Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top Shelf Aucton for Maine Discovery Museum

It's been along time between blogs. Summer is a wonderful memory of many warm and bright sunny of the best summers that we recall. We were busy every week. Now the crisp fall air is here and filled with smells of wood smoke, cooling earth and molding leaves. Things are winding down. We 're closing up the yard for winter and have a new garden shed to store plant pots, outdoor furniture and tools. Last week I made a delicious caribou stew, courtesy of a coworker whose husband got it during a hunting trip to Labrador. It was the first of many slow cooked comfort foods to come.

Every year at this time the Maine Discovery Museum's Annual Fall Gala and Auction in Bangor comes around. This show title is called, "Top Shelf" and was so named for the wall shelves painted by Maine artists invited for this year's show . The dinner gala is a big event in Bangor and I'm very excited to be included. The date for the gala is November 19.

It's always interesting to see what other artists chose do for their pieces.

I decided to paint a scene of Schoodic Point in Downeast Maine. We traveled through Acadia National Park in August and went just a little further north to this remote region of the park. It was one of my favorite locations....especially this beach on Frenchmen's Bay facing Cadillac Mountain in the distance.The clouds were so low and puffy we thought we could reach up and touch them as they floated overhead.

For info on how to bid for your favorite shelf go to

Two special pieces are offered on of them is donated by author Stephen King!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An afternoon in Shapleigh

My work keeps me pretty busy and it's interesting but I really look forward to my days off, especially when the weather is so nice. Steve needed photos of a new listing in Shapleigh so we made an afternoon of it.
While he was at the town hall gathering information I took Koda for a walk through the sweet park in the village center. I was surprised by a pair of handsome Canadian geese with a family of seven fluffy gray sygnets. Dad and mom walked toward me with threatening looks as I approached them for photos. You can see the pond and bridge in the photo of the geese. The gardens and gazebo are beautiful too. From the poo covered sidewalks I'd say they own the place for now.
When Steve finished we headed north to Limerick to pick up lunch, then we found a quiet lakeside spot on West Pond in Parsonsfield to eat.
The bottom photo is of old Mousam Grange which is across from the town hall and the park.
I'm inspired by the scenery in Maine and paint these places in my head..getting to the studio is quite another thing....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

3 Phases of the painting "Native Son"

Here are three phases of an acrylic painting called, "Native Son", which was completed two years ago.
I couldn't get the photos set up correctly on this blog so the first phase is actually the one on the bottom . The canvas has been covered with a terra cotta underpainting which is just like the papers and panels used in my pastel paintings. The warm tone makes the cool color palette in my work sparkle. It's rare that I paint on a white or light toned background.
I paint with a big brush(house trim painting size)
and use all the tips and edges for blocking in and shapes right down to the smallest areas including the mooring line. The only time I use a small brush is for my signature. I found that this works for me because I have to move my whole arm to get what I want...there's more energy in the strokes. Yellow was added midway then white and green mixtures were scumbled over areas of the boat. I used a dry scumble of greens on the water for depth and reflections.
The scene is from memory. When I was a kid we lived near Casco Bay and these islands could be seen from the beach where I spent many summers. How fortunate I was....

The outboard motor was my favorite thing to the shape of it, especially the little prop in the sun.

The clouds came from a photo I took in the California desert around Palm Springs.

The skiff....well... she was on dry land in the middle of December...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Who's your Buddy now.

This is 'Buddy' a handsome mixed breed dog owned by a friend. He reminds me of a German Shepherd in this portrait, especially with his large upright ears and coloring. His direct gaze speaks to his personality which I'm told is strong and energetic but lovable.
This guy loves to run and he has just the right home for it with a big beautiful field on the owner's property and plenty of pesky wildlife around to keep him a family of foxes.
His new mother loved him from the start, but he was a handful and his dad wasn't quite sold on the idea. It took a little time but Buddy worked his way into everyone's hearts and now his dad takes him everywhere.
This is acrylic with touches of casein mixed in, painted on a terra cotta toned panel. I started using toned pastel papers several years ago and use that same underpainting for acrylic and casein. You can see it peeking through in the background and in areas of Buddy's chest and neck. I like the warmth and cohesive quality of this method.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Photoshop experiments

The pastel panels I ordered should arrive tomorrow and until that happens I'm playing with recently finished acrylic paintings in Photoshop. We've had this program for about 12 years now and it's been really helpful when it comes to altering paintings for the "What ifs". I'm never satisfied with a finished painting...there's always something I should've done differently and this program gives me a chance to try it. I've also found that by flipping a painting horizontally distortions are easy to spot. That's come in very handy since there's no mirror in the studio and dragging some of my paintings down spiral stairs to the bathroom is an accident waiting to happen.

