I took my butt off of the deck and went out painting in our beautiful neighborhood. Big puffy cumulus clouds filled the sky and the breeze was strong enough to keep the bugs away.
This area between the South River and the Atlantic is called Humarock and offers the best of both worlds. Sunrise over the ocean and sunset over the river.
Although I drove here, (of course with all my "stuff" I'd have to anyway) I could actually walk here through the dunes from my home beyond the distant tree line.
Most of this painting was done on site but I tweaked it a bit in the studio today. There are still lots of fabulous old cottages along this beach just begging to be painted! I'm sure I will have to oblige.
I spent the day painting at the herring run in Pembroke on Saturday. There were many beautiful dragonflies which I've discovered to be ebony jewel wings. Very inspiring for some work I've been planning which will involve abstract collage. The subject, dragonflies. Stay tuned for that.
My painting, "Stonington Cove", received second place in oils in the Pembroke Arts Festival which is very exciting! The show takes place next weekend on the town green and in the Community Center. Lots of art and food and music. Go!
I only recently discovered that my Mama had a Canadian flag in her eclectic collection of this and that. I don't know where or when she acquired it but, it's mine now and I was delighted to be able to fly it off the railing at the cottage in Parrsboro.
We do, after all, have MacDonald roots from Antigonish on my mama's, mama's side.
While racking my brain for something to paint besides water, boats and trees I suddenly hit on a novel idea. The flag!
I really enjoyed working the back and forth in the creases and I adore the RED in the Maple Leaf!
These two fabulous BFF's were strolling on Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester and I was taken by their beauty, the contrast in their skin tones and their girlish delight in taking 'selfies' with their phones. This painting is a bit of a departure for me as in, I drew the figures with a micron pen and then did the watercolor. My camera does not capture the depth in the water or the iridescent sparkle I used on the figures and in the sand. Check out the Girls Just Wanna Paint Bathing Beauties!
On my painting retreat I spent most of one day out on the back shore on the open ocean side of the "secret" hideaway, first painting the rocky island in the morning light and then turning toward this view later in the afternoon. I tried to keep a linear design in the rocks and just suggest the water and spray swirling around me. I was not going to include any houses until the light caught this house's red metal roof and gave it a lovely purple glow that seemed to add to the painting. Glorious, is how I'd describe being out on the rocks painting all day. Nothing better!
I am off for a week of painting with a stellar group of fun ladies on the rocky coast of Maine One week of focusing only on my art is exactly what I need at this time. I did this watercolor in Naples a few months ago. In my quest for abstraction, what better subject than lily pads? I'll be posting more of these studies which never made the blog this winter and you can look forward to some paintings of beautiful, soulful Maine!
I thank all of you for the emails and comments sharing your experience and advice on how you all stoke your creative muse and move through the normal ups and downs of being an artist. The weather has been fantastic and I've been bringing my watercolor sketchbook out onto the deck with me while I have my tea each morning and doing contour drawings just to enjoy the process. All I really need to do when I feel like the well has run dry is to take a look at the work of the wonderful artists I have featured in my sidebar, and that is only the tip of the iceberg. I'm reaching into the archives for this painting of the local scenery for the Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge which is "Marsh".
Wow, where has this month gone? We arrived home from Naples on May 10th and have been busy settling in and sprucing up our yard. It's great to be back in New England. The crisp ocean air and cool lilac scented breezes lift my spirits.
The Bird House
Speak of transitioning, I'm not particularly good at it. I've long been itching to break out of my 'box' and do something very different. I love fiber and found objects and mixed media and pen and ink. So much stimulation, so little time. I see wonderful art that speaks to me but when I think about doing something similar my inner critic nags at me about 'looking' like someone else, or copying other's ideas. It continues to hold me back and I know I have to wrestle it to the mat and just carry on. I tell my students to be fearless and not to judge themselves. This is a case where I need to listen to my own advice without being concerned about the outcome of the piece. Here's a detail from something I'm working on involving herons and egrets using watercolor, ink pens and iridescent acrylic paint. I love birds and am bursting to do abstract or mixed media with the bird theme. I'm not really sure where this piece is going so I'm trying to listen to the painting and let it tell me. I'd love to hear how you all push past the blocks that derail your creative muse. Talk to me.
This month's Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge is Bride. Several of the 'Girls" have recent newlyweds in their families and one has an imminent wedding and another has a recent engagement. SO. We're celebrating Brides and Grooms and weddings and engagements.
Since posting my original VW painting I've met so many people who have had a love affair with the classic "bug". This particular model was an inexpensive but cool car for those of us who got our driver's licenses in the late '60's. Mine was a 1963, baby blue VW with a "sunroof" which was a folding vinyl thingy and opened the entire roof. My niece and 'soul sister' remembers us taking her to the Avon Drive In in it when she was about two years old, with the roof open and her little self happily camped in the back. Yes, the back seats could be folded down into a space the size of a playpen.
It was classic and remains my best selling painting and commission. One fan wanted it in yellow as a gift for his wife who had one. "back in the day". Meanwhile, here in Naples I am painting a bedroom. Washing with tsp, priming, spackling, sanding and of course the ceiling :( Very time consuming but the end result will be worth it.
I've been wearing this gold charm, for many, many years. It's the Chinese symbol for "good fortune" and was a gift from my husband Don, who knows my obsession with all things Oriental. This month's topic for the Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge is 'treasured object' and this is one of my most cherished ones.
I tried painting it, I really did, but it just didn't have the pizzazz it needed. In desperation I played with it in PhotoShop where it couldn't help but gain some dramatic effects. Placing it upon a patterned fabric swatch creates a great design and I like the way the four images meet. Meanwhile, I'm still going out to the 'jungle' to paint twice a week and have a plethora of studies of lily pads, palm trees and green stuff !
It's fun simplifying these lily pads into abstract paintings. The more I paint this scene the more familiar and comfortable I am with it. I could see going really large with these.
I bought this rolling tote at Michaels for half price and I really like it. It has four wheels. Spins as well as caddies, has pockets on three sides and a spacious compartment with a couple of removable zipper pouches which can be secured with plastic snap hooks. I stuffed some palmetto fronds into it to create some shade while I sat on the bank and painted. I felt like I was on a Safari. My legs are covered with fire ant bites because I forgot the "stick" that goes with my Coulter easel and had to sit. Should have put the towel under my legs instead of just under my butt. WHATEVER! The show must go on. I am really enjoying painting the chaotic scene in the lily pond and have been lazy about posting my progress, but I will share in a more timely fashion. Maybe.
I have been going out to paint at a little oasis called Freedom Park. Water, palm trees, beautiful birds, gators, turtles, lily pads (my new obsession) and dragonflies, which represent the spirit of my mama, who, much to my delight, is always with me. It find it easier to divide my canvas into quarters and do studies instead of overwhelming myself with trying to get a finished painting of this very complicated scene. My favorite of this series is the closeup of the lily pads. I see so many possibilities with this subject
Painting "en Plein aire", sounds so chic but, it requires organizing and downsizing equipment for the lightest and least burdensome trip to the site. This has never been my strong suit but I'm working on it.