Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Singer

How many objects have you carried with you throughout your life? This Singer sewing machine has been with me my entire 62 years. My mom made my baby clothes on it; then school clothes, prom dresses, and my wedding dress. She used it for countless curtains, slipcovers, tablecloths and pillow tops. I learned to sew on this machine. After I married, Mom gave me the Singer and I continued sewing for myself and our home. I wish it had an odometer. I'd love to know how many miles it has stitched over the years. I don't sew much anymore. My Singer is tucked in its original sturdy black case. Occasionally I pull it out for a mending job. When I open the case, I'm greeted with the familiar smell of electric motor and fabric lint mixed with a lifetime of memories.

"My Singer", 24"x18", oil on board, Sold

Glads Against the Light

Glads are so showy and exotic. I couldn't resist this combination of bright pink and orange. I gave them a nontraditional twist. Instead of viewing the vase at eye level, the viewer is looking down on the arrangement. The light is coming from behind the flowers which emphasizes the translucent quality of the petals.

"Glads Against the Light", 16"x20", oil on linen

Bluebird Vase

This little guy has been in my studio waiting to be painted for a couple of years. His time has finally come. I painted this cheery composition for The Birds, the Bees, the Flowers and the Trees exhibit at Firefly Trading Company in Cable. It's a homecoming of sorts for the bluebird —  that's where I purchased him.

"Bluebird Vase", 8"x10", oil on linen, Sold

Indian Shoes

My mom had these shoes in her studio. I'm not sure of their history, but a friend told me they were probably made in India. I'm fascinated by their form. This is the second time they have been the subject of one of my paintings.

"Indian Shoes", 9"x12", oil on linen, sold

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pan Fish

We live on a lake in the north woods. Bruce caught these pan fish from our dock. The fish in the foreground is a crappie; the one behind is a bluegill. I tried to capture their iridescent colors and wet surfaces. I was thinking of Chardin's kitchen still life paintings that include fish.

"Pan Fish", 9"x12", oil on linen, sold

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Study in Lime and Aqua

This painting was inspired by one of my favorite color combinations — lime green and aqua blue. It's fun to choose a color scheme and then find objects to match. I was happy with the painterly quality of this painting and plan to do a larger version.

"Study in Lime and Aqua", 6"x8", oil on linen, Sold

Glass with Lemons and Napkin

I continue to explore reflections and the play of light through water and citrus slices. The challenge here was to keep the strong focal point of the light through the lemon slice while making the background a medium value instead of dark. You can compare this to the earlier "Glass with Lime Slice" which has a much darker background. 

"Glass with Lemons and Napkin", 6"x8", sold

Garden Nymph

The plein-air group has been gathering on Monday mornings again this summer. I've joined them a few times. They are good painters and lots of fun. I painted this garden nymph during one of our sessions at Big Brook Greenhouse in Cable. A big thanks goes to owners Scott and Sue for letting us invade their beautiful gardens.

"Garden Nymph", 8"x6", oil on canvas Sold

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pastel Paintings

Periodically I switch from oil paints to pastels. It's a good way to freshen my perspective. With the pastels I work more quickly, focusing on composition and flat areas of color. I like to use black mat board as my surface. I try to avoid smudging my strokes and allow some of the black to show through. It gives the painting a graphic quality I like, similar to a linoleum cut. With this series I decided to try a wide format. I have one of my mom's paintings hanging in the space between the kitchen counter and the overhead cabinets. I enjoy looking at it as I'm working in the kitchen. That space was the inspiration for the proportions of these paintings.

"Apples & Glass Bowl", 8"x18", pastel on board

"Carrots & Tomatoes", 8"x18", pastel on board, Sold

"Peppers & Knife, 8"x18", pastel on board, Sold

"Pots of Primroses", 8"x18", pastel on board

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Composition with Trumpet

I painted this for the "Northern Fanfare" exhibit at the Shell Lake Arts Center in Shell Lake, WI. It's the first time I've included a trumpet in a painting. To continue with the musical theme, I added sheet music and CD's. The pine boughs were a nod to our north woods.

I'm always struck by the number of terms that are common to both music and the visual arts — harmony, composition, rhythm, tone, movement to name a few. In college an art professor told me to "make music" when I painted. All these connections came to mind as I created "Composition with Trumpet".

