My ’53 Chevy

My recent painting commission was to paint the scene of an autumn wedding which took place in a barn in the hills of Northern California. I was given a few candid photos of the event, but decided to begin the pastel on location. The hills were still green from recent rains, despite my need to be accurate with the dry grass of October.

IMG_3601

Plein Air Start

My clients wished to have certain items included in the painting: the two barns, a red horse trailer, and a blue ’53 Chevy truck which was used by as the couple in place of a limousine.  Reference photos showed the truck on the right of the large barn at the event. I needed to consider the composition of these elements.  It seemed that the red horse trailer and the blue truck would appear as bookends to the two barns if placed this way.  Instead I changed the arrangement, so that the truck was placed on the left, and the driveway would act as a lead in to the barn which was the focal point.

This solution lead me to another issue which was how to accurately depict the Chevy truck without one for visual information.  Fortunately, I was able to purchase one on eBay that was 1/64 scale or the size of a Matchbox car. It was quite useful for drawing the

Truck.jpg

truck as accurately as necessary given the changes made.

Here is the completed painting which I titled “Before the Wedding”.

endbarnptg

“Before the Wedding”, pastel, 12 x 18

Painting in pastels can bring back childhood memories of the sight of a new box of Crayolas or even playing in a pedal car or truck! Also, I hope that the newlyweds find that the painting brings back fond memories of their special day.

Technical Notes:  UArt #400 mounted board.  Pastels by Unison, Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, Rembrandt, and Girault. Conte and Stabilo pastel pencils. Some underpainting with alcohol wash. Color  in this image may differ from actual painting.

Flower Power

lupine-poppies-and-rocks

“Lupine, Poppies, and Rocks”, pastel, 12×16

Despite the stormy January weather, flowers have the power to brighten the dark days of winter. My painting, “Lupine, Poppies, and Rocks” caught the eye of juror, Peggi Kroll-Roberts at the Delicato Winery Show in Manteca, California. It received an honorable mention in the show which is on exhibit January 11 – February 4, 2017.  The artist reception  will be held on February 4th.  What is not to like about art, wine, and appetizers?

Technical notes: Rembrandt, Unison, Terry Ludwig, NuPastels, and Conte pastel pencils on U Art 400 sanded pastel board.  A few photo references  were taken while on a hike at nearby Brushy Peak in Livermore, CA last spring.

 

Lace, Lighthouse, & Links

EaselHighlandLt

Easel at Cape Cod Nat’l Seashore Highland Links, Truro, MA

Wildflowers in the windswept meadow in the rough of the links course by the Highland Light in Truro caught my eye. The Highland Links dates to 1892. Several artists were painting Cape Cod’s oldest lighthouse which dates to 1857 for the Light on Truro painting event. I chose to focus my attention on the natural beauty of the Cape Cod National Seashore, rather than the architecture of the lighthouse. A sliver of the blue ocean beyond the trees balanced the blue of wild chickory and Queen Anne’s Lace in the foreground. This scene beside the Highland Historical Museum is a reminder of a bygone era when the building was a turn of the century resort hotel on the Outer Cape.

I had a clear vision of the image that I wanted to capture in my painting. Soon I felt I had enough information to sign and frame the piece for an exhibit that afternoon at the Truro Library by the Addison Art Gallery called “Light On Truro”. The exhibit celebrates the Centennial of the National Parks and “Found Our Park!” which features art inspired by the Cape Cod National Seashore. “Queen Anne’s View” is available through the Addison Art Gallery.

QueenAnneView

Queen Anne’s View, pastel, 12×16

Technical Notes: Sennelier LaCarte pastel card with a variety of pastels by Rembrandt, Unison, Terry Ludwig, Girault, Sennelier, and Conte pastel pencil.

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:)

IMG_1014

 

IMG_1010

Photo of Iris Garden Entry

By the Sea

EaselbytheSea

Easel at Mayo Beach for After Hopper in Wellfleet, MA

The Paint Out for  Addison Art Gallery’s “After Hopper” in Wellfleet, MA was last Saturday. The event celebrates the artist Edward Hopper and continues the tradition of plein air painting iconic images of Cape Cod. I chose Mayo Beach and the oil house behind what was once the Mayo’s Beach Lighthouse on Kendrick Avenue. The pink and white beach roses which surround the simple painted brick outbuilding were in full bloom. Artists had the morning to paint and then deliver the finished work to the Wellfleet Public Library for an afternoon reception. This is often called a Quick Draw at other plein air paint outs.

ThumbnailBytheSea

Thumbnail sketch for “By the Sea”

I planned my composition with a quick thumbnail sketch. With only a few hours to work from concept to completion, I thought the simple building that originally held the oil for the lighthouse would make for good painting that could feature the simple beauty of the Cape scene. The race against the clock is helpful to push me to capture the essence of the view and not get caught up in overworking a painting. I used the broken split rail fence that was surrounded by the roses as a directional element to draw the viewer into the focal point.

I finished the pastel, framed it, and delivered it to the Wellfleet library to be hung for the reception to be held from 4 to 6 pm.  Soon I was rewarded for my morning’s work, when a new collector chose “By the Sea” for a gift for his wife. I have memories of a beautiful day by the sea.

