Category Archives: impressionism

Blind Painting – or Painting from Memory

Blind painting – Sunrise before the Storm 1, 8 x 10, Kit Miracle

I’ve been clearing out a lot of junk from one of our attics lately.  A few weeks ago, my husband and I were taking several large bags to the dump one morning.  A big storm was moving in from the west so we put the rush on to get it delivered before the skies opened. 

The dark clouds were rolling up behind us.  As I was hustling along the road, I made a note of how beautiful the early morning skies were, especially the dramatic contrast between the rising sun and the storm clouds.  I wished I could take some photos but kept my hands on the steering wheel.  I decided to use an old trick which I haven’t practiced in quite some time.  This is to memorize the scene.

Blind painting – Sunrise before the Storm 2, 8×10, KitMiracle

Landscape and plein air painters often use this device.  That is, to set their easels up facing away from the scene, then study the scene for a bit and try to commit it to memory.  The point is to try not to capture every detail, but to make note of the key aspects.  Then turn around and, facing your easel, begin to paint what you remember.  It sounds difficult but you get better as you practice. 

We made our deposit at the dump and scurried home.  By this time, the skies had opened and a torrential rain was beating the car. 

As soon as I got home, I went to my studio and did two quick pencil studies of what I had seen.  Of course, I couldn’t remember every detail, but I think I got the jist of it.  Noting the main colors which had attracted me in the first place, plus some primary shapes.  I fired up these two small paintings (8 x 10) and am pretty pleased with the results.

I think the best part about using this technique is that it forces the artist to focus on the main shapes and not get lost in the weeds of details.  Certainly worth a try if you have never done so before.

Sketches from memory

Breaking Bread

It’s no secret among those who know me that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  The holiday of gluttony and naps I always joke.  But that’s nearer to the truth than most would admit.

It’s a time for sharing with friends and family.  A time to reflect upon the rapidly receding year. I love the new  holiday this has evolved into called Friendsgiving, where we share a meal and company with a chosen family if we can’t be with our loved ones.  Isn’t that a great idea?  Since people are spread out all over the country now, we find friends that we can share the spirit of the day with.

Other than the cooking and food shopping, there isn’t really much to preparing for the day.  No presents to buy and wrap.  Minimal decorations.  No cards to mail.  Just sit back and relax, enjoy our company, talk, argue, maybe watch some football on TV.  That always leads to more loud discussions. 

I always like the term breaking bread which actually extends beyond Thanksgiving.  The idea of sharing food is universal among all cultures.  A little while ago I did an entire series of paintings called Breaking Bread which depicted people eating together, or sometimes alone, the aftermath of the table, or even the presence of a well-loved furry member of the family.  I tried to capture the warmth of the occasion.  I think this was one of the most missed things about our isolation during the pandemic.

In honor of my favorite holiday, I am holding a temporary sale on all of the Breaking Bread series of paintings, a whopping 50% off!  And free shipping, too.  The sale will only be for a couple of more weeks so if you see something you like, grab it. These are all original paintings on stretched canvas which should arrive in plenty of time for the other big end of year holidays. 

Check them out on my Etsy shop at kitmiracleart.com

A month of art

August has been scorching here this summer.  Too hot for outdoor work.  So I spent much of the month in the studio just being an artist.  This was a great respite from all the other chaos of the summer. 

However, we did have a couple of days of lovely cool  temperatures, in the low 80s. Fling open the windows!  I took advantage of the cooler weather to clean out my studio.  This meant dragging nearly everything outdoors, rewrapping and packing many of the paintings, vacuuming, debris clean out.  Just making an inviting space to work again. 

Our garden was in name only this summer.  And I only gave cursory attention to the weeds and flowerbeds.  This meant that I had plenty of time to devote to creating some art.

I began with building up some inventory, especially of sunflowers, some of my favorites.  Although I usually grow several different varieties from the mammoth giants to the multi-stemmed, to all the colors that are available, this year I only had a few to work with.  I planted them but they just didn’t want to make an appearance.  So I used some of the many photographs that I’ve taken over the years. 

I did several sheets of minis.  I can get four 4 x 6 on a quarter sheet of watercolor paper.  Although I often repeat a theme, they never turn out the same.  I buy mats and backs in bulk so it’s pretty easy to prepare them for display or shipping. 

