Tuesday, January 31, 2017

COLLAGE - THIRTY PAINTINGS IN THIRTY DAYS


Wow!  I did it!

First, many thanks to Leslie Saeta for hosting this challenge.  She really is an Artist Helping Artists! 

My approach to the Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge was a personal one - mainly just wanted to see if I could do it.  Having a theme was helpful and trying to keep a day ahead proved to be a good thing. I feel strides were made in self -discipline.  Looking at it as play kept most of the stress out of the studio. Other goals were to speed up, concentrate more on brushstrokes, and  get bolder with color. 

Designing this collage is the perfect finale for the challenge!  I can hardly believe all this was accomplished in Thirty Days by the self-proclaimed slowest painter in South Florida!  I'm giving myself a "Wow"! 

A  note of thanks to those who regularly visited my blog and Face Book and left encouraging and supportive comments.  Your positive energy really did  keep me going!

Stop by Leslie's 30 in 30 blog to see more of the artists collages.

Monday, January 30, 2017

RED LETTER DAY

   
                                   10" x 8" Oil on Canvas

Day THIRTY - 30 in 30 Challenge

This really is a red letter day for me!  I did it!!  Went to the studio every day for 30 days and finished (or nearly finished) a painting!  The slowest painter in the state of Florida certainly sped up!  This has been fun and at times stressful, but when I look around me at the paintings, I'm smiling!  Thanks to Leslie Saeta for once again hosting this challenge.  Over 1,000 artists signed on  all over the world, and it will be interesting to see how many made it to the end!  Leslie painted very large  beautiful abstract pieces  every day and  If you haven't checked out her paintings and  that of the  others participating in the challenge, please do so!  This is where our paintings have been posted at the end of every day.

Day 30 has another meaning for me.  Our wedding anniversary is  April 30 - so  "Day 30" is certainly a RED LETTER DAY. 

 My sincere thanks to all of you who took time to read my musings on the blog each day and often left comments on the blog and on Face book.  I appreciate all of you so very much.  Beginning tomorrow, I shall have time to visit your blogs and see what each of you are posting.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

TOWARD THE LIGHT

                                6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel

Day Twenty Nine - 30 in 30 Challenge

Kayaking is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle.  A kayak is a low-to-the-water canoe-like boat in which the paddler sits facing forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle to pull front-to-back on one side and then the other in rotation.  This sport is very popular here in Port Charlotte.

This painting started out as another misty swampscape but lacked interest.  Hopefully by darkening the lower portion of the canvas and placing a lone kayaker paddling toward the light, it now has the spark it needed.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

COLOR PLAY

                              12" x 16" Oil on Canvas Panel

Day Twenty-Eight, 30 in 30 Challenge

Day thirty is growing near and I haven't toyed nearly as much with color as intended.   Knowing this would be a short studio day, I set my palette last night with hues I thought would vibrate in a seascape.  Starting with pinks at the top and working down from there, was easy going until  I reached the water. Oh My!    The  "vision" was  a heavy background mist and birds diving  for food  making delightful splashes doing so.  No time for birds, but I shall add them later after the paint has dried. Will post sometime next month.   Didn't leave much room for the foreground sand so had to keep it fairly simple.   Just couldn't handle those small brushes again today! Was liberating getting back to larger brushes on a slightly bigger surface  and actually "playing" with color!

Friday, January 27, 2017

THE MAGNIFICENT CONCH

                                  6" x 6" Oil on Canvas

Day Twenty-Seven, 30 in 30 Challenge

The Conch Republic (Rep├║blica de la Concha) is a micro-nation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida, from the United States on April 23, 1982. It has been maintained as a tourism booster for the city since.   Now the term "Conch Republic" has been expanded to refer to "all of the Florida Keys.  Key West is the nation's capital and all territories north of Key West are referred to as 'The Northern Territories'."

If you are not familiar with the history as to how the Conch Republic came to be, please take time to look into it.  The republic celebrates its own independence day and maintains its own army, navy and air force.  Check it out!  Will put a smile on your face.

One of my first workshop instructors told me when I could paint a conch shell, I would be ready to do a portrait since the colors and tones in this magnificent shell are the same as those  found in Caucasian skin.  So,  to paint this shell, Gamblin's Caucasian Flesh color was used as were the John Howard Sanden Series II Flesh Colors.  Sure made it go faster as a one day project!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

LET'S BOOGIE

                                  6" x 6" Oil on Canvas

Day Twenty Six, 30 in 30 Challenge

One more day at the beach!  I chose the Florida theme because water and sand are favorite subjects.  Seems maybe I'm carrying it a bit far!

This was a short studio day.  LET'S BOOGIE was started before and reworked for this challenge.  Still needed more time  but I'm pleased with the message it conveys in so small a space.

