Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Summer Shadows

Oil on linen panel 9" x 12"

This is a seascape from Little Compton RI. I loved the effect of the long shadows illuminating the land in stripes, and the house hiding from the wind in the evergreens. I have painted at this location often, but feel that this is one of the most successful images.
I am looking forward to painting more and posting more in the New Year. I have made strides forward this year in making my art more public. I did my first outdoor show in Malden Bridge NY this summer, and started this blog to document what I have been up to. My next effort will be to make a card for myself as an artist, and to add more drawing to my daily routine. Finally, I will keep hoping that someone will start commenting on the blog!
Focus on the positive things that we have around us: family, friends, and health! Keep enjoyment up front in the New Year. My best to you, Mary

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sunflowers again

oil on linen panel 14" x 18"
I looked at this painting again...looking as in looking with a paint brush. The effect I am trying to get is new for me, so I may be "looking" again at it later.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunflowers and Fog

oil on linen panel 14" x 18"

My latest offering is completely off season, but I decided that I would try it the other day. I took a small painting of Monhegan that I had done previously and tried it on a larger canvas. I think it is still 75% done, but I am offering a blog of it as a Christmas present for people who would like to remember warmer times. I am also curious to look at it online myself.
Most of the other paintings I have done lately have not been successful enough to post. I blame it on this silly cold, but as long as I keep painting, I am fine. I have long said that if I am not willing to do paintings that I don't end up liking, that I will not grow as an artist. Of course, that needs to be coupled with a willingness to try keeping an open mind and doing things in different ways as well. What is the definition of insanity? Trying to get different results from doing things the same way.
Do have a wonderful Christmas, and if you are a painter, keep painting!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Temple Flags

oil on linen panel 12" x12"
A new painting done by an image sent to me from a fall expedition to Kyoto. I love looking at the flags, as I can feel the brisk breeze and the temple routine, playing against each other.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


9" x 12" oil on panel

Have you ever taken a walk through the woods and come upon a house like this?

This painting has been particularly difficult to photograph in a way that the image on the screen has the power of the painting, but this version looks close to the original on my screen. I hope that you can get the sense of the dying fall day, painted as I walked on Monhegan.

I was talking to someone in my painting class today about painting over previously painted canvases. They said that there was a possibility that the new painting would "sink" into the older painting over the course of a few years, and that the best way to prevent that was to paint the old canvas with latex exterior house paint. Has anyone anything to offer on the topic?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Manana Glow

oil on canvas panel 9" x 12"
This painting is the first finished of a group of three, painted from photos taken this September on Monhegan Island during Stan Moeller's workshop. The photos caught my attention because of the effects of light at low angles as the sky begins to darken. Getting the colors right on the island is always a bit of challenge - the warm purples and greens want to come forward, and need to be cooled down a lot. This island manages to sit back where it is. I had fun painting it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fall Farm

oil on panel 9" x 12"
This is a painting from a farm in New York state that I have been visiting for a long time. I was struck by the view walking back from the fields towards the house and barn, where the light caught the house and barn on the side, and how they were compressed by the grass and trees into a small band of intense color and focus. It was painted outside over Thanksgiving weekend, and I had to stop when clouds came in, destroying the light and robbing me of enough warmth to continue.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The last of the trio

Oil on panel 9" x 12"
This is the last of the three rocks and trees that I am showing, and for a good reason. Though the first one of the group that I started, I kept trying to adjust it to get the light bouncing around the trees and the rocks. The reference photo that I was working from was blasted out, and pursuing the values lost the initial energy of the picture.
But I am putting it up to remind myself that I do have to be willing to push further with the paintings, sometimes to success and other times to mud. I am willing to push, and I will look at this for a while before I put it in the paint over pile. It had the promise of a better painting once, and so far I have not found it again. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ell Pond II

oil on panel 14" x 11"
This painting painted itself, except it ran out of steam at the roots, and I had to finish. Several times. The light on the rocks was skimming along the surface, picking up a few highlights, and puddling on the ground. What a great hike!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rocks and Trees

Oil on panel 11" x 14"

