In Memorium

The Official Portrait of the Unofficial Mayor
The Official Portrait of the Unofficial Mayor – Pastels on paper – 11×14

In honor of “Uncle Phil” Algozzini who passed away recently at the age of 82.  This portrait was done as part of the Hobe Sound Project a few years ago – the exhibit wouldn’t have been complete without him, just as Hobe Sound isn’t complete without him.  His portrait is as colorful as he was.  He was such a supportive person that he claimed he liked this painting, but it scared one of his nieces.  Algozzini’s Hawaiian Shop is on Rt. 1 in Hobe Sound, FL.

Purple Bouganvilla

Bouganvilla
Bouganvilla in vintage vase – pastel on paper

This was a quick study that I did some time ago.  Since I’m working on something else right now, I’m not able to post that painting until it’s finished.  Pastels go through an ugly stage that I don’t share with anyone.  My husband used to pass by my works in progress and think the paintings were horrible, but then would be surprised when he saw the finished product.  He would be seeing the first layer of pastels.  Although all the layers contribute to the final painting, they sort of disappear eventually – or visually mix together.  So the first layer is usually the undertones, the shadows and might not even be the right shape yet. It’s all very scratchy and scrawly.  It’s a different story when using an underpainting though and one of these days, when I have a chance, I’ll post that process.

Hopefully the new painting will have the same energy that this does.  However, there won’t be any bouganvillas in it, but plenty of other flowers.

 

Magnolias!!!!!

Magnolia – 11×14 – pastel on paper

The magnolias are blooming like crazy this year – or more than they have in the past – I tend to exaggerate.  We have two trees in the yard.  One in the front and one in the back.

They are the big trees with the big flowers.  They smell great!  Some magnolia trees in the neighborhood are dwarf trees with the big flower, which is nice because the flowers are lower.  With the big tree it’s hard to even get a good photograph of the blooms because they are so high.  However, once in awhile, if you can catch it at the right moment (the flowers peak on one day and then they’re done!) blooming on a lower branch you’ll be able to at least have a photograph to work from.

Repeating Myself Again

Here is one of my favorite painting spots at Jonathan Dickinson State Park on the bank of the Loxahatchee River.  In the past I’ve seen very large gators here and often there are kayakers going by too.  Not together.

This first plein air is done on an 8×10 panel that I made with a gritty coating to give the surface texture.  It’s done in pastels, pure brilliant pigment – in stick form – better than crayons!

Loxahatchee River
Loxahatchee River – 8×10 Pastel on Textured Panel – the gesso mixture used was also tinted light cadmium red and you can see the surface coming through

Next on the Loxahatchee, same place different day and time, was also a textured panel – much bigger and was done as a class demonstration.  The class wanted to also see how to underpaint so I used some rubbing alcohol over the pastels, which solidified the background.  Then I waited a bit for the painting to dry and finished the pastel on top.

 

Loxahatchee Again - 12x16 Pastel on Panel
Loxahatchee Again – 12×16 Pastel on Panel

Wait, I’m not done – there’s one more for now – this one is same place – of course a different day and time and different paper!  Viewpoint is slightly farther down on the river bank.  This one is my favorite – it too has an underpainting – this time with watercolor.

Banks of Loxahatchee - 9x12 - Pastel on sanded paper
Banks of Loxahatchee – 9×12 – Pastel on sanded paper

The watercolor underpainting is a great tool.  You can get some great darks in without getting too messy and build some beautiful shadow areas.  Also the pink undertone in the sky and water adds luminosity and air.

Looking at all these together like this makes me want to go there again.

I can’t promise that these are all the paintings that I have done or will do of the Loxahatchee River.

Why Paint?

Hobe Sound Rose Hobe Sound Rose – Pastel on paper – no camera involved (except to photograph the painting, that is) – a rose that I grew and a pot that I made.

The inspiration to paint can come from so many places……….. and yet there are some days you say to yourself, why paint?  Sometimes my inspiration is to just improve myself.  Most of the time I’m overwhelmed with ideas and objects that inspire me and then the thought runs through my head that I might be insane.  But that’s a whole nuther topic.

