Monday, January 23, 2017
Day 23- 30 in 30 Challenge
The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether cruising the coastline with slow wing beats or standing motionless scanning for prey. Sometimes it will wade belly deep making long, deliberate steps. When in flight, the heron tucks in its neck and the long legs trail out behind. A beautiful bird to behold and fortunately here in South Florida there is no shortage of them.
This bird was a joy to paint in 2014 - as a 36" x 24" oil. SILENT SENTINEL was then shown and sold immediately which was bittersweet. It's posted on the blog dated March 18, 2014. One of my all time favorite paintings. This is a small reproduction with a changed background and few details. There is no question, the larger version was more fun to paint (and took weeks) but I'm getting more confident with these little brushes and this one took only one day!
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Day Twenty-Two - 30 in 30 Challenge
Yesterday's painting was relaxing and went much faster than so many of the all-day previous ones. So - couldn't resist one more cat! Thought a white one would be more challenging while offering opportunities to play with subtle colors and tones. Went really fast - three hours tops! (Remember, I'm the slowest painter in Florida!)
Grumbacher MG Underpainting Titanium White oil paint, fast drying and opaque, was introduced to me by Johannes Vloothuis via his on-line workshops (Northlight). It has proven invaluable for painting backgrounds the day or night before for this daily challenge. While acrylic underpaintings speed up the process, with this fast drying alternative I can stay with oil.
So far as keeping with my theme, there are lots and lots of cats in Florida!
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Day Twenty-one - 30 in 30 Challenge
After allowing myself to become so intimidated by yesterday's "big cat", I decided today's choice would be less stressful. I would use a smaller canvas and larger brushes and move away from the beach and palm trees!
Last week we dropped off a donation at the local animal welfare league and I just had to spend a few minutes enjoying the cats on the Kitty Porch. That was all the inspiration needed to plan a few cat paintings. I have many photos on file since I'm constantly shooting pics with my phone.
Not sure if this kitty is realistic or whimsical but he makes me smile!
Friday, January 20, 2017
Day Twenty - 30 in 30 Challenge (2/3 of the way there!)
Knowing today would be a short one in the studio, I should have known better than to take on a panther! Ok, so another palm tree and more water then started on the cat. Oh My Goodness - it did not go well - details this small need a smooth surface - not duck canvas especially working wet into wet!
I am eager to paint a panther on a large canvas - these little ones are making me crazy!
The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida. Only 80 to 100 panthers still remain in Florida, making this one of the most rare and endangered mammals in the world. We humans are the their biggest threat. It's sad to say Florida panthers are killed by cars and trucks, and although it's against the law - hunters also still shoot panthers occasionally.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Day Nineteen - 30 in 30 Challenge
When we think of Florida, images of blue ocean, white sand, and swaying palm trees come to mind. Our warm tropical climate makes it one of the best places in the world for growing palm trees. The selection of palms one can use in landscaping is almost unlimited with about 2500 species from which to choose. Our state tree is the sabal palm (Sabal palmetto) commonly referred to as cabbage palm. If you live in Florida, you have enjoyed "swamp cabbage" but that's another subject for another painting and blog post.
For artists the trunks and fronds are never ending sources for paintings - in different lighting conditions, colors change with the brown fronds picking up hot oranges and soft magentas. Greens vary from blue greens to yellow greens, and purples and lavenders are always there in shadows. Trunk textures and colors vary greatly.
Today was a short studio day and the perfect chance to study yet another palm.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Day Eighteen - 30 in 30 Challenge
The deepest marsh habitats within the Everglades are freshwater sloughs (pronounced SLOOs). Slough waters support many fish and aquatic invertebrates making them important watercourses in South Florida.
The Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest near Felda features native wildlife, hiking & biking trails, campsites & many fishing areas. This makes for a perfect adventure to observe nature and take lots and lots of reference photos. Don't forget to take along a sketchbook!
Today I enjoyed the luxury of uninterrupted hours in the studio so took advantage using a larger canvas. This was started before as a 12" x 12" and just wasn't working. So - Cropped and feel it's a better fit. I work on loose canvas taped to hardboard so cropping isn't a big deal. The canvas is glued to a hardboard support after it's dry. The next two days will be shorter ones - so back to 6" x 6".
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Day Seventeen - 30 in 30 Challenge
This old International Harvester actually retired in Western North Carolina where a number of trips were made to photograph it. So much personality, don't you think? The abandoned one we came upon in Okeechobee was not nearly so interesting nor was it yellow! So - now the NC truck lives in Okeechobee among the palmetto and wild hogs! Romantically realistic? Maybe?