Four mini sunflower paintings on quarter sheet of watercolor paper. Although the top two are the same subject, they’re not exactly alike.

Then I did a few larger ones. After that, I created duplicates of two local scenes.  These are not standard sizes so I have to cut the mats to size for framing.  More time and money involved.

Two paintings of the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center on quarter sheet of watercolor paper

Finally, the last half of the month, I was really missing our usual vacation.  This was probably prompted by selling some previous western scenes so I dove into that subject.  These paintings were larger and more complex, the smallest being 9 x 12 and up to 12 x 16.  I have some pretty extensive photo files from some of our western vacations so plenty of subject matter to choose from.  The most difficult part with these paintings is canvas prep.  And trying to come up with new titles.  Grand Canyon Vista #1, Grand Canyon Vista #2, etc.  But it’s so satisfying to just put on some music or recorded books and zone out.  Due to the many years of plein air painting, I can generally produce a painting a day, maybe two.  But I did discover that I had duplicated two scenes from previous years.  They came out similar but not exactly the same.

Overall production for the month of August was twenty-five.  Not all are shown in the multi-image above as several were duplicates.  And I didn’t work every day.  It’s very rewarding to spend time alone with my thoughts and just create.  To build inventory for online shops, the holidays, or local and regional shops. 

Most of these paintings will be up on my Etsy shops soon. https://www.etsy.com/shop/KitMiracleArt?ref=l2-shop-info-name or https://www.etsy.com/shop/My90Acres

Painting local

The Little Cottage, acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14, KitMiracle I was driving down a side street of nearby Birdseye, Indiana, when this scene captured my attention. One of the smallest houses in town with the largest tree in town. The front path and gate are framed by beautiful lavender and blue irises. Painted in heavy impasto, a very impressionist-style painting.

One of my favorite parts about traveling is seeing new vistas.  Visiting the mountains, the parks, the ocean, historical sites.  It’s all good.  I always take my art equipment and capture the areas on canvas.  Parking my easel on the edge of the Grand Canyon and painting for a couple of hours is my bliss. 

But one of the best parts about traveling is returning home and seeing your own world through new eyes.  Noticing that which you may pass every day but in a new way.  You can look at your own home town as a tourist.

At the Crossroads, Schnellville, Indiana. Acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14. KitMiracle It was a spring morning and the sun was playing in and out of the clouds. This little road has many twists and curves, the beautiful hills catching the sunlight. This little crossroads only has about six houses and reminds me of many villages in Germany or France.
Seven Cedars in Spring, acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12, KitMiracle. Along the same Schnellville Road, these cedar trees were silhouetted against the spring sky.

Spring here in Southern Indiana was so beautiful this year.  Often we’ll receive a late frost or freeze which pretty much ruins everything, but this year was spectacular.  The wild flowers in the forests and fields put on a show to remember.  I captured the spring greens of the fields and byways for several weeks, and even had my husband drive while I was shouting, stop here! to take photographs.

The Old Lady’s House, acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14, KitMiracle. I used to drive past this house frequently on my way to work. A very old lady lived there who always mowed her lawn by hand, and she always wore a kerchief. I think her grandson lives there now. Located in central Dubois County, this is a very typical spring view in these parts.

The results have been paintings of spring fields and crossroads, little villages, gentle vistas of all types.  Not my usual big, bold colors but a much more gentle palette.  Often painted in the style of Pissarro or Monet but not actually deliberately.  I just want to bring to the viewer’s attention and appreciation the overlooked landscapes of our everyday world.

Take a look around your own world, your home town, the back allies.  I’m sure you can find some wonderful vistas, too, which you may have overlooked a hundred times.  They’re out there, I promise.

View more about these paintings online at this link.

Brown eggs

Five Eggs, original painting on canvas, 12 x 12, Kit Miracle

If you happen to get to the post office or a farm supply store this time of year, you will hear the peeping  sound of baby chicks.  They are SO cute!  And it takes all kinds of willpower to NOT buy a bunch of each. 

