Enjoying the View

A Creative Investment


Watercolor on Arches cold press watercolor paper


Watercolor class came in second for
most dreaded, second to figure drawing.
A messing up assumption with no
forgiveness in sight, and the ability to see
the paper through the color were frustrating
characteristics for me at that time.

After graduation (almost forty years ago),
I would never have thought to give this
uncooperative painting medium a second try.
But . . . about a year ago, I did.
This time investing in the best quality
materials I could afford, INCLUDING the paper.
Actually, various painting surfaces were
experimented with as well,
settling on watercolor paper mounted to masonite.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!!
Arches hot and cold watercolor papers
are 100% cotton, and they're amazing.
It even accepts acrylic paint beautifully.
I think what I've learned is this -
student grade artists materials
might be less expensive, however,
the aggravation is probably not worth the savings.
Long time professional artists
have probably already made this discovery.
So glad watercolors made it back on my palette.
Will I give figure drawing a second try?
Cringe, quiver, flinch.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Winter Topiary And The Tiny Pumpkin


There's a lot of items to look at
on this homeowner's porch and yard.
Included in those items is a tiny pumpkin.
Can you find it?

I took some time from my miniature paintings
to do a slightly larger, 8" x 8" painting of
"Split Trunk" (previous painting; not shown in blog).
I thought the dark textures of the bark
would look so nice complementing
the stark white of the shed.
Some snow on the ground,
some grass popping through.
It was such a peaceful looking view.
However, you won't find the larger view 
of the shed and tree in this blog
as it is in the garbage.
Yep!
 After three days of trying to make it work,
I decided to paint the scene as a miniature.
As soon as the paint hit the paper, relief was felt.
Most artists would not consider 8" x 8"
a large piece of artwork.
I've become so accustomed to painting miniatures,
that I start to nitpick larger pieces.
Perhaps subject matter will change,
but for me, painting small - matters!


Comment on or Share this Article →

How I Stay Focused For Painting Series


The most popular style of home
during the Victorian era was the Italianate. 
Consisting of nearly-flat roofs, wide eaves
and massive brackets. 
The Italianate style is also known as Tuscan,
Lombard, or bracketed.
Although it sounds as if
the style originated in Italy,
it actually began in England with the
picturesque movement of the 1840's.
When the Italianate style moved to
the United States, it was reinterpreted
to create a uniquely American style.

I've noticed the homes they're building
today, in my neighborhood,
are all sided with pastel colors;
only the homeowners without siding on 
their homes paint with these bold colors.
This is particularly true in the
Historical District of Windsor, Connecticut. 
There are many homes originating in the mid-1600's.
Most of them are still standing straight.

I never noticed the uniqueness of
structures until recently.
Researching this  subject matter 
while painting it, allows me to stay
focused on this theme while learning
about the architecture of these amazing homes.
It is quite interesting.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Garden Party


Painting a straight line.

Some people will tell you not to use straight lines
in a painting however, I find straight lines very useful
with my style of painting.

When portraying any architecture,
especially older homes,
I often need straight lines for
window trim, side trim, eaves and door trim.

Sometimes I'll even line up a piece of masking tape
on the edge and just nick my paintbrush along the edge of the tape.
Immediately pull the tape off.
Other times, I'll use the edge of a ruler,
held at a 45 degree angle, and run my
 brush ferrule along the edge of that.
Most of the time,
I don't want to use any instrument for my lines,
as I want to finish the painting in 
a reasonable amount of time.
I am a firm believer that if you practice something 
long enough, eventually, you'll get there.
So, one of the most valuable teachings
I've learned is when you want to draw
or paint a straight line . . .
look beyond the line as you're painting it.
In other words,
don't look at the place you are -
look AHEAD of the place you are.
Keep your eye one step ahead of your line.
Sounds a bit like life doesn't it?

It makes sense.
Look at where you want to go - NOT where you are.

About the Painting
There are so many clever
little garden ornaments at this residence.
The home is also painted
in this very illustrative color,
it looks like a dollhouse.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Sunlit Georgian Colonial


Living in the oldest settled town in Connecticut, 
has given me access to many quaint old homes
for my paintings.
Researching the home structures
has been more rewarding than I could have imagined.

There are many Colonial style homes.
The Georgian Colonial is characterized by
the 5 windows in the front of the home (not shown in this painting)
and flattened columns at the sides of the front door. 

Comment on or Share this Article →

Cleared For Takeoff


Original gouache painting.

"Nitpigging"

Nitpick - to be excessively concerned
with or critical of inconsequential details.

Yes! Yes!
That's me working on this painting!
When the finishing touches were
placed on this painting . . .
More finishing touches were
added to this painting.

Enough already!

"Art is never finished, only abandoned."
Leonardo da Vinci

I reached a point where there were
no more folds or wrinkles in the paper to paint.
The pink was as pink as it was going to get.
After purchasing three different tubes
of pink, (Winsor and Newton and DaVinci)
I remembered an art teacher
who said pink and purple were very difficult to match.
They are certainly difficult to match,
however, that should not stop us from attempting 
to paint these beautiful colors.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Gold Fish


A gold-fish that really is gold.

The artwork is in gouache.
The model is folded with gold origami paper.

Gold is a lot trickier to paint
than it might look.
It's dark with very contrasting
light, bright highlights.
Without that contrast in value,
the gold looses its luster.
There is a shine to the gold paper.
Whenever I would move slightly,
the highlights and shadows would move.
I could have taken a photo of it,
however I want to train my brain
to see what's in front of me.
Perhaps that way, in the future,
each drawing and painting will become
easier to process and progress.

I believe painting this shiny surface
was great value recognition practice. 

Comment on or Share this Article →

Hill With A View


This is the view from
a hill at Hilltop Farm
in Suffield, Connecticut.

Using warm colors and
a wide horizontal format,
I tried to create a tranquil feeling.
The large tree on the left
and the grass in the foreground 
were painted dark, while the
center part of the artwork
was kept light and airy.
This was my attempt to create
a feeling of depth.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Goats At Play


These mischievous goats
live on the Griffin Farmstead
in East Granby, Connecticut.

They are dairy goats
and their milk makes
very tasty chèvre cheese.
Chèvre is a French word for 
cheese made with the milk of goats.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Double Yellow Hollyhocks (Alcea Rosea)


Alcea rosea,
commonly known as hollyhocks,
are biennials.
This means they have a short,
two-year life cycle.
Often hollyhocks drop their seeds
on the ground producing new plants
where the seeds fall. (self-sow)
Hollyhocks can easily reach 8 feet tall.
Flower colors range from white to dark red,
including pink, yellow and orange. 
This artwork portrays the
Chaters Double Yellow Hollyhock.

"Double Yellow Hollyhock"
was constructed using
stained glass, recycled glass mini tiles
and mosaic smalti.
I wanted to experiment with
different textures in my mosaic piece.
I think the flatness of the stained glass
compliments the texture of
the mosaic smalti.
The smalti gives the illusion of
small hollyhock petals.

Comment on or Share this Article →