"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." - Albert Einstein
Just like the way the wind swirls the clouds in the sky or moves the water into waves - I think that's the way my imagination works. Working behind the scenes, as I go about my day, my imagination begins to weaves together experiences, ideas and visions. And the more a painting idea circulates around in my mind the stronger the vision and the deeper the conviction is to make it come forth.
How "Breezy Day" came together really transpired back a few months ago... let's trace the roots of it's beginning.
In June, I began preparing for an upcoming class in acrylics for beginners, part of the lesson required teaching how to paint clouds. so what did I do... I painted clouds, lots and lots of clouds. Just practice.. then paint right over them the next day and start again. Searching how other artists painted clouds, I watched a few videos and then back to the easel. Clouds have become a recent obsession, you might say.
Fast forward to a few days into August we had one rainy stormy day after another - hazy hot humid and lots and lots of rain..... But as I dropped my mom off at Bradley airport that morning - kissed her good-bye the sun came out peaking around the billowing clouds. I headed south on 91 - picked up my gear at home- packed a lunch and back out the door to Old Lyme. Yes.... chasing the clouds all the way!
Even though that day's plein air study didn't thrill me... the vision was becoming clearer and on a much bigger scale.... like a few feet bigger! The distance sailboats and the wooden sailboat in the foreground made its way onto the canvas based off of the dozens of reference photos from our trip to Mystic Seaport Museum in June for the annual Wooden Boat Show and searching the web.
As each idea worked it's way shape by shape, brushstroke by brushstroke onto this large canvas the energy and momentum and vision crystalized and the palette knife made the waves sparkle..
But deep down... what anchored this vision, I would have say faith. Faith that it would all come together, faith that what I saw in my imagination was canvas worth - because faith is the belief in things unseen.
... and in the next post I'll share with you where this painting, "Breezy Day" made it's first debut! ....and the story continues...
keep creating .... make your day colorful and bright!
Here's a photo and quick clip of a recent trip with the Madison Art Society- Wednesday Paint Out at Ann P.'s place on Griswold Point Lane in Old Lyme. Got there late, had to work quick and my umbrella was ready to take flight.... of feeling little like Mary Poppins you could say.
But the view was gorgeous - And my painting intention: focus on clouds. Today I didn't want to paint from a photograph I want to actually attempt to capture these forms as the quickly shifted shape, size and color! OOhhh so challenging ... but so worth the exercise!
Happy painting .... keep looking up and enjoy how beautiful our surroundings are .... when we take the time to observe... slow way down... and just appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
lots of love,
If you're at all curious, which my husband is.... this where I was painting and the view across the mouth of the CT river looking at the Lynde Point Lighthouse... and of course he asks... can you fish there?
Afternoon spent with my mom and daughter in one of our favorite places stony creek - we had hot dog from Thimbleberrys and watch Bear play in the water. Before he ventured into the water he enjoyed let the water glide up underneath him cooling his belly .. but not enough to cool him down. It wasn't until V took off her shoes and encouraged him to go a little deeper into the water, watching his mama head into the water up to her knees... swung open the door of permission ..... and WHAM... he felt the freedom of swimming around with just his head out the water. It's always a good time watching a dog swim, paddling around with a big grin on his face. And of course the BIG SHACK-OFF after his afternoon dip!
Great day, great memories made!
P.S. Classes and Shows coming up! Click here for more info on classes and here for more info on upcoming shows.
Here's my piece from our day at Brooksvale Park in Hamden CT. I wouldn't consider this a finished piece - it's still work in progress but I thought it would be great to talk about the difference between process vs. product.
I was just talking to one of my students in an acrylics class and after the first lesson she wanted to make it perfectly clear to me that she didn't need to finish her painting. She want to learn the process of how to paint. I love this insight from someone who is just starting out.
Often time we and that includes me feels that WE need to finish a piece. But it's when we can slow down and enjoy the process and learn new techniques or develop or skills observing and hand coordination ... we truly grow. Not everything has to be a finished product but if we can reflect back on the process of when we were creating the piece can we answer a few questions like... what did I learn from this? what could I have done differently? Did I try something new? .... you can ask yourself lots of questions about the piece, inquiry can be your best teacher.
keep painting and creating- enjoy the process - it's a marathon not a sprint!
Big hugs, Linda
Brooksvale Park is located off of Rt. 10 in Hamden CT - New Haven County - click on the map to zoom into get exact location
This was a fun project to be apart of with Kirsten Floyd - KF Interior Design, Hartford CT and my daughter Veronica who is Kirsten's summer assistant. A print of my Golden Radiance over Stony Creek Harbor sits above the fireplace mantel in the model home of the Pennington in Farmington, CT.
