Whether your painting indoors or out. here's three simple tips that can help improve your painting session. Each one requires the painter to take a few extra minutes to implement but they will definitely be worth the effort and will enhance the painting process.
1. Create thumbnail sketches- I like to tell my students these are like road maps. And it’s always good to know where you're going before you start .It's the best way to get familiar with your subject and visualize where you're headed. By creating a couple of small little sketches, no more than a few inches 2" x 3" for example. And, spend anywhere between 15-30 minutes at the most. you'll end up with one idea that you are drawn too or perhaps ideas for different paintings. These are not detailed drawings. These sketches are just to help you place your subject in the composition figure out the boundaries, finding the light and dark areas. Thumbnail sketches can also help with determining your focal point or start to develop a narrative within the painting.
2. Soften your focus. Some art instructors say “squint” but for me, when I hear “squint” I immediately tighten the muscles around my eyes and that’s what I focus on... the wrinkles I’m creating. Instead I think “ soften focus”. this is when I don’t try to look at anything in particular, I do close my eyes slightly and peer through my eyelashes. My goal is to just see the overall shapes and find what is light and what is dark. This helps for the overall composition and design. This takes practice and a conscience awareness of "making things look fuzzy" intentionally. But once you grasp this technique you'll soon see the value in practicing a softer focus to help see the overall picture better especially in the beginning stages. Save the sharper focus for the end near the final stage of adding in the details.
3. Stand back. walk away for a minute and refresh your vision. Often times my students, me included, will be too close to our painting and things won’t look right or perhaps we are so laser focused on painting an exact detail we are missing the whole picture. Maybe that detail doesn’t really matter? Maybe you captured the essence of the detail already and you don’t even realize it. Or what if you have the perfect oval shape for the rim of the cup but when you step back you can see that the whole thing is leaning over like the Tower of Pisa. That’s why it’s good to look away, refresh your view and step back. Take in the whole painting. For some reason or another I've had students who seem to dismiss this practice of stepping back and looking at their painting from a distance. So instead I'll pick up their painting off the easel and move about 10 feet away from them. And without fail, they look, they study it and then... a big smile appears and a nod of approval... and they say " Wow! I like it so much better when I see my painting from a distance!" ... and I just smile too.
Hope these three tips are helpful the next time you start a new painting. As simple as they are, these are very useful tools that every painter can use, and the more you practice and use these methods you'll instinctively incorporate them into your painting workflow. Remember, don’t stop creating. Keep going. This is important for your wellbeing ....you were created to create!
Upcoming Shoreline Arts Trail 2019- Open Studio -
Saturday and Sunday November 16 -17, 2019
10am- 4pm -
I will be at : 200 Montowese Street, Branford, CT
The Academy School house on the Green,
for more information go to: www.shorelineartstrail.com
Painting tips, growing art skill, painting is a teachable skill, improve painting habit, keep creating, creating art brings joy
Carving out Creative Time
I get it. everyone’s schedule is packed. Mine too. We all wish for a few more hours in a day or another day in the week. So instead of adding something else how about reordering or better yet, carving in. What if we started our day thinking how can I be creative today? Oh Linda that’s easy for you to say, your an artist, your job is to be creative. Honestly, I think everyone is creative. We were born that way. But some how, some where along the way the belief that the “gift of creativity” is only for artists: painters, musicians, actresses, etc .
That thinking is really narrow minded. Aren’t we creative when we pick out an outfit to wear in the morning? Aren’t we creative when we look in the refrigerator and select a few items to combine together to make a meal. The definition of creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. It didn’t say something perfect. Just something. It’s more about the act of creating that brings great joy.
Here’s two examples: My mom who is in her seventies just started to play the ukulele two years ago. As far as I know she never played a musical instrument, maybe the piano when she was young but not while I was growing up. I can’t tell you how happy she is when she plays with her group of friends. Is she planning to go on America’s Got Talent? I don’t think so but that’s not her goal. It’s just for the pure enjoyment and it’s something new she never thought she could do. I’m so proud of her!
