Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shades of Tuscany, part I

The palette of colors with which God painted the Italian landscape is an artist's dream.  Grapes, olives, grasses, cypress trees, rolling hills ... all make up the lovely shades of the Tuscan countryside.  

In this image (from our 25th anniversary trip!), my goal was to remember the colors I felt, rather than the colors the camera reproduced. 

I started by cropping the image to a square format because ... well ... to be honest, I had a square panel that I wanted to use.  Fortunately, this particular scene has lots of great possibilities for composition (next week I'll show my 12x36).  I love how the fence posts and undulating hills lead your eye from the bottom right, in a "z" shape, up to the center of interest.

Okay, colors.  This is where my heart remembered what my eyes didn't see -- the rich glow of the earth and dried grasses that served as a foundation for the dark blue-green cypress trees and the mossy-blue olive trees.  The distant blue hills were the perfect backdrop. 
Here's my little study:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Color in the Shadows

This old red barn at MacNair's Country Acres in Raleigh caught my eye because of the strong shadow cast by the large, peaked, over-hanging roof in the late morning sun.  The richness of colors in the shadowed barn were totally lost in the photograph, but that's one of the beauties of being "on location"...the eye sees so much more than the camera lens!

 Since I wanted to make the barn feel welcoming, I mixed colors much warmer than I saw them.  The barn became more orange, the grass more yellow (and abundant!), the road more brown.  I also moved the road -- you can do that as an artist :) -- and dappled the light to lead the eye to the barn.

This piece is currently on exhibit at our "Equestrian" themed show at Waverly Artists Group.  For a fun evening, come to our Open House on Friday January 25, 6-9pm. You can't beat music, art, food, wine, and friends!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Time to Begin...

This year, 2013, is the perfect year to begin something I have long avoided doing ... starting an art blog.  Before starting my blog, however, I wanted to make sure that I truly had something to say and I've finally decided that the answer to that is definitely "YES!"  Hopefully you will agree :)  So here it is ... time to begin my Sunday posts by a painter of sunlit moments ...

Something that I love seeing from other artists is the reference image that inspired their painting (especially if it was painted on location). It helps me to understand the choices they had to make in designing their composition and emphasizing what they saw as important.  One thing I've learned as an artist is that we all "see" in very different ways!

So I am beginning my blog by "shedding light" on how I see and why I paint...

First up is a photo I took of a poinsettia peeking around a corner in Mexico. What I loved about this image was the interesting shadow cast by the poinsettia.  But my eye kept being pulled from the shadow to the silhouette of the background tree.

So I cropped the tree from view and found the composition much more relaxing...

In my final composition I cropped the foreground so that the shadow would serve as an "entry point" for the eye, and I joined the two cast shadows so that they wouldn't be competing elements.  My favorite part of painting this scene was playing with the warm light through the red flowers reflected into the cool shadow on the patio.  It was something that I had to see by being there since it definitely doesn't come through in the photograph!
Poinsettia in the Sun, 16x20 Oil, SOLD