Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bird and Pitcher, 8" x 10"

Here's the black and white value study I painted several months ago of my bird sitting with a pitcher. I was very interested in honing my ability to understand values. While I work on my second truck painting (yes, there is another one underway), I may do a few 6 x 6" still life paintings featuring my bird. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wishful Thinking, 6" x 6"

I painted my bird on gessoed illustration board—a very different surface for me. The texture reminds me of the way moisture sort of "pebbles" on a window. Next time I paint a 6" x 6", I'll sand the gesso beforehand to see how I like it.

For whatever reason, I love the subject of birds...It could be a symbol for the spirit, the idea of flight and the imagination, or freedom. Sadly, this bird won't be going anywhere, tethered as it is to its base. I sense its desire, though, for all sorts of possibilities!

Months ago I painted a black and white value study of this bird and a pitcher. I'll post it tomorrow. Feel free to comment or critique! I'd appreciate reading your thoughts on them. Thanks for stopping in today!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Truck and Pear, 12 x 12"

Well, what can I say? This subject matter is a bit of a departure for me, perhaps, although an earlier still life that included a toy truck has gone the way of other "learning" paintings and was collected by a different kind of truck some time ago!

One thing that links this painting to others is my interest in the subtleties within colors, whether they are the whites of garlic, the reds of a truck, or the yellows of a pear. I experimented a bit with the application of the paint, to reflect the rough and tough qualities of the truck and suggest the wood of the table and some reflections. I was also very interested in capturing the quality of light on the passenger pear. I'm realizing I need to draw more often; it was a challenge to get the truck drawn just so!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Garlic in Bowl, 10 x 8". I've been thinking a lot about color.

Did I mention that I'm an older person, but a "young" artist?* Although I majored in painting as an undergraduate in college, it was during the heyday of abstract expressionism and conceptual art—visual and not-so-visual approaches very far from my own sensibility. I often feel like I'm trying to fill large gaps in my art education.

I set up this still life because I loved the colors. I also wanted to focus on the subtle shifts in the white of the garlic, as well as the temperature and color shifts in the distressed interior of the bowl. I learned a lot from this challenge and may try it again with the goal of using thicker paint and fewer brushstrokes. While I continue to paint during the next month or two, I plan to do color charts (finally, for those who know me), and other color experiments. Anyone want to join me? We could create a color chart support group.  : )

*James Gurney encourages older artists on his blog:    Keep on painting!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Yellow Apples on a Plate, 8 x 9"

Here are two apples we picked late September in Ipswich, MA. (Yes, they waited patiently for me in the refrigerator for a few weeks and were still tasty!) When the painting is small enough, I prefer to scan it once it's dry, rather than photograph it—the brushstrokes are more apparent in the scan (and my picture taking skills aren't consistently good yet). With the weather getting very chilly here in New England, I'll be painting en plein air a little less often, and enjoy the focus on still lifes (and I hope, some figures).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trellis Angel, 8 x 6"

Painting Trellis Angel was an experiment in lighting and technique. I wanted to keep the effect of the back lighting, yet keep her face visible. I wondered if I should increase the brightness of the background to heighten this effect, but I'll let it sit for awhile and think about it. The autumn day I painted this was a bit brisk, so I couldn't resist adding a touch of pink to her cheeks! To keep some passages thick and sharp, I used a palette knife more than I usually do. If you have any comments on this challenging little painting, I'd love to hear them. I enjoyed doing it. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Portrait Sketch, Tineke, 12 x 9"

Tineke posed for me while working on her laptop. The lighting was fascinating. There was evening light coming in a nearby window and cool light from her laptop screen below, shining up on her face; there was also warm light from a nearby lamp. I realize it's time for me to get new glasses: colors I had painted right next to each other were not as accurately placed as I thought! Even so, it was great fun to paint.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Three Amigos, 6 x 6"

I painted this still life awhile after taking a workshop with Carol Marine. It was great to see how she works. She shared a lot of useful information, some of which got me "blogging"! Getting the almost overhead perspective on the bowl was a wee bit challenging, but fun, too. I want to thank those who have commented on my recent posts; feedback is always so welcome. Still being relatively new to this, I didn't realize they were there until today! Now I know where to look.  : )