There are many varieties, but I particularly like the speckled ones and the ones with feathered feet.  They look so fancy.  We’ve had many kinds over the years.  I also loved the bantams, the females, not the males which tend to be aggressive for their size.  One year, one of my favorite dun-colored females disappeared.  I was certain that she was the victim of a raccoon or hawk.  But after about three weeks, she reappeared with about eighteen little bantam peeps following her. They were so tiny and cute.  I don’t know where she hid but apparently it was a good hiding place.

This antique sponge bowl holds five fresh brown eggs.  Do they taste different?  That’s hard to tell but they sure are deep yellow when cracked open. Probably from all the extras that the hens get in their diet than those that are confined to chicken factory farms. 

We’ve also had blue and green eggs, too.  It is rumored that they are lower in cholesterol but I don’t know if that is true.  They’re just so beautiful to look at.

The sponge bowl, by the way, gets its name from the decoration.  The glaze was applied with a sea sponge.  I have only seen these in blue. These stoneware bowls are very heavy for their size. I bought this at auction many many years ago and still use it for fruit and whatnot. 

Dreaming of colors

And the golden ones came, Dreamland Series. 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas, Kit Miracle

My painting activities often insert themselves into my dreams.  That’s probably an occupational hazard from creating so much.  Reading about art, making art, visiting art.  It doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I find that I have worked out a painting problem in my sleep. 

But a while back I woke up with a most vivid image in my mind.  Very bright colors, semi-abstract, nothing like my usual subject matter or palette.  Fortunately, I was able to keep the image in mind (it was that strong) and later captured it in my studio.  This does not happen often. 

This led to several other paintings in a similar vein.  Bright colors, semi-abstract, nature themes of birds and flowers and trees.  A few recognizable subjects of water and ponds, bridges and houses.  Vivid skies and vegetation. 

Dawn at the Little Pond, Dreamland Series, 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas, Kit Miracle

I’m calling this my Dreamland series.  There are about seven paintings so far.  I’ve been distracted with some other work lately so I hope that I can get back to this idea or state of mind.  The bright colors just make me happy.

I don’t have these listed for sale yet as two of them are on exhibition right now.  But check back later in my Etsy shop KitMiracleArt to see if they’ve been added.

Sometimes we just need to follow our intuition and have fun creating.  Or so I think.

What are you doing to break out of your routine?

Super Summer Sale continues!

Farmers’ Market, Saturday Morning. Original painting, acrylic on canvas board, 16 x 20. Kit Miracle (Frame not included.) On sale now!

My super summer sale continues. Adding new paintings every day. Extreme discounts of 40 to 70% off. Maybe your favorite painting is on sale now. Check back often. https://www.etsy.com/shop/KitMiracleArt?ref=l2-shop-info-name&section_id=22114364

Wyoming Landscape, 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas. Kit Miracle, on sale now!

Gallery opening….and more

A wall of paintings.

Wow, what a week!

My Intimate Spaces exhibit opened this week.  It was so inspiring to see two and a half years of work on display, instead of being propped against my studio walls or in boxes.  Due to the virus restrictions, there was no opening reception but other events did pop up.

Visitors are allowed to take photos.
Part of the exhibit on opening day.

On Friday, I held a brief discussion about my work with a group of high school students.  They asked some very perceptive questions.  They were also later allowed to choose a gallery among the three to spend some time sketching.

The students were very attentive and focused.
About 35 students attended my presentation. Great questions, too!
Two high school students sketching parts of my exhibit after my presentation.

On Saturday, I held a free public demonstration. I began a painting in my contemporary impressionist style.  I got about half way through and will post photos of the completed painting at a later date. Several people I know stopped by to chat and see the show. I was happy to have a friend whom I haven’t seen since before COVID come over and visit, spend some time at the new cultural center with me, and share dinner with later.  Miss my old friends terribly.

Set up in the gallery on Saturday to begin my demo. I’ve already applied the color outlines. The color doesn’t necessarily match the objects. The red-toned canvas works well as an underpainting for landscapes and greenery.
After laying in the outlines, I usually begin with the background and darker areas. Plenty of time to tweak later.
About half-way done on the painting that I started earlier. Lots of visitors so I was chatting and seeing old friends.

This was also the week for running around, buying plants for the garden and flower beds.  They are still waiting for me and sending guilt vibes until they’re in the dirt.

Shipped a couple of paintings which I sold online. This always entails packing and paperwork, then actually posting them. 

