Rooster.” I started with a quick watercolor sketch and after getting started basically threw most of my initial plan out the window. Mostly I let it flow and just moved through the project intuitively painting and then repainting certain areas. In the end I realized that I find nothing is more joyful that paint on any surface and that includes paint on plywood roosters!
I enjoyed the whimsical painting very much. Whimsical painting is what I did most as a teenager. Mushrooms, lady bugs, flowers and such were my specialty way back then and it was nice to revisit that fun with a “just paint” attitude. Everything is always okay in a mushroom, bumblebee (no stingers) kind of world, of course!
So the Rooster was delivered to his (or her) new home this weekend and now keeps watch from the front steps of The Hive. Please do I find some time if you can to visit The Hive. Make a day of it if you’re from out of town. There are several gift and lunch establishments along the way… not to mention the breathtaking Schoharie valley scenery!
Note to self… add to resume “experience painting roosters.”
Monday, September 3rd, 2012
Brian & Alison's painting is finished with time to dry... almost.
I woke up this morning and in my misty haze began thinking if only my cats could make coffee… I suspect Luvy would make coffee if he could just because he and I are friends. Little Miss on the other hand would only make coffee if she was in the mood for a cup and then I’m not absolutely sure she’d make one for me (she can be a bi-ach at times).
But if only they could or would… It just makes sense… both the cats are awake and ready for the day as soon as the sun begins to shed light on the horizon and I know for sure they have time to make coffee. Instead of ramming around the house, walking on the countertops and batting things about it would be a delight to find a piping hot cup of coffee ready and waiting as I drag myself from my warm and cozy cacoon.
But instead as I huddle under the covers each morning I shout out “stop that” or “No” and then the random collection of unusual sounds will stop but only for a moment. I’ve long ago realized that trying to train your cat is like catching the wind… it just ain’t happenin. But if only my cat could make coffee… what a morning that would be.
Monday, August 27th, 2012
"End of the Day, Fourth Lake" Oil (nearly done)
I don’t believe anyone in my family reads this blog (except my sister Bethy) so I’m posting this glimpse of the painting I’ve been struggling with and that will go to my nephew and his bride in less than two weeks as a wedding gift.
I really enjoy oil painting but am far from proficient at it. I learn a great deal with every attempt and in time I hope to produce a masterpiece or two. Until then I’ll heed the words of a very wise teacher who told us that the first hundred paintings are “to be thrown away.” I do believe that I have thrown away or torn to shreds at least that number of creative attempts so I am due for a good one!
I’ve gotten much better with my approach these days because I actually finish more than I toss. That I will consider a personal triumph!
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Working on both in my little upstairs art room.
It’s been busy these last few days but I wanted to share that I actually have been painting and drawing. Just a little bit but a little is better than zero and I’m happy about it.
This reminds me of something a fellow artist said to me recently, something important for all of us creative souls to remember. Sean is a young artist (in his early thirties) who works in a Downtown coffee shop. He pours java and makes non-fat soy lattes (just guessing) all day long. From time to time Sean will bring in his sketch book and if I stop by he’ll gladly share his latest work with me. Sean’s drawings are loose, spontaneous and free-spirited. Awesome work and I always leave the coffee shop inspired by Sean.
Just yesterday I stopped in for coffee and Sean was there pouring java and, of course, I asked how the art was going. I always ask and am always interested. Sean replied that he’d been drawing only a little but that what he was doing he was really enjoying. Ding… ding… ding! Sean just hit on the key that I’ve been searching for.
Instead of sitting with my art and feeling pressure I need to sit with my art and enjoy! I’ve always complained about my lack of time lamenting that my real job, household tasks and other miscellaneous obligations seem to eat away at my time. But here is Sean in the same situation and his approach is precisely the mindset I need to adopt. A mindset to enjoy what time can be spent on art even if it’s only a little bit. Again, inspired by Sean.
Friday, April 13th, 2012
Working on oils but I just remembered that I didn't finish that pencil drawing... oops! Bad habit. (I'll post a better pic in the a.m. of this work in progress)
I just noticed that it’s Friday the 13th. I’ve never been horribly superstitious about things like opening an umbrella inside, breaking a mirror, walking under a ladder, that stepping on a crack might result in breaking my mother’s back or that Friday the 13th is some scary day to hold our breath through.
If anything, today was a pretty nice day. The weather was sunny and pleasant, I left work a little early to paint with a new friend and at this moment I’m listening to some great Lionel Richie music while my cat Luvy is curled up next to my right thigh.
These little things are the substance of a life well-lived. I revel in the fact that finally I can sit peacefully without striving or lusting much of the time. “Just being” can be difficult in a world that is so filled with visual and mental stimulation. We seldom allow our minds a moment to be quiet and listen for guidance from the Grand Puba a/k/a God.
There was a time when the quiet made me feel uncomfortable and in order to fill the scary silence I would constantly have music blaring. Feeding someone else’s lyrics into my mind was a way to avoid my own feelings and thoughts. Now is different. Quiet is a welcome respite from our high-tech, fast-paced world where an onslaught of information is heaped upon us and if we’re not careful we can become consumed by the chaos.
I’m becoming much more discerning about who and what I allow into my life. Our days are precious, including Friday the 13th. I’ll not tarnish this day with some negative, unfounded, superstitious drivel.
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
"Walking the Dog at Sunset" Oil (Image Size 5"x7") - I started this little painting sometime ago and thought I'd work on it while I let the strawberries dry a little before continuing. This one is nearly done. Gotta punch up the colors & and more highlights.
