Plein Air today

8 x 8 ins, Oil on Linen Panel

I painted this from my front porch this afternoon, an exhilarating experience. It was a crisp, clear, windy December day. My focus was the large maple tree in the middle of the front lawn, and the way the nearly-setting sun was lighting it, although by the time I finished (an hour later) the light had pretty much gone from the tree.

I took a lot of artistic license with the view and completely removed the houses across the street (their complexity and presence did not add to my ideas about the tree), so this is not actually the view from our porch, but my ideas about the tree and the light this afternoon. I loved doing it.

Plein Air in PA III

Oil on canvas panel, 9 x 12 ins

Our third Plein Air class was in the middle of very quiet Amish countryside, near New Wilmington, PA. The three of us stood within in a fairly small area but all chose different views, so came away with three totally different paintings.

I liked these big trees overshadowing the farmhouse buildings, with the big barn a little closer to me. There were numerous Amish buggies coming and going, and horses being used to plow the fields, so almost the only noise was of horses’ hooves. Altogether a very peaceful three hours of painting.

Plein Air in PA II

Oil on canvas board, 9 x 12 ins

For our second 3 hour lesson we went to a rural area and found a pumpkin field. One fascinating aspect of painting outdoors with other people is that we can stand in a small area together and produce totally different paintings!

My choice of view and subject was based on the pumpkins leading up to the white barns, which are silhouetted by the dark trees. I also liked including the distant hills. I had a strong sense of representing the feel of what was in front of me rather than the exact image. To that end I ‘moved’ the pumpkins around quite a bit!

Apple Candles

8 x 10 ins, oil on canvas panel

Every year at Thanksgiving (November) I use cored Red Delicious apples to hold candles for the table decoration. It seems in line with the pioneer spirit and using what is easily to hand.

A few days after Thanksgiving last year I still had these on the table and was sitting contemplating the world when I noticed a beautiful morning light on them that really brought them alive, even without flame in the candles! I quickly took several photos and painted this from one of the photos with my Geneva oil paints.

Ducks

What’s Up, Duck? 8 x 10, oil on canvas panel

When we lived in Bath, England for 8 months in 2006-7, we used to walk past a music supply shop called ‘Duck, Son & Pinker’. Since ‘Duckie’ is sometimes used in England as a term of endearment, my husband thought this was an appropriate title for me, our 4 year old son and baby daughter!

From that time, the name stuck in our (half-British) family too. This male duck (from a photo I took in Holland, MI last year) seems to be talking to his mate with some concern, echoing both a marital communication and the famous line from Bugs Bunny.

Landscape Tutorial II

Beach Scene

Beach Scene, 6 x 8 ins, oil on canvas sheet

This was another tutorial by Paint Coach Chris Fornataro, from his Patreon site. I like the Patreon system; you can find good instruction at whatever level or tier suits you and the artist directly benefits. I’m a ‘patron’ of Paint Coach at the lowest level ($5/month) which lets me see one new video a month. That seems to be plenty for now. Since I became a patron his number of patrons has doubled-so also has his income.

The tutorial was emphasizing the use of thick paint and was a lot of fun to do.

Beach Talk

Oil on Canvas panel, 12 x 16

I loved painting this picture of my husband and grandson. Everything about it felt sunny and happy. I took the photo at the end of a very pleasant week that the grandchildren stayed with us, at the end of which we delivered them back to their parents on this beautiful beach on the shore of Lake Michigan.

My favorite part of the painting is my grandson’s fingers and their shadow. His pose is so characteristic of him, including the way he is concentrating on pushing his foot into the wet sand. I also enjoy the shadows and their part in the composition.

My husband’s Tilley hat features again!

Fleeting Youth

Acrylic, 12 x 16 ins

I painted this using the acrylic glazing method-many very thin layers so that the color gradually builds up. The background and much of the hair was painted with thicker, opaque layers.

She is moving fast, enjoying the bright sunshine and outdoor activity. Just like her movement, her youth will seem to have flown by so fast. One flash and she’ll be grown up!