Tuesday, April 25, 2017

     It is interesting, I am working hard right now to get my paintings done for the  national Nature and Wildlife show as I have said before.  Since they are charging the same entry fee for one or three paintings,  I feel that three is definitely the way to go.  BUT they must be very good or they will not be accepted.  So one's efforts must be toward QUALITY not quantity per se.  As I said before, I consider my horse painting done, yet I continue to tweak it here and there.  I will wait to varnish it until right before I submit the photos to the show.  That way, should I decide to tweak it some more it is easy to do so.

     In my latest tweak, I was doing more highlighting of the largest horse to make it stand out from the others.  I began thinking about the "disappearing lines" that are so important in fine art.  That is one thing I don't always remember to do, unfortunately.  And this is one of those times.  I want the largest horse, the stallion to look very real and stand out nicely as the focal point of the painting.  I decided to make the back legs "disappear" somewhat into the grass as they would in deep shadow.  I toned them down using the grass color and "lo and behold" the horse jumped off the canvas at that point! It is amazing how it works, simple but SO effective!  I also did a blue wash over the two smallest horses to make them look even further away as well.  The two middle horses stayed pretty much the same with the exception of the first mare.  I made her stomach larger and added a little light on it to emphasize her being with foal.  Now the viewer can decide for themselves if she is looking back at the stallion or at her "baby".   A nice touch I think.  I am so glad I have the time to study it and make these last minute changes.  They will make a big difference in the long run, I feel.  I once again have a picture below.  I had forgotten to post a picture of it in the frame, so this one is framed.

     I am now working daily on my second painting.  It is another marsh scene, but I am adding a LOT
of detail to this painting.  The setting is late afternoon when the sun is low and giving the scene that golden glow we sometimes see in nature.  I love that time of day and hope to capture it here. The last photo I posted was just a "rough in" or in preliminary stages.  But you can tell that the focal point will be the lower right side.  I have added in Sabal palms, the state tree of Florida.  I am working on the foliage of the trees now.  Of course when painting, we don't work on one spot till finished and move to the next etc.  We work all around the painting and catch things we missed before in one spot, refine another spot, add something elsewhere...always moving. That way we get a feel for the entire scene and how everything relates to the other.  It makes the painting more coherent and makes sure the colors harmonize together.  Below the palm trees I have a great White Egret resting on a dead log and holding out its wings to cool its body.  Every now and then we will see this in nature.  It is an interesting sight.  Also, being a swamp marsh, I have water holes all around.  I like how they give the painting depth.  You will also notice how much brighter the focal area is than the rest of the painting.  This is because of the sun shining on the trees etc, but of course, it's where you want the eye to focus!  All details are sharper here and there is more light here: the eye roams around and then rests here to explore all the little details in the painting!

     As for the third painting, I was going to use a painting I finished a while back.  But I looked at the Art Association schedule and realized that the Spring Members Show is June 2 - July 2, 2017. It features paintings previously done.  So I will enter this painting into that show instead.  So I must now decide what I will do for the third painting.  I have time to paint another, but I have also been commissioned to do a painting that must be finished by July 1st.  I will have to see if I can get everything done in that time frame.  We shall see.  One good thing.  I decided to stick with the September "Featured Artist" show at the beaches instead of the July date.  I just have too much to do to give July due justice with my new teaching job at Community Education starting in June as well as several paintings that must be finished.  Get too many irons in the fire and your work will suffer!

     Ok.  Here is the photo of my horses in the frame and a couple photos of my latest project still unnamed.  I also have a photo of the painting I will enter into the  Spring Member's Show.  As always,  enjoy and Thank you SO Much for looking!!!

(with precious large)
24 x 36

This is the photo I showed you of the preliminary painting.  It has few details.  I have simply placed the major pieces into the puzzle as it were.

Here, you can see I have worked all around the painting.  I refined the clouds, worked on the large group of grasses and the swamp in the foreground.  I have also added and begun highlighting the three main palm trees.  If you look closely, you can see the bird roughed in on the log.  Notice the water puddles?

Here, you can see the grass is much more refined. Individual grasses are seen and the log is gaining more detail as is the bird.  The dead fronds of the trees are getting details and I especially like the light on the bushes behind the trees.  It still has a long way to go, but it is definitely taking shape!

