Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice at Brookside Gardens, oils on panel, 12" x 9" - $300

Last Saturday's clouds lifted in the afternoon, and then I was ready to paint. I had hoped to paint at Brighton Dam close by, but the azalea gardens had been locked up again. The only other nearby option was my old favorite, Brookside Gardens. No problem--I have a show scheduled for Sept 2011 at their Visitor Center, so it was a good opportunity for me.

I got there around four, when the light filtering through the trees was lovely and foot traffic was thinning out. The plants were lush from all the recent rain and a fresh breeze animated the branches overhead. I set up in one of the gazebos, surrounded by pink lace-cap hydrangeas, for this view of one of the ponds, and finished my painting after six. I invented a few orange daylilies that weren't there on the near bank for a bit more color.

If you are interested in buying the painting, please contact me at

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Orchid in Bloom

No new painting this week. Last week I was in an accident on my way to painting class--fortunately no one was injured--but now my car is at the body shop. It's hard to get out to paint when you don't have wheels and the weather is rainy, so today's posting will be different.

My sister Bea gave me this orchid plant several years ago. It has bloomed several times since I've had it, but on its old stems. This is the first new blossoming stem it has put out and as you can see, the blossoms are an unusual greenish color suffused with pink. Several other orchids I've acquired since are also budding and will soon be in bloom.

I don't know why this spring seems to be particularly good for my orchids, though I have some theories. There is nothing so spectacular in the botanical world as an orchid in bloom!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mattawoman Paint Out

Clearing Sky Over Mattawoman Creek, oils on canvas panel, 9" x 12"

The day was overcast but looked promising: it wasn't raining and a sunny afternoon had been predicted. The drive down to Indian Head was pleasant in the morning cool. I met the other six or eight artists at the Mattawoman Creek Art Center, and one of them, Barbara, suggested painting from the deck of a maintenance building a short walk from the MCAC--it was perfect, elevated enough to offer a panoramic view of the creek.

We shared this perch but painted entirely different subjects. She focused on the dock and boats in front of us while I chose a far view with the creek flowing around a point of land with a tiny island. The sky above was clearing with quite a bit of blue showing above the clouds, so this seemed a point of departure. In the critique afterwards someone pointed out my val-hue of the far bank of the Potomac is not right--its blue makes it appear like distant mountains rather than the opposite shore of the river, and I have to agree. I would also have liked to get a better color for the water, specially the shadows on the water should have been more greenish-brown. Still, in doing this I gained some useful practice for dealing with water using vertical and horizontal brushstrokes for a shimmery effect.

Mattawoman Creek Marsh, oils on canvas panel, 14" x 11"

After lunch and crits the majority of the artists left. Two others stayed to continue working on their paintings in the afternoon. I decided to set up near them and start on another painting of the marsh. The light changed gradually from overcast to sunny, so I tried to maintain an in-between color key.

It was almost five o'clock by the time I got my painting this far--all the others had left by then. In the afternoon heat after spending most of the day on my feet, I was exhausted and ready to call it a day. As I was packing up a fisherman with a most amusing umbrella hat walked by, and I asked him if he would consent to having his picture taken. He was kind enough to agree. I think this photo may make a wonderful painting.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mattawoman Paint Out: Getting There

Rain on the Severn, oils on canvas panel, 9" x 12"

The weekend started with Friday morning class at the shelter on Winchester Beach. It had been raining steadily through the night and was still drizzling when I left the house. About two inches of water had accumulated on the ground under the picnic shelter, so we students lined up along the one dry edge and painted the view to either side. Above is another painting of the red clay cliff, with the subdued colors of the rainy day, trying to improve upon my previous composition (see 5/24 posting).

After class I ate my sandwich while driving up to the Riverview Gallery in Havre de Grace, where I have artwork on consignment. I'd agreed to take some new paintings and bring back the unsold ones. It's a 130-mile round trip from my house and entails crossing the Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore, a notorious traffic bottleneck, so I try to do this no more than a few times a year.

The traffic on I-95 was awful on the other side of Baltimore--the perpetual roadwork always brings the 70-mile an hour flow to a screeching halt for that wonderful Beltway two-step of rolling for two car lengths and braking, to roll and brake again for what seems endless miles... then resume normal speed as suddenly as it began. It was the same on the way back but this time the back-up was south of the city.

A quick stop at home to pick up my weekend bag, muck about shoes, and contributory groceries, then drive down to Accokeek where I planned to spend the weekend with my artist friends Patrise and Linda. MAPAPA had organized a paint out at Mattawoman Creek the next morning, and I wanted to be there on time. Staying with my friends in southern Maryland made it much easier--I wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive seventy miles or so from my house. I didn't arrive in Accokeek till a bit after seven in the evening, having logged 215 miles in one day.