Thursday, October 31, 2013

Michigan Marsh

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For the next few days I'll be posting paintings from this summer in Michigan.  
This one is home. One of my favorite views. I was tucked into the high grass at the edge of the marsh, with water on one side and white pines on the other. I liked the feeling of being close enough to hear my family’s voices but still secluded in my little marsh nest. Oh, lest it sound too idyllic, there were mosquitoes. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Morning on the Reservoir

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A little woodpecker was working away directly above me as I painted this, chips raining down around me. I turned my face straight up and watched him for a while as he hung on upside down, tapping away—so beautiful. This was a changeable day—sunny when I started, with the clouds thickening as I worked. I like this one. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Moving Downstream

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This is the end of the line—where the Croton River leaves the woods and empties into the Hudson. The Palisades were catching the morning sun on the other side of the river, and it was keeping me warm, too. Locals will notice one very big omission (intentional) in this painting…

Monday, October 28, 2013

Black Rock Park No. 3

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Black Rock was dark and COLD on this morning. The sun was touching only the hill in the distance; everything else was still in shadow. The blue heron swung over for a look at one point, croaked half-heartedly, and settled down to wait me out on the other side of the river.
Bidding for this painting starts at $100.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Half-Hour Portrait Commission


I painted these two brothers last weekend. They don’t look incredibly similar, except for the golden flecks in their eyes and some pretty amazing eyebrows.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mayo's Landing

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I had a little patch of sand at the water’s edge to stand on for this chilly morning painting. I figured eventually the tide would rise a little. It sure did. When I first noticed, here’s how I was standing. Note the water getting close to my right foot. (But my left foot is still high and dry on its rock.)

When that spot finally became untenable, this is how I was standing:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Croton River

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Another one down on the rocks, this time almost underneath Quaker Bridge. It was shady and freezing when I started this morning. By the time I finished, I was considering a quick swim. I decided it would be too much work and settled for dangling my feet in the water.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quaker Bridge

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I would just like to say that I love my Open Box M easel. I painted this standing on the rocks at the edge of the river, with my tripod partially in the water. And it was windy. And nothing tipped over! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Black Rock Park No. 2

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A little farther upstream than the last Black Rock painting. Note the big turquoise rock on the right. I still don’t know where the black rock is. This day was overcast, with the wind picking up at the end.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Teatown Lake

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This was Teatown Lake yesterday. It was threatening rain, I was sitting though I prefer standing, and I was feeling uninspired. Then along came two wonderful, enthusiastic, friendly women, who sat down on either side of me, oohed and ahhed, asked lots of questions, and generally cheered me up and gave me the little lift I needed to pay better attention to my painting. So cool—I hope I run into them again!

And then today we took an advanced-placement art class from the high school out to Teatown for their first plein-air session. What a perfect afternoon it turned out to be—sunny and low 70s, with the fall colors really coming on. It was cool to see everyone’s paintings come together as they experimented with what the paint could do. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Black Rock Park No. 1

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I like this stretch of the Croton River, upstream from Quaker Bridge. It’s serene and unpopulated. The fall colors are muted, with the sycamores being the first to change.   

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lake Minnewaska

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This is not the painting I was supposed to do yesterday. The plan was to hike with my friend Peter up to one of his favorite views in Minnewaska State Park and paint there. Halfway into the hike, though, I fell and twisted my ankle pretty badly, and that was it for that hike. We limped back down to the lake, which is actually a gorgeous spot. Because of its accessibility, it’s a popular location, and over the course of the painting I encountered several nice dogs, lots of kids ignoring their parents’ exhortations not to get their pants wet, and one perceptive little 8-year-old (“It looks like what I see, but it’s a lot more colorful.”) I will definitely be back, hopefully soon. I just love the combination of rock cliffs, pitch pines, and water up there.

Here is a photo of Peter, helping to tote my gear. Behind him is another view of Lake Minnewaska.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Blue Mountain No. 2

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Another view of the lake in the Blue Mountain Preserve. A peaceful morning, punctuated by the occasional dog walker reasoning with her dog as if it were human. But most of the time it was just me and little scurrying woodland critters. I love this early stage of fall, when most of the trees are still green, with isolated spots of brightness.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Little Red Boat

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I love this little boat; it has personality. The dock was too skinny and tippy to stand on, so I sat down and dangled my feet in the water while painting this one.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Maine Woods

This is the last painting that I did in Maine, and I think it’s my favorite. It was a sunny afternoon in a clearing, near a fox den, and the woods were just so complicated—dark in some parts, glowing in others. Unfortunately, shortly into the process the painting was Not Going Well, and I was getting grumpy. Plus I was tired, hot, and stinky. (Sorry, foxes.) Things continued this way for a while, when all of a sudden something clicked, and the painting came together, and the breeze blew, and all was right with the world. This doesn’t always happen when a painting is going badly, but when it does, it feels like magic. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

View from the Hill

This is a quick sketch of the view that I woke up to every morning in Maine. I was enchanted with this view and spent several hours working on a larger painting of it, which ultimately, after a bit of cursing and a minor temper tantrum, had to be scrapped. I took a hike to the top of the farthest field that you can see here, got some perspective, and came back and did this little study. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Morning in Maine

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As it turns out, I was trespassing when I painted this one. But no one was around, and even if they had been, it probably would have been ok. And this view was worth it—one of those vistas that make me laugh, they’re so beautiful. I was up in a high field, looking out over fall forests stretching to the White Mountains in the distance, heavy morning clouds scudding overhead, casting long, fast-moving shadows over everything. I suppose the speed at which the high clouds moved should have given me some warning, but down in the field all was calm and perfect. For a few hours. Then, in what seemed an instant, gale-force winds (OK, probably just 25 mph) were whooshing through the grass, and I was using my body weight to keep the easel steady while I hurried to finish the painting. A 12x24” board can catch a lot of wind. I finally figured I was done, waited for a pause between gusts, and hurried the painting to my car, praying the wind would hold off until it was safely deposited in the trunk. It did. Whew.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Louise's Field

I had a fantastic time in Maine. I’m incredibly grateful to my friend Sarah for offering her wonderful house on the hill, where I spent three days painting, exploring, and relaxing, with only the blue heron (and yes, a few mosquitoes) for company. I came down off the hill to paint this field at just the right time; the dairy farmer haying the field had just baled up the hay the day before, and they were scattered prettily about, with their morning shadows stretching across the grass. The sun moves across the sky pretty quickly up there this time of year, changing dramatically how the light hits the trees in the space of one painting. A good opportunity to practice picking a moment’s light and sticking to it.