16 X 20
       This is my entry into the Spring Members Show for June at the St. Augustine Art Association

Friday, April 21, 2017

     I said I was finished, but I decided to do some more highlighting on my horse painting.  In the process I decided that the rock between the horses was distracting so I removed it completely.  Then I didn't like the light blue grass on the bottom right.  So...I turned it into more rock and just added flowers creeping in and around the rock.  I like it MUCH better now!  And I am declaring it officially finished.  FINALLY!  The picture is below.

     I received a phone call this morning from the St. Johns County Community Education.  They asked if I still wanted to teach Acrylics and said they had a slot for the summer.  SO...as of June 13, 2017 I will be teaching a class called Beginner / Intermediate Acrylics.  It is a 6 week course and we hope to draw at least 10 - 20 students!  I am very excited to make this announcement.  It will be nice to work with a large class.  I usually only work one-on-one or small groups because I don't have much room.  I think this will be so much fun AND I have already recruited my first student!  I posted a notice on Instagram and Facebook and within an hour she signed up.  Social media CAN be a great thing if used correctly! I have also gotten commissions through them.

     I am now working on the second painting for the Nature and Wildlife show and moving right along.  The frames are buffed and ready to go and waiting for the canvas.  I have to get the really good photos yet but that is coming soon!  So, one more time, here is the FINAL showing of my horses.

(with precious cargo)
24 x 36

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

     Except for a few minor touch-ups, it is finally finished.  Yea!!  this painting has taken me over a month to do.  I wanted it to be special as I love horses and the highlands.  What a better subject than to combine loves?  These are Connemara horses as I mentioned before.  They are from Ireland, are a very sturdy breed of horse, and are usually white.  So this painting is the Irish Highlands.  They can be very stormy and brooding.  Hopefully I captured that feeling here.  The clearing storm has made the grass very green as it can be in Ireland.  The stallion has stopped and is looking out toward that green grass as he recognizes that he is finally home.  The mare with her head turned back is waiting for him to continue.  She is his lead mare and is about ready to foal.  What a poignant story to tell.  At least I hope you see the story here, and are moved by it.  BTW, this is a night scene.  After thinking about it for some time,  I have decided to name it "HOME TO THE HIGHLANDS".

     Speaking about names...they can be very important to a painting!  We all are seeking to tell a story when we paint.  The name can get the viewer involved in that story if it is a good name.  A poor or average name can leave them uninterested.  So, take some time as you paint to come up with a good name!!

     I have also started another painting for the "Nature and Wildlife" show.  The entry fee is $45 for 1-3 paintings.  So might as well do three right?  We have to take pictures and submit the photos.  They decide from the photos which paintings will be allowed or "juried" into the show.  Photos are difficult to get just right but you see how important they can be.  The actual judging of the art will be done once all the paintings that are "juried" in are hung at the Art Association.  With people competing from all over the United States and other countries as well, you begin to see what a privilege it is just to be "juried" in! To win one of the prizes is an outstanding honor!  I believe that approximately 100 paintings and sculptures make it in and there are eight prizes.  Amazing!

     Last year I submitted three and one made it in. You can now see why I was so excited.  Hopefully this year at least one of my three will make it in.  I would be ecstatic if two made it in!  It has happened, but not often apparently.  The gentleman who won last year had two paintings in the competition.  He is an outstanding artist from Russia.  I am not in his class of ability but I will continue to work and improve and who knows, maybe one day, right?  For now, I am happy to get in and maybe win one of the lower prizes.  The more your work is seen the better off you are and thus more likely to be accepted into a gallery.

     One more thing.  When you submit a painting into a competition it is imperative that it be framed in a very high quality frame!  It is so important that the frame can be the deciding factor in your painting being accepted or not.  It may sound funny but believe me, it is not.  If they are down to having room for one more painting and they like two,  the frame can definitely be the deciding factor!  I have been told this by judges!

     Ok,  I have talked enough.  Below are two pictures of my painting and yes it has a very nice frame.  I was fortunate to have found it at a shop for a great price due to a small nick.  I fixed the nick and now have the great frame I needed at a reasonable price.  They can cost hundreds of dollars! It is gold, but I am going to get a bronzing rub and darken it somewhat as my painting is very dark and the gold is too bright I think.

