Tag Archives: landscapes

My favorite paintings

Avignon from the Palais des Papes, watercolor, 19 x 29. Framed. This landscape is one of my favorite watercolor paintings. The scene is from the Palace of the Popes, set on a hill in Avignon, Provence, France. I was on a bicycle tour of Provence and this was one of our stops. The scene just took my breath away. It still reminds me of a grand adventure so long ago and I enjoy looking at it every day.

I was recently asked what is my favorite large painting that I’ve done over my career.  Boy, that is a difficult question to answer, especially for someone with a career spanning over 35 years!

Just looking through files and folders of images spanning over three decades is a daunting task.  First there were photographs, printed and filed.  Then all the images collected on slides which was the only way we could apply for exhibits.  This involved special film, tripods, 3200K lights, a whole set up which took hours to accomplish.  And then I didn’t even know if I had captured the image correctly until the slides returned.  Thank goodness those days are over.

Now, we take photos with a digital camera, the better the camera, the better the image.  Of course, now every decent phone has a great camera.  And I don’t bother with the lights anymore.  I usually just hang the paintings on the outside of my studio on a cloudy day or on the north side. Photo imaging software can handle the rest.

My first couple of decades as an artist, I focused solely on watercolor or media on paper – pastel, charcoal, pen and ink. Watercolor paper is limiting by the size, standard sheet of 22 x 30.  Although at times I have used rolled paper which can get very large, most paintings of this time were standard size or smaller.

The past few decades have been primarily devoted to oils and acrylics.  Sizes vary here depending upon my design and are usually on canvas, canvas board, or even hard board.

Each painting has a story behind it.  I remember what inspired me, where I was, even what music or recorded book I was listening to.  These are just a few of my favorite large paintings from over the years.  Certainly not all, but a few. As you can see, I am particularly attracted to stories with people. Although throughout the years, I ‘ve painted many still lifes and scenery of all kinds, I keep returning to the human element.

The Boy with the Butterfly, watercolor, extra large. A butterfly landed on my son’s head and just stayed there for several minutes, enough time for me to capture several photos. My son has always had a somewhat fey or faraway look to him and I think this captures him perfectly. The other son and pets are in the background. This is one of the largest watercolors that I’ve painted and I had to use Arches on a roll and stretched on a large piece of finish-grade plywood to keep the paper flat. Framed, it is quite an impressive painting.
Saturday Morning, oil on canvas, 38 x 40. This nearly square painting is extra large. The story here is often seen in this country area on the weekends. Men cutting firewood. That is actually my neighbor in the foreground with a son and my husband in the background. The early morning mist was just burning off. They don’t waste much time getting out and getting chores done around here.
Cat and Boy in a Tree, oil on canvas. My son built treehouses all over our property. Sometimes the cat would follow him up there, too. I liked the composition and the fall colors, painted with heavy impasto.
Pumpkin Head. Oil on canvas, 29 x 26. Another painting with a story behind it. My son carving a pumpkin for my granddaughter. She asked for a happy face but he said, no, they’re born as pumpkins and they die as scary jack-o-lanterns. Somewhat macabre, I think. You can only tell it’s a girl by the pink ribbon in her hair.
Exodus, acrylic on canvas, 50 x 34. Part of my Intimate Spaces: Beach Series paintings, I was attracted to this subject for the subtle references I drew. The family is leaving the beach at the end of the afternoon. Mom, Dad and the baby are anonymous but the young boy glances back at the ocean longingly. This reminded me of the biblical story of Exodus and held many other layered meanings for me at the time. The actual canvas is a mix of detailed painting with impressionistic strokes in the foreground and background.
A Little Blue (on a Rainy Day) Final, oil on canvas, 24 x36 It had been raining for days and looked to be raining for several more. I set this still life up in my studio. The poor flowers are bedraggled survivors of the downpours. Roses, peonies, what have you. I elected to concentrate on three colors: blue, pinks, and yellow. And my eclectic group of vases and other bits. Check out the step by step under the tab Artworks.

Spring Busyness

Beginning around March, outdoor work really kicks up here in the country.  This amounts to cleaning up debris left over from the winter, tidying flowerbeds, trimming dead branches, etc.  Then preparing the garden patch and beds for planting.  While it’s rewarding when it’s finished, at times I wish I lived in a condo near a big park.  Well, not really but it is tiring.

This is also one of the most beautiful times outdoors here in southern Indiana.  The trees start sporting a haze of pink and purple buds, understory trees like Dogwood and Redbud assault the eyes.  Other times of the year, you wouldn’t even notice their scrawny selves.  Spring also displays some of the most beautiful shades of greens from lime green to sea blue.  By June, the woods and fields display a pretty even state of crayon green. Not my favorite color, I admit.  Strange for a landscape painter.

This is also the time of year when I’m torn between my “have to” garden work and my vagabond painter self who just wants to toss the gear into the car and take off.  I usually manage a bit of both.

Below are an assortment of a variety of spring paintings, some quite small at only 8 x 10, which is far smaller than my usual sizes.  And, I’ll admit, while it’s always a joy to dive into the spirit of painting, the results are not always so great.  Well, I tell myself, I always learn something.  Even if it’s only something of what not to do next time.  As usual, I always welcome your comments and feedback.  Don’t be shy.

One of the most interesting colors is the limey-greenish-yellow of fields of wild mustard.  I spotted this field one day with a dark grey storm rolling in which really set off the yellow.  I did the first one from memory but it looks more like a Van Gogh spin-off.  Later I went back and painted it from life.  I think I like the second one better.

Abbett's Field 12 x 16 oil on canvas - from memory

Abbett’s Field 12 x 16 oil on canvas – from memory

Abbett's Field from life, 8 x 10, oil

Abbett’s Field from life, 8 x 10, oil

This is a creek that I pass on my drive to work.  Mostly attracted to the reflection in the water which is always a challenge.  Again, from memory.

Creek near St. Anthony, 8 x 10, oil

Creek near St. Anthony, 8 x 10, oil

And another drive-by painting of a farm with the distant blue hills, hazy sunrise and pond reflection.

Farm at sunrise on a hazy day, 12 x 16, oil

Farm at sunrise on a hazy day, 12 x 16, oil

And this painting was started outdoors then brought inside.  White oak trees have the most interesting spring green color with racemes of flower/pods.  I didn’t quite capture it but it’s a good start.  Since it’s near the house, I will try to paint it under other conditions and seasons.

White oak in spring with dogwoods, 18 x 24, oil

White oak in spring with dogwoods, 18 x 24, oil

The final painting that I just completed is a goat farm that I pass each day.  I love the evening shadows.  They usually have about 30 goats but I thought that would be overkill.

The Goat Farm 12 x 16, oil

The Goat Farm 12 x 16, oil