Sunday, September 26, 2010

Paintings from the East Coast

"Fall Hydrangeas"
11" x 14"

"Fall Bouquet"
by Joan Kendall

Mentally crop the dark stripe on the left and straighten the top image. Make the background white on the lower image. I am working with limited function on a netbook while traveling.

Gage, current family owner of "the barn" had kindly consented to our renting the cottage in Rockport, MA. We arrived to find lovely bouquets of fall blooming Hydrangeas placed about the cottage on both floors. Gage is a landscape architect. Our second night saw wild rainstorms that lingered in the morning and left us with a damp, overcast day, so we lit a fire and hunkered down for some indoor painting. The blue/green/purple flowers in an old metal pitcher made for a serene still life in the glow of a wall lamp. I invented the wall hanging to complete the design, and it is straight in the painting.

My artist friend, Joan, from Connecticut started as a watercolorist and we met on a workshop in Maine about 8 years ago. Shortly after, she turned to oil painting and does some really lovely work. The two mediums make it a challenge for us to find a formal workshop to attend together, so we often just get together and paint. In addition to a travel palette and gear, I brought along my tiny Koi pan paint set with brush pen that holds water in the handle. Joan did the second small painting of another small bouquet, which she left as a thank you for the cottage owner. She loved the brush pen and was pleased with her results. Because oils are more difficult to haul around for plein air, she took the tiny Koi set when we walked to the rocky point high above the harbor to paint. That's when Joan surprised me with her watercolor of me capturing the harbor on paper, shown in an earlier post. Joan's oil painting experience has made her a less timid watercolorist. She plans to buy a Koi set, too, for those travel moments best served by the medium.

Later after Joan left for the cottage and I continued to paint, a tourist asked permission to take my photo (I thanked him for his politeness and told him he could) -- the artist captured by other artists.

Coastal Art Adventures

"Near the Salt Marsh"
Crane Estate at Castle Hill
Ipswich, MA
14" x 11" watercolor

The Crane Estate on Castle Hill in Ipswich, MA, is a lovely early 20th century seaside estate now preserved for public and private use. Joan and I were there on a beautiful afternoon. We set up our easels away from the large house where a private wedding was underway. We overlooked salt marsh and hills that were beginning to tinge with fall colors. This sketch captures some of the lively color and beautiful shapes of a dirt road going over the rise and the surrounding lush foliage.

Yesterday's sketch depicts the front of the cottage we rented. The cottage started life as a barn and was moved to its current location by a great-grandmother of the present owner. She situated the cottage a few blocks off the harbor and the open ocean to protect it from the worst of the storms. We were delighted to have a comfortable large living/dining area with fireplace, small kitchen, old bathroom and two large upstairs bedrooms. The family has maintained the rustic barn interior without insulation and finished walls through several generations. Nostalgia overtook me as I recalled my yearly stay at my grandfather's summer place on Mallets Bay, Lake Champlain, next to Burlington, VT. Later my folks bought a 100-year-old cottage on Lake Elmore near Stowe, VT, and it's so rustic that we still have an outhouse. I was wallowing in memories!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Land of Lobstah and Beeah

"Heath Cottage"
14" x 11"
Rockport, MA

"Artist at Work"
by Joan Kendall
Rockport, MA

As our 91-year old friend Doris from Rockport said, "There are no "R's" in Massachusetts," at least not within a hundred miles of Boston. My art friend, Joan Kendall from Connecticut, and I enjoyed our annual trip together, this time to the North Shore in the little town of Rockport. Here you see the cottage where we stayed and a painting Joan did of me when I was engrossed in painting a harbor scene sitting on rocks high above the town.

I will write more when I get some time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Morning Drawing Class -- Another go at the vase

"Moroccan Vase and Apples"

Bob told us to bring back our vase piece to finish it in class today. If you compare it to the previous post, you can see that things changed a bit. The plums and apples all ripened over the two week hiatus for Labor Day. Bob did not put up a back drape, so the background changed. The vase is oriented differently, which Bob said made for a better layout, so he suggested I alter my pastel. Pastels are much more foregiving than watercolors. I love learning to differentiate values in my drawing class because it helps with all my art projects. I should do a lot more to this pastel -- the background needs much more work and the plums could be darker, but I am leaving on a jet plane in the morning (again!) and must pack. Good thing I have a great housesitter. I'll be mostly off-line for a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I decided to submit a small watercolor to the Santa Clara Valley Members Show. I know it's not a winner, but I really want to participate in "Alternate Realities." You've seen this work before.

"Memories of Norway"
11" x 14"

I wrote about the piece here. I wanted to create a painting for the show, but the fact is, I do better selecting something from the work I've done this year. When I try to be creative on demand, I am disappointed in the results. I love to see the work in the Members Show each year because the calibre of artists is very high. If you are in the area, do plan to come to the reception on October 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. to view the work, meet the artists, see the awards ceremony, and enjoy food, wine, and live music.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vino Prima Wine Bar Sunset"
11" x 14"

"Trois Artistes" is coming up fast. It's a show on the Santa Cruz Wharf at the Vino Prima Wine Bar with work by three artists. I was invited to participate by Jeanne de Campos Rousseau, a good friend from the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society workshop committee. The space is not real large and I probably have room for a half dozen modest size pieces. I want to display a cohesive body of work, so I settled on a "Wine and the Coast" theme. I have some coastal scenes and some wine subjects. Today I painted this piece as a tribute to the wine bar where we will show our work. I made it up from memory of the sunset from the wine bar looking across the bay. We will hang the show October 11 and have a reception in November.