And I sorted and delivered some new work to one of the local shops.  I feel so guilty for neglecting my friend but there’s only so much time.  Somewhere in all this chaos I updated my website and did some posts.  Whew!

So, today, Mother’s day, I’m going to take a break and do nothing.  Well, that probably won’t happen as I always have something going on, but at least I have several bigger projects completed.

What’s next?!  How was your week?

Preparing for the big exhibit

Intimate Spaces: Breaking Bread series. Hung on the side of my studio. It sure helps to have all the canvases the same size. At least for ease of framing and wiring.

The good news is that we were able to escape to warmer climates for a brief respite.  After two years of being stuck at home, we had a delightful and restful vacation.

However, upon returning, I had to start scrambling to prepare for my upcoming solo exhibit in May/June.  Fortunately, all the paintings are completed.  The frames were on hand.  So I jumped into the presentation process.

Framing back. Fortunately with gallery-wrapped canvases (where the canvas is stretched around the supports), there is no real need for frames. The sides are painted. The canvases only need to be wired.

All of the Intimate Spaces: Breaking Bread series are on two inch deep gallery-wrapped canvases.  This means no framing, only wiring.  Actually, the process went rather quickly, especially after I bought special wire snips to cut through the plastic-covered wire.  My professional wire scissors wouldn’t work.

Then I began the process of working on the Intimate Spaces: Beach series paintings.  About half of these canvases are also the deep, gallery-wrapped type.  Those went quickly.  BUT….when I began to frame the rest of the paintings. I realized that I didn’t have the correct hardware.  Plenty of Z clips, but no L clips.  They’re on order. 

Wait. Wait. Wait.

Fortunately, they’re due to arrive on Tuesday.  It won’t take long to finish once they actually arrive.  Remember, I’ve been framing my work for nearly forty years now! 

Anyway, the show is coming together. The marketing materials have been ordered.  The paintings will be delivered on Friday, April 30th.  The show will be hung.  It opens at the new Cultural Center on Thursday, May 6th.  Unfortunately, with the COVID restrictions, there won’t be a public reception. But I will be doing a demonstration painting on Saturday, May 8th from 10 to 2. If you would like a personal tour of the exhibit, let me know and I’ll try to meet you there.

If you’re in the area, please stop by. It’s even worth it to make a special trip.  Some great restaurants in Jasper, especially the Schnitzlebank, a German restaurant that attracts guests from miles around (closed Sundays). Plus, there are many other fine restaurants in the area and lots of neat shops downtown.

Address:  Jasper Cultural Center.  100 Third Avenue.  Turn right (North on Mill Street) and then right again (East) on Fourth street. Plenty of free parking in the rear of the building.

Anticipation

Anticipation. Intimate Spaces: Breaking Bread Series, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24, Kit Miracle

This is the last painting in my Intimate Spaces: Breaking Bread series.  I began planning this series in December 2019.  I thought I had enough material.  The theme was to observe people eating, either together or alone.  Some were family members, others were people in the public – restaurants, picnics, etc.

I had a lot of ideas but unfortunately with the onset of the pandemic, my ability to observe was limited.  I scoured through hundreds (thousands) of photos taken over about two decades.  I laid out about a dozen paintings but towards the end I was running out of subject matter.

This painting is from a photo that I’d saved from several years ago.  It was taken by a friend of mine at a special dinner, Thanksgiving I think.  I’ve always loved this image but could never figure out quite how to capture the scene.  So with his permission, I decided to add it to my series.

It made me think of several paintings of the impressionists who portrayed pets in their work.  Even the formal setting seems reminiscent of that era.  I thought, well, pets are often our dinner companions so it fits with the theme of the series.

The painting was so much fun to do that it almost painted itself.  Some pieces are like that.  I don’t usually paint animals but even the fur of the doggie was fun to paint.  If you can zoom in on it, you will see that it contains many colors and perfectly captures this little girl.

So, it is with a big sigh that I’ve finished this series last month.  Now just to do some framing and I’m all ready to go for my big show next month at the new Jasper Cultural Center.  If you’re in the neighborhood, come check it out.  More details to follow. 

Anticipation, detail 1 Our little friend R. A well-loved, well-behaved companion. Loved painting her fur/hair.
Anticipation, detail 2. A table setting for celebration.