Friday, November 01, 2019

"Longfellow in October" oil 16 x 12

The Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge topic for last month was "October Sky".  Sitting in traffic the other day, along Storrow Drive, I looked left and saw the iconic Longfellow Bridge late in the day framed by the Storrow Drive overpass and the autumn trees.  Beautiful.  You can see some process photos here as well.  I laid in an orange ground to add some glow through the painting. It was interesting to consider skyholes both in the trees and through the bridge itself.  I liked the combination of vertical shapes in the trees and the skyline, along with the sense of "up" conveyed by the overpass.  Boston is a lovely town, elegance in many directions.
As always, thank you for looking.  

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Day 749 "Soup Sistahs" ink & pencil - a new ministry

A few years ago, I had the idea that it would be nice to cook once in a while with women I enjoy.  Our kitchen at home is too small, but our church has a spacious, reasonably well-equipped kitchen.  It's that kind of church kitchen with too many of some things and a scarcity of some other things. Today we cooked, and made a list of needs; cookie sheets, steel utility bowls, a knife sharpener for example.  
I named our group "Soup Sistahs", said with a mock Boston accent.   We tried it out a couple of times last winter, and are now meeting monthly in the New North Church kitchen.   Today, we used Sara Moulton's Creamy Root Vegetable Soup with Everything Pita Crisps from her book "Home Cooking 101".  I worked with one other "sistah" today.  We chopped carrots, parsnips, turnip, garlic, onions, and potatoes... then used the immersion blender to puree half the mixture before adding the rest of the vegetables.  While the vegetables were cooking, we made Everything Pita Crisps, with a mixture of dried onion, garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and salt.  They are delicious and delicious crumbled on top of the soup  I added a some pulled chicken to half the soup so we can offer a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option. 
The idea of the Soup Sistahs is connection.  I connect with women as we cook.  Then we pack the soup, label it, and make it available to the congregation the next day.  People can take it with them to give to  a friend or neighbor who may need a meal, increasing the connection.  
Thanks for looking today.  Reach out, make a connection.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Day 720 "Bare Trees" 9 x 11 ink with pastel

Exploring shapes from the local trees at night.  I painted a rectangle of ink, then applied pastel on top leaving the tree shapes behind.  I added the moon, and some moonlight in the sky radiating out; then softened the edge of the trees.
I am interested in these beautiful shapes.  As always, thank you for looking. You know I love your comments.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Day 693 "Late Light" gouache on ink

A friend was visiting from North Carolina this week.  I was invited to a small gathering of women on the porch of her host. We had a lovely time catching up on each other's lives.  It was a pleasure to sit in the company of these smart, interesting women in a beautiful setting.   While we visited, the sun got lower and lower in the sky behind the trees, and eventually set behind the river.  I wanted to recreate the feeling of the evening with the trees silhouetted against that vibrant sky.  I painted a rectangle of ink.  When it dried, I used gouache, almost without water, to paint the negative spaces between the branches.  I like the feel of the chunky gouache, and without thinning it, the paint builds upon itself to enhance the feel of the glow.  I chose each stroke very carefully in this extractive exercise, because my goal was not to reapply any of the black below.  I like the effect. I certainly conveys the feeling of the evening for me.
As always, thank you for looking.  I enjoy your comments as well.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

In Love with an Island - Monhegan's neighbor Manana

Each summer we spend two weeks on Monhegan Island in Maine.  It is 10 miles east of the coast of Maine, sitting in all its 1.5 mile by .5 mile gloriousness.  Monhegan has a small neighbor island, Manana, which forms the sheltered harbor here.  I have written about Manana many times, here, and again here, or here, here, or here, and again here.  In fact, if you search my blog for "Manana" you'll have a lot to read, and/or see.  This week I have added a number of Manana views to my sketchbook.  Here are a few of them.  I will add another post soon with some more.  
I love painting Manana from above, below, through windows, beyond boats... just love it.  The Monhegan Museum has a splendid collection of work, including fascinating paintings of Manana in all its personalities, seasons, and times of day.  A couple of favorites are my Aldro Hibbard and Andrew Winter.  As always, thank you for looking at my work.  I appreciate your thoughts and your comments.   

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Complements in Action - Figure Painting

 A couple of weeks ago I took a workshop on figure painting by David Shevlino. The supply list included primed boards.  He asked us to use a mid-range gray as tone.  I tinted Gesso with black, ultramarine and red acrylic to arrive at my gray.  I prefer a little hue to my grays.  The cool background worked very well with the color mixtures David demonstrated as his flesh tones; yellow ochre, cadmium orange and dioxine purple for flesh in the light and burnt sienna, dioxine purple and olive green for flesh in shadow. On the second day, we painted the model shown here.  I blocked in the painting (see below) and began to lay in the light flesh tones.  I added some blue in the background where a blue cloth was hanging.  When I turned away, then turned back, I wondered how or why I had used the blue on the figure itself... and realized I had not, but the warm flesh tones acted as the complement to the cool gray background to make the background look like blue. 

The illusion was startling.  Look at the top photo, which I cropped down to hide most of the background tint, then the second photo in which you can see the blue in her forehead as you compare it to the background on the left and the blue cloth on the right. Each time I looked at it, my brain saw blue, not gray, though I had only painted blue in the background cloth.  
Complements are powerful, we know we can use them to neutralize color by mixing, and to enhance color by laying them side by side.  This illusion from the workshop is a great reminder. 


Sunday, June 30, 2019

"Lunch Date" oil 12 x 16 - spring date along the water

This month's challenge for Girls Just Wanna Paint is "Maine".  I spend two weeks each summer in Maine on Monhegan Island, and have been  going to Midcoast Maine near Pemaquid for decades.  The Maine coastal air has a beautiful crisp quality and sparkle.  I decided to paint my take on  Maine diner, which could be in any one of a number of coastal towns overlooking the local harbor.  You can see the process photos below.  My intention was to show the conversation  of this couple inside, with the active harbor beyond the 

windows in the bright of day.  My initial design had two women, one younger, one older, having lunch, but I changed it to a man and woman having lunch.  I liked the  contrast of the interior against the general boat shapes and sky outside.  Eventually I glazed everything inside with a warm to unify the interior.  I moved a few things around, lowering the lantern to break the line of the beam, and removing one of the dock posts outside, which was interfering with the intimacy of

the conversation between the dating couple by obscuring the interesting profile of her face.  
As always, thanks for looking and for your interest.  You know I love your comments.