"God's art [Creation] speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like."
Francis Chan

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Post of the Year

                 I finished up one last painting for 2011, and of a subject dear to my heart.  This is my son Zach, who will be turning twenty next week.  He is a full time art student, working his way through college and doing quite a few amazing paintings along the way.  (You can check out his work on his Facebook page.) 
                   Zach moved out on his own this past fall, which is always bittersweet for a parent.  I miss having his sense of humor around.  But I am happy to see him seek to make his way.  
I had wanted to try and paint at least one painting of each of my kids, and Zach was the only one that I had not yet painted.  (To see the others click here for: MicahShelbyTori, and Sophia).  

               Well, it is almost time to close the books on 2011.  I looked back briefly today through the photo records of what I have painted over this past twelve months and reflected a bit.  This year I painted thirty-nine paintings (this does not count the dozens that ended up in the garbage can!)  I was able to work on quite a few commissions which were all fun challenges, and was thrilled to be in my first two man show last spring.  I sold quite a few paintings, and got to give away quite a few as  gifts for special people in my life.  Over all it has been a great year.  
                I am looking forward to what is in store for the coming year.  I have never been one for a lot of new year resolutions.  But I do have two goals that I have set concerning art for 2012.  One, I want to grow, get better, try new things.  Secondly, I will strive to bring glory to God.
Happy new year to you all...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Tis the Season for Giving

     Well, this is an odd month - I am posting two watercolors in a row.  I think I actually might even be overcoming my fear of it!  And not only is this a watercolor instead of my preferred oil -  but this is like, my fifth bird to paint this year.  Times they are a changing.
     This little hummingbird was a gift to a very special lady in my church who collects them.  She is an older lady who is such an example to those around her.  It is always such a great experience to paint something for someone specific.
     It is now officially Christmas break here, on the homeschool front, which means I am in full swing painting mode.  I have a couple different projects going that I just started.  I will keep you all posted.
     Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good News!

     I got a chance last weekend to pull out my watercolors to do a small project for a Christmas card exchange for an artists group that I belong to.  As some of you are aware, I am usually quite out of my comfort zone when it comes to water colors.  But I should do them more often because I really do enjoy playing around with them.
     The best thing for me, when dealing with water color, is to keep it simple.  I tend to get overwhelmed with scenes and just blow it big time.  So I chose to do some simple holly which is one of my favorite symbols of Christmas.  I love the freshness of the greenery in the midst of winter blah, and I like the wake up call the red berries give your senses.  I also love traditional symbols associated with holly.  The thorny leaves have represented the crown of thorns that Jesus would someday wear upon His head, the berries, the drops of blood that he would shed as a payment to ransom us from sin.  I always thought it was interesting that with those symbols it was also associated with Christmas, when we typically think of Jesus just as the small baby in a manger.  But that, for me, is what really makes it special, because it is a reminder that the whole reason for Christmas is that the baby was born with a purpose - to die for me and you.  With that in mind, the scripture in Luke only seemed appropriate.
   I'm hoping all of you are enjoying this Christmas season and remembering the true reason we celebrate it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


     Our home has an additional "family" member this year.  My daughter, Shelby, who is a senior, has a friend who moved away from our small community her freshman year, out of state, and has been pining to come back every since.  Last year her mom had given me a call to ask if for her senior year, Jenna, could come live with us so she could graduate with her friends.  I have to say that we feel so honored to be asked to do this, and can only imagine what a huge sacrifice it was for her parents to allow her to do this.
   Jenna moved in last August and has been such a fun addition to our crazy household.  Both of our sons are moved out on their own, so my husband is feeling a little outnumbered with five females living under one roof.  But we are thoroughly enjoying it.
   Jenna is about to go home to spend Christmas with her family and I wanted to send something special with her for her parents, to say thank you for giving us the honor of watching over their child.  I thought it would be nice for them to have a painting of her, especially with it being her senior year.  I really had fun painting this, as she is obviously such a beautiful girl.  I'm excited to hear her parents reaction!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Cardinals

