I love all the shades of brown and yellow in this painting. One rarely looks under the table to see what's going on down there but it can be quite interesting. I personally hate shoes and consequently love to be barefoot. These are not my feet but they seem happy to be without shoes and firmly planted on the floor.
A good book on the beach on a sunny day with nothing to do but relax and live in another world for an hour or two. It is especially nice when you know that whenever you get too hot you can dive into the ocean and cool off. This summer in Ocean City the water was warm, the surf calm and every day a sunny one. Ah....summer!
I began this painting yesterday. I like the way it looks right now as the woman seems to be working her way into the scene with her glasses and hat, while the boy is engrossed in his book. I am looking forward to the texture of the sand and the texture of her bathing suit which has little dots, but for now the flatness really appeals to me. I am going to make a coloring book for sure for my 2 year old granddaughter. It may not be what the art world would deem a proper introduction to creating 'art', but I had so much fun with coloring books when I was growing up that I have to give her the same experience.
This is a rather strange painting, I admit. I have been fascinated by this image for a couple of years. It is one of me reflected in the window of an antique shop. I am wearing my folding sun hat, which is rather odd, but handy, sun glasses, and I am peering so intently at....what, myself? The crooked window frame and the odd shapes of the antiques (looks like an old coffee grinder to me) complete the scenario. I feel there is a story here that I haven't figured out yet.
Going back to the seashore in my mind and my heart brings back all the memories of past years there. The teen years were especially memorable with all that longing. What was it all about? At the time it seemed to be centered on the oposite sex but it was more than that I think. A longing to be accepted, to be a part of something bigger than the family or maybe longing is simply built in to being a teenager. We loose the unselfconscious joy-hood that childhood can be and don't have any skills to master the great chore of adulthood. We want to have sex for sure but have no idea what the ramifications of sex will be and certainly don't want to be parents. It is truly a period between a rock and a hard place.
Life guards are always a focus of a young girl's heart. The beach is a hunting ground. Bodies are exposed and on parade.
Back to the reality of life at home. It has been a glorious summer in my garden. Plenty of rain and, with the exception of a very persistent band of Japanese Beatles, no series bugs. I have been adding fresh vegetables to my salad every day. This is for me one of the joys of daily life in the summer. Planting, harvesting and eating my own food. It gives me a good reason to enjoy nature, watch things grow and feel that I am doing something good for myself every day. The flowers encourage bees and butterflies, both in need of unpolluted nectar, and they are a joy every day to anyone who loves color as I do. Tomatoes from the supermarket are a sad version of the real thing. I had my first large tomato from the garden yesterday and it was fabulous. The small golden ones have been flavoring my salads for weeks with their bursts of sugar. Hooray for summer!
Who hasn't thrilled at the prospect of a week or two at the beach when you were young? At any age making sand castles is fun and a morning swim in the ocean is an ecstatic experience. i am revisiting paintings from the shore to get ready for my next visit. Half the fun of a vacation is anticipation.
One of the things I like about Ocean City is the sidewalks. You can walk anywhere on a sidewalk, unlike many seaside places where there may be more spaces between homes but very often you end up walking along a highway to get anywhere. Everything is very civilized in Ocean City - some would say too civilized as there is no alcohol allowed. The housing stock says "seashore" to me and I love it. Here are two paintings of those houses including one of Grace Kelly's home at the shore when she was young.
It is getting to be seashore time for me. Every year (almost) since I was born I have gone to the Jersey shore for at least a week. Usually it's Ocean City but sometimes Long Beach Island. My grandparents had a house on Bay Road in Ocean City. For many years I sat on their porch, which was on the second floor, so we had a good view of the bay, and gazed longingly at the boats going by. We never crossed the street to visit our neighbors on the other side. I didn't think this was odd for many years. There were awnings on this porch and one of the more debated topics of the porch sitters was when to put them up or down. It is no accident that I have painted awnings more than once. I find them interesting. They keep out the hot sun but they also filter the light so you can be bathed in a golden glow. For me those days on the porch in the innocence of my youth are bathed in that kind of light. Time is the awning blocking out all the unhappiness and leaving only that rosy glow.
12" x 12"
oil on streched canvas
6" x 9"
oil on canvas board
. Here is a link to another post about porch sitting: http://postcardsfromthemainline.blogspot.com/2011/09/whites.html
This is quite a good article as it gives you some idea of the atmosphere at the camp. I have had a little difficulty getting some of the kids to knuckle down and get to work. They are good natured, for the most part, but sadly lacking in the ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we are outside and it is summer. Anyway they are making a video about the camp and I am making a video about the camp and they are also breaking up in groups of two to make a video of one minute in length. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. Stay tuned.
I hope you are wondering where I have been. My absence began because I had some minor surgery and decided to just sit around quietly and read on the porch to heal and revive my spirit. That was very satisfying as I had several good books. Then there were men working on the roof who had to be moving through my studio and I just couldn't face the constant interruptions. Underneath it all however was the desire to do something different with my work. I didn't know esactly what I wanted to do, but I couldn't get excited about any of the projects I had ready to go.
I have been gardening quite happily this year after last year's very unpleasant need to remove lots of perrenials for the whole season into pots and cover my garden in order to get rid of the dread Pinellia and Gout weed. The garden replanted in the fall looks great this year, in spite of the year spent in pots.
While admiring the lovely shades of purple and blue reflected in the swimming pool I realized this is my next painting....and it has to be big. It is going to require a lot of photos and painting from life to get the colors just right and I will be telling you all about it as I go along.