Here are three versions of the acrylic painting 'Puddy' and it's interesting how the hues and tone values change the feeling. One of the applications makes him look like he's moving.

These are my favorites..

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cape Porpoise In Winter Light

Easter was a great day for Steve and I. We had a good hike in the morning then a short break before going to our son's home to celebrate the holiday and two family birthdays. The weather was cooperating for a change so we had a cookout prepared on their new hot dog cart that will be set up in Freeport this summer. Check it out on Depot Street.

After such a full day I like to go to the studio in the evening to paint. The act of painting has become almost like an act of meditation. I think it's the result of painting more often in the past two months and just getting into a rhythm. I care less and less about little mistakes and let them be.

I liked the roof shapes in this scene of Cape Porpoise, the dock with the light bouncing off the poles and the land across the cove. This little harbor will be busy soon...I like to remember it this way.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A walk in the woods

On Easter morning we decided to take a short hike on a new trail here in Pownal, cleared by volunteers of the Royal River Conservation Trust. This organization received grant money to install two bridges and extend a public trail system connecting Bradbury Mountain State Park to Pineland Farm in New Gloucester. The new section includes a beautiful wooden and steel bridge that spans the Chandler River and was just completed about a month ago. The trails are all open, free to the public, for hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing and horse back riding. We are fortunate to live in a place where these natural amenities are at our doorstep and can be enjoyed every day.

We met like minded neighbors who were hiking with their two boys and were just as impressed with the work as we were. We plan to go back often this summer and bring our family members too. Koda enjoyed the walk and gave me a happy face on the bridge.

One of the photos shows an ancient piece of farm equipment left there long ago. Many of the original farm's stone walls are still intact and run everywhere through the woods down to the river. They are covered with rich

green lichen now and mark off old cow pastures.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tight Quarters - New Harbor

New Harbor is just outside of Pemaquid Village and is unique in that there are two separate harbors in the town.

This one is narrow, deep and stretches inland to the right and out of frame. It's more protected from the open ocean than the other larger harbor out of frame to the left and around a V shaped peninsula. There are several docks on both sides of this gut with many pleasure craft and working boats moored or tied up all through here. I actually left out three other boats that were jammed into the photo shot, but even so, these four remaining boats are pretty snug in the scene. While we were here the ocean swells rolling in from the mouth of the harbor tossed the boats up and down, swinging them precariously close to each other. I wanted a composition that would convey a sense of tight quarters and moving water. The jostling maneuvers must be exciting to watch on a busy summer day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friendship Harbor in the Fall

Two years ago we drove up the coast and took some roads out to coastal peninsulas we'd never visited before. It was a sunny October afternoon so we decided to check out Waldoboro and continue on out to Friendship. I say 'on out' because Friendship is fairly remote and way off the beaten path..our kind of place. The village was very quiet as expected and the summer homes were tidy and buttoned up tight. Only the local residents live there year around..and maybe a few city transplants. I wondered if the locals look forward to this time of year or miss the people from away...easy answer. Down on the docks it was business as usual with fisherman bringing in traps and securing equipment for the coming season. The original founders of this area sure knew what they were doing when they settled here because the harbor is a well protected cove and the water is calm. I heard alot of men talking but couldn't see them, but I did capture one of their companions sunning himself next to a truck. He got up and wondered up to see me. Acrylic 5 x7.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pemaquid in Red

I've done a second study of a summer home in the village of Pemaquid because the porch, window and barn shapes really intrigue me, especially in strong sunlight. The organic tree shapes help break up the geometric forms of the buildings that really are on this property. I think the cast shadow of the tree in front of the barn draws the eye behind the house creating more depth. This is a birch panel that started with a bright green under pokes through in parts of the lawn and in the trees behind the house. I'm not sure what I'm looking for, but it's interesting to experiment with unusual color combinations using everyday scenes like this. Maybe I'm addicted to color..?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Painting Maine

Blueberry fields are stunning in the fall when the leaves turn a brilliant crimson .The feeling I have for a scene like this is difficult to capture in a painting. Red and orange paints don't do it justice and my ability to execute it. This field is on a back road in Union, just inland from Camden and Rockland. We were there two years ago for a long weekend enjoying the countryside and celebrating my birthday.

