Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Raising the Flag

Raising the Flag
Our glorious American flag is a treasured sight and is especially majestic when being ceremoniously raised by our precious soldiers.   In this scene, the back lighting of daybreak saturates the flag's colors such that the red leans toward orange, the white has a peachy yellow tone and the blue seems grayish indigo.   The strong contrast of the painting's values is appropriate for this noble practice and underscores the strength of the subject matter itself on this President's Day week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Honey Bee

Last winter I attended "Bee School."   The Plymouth County Beekeepers Association runs the eight session course during the long, cold days of winter.   I had always been a beekeeper "wannabee" and decided that I ought to learn what was involved from the experts.   The bottom line was that I decided that beekeeping probably wasn't for me, at least living where I do right now.    The relentless winds from all directions and lack of space were the deciding factors.     However, I enjoyed learning about these docile bees, and I was absolutely fascinated with the sophisticated, organized and hierarchical structure of a thriving hive.    The benefits of beekeeping are numerous with the obvious payback of being able to harvest your own local honey.  

I learned that the term "beekeeping" is a bit antiquated.    Back in the days prior to routine and widespread use of pesticides and lawn chemicals, the hive equipment could be set up, bees installed and then the bees did the rest.      Today, successful beekeepers play a more active role as they try to minimize the common stressors on the hives, particularly mosquito spraying.

This painting started out as a warm abstract play of colors then added a honey bee amid the colorful chaos.   Chunks of pollen stick to the bee in various places.  This splashy and colorful February painting was obviously not done en plein air, but from a couple of reference photographs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Haymarket II

Haymarket II
I always liked the painting I did a while back of the vendor area at Boston's Haymarket, which is just east of Fanueil Hall Marketplace in Boston, MA.   I liked it so much that I decided to paint a new version of it.
On market day, the street is transformed into a festive collection of tents and awnings under which dozens of vendors sell their colorful produce and more.   In this scene the orderly chaos was brightly lit from one end so I played up the directional light in warm tones, contrasting that with deep blue shadows.  This painting would make a nice momento for anyone who has fond memories of trips to Haymarket.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fresh Red Roses

Fresh Red Roses
My Love sent me red roses for Valentine's Day, beautiful long stems with lots of lovely greenery and a large red bow.   I am the luckiest woman on earth to be married to this perfect man...but I digress :).

I chose an 8x8 square to capture one primary red blossom with hints of other roses and buds as well.   After the first pass I took a large mop brush and blurred the background and the edges of the starring rose.   I then reestablished some strong shapes.  I used napthol red instead of cadmium red which more closely matched the deep crimson.

I may still make some changes, for example brightening the greenery, and hopefully if any flaws jump out at you, let me know and I can address that too!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Osher Ledges - Minot

Osher Ledges - Stage One

The location of this scene is the northernmost section of Scituate, MA, known as Minot.   Minot is only 15 miles across the water from Boston Harbor.  The Boston skyline was in fact visible in the far distance across Cohasset Harbor, if I turned 180 degrees from this easterly facing scene.

Osher Ledges - Stage Two
It was cold!   I had the layers; I was in the sun.  However, the wind was blowing from behind me and eventually, I had to wrap things up.    In quick paint mode, as discussed in the past, the result can be fresher, unfussy and more vivid.   I'd like to think that surrendering to the cold on this day, has resulted in one of those kinds of paintings.

Osher Ledge - Minot

As for the colors, the dark winter blue ocean was a stark contrast against the sun bleached ledges.    It was low tide and some of the boulders that spend most of the day submerged were dark and moss covered.   The angle of sun is so low that there is not much yellow influence, thus there is a distinct lack of green in the water. In fact, the ocean blue was leaning more toward purple than green.