November 25, 2012

Quartermaine's Holiday Blend

I think it's done!  I will be bringing it to the store for a light check (to see how it looks in their florescent/natural light combination) and then adjust if needed.

November 21, 2012

Work Begins

This painting is 4 feet high, 5 feet wide.  In the cupping room,  there was a map of the world on the wall which we took down for a little geography lesson (why Kenyan coffee is different than Ethopian coffee).   The wall behind Steve is pretty dark, so if I paint in the map, it's not going to be much more than a contrast of continents to oceans.  At this point, I just want to be sure I like the way the elements of the scene work together.  I've moved a few things around and I've curved the counter (the way my eye, not a camera, saw it when I was there.  I may play around with that some more.

November 13, 2012

Next -- Back to Quartermaine's for Cupping

I went to the warehouse today to watch "cupping" -- the fascinating tasting process that coffee roasters use to select and blend coffees.  I'm going to start a new, huge painting of the scene, but today I had two logistical problems.  One was that the canvas I wanted to work on was way too big, so I was going to do sketches.  The other problem is that the aroma of the different coffees is a big part of the cupping (much like wine tasting includes that swirl in the glass and deep sniff) and that is mutually exclusive with a palette of pungent oil paint and cup of linseed oil (even though I don't use turpentine, the paint definitely makes itself known).  So I'll be working from photos.  As much as I like the scene with the view into the roasting plant through the window,  I think the winner is the picture I took from up on a stool looking in to get a fuller look at the coffee.

This could take a while to paint.  I hope to get it done so it can go into the store in early 2013.

November 12, 2012

More Painting Problems & Unfinished Work

I was working on this painting today, making nice progress with the pattern of trees, leaves, river... and the tree on the left was nicely defined with a pretty strong dark along its left side.  Well, I thought it was nicely defined...  I showed it to Walt Bartman, who took his palette knife to the tree on the left side and nearby water, scraped it off the paint and said, "isn't that better?"  Hmmm.  His point was that I'd made a more distant tree come too close to the foreground.  Rather dramatic surgery, but maybe I'll go back to see if I can resolve the issue.

November 9, 2012

A Painting Problem

I started this painting outdoors a few weeks ago, excited by the intense light between the house and the column on its porch.  I liked the way the steps up to the house led to that light.  After putting down color, though, the painting lost its focus and I scraped it down.  I repainted the dark areas in cadmium red and then put it away in the studio.  I got it out again yesterday to see if I could rebuild the color without the problems I'd encountered earlier.  Without a reference (either being on site or having a photo), I was working very slowly.   I'm not sure whether I'll ever finish it, but it's a useful exercise in working out a problem of keeping color in its place to allow the idea to shine through.

November 6, 2012

Lunch on the Amalfi Coast

This painting is a real departure for me in a lot of ways.  I don't usually use so much black, so much contrast.  I used Galkyd Lite, which is a lightly shiny varnish/medium for paint that helped even out the different levels of oil absorbency in the pigments, necessary especially in the mixed black areas.  And I pulled back from defining features and objects to allow the shapes and colors to merge into images.  The painting will be part of the December Foundry Gallery show, A Cool Palette.  The show will feature works where blues, purples, greens dominate (or cool blacks, in this case).  The people at the table in front are my husband & daughters.

I've got work on display now at the Framer's Choice Gallery in Kentlands -- the work will be up though December 1.  The reception is this Sunday afternoon, November 11.