We went for a walk around Ell Pond in western RI a few weeks ago, at the height of color in RI. This walk covers a terrain of large glacial rocks, interspersed trees, and lots of elegant landscape. I took the equivalent of a couple of rolls of film, because it kept reminding me of walking in an enlarged bonsai garden. I have been working on making the photos into landscapes, loving the forms of the rocks and the flickering sideways fall light.
This painting was worked over a few times, because there was a lot going on in the photo, and it needed to be simplified to make any sense. Everyone would interpret it differently, but this one is mine.
Hope that anyone reading had a good Thanksgiving, luxuriating in the people in our lives. I am hoping to have a posted comment in this blog, so please feel free to leave one!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Watch Hill

oil on panel 9" x 12"

I saved this image for last because it has been on the blog before. However, it finishes the 6 pictures that have gone to the show, all themed around the idea of buildings in the landscape. The building here is back-lit, with the glowing ocean mist behind it. It is early in the morning in the summer time, and you can smell the waves in the ocean beyond....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Revisting Beavertail

oil on panel 9" x 12"
This painting has already appeared in the blog, when I discussed the process of painting it and looking at it in class, and retouching some passages. Some paintings have actually undergone a lot more in the way of change during the process. The only reason it is back is that it will be in the show opening this weekend. Have you spotted the thematic trend of the paintings?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Villa Marina

oil on panel 9" x 12"
This latest entry to the Little Pictures show is a sketch of a Victorian bed and breakfast in Newport.

This year I was in town for the Newport Museum wet paint event, and I was scared but determined to take part. The actual painting that I did for it was sold at auction of course, but I went down the weekend before and did this sketch as a dry run. I could have changed my mind and painted something else on the actual day, but I enjoyed all the shades of blue, the distant bridge, and the great steep roof and architectural shapes of this house, and painted it twice.

I hoped that the Owner of the house might buy it at the auction, but I felt to shy to introduce myself when I was done painting. Later, we went down to see all the paintings hung on the wall before the auction.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monhegan Chapel

9" x 12" oil on panel
This painting was painted from a photograph taken steps away from the Monhegan House just about sunset. I wanted to show the colors of light in the tree shadow, and how the building caught the low sun and deep shadows. Painting on Monhegan in the early fall is fun because of the clear low light, and the change in the palette of colors. The painting was from this year, but the photo from last year. This year the chapel had a new finial on the steeple.
I love the atmosphere in the chapel for its intimacy. I have met great people and heard wonderful music inside its walls.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The next Little Picture

Red Barn 8" x 10" oil on panel
Tonight's picture is taken from a scene near Manchester, Vermont. The lowering sky and the bright snow with the red barn in the distance was a challenge in detemining values and catching the color in the snow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Little Pictures Show

This week I am going to post the paintings that I am entering in the Little Pictures Show at the Providence Art Club. There are 6, and by the opening on the 22nd, you can have your favorite chosen and rush in to buy it! There is a theme for the pictures I have chosen to put in the show, and by the middle of the week I am sure that you will figure it out.
Before I started exhibiting my paintings I really had no idea of how much is involved in getting everything ready. Do I have frames? Are they wired the right way? Are the pictures documented? Are they signed? What about labels? Last minutes touchups? And a finish coating to even out the quality of the surface finish? I get a little assembly line going and process the pictures in batches of 6-8 paintings at a time.
Here is the first painting:
Harmony Home Farm 9" x 12" oil on canvas

This is a painting from this summer from an actual farm with this name. It was lovely to paint, and it is great to remember.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I spent the weekend in a combination of busy and sick that has brought me to a halt, but I decided that I would post anyways. It seems best to give myself a few days of permission to lighten up, to get used to the clock change, to let the paint dry. But there are a lot of paintings that I could be posting, even if they are not fresh off the easel.
So maybe this will be a cartoon or a newsreel between full features.
Let's spin the wheel and see what I find.....
Temple Gate 8" x 10" oil on linen panel
This is a painting that I did from a series on Japanese landscapes last fall. I love the mystery beyond the gate, like an Eden of wonderful specimens. The clouds hover above the gates, free, and the tree has grown beyond them. The gate is detailed, heavy, and reflects light into the shadows. It makes me happy to look at again, and that is a good feeling tonight.
I hope that anyone finding this has their own temple gate to look through.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Progress of a painting

This was painted on Wednesday morning at my painting class from a photo I took at Beavertail Park in Jamestown on October 20th. We all painted and then the teacher had us comment on our own paintings. That was an interesting twist! I had to leave early so that I did not hear all of the critiques, but the ones I heard were pretty negative and process oriented. When it came to be my turn, in my head I tried to buck the trend, and had a difficult time. Overall, I was pretty pleased with the sense of light.