We visited Savage Oakes Vineyard which isn't too far from this spot. Their grapes and blueberries grow side by side on a sweeping hillside way up behind the tasting house. We bought a bottle of their blueberry wine and saved it for the family's Thanksgiving dinner. It was so delicious..that bottle of wine defined this time and place as well as any painting.. This is 8 x 8 deep birch panel.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Travels through Maine

While a possible snowstorm heads it's way to our neck of the woods we'll count our blessings and enjoy the bright sunshine of the past few days..Take'em while you can is our motto!
Winter still has a small grip..but it's weakening and spring is definitely on the way.

Steve had a property to show near the New Hampshire border on tuesday so I went along for some photos of the region....and lunch.

We drove into Rochester, New Hampshire, for a quick bite and stopped on the way back for photos in the pretty village of Alfred and a few other places. The light was perfect for cool shadows and reflected sun. This antique shop's windows are packed with old books and intriguing pieces..we'll have to go back and check it out another time. The mansard roof and dormers remind me of a big fancy victorian hat. The steeple located on Main Street in Rochester stood majestic with the wispy airbrushed looking clouds behind it. New England is still a beautiful place even after a miserable winter.

So many scenes to paint..time just flies...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Painting a Day-or every other day

The Painting a Day has turned into more like a painting every other day but I'm satisfied. I've done more paintings this month than usual and it's been a challenge to get myself up to the studio after working all day.
This little study is of a summer field next to the Basin Recreation Area in Evans Notch..located right on the Maine New Hampshire border. The sky was breathtaking that blue and wonderful cloud formations.
We love this region and go there often. There's a National Park campground that looks inviting too.
The campsites are private and wooded..with hot showers and a small lake nearby. Hiking trails, kayaking and sitting by a fire at night sounds pretty inviting right now.
5 x7 acrylic and available for $75 including shipping.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Painting a Day-Puddy in the Leaves

This fellow's name was "Puddy". He was a big beautiful cat owned by a friend. I used a wonderful photo supplied by her for this portrait study of him walking through the leaves. She has a good eye for photography. The view of him from above and texture of the leafy matter around him made for an interesting perspective and contrast in textures. There was a pretty maple leaf sitting on his back in the shot but it might've drawn too much attention from the main subject so I left it out. I have another photo to work from for a second study and will try that too. This one is for MJ and I hope it brings back fond memories of this special family companion.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Painting a Day-Alburquerque, N.M.

This great classic car was parked on a shady side of the street in the Old Plaza of Alburquerque, when we were there last summer. It was in super condition and drew a lot of attention. I loved the front grill and visor over the windshield. That visor is a real nice feature to have on a car in a places like the Southwest where the sun is intense. It was 113 the day we drove into Tempe, Arizona, and that was a little overwhelming for New Englanders like us, but we found a sweet hotel with a nice refreshing pool and free drinks..that made it easier to take.
The grill on this car kind of looks like a smiling face to me...very welcoming I thought.
We traveled on some sections of Old Route 66.
It isn't at all like it used to be but I'd like to go back to this region some day...
This is called, " A Friendly Face in Alburquerque", acrylic 5 x7
My husband might not let me sell this one.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A scene from lake side in Jefferson Maine last summer. My son and his family rented a cozy little cottage for a week and the weather was fabulous the entire time. They invited us for a cookout that included a boat ride down the entire length of the lake which is about 9 miles.
This region is just a short ride from busy Route One but often overlooked by out of staters.
We love sitting by the campfire on a summer evening and watching the sun go down..just listening to the water gently splash on shore. There's nothing like a few toasted marshmellows to round off a good barbeque.
Acrylic 5 x7. Available for sale.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Painting a Day - Portrait of Steve

This is my husband Steve. He was sitting on a bench at the top of a mountain in New Hampshire during one of our short vacations when I took this great photo. We had just received news that our brother in law had died unexpectedly and our moods had turned somber. The White Mountains are a region we head to frequently to recharge our batteries. The natural beauty of this National Park always puts things in perpective for us so we couldn't have been in a better place to process this tragedy.
Steve thinks I flatter him here..not so. I hope his strength and character come through in this study even a little. He's been knocked down pretty hard by a rare auto immune disease and bounces back every time it hits. On this fine day, with the warm sun on our backs and a breathtaking view of the valley and mountain range stretched before us..we were feeling pretty lucky....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Painting a Day- Dusk in Bristol

I painted this small study of sundown on a winding road in Bristol. There are more great scenes from this area near Pemaquid to paint such as New Harbor, and Chamberlain to name a few. My husband's family once owned a small cottage in that area. It would've been nice to have it was right on the water.
We have dinner guests this evening so I won't post another painting for two days.
As you can see painting telephone and cable lines isn't my forte.
Acrylic 5 x7.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Painting a Day-The Contender

