Monday, April 30, 2007

Whispers in the Moonlight

This is one of my favorite paintings, even though
the mood and scene may not appeal to many. I's a little strange, but I love a good mystery and nocturnal paintings are such a challenge. The colors and subtle tone variations of night light require extensive study. Frederic Remington did some real beauties as did N.C. and Andrew Wyeth.
Gargoyle's are said to ward off evil spirits and this handsome fellow sits in my back garden doing just that, day after day, in all seasons. Sometimes he's covered in a deep blanket of snow or pelted with a driving rain, but he is stoic and vigilant. I named him "Nick" because of a notch on the bridge of his nose...a battle scar, no doubt the result of a skirmish while defending his territory. The cold blue moonlight and long shadows running across the snow reinforce the haunting rendezvous between these two . The cat, fluffed out against the chill, seems bewitched by him...I wonder what happened....Nick will never tell..

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Young at Art

This spot is dedicated to my grandchildren who all love to draw and paint. The drawing here is by my precocious seven year old grand daughter Madeline and was executed in the studio today while I sat by sketching her in graphite and marveling at her colors and composition. She really gets into the making of art ... her face pushes close to the paper with intense concentration and focus. Now and then she stands back to look it over and think about her next stroke.
Her goal is to become a famous artist and I believe she very well may. She gets great support from her parents but particularly her mother Susan, who is very creative with impressive skills in metal work, cabinet making, felting, and cooking. There are always craft projects going on at their house and many of Madeline's finished pieces are spotted through out. One of my favorites is a papier mache bird she made at the age of four while taking private art classes.
I asked Madeline to tell me about this delightful image and she said it was the sun, and the star in the middle is it's nose. The heart is "just because" the sun is happy and bright. I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Durham in Winter Revisited

I love the winter light here in Maine, especially late afternoon when the shadows are long and dramatic. There's a rosy glow on everything touched by the low riding northern sun and it's my favorite season to take photos for future study and paintings.
This is a 5 x 7 casein of just such a scene. I originally painted a more expansive view in a 14 x 11 watercolor(see below) several years ago and that painting sold very quickly(hooray!) but the image still fascinates me and I feel compelled to explore it further.
I've tightened up the composition this time to focus more on the maple tree, which is what really drew me to take pictures of the scene in the first place. The loosely rendered barn roof and top story of the farmhouse help put the upward looking view into context. The absurd angles and shapes of the tree branches resemble knarly old elbows and fingers to me and provide an interesting play between light and shadow and hard and soft edges.
I'll tweak the casein study a little by adding some cast shadows to the farm house, adjust the hue of the siding to slightly more orange, then go for a larger painting in pastel.