     BTW, the deadline for the submissions is June 5th, so I have plenty of time to finish the second painting.  I chose the canvas I am using for it because it is a special size I had made to fit another nice frame I had.  I haven't decided yet which one I will submit for the third.  I do have one in mind though, and even though it has people in it, it is a landscape.

    So for now enjoy the paintings and of course, Thanks for looking!

This is how the painting looked when I started working on it the second time. (after the month or so)
The first thing I did was remove the "ditch".  I had liked it but realized that it drew the eye too much so it had to go, so I filled it in with rock and proceeded from there.

24 X 36

     I still think I have a few things to do to this painting.  I will add more grass among the rocks and bring up the rock highlights here and there, but over all I think I am done.  Of course a week down the road and I may do more like take out the rock between the horses.  That is why we take our time!  We always see things later that we miss earlier, so to speak.

This is the second painting I have started.  I am working from a photo I took a year or so ago.  It is just roughed in and needs much more work.  I will post updates as I go along.  I don't have a name yet either but I am already thinking about it.


Monday, April 10, 2017

     As I said before, I am finally back to working on my large painting for the Nature and Wildlife show.  I had set it against the wall out of the way of harm, or so I thought.  When I picked it up and set it on the easel I saw small paint spatters all over the painting!  They were all colors and sizes.  OUCH!  I almost panicked, but took some deep breaths, sat down and studied it.  Apparently I spilled or splashed paint on it while working on other paintings.  It was against the wall, behind the easel!  Big mistake!!  I won't do that again!

     Anyway,  I looked again carefully and moaned.  The splashes weren't huge, but there were many different colors in those clouds and grasses so it was going to be difficult to touch up without it showing  as dots of color that were different!  It took me about an hour of painstaking mixing, dabbing and smoothing in colors to cover the splashes without ruining the work that was there. Lesson learned.

     Next, I studied the painting with "fresh eyes".  I just wasn't happy with the lower right corner.  I liked the rocks but not the "ditch".  It just drew the eye too much and that is NOT what I wanted.  So I decided to make the rocks cover the ditch.  That looked much better! I liked the overall painting so I set about highlighting and finishing the horses.  I brought up the light on the green grass back under the cloud.  I became the "destination" for the horses.  I have the stallion, the biggest horse looking off toward the "destination".  These are Connemara horses, thus all white.  They technically are from the highlands of Ireland and this is the highlands of Scotland.  That's ok by me.  Haha.

     Below I have some photos of the progression of my work.  It is still not finished but I think I will have it done by next week.  I will post the final photo then.  Also, I have photos of other paintings I did last week.  I have several small paintings (about 2") that I glued magnets to the back of to sell at the Art Walk.  I think they will be popular.  I priced them at $5.00 each and some have already sold to friends!  So enjoy and Thanks for looking!

You can see the ditch on the right bottom.  See how the eye keeps going there?  Not good!  You want the eye to follow the horses to the top of the painting!  This is why I changed the design.

I think this works much better, don't you?  The eye now stays on the horses and follows them instead of the ditch!  You naturally move your eyes up to the top of the painting taking in the sights along the way.  Notice how I lightened the grass in the valley at the top to pinpoint the "destination".

Here I have begun highlighting the white horses.  It is pretty much a full moon so they can be fairly light, but I still want to be careful as there is a delicate balance between the light of a full moon and daylight.  I also made the rock between the horses smaller.  I may take it out, but haven't decided yet. The white is not truly white.  It is greyed down with blue-green.  It just looks white next to the other colors.  I will reserve pure white for little touches of highlights at the end.  That is very important to remember.  NO CHALK!

This may look finished, but it is not.  I have more work to do.  I see some dead spots among the rocks on the right and the middle horse is too bright I think.  I also want to work more on the shadows of the horses.  I will play with it for a few more days and then maybe declare it done.  Also, notice how dark the bottom corners are?  That is what you want in a painting like this.