   It's starting to feel like Christmas around here.  We have had a really warm fall here in Iowa, and it is now taking a turn towards the cold side.  I have been working on some holiday themed paintings for since the beginning of November, so the holiday spirit has been alive and well around my house for a while.
   This one I did for purely selfish reasons - I needed something to hang in my living room!  I change my themes for Christmas every year and this year I am doing birds - in particular, cardinals.  I just love the flash of red that these birds provide in the stark winter landscape.
   I am also working on a project with one of my favorite Christmas flowers - paper whites.  I'm almost finished with that one, should have it posted by next week.
   Enjoy the holiday season  - The saviour has come!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Peaceful Sleep

    Time has been flying around here.  I have been really bad about updating with new paintings I am working on.  I have been working on a lot of projects, though.  This little one I did a few weeks back.  I loved the idea of how children are able to fall asleep anywhere.  They are so unburdened with the cares of life or even the worry about what is proper - if they are tired, they sleep.
   This little girl was modeled after the children of a dear friend of mine.  It was just done just for the fun of doing a quick head study, so soon I will be giving my friend a call - hopefully we can meet up for coffee and I can surprise her with this small gift.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Majestic

    I am expanding my horizons a bit further.  I posted a couple of weeks ago that I was trying something new for me - and here it is.  This 12x24 oil, titled "The Majestic, " was one that I had been itching to try, but wasn't quite sure how well I would do with such a complicated bird.  I love peacocks.  They are just so, well, majestic.  They remind me of royalty, and teenagers with feathers in their hair (I can't tell you how many feathers I have had to put in teenagers' hair lately with this latest fad!) and best of all they remind me of picnics with out of town relatives at Beaver Park Zoo. (That last one has a local, Cedar Rapids, IA. thing - sorry to you out-of-towners).
  The biggest challenge that I had was with the tail.  I found it difficult to get the unique design to actually lay in such a way that it became a part of the feathers, without looking like it was just sitting on the green feathers.  It was one of those situations where you just keep working at it and suddenly it all comes together.
   On another note - any of you readers in the vicinity of Iowa - I just took six paintings down to historic West Branch to a beautiful gallery down there. Stop in to see them at The Brick Arch Winery and Gallery.  This is a beautiful winery with an awesome atmosphere, that just opened up a newer section with a gallery area.  My paintings will be there for the next three months.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


     Things, art wise, are slowing down here a bit.  All of the summer shows are done and it is time to work on some of the things that I didn't have  a lot of free time to do in the busyness of summer.  So I find myself returning to portraits.  For those of you new to my blog, I will let you know that I am kind of obsessed with portraits.  I'm not very good at them - yet - but am set on learning as much as I can to get better.  I love to see a well done portrait and am fascinated with how those artists who really do it well, can capture their subject.  So usually in the late fall,  I set aside the florals for a bit to concentrate on learning.
      First portrait project up for the season - Sophia Joy.  She was wearing this wide brimmed garden hat one day and I stopped her long enough to take a few photos that I then tucked away for later.  This was from my favorite pose.  I am a sucker for the coming out of the darkness feel.  It was taken in the middle of the summer so she had really sun kissed cheeks.  Love those!
  Overall, I am happy with a lot of things about this painting - as far as "learning" paintings go.  But I also tend to be my own worst critic and am frustrated to no end with the mouth.  That is so not her mouth.  I don't know what it is about mouths that really flub me up.  But yikes, do they ever.  Sooo...the learning process continues.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Few New Completed Works

I have been getting a few things done around here lately.  Last week I completed this little piece that had been on the easel off and on for about a month.  It is titled "In the Field" and is a 16x20 oil.  Originally I was going to do mountains in the background, then got inspired by the sunlight hitting the trees at sunset one evening in my own backyard and shifted gears for the painting.  I was also going to do just a field of wild grass but in the end felt like the purple flowers really made the painting zing a bit more.

