Last year, one of our neighbors hired this horse and carriage to take their grandchildren for a ride right before Christmas. It was a sight to see when they came down our street, and most of the neighbors came out to gawk. Naturally it was a photo op for me, and I decided to paint it this year for my Christmas card adding a few things...Like snow...and runners on the sleigh.
I wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR! One can only hope and pray that this coming year will bring peace to us, all over this precious planet of ours. I want to thank you for looking at my artwork throughout the year. I definitely feel blessed!
On my many trips to Bedford, I pass such beautiful countryside. This is one of the farms I drove by recently and decided to stop and take some pictures, taking my life in my hands as traffic whizzed by. I wish there was a place to park and do some plein air painting. I could probably drive up and ask permission, but I'm not that brave....yet :-)
A scene from Winter Park, Florida right after Thanksgiving. A very musical sidewalk "Santa".
I hope you are all finished shopping and decorating, and have now moved on to cleaning and preparing your Christmas menus. Whew! Busy time. I'm finally finished with all the wonderful commissions I was asked to do and am in the process of mailing and delivering :-)
Music and art combined to make a very special summer day not too long ago. Artists Pat Dougherty and Megan Davies displayed their African paintings at the Africa House in Lynchburg. On a beautiful Sunday a group of singers performed and I snapped photos like crazy. I finally got around to painting one during a break from the Christmas commissions I am furiously completing. The joy of the music was so evident in their faces, and that was what I was trying to convey in this study.
Bella is the second commission that I am able to post because she went home with her family already. How can anyone resist this old, wise face and her red and white Christmas collar?! A big thank you to Bella's family for the opportunity to paint her.
An adorable commission...One with very large ears and a mask like a bandit. Blossom is the first commission I'm able to post because she was given at Thanksgiving with a companion painting. I have one more I'm able to post and for the rest I have to wait until after Christmas.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now on to Christmas!!
I've been busily doing Holiday commissions and haven't been able to post any of them until after Christmas gift giving, so meanwhile here's an older painting that I have always loved. Our Fall has been less than spectacular this year, but is still always my favorite season.
This has been a wonderful commission season so far this year, and I am so thankful! I've got 9 paintings drying and one on the easel. If you'd like me to paint a commission of your animals, landscapes, etc., please get them to me by Thanksgiving.
Our house faces the west so usually we get wonderful sunsets over lake and don't see much of the sunrise colors. One morning last week though, we had a spectacular, colorful early sky. As soon as I raised the blinds, I rushed to get my little compact easel and tried to capture it in paint. The colors are so fleeting that I was thrilled I was able to get it so quickly. It was gone in an instant...
This is what happens when a certain master photographer isn't able to come and sit for us during our painting session! Having nothing else to paint and being programmed to paint his portrait, I was happy to have his Facebook photo to use as reference. Thank you, Jean, for allowing me to use it. He might be there next time, so I will hopefully have another chance.
Sometimes when I go into my studio to paint and don't have a definite idea of what I'm going to start, I look through my photos and see what appeals to me at that particular time. I think I've said it before, but if I don't have a real interest in the subject, the outcome is not as good as I'd like it to be. This little painting is an example. I like it now a lot, but it took me a while to get into the process. I wasn't sure where I was going with it, kept changing it, and finally decided to leave it as is and look at it again later. When I did, I was happy with it. I've discovered over the years that, for me, I have to have a real passion for the subject and can see the painting even before I put the first stroke on the canvas.
This certainly is a departure for me! My Daughter-In-Law was here and brought this photo of her family's farm. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to try painting it. It is much more involved with lots more people, machines, and structures so I broke it down. My plan is to do it in sections, but this was my first attempt at it. Now that it's done, I'm going to tackle the rest. I don't do machines and have no idea what I'm painting, so I just painted shapes. I actually did that with the people as well. It was extremely hard to see their faces. I just wanted to get their "essence".
