Exploration and Hidden Gems
Today: Sunny but windy... and...
Yikes... still just a little too cold for me to paint outdoors.
So what does a fair weather painter like me do as option B when the temperature and the wind are not worth fighting? I'll grab my sketchbook and iphone and go for a walk around town. The Branford Town Green and Main Street are a great place to walk around and explore.
Parking near the Towne Pharmacy, (2 hour free street parking - love that!) and found G's cafe just a few doors away. The little cafe chairs and tables outside along the sidewalk was a welcoming sign and a quick jot in my sketchbook that this will be a great place in the future to grab a cup of coffee and stay for a little while to sketch.
As I entered the building that offered several first floor business there was one that caught eye. Myer's Flower Shop. Here's a quick shot I snapped from the inside window. Of course the light flooding in the big front windows washing over all the colorful pots, flowers and greenery is like candy to an artist. But as I scanned the room I spotted several creative displays that suggested... this is no ordinary florist.
First, the green rain boots with the sunflower bouquet... now that's totally fun! The gigantic sunshine yellow, indigo blue and lime green flowers sunbathing in the window. Oh and the pink and purple pots stacked bottom to bottom is a clever way to add height and color. The white washed armoire with a sky blue cloth draping the inside of the panels to offer a soft feminine touch.
I will definitely make a trip back soon when I'm getting ready to paint a still life or just fill our new home with fresh cut flowers.
I guess you could say I'm a fool for colorful flowers! Happy April 1st!
My first trip to the Lavender farm and I was so amazed at how beautiful and peaceful this place is. It's a 25 acre farm that grows lavender plants. But that's not all... they make lavender oil and from that they have fragranced a huge variety of charming gifts and products.... all with the intention to relax and stay calm!
The first time out here I came with the Madison Art Society we were just a little bit early for the full bloom season. So I began my painting, blocking in the shapes and the gazebo with full intentions of returning a few weeks later.
My friend Patty and I have been painting together for a few years now. We headed out around 9:30am on Friday morning. We arrived about 20 minutes later - walked around, checked out the shop and found a cool place under a shady tree.
I brought this painting back with me just to pop in the violets and bluish-purples of full blooming lavender plants. When I was here the first time the day was slightly overcast. The dark tree line in the distance gave a nice backdrop for the gazebo architecture. I was debating to put a few people in the painting but for now I'll just assume they are laying down in the fields.... relaxing of course!
Definitely planning a trip back again soon!
11 x 14" oil on canvas
coated with protective varnish
$425 + tax and shipping
click here to purchase
Lavender Pond Farm website
Today's plein air class was with my one student Marilyn. I met Marilyn and her husband Joel last year at my husband’s cooking class on April 12 - Easy for me to remember that date because it’s my birthday and my husband Dean’s birthday and…. Joel’s birthday too! Dean taught us how to make homemade pizza that night and we finished off the evening with a triple wish birthday cake. Such fond memories of a wonderful night.
The first Plein Air class was scheduled for the previous day but unfortunately was cancelled due to severe thunderstorms and heavy rain. My small group class was then split in two with one student on Friday and two on Saturday. Our first location for the season took place at Elizabeth Park which is on the West Hartford/ Hartford Line.
Marilyn and I walked around the park. Sketched for about 30 minutes and then settled in on a place in the shade. We were fortunate that it remained shady until we packed up around 1:30pm. A sprinkling of visitors came by, politely asked permission to see what we were painting. Followed by a brief conversation and then back to work.
Apparently Elizabeth Park draws folks from all over the state and beyond. We met a nice group from Barkhemstead, Maine, Virginia and New Jersey. A few even asks permission to take a photo of our paintings… which was very flattering. Even when our paintings were still in the middle stages and without the flowers!
Here’s my piece. Not sure if I’m calling it finished or not… might need a little adjustments before varnishing. Looking forward to a second session at Elizabeth Park today.
Ok I finally caught up but now I have to get my paintbrushes ready to begin again in the morning…
This has been a very fun challenge so far. Although I love the dog challenge and I still have one more dog portrait commission to finish up… painting still lifes has been a breath of fresh air… I had been working so much from photographs lately that I forgot how much fun I have setting up little kitchen vignettes .., Dean has been very cooperative and doesn't seem to mind all that much that my easel is smack dab in the middle of the kitchen or my paints and canvas share the dining room table when we eat.
I still have to work on a few new pieces to put in the upcoming show at Maple and Main Gallery that opens on January 25th…. I'm no where near ready…. looking forward to my nice comfy bed now, it's been a very long painting day today...
I truly enjoyed getting lost in this painting yesterday. Applying a new technique called "fracturing" and laying on thick colorful paint gives this painting both energy and stillness combined.
Old World Classic meets New School Technique… so how should I frame this one? Suggestions are welcomed… should I frame it with a classic ornate gilded gold frame or a contemporary frame design? Choices, choices, choices… please chime in and tell me what you think.