After the fruit, I was ready for a change of pace - this one was totally fun except for using the little brushes!
Monday, January 16, 2017
Day Sixteen - 30 in 30 Challenge
Florida designated the orange as the official state fruit in 2005. Orange juice is the state beverage, and the orange blossom is Florida's state flower. Many of us have citrus trees in our yard and a fresh orange, grapefruit or lemon is just a few steps away from the door.
So, can't have a Florida theme without painting oranges! I started with acrylic and once the canvas was covered, switched to oil. Will tweak after it has some drying time.
I am now going to eat this poor orange - it has been a patient model today!
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Day Fifteen - 30 in 30 Challenge
There’s more to the beach than surf and sand. Shells, colored glass, sea beans, eggs and all sorts of natural treasures await your discovery on Florida’s beaches. No two beaches are the same, nor does any one beach have the same selection of shells from day to day. Fortunately most beaches do not allow the taking of live shells, including sand dollars. Shelling, one of the least expensive hobbies available, has the attention of my young subject who is probably looking for a shark's tooth!
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Day Fourteen - 30 in 30 Challenge
Folks in Florida like to fish and some come to visit for that reason only. With the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, we have hundreds of miles of beaches. In between there are numerous lakes and rivers.
Florida offers salt flat fishing, backwater fishing, back yard fishing, deep sea fishing and even limited fresh water fishing. The natives will tell you, " if you toss a line into the water something will bite!" (Not always my experience I assure you!)...
No way could I have a Florida theme and not paint a fish! Well, I didn't paint just any common fish, I painted the rarest of all - The Rosemary Fish! Oh my goodness! he wanted to belong to the redfish family but they rejected him! First attempt ever at gills and scales...definitely need more than one day.
Friday, January 13, 2017
12" X 12" Oil on Canvas Board
Day Thirteen - 30 in 30 Challenge
Barely made this one! Had to work on a painting for an upcoming show and the challenge painting got a short day!
Working from photos and memories from many days spent in the Brooksville, Istachatta and Floral City areas riding dirt bikes, canoeing, bicycling the trail enjoying every single day and evening, I attempted to paint the misty river. Creating this painting is a reminder that it's time to return to the adventures and serene beauty of the Withlacoochee.
Withlacoochee is an Indian word meaning "crooked river" which accurately describes the river as it makes its 70-mile journey from the Green Swamp in northern Polk County to the Gulf of Mexico at Yankeetown.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Day Twelve - 30 in 30 Challenge
I suppose cats don't fear water - I know they are good swimmers but most don't like being in water.
Our neighbor's cat may not want to get into the water but he really enjoys his morning walks along our seawall and doesn't hesitate to sit and watch if there's activity in the canal. Thus the inspiration for MULLET WATCHER.
Since mullet are found throughout the state in coastal rivers, tidal creeks, bays, estuaries and along sandy beaches, Floridians are familiar with them. They swim in large schools and are frequent jumpers. Why do they jump? While the jury is still out, there are a number of theories . I'm just happy they leap because it drives our northern visitors crazy and they can't grab a pole fast enough!
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
6" x 6" Oil on Canvas
Pondering aloud what would be an interesting next subject for the challenge painting while watching seagulls flying overhead, my husband suggested, “seagulls should be fast and easy”. I admit it sounded like fun and we do see lots of them so why not?
This one did not go fast nor was it easy! So was I “GULL-ible”? Yes, I was! However I did enjoy trying to work out the sizes, shapes and placement on so small a surface and think this would be an excellent subject for a much larger canvas with even more birds.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Day Ten - 30 in 30 Challenge
Painting sea oats proved to be a challenge within this challenge. Was so aggravating when they didn’t cooperate and grow out of the dunes in yesterday’s painting. Not too difficult to work on dry paint but wet into wet can present problems, at least for me. However, just couldn’t let the oats win this battle - so back to the beach today to conquer the grasses! Feels good when it finally works!
Monday, January 9, 2017
Day Nine- 30 in 30 Challenge
This painting was started today with every intention of painting sea oats. I tried. Wiped them out twice before running out of time and patience. After our monthly art critique session this morning, I couldn’t wait to get started this afternoon and did enjoy painting the old post with it’s evidence of pelican visits. Guess it’s time to leave the dunes. I think I’ve had enough sand - but my theme is Florida so no doubt there will be more trips to beaches this month.