I painted a NY City scene earlier this year and I've been thinking a lot about how that painting didn't expand the sense of color. I've been playing with a larger and more colorful iteration of the scene and I'm either done or close to it.
here's the new version, 18" x 24"
this is the smaller, earlier painting of a similar scene
I was thinking about painting this still life of oysters on ice and a glass of muscadet... and then I got it into my head that I need to paint more and more often. One thing a lot of painters do is a daily painting and I love the way those painters take small amounts of time to build up a library of small studies. In spite of my best intentions, I get too busy and painting or drawing ends up feeling like a luxury more than a necessary part of every day and I've been devoting more time to working on a painting that's the final realization of an idea before I've explored different ways to approach the subject.
Thus, the study I just completed. It's just values in black and white and I painted it on paper that's supposed to hold up to oil paint. I think it's going to help me get the daily habit going if I limit myself to studies and limited palettes.
I may tomorrow may take this study and use it for the basis of a new study with color.
I did this small-fish (14x18) study of the moment I caught my first fish on the Yellowstone River. I'm thinking about whether to make a larger painting of it... or whether this fishing series has run its course.
I have time right now to think about what I want to tackle (ugh, fishing pun) next. Over the weekend, I'm hoping to work outside on some studies and maybe that will result in my next direction.
I roughed in this large -- 48 x 36" -- painting 2 weeks ago and got a first pass going into it and covering the canvas yesterday. The reference photo, which I took when my husband and I were fly fishing with a guide last month in Montana, was very contrasty and monochromatic (pretty much all greens). Knowing that's a limitation of my iPhone camera, not of the scene, I'm teasing out the blues, purples, pinks and oranges in the scene.
I may be done now with the painting I started two days ago based on reference photos taken along the Beehive Basin trail in Big Sky Montana. There's beautiful, wildflower-filled meadows as you hike up the trail and a view of mountains in the distance. We were hiking late in the day so the sun is getting lower in the sky and the flowers are back-lit.
I'm painting this with just 4 tubes of paint -- titanium white, prussian blue, quinacridone magenta and cadmium yellow light. I've spent a bit of time mixing in advance to get the range of grays, greens and blues. All pretty vivid colors, they seem to be able to find their space when mixed enough to bring down the intensity.
After returning from a trip to France and Spain and looking at my many photos and sketches (not so many sketches -- I can relate to the cave painters 19,000 years ago who went deep into caves to find a quiet place to draw!), I was interested in the image of a picnic we had in Bordeaux.
After the painting workshop I attended in March with Colin Page, I had been thinking about tackling complicated still life set ups like those we did in that workshop. The picnic we had reminded me of that kind of composition -- we had peaches, pate, cheese en croute, wine, bread, saucisson, frais du bois, and bright red plates. We used the paper bags from our purchases to cover the dark wood picnic table. And somehow, the casual arrangement of a picnic for 4 spread those items in a pretty pleasing arrangement.
I was asked to donate to a school auction and I chose to offer up a painting of the winning bidder's house. The winner was the owner of a house on Capitol Hill in DC, a rowhouse that wasn't the biggest or most dramatic house on the block, but was very much loved as the home in which the family's young children were born.
I met with the owner to ask what time of year they liked to see their house-- spring flowers, fall color, snow? -- and was told that they loved to see their redbud tree in bloom in the spring. It was a perfect time to pick since it both allowed the tree to show its beauty but didn't obstruct the view of the house with its full leafy summer foliage.
We also talked about the fence, the DC flag, the toys in the yard and other ways that the house felt like home to the family. I asked if the neighbor row houses should be included and got a firm yes -- being part of a row of neighboring houses was something they loved living there.
I took photos when I visited last year, got more photos from the owner this spring, and then when I started working on the painting I went back to the house to check whether the paint color I saw in the photos was really the color of the house and the neighboring houses.
This was a fun commission-- and a challenge since when I paint on my own, I'm looking for the color or light or object that interests me and in this case I needed to think about how to capture the owner's feelings for the house and the life they lived there.
When I was last fishing on the Gallatin River with my husband, I was a bit more focused on taking pictures for future paintings than catching fish.
I finally had time to get into the studio and look at the references to put together this one. It captures the moment when he is getting a new fly on the line to see if mixing things up can fool the fish into biting. What I remember is that it worked!
I am building up the color in the scene, I think tomorrow I may get it wrapped up.
I had a round vase with tulips, ranunculus, and roses in my house so I set them up in a still life with a black orb, quilt and draped scarf in front of a mirror. Just as an exercise. The scarf was a stiff fabric and it didn't exactly drape as I'd hoped, but I painted it anyway.
I don't know that I'll fix the issue with the left side of that scarf, but it was good to get some painting done.