What do you collect?

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“Hidden Garden”, pastel 8×10

New Englanders are collectors. We collect books, art, and sea glass. The winters can be long on Cape Cod, and when summer arrives many homeowners are quite diligent about creating beautiful gardens.

This summer I was a plein air artist in one of the gardens on the Orleans Improvement Association Garden Tour. The completed garden painting was displayed and quickly went to a new home of a collector from the Addison Art Gallery who said that the painting made her feel happy.

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“Cottage Garden”, pastel, 11×14

The homeowner of the garden then commissioned a painting of the hillside garden in the back of the home. The flowers to be included were coreopsis, phlox, scabiosa, and distant rhododendrons. This involved meeting about composition, color placement, and the vision of the finished painting.  It is always a different experience to interpret another person’s ideas in a painting. But, it is rewarding to hear the words “I am delighted!”

When the hillside flowers are dormant during winter, the pastel painting will be a reminder of the coming of summer flowers on the hillside garden on Cape Cod.  Addison Art Gallery invites us to the fun of collecting: “Original art can take one to another place, bring back memories of a cherished place or experience, foster peace, and joy.”

And thinking about collecting: What do you collect?

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Japanese Iris Garden

Iris Garden Entry, pastel, 11 x 16

 

The Japanese Iris at the entryway of the Cape Cod Art Association caught my eye on a June afternoon for plein air painting. I loved the deep blues and purples against the many greens. The garden scene was fairly complex with bouganvillea, lilac, and azalea combined with the light and shadow patterns of the weathered shingled wall. There were areas of bright sunlight and deep shadow by the entrance. I am focusing on painting stronger light and shadow and this was a good opportunity for this. I omitted the sculptures on the right and cropped the trellis at the top for emphasis and composition.

Painting notes: Uart #400 Pastel Paper; Pastels – NuPastels, Rembrandt, Terry Ludwig, Unison, and Conte and Carbotello Pastel Pencils. Underpainting of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol.  (See underpainting below:)

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Photo of Iris Garden Entry

On a Mission

 Capistrano Courtyard, watercolor, 12x16

Capistrano Courtyard, watercolor, 12×16

I had been working on a watercolor of Mission San Juan Capistrano this week. It has been some time since doing a project in watercolor other than demonstrations in techniques for my class. I didn’t realize how timely the subject was until hearing the news today that Pope Francis announced that Father Serra who founded the California Mission in San Juan Capistrano in the 1770’s would be made a saint. I won’t get into the politics surrounding the missions or the Church here. But, there is little debate about the beauty of the courtyard garden within the old mission walls.

The watercolor is based on a reference photo which I used to sketch onto a watercolor block of  Arches 140#. Then I first added the shadow walls that surrounds the arches with a dark mix of cobalt blue and burnt umber.  To that mixture I sprinkled Kosher salt to add texture and let it dry. Other watercolors were Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Coral,  Cobalt Blue, and Sap Green in either Winsor Newton or Daniel Smith brands.

It was a good change to work on a watercolor project of Mission San Juan Capistrano.  If you ever get a chance to visit the mission, I recommend it.