9" x 12" oil on panel

Tony did suggest that I look again at the light in the upper left corner, and I noticed that I wanted the light rocks to darken slightly as they moved back in space. Sometimes I will take a picture and try those kinds of things roughly to see what effect it might have. The manipulated photo below is the end result of some exploration tonight. After this, I will try making the changes that I did like in paint.

9" x 12" oil on panel, after Photoshop

Over time, I have gotten a little better about seeing what changes a painting might need. It used to take me months. One thing that I love during class is putting the paintings together at the end. I always see new things and a better overall idea of the painting when I look at it objectively (in a group, 12 feet away). It never fails.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vermont Garage

8" x10" oil on canvas

This scene struck me when we were in Vermont over Columbus Day weekend. The colors were so strong that they filled the shadows. This garage was camoflaged by the tree shadows. The whole scene was glowing. The bits of sky popped out the orange. I have seen this building over and over, but this time it was an inspiration to try to set down.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Edgewood, RI

oil on linen panel 11" x 14"

Last weekend, we were doing some photography at a finished residence. When I turned around and looked at the water, I was caught by the clouds, the back lit yacht club building, and the compelling sheen on the water. I have tried to capture this in the studio, and I think that the painting catches the light even better than it appears on the photo above. I tried to capture the moodiness and the silver quality of the light, with the dark flatness of the building contrasting with the extremely bright reflections of the water. I remember Stan's repetition of the adage that "value does all the work, and color gets all the credit". I should look that up, and find out who said it first.
Painting today at the Providence Art Club was as much fun as ever. Anthony talked again about finding one's passion about the painting you are doing, and enjoying the process of putting the paint on the canvas. This is such an energizing group of people.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

oil on linen panel 9" x 12"

This is a painting that I have been looking at and working on all summer. The study for it was painted in Watch Hill RI. The site is next door to a construction site on the ocean. I was attracted to the backlit quality of the house and the shape of the pine. The whole scene had to be simplified to emphasize the quality of the light, and the pine visually extracted from the wild summer foliage. Looking at it on the computer makes me think that I might darken some of the reeds around the pond. They seem to detract from the glow of the light on the shadow side of the house.

Monday, October 20, 2008


oil on linen/panel 11" x14"

This painting was done after my return from Monhegan, based on a small field sketch. I was attracted by the layers of trees and other objects, and by the cool silvery glow of the light over the water. The light gets warmer and clearer as it gets closer to the viewer. This is an example of a painting I am still looking at, and may refine more before I consider it done.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Studio Organization

Today I worked through the piles of paintings in the studio, and in the house. I took the old paintings that I was tired of out of their frames. They got labeled as to their year of production and put away. Paintings from the recently worked on pile were sorted through. Some were put in the "available to paint over bin". Some were left on the table for continued refinement. Then I looked at the frames that I had, and picked out paintings that I liked or wanted to look at more. Paintings were paired with available frames, and then a pile was photographed. After cleaning up the images in my newly acquired Photoshop Elements, I now have a pile of paintings to post. I think that clearing the decks like this has also improved my energy level. Robert Genn suggests keeping your best work out to look at as a positive boost.
To keep things simple, I will only show a painting per post this week. This painting was a field study of the bell at the Monhegan Island Light from the Stan Moeller workshop in September. That makes it extra special!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Farewell Dock

8" x 16" oil on panel

This was painted the morning that I was leaving Monhegan Island this September. The light in the sky plays against the dark water and general moodiness. It echoed how I was feeling about connecting to the wider world.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Manana Morning

11" x 14" oil on panel

Today I have been working on painting and on editing photos of paintings I have done before. This is an painting from Monhegan, looking at a glowing Manana.