  I also completed my giant coneflower and will be delivering it to its new owners this afternoon.  I am hoping they like it and that it is what they imagined.  It was really fun doing this one on such a large scale (30x40), and I had a blast doing the texture in the seed head.
  I have a few more projects in the works.  I will keep you posted...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gammy's Lanterns

                  I have enjoyed, over the past few weeks, working on a special piece for my aunt.  On a visit to her home recently we looked at a wall in her living room that holds two beautiful pieces of art by my mother who was an amazing artist.  My aunt wanted me to paint something that could hang between my mother's work.  I noticed that there was a lot of orange tones in many of the paintings hanging in her room and mentioned that it would be nice to bring that into it.  I suddenly had an idea from something I remembered from my childhood and my many visits to her home.  

       When I was growing up my aunt always lived with my "Gammy" (grandmother) until my gammy's passing.  I have lots of memories of spending time in that house.  When my own mother passed away when I was eight, I spent many weekends at their home.  One of the things I remembered was that they always had a blue vase that sat on their hutch with these beautiful Japanese lanterns.  Maybe there is a formal name for this plant, but I have always known them as Japanese lanterns.  They are branches with little balloon like seed pods in bright orange.  When they are dried out, they last a really long time. In fact, when I brought it up, my aunt told me that it was the same dried Japanese lanterns on their hutch all throughout my childhood.  

As an adult, I have never been able to find these unique plants in any nurseries or flower shops that I have visited.  I really found myself hopipng that she still had them sitting on that hutch.  But I wasn't that fortunate.  Somewhere along the line, the Japanese lanterns had finally met their end.  She did, however, still has the beautiful blue vase that they sat in - which she now gave to me!

I knew that had to be the painting I did for her. I am waiting patiently for it to dry so I can take it to her.  I sure am hoping that she likes it.

On a side note - just a quick update on the commission piece I am doing ...

           I am close - but not quite there yet.  I am really trying to get the beautiful eggplant color that they wanted in the petals while still trying to keep the brilliance of the unexpected orange areas.  It's on the verge.  I'll keep you posted...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Update on Work in Progress - Texture!

In my last post I gave you a glimpse of some of the first steps in a commission piece that I am doing.
This week I began to focus in on the seed head of the flower.  I really wanted to add lots of texture to it so I turned to the palette knife to apply hundreds of dollops of multi-colored paint.  
 The client that I am working with mentioned that they really loved the orange popping up here and there in the original painting that this one is based on, so I made sure to add lots of tones of reds and oranges. What I love about this is that some of the paint that I am using has a transparent tendency that will catches the light, especially as you move around the painting.   Below are some close up shots (double click on them to see them enlarged) that give an idea of the texture that is beginning to appear on the canvas...

full view of work in progress
At this point, the dollops that I currently have on there need to set up before I add an more layers, so next I will turn my attention back to the petals and background.
It is looking like I may have a week or so more worth of work on this one - maybe by next week I will be able to post the completed painting.
Until then...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


              I posted last week that I had been working on bigger project (35x35) simply called "Red".  I put the finishing touches on it over the weekend and am pleased with the final painting.
             I started this project about a month ago with a couple of things in mind.  First of all, I was thinking one night about the ocean - waves crashing into each other and the power behind those waves.  I got a picture in my mind of someone standing in the middle of those waves and how the waves would encompass them when they crashed together. I suppose because I am a floral painter - the waves immediately took on "petal" form in my mind.   I had also been thinking about the color red -  how it has such power. It  really speaks of strength and passion.  And for me red is not so much about passion of the lustful kind, but more so of the zealous kind - really believing in something and being passionate about that belief. As a Christian, I, of course,  always associate red with the blood of Jesus and the powerful work that was done on the cross on my behalf.  I know that might be a turn off to some people - but that is who I am and what I am about and it has a huge impact on my life, including my art.
           Those two ideas, the all encompassing waves and the color red, really started to meld in my thoughts and I tried to somehow capture the ideas with paint.  I didn't really have a plan, which is unusual for me.  I just started painting red.  My son asked me what I was painting and my answer was - "not sure yet."  He asked if it was an abstract (also unusual for me).  I looked at the few stroked that I had painted and said, "Yeah, I guess...kinda...sorta..."  Now I was way out of my comfort zone. I mean, I know I am still kind of painting a flower of sorts.   But I was more trying to paint an idea - which isn't really something I have done a lot.
close- up
                                                                              As the painting progressed and I thought more about the first images that I had had in my mind, I began to see a connection there.  It very much tells a story of my life: God's love - powerful, even dangerous, like these red petal "waves", crashing into my life and encompassing me.  But these "waves" ended up being a flower, therefore it is delicate, even nurturing, holding carefully some unseen object.  Again, such a picture of the love of God in my life -  I very much feel  the sense, always, of being held.