Friday, November 12, 2010

Breakheart Reservation, 6 x 8"

This painting was done en plein air*, in the beginning of the summer. I'll be posting recently finished paintings in the next few days, but thought I'd revisit a warmer day today, since right now my feet are chilled in my studio! This was my first painting in Breakheart Reservation and I remember feeling eager to catch the light before it all changed. Although there are elements I could tweak, I think it's a successful field study. When I work on small paintings outside, I'm interested to capture as much as I can in those 2-3 hours, and learn as much as possible to fill up my "memory bank" and increase my collection of studies. Someday, when I'm more consistently good at plein air painting and I have that knowledge stored up, I'll be able to use all of that to create larger paintings from my studies. I've done a few already, and love how my memories of the day return while I'm painting.

*In case the term is new to you, plein air painting is done outdoors, directly from nature, often in one session. It's one of the more challenging ways to paint, since the artist contends with changing light, wind, weather, bugs...but those who do it love being in nature and find it's the best way to learn about painting it! SOLD

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Snuff Mill, Byfield, 9 x 12", finished

Here's the finished painting of Snuff Mill, Byfield, with more accurate color than my earlier post. (Sometimes photographing a painting can be tricky!) It was a gorgeous autumn day. I and the other members of Band of Brushes plein air painting group loved this location and hope to paint there again. The changes I made are few and maybe a bit subtle. If you enjoy a visual challenge, you could compare it to the earlier post and see if you notice what I've altered—kind of like the feature in Highlights Magazine, that children used to read. (Do they still?)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kitchen Aid Cherries, 7 x 5"

When I set up this still life in my kitchen, I was at first interested in creating a simple still life, using playful colors. Then, two things caught my fancy—the careful, artificial act of setting the stage for my cherries and then the unplanned, real life setting beyond. I liked the juxtaposition of the two and the shift of colors from the foreground to the background, with intense colors upfront and the more subdued and subtle grays behind. There's a sketchpad linking the two, with a touch of blue. SOLD

Friday, October 29, 2010

Snuff Mill, Byfield, 9 x 12"

I belong to a plein air painting group, called Band of Brushes. We meet once a week at different locations, mostly on the North Shore of Massachusetts. This structure is on the site of a Snuff Mill in Byfield. I loved the light playing across the building and the colorful frame of fall foliage. I plan to tweak a few things on this before I call it finished. I need to straighten the edge of the building and reintroduce some bright grass along the slope that I remember began in front of the building and then traveled down the slope. It was a windy day, which blew clouds in front of the sun off and on. I think in a quick reaction to the changing scene I painted over it—I was guilty of Chasing the Light! Oops!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Autumn Apple, homage to Julian Merrow-Smith

Although I've been drawing most of my life, I returned to painting seriously about five years ago. Whenever I paint, my goals tantalizingly beckon and then shift just out of reach. And, that's the way it should be; there's always so much to learn! When I painted my set-up, I tried to notice how the plate and apple were affected as they turned away from the light; how the colors shifted from warm to cool. Painting a still life offers me an opportunity to experiment with how I paint, and to really look and learn…intensely!

If you haven't yet seen Julian Merrow-Smith's Postcard from Provence, I hope you'll visit his site by clicking on the name link. His still life paintings are powerful and strong…beautiful and inspiring to me. I sure don't mind learning from his work! SOLD

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tweaking the Blog

My graphic design background has me tweaking the look of my blog. I may fiddle a little more, but not much! This weekend I'll be adding links so purchasing a painting will be easy. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Tic Tac Toe–Peaches"

I thought I'd offer you some peaches and post a freshly picked apple next. This oil painting, "Tic Tac Toe–Peaches"  is 6 x 8". If you are interested in purchasing a painting, please contact me. Thanks for taking a look and please leave a comment if you'd like; I love reading them!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

And we're off—Pam Perras Posts Paintings!

Here's my first brush with a blog of my own, to feature my work, large and small. I hope you'll visit often to see what's new.