oil paintings

Show at the Good Tern Coop Cafe (and a colony of bees)

A selection of my paintings will hang at the Good Tern Coop Cafe from May 4th 2015 until May 31st.   I've been a weekly working member there, in produce, for over a year.  They are a wonderful group of people to work with and I'm grateful to be offered this opportunity.

I'll have a dozen or so paintings there.  My most recent work is at an intimate scale and primarily portrays my interest in the overlooked and undervalued within our environment: 'weeds', pollinator food plants; and bees, both native and honey bees. Some pieces might spark conversations about what a surprisingly big difference seemingly small changes can make in our own yards.  There will also be some 'winter flowers' such as roses (store-bought) and geraniums (blooming indoors), just what I found available and colorful in the frozen northern winter.

Last Saturday I brought home 15,000 new pets.  They seem to be settling in okay, despite the poor flying weather they have been able to bring home pollen a few days.

Aldermere Farm Annual Art Show

100s of pieces of artwork, hay bales, rustic barn, portable construction lighting, benefiting youth agriculture and education programs provided by this great, beautiful farm owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust.  I'm very happy to have been a part of this for the 1st time and sold my submissions.

Every Wednesday I volunteer at the farm's visitor center for a few hours selling t-shirts, books, artwork, and humanely- and sustainably-raised beef!

Palms and Salt Marsh, Husband's handy-work

8x8 oil on canvas
Another painting of the Gulf Coast salt marshes with palm and cedar hammocks (Crystal River/Chassahowitzka area).

Last week my husband had a significant birthday and in his honor and in gratitude I am posting some of his handy-work (which was built for my birthday).   He built fences, gates, 2 benches (for sleeping & jumping), a 'summer' barn, milk stand, and hay manger for my goats...

At night I lock them in the smaller pen where, I slightly hesitate here to admit, I have a baby monitor to listen for any overnight issues like coyotes or loose dogs.  Our dogs are house dogs and no help as livestock guardians.  

Everyone who has goats has a story about dog attacks with injuries and often deaths (sadly I'm not exaggerating).  I don't want to let these girls down...would you?

Phoebe & Fame

drip....drip..drip and Schmid's color charts

Two gallons of chevre and one of feta dripping away their whey.  If anyone is interested in home cheese making but unsure where to start or just curious about it, this is the place to go...Ricki Carroll's blog, with links to her online supply store  
My fingers are crossed for this first try at feta.  Yesterday I did mozzarella two different ways with one good and one mediocre result.  The good news about that is I got the easy 30-minute way to work after a failure a few weeks ago.   Soooo I can discard the longer traditional mozzarella method I had been using.

In his book Alla Prima, Richard Schmid strongly suggests this rather exhaustive color chart exercise I have begun.  It may be nothing magical but I'm hoping it will help me fall back in love with become again intimate with my oil paints whom I have not spent enough time with recently, clear from recent posts.  Here I've started with one of my favorite color's chart, viridian (a blue-green, in its pure state in the left column, then mixed with yellows so far).   This requires a lot of drafting tape, time, and paint but beyond immediate therapy, I can refer back to them for many years.

"The Spotted One"

6x6 oil on stretched canvas, SOLD

These small Spanish sort of cattle are just lovely. Some around here are indeed Cracker cows but I'm not sure about this herd on Millhopper road...You will see more of these in the future. I especially like the mostly white ones but the brown ones are certainly lots easier to paint!

This photo is rather poor, the color is a tad off and since it is very wet, there is glare.

"Cedar Key Trail"

6x8 oil on stretched canvas,  SOLD
Cedar Key, Florida

We drove over a couple of weeks ago, it is only an hour away. I found a few places to paint but the tide was extra high, covering features that are important to me: sandy spots, base of the marsh grasses, and even a little mud is good. This is from a photo I took that day. The birds are meant to be a small flock of ibis. If you notice the "paint blob" that is catching the light in an unfavorable way, on the front tree, that is now smoothed down.

"Marsh in Violet"

6x6 oil on stretched canvas, SOLD

This scene is more from memories than from any particular location. I added magnesium violet to my palette for this one, it compliments the four yellow colors that I use (cadmium yellow, hansa yellow, yellow ochre, transparent oxide yellow) very nicely I think. I've ordered quinacridone violet to see how that works, now if only I can pronounce it...Four yellows may sound excessive but all my tube colors are of only one pigment so I find it works for me. I don't use them all for every painting but they allow me to mix countless greens and this is a real help.

I've been just initialing these little guys because my name just looks so big on 6x6s and 6x8s. I usually remember to sign the back.

"At the Marsh Edge"

6x6 oil on stretched canvas, original $40 (including $5. for shipping)

Biddeford Pool, Maine

The Purple Martins are starting to nest in our gourds so I have swallows in my mind. This nestbox and dinghy are in my reference photo taken last summer, but not the Tree Swallow, my best guess as to who uses this box (hopefully not starlings!).

At the top, a side-view shows it painted a harmonizing gray so that the small piece does not need to be framed. I do this to all my paintings that are on stretched canvas, as opposed to linen panels, which must be framed.