               It is interesting sometimes where a painting starts and where it takes you.
               You just never know...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Work in Progress

  I met a really nice couple last week at the Swamp Fox Art Sale who really liked a small coneflower painting I did about a year ago.  They loved the colors, the unique angle of the flower, they even had the perfect spot for it - if only it was larger.   I let them know that painting a larger version would be no problem!  I also promised them that I would include update posts on this blog to keep them posted on the progress.
  So here it is, in about what I am thinking is about step three in a seven or eight step progression.  I just started laying in the brushwork for the flower head, which will have lots of texture, and am working on  the angles of the lines in the petals.  They requested more of an eggplant color for the petals so I am working on toning it down, while still trying to maintain the brilliance of those rich colors.
   More updates to come later...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Back in the Swing of Things

    I feel like I am getting back into the swing of things and getting some time to paint!  Over the weekend I finished up my close up of a cockscomb (above) that I wanted to do as a thank you for the lovely couple that I told you about in my last post, who gave me a tour (and painting time) in their incredible garden last week.  I had done the study plein air with the plans to do later what is most comfortable for me - close ups - using one of the huge cockscombs that they had let me bring home with me, as a reference.  The unique texture of the flower was a blast.  It is so different from the smooth flowing petals that I am used to painting.
Some of the largest cockscomb flowers I have ever seen!

    On another note, I had a great art sale last Sunday at the Swamp and Fox Festival in Marion, Iowa.  Thanks to all who came out and stopped by to say hello!  It was really nice to see so many friendly faces.  I met a nice couple there who liked a small coneflower I had done about a year or so ago, but would like it done bigger.  I am always up for pulling out the big canvases.  I just started this commission yesterday on a 30x40 canvas.  I will keep you posted with updates as it progresses.

    I am also getting close to finishing up another big one that I have been working on for a while, just for fun.  I am super excited about it.  I am waiting to post pictures until it is completed, but I will let you know that I got this picture in my mind one evening of a more abstract nature and set about immediately to capture is on canvas.  I had decided on the title before I even put the brush to canvas: "Red".  
     It should be on here by next week. Until then...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'm Back.....

    I know that I have been MIA for awhile.  In fact, I have not posted anything on this blog for a month.  It isn't that I haven't been painting, although that has been sparse of late, it's just that, well, I can sum it up in two words - school started.  Starting in early August, I am usually up to my eyeballs in homeschooling prep work that really takes up a lot of my time.  Of course those first few weeks of school can be a bit overwhelming with getting used to new schedules and trying to stay organized with what each child has going on.  But we are a few weeks into it and I am finding a bit more time to actually paint!

   I enjoyed an afternoon outside last week (the kids had no school!) going to the home of a wonderful local couple who had purchased one of my paintings last December (The Red Scarf ).  They invited me over to see and spend time painting in their expansive gardens. I also got a tour of their beautiful Victorian home.  It was such an inspiration.  The walls were covered almost floor to ceiling with about sixty years worth of original art work that these art lovers have collected.  It was warm and inviting and I felt like I had stepped into a magazine.  Unfortunately, the photo I took in their home didn't turn out too well.  But take a look at the lovely scenes I spent the afternoon painting form their garden...