ByTheSea

“By the Sea”, pastel, 11×14, private collection

Cape Cod Lavender

“Lavender and Daisies”, pastel, 12×18


The Cape Cod Lavender Farm in Harwich, MA comprises 12 acres of woodland and lavender fields that border a pond. After visiting the farm last year, I began a studio painting based on impressions of the site.
Photo of Cape Cod Lavender Farm

Photo of Cape Cod Lavender Farm


The lavender farm is a place of quiet beauty and wonderful scents of lavender, but it can’t compare to the dense rows of lavender that can be found in Oregon or Provence, France. As an artist, I used my license to add more plants to create a more lush garden. It is worth a visit if you are on Cape Cod.

After Hopper

 Mayo Beach, Wellfleet, MA

Mayo Beach, Wellfleet, MA


Addison Art Gallery is celebrating the artist Edward Hopper (1887-1967) and his legacy on Cape Cod. I am pleased to be an invited artist to create new work inspired by Hopper and the places he painted. In 1933 he painted the front of the Capron House which is known as the Mayo Beach Lightkeeper’s Cottage.
Instead, I chose the more relaxed back door view which overlooks the beach and bay of Wellfleet Harbor.
Mayo Beach House, pastel, 12x16

Mayo Beach House, pastel, 12×16


The painting will be displayed at Truro Vineyards, Truro, MA on July 16, 2015 in an “After Hopper” event of the Addison Art Gallery.
Technical notes: Ampersand pastel board with various pastels including Nu Pastel, Rembrandt, Unison, Terry Ludwing, and pastel pencils.

Cape Cod Summer

As the days of summer are getting shorter, I look over my plein air paintings of Cape Cod. I remember the feel of soft sand at my feet, salty breezes bending the grasses, the fragrance of beach roses, white sails against the blue sky, and the taste of seafood brought to local harbors on fishing boats. I have set up my easel stocked with pastels on sandy beaches in Yarmouthport, Dennis, and Wellfleet; at the end of a dirt lane by a Chatham harbor, and by parking spaces in Rock Harbor, Orleans and the pier at Wellfleet Harbor.

Here are a few of my memories of summer captured in soft pastel.

"Rock Harbor View", pastel, 11x15

“Rock Harbor View”, pastel, 11×15


"Rock Harbor View", pastel, 11x15

“Rock Harbor View”, pastel, 11×15


"Weathered - Stage Harbor", pastel, 11x14

“Weathered – Stage Harbor”, pastel, 11×14


"Summer Breeze', pastel, 11x14

“Summer Breeze’, pastel, 11×14

Wellfleet Plein Air

“Capturing Wellfleet” is a plein air painting event that is sponsored by the Addison Art Gallery and showcased at the Wellfleet Public Library. I was one of 24 artists who painted on locations around Wellfleet which is a town on the Outer Cape of Cape Cod. For an artist, Wellfleet combines beautiful landscapes of its protected harbor and quality art galleries.
On Friday I set up my French easel near the pier and painted the scene before me as interested passers-by stopped by to watch the progress.

"Capturing Wellfleet",  See top Right

“Capturing Wellfleet”,
See top Right


It was a beautiful day for painting outdoors. The changing tide exposed more sandbars in addition to boats that continued to move provided more than enough challenges to the ever progressing light of day.
"Wellfleet Morning", pastel 11x14

“Wellfleet Morning”, pastel 11×14


Plein air painters need to work quickly to photograph, frame, and ready the work for a show. When the public arrived at the Wellfleet Library for the Saturday night reception the room was filled with art supporters, refreshments, and the music of a jazz piano. The show and plein air demonstrations continues through Aug.1st.
"At the Pier", pastel, 11x14

“At the Pier”, pastel,
11×14


Top right, "At the Pier"

Top right,
“At the Pier”

Why Are Barns Red?

"Old Barn in Spring", pastel, 11 x17

“Old Barn in Spring”, pastel, 11 x17

It is February already! It is the month of Valentine’s Day when we hope someone thinks of us with tokens of love, the color red and flowers. January found me busy with this painting, “Old Barn in Spring.” The focal point of the painting is the red barn. The color of the red barn made me wonder why barns are painted red. They have been called “architectural poppies” that contrast with green grass. According to Catherine Bauer of Colorado and others that have researched the topic, early settlers in America painted huge barns that symbolized great hopes and plans for life in the New World. Farmers began painting barns after the 1700’s with skimmed milk, lime, and red oxide. Linseed oil and often blood was also added to the mixture. Some farmers thought that red painted barns kept them warmer inside in winter.

Red is the color of Valentine hearts. It is also symbolic of a zest for life. In design it is used to attract attention. In this painting I think the solidity and timeless quality of the weathered barn contrasts with the fleeting nature of the delicate pink of the fruit tree in the foreground.

Technical elements of the painting: I first blocked in the scene from a reference photo with pastel and set the under painting with a wash of water. The original scene did not have the pathway and foreground fencing which I added as a compositional element to invite the viewer into the painting. There were several vanishing points due to the various hills which made for a few challenges.

I hope the month of February brings you more symbols of the color red!