                These are some of the approx. 2" magnet paintings I have done for the Art Walk

8 x 10

8 x 10

8 X 10

8 x 10
Acrylic on board

Saturday, April 1, 2017

     I decided to talk to you this week about different techniques of painting.  I will readily admit that I am not familiar with all the different types of painting.  I was very firm in my decision that I wanted to do realistic painting at a very young age.  In fact, my art teacher got very frustrated with me several times because I had no desire to try different types of art such as sculpting, collage, encaustic, so forth and so on.  She just couldn't understand that I had made up my mind what I wanted to do.  I wasn't interested and that was that.  Hurt my grades though!  Oh, well.  I didn't care.  I knew what I wanted to do and I wanted her to teach me that, and that only.   Any of you like that?  Hopefully I'm not the only one.  Interestingly, I still have no interest in those other types of work.  I enjoy seeing them but don't want to DO them.  Of course, there are more types of painting now than there used to be, maybe that has something to do with it.  I don't know.

     I have the book "ACRYLIC PAINTING FOR DUMMIES".  It is actually quite a good book.  It goes into several different techniques and explains them well so you might want to get a copy for yourself.  It is not expensive and is well written as I said.

     I am still busy painting and building up my supply for the next Art Walk.  I think I am about done though.  I will pick up the large painting for the Nature and Wildlife show again this week.  So look for my progress next week on the blog.  In the meantime, here are my latest paintings.  I post these on Instagram and Facebook for advertising of my work, and I get a lot of responses too!

     BTW, three of the paintings I posted last week have already sold!  That was fast!  That's what we all want right?  Enjoy these newest and as always, Thanks for looking!!

11 x 14

8 x 10

5 x 7

5 x7

5 x 7

5 x 7

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

     Well, I am here taking my turn sitting with the Art Studio at St. Augustine Beach.  I thought I would take the opportunity to show you some pictures of the Studio and the artwork here. There is quite a variety of paintings, jewelry, pottery and stained glass as well as other pieces of art. I have some photos at the bottom.

     As I sit here looking at the different paintings I realize that just because there are REALLY good artists here, it doesn't mean that those of us who aren't as accomplished are any less important.  We all have a place in the art arena.  Everyone has to start somewhere and as long as we keep painting, we keep improving!  So don't ever think "I'm not as good so I should stop and just let the others paint."  That is NOT the way to think, OK?

    On another note, I have a couple of great nephews ages 5 and 9 who on Monday the 27th, received a small painting from me as a gift.  They didn't have my phone # to thank me so they posted a picture of themselves holding the painting on Facebook with a "thank you".  I was really tickled and it was SO cute to see their smiling young faces. They said they didn't know they had a relative who had a "website" before. Welcome to the modern age!  HaHa.. Their photo is below as well.  It is so cute! I will also add this photo to my portfolio of "satisfied customers".

     I am also busy building up my inventory of small paintings for the Art Walk.  I want to have a good supply on hand for the summer months.  I am typically busier during that time and don't have as much time to paint so I want to get ahead of the game. Hopefully they will sell well and my investment will pay off.  We must always think positive, remember.  Also, it is good to remember that we may particularly enjoy one style of painting such as my "Scenes of St. Augustine" but they may not sell as fast as the "Caribbean" or seashore paintings because they are more complicated and thus more expensive.  So we do more of the ones that sell and then we take time to paint what we love!

   There are quite a few photos so Enjoy and Thanks for looking!

The Art Studio
The Table in the middle is holding my paintings I can show on my turn.

This is the opposite side. The front entrance.  I show this because where you see the two paintings to the right of the  easel is the FEATURED ARTIST area.  It is the first thing you see when you enter.

This is a view of the FEATURED ARTIST area.  Notice how many paintings are displayed here.  The grouping on the left wall are all 8 x 10 size.  the largest is a 30 x 40.  So you can see there is a lot of room.
These are mostly 5 x 7's , a couple 8 x 10's and 8 x 8's.  Notice the small ones?  Those are the small 2x2 magnet paintings.  One of these sold today.  The lady liked the idea of having a painting on her fridge! And I place my business cards there also.

8 x 10
Don't they look happy?

5 x 7

already SOLD!
5 X 7

already SOLD!
5 x 7

8 x 10

8 X 10

11 X 14

11 X 14

This one is already  SOLD!

Monday, March 20, 2017

     I hope you have been enjoying my teaching blogs.  I learned a lot by reading and applying what I read.  It isn't always easy to do and it takes lots of practice, but the results are SO worth it!  When you  paint daily, you can see your artwork improve right before your eyes!  An easy way to see your progress is to set a painting you did a month or even sometimes a week ago next to the one you just finished.  Sometimes the difference is dramatic! And other times it is more subtle.  But, trust me, there IS improvement!  Yes, there will be days of frustration when you feel nothing is going right. But at those times, you can lay down your brush and take a breather.  When you come back you might like it more than you thought, OR, you may see what is wrong and then proceed to fix it! But, NEVER GIVE UP!  Keep painting!