My son and Daughter-in-Law are visiting from Singapore this week, so I didn't have much time to paint. A very good reason to take a break! This was a very quick one I did while they were out. A really limited palette. This woman was reading on her float right off her dock. She had it tied on a long rope so the wake from the passing boats didn't send her out into the middle of the lake. When I snapped her photo I told her she was going to become a painting. She said "Oh No!" but did smile. I read that as permission to proceed :-)
Usually it's the person in the back that gets away with not paddling :-) She could blame it on her paddle, I guess. The longer paddle is for our kayak. I'm not sure why we got the shorter paddle. This is what happens when your dock house is a mess and the girls are anxious to get out on the water. Trying to find anything is impossible! It's Fall. Now's the time to start cleaning it out in preparation for next summer.
I generally paint from my photographs, but every now and then my relatives or friends take a picture they think I would be interested in painting. Even using photos, I have to feel that I can give the subject some life...some movement, or I feel my painting has failed. That goes for landscapes as well as figurative work, at least for me. This Italian woman caught my cousin's eye and she thought of me. How lucky I feel to have people on the look out for quirky characters and places for me :-)
Continuing on with my "In Your Face" series, this is the second. This was a challenge due to the bright light hitting the woman's face and the shadows. I painted and wiped it off a few times before I was satisfied with the outcome. My favorite part...Her chin. Everyone keeps reminding me that a few years ago I insisted that I would never do a face because of the difficulty. I pretty much only painted people from the back....
Finally finished, and a good experience. "Getting Your Feet Wet" has two meanings here. My first really big oil painting, and since I've completed this I'm ready for another...and then there's the obvious meaning. Meanwhile I'm working on my series "In Your Face." The most wonderful thing about this thing called painting and creating is what's next. That moment when your mind starts working on the next project. I'm so very thankful :-)
I enjoyed doing this so much, I think I'm going to do a series. I've painted this man before a few times and just keep getting drawn back to his wise and worn face. Is it sadness?...maybe...or just the passage of time. Whatever it is, I keep wanting to get closer. So...Number 1 of my series "In Your Face".
Today is Tallulah's 5th birthday and this is her official portrait, kind of like Queen Elizabeth's official portrait on her milestone birthdays....She would be a very happy dog today, except we had thunder and lightning all night so she (and we) didn't get much sleep. I loved her seahorse shadow on her bed :-) Happy Birthday, Lula!!
Three people fishing in a canoe..an unusual site here at the lake. Most people have very fancy, super fast fishing boats, so it was nice to see people enjoying the peace and quiet. No motors, just the sounds of the water lapping, birds chirping, and occasional fish jumping (usually far enough away that they don't get caught :-) Another moment in time...
An interior view of the lake outside this breakfast room window. Talk about a challenge!! Certainly not a simple scene. As I was painting it, I kept saying to myself: "Is this really necessary?" Anyway, it's done..as much as it can be...and I'm moving on :-)
This is the latest commission I finished and delivered. It's always a good feeling to complete a painting I'm really happy with. They don't always go smoothly, but this one did. I think you get the feeling of the beach and hopefully the joy I had just painting it.
One wonderful artist friend and her lovable companion who was listening intently to make sure we weren't talking about him. Good conversation, fine art... as always at Goose Creek Studio in Bedford, VA.
This is the last in the series of three paintings of Lucy and Cooper (new friends) at the beach. They were heading out to find a new and better place to dig....or happily walking off into the sunset, perhaps to meet again another time or place :-)
I posted a photo of our Sproodle, Tallulah, in her "Obedient Pup" scarf a little while ago. I've been working on a number of commissions lately and needed to just play, so here is her "official portrait" in her ...the only thing I can think of to call it is her babushka. She actually loves it as you can tell from her smile :-)
I'm not usually drawn to a farm tractor scene, but there was something about the light on this one that caught my interest. The colors on the original are more subtle. I tried different lighting about 10 times and this was the most accurate, but still not quite right. Painting is easy...Photographing the artwork is a challenge.
I caught sight of this woman with her trusty dog when we were out on the boat. She was working hard paddling, but her dog had time to take in the surroundings and posed for me :-) This is really just a quick study, but I like it so thought I'd post it. Just a blip in time in our day. It came, it passed, and I recorded it in paint.