"Composition with Trumpet", 12"x 16", oil on linen, sold

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bowl of Strawberries

After the dark background in "Tulips & Pewter", I decided to go the opposite direction and paint a high key composition. All the dark values are in the strawberries. I enjoy finding the warm and cool colors in white folds. I like the warm shadow under the fold in the lower right corner. It feels like warm light is traveling through the cloth. This painting is part of the "Small Art with A Big Heart" exhibit at Firefly Trading Company in Cable, May 3 — June 30, 2012.

"Bowl of Strawberries", 8"x 10", oil on linen, Sold

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tulips & Pewter

This is the last painting in my Southpaw Project. I started it with my left hand and finished it with my right. During the first week in March, I got the ok to remove my splint and begin using my right hand. Yeah!

The tulips and pewter reminded me of a traditional Dutch still life. I decided to use a dark background and white drape to strengthen that idea. I've had this coffee pot for a number of years. I like its swirling sculptural form, but have had problems painting it in the past. This time I think I was able to capture it.

"Tulips & Pewter", 12"x 16", oil on linen, sold

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Southpaw Project

2011 ended with a bang when I fell on the ice and broke my right wrist on December 21st. I had surgery on December 28th to patch it back together. My wrist is on the mend, but my right hand has been out of commission for seven weeks and will be for a few more. 

Of course, I'm right-handed and couldn't imagine weeks without painting. I decided to try painting with my left hand. My husband Bruce has dubbed it the "Southpaw Project". It has been a good learning experience. Once I got my studio and easel set up for a single-handed lefty, I discovered it wasn't all that different than painting with my right hand. The most important part of painting is looking. I still deal with all the same issues of composition, values, color, etc. The big difference is that I can't paint details with my left hand. That can be a good thing. It has forced me to concentrate on the big areas of value and color as I paint them with broader brush strokes. I like the direct painterly style of these paintings.

Below are the first five paintings in the Southpaw Project. I have posted them in chronological order. Once my right hand is working, I will sign them. I still haven't figured out how to write with my left hand.

#1  "Hopeful Pomegranates"

I wanted to start with a fairly simple composition, but wasn't sure I could capture the translucent quality of the tissue. I felt encouraged when I was able to achieve that. A palette knife helped me pull out some of the crisp edges of the tissue.

"Hopeful Pomegranates", 8"x10", oil on board, SOLD

#2  "Lemons on Tray"

Next I tried a more complicated set up with reflections.

"Lemons on Tray", 9"x12", oil on linen, Sold

#3  "Jugs and Egg"

I like the color palette of warm browns and the tranquil composition of this painting. However, I realized I was gaining more control with my left hand which meant I was smoothing out brush strokes and refining edges. I was moving away from one of the goals of the project: a painterly technique.

"Jugs and Egg", 12"x9", oil on linen, Sold

#4  "Sugar Bowl and Lemons"

These objects were back lighted by the north window of my studio. North light is cool which means cool highlights and soft warm shadows. I usually light my set up with a warm lamp which results in the opposite effect: warm highlights and hard cool shadows. These brush strokes are more painterly.

"Sugar Bowl and Lemons", 8"x10", oil on linen, Sold

#5  "Colorful Peppers"

Bright colorful peppers are a favorite subject of mine. I tried hard to keep from overworking the painting. I'm happy with the resulting painterly technique. This painting achieves the goals of the project.

"Colorful Peppers", 12"x9", oil on linen, Sold

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Skates with Pom-poms

This seems like a good image to post on a cold January day. I painted this in October. It was commissioned for a friend's birthday. My friend grew up in northern Wisconsin where winter activities for kids revolved around ice skating on outdoor rinks in parks. Getting new skates for Christmas and decking them out with pom-poms was a high point of the season. I used my childhood skates in the set up.

"Skates with Pom-poms", 16"x 20", oil on linen, SOLD

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Glass with Lime Slice

I continue to explore the translucent qualities of slices of limes and lemons. I went for maximum pop by using the dark background. The challenge continues to be capturing the subject with the fewest brush strokes.

"Glass with Lime Slice", 6"x 6", oil on canvas, sold