     Right now, I am applying this advice to myself.  I am working on a painting for my sister.  She is seriously ill and has requested a painting. A specific painting.  She wants an ocean sunset with, purples, PEACOCK blues, rose pinks and golds.  Plus she wants birds, dolphins jumping out of the water, sparkles of light on the waves and a palm tree to top it all off!  That is a tall order!  I am doing three.  Hopefully she will like one of them.  Those colors are hard to get together.  The blues dull the pinks, and the purples make it dark!  The peacock blue is the most important to her.  That is her favorite color.  I REALLY want to do this right and I am frustrated so far with my results.  They are ok, but nothing like I want.  So...I keep walking away and going back.  Eventually I hope to be happy with one of them.  I want it to be special to her.  I have a couple photos below of the work in progress. They are NOT finished.  I will also do a third painting so she has good choices.

     I need to get back to the big painting I put aside to do the seascapes for the restaurant.  It has to be ready by June 5th.  They moved up the entry date from July.  Thankfully I had gotten an early start, but it is far from done to my satisfaction.  This is the one for the Nature and Wildlife exhibit.  The one that has to be very detailed.  It is setting by my easel so I don't forget it.  I decided that it will be a painting of the Scottish Highlands with wild Connemara horses returning to their home.  I like it and hope it finishes out as I hope.  Only time will tell.

     I have also finally managed to speak to the lady in charge of the "FEATURED ARTIST" wall at the Beaches Art Studio. I asked to be on the list of featured artists.  She said it is full until September, but that I could most likely have that month.  I submitted a photo and a short bio to her at her request.
I also gave her my website so she could see my work and reassured her that I had enough artwork to fill the space.  It is approximately 15-20 feet long and maybe 9 feet tall.  Remember, we DON'T want to crowd the space with art but we DO want enough art to look complete, not sparsely populated.  One lady had 10-12 large paintings in the space.  It looked nice and full, especially since all were of a similar subject. Another month the artist didn't have enough in my opinion.  It looked sparse to me.  I think there were 6-8 mostly smaller paintings.  It wasn't bad, but I think it could have looked better.  She is a good artist though.  The space definitely needs at least one very large painting.  It is shaped like a J with 3 walls. One about 10'-12' long, one maybe 6' and one 3' long. It is the first thing you see when you enter the Art Studio. So it's a nice place to be featured. They have a Facebook page and website. beachartstudio.com  To know you have the right one... it is THE ART STUDIO and the address is 370 A1A Beach Blvd, St. Augustine Beach, FL

     Since I mentioned a biography.  I have a photo below of an outline I got off another website for a bio. It asks questions that help you decide what to write about yourself.  If you answer them all the bio will be long.  But not all answers are necessary.  It's just a guideline.

     Sorry, I digress.  I did a painting as a "housewarming" gift to the owners of the BACK 40 A1A for asking me to hang my art there.  I think I mentioned that I ended up placing 15 paintings total there.  It opened this past Wednesday, March 15th.  My husband and I were invited to a "soft" opening on Monday the 13th.  A test run for all the new equipment, etc.  The new tea machine wouldn't work right.  So we drank sodas!  But while there, I came up with a cute idea for their gift and went home and painted it right away while it was fresh on my mind.  It was another of the "stacked directional signs" like I painted earlier, but this one had the names of both of their restaurants on it, plus a couple other locations.  I had a beach setting with a nice shell on the beach and a seagull roosting on top of the sign.  Really cute!  THEY LOVED IT!  It pays to thank your sponsors!  The photo is below, so Enjoy and Thanks for looking!

18 X 24
These locations are all real and are in the correct direction from the Back 40 A1A location making it more fun!


                        These next paintings are the ones I am working on for my sister.
This is the first choice.  It is not finished.  The birds and dolphins have not been added yet nor the finishing details.
These are all 11 x 14,  the size she requested

This is the second choice.
Again,  these are not finished yet, but you can get an idea of what the painting will look like.
I haven't started the third choice yet, but I think I will make the sky and water lighter in it.