"September at Salt Pond"

6x8 oil on stretched canvas, SOLD

You might recognize this view from the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center in Eastham. It looks out over Salt Pond with Nauset Marsh in the background. While I was working for the park I had many a Teva sucked off my foot by the muck out there. Nevertheless, me and my partner decided that Tevas were the best footwear to wear in the marshes while we did bird surveys. But what does this have to do with this painting? I just love this marsh & the one up beyond Race Point too. I've spend many enjoyable hours out there. I took this photo in 2008 during a September visit, on an overcast day. I knew I would paint this scene someday and I may do a larger one too.

Lighthouse at Port Clyde, Maine, near sunset

This is the first time I've painted on linen, having put it off because I had read many times that one
would never want to use canvas again, and all those folks are right. Anyway, with the
Melrose Open Air Arts event coming up I needed to find a panel I liked instead of using stretched
canvas (panels are easier to transport & frame).

Click on the poster icon here in the right margin to find out more
about the paint-out. We will be painting at designated locations March 10-17
and the opening for the resulting works will be Saturday, the 20th 6-9pm at all 3
participating galleries in Melrose, FL. We can show 3 pieces each and there are 65 of us, so
there will be lots to look at, plus live music, and refreshments.

Also I have 2 works on display at the Medical Center, also noted here on the right. They are
"Called to Dinner" ( a few posts back) and "Boatyard from the Bridge", which is shown in the
October 9, 2009 post.
(8x10 oil on linen - "Lighthouse at Sunset" - Available)

"Palms at Crystal River" (Citrus Co. Florida)

(6x6, oil on canvas - SOLD)
The salt marshes on the Gulf of Mexico are bordered by expansive stands of sable (cabbage) palms, cedars, and oaks. The groves of palms often stand alone on islands and create an interesting landscape, their crowns pointing in all directions with many "bald" trunks interspersed. On this little painting, I got carried away with the color and texture of the grass and let the creek become a straight "Z". I need to remember to step back more but this can be surprisingly hard to remember when you are having fun.

There are dozens of "crystal rivers" across the country but here is a link to a small photo gallery of this area and it's wildlife. It is best known as a place to swim with the manatees. The "page 2" contains a few nice marsh pics.

"Called for Dinner", Rhode Island Red chickens at Dudley Farm

This painting (10x8 oil on canvas - SOLD) was fun other than struggling with the shadowed background's value. I had it much darker, in all transparent colors, but it just seemed too dark. But could I justify it being lighter than the dark side of the chickens? For better or worse I added some opacity to it and lightened it up. I also added the fence rather than leaving the gap behind the building empty.

These chickens were in "there's the lady with the long skirt and the food calling us!" mode when I took the reference photo for this. It was a fun challenge to try to capture their movement.

If you have not gone to Dudley Farm State Historic Park, they have heritage breed livestock and the staff dresses in early 1900s farmstead clothing. The farm is not a re-creation and quite old by Florida standards. It is located just west of Gainesville only a few miles from my house. Here's a link to their home page's photo gallery: http://www.floridastateparks.org/DudleyFarm/Photos-Park.cfm
and the photos at their Friends site:
If you are local, they are selling fresh eggs for $2/dozen there! Their larger flock of chickens are Plymouth Barred Rocks; I took some great pictures of them but I'm not sure I'm interested in tackling those barred feathers in paint.

Wanted to do something different

(6x8 oil - SOLD) Sometimes I feel like I just need to paint something with highly saturated color, it isn't really what I usually do. I'm working on a barn painting that is taking longer than I would like & I wanted a break & some color! I have not painted a still life in years so please reserve judgement - because it was really fun. "Three Galas" 6x8 oil (with bright red & bright aqua!)

Still on the "Fall Trees"...

Here's a little fall painting (6x8 oil on canvas - Sold) that I changed a bit at the gallery after this photograph. It is from a lovely spot I photographed last year near Mt. Katahdin (in central Maine). I really didn't do it justice but one can only try, and maybe try again...

"Ducktrap River" Fall in Maine

(12x9 oil on canvas - Available)

This year we left Maine too early for fall colors. At the end of September there were only hints of the riot to come in October. I took the reference for this painting last year during a hike along the Ducktrap River in Lincolnville. A number of other colorful pics I took of fall scenes are inviting me to bright color challenges.

I lean toward subtleties in all things. But it is no good to stay in your comfort zone when you are trying to learn; mixing and using color and values will be lifelong learning.

Incidentally, we learned our lesson, we will spend October of 2010 in the north.

Update: this is in the "can this be fixed pile", I must fix the all light blue water. I also understand I used to much white in the colored leaves...

Another Amelia Island marsh painting

(9x12 oil on canvas - Sold)
Here's another one, I just love painting salt marshes, because I love looking at them. Here I played with violet/yellow complementary pairing & I really like how the colors turned out. Especially that it happened without a struggle.
Yesterday I entirely painted over another marsh scene that was over half "finished". You have to know when you've gone too far down the wrong road & surrender the time & wasted paint. I think (hope) I learned something from it?