   The painting at the top of my post is my plein air study of "cockscomb".  They are lovely flowers that I got to bring home and have some drying in the sunshine as I write.  I also started a close up painting of  one yesterday.  I'll keep you posted on that.
  It is amazing what a day of inspiration does for you!  After the month of feeling like I've been basically buried in books, it was great to get out and get inspired.

  On another note, any of you locals out there - stop by the "Swamp Fox Festival Art Sale" at the Lowe's Art Center in Marion on Sunday from noon to seven and say hello!

Monday, August 8, 2011

        I really enjoyed, as scary as it was, doing the commission piece back in the spring of the Florida Cranes so I thought I might play around a little more with birds.  Since fall is getting closer, I have had fall colors on my mind.  I came up with the idea to do some feathered friends in fall blooming branches.  It was fun to try something new and I will be returning to birds again soon, as I have a painting of a hummingbird that I am in need of doing for an upcoming event.  I'll keep you posted on that one.
Meanwhile, summer is getting ready to come to an end.  It has been a busy one around here, with spending what seems like endless hours installing a new computer system  (this was really not the way I would have liked to have spent eh majority of my summer!) at  our small family business, teaching VBS, and keeping up with an active three year old and lots of teens.  This has not left me as much time as I would have liked for painting. I am trying to use what time I do have as best that I can.  It is a lesson that I am slowly learning, to be satisfied with the season that God has me in at this point in my life, and content with the tasks that He has laid before me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Morning Prayer"

     I am finally finished with my mystery flower.  Does it still not look familiar to you?  It is quite possible - it is sort of an often overlooked flower.  In fact I have seen it most often just growing on it's own in ditches.  But plant them in large groups in your garden and you really have something special.  It is the spiderwort.  Poor little guy- he really got stuck with a crummy name.
    As I told you in past posts, at my home, it's usually just God  and I that get to enjoy this flower.  I sit on my patio surrounded by them in the early mornings for a time of prayer and Bible reading every morning - thus the name of the painting.  These unique little flowers only bloom in the very coolest of weather.  So, at 6:00 a.m. they are opened up and looking gorgeous, but as the sun rises along with the temperature, they close up for the rest of the day.  Maybe that is why they are not a very popular plant - people see them in the afternoon, shut up all tight and think they are nothing special.
   I have included a photo of the actual plant so you could see the amazing color combination of the chartreuse green leaves and blueish purple leaves.  They really make a statement in my garden... at 6:00 in the morning that is.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Iowa Barn"

   I know it is a little out of the ordinary for me, but , yes, this painting is mine...I was remembering a few weeks back, something from when I was  kid.  My parents, both artists, used to leave their brood at home (ten kids - they needed a little break, I'm sure) and go off together to spend the afternoon drawing or painting.  They usually found some barn out in the country and sat near it trying to capture the image before them.  I still have a few of their sketches/ watercolors of these wonderful old barns.  I didn't used to give them much thought.  But driving through the country a while back I saw an old barn and thought, "They would have loved to have sketched this one."  Then I realized that rather subconciously, I had passed a barn here or there before and had had the same thoughts.
   I'm not really a "barn person", per say.  But I really loved the lavender tinge that seemed to settle on the dark side of this one.  Plus, I liked the fact, that since we are looking at the doorless back, it has a forgotten feel to it - yet there are these fantastic flowers scattered at the back of this barn.  It's like God put them there for His own pleasure, even if not many others might see it.  And finally, I love it because, well, there are flowers - need I say more?
   I will not be doing a work in progress post on Wednesday.  I am really close to my "mystery" flower being completed and will try and finish it up this week and post the final painting on Monday.
    Have a great week...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday - "Early Morning"

This 36x24 oil is a work in progress on my easel.  It might not look like much right now, but I am pretty happy with the direction that it is going.  In phase one, seen below, I laid out the basic design and shapes of the flowers.  These shapes, by the way, at this point remind me of an elementary school child's version of the basic shape of a flower.   But the flower I am doing does have a basic shape with a few surprises that make them special, which won't be brought out until I get a little further in the progress.

