Monday, November 27, 2006

"Persimmons # 1" and "Persimmons #2" oil on canvas -- 8x10"
I painted both these at a Christmas open house at the Barlett Travis House in Canton, Michigan a few weeks ago. The place was beautiful and filled with all kinds of decorated Christmas trees, poinsettias, teddy bears, dolls, etc. I was set up in one of the bedrooms with a "Santa Tree" and there were baskets of pine cones and baubles, scenting the air with cinnamon and pine. Two women, dressed in Victorian garb, serenaded us all with traditional holiday songs. They started singing downstairs and I thought it was a whole choir.

I'd been in a little bit of a hurry to get there and grabbed these 2 persimmons as I ran out the door. They weren't ripe yet (as you can tell by the color). I ended up wishing I'd brought more items to paint, especially after finishing the second version. If you scroll down this blog a couple entries, you'll see the doll painting I did that afternoon.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

"Oak Tree -- the Horse Camp" and "Pair of Oak Trees at the Horse Camp" -- oil on birch panel -- 9x12" These two were painted en plein air several weeks ago at a horse staging area just outside Kensington Metropark, just west of Detroit. It was one of the last sunny, relatively warm days here in southeast Michigan. I'm quite a fan of oak trees, so I ended up doing 2 views of them that morning. I came back the next day, wanting to do a third view, but the place was full of horse trailers. I ended up doing a larger painting of a clump of white pines (see the post for November 20).

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Doll" (detail) -- oil on masonite -- 11x14"

Last weekend I was invited to come and paint inside Barlett Travis House, an historial house in Canton, Michigan. It was open to the public for a Christmas walk. That place was decorated all over, with multiple Christmas trees, bears, holly, the whole big deal. I set up my french easel in one of the bedrooms where I painted a simple still life of a couple persimmons.

I paint quickly, so I was done with the persimmons painting in about half an hour. So I rearranged the persimmons and painted a second version. There were still had 2 hours to kill, so I looked around for something (other than persimmons!) to paint. I found this doll parked on a bed in another room and borrowed her. I was surprised at how much fun it was to paint her! Hmmm... that reminds me.... I have my mom's old doll upstairs in a drawer.....

Monday, November 20, 2006

"White Pines at the Horse Camp" -- oil on canvas --16x20" plein air I did this one a couple weeks ago at the horse staging area just east of Kensington Metropark. It was just about the last really nice, warm, sunny day we've had in Michigan. After that day, the weather just seemed to go to hell in a handbasket. Michigan seems to be overcast from November through March. I'd been to this spot the day before, painting with friends. I had painted 2 different scenes of a pair of oak trees and wanted to do one or two more (can you tell I like oaks?). But when I arrived this afternoon, the place was crawling with horses, horse trailers and horse riders. The view of my favorite oaks was blocked. So I bushwacked back into the weeds a bit and saw this clump of white pines. I really loved the contrast of colors and their bold shape. It's always a bit of a challenge to paint tree limbs poking out. Do you first cut in with the light background colors -- or do you begin with the thinner, dark branches? In any event, it's quite a puzzle, involving thinking ahead about where you want placement of things, so you don't gum up everything with thick blobs of light colors -- and then struggle with drying to lay in some darks. It can drive an inexperienced painter mad.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Donut" -- oil on stretched canvas, 4x5" This was another fun one to do! I bought this at Kroger's up at 11 Mile & Middlebelt. Painted it that same afternoon, along with a cinnamon roll. Believe me, it looks better than it tasted. I guess I'm spoiled by the memory of my grandmother's cooking. In the coming weeks I'll be searching out luscious little slices of pumpkin cheesecake, cookies and the like, for artistic purposes. Paint them, list them on eBay auctions and -- not to be wasteful -- consuming them afterwards. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.....

Saturday, November 04, 2006

"Cinnamon Roll" -- oil on stretched canvas -- 4x5" There's another blogger named Duane who's making a good little income painting these things. So what the heck -- if HE can do it, so can I! I bought this at Kroger's the other day and set it up in my studio to paint while listening to NPR. I also painted a donut (will post tomorrow). The interesting thing about painting such ordinary subjects is that we artists get to really get a good, hard look at things. We notice what most people don't. I had never really taken a good look at the glazing on a cinnamon roll. Take a look at this one. Can you see the pale, smokey lavendar? I was surprised. But it was there. Maybe it would have been easier to paint the golden tones, wait for the whole thing to dry, and then layer on the frosting glaze, but I'm an impatient type. I do things all at once. Did I eat this when I was finished? You need to ask? But I'll tell you -- it sure didn't taste like the ones my grandmother used to make.....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"The Deer Field" -- oil on streched canvas -- 16x20" I did this one en plein air (meaning "on site, in the open air") a few years ago out at Kensington Metropark. Hunting is usually not allowed inside the park, so the deer are usually plentiful. This view is not seen by too many people. It's at the SE corner of the park, where there's only one small parking lot near the toll booth. I parked my van and lugged my french easel through the waist-high grass. Out in front of me hopped hundreds of little field mice, frightened by the monster. It was in early September, right when the big mat of wild bittersweet was blooming (in the foreground). I found the remains of a deer skeleton in the grass, inspiring the name of this painting. On the hike back to the van, I dropped this wet oil painting onto the ground. Artists will tell you that sometimes this actually improves a painting! Maybe so. Anyway, after it dried, I had to pick out bits of grass.

My realtor insists that I make an attempt to clear this house out. It's stacked full of paintings, so I'm putting this one (and others) up for bidding on eBay this week. You can try going to eBay and typing in "Deer Field Hunter" in the search line. Thanks for looking!