Sunday, July 28, 2013

Meeting at Elbow Beach

In honor of our family reunion "Beach Week", which starts today (yay!), I am featuring one of my favorite scenes of the beach.  Okay, Bermuda isn't exactly where we go for our family reunion, but it is the right theme :) 
This view is on Elbow Beach in the early evening.  I love the long shafts of light that drape the soft sand and then highlight the ocean foam.  The foam, in turn, seems to point towards the beach walkers, which can make for a romantic story...
Here's the original photo:

And here I have cropped the photo to emphasize the long shadows and to better balance the composition.  Cropping the top of the tallest palm tree was important to stop your eye from following the sky off the canvas and to decrease the attention the palm trees were commanding.

My goal in translating this scene was to capture the glow of the pink coral sand that so often defines the colors of Bermuda.  Add to that a bevy of backlit palm trees and the intrigue of two lovers yet to meet and you have the perfect end to a leisurely beach day.

18x36 Oil
Available at  The Little Art Gallery

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Yes Sir, That's My Baby

I fell in love with this baby Galloway cow on one of my trips to Fearrington Village in North Carolina.  The calf posed perfectly for me ... showing off its spindly-legged silhouette in the shadows and its fluffy juvenile coat in the sunlight while dining on grasses.  I also loved the dynamic "Z" composition of the scene that connects the calf and its proud mother.
This is the original photo:

Since the mother was not quite as cooperative with her posing, I performed a little digital magic to create the story I wanted to tell.  Here's the original photo I took of her:

After "flipping" her photo, I inserted the mother's face into the scene with her baby.  Voila!  I think she'd be much happier with this picture :)   I also cropped the image for a better composition.

My favorite part of painting "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" was capturing the subtle warm and cool colors in the shadowed side of the calf's white fur.  I think that means I'm becoming an art nerd.  
Here's my completed 12x16 painting.  It was juried in to the 2012 North Ridge Country Club Annual Art Gala and won Honorable Mention :)

Yes Sir, That's My Baby,  SOLD
12x16 Oil

Here's the small study I painted first (Available!)

Yes Sir, That's My BabyAvailable
6x8 Oil, framed

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Peachy Market

In 2011, my husband and I visited our son who lives in China (I know, he's too far away!)  Part of our travels were in a very touristy area called Yangshuo, so we decided to explore well away from the trappings of the pervasive hawkers.  

We found an alley filled with the local colors (and smells!) of market day.  Eels and snakes slithered in small buckets, carts of live chickens prepared to cluck their last, and freshly (?) cut meat -- whose origin I did not want to know -- was fanned by languid hands to shoo away the flies.  

In all this gourmet hustle and bustle, my mouth only watered when I saw this basket of glowing peaches.  I lingered and savored the moment.

While I wanted to capture this very typical Chinese scene, my real goal in painting it was to show how enticing the sweet peaches appeared to me.  For my composition I decided to use a square format and cropped the styrofoam cooler at the left edge to lead your eye in to the painting.  I loved the triangular shape created by the cooler, baskets and vendor (echoed by her triangular hat!)

To emphasize my center of mouth-watering interest, I used complementary colors -- a neutral blue backdrop for the pinkish orange peaches.  Then I enhanced the glowing effect by keeping the edges of the peaches much softer than in the photo.  I darkened the white of the styrofoam so that it didn't command so much attention and I also lightened and simplified the area behind the young woman so that the lines of her shape would lead back to the fruit.  Ahh ... sweet, juicy peaches.

16x16 Oil