This painting will be on exhibit and for sale at our Holiday Show at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art in Chester, CT.
Opening Night is Friday Nov. 15 from 5-8pm ….
please join us for an evening of Art, Conversation and Nibbles!
"Saturated in Stillness", oil, 16" x 20", 2013
"In our stillness, we acknowledge God's greatness and we are in peace in our life. Stillness saturates us in the presence of God."
- quote by E'yen Gardner author of The Wilderness Experience.
This painting is a larger version of the plein air painting I did on sunday morning. It was so peaceful at this lily pond in Bauer Park. Occasionally I could hear the slightest "plunk" from the water's edge.. it must have been a small frog. Other than that the silence and stillness of studying this scene from a painter's view has a way of opening up an awareness of God's presence and just how huge God is compared to this very small view of the world that I see before me.
It takes me a good 15 to 20 minutes to really settle down, to clear my mind of the busyness and that's the time when the "awareness" dial cranks up and my senses are heightened.
The smell of freshly cut grass.
The monarch butterfly flutters from one bloom to the next.
The green lily pads morph into a loosely crocheted blanket of pale yellows, apricot, dusty rose and mint green. Reminding me of the blanket my grandmother so lovingly made for my daughter Victoria when she was first born.
How wonderful it is to not only be able to capture a moment in time but to weave in cherished memories.
To witness life as a colorful tapestry that only our Creator can carefully and lovingly orchestrate.
"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1
with much gratitude,
Early Risers, oil on canvas, 8 x 8, $85
It's funny how the little things in life can bring the greatest joy!
Just yesterday morning I hurried down the front path with my head down, my hands clenching my jacket closed and my mind focused on getting to the car as fast as I could because I wasn't prepared for another cold morning. Silly me, I just assumed it was going to be much warmer... after all it is April!
Then, those tiny little purple and white dots caught my eye.... popping up from the barren garden... and I smiled... a big smile.... because I know it may not feel like spring... but these Early Risers tell me that it IS!
I clipped a few of these sweet little crocus flowers brought them inside and by this morning the indoor temperatures caused them to burst open in full bloom. Late afternoon is when I got around to painting this piece.
Earlier in the day I had an appointment with a gift shop owner in Milford to present my art and greeting cards. Bev the owner of the shop, Something of Bev's, was a wealth of great ideas for how I should market and sell my artwork and greeting cards to local gift shops, florists and at fairs. Her 20+ years of experience was so beneficial and genuine desire to help me was of great value. Bev loved my pet portraits and the idea of a new line of greeting cards based on the "Beach Ladies" painting I did last month.
New opportunities are just beginning to bloom.... I'll keep you post.
Red, White and Blueberry, oil, 6x 6, $85
Today is Day 9 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge that I signed on to be apart of with Leslie Saeta and over 260 other artists.
My theme is: Connecticut Treasures.
Today's painting has more to do with a color theme than a specific location. Red, white and blue.
As one of the original 13 colonies, Connecticut is steeped in history and good-old fashion yankee ingenuity.
Fun Facts about CT
Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in New Haven, CT.
PEZ Candy Co, Headquarters is Orange, CT
George C. Blickensderfer invented the portable typewriter
ESPN sports channel was the brainchild of Bill Rasmussenin Bristol, CT.
Side note: Looking up these fun facts about Connecticut has ignited even more painting ideas... this challenge just might not end at 30 days... I'm really having too much fun...so stay tuned!
Join in the Journey
Hope you join me on this 30 day painting challenge... you can sign-up for these blog posts to be delivered right in your inbox... just look for the email sign-up box in the right column. Feel free to comment below and share what you like best about living or visiting Connecticut, and if you've never been to our "Nutmeg State" I hope I've inspired you to come and visit sometime.
P. S. Connecticut's state song is " Yankee Doodle....."
Peaches and Sunflowers, oil on canvas 9 x 12 available
Today's painting I chose to sit outside on our patio. It was a challenge because the afternoon sun kept hiding behind some very large rain clouds. I managed to finish painting and close up my easel just before the rain started.
Shhhhh..... it's a secret for now... I'll be make an announcement soon... but just to let you know Dean and I are planning a big Tent Sale in a few weeks. We just sent up the big white tent today...
It's going to be a CHRISTMAS in JULY SALE!
Lots and Lots of artwork for sale at amazing prices!
and Dean's planning to cooking all afternoon on the grill for some tasty treat.. don't hold me to it but I think he's going to cook his awesome BBQ ribs...
I'll keep you posted...
On my way into BJ's yesterday for just a few things... ha ha who am I kidding.
In front of me was a bin of watermelons. I looked closely and notice the pink ribbon logo. So upon investigation I found the website below is a sponsor of Breast Cancer Awareness.. makes sense... think pink... watermelon... that's today's inspiration.
This painting wil be on display and available for purchase at our ART GATHERING Friday night at Main Street Cafe in Cheshire, CT
Hope you can join us!
Branford, CT 06405
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