My daughter sent a text message last night “I need help”. She just moved into her first place and she doesn’t have much cooking experience. so Sunday afternoon we spent a few hours together side by side chopping and stirring to make her favorite homemade chicken soup. By Wednesday all the leftovers were eaten and now she’s ready to make it on her own. I talked her through the recipe, step by step and when we reached the last step she said “wow! I can’t believe I just did this! I made my first batch of chicken soup by myself !” Enjoying the creative process at your finest!
Big or small, it doesn’t matter but seeking to be creative even in the ordinary daily routines can bring great joy into one’s life.
It starts with a mustard seed thought “I am creative. Being creative brings me great joy.”
Ok so those of you naysayers who still say “ I’m just not creative” ... ugh... how about carving out time on your calendar and labeling it “pretend to be creative” (wink, wink)
Now go out and create it’s your job too!
It was a little before 5am this morning when I woke up and poured a cup of coffee. Sat in my favorite spot on the couch, curled up under a blanket with my notebook and pen in hand. This is how I start my day, every day, for the past....20 + years. I can't even remember when I started this routine but its become so engrained in me. I write sometime for 10 minutes other times for an hour. I just write not needing to read it, more like scribbles but its just a way to empty all the ideas, thoughts, concerns, worries, praises, gratitudes,... you name it, I write it..... I can remember years ago reading Julia Cameron's book called "the Artist Way" and she calls this "Morning Pages". I see this as a way to connect with my Creator, with my father. I ask questions, I write down ideas. listen and then write what I hear in my thoughts, So here I am writing away when Dean wakes up, pours himself a cup of coffee and announces, "I'm leaving to go fishing in 20 minutes"...
What?" Fishing? I lifted my head, refocused and could see the dawn's early light peaking through the blinds as the sunshine streamed in the window.
Wait! Don't leave without me! I just couldn't pass up this beautiful September morning to spend two hours by the sea painting.
This is what fills me back up again. After a week of working on commissions, running around to meetings, framing artwork, connecting with clients... and just to add to the craziness.... a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Art Studio and Gallery! I'll share more about that in a later post.
A breath of fresh air, a brush in hand, and an incredibly beautiful scene brings life back to a weary soul.
18 x 24" acrylic painting
framed in a gold frame
What a fun day painting this Live Painting Event at The Branford Yacht Club during their annual Marina Day at Branford Yacht Club in Branford, CT. It was a gorgeous day early in June. There were a dozen or so vendors, grilled food, entertainment through out the day. We set up our pop up tent on the grassy bank and I began painting around 9am. I painted through out the day chatting with boaters, members of the club and visitors. I met so many wonderful folks from the Yacht club!
This painting is also available as a print - please email for custom print prices and sizes.
For more information about Live Painting Events please contact me. I would be happy to quote your next corporate or organization's event. Email Linda@lindasmarinoart.com
As part of our mission to increase the awareness of local artists and artwork, we are honored to host an exhibit and sale of the works of John A. Neff (1926-2017) a Signature member of the American Watercolor Society, a member of the Allied Artists of America, the American Society of Marine Artists and the Whiskey Painters of America.
A Connecticut artist, John was educated at the Whitney School of Art as well as the Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, and spent over 20 years in the commercial field after his WWII service. Over the span of his career he became increasingly involved in watercolor exhibiting and has been the recipient of 150 awards including the Ogden & Mary Pleissner Award from the American Watercolor Society in New York City, the Strathmore Paper Award from the New England Watercolor Society in Boston, Massachusetts, and the E. Irving Bloomstrann Award from the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut. His works are currently in over a dozen private and corporate permanent collections in the United States, ranging from museums to universities to public libraries. He also has a collection at the American Consulate of Hong Kong.