What we create just is and I believe there’s no right or wrong when it comes to expressing ourselves in a creative way. So long as we give it our best effort – I mean really try our hardest – that’s all we can expect of ourselves. There’s no doubt the more one practices and learns that the final product will improve in your own eyes as well as the eyes of your audience. But that doesn’t diminish the art you created in the beginning.
I saved those first couple of watercolor paintings that I created in 1987 and still have a couple of things I produced in high school and in the years after high school (which incidentally was way before 1987). Even though at that time I was raising my twin sons I still did a little drawing when time allowed. What those older creations tell me is that there has always been this desire inside me – an absolute necessity really – to create and these days my creative energy is screaming, “Let me out!”
So that’s what I’m doing – unleashing my creative spirit – and I’m trying to do so without judgment. That’s the hard part for me since I am after all my harshest critic. The wonderful thing about unleashing your creative energy is a Divine peace envelopes the soul that is using the gifts God has provided.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
"More Strawberries" Oil Sketch
I did indeed eat my still life, but only after starting this little oil sketch. After spending an hour or two under a 60 Watt light bulb they’d about had it anyway.
Everything is new to me with oil painting. It’s exciting and frustrating at the same time and I need to remember to get up a walk away when the frustration level is rising. Otherwise I’m prone to wiping away what may actually be a pretty good start. Tonight I did walk away and when I returned to my art table I realized I had a pretty good beginning. While I was hoping to complete this sketch tonight I’m just not experienced enough with oils to do so. What needs to be done is allow a little drying time and then go in with the details, i.e., seeds, highlights, darkening the cast shadows.
It was a pleasure painting from life instead of a photograph, which is my usual approach. The colors are easier to interpret with your subject right in front of you and there is no camera lens distortion. What a treat and at the end of the night . . . Delicious.
Sunday, June 19th, 2011
"In Season" Oil, Image Size 4" x 5"
Finally, I’ve finished the little strawberry painting I started more than two weeks ago. I must confess that I have been working on it fairly regularly, but wiped away my efforts nearly a half dozen times.
I just couldn’t get the right reddish orange. I tried a variety of mixtures, using cadmium red (light, medium and deep), cadmium yellow (light, medium and deep), alizarin crimson sometimes graying down with complimentary colors or punching up with analogous but ultimately I’d take my rag and wipe everything away.
Then finally I felt I was close enough and stopped the wiping. Unfortunately, I haven’t a clue what color combination proved to be closest to nature so I’ll just have to tackle another painting of strawberries while they’re in season. This time though instead of using photographic reference I plan to paint from “life,” which isn’t something I get the chance to do very often.
My life – at the moment – just doesn’t lend itself to painting en plein air at all, but there is no excuse for not setting up a fruity still life and giving it a go. Particularly right now with a such a great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables starting to be harvested.
This time there will be a time limit since strawberries don’t take kindly to being observed for two weeks. After two weeks all I’d have is a puddle of fuzz and who wants a painting of that?!
Friday, June 3rd, 2011
Strawberries are in season so I figured this would be a perfect place to start.
Tonight I figured it’s time to start. Ready or not here I go plunging into a new painting project.
I’ve been busy these last couple of months in the yard and garden, which is really just an excuse for my not drawing or painting. While I’ve known for quite sometime that I need to take a break from watercolor there’s really no legitimate excuse for not picking up a pencil or digging out my oil paints.
Yet for some reason each time I headed for the art over the last few weeks I found myself with the watercolors even though I know very well that I’ve lost my enthusiasm for them and need a change, at least for now.
“Why is that, why do you not listen to your artistic intuition,” I keep asking myself? No, not out loud so as to be thought nutty, but inside my head each time I sit down to paint and find my watercolor palette in front of me. And here I was tonight just about ready to do the same darn thing. Then I caught myself and retrieved the oil paints finally. As I struggled to open the tubes of paint and set up my palette a sense of hope and excitement begin emerge from deep inside me.
So I plunged right in without any planning and I don’t care! It feels good putting paint on canvas, mixing and pushing the paint all around and I can feel the creative momentum beginning to build.
That first step is the hardest part of the process because once I begin down my creative path I know my passion for the art will take me away to a place far away from here. When I’m painting I’m in my element without a care in the world brush in hand doing what I’m meant to do.
This is my love affair with creativity and I need to remain more faithful. I lose too much of me in the neglect and gain so much when I’m painting. Ready or not it’s time to paint!
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
"End of Summer" Oil, Image Size 4"x5"
I thought I’d share one more of my newly-completed old paintings today. It seems a shame to name this little oil painting “End of Summer” when spring hasn’t even arrived here yet, but this painting was inspired by one of those sunny and warm days toward the end of summer when the greens lean more toward brown and you know you’re headed toward autumn.
Hey, hold on a minute . . . I know they’ll be no rushing the season around here. Heck we’re not even officially done with winter yet. Be assured that mother nature is the boss and today she finally gave a little hint that spring hasn’t forgotten us completely by delivering warm temps and sunshine galore. Oh how sweet it felt after such a long and grueling winter.
All this summery green talk reminds me that today is St. Patrick’s Day and this morning I scoured my closet for something green to wear. I’m not sure why but I was always told you needed to wear green on this day or it was an insult to the Irish. I wouldn’t dream of insulting the Irish especially since my maternal Grandfather’s family came from Ireland in the late 1800′s and settled in Rutland, Vermont where my son, Jonathan, lives. Such a cool coincidence . . . but then I don’t believe in coincidences (and that’s another story for another time)!
Anyway… this morning as I continued rifling through my closet, desperate to donn myself in green, today I realized that my wardrobe is lean on green. After discovering one blouse with a little bead of green and the other technically more of an aqua than a true green I promptly wrote a “Note to Self: buy green outfit pronto so as not to diss my Irish ancestors.” Sorry Grandpa!