I used a very limited palette at this point; Windsor yellow for the leaves, Ultra marine Blue on the petals.  The background is done with the Ultra Marine Blue, Burnt Umber and a touch of my old stand by Prussian Blue for it's translucent quality that gives backgrounds such depth.
In step two (the photo at the top) I am at the beginning stages of laying down glazes after the first layers dry to touch.  The petals are overlaid with Dioxine Purple, the leaves with Permanent Green light.
In my last post, I told you that I had to get up pretty early to paint these particular flowers.  I will tell you why and what flower they are in my final post on this project (although I am enjoying some of the guesses that my readers have sent me - keep them coming!)  I will tell you this - I usually get up early in the mornings, before the kids are up, so that I can enjoy a very strong cup of coffee, and time talking to God, and reading what He has to say in His Bible.  In the spring and summer I enjoy this quiet time on my back patio.  It was during this time that I became enamored with what has become one of my favorite flowers.  I have dozens of them all around my patio and I am amazed at God's handiwork every time I look at them.
Have you figured them out yet?
I'll keep you posted...

Monday, July 11, 2011

White Petunia

             I have some white petunias blooming on my porch summer - something a little unusual for this girl that craves bright colors.  But they are so peaceful and calming to look at, I had to try and capture that feeling on canvas.  I played around with a few new mixtures of oils to try and get a certain pale turquoise color that has long eluded me - I'm close, getting very close to what I see in my mind.  My favorite part of this painting is the turquoise along with the sap green stripes of the petals - I love that combination.
           Check in Wednesday and I will give a sneak peak of a work in progress on a flower I have never painted before.  I will give you a hint - to paint it, I have to get up pretty early... any guesses?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Work in Progress - Red Rose

           It has been a little crazy around my house this week what with the holiday, famiy in from out of town and a major repainting and musical bedroom changes for my three middle children, so painting time has been a bit scarce lately.  However, I do have a few projects that I have been stealing a few minutes here and there on and wanted to give you a peek at one of my works in progress.
          I haven't painted a red rose in quite a while and thought it might be a nice change of pace to try one again.  This 16x20 oil just has about the first three layers of glaze on it so far.  It does me a lot of good to take a picture of a project and look at it from a different perspective.  I see now that I may want to rework some fo the inner petals, as it may look a bit crowded.  I might try combining some fo the smaller petals into larger ones for interest, too.  I am always amazed at how much difference looking at it as a photograph, instead of just looking at the actual canvas, can make.
         I am very close to finishing  up a project that I plan to post on Monday.  Until then....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WIP - A Day of Plein Air

                             I got a chance to spend a lovely day with my oldest son, Micah's, girlfriend, Victoria.  She is an art major at U of I  and we had been talking for a long time about getting together to paint.  She has never used oils before and wanted to learn how.  Micah is overseas on a mission trip this summer, so that gives her a little more free time.  
                      On "Work in Progress Wednesday" I thought what better than to show us at work, in progress, on plein air paintings....
We started out about 9:00 this morning, sitting in our garden, overlooking the garden pictured above.  One note:  this is not what the sky looked like this morning!  This is actually a picture of the same garden that I had taken a few years back as storms were rolling in.  In Iowa, if the sky looks like this we wouldn't sit in our back yard and paint a picture - we would head for cover in our basement or storm cellar.  But I digress...
We began by laying in the basic shapes of the painting and thinking about darks and lights.  Notice the lovely painting in the upper left corner of the photo above - three year old, Sophie, joined us for a time to do a little plein air watercolor.

Victoria has experience using acrylics, but is new to oils.  It thought she caught on really fast.  I really love the background evergreens in her painting (above).

We sat out in my back yard for a good three hours or so.  It was really relaxing, and I enjoyed doing a little one on one teaching.  I thought her final painting is terrific - she really has a knack for soft brushstrokes.