Although I never had the chance to meet Mr. Neff in person, his nephew is a life-long friend of my husband Dean. When we were approached with the idea of showcasing Mr. Neff's beautiful, award winning work, it was an easy decision for us. Keen to embrace our Connecticut art culture, past and present we are honored to make available the works of a prestigious CT artist for those who are interested in adding to their art collection or treasure a piece of Connecticut history. Admired by his peers, Mr. Neff sold many works throughout the years to both CT artists and residents. In memory of his legacy and an offer of gratitude, several original works have been donated to local organizations that Mr. Neff was associated with.
Currently in the Gallery are 14 original works by John A. Neff. Ranging from the small 3" x 5" Whiskey Paintings to larger works on paper such as the well known Goodspeed Opera House of East Haddam, CT an iconic landmark along the CT River.
Mr. Neff's work has the accuracy of fine draftsmanship with the element of a narrative to be found in each scene. His depiction of an era past with horse and buggy, women in long petticoats or gentlemen with top hats offer the viewer a glimpse into our New England heritage. Neff's professional illustration background is clearly woven into the design and composition of each piece as they so easily capture the viewer's attention through dynamic play of light and shadows, fine details and soft gradations. A master with brush and the so unpredictable medium of watercolor, I find myself standing in front of each piece on the gallery wall studying, learning and absorbing the work of an accomplished artist. It's no wonder Mr. Neff merited over 150 awards for his stunning watercolor paintings.
The gallery is located at 183 Montowese Street Branford, CT, near the Branford Green. Gallery hours are Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-4pm, and by appointment. For further information, please call Linda at 203-444-5705 email us at Linda@LindaSMarinoart.com and visit www.LindaSMarinoArt.com to see John A. Neff’s works on display and for sale.
What an honor and pleasure to be hired by the best man and his wife to paint the wedding ceremony of his brother Val and bride Emily. The outdoor ceremony held at The Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown CT set the background for a picturesque scene. The grounds offer soft rolling hills, a pond with a fountain, a white walking bridge but the most distinctive characteristics of the grounds are the graceful willow trees. When I was growing up we had a large willow tree in the front yard. I loved to watch the long droopy branches sway in the wind. It was as though they were invited to dance the moment the wind whispered a sweet hush.
There were approx 150 family, friends, and relatives seated in the white folding chairs with the afternoon sun on their backs. It was about 5pm when the ceremony began, the perfect time and perfect weather. Earlier in the week the forecast called for thunderstorms but you would have never guessed it. The bride and groom exchanged sweet and tender vows to each other and love was definitely in the air.
Capturing as many photos as possible of the ceremony while trying to stay out of the photographer's way as a challenge. Photo bombing their wedding photos what not on my list. I arrived an hour earlier than the guests to set up my easel and supplies inside the reception area. It was a perfect spot where there was plenty of light, easy for those who wanted to see the progress of the painting develop and close enough to the appetizers and bar.
The Barns at Wesleyan Hills, run by the CT Wedding Group is truly a wonderful place for weddings. The atmosphere both indoors and out felt casual yet well-maintained and careful detail of the aesthetics and decor was clearly visible. Cathy was the wedding coordinator who did an excellent job at keeping everything flowing so smoothly, the bride, groom and guests seemed to enjoy every moment of the celebration. I was able to sample the appetizers and offered a meal to enjoy with the rest of the staff in the balcony. The food was undeniably superb!
As a plein air painter who goes out on location, my painting gear is fairly compact. I use a french easel that folds up like a little wooden suitcase. my painting bag, portable palette and a 18 x 24"' gallery-wrapped canvas. I did try to rig my iPhone up to the top of the easel to view the ceremony photos but after a while I just held the phone in my hand.
In the first photo above you'll see the start of the painting. I first tone the canvas with a golden yellow color. This helps to harmonize all the colors and the white canvas isn't so bright and... intimating. Yes I said intimating, even after years of painting and hundreds of canvases I haven't gotten over the "blank canvas fear"... I know I"m not alone.. Vincent Van Gogh spoke about being afraid of a blank canvas too!
