Sunday, January 26, 2014

Peace of the Day

What could be more enticing than layers of downy comfort on a warm, sunlit bed?  After a long, hectic drive on the Jersey Turnpike, this is the wonderful view that welcomed us to the Sleepy Hollow Country Club for my cousin's wedding this Fall.  It was definitely our peace of the day.
As I thought about painting this scene, I knew that I wanted to emphasize its strong light and dark patterns, so I started with a small "thumbnail" sketch to establish my values with dark, light, and medium.  This quick sketch was my road map for both an 8x10 study and a larger 12x24 painting.
 For both paintings, I began with a lightly toned canvas and basic placement of the elements, giving special attention to getting the perspective correct. 
The next steps involved adding color, focusing on warm and cool, while trying to be true to the values that I established in my initial thumbnail sketch.  If you squint at this final painting, you'll see that I managed to stay pretty close! :)
Peace of the Day, 8x10 Oil, framed (available)
For the larger painting, I decided to use a wider canvas for my composition, which I think worked really well:
Peace of the Day II, 12x24 Oil (available)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Life is Sweet

Every Spring I hang my hummingbird feeder on my kitchen window and look forward to the return of these beautiful and amazing wonders of the world.  One year I stood very still near the feeder (for a long time!) with my hand resting on the perch.  What a thrill it was when one of the tiny birds landed on my finger and stayed there while enjoying the sugar water that I had prepared.  Life is sweet!
Here is my painted version of two of those kitchen window visitors...

...and these are the reference photos that I used:
To create a stronger composition and to give a sense of story to the paintings when they are hung together, I made several intentional decisions: 
- chose small, 6x6 canvases to focus more intimately on each delicate hummingbird
- reversed the direction of the female bird so that she was facing her sweetheart
- replaced the feeder with impatiens from my backyard 
Here's the edited photo I ended up using for one of my references:

And here are the two little paintings in progress:
I really enjoyed painting the reflected color on the belly of the female ruby-throated hummingbird.  Since she doesn't have a red throat like her male counterpart, it was a great way to give her more color! 
Life is Sweet II, 6x6 oil (sold)
Life is Sweet I, 6x6 oil (sold)