Sunday, March 31, 2013

Azalea Glow

Happy Easter!!  
Today's post seemed to me to be the right one for this day that celebrates new life.  The white azalea bushes in my yard haven't bloomed yet, 
but I am definitely ready to see them again! 

This photograph from a past Spring was one of dozens that I took to capture the sun shining through the translucent petals.  The purity of this white azalea, with light that almost appears to come from within, reminds me of the One who we honor as pure light on this day.

For my painting, I cropped the scene in a way that keeps the glowing azalea as the "star" of the show while moving it out of center stage.  This encourages the eye to explore and also creates some interesting shapes around the flowers.  Enjoy!
Azalea Glow, not available
12x16 Oil

Sunday, March 24, 2013

King of the Palms

Since today is Palm Sunday I am posting a small painting from Hilton Head titled King of the Palms, in honor of the King who was hailed in Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago.  

One of the many things I love about Hilton Head, in South Carolina, is the way the trees (a blend of live oaks, pines, and palm trees) come so close to the sandy beach.  They add a fresh dimension of green to accent the warm, soft hues of the beach grasses.  Sprays of wild flowers add another layer of color and texture (as well as inviting loads of butterflies).

To capture the feel of the soft grasses, and to add depth to all the "green" the camera saw, I chose to emphasize the warm orange hues of the dried grasses that I remembered.  I had fun with the foreground flowers and sea oats, making the paint thicker and using a palette knife for texture instead of a paint brush.  
Happy Palm Sunday!
  King of the Palms, available
6x6 Oil, framed

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sea Oats

Every summer my family goes on vacation to Nags Head NC for one of our favorite weeks of the year and for precious time spent with family from literally all over the globe.   This view is from the mid-level balcony of our beach house.  

While arguably a beautiful view, especially with the graceful sea oats of August, my camera could not fully capture what I saw -- the drama of the evening sun draping its way through the sea oats and beckoning up the stairs.  As an artist, the drama of the sunlight and the sense of welcome were what I sought to capture

 I began my painting by "sketching" the basic shapes of the scene with orange (since it complemented the blues) and then laid in thin paint as a road map for my darks and lights as well as my warm and cool colors.  This was a great way to work out how I wanted the viewer's eye to move through the painting.  I was careful to plan for more cools than warms and darks than lights because I wanted the warm sun-lit stairs to be the center of interest. 

At this stage of the painting process, an artist has to have great faith and not listen to passers-by who say, "Um.  Interesting."  :)
 As I laid paint on more thickly, keeping my darks largely "transparent" and my lights more opaque, I tried to stay faithful to my initial road map.  By reserving the purest colors, sharpest edges, and greatest contrast for the center of interest, I had fun making it, well, interesting!
  Sea Oats, not available
8x16 Oil

Sometimes one painting isn't enough when it's a scene I love Here's a slightly larger and different take on the same wonderful view.

12x24 Oil

Sunday, March 10, 2013

View from St. Clare

This is the view from the plaza of St. Clare in Assisi Italy, overlooking the peaceful Umbrian valley.  As we traveled through Italy for our 25th anniversary (5 years ago already - oh my!) we visited many churches and, to be honest, the extravagant gilding got to be a little much for me.  When we went to Assisi we visited, yes, more churches.  
But St. Clare was different.  
It was plain.  
It was simple. 
There were no gilded pillars and no ornate mosaics.  
No pretense. 
 It was completely Spirit-filled.
It is also home to the original San Damiano cross 
that called the simplest of all beggars, St. Francis of Assisi.

I LOVED St. Clare.
As the sun set I was reminded who the master artist is.
My challenge in painting "View from St. Clare" was to somehow capture the tranquil feeling of that moment.  There were no formulas for this... I just let the spirit paint...
 View from St. Clare, available
6x6 Oil, framed

Sunday, March 3, 2013

House Hunting

 To warm your soul and remind you that the winter chill will soon be replaced by the hope of new life, I am posting the "house hunting" of nature that is about to begin in earnest.   

This little bluebird visited my yard a few years ago and was so much fun to watch as he clearly was trying to attract his future mate to this lovely home.  She accepted his proposal and before long their family began :) 

I loved everything about this composition: the verticals of the background trees that mimicked the house, the dynamic lines of the roof and plants that lead your eye to the entrance of the little home and, especially, the way the sun and shadow drape across the entrance in welcome.

But here's my little secret:  the amorous blue bird would not stay still long enough for me to take his portrait on the roof!  So I took a picture of him on a branch and did a little photo manipulation (click on the image and you can see).  The trick was to catch him with the lighting the same as the house.

My artistic vision of this scene was much warmer than the camera captured, adding a glow to the cozy home that would soon be brimming with life.  Happy Spring!
House HuntingSOLD
5x7 Oil