I arrived an hour before the guests, sat outside and sketched the grounds. This is a common practice for me especially when painting outdoors or in a new environment. I love to engage all my senses, I can hear the soft lapping sound of the water cascading into the pond from the fountain, and feel the warmth of the afternoon sun on my back. Just observing and slowing down to sketch helps me to see more details and to truly capture the essence of the scene.
After reviewing a few photos and sketches with Tara, I quickly went to work drawing a basic sketch on the canvas using a pastel stick. The pastel stick allows me to work quickly and direct onto the canvas. Next I blocked in the background scene, the sky, distance trees, pond, foreground trees and grassy area. Moving onto the bridal party I added each figure and then the guests. As the painting progressed more and more guests would stand by peaking over my shoulder or engaging in a conversation about art, painting, or just how beautiful the ceremony was. Perhaps we would chat about how beautiful Emily looked in her dress or the flowers. I was able to meet the parents of bride and groom and the bridal party.
Although at times I feel like an introvert, when I'm engaging with others in conversation about art or beauty or creating I love to share and learn about others and their experiences. I believe Art has a unique way of connecting people that may seem very different at first with little in common but Art can open the doors to a conversation... and that is incredible!
One of the sweetest moments of the evening was when Tara and Parva brought Emily and Val over to the easel to see what I doing. This was a total surprise for the both of them and when they saw the background and realized that its a painting of their ceremony the both became teary-eyed.
Although I was able to complete a good portion of the painting during the 5 hours of the reception. I've been working on the painting back in my studio for the past two weeks. Using my laptop and studio easel, I can take time to work on the figures to express a more accurate likeness.
To be apart of Emily and Val's special day was amazing in itself. Then to capture this moment in time for them, my hope is that they genuinely love the piece and if I did my job well, the joy and love and overwhelming happiness they had shared that day with radiate from the canvas and will bring them the sweetest memories for years to come.
Thank you Tara, Parva, Emily and Val!
Peace, blessings and a life-long marriage of joy!
#livepaintingevents #weddingpainting #weddingceremonypainting #TheBarnsatWesleyanHills #liveeventpainter
This year I'll be participating in the yearly celebration - Marina Day at the Branford Yacht Club. I be displaying a few of my new pieces and painting the event live. Stop in free to the public
Kid's Games,, touch the Branford Fire and Police boats, meet a real mermaid, face painting, salt water fly fishing demo, fly making demo, craft and art vendors, boating vendors, cooking demonstrations, Sound School touch tank, Take a Vet fishing,vintage wooden boats, food trucks and more -
Date: Saturday June 8, 2019
Location: Branford Yacht Club, 39 Goodsell Point Road Branford CT
Location: 183 Montowese St, Suite G, Branford, CT
Open Studio Days: Saturday June 1- Sunday June 2, 2019
Time: Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 12pm -4pm
Open Studio this week: Sunday 12-4pm! Stop in to see the new work and studio-- sign up for a class in acrylics, drawing, or plein air.
Have You Ever Wanted to Learn How to Paint? Beginner Acrylic Painting Lessons Starting Soon in New Art Studio in Branford CT
Acrylic Painting for the Absolute Beginner - A Fresh Start in my NEW Art Studio
Here's a great class for absolute beginners or those who want to brush up on their skills. You'll learn the process of creating an acrylic painting from a blank canvas to ready to frame. We'll start with the basic building blocks of painting – design, value, and color and add on. With each lesson you'll build confidence quickly through practice and easy to follow instructions.
You'll learn how to mix colors and how to see and apply light and dark colors to create a more realistic painting. The class will focus on the fundamentals of color mixing, basic brush techniques, paint handling and application. We'll put it all together to complete a finished painting.