Here is a photo collage of about twelve images pieced together in Photoshop that is something like what I'm shooting for. It happens around 7:30 in the morning and will be 40" x 32". The flowers will fade before I get it finished so my job now is to make enough notes of the colors so that I will be able to get into the final work whatever it is about the color combinations that move me now.
Traveling by Google maps into Russia, I was cruising down a major highway looking for something to paint when I came upon this colorful roadside stand and two bearded gents peering out from the forest waiting for customers. Looks like something from a Russian novel.
'Trash Day' is finished and dry. After all the choices I found in Photoshop I ended up painting a piece of the photograph pretty much the way it was minus the trash barrel. The dramatic tree shadow will have to wait for a square canvas. I am pleased with the outcome. The boy seems somewhat burdened by his load of trash but cozy in the sun with the tree pushing him forward into the net of shadows.
While I am removing the barrel from the 'Boy with the Trash' painting and it is drying, here is the painting I did before that one.
I had a hard time deciding what to call this one, as you might imagine. It is an odd subject but it fits in with my objective of catching everyday activities.
This girl is caught, first of all in the space. Second she is caught in the duty of walking her dog when she would probably rather simply be roller skating down the street. Third she is caught in the civic responsibility of cleaning up after the dog. Third I caught her, all dressed in her matching outfit with pom poms on her toes, in the always embarrassing act of picking up dog poop.
The next thing I do is to trace the outline of the painting on to the canvas using graphite paper. In the first shot you can see the lines on the right. (I began painting before I started this series so I don't have a picture of the whole drawing but you get the idea.)
I start painting at the upper left hand corner and work to the lower right hand corner when I paint. This leaves room for my hand to rest on the canvas without getting paint covered, as these are small paintings and I work with them on a table not an easel. I need a steady hand as the details are small.
This is not the way one is "supposed to paint". The usual method suggested in art school is to begin the whole painting at once going into the dark areas with thin paint and working all over the canvas at the same time, gradually getting thicker and thicker and into the lighter areas.
I have painted this way and when working outside must use this method. However, I really enjoy the 'coloring book' method much better. There is something soothing about simply going along inch by inch filling in until you get to the end. It requires patience and a sense of the whole while you are working and of course I must go back and edit sometimes. In this case I am having second thoughts about the trash barrel. I like the way the boy is pushed by the tree but the barrel is an awkward, heavy shape and maybe I will paint it out. I can eliminate it in photoshop and see what I think before I do that. We'll see.
Too much information in yesterday's version so I moved the boy again, this time right into the blue green area. I like this but - whoops it's not the right size and if I'm going to go with the shadow I want the whole tree shadow. That would make a nice square painting - but I don't have a square canvas so that composition too is for another day.
What is this painting about anyway? Well we have a guy carrying trash and we have a barrel full of trash on a lovely day. This is what life is often about. Shall I zero in and make it just the guy with the trash or include the looming tree and the trash barrel? I adjusted the light and went with the looming tree and the trash barrel. Tomorrow - on to the canvas.
I have had a couple of requests for more info about my painting process so here is the second installment.
In recent years I have been painting from photos so let's go with that. First I take a lot of pictures with my little Canon Elf. The latest group that I am working on were taken from the car window as I rode around Philadelphia because we were caught in a traffic jam on the river drive. I took the pictures when we stopped for a light or stop sign, somewhat at random.
The first shot is one of these. I think I was aiming at the shadows on the wall but got the bonus of the boy with trash.
I downloaded the photo into my computer and opened it in Photoshop. The first thing I wanted to do was straighten out the buildings. I used "filter" and then "distort" for this. Next I moved in and eliminated some of the building and moved the boy forward in a complicated combination of "copy, cut, paste, erase and move" for the boy and then "copy and image size ( in edit )" for the background of the boy.
Why did I want to move him forward? Not sure, just did. It was something about the combination of shapes and the way he was heading into the blue green area. Then I wanted a little more atmosphere so I adjusted the light situation with "Filter, Render, Light Affects, omni." This was a little too light on the right but I knew I could adjust that when painting and I liked the feeling. However it was much too much information for the 9" x 12" canvas I had ready to go. It should be a larger painting. Tomorrow next version.
Adjusted buildings, moved boy forward, cut out extra stuff.
Time to begin a new group of paintings. I am starting with a pack of 9" x 12" canvas panels. Just a bit larger, but I am thinking of these as possible plans for larger work. First I cover the white canvas with a warm beige beginning. I cover all the panels at once using a quick drying white as the base. It is a sunny day so I put them all on the roof outside my 3rd floor studio window to dry. I don't want the aroma in my space.
When I climb the stairs to this sanctuary I close the door and leave the phone and the computer behind. Just me and my mess and whatever order I can make on the canvas.
After being away from painting for a month and a half while finishing my web site and gardening I have had plenty of time to think about what I am doing with paint. One of the things I want to do is paint larger. So this is my last 6' x 8" painting, at least for a while.
Also I have very few paintings incorporating figures, but I would like to do more of that. How do we fit in? What are we doing here? A lot of the time we are alone talking to someone on the cell phone not aware of our surroundings, but we are none the less caught in the shapes and smells around us.
On my way out of the gardens I decided to take a lilac lined path to the gallery building. I passed an arbor covered in purple wisteria with chairs ready for a bit more quiet contemplation.
The last nature in bloom were the lovely rare white wisteria hugging the walls of the empty building. The gardens, were carefully planned by Laura Barnes to reflect the paintings collected by Albert Barnes. The paintings however are no longer waiting just inside the door of the gallery.
While strolling through the gardens coming in the other direction I saw many things I had missed on the way down. The thoughtful way one is led through the gardens amplifies the experience. Tomorrow - to the gallery.