  Only four more days  and I still haven't painted a boat, shells, a pink flamingo or flip-flops!  Will get an early start tomorrow...but don't be surprised if I'm still at the beach and don't expect a flamingo!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

SAFE OR OUT?

                                   7" x 5" Oil on Canvas

Day Twenty-Five, 30 in 30 Challenge
 In professional sports, Florida has three National Football League teams and two Major League Baseball teams.   Florida is the traditional home for Major League Baseball spring training with teams informally organized into the "Grapefruit League."  Here in Port Charlotte, we proudly host the Tampa Bay Rays.

With our never ending enjoyment of the sport, one can hardly mention our state this time of year without thinking "baseball" (and clogged highways)!  Therefore, in keeping with my theme, here is my baseball post.  Meet Jake, my model and an outstanding  athlete regardless of the sport. Way to go, Jake!



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

THE ROMANTIC RED HIBISCUS

                                   6" x 6" Oil on Canvas

Day Twenty-Four, 30 in 30 Challenge

Hibiscus flowers are grown for their showy flowers and used as landscape shrubs where they attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.  These  hardy perennials bloom throughout the year in a variety of colors.   This lovely flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls.  If worn behind the left ear the woman is married or in a relationship.  If the flower is worn on the right, she is single or openly available for a relationship.  The hibiscus is Hawaii's state flower, and is the national flower of Haiti.

I doubt there is a single home in our neighborhood without at least one hibiscus shrub  or mini-tree somewhere on their lawn or in their lanai.

This red subject was chosen as a personal challenge as reds are difficult hues for me.  I would have liked the mid tones to have been brighter and the highlights lighter, but for a one day project, I'm satisfied.

Monday, January 23, 2017

GREAT BLUE HERON - REVISITED

                               7" x 5" Oil on Wood Panel

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

ANOTHER FLORIDA KITTY

 
                              5" x 5" Oil on Canvas board

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

FLORIDA KITTY

                               5" x 5" Oil on Canvas Board

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

ROUGH STUDY - FLORIDA PANTHER

           

                                  6" x 6" Oil on Canvas

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

PALM STUDY

                                    6" x 6" Oil on Canvas

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

LATE AFTERNOON - OKALOACOOCHEE SLOUGH

                                12" x 8" Oil on Canvas

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

RETIRED IN OKEECHOBEE

                              5' x 7 Oil on Wood Panel

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

FLORIDA ORANGES

                                   6" X 6" Oil on Canvas

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

SEA TREASURE

                                      6"x 6" Oil on Canvas

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

RAREST FLORIDA FISH

                                 8" x 10" Oil on Canvas Board
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

WITHLACOOCHIE DAWN


                           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

MULLET WATCHER

                                                                   
                                   7" X 5" Oil on Canvas

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

Day Eleven - 30 in 30 Challenge

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

SEA OATS



                                     6" x 9" Oil on Canvas
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

PELICAN'S PERCH

                                     10" X 7" Oil on Canvas

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.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

MORNING DUNES


5" X 5" Oil on Canvas
Day Eight - 30 in 30 Challenge

Looks like I’m still on the beach!  Well, maybe not today - was 38 degrees this morning here in Port Charlotte - sunny, beautiful and cold!

Thought it would be fun to play with atmosphere and mood.   This one has some small sea oats - maybe tomorrow I will not be quite so timid  and will try a few  larger ones.  Not ready to leave the beach yet!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

DUNES STUDY





5" x 5" Oil on Canvas 
Day Seven - 30 in 30 Challenge

Another short day in the studio. Weekend catch-up. I'm really enjoying painting dunes! Going to continue with this theme tomorrow. It's all about the light and shadow. Florida's coastline spans over 1260 miles. Only Alaska has more coastline. Our beaches and dunes are subject to change from wind, wave, tides and storms. Vegetation is important to a healthy dune system. It stabilizes sand and provides a place to live for coastal animals. With more time, sea oats would have been included.

RANDY HIGBEE GALLERY - 6" X 6" SHOW





The 6 x 6 Show is coming to a close.   Thanks to Randy Higbee for another fantastic showing of really impressive works!  I am again  honored to have TIME OUT displayed along with the works of so many artists I admire. For anyone in the area, please don’t let this closing celebration  pass you by!  You can see TIME OUT here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

NO BOUNDARIES



                                    7" x 5" Oil on Canvas
Day Six - 30 in 30 Challenge

Today was a very busy day with the least time yet for daily  painting.  However, the show must go on - or something like that - and since I want to do a few more beachscapes,  thought I would attempt a small one and (try to) use the palette knife.  Am I a palette knife artist?  NO!  Later this year I hope to take one of Leslie Saeta’s on line palette knife workshops since the textures one gets with the knife cannot be duplicated with a brush - at least not easily.  Wish the photo showed better the old  posts and some of the grasses where the knife was used and the “marks and scrapes” left alone!  Guess that’s a start!!