Lucy and Cooper once again....This time working hard to fill those pails with sand and, I'm assuming, discussing the day's events; or Cooper is instructing Lucy on the preferred technique of sand play. This photo of the painting is much darker than the original, and the sand is not so yellow. Also, there's a glare...Other than that, it's fine :-)
Another moment in time at the beach. This woman was power walking along the shore. What struck me as unusual was her attire. Very elegant. These little vignettes are my way of recording what I saw and felt at certain moments. Lots of surf, smells of salt water, smells of sun on the sand, and the pounding of the waves on the shore.
Finding a new friend is always a wonderful thing, but especially when it's a summer romance. Lucy and Cooper will probably never see each other again, but there is something special to be said for this moment in time. The interaction, the sharing of pails and shovels (mighty big shovels at that), and two year old conversations, is what it's all about...That "ahhh" moment. In our crazy mixed-up world, a moment like this is heaven.
You can't tell me Sherman doesn't look smart and sassy and he should, too, because he is competing in obedience and winning much praise. Apparently French Bulldogs are not always obedient....and I know they don't always win awards. Only the ones who have incredible trainers (i.e., Brian Hawkins)! Don't you think that red bowtie says it all? What a face!!!
Here is the second in my mini-series of beach vignettes. There were rough seas this particular evening and I caught this woman walking her dog along the surf. If you are interested in purchasing, just hit the Buy It Now link. It will take you to my Etsy page of original oils.
Summer is officially here, so here is the first in a little series of beach vignettes. Finding the perfect spot on the beach and setting up all the things that seemed necessary was always a chore. When I went to the beach as a child, all we brought was a blanket or towel, radio, and suntan lotion...Sometimes, not even that because we all believed that being really red or tan was the goal...
This time of year the sunsets are exquisite, and even more so after a storm. I don't usually try to paint them because I don't seem to be able to capture that beauty. I never do them justice; however, I had to try to capture this one. My friend (and wonderful artist), Suzanne Paddock, came over last week and we played. We mostly discussed color and the process of blocking in. Her suggestions and the time she took were so much appreciated. In this painting, I tried to conjure up everything we talked about. I really like the way this came out. Thank you, Suz!!!
For me, painting is a good way to avoid thinking about the horror that occurred in Orlando. My heart goes out to all those involved. This touches us all.
This is another in my art patron series...This one of a little girl with a huge backpack (and a teddy bear) studying Norman Rockwell's depiction of little Ruby Bridges, a six year old, headed to an all white public school in 1960. She is surrounded by guards and walks with determination and pride. The painting was one of many in the recent Rockwell show at the Taubman Museum in Roanoke, VA. I'd love to say things have changed since the 60's, but have they??
One great thing about living on a lake is that there is never a problem finding a subject to paint. I suppose that is true wherever you live. I'm so in love with the painting process that I am never at a loss for my next project, which makes everyday a great adventure.
This house has attracted my attention every time I pass by it. It sits alone on a large piece of property which I think must have been a working farm at one time. I've thought many times, in different seasons, about painting it. This day the light, atmosphere, and white flowers on the large bush on the side were too much to pass up. Also, I loved the tilted antenna...or clothes line. I thought about leaving it out, but it does work to pull your eye back into the painting. This is one of my favorites :-) If interested, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Desi and Jack, two wild and crazy rescues who have found a wonderful home...Lucky dogs! This was a difficult painting to do because both dogs are so black and blend in together in one mass with two heads. I had to vary the tone and texture to describe what part went with which dog :-) A total learning experience. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks....
We here in Virginia have been having lots of pop up storms mixed with bright sun lately. The weather changes too fast for me to grab my little easel and set it up to record what's going on, so I decided to set up my go-to palette in advance and keep the easel by the window. I'm glad I did. The clouds the other day were awesome, and I got this little study down quickly. I was thinking I would work on it after the initial try, but I'm leaving it alone. I really think it portrays that moment in time.
Smith Mountain Lake is so diverse due to its huge size. We live on the Gills Creek portion of the lake which doesn't have the distant mountains. Actually it does, but one has to stand on the roof of the house to see it :-) This is the Blackwater part which has a totally different feel. I love the ins and outs of the land. The lake has 500 miles of shoreline, so there's plenty of places to paint without repeating too often. The trick here is to sketch your painting in quickly, because the colors and shadows change if you look away for a minute. If interested in purchasing, please email me at email@example.com.