With the blues and neutral accents the room brings a wonderful sense of New England coastal charm. The rest of the model home is gorgeous. A kitchen that is light, bright and air. Two bedrooms, 2 full baths and a den. This photo was taken before the staging was complete - to view more check out KF Interior Design instagram page here.
Custom Prints Can be a great solution!
Looking for a unique work of art for your home, office or perhaps you're an interior designer looking to compliment your design theme with a work of art. Most of my paintings whether available or sold could be purchased as a quality reproduction on canvas or paper. High quality prints of of my work can sized larger or smaller fit any space, Send me a message, let's start the conversation... I would love to help.
Sept 8-9, On the Green in Glastonbury, CT
Sept 28- Oct 1- Heritage Village Country Club, Southbury, Ct
Oct 5-8 - Litchfield Firehouse, Litchfield CT
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
A wonder day at the Lavender farm! The temperature was just right and I found nice shady spot under a big oak tree. I was just along the pathway where the train would come around from behind the house.... for a motorized trolley train, it ran very quiet or perhaps I was just in a painting zone... a few times the conductor rang the bell just to give me a heads up he was on his way.
This was my second time at the farm and so enjoy all the beautiful motifs and scenes. There's a lily pond, cover bridge, plenty of picnic tables under the big shady trees. A gift shop with everything lavender imaginable! And what a wonderful calming smell of lavender in the air.
I met some wonderful folks from Rhode Island, Pam and Mark as well as Cassidy, and bumped into a fellow painter friend Dawn.
The antique red Ford truck is showcased near the center hub where lots of guests gather around to pick out their very own lavender plant, wait for a train ride or chat among friends.
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.
Finding Joy in the Journey: Looking Back - 6 Years Ago - Reflections and Insight for my Plein Air Class Week 3
As I prepare for week 3 -my job is to not only teach the foundational skills to paint outdoors but to be an encourager to my students. To share my past experiences.. the good and the not so good. And hopefully an insightful perspective with a few years attached to it.
This week I want to share with them about a time when I drove up to Simsbury on a Saturday morning in July looking for the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society group Paint Out, but couldn't find them. I plugged the farm address into my GPS, packed my gear and headed north. I drove around for a while but couldn't find the painters at this designated spot. Did I have the wrong day? the wrong time? Maybe I didn't get the email that they changed locations.
Whatever the case, I didn't want to waste this beautiful day. I headed down the street looking for the possibility of another place to paint. I drove up the road and to my surprise I came across an old railroad bridge that was covered with flowers. This totally caught me off guard. Later I found it's called the Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge. A local group work together each year to plant over 62 pots and hanging baskets from the ironwork. It's really a spectacular sight. The combination of the colorful and organic flowers and foliage against the steel, the Farmington River rushing underfoot and the blue sky above called out "Paint Me! Paint Me!"
I can remember hanging around for almost two hours. Looking, sketching, taking photos and looking some more. Honestly the scene was overwhelming and I had no clue how to paint it. I didn't have the experience or understanding of how and where to begin. Has this ever happened to you? Have you seen something that's caught your eye, you say to yourself this is really beautiful, I would love to capture it on canvas but when it comes down to where to begin... it's just overwhelming.
So what did I do instead? Back in my studio, I painted a scene close by but in another direction. For the longest time I just thought it was a cop-out. I didn't realize until recently and a few years of separation from that experience that... it wasn't an a cop-out at all. In fact I would love to share with my students a few lessons that I learned.
1. Be Flexible. No matter how much you plan an outdoor excursion, you've got the gear, the weather is cooperating, you've got the time, etc. it just might not go exactly how you planned. But be flexible. Keep your eyes wide-open and look for a plan B. or may plan C, or D. Looking back if I stopped at my original destination and painted there, I would have never traveled down this road to discover this amazing sight. Or what if I just gave up and drove home? That would have been a waste of time.
2. Sketching and take photos are valuable tools. I'm glad I had my sketchbook to practice and record what's in front of me. Even if I couldn't get up the nerve to set up my easel. In my sketchbook I could record the weather conditions, the sounds, and even my thoughts. Even though I spent time there sketching, drawing and walking around the sight. The photos helped to trigger my memories back in my studio.