NO BOUNDARIES came from a sketch in an older sketchbook that I’ve enjoyed looking through again.  Didn’t spend a lot of time - wanted to photograph it before dark and it’s totally overcast this evening - dark came early!  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

VIEW FROM THE THIRD FLOOR







6" x 14" Oil on wood panel

Day 5 - 30 in 30 Challenge

Today would have been a super day to have actually gone to the beach - sunny, cool and perfect for sea and sand!  Alas, my beach visit was here in the studio but was still fun.  Had forgotten how much I enjoy trying to capture breaking waves in oil paint!  Needed another day for this one but got everything in but the birds - and not sure it needs birds as it’s pretty busy already.  Am I “pushing color” yet?  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED

                         7" X 5" Oil on Varnished  Foam Core
Day 4 - 30 in 30 Challenge

Didn't make it to the beach today - but maybe this path will lead there?

Once in an art magazine, maybe THE ARTIST'S MAGAZINE, I read about painting with oil on varnished foam core. If I clipped the article, it's hiding somewhere. Anyway, some left over scraps cut into small sizes have been varnished and waiting for a day to try them since I enjoy painting on smooth surfaces. Today was the day! Can't say I "love" it but definitely like it. Probably larger pieces would warp. I may try up to 12" x 12" when the mood again strikes.

This piece continued basically the same palette but with a paler blue sky. The base for the peachy sky and sand colors is Gamblin's Caucasian Flesh Tone. Grabbed two new greens I hadn't tried before - Gamblin Cadmium Chartreuse and Gamblin Olive Green.

So far, loving this challenge - trying new surfaces, new hues and new brushes!



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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

FLORIDA GATOR

                                6" x 12" Oil on Wood Panel
Day 3 - 30 in 30 Challenge

Day three’s painting was inspired by yesterday’s Outback  Bowl Football Game!!  What an exciting game and our Florida Gators won!  Yea!

After yesterday’s posting,  using the same design and palette I painted a background to start this one. Background  didn’t work at all - so - had to pretty much start from scratch!  I enjoyed painting this monster and would really like to  do a gator on a large canvas - maybe a 24” x 36”....was too difficult working with the small brushes on this one.  

Probably   using this palette  for one more tomorrow - ready to paint the beach!

Monday, January 2, 2017

FUNNY TREE - FUN FOR ME

12" x 6" Oil on Canvas
30 in 30 Challenge - Day 2

Was in the studio and painting by 8:30 this morning!  See, this challenge is already proving good for me!  

Yesterday after stopping work (notice I didn’t say “finishing”) on LATE DAY FISHING, I continued with the same palette and background preparing for today piece.  The tall palm is basically a repeat of yesterday’s to create a frame for today’s attempt.  Having no idea what would happen - but knowing there would be time to start over, I took a deep breath and squeezed a line of burnt umber where hopefully a cabbage palm would grow.  Trying to keep it narrow, I spread the  thick paint with a  palette knife - and then - taking another deep breath, picked up a watercolor brush with the angled handle.  It’s fascinating watching watercolor artists use the handle to create  texture, veins in leaves, etc.  Time to give it a try! So scrape away I did!!  It worked!  Kinda!  For the fronds the brush handle was again used as was a flat sharp-edge brush.

This was actually fun - and I am eager to try the same technique again!  Maybe with thicker paint and more variation in the color…

For me this challenge is about trying  ideas and subjects which have been on the back burner a long time. Tomorrow will stay  with the same palette/background and will try for an alligator!  



Sunday, January 1, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

             Late Day Fishing (study) 16" x 20" - Oil on Canvas

Confession time - I’ve lost my mind - crazy - wacky - what was I thinking?  Have signed on for Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 Challenge Oh My Goodness!

Will go on record here as having always wanted my posts to the blog to be the best I can do. Pieces I’m proud to share.  Not for this challenge!  These will be whatever is finished in the day’s allotted time! I may include the word “study” indicating it could get more attention later or, if it’s working, maybe will do  a larger piece.  

Actually I’m excited!  My theme for these 30 paintings is BEAUTIFUL BOUNTIFUL FLORIDA - covers lots of territory, right?  Well - no snow or mountains - but a plethora of subject matter without wandering far from home.

My reasons for committing to this challenge are (1) paint every day (2) try and paint faster - I am the slowest painter in the state of Florida!  (3) boldly push color (4) concentrate more on edges (5) make every brush stroke expressive (6) have fun!  

Today’s painting came from looking through old sketchbooks. This piece was designed for a paint-along class I taught a number of years ago!  So, yes - I had painted it before but had no doubt sold, given away or painted over whatever was done with the class!  So - thought this would go fast - Wrong!   Lesson learned today? - paint smaller tomorrow!!  

Oh, I am so out of my comfort zone!