Victoria's final painting
As far as my painting goes, plein air is always a new and interesting challenge for me.  I miss the ability to apply glazes for the look that I prefer.  But what a great lesson learner it is!  It always reminds me of how much more I have to learn.
Many thanks to Victoria for letting me share the photos.  I look forward to doing this again with her.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Morning Clematis

       I just finished up a great weekend, enjoying nice weather, family time, and lots of painting time.  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to complete "Morning Clematis" that I had been working on last week.   I'm pretty pleased with the final painting.  If you remember, the subject matter was from a photo that I had taken in my garden on a gray morning.  Because it was downcast, the photo really showed the "wow" effect of the brilliant colors of the flowers.  This was what I was going for.  Of course, I love all of the twists and curves found in the petals too.  I apologize for the slight glare in the upper right corner - it's the last area that I was working on and is still very wet.
     I am hoping to get outside and so some plein air painting this week if the Iowa weather holds up.  More updates later....

Friday, June 24, 2011

What I Love Friday....Christopher Beane

Well, let me say right off the bat that in today's post,  the images are not mine (except for the one specified).  I would love to be able to claim these beautiful photos as my own, but that would only be in my dreamworld.  These belong to a brilliant photographer named Christopher Beane.
A few years back my husband stumbled across the book, "Flowers" by Christopher Beane and gave it to me as a Christmas gift.  I spent the next several weeks pouring over his photos.  Mr. Beane is from New York and began going daily to the flower market in his area to purchase unique flowers to take home to his apartment and photograph in the soft light of the late afternoon.  Now these are not just your everyday flower photos - he puts them together and sees them in such a unique way that the photos end up being just scrumptious.
I was hard pressed to find images of his work on the web (which I was shocked about).  So this morning I used my own, very often used and a little beat up, copy of the book to let you see a peek of his work.

Christopher Beane in front of his work

I think I stared at this one at least a thousand times.  It really had an influence on me in my painting below ("Purple Iris" 2008 30x40 oil).  The beautiful curves are amazing.  Plus I love how intimate his photo feels and I tried to find that feeling in my painting. 
my painting, "Purple Iris",  with Beane influence

This Parrot Tulip just has so much punch, while once again, being very intimate.  I love that slight blue/gray that you see in the center of the flower.   Also, the edges of petals, with all of those ruffles and graceful lines, are so lovely.  I return to this image in my mind quite often when I am painting, including in "Magenta Rhapsody".

I highly recommend Christopher Beane's book, "Flowers" which I believe can still be purchased on Amazon.  It is one of those books that you never grow tired of.  I find my self, when in need of a little inspiration, returning to again and again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WIP Wednesday - What's Happening on My Easel....

Halfway through another week.  It is nice to be able to look at work in progress photos and see that, yes, I am making progress on my projects.  This week I was working on a little composition of clematis vines that grow outside my daughter's old playhouse.  First I took a photograph of it on a cloudy day when the colors would stand out the most.  

Original Clematis Vine Photo

I laid out the basic shapes with raw sienna.

Step 2

           In the next step I wanted to try and make sense of all of the petals that collided and overlapped.  To do this I both used brush strokes to identify the directions each petal was going and by outlined the petals, with the intention to soften and even do away with those harsh lines later.  This was done just so I could keep my sanity!

Step three
    I further tried to do away with unnecessary confusion by getting the background and leaves blocked in.  The leaves were done with sap green (and ultra marine blue mixed with sap green on areas that would be in the shadows).  Background was ultra marine blue and burnt umber.

Step four
        At step four I double check to make sure I am happy with the basic layout of the painting.  Now it's time to get to the fun stuff!  Using magenta, cobalt violet and titanium white (and ultra marine blue/ magenta in the shadows) I really start to try and express the lines, curves and shadows that will be seen in each petal.  At this point I've got two down, two to go.
        I'll keep you posted.
    On a final note - check out my interview on fellow artist and blogger Mary Zeran's fabulous blog Discovering the World of Art.  Thanks, Mary, for letting me participate!


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