Acrylic paints are terrific for beginners because they dry quickly which makes it easy to make corrections or learn to build layers. I often tell my students "Acrylics are great because they're fixable".
In our first class I'll review materials: paints, and brushes and how to care for them, Best palettes and the variety of different surfaces to paint on.
Class sizes are small so each student will receive plenty of one-on-one assistance.. You'll love the friendly and warm environment of your peers while working on fun and easy to do exercises that you can practice at home.
Once all the basics lessons are complete, you'll have the opportunity to put your new skills and knowledge to work on your own piece. Whether you want to create a still life, landscape, seascape, or portrait, each lesson will help you gain an understanding of the painting process so that you can apply it to the subject matter of your choice.
Even if you have never painted before, in a short period of time you can learn the basic concepts of painting and techniques needed to create convincing paintings.
With plenty of guidance and individual attention, you'll be surprised at how much you'll learn to build your painting confidence.
What are you waiting for? Sign up today so that you can be creating beautiful paintings.
For more information on purchasing this painting go to Available Paintings Page
Back at it a second day in a row. I'm down at Wooster Square in New Haven CT. I find this place incredibly magically especially during the springtime. The cherry blossoms line the streets, kids are playing in the park. Lots of people walking their dogs. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is happening in a few days and you can just feel the excitement in the air. Pink Rain - full of joy and wonder!
It was a little cooler today than yesterday and the spot I selected was tucked away in the shade of a large tree. I love the colors of this beautifully crafted brownstone home. The teal color trim, red brick and burnt red-orange transom over the front door and first floor windows gave a nice backdrop to the pink blooms. There was so much architectural details that I had to leave out but what I hope I conveyed was the essence of this picturesque scene.
As you can see in the photo below, the petals would float right through the air and stick to my canvas or palette! At first I thought ... oh no... I've got to get this off... it's going to ruin the painting.. but second thought... let me leave it there, it's great for matching colors!
The last photo in the group below is from inside the Famous Pepe's Pizza! My friend Patty and I finished our painting session by splitting a small sausage pizza.... what a fantastic day!
Do you want to join me for Plein Air Painting lessons? I just finished posting the Summer Schedule of 4 week classes. We'll meet every Thursday in the Branford, Guilford and Madison area. Click here for more information... this class is great for beginners and those who want to brush up on their skills.
To purchase this painting go to Available Paintings Page
At the end of April I was with a small group of painters from the Madison Art Society, we met up in New Haven at Wooster Square.
There are dozens of Cherry Blossom trees that line the square.
It's so incredibly beautiful there.... almost magical! The finely crafted architecture of the old brownstone homes are along the parameter of the park where folks are walking their dogs, children are playing and everyone seems to enjoy a leisurely stroll. Every Saturday in the summertime there's a farmers market. It's just the friendliest neighborhood.
People come from all over the state to walk around, take photos, and enough a delicious authentic Italian meal in the heart of Little Italy of New Haven. I've been here numerous times to paint and I'm always so in awe over how beautiful and enchanting the Square looks with the unique architecture of each building and the soft pink cascade of the cherry blossoms.
I met so many interesting people, a photographer name Jason, who took the coolest photo of me while painting. I'll share it in an upcoming e-book titled 10 of my Best Tips for Painting Outside. I met two lovely ladies who were good friends, they even dressed alike!
I met an art student who took a photo of my easel and painting for her final project and a fellow artist (tattoo artist) who was working for the City of New Haven planting trees.
I hope I encourage a really nice gentleman to join our Madison Art Society Plein Air group ... he said he would love to get back into painting again....
This is exactly what I love about plein air painting... it's not just painting outside... it's meeting new people, sharing stories, learning about new places, making friends...
I just set up my Summer Plein Air Painting Class schedule, go here for more info. If you'd like to start painting outdoors but don't know where to begin... join me.!
A few photos while painting at Wooster Square - April 24, 2109
Branford, CT 06405
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