“Drawing as a means of expression is the justification of art over photography.” Andrew Loomis, Creative Illustration, 1947

How cool is that?  We’re still discussing this today in 2012, yet some people have never even been made aware of it.  It bothers me that there are so many people that judge good art by how close to a photograph the painting it is.  Not to mention the hyperrealist or photorealist painters that have the goal of painstakingly reproducing a photograph.  As if the photograph were the standard that paintings had to live up to.

Don’t misunderstand and think that I’m not in favor of photography because I love photography! It seems that over time artistic goals have sometimes become distorted.

Mr. Loomis was directing this to the art student (in the 1940’s!!!) and comparing  original illustration to photography which he said couldn’t provide the expressiveness that the artist could. He doesn’t throw photography out the window but at that time guides the artist to understand they aren’t being replaced by a camera.  Even though we now have the means to be more expressive with digital applications, the camera still can’t produce the surface and line quality nor the atmosphere and character that original art can.

So that is why you paint – to go beyond the photograph with your personal expression of the poetic landscape (or what ever your thing is).  One good reason,  anyway.

Sometimes it seems that things and/or thoughts are presented to you by some unseen spirit and you can’t help but think it must be meaningful.  Kismet.  Destiny.  Some amazing global consciousness!  Why else would all of these things come together at the same time?

Yes, I’m looking for answers and finding the ones that suit me but so are many other people which is validation enough for me.  Because after all, I do need to justify my obsession and insanity.

Riverbend

Riverbend
Riverbend - 8x10 Oil on Panel - Plein Air

Last week I painted this at Riverbend Park in Jupiter, FL.  It was the first time there for me and I was surprised at how big the park actually is.  There were many scenic views to choose from but since my pan head connection (the little foot that connects my palette to the tripod) was nowhere to be found, I had to make use of one of the picnic tables that had the added convenience of a chickee roof.  (The things that are made out of palm fronds.)

When I first arrived there was a man fishing on the river bank and he had all his gear on what I considered prime real estate – the picnic table with the view.  When I asked if we could share the table he was more than happy to accommodate, so problem solved.

However, not long after getting set up and ready to paint there were several more people that joined the painting group I was there with.  They saw me and thought that was the place to be, so we literally moved him completely out.  At first I felt bad, but he seemed to be enjoying the comradery and really, fishing/plein air painting, same thing.

The only down side was that two of the ladies set up in  front of me, sort of obstructing my view, but you win some and you lose some.  In the end, I won this little painting and I managed to get home before it rained!:)

Chorus Line

Chorus Line
Chorus Line, 8x10 Oil on Panel

The practice of setting up a small still life and limiting the time you spend on it has been around for a long time and it’s a practice that I enjoy.  Some of the most inspiring subjects are in the produce department and I find myself there testing the bartlet pears quite often.  Most people might be looking for softness, ripeness, but my tests are: can the pear can stand on it’s own, is it a shapely pear, and of course, how good is the color?

Once they’re home with me, I set them up with dramatic lighting, as if they are on stage!  With this painting my goals were to improve my brush work and to keep the colors light and appealing.

Using a bristle flat brush is greatly improving my brush work since it holds more paint and the marks are showing how luscious the paint is.  The pears were juicy and luscious, so they should be depicted that way.  My palette is a simple rainbow palette that I’ve been using for years but I’ve lightened things up now, reminding myself to stay in the higher value range.

The Soloist - 5x7 oil on panel

This guy needed his portrait painted and didn’t have anything to do with that other group.

Thanks to the sale a Jay Mar, I’m stocked up on canvas now and will be painting more still lifes in the near future.

My collection of thrift store finds will be a future series of paintings and great composition practice.

Feel free to give me feedback or ask any questions in the comments section and thanks for looking!

 

 

Not Hobe Sound

This is the first year in many that I haven’t been able to attend the “Artist Day” or I think it’s currently called “Brush with Nature” day at Adams Ranch in Ft. Pierce, FL. Unfortunately my husband had recent surgery and I’m not comfortable with leaving him for a whole day yet. So, today I’ll post some of my paintings from Adams Ranch, and believe me I have a few. The ranch is a wonderful place to paint and is a working ranch that is just huge (about 50,000 acres) with way more cows than people. My kind of place. Once a year they allow artists to occupy a section of the ranch and the cows watch us paint all day. Entertaining for all of us!

Redbull
Redbull
Settlers House
Settlers House
Grazing
Grazing