The regimen of painting a day is catching on. I'm starting to feel that I have to paint or the day isn't complete.
These small works are enjoyable and easier to manage with my full time work schedule.
This cow is snoozing in the sun in one of the exhibitor barns at the Fryeburg Fair. Farm animals are brought there to show and then sell for meat.
I think one day humans will discover that animals weren't necessarily put on this earth just for our pleasure and use.
5 x7 acrylic and available for sale. I'm selling these small paintings for $75 each including shipping. Please inquire.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Painting a Day -Rose Colored Sky

Steve and I have passed by this farm literally hundreds of times and always marveled at the roof shapes and huge size of the place. It was a working farm not too long ago and dairy cows grazed the fields. It sits idle now. I have photos taken of this place from all different angles, even from the other side which is interesting too.
This palette is just an experiment..I don't usually go in this direction.
Perhaps I should've made the field all green...
Acrylic 5 x 7

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Painting a Day - Two for One

I can't seem to get away from color no matter how hard I, here are the next two offerings for the Painting a Day challenge.
There are countless ways to explore hue and tone in images like these and I'll try other studies with that in mind before moving on to a large painting.
Painting scenes from photos rekindles memories of the day trips Steve and I've taken through towns such as Pemaquid and Harrison, featured in these two works. Perhaps that's why the colors are so strong...we've gone through some interesting places in Maine. I'm using this daily painting regime as a way to find my bearings after being away from the easel for a few months and working small takes some of the pressure off.
These paintings will be added to my new website and available for sale.
Shipping will be included in the price.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Painting a Day & Sheets in the Sun

It's been raining cats and dogs for two days now and everyone I know is talking about the weather. Winter has been long and dispite all the rain we still have 4 ft snowbanks.

I decided to paint something I really look forward to in summer and that is hanging sheets on the line. They smell so fresh and sweet.. I think they absorb the sunlight.

This is on canvas board, a texture that I don't like for acrylic so I'll switch back to gessoed panels that are smooth for the next paintings.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day two of the challange

Yesterday was day 5 of the March Painting a Day challenge..but day two for me. I started out of the gate at some point I'll have to paint two in one day to catch up.

This is the fisherman's dock at the end of the point in Cape Porpoise. It was such a great day when we were there last week. The sun was very bright and the water was smooth and calm..just a few ripples with sun sparkling off the peaks. It made for nice reflections of the boats moored there.

The lobster traps lined up and the spot of red in the storage box and buoy added different textures and perspective. Hard to believe that this place is swarming with people at other times of the year. I won't be there then...

Acrylic 5 x 7.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Summer Place-Chamberlain

Yesterday it was 7 degrees below zero just after it's 34 degrees above and raining! Is it any wonder that people living in Maine experience, "Cabin Fever" and get a little squirrely during this transitional time of year? Perhaps I speak for myself and my husband only....

After a failed attempt at the easel earlier this week(a large landscape) I decided to join a Facebook art group that is challenging a painting a day. I thought this would be a good kick in the pants to get going again but I'm making it a little easier by doing small studies, around 5 x 7 size. I love these small pieces and sometimes a large painting will result from one. The subjects will vary (depending on my squirreliness!) so stay tuned.

The first one is a charming Maine cottage by the sea. We particularly liked this old place and the view was lovely at sundown ..the golden light just touched things here and there. We imagined it is filled will life and laughter during the summer months but the people from away were gone and the home closed for the long winter rest.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beating Back Winter

Winter has closed in with a vengeance. The temps are bitter and the snow is getting deeper. We venture out for walks bundled up in our bulky and ridiculous insulated clothing with scarves wrapped around our faces to prevent frost bite. The arctic air stings our eyes making them water. Our dog Koda, whose coat is luxuriously thick, revels in the season. She frequently demonstrates the bracing Scandinavian way of celebrating winter by rubbing her body in an icy white bath. It's so cold that the snow squeaks under foot. During our walks Koda stops often to chew off ice balls that stick between the pads of her feet. As we pass our neighbors' homes their chimneys steadily puff up clouds of smoke from wood stoves and furnaces. Some days the clouds linger in the air but on windy days the fierce winds blow the exhaust away like smoke from a speeding freight train.
What is a painter to do when the scenery provided is mostly white with blue shadows?..or just shades of gray on overcast days? Some painters continue to work outside with kindred spirits who share the challenge of plien air painting in all conditions. It's not for me. I've paid my dues working outside in the four seasons during my earlier life..a comfortable studio is my reward.
The desk is cleaned off and there are prepared canvases and panels asking the question..what next?
I wonder too....

These photos were taken the day after our last big storm.