3. Practice from your photos back in your home studio. Although being on location is what we are trying to achieve. It doesn't hurt, in fact, I think it helps tremendously to take a few intermediate steps, especially when your first starting out. Ask yourself a few questions back in your studio of why did this seem too challenging to paint on location. Too many colors? Complicated shapes? Subject too large for the canvas? Too many details? Once you define what was stopping you then you could address it in your home studio... in your safe zone. For me I set up my plein air easel in my studio and display images from my laptop onto a large screen tv in my studio to practice. . Reminder- the camera can distort the images so try not copy precisely from the photo, just use them as references. But this is the best way to practice. Take your time, measure and build your confidence. Once you've done some sketch work try going back to the location with your gear to set up and paint the scene.
4.Next Best: Find a scene close by that could feel like the area and paint that. Later on you'll reflect back on the "Next Best" painting and the memories of the place, time and moment will come flooding back to you even if you didn't paint the exact scene. You do remember the heat of the summer and the casting cool shadows from the surrounding trees. Maybe even the people you meet or the dogs you greet. Since a painter will spend much more time absorbed in a scene than when shooting a photo I believe those memories have a much deeper impact.
Hope these tips help you on your Plein Air Adventure and remember don't be too anxious to "arrive"... the Joy is in the Journey! Happy Painting!
This is a note I'll be sharing with the students who are in my Plein Air Painting Class at Artsplace in Cheshire. We just completed week 2 of a 5 week class that is held on Thursday mornings from 9-12pm. Even if you aren't in the class, feel free to leave a comment below about having the right perspective. Would love to engage in a conversation about your experience.
Note to Students:
I hope you don’t think I’m picking on you. I truly want to help you grow your artistic skills. I’m thrilled that you are in this class and I value you as a student and your desire to want to learn. We are all on this journey together. Some a little more advanced, and some are at the beginning. But that’s the exciting part because we can all learn from each other.
One of the hardest things to do is to not compare yourself with someone else. We all do it. I do it too. It’s part of our human nature. But just because it’s part of human nature doesn’t mean that it’s always helpful for us. We need to put on the right learning glasses to have a perspective that will help us, not hinder us.
Speaking from my own experience, which I hope you can relate to, I have attended classes or workshops where I’m eager to start, to take what the teacher has demonstrated and put it into practice. I gather my supplies, get set up, put the first marks on the paper or canvas, and within a few minutes I can hear that inner critic say “what are you doing? that isn’t right? “ weren’t you paying attention?”
Or I might be working away and everything is going great I just finished the first step. I pause, take a break, lift my head and look around at what everyone else is doing and boom, I immediately start to compare my work with my classmates. Let’s be honest, do you do that too? The thoughts would go something like this… “look at how much better so and so’s work is next to mine” or “why didn’t I do that?” or the dreaded “what am I doing here? They are so much better than me”. If my thoughts were visible you could actually see them travel in a downward spiral.
Or what if it goes in the other direction. What if I look around and say to myself “mine is so much better” yikes! That sounds so prideful! I’m so glad no one can read my thoughts. But this can be an equally dangerous place too. Why? because perhaps I’ve convinced myself that I know it all. I take on this “been there, done that” attitude. It just sounds arrogant as I type these words. If I spiral to those thoughts I’ve also closed the door to learning and growing my skill.
What’s happening here? I’m wearing the wrong set of “perspective glasses”.
So, instead I will adjust my focus and say to myself, “ I’m here to learn not just from the instructor but from the other students. I want to be stretched, challenged and grow. Somethings I create are really good and somethings are just practice. Accept it. When my eyes, ears, heart and mind are wide open and eager, even hungry to learn.... the Possibilities are Limitless!“
I call these “Teachable lenses”.
This is a conscience choice I have to make and so will you. Choose to see and embrace your uniqueness. Each and everyone of us has an incomparable artistic voice, that was meant to be discovered, nurtured and cultivated. If I put a halt to comparing myself to anyone else and choose to be open to new ideas, suggestions and maybe a different way of solving a problem or breaking a habit that might be hindering my ability to grow - Progress and advancement will follow. Yes!!
After all that’s exactly what we are doing here in the first place. Right? RIGHT!
I've been working very hard in my studio in preparation for my upcoming solo show at Evergreen Woods in North Branford, CT. I'm very excited to share my latest work created from my trip to Italy. Some pieces are posted on my website and social media. There are a few more that are still "cooking" and will share as soon as they are done. If are in the area please stop in or join me at the reception.
Show date: June 5 to July 5, 2018
Reception Date: Friday June 8, 2018 - Open to the Public 4:00-6:00pm
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