A couple of years ago my friend and I were looking for a new exercise class. We signed up for a stretch class although we wondered if it was suitable for our needs. Jumping ahead, now we look forward every week to that class and two other sessions including yoga, all taught by this amazing woman, Helen. We not only get a great workout, but have become bonded to the group of people who find laughter, support, and friendship within the communities Helen brings together. I hope I've captured her wonderful spirit with this painting.
A paint out was held during a fall festival in nearby Roanoke, Indiana last month. I didn't get a great photo before I popped it into a frame for the competition so this isn't the best image. But on the upside, it won first place. Yay! Plein air painting still takes effort for me, but I'm really enjoying it more and very much appreciating the advantage of seeing color before it's altered and flattened out by photography. This painting is available at Castle Gallery Fine Art
I recently had the honor of being hired to paint live at a wedding reception. It was challenging to hold back on getting "too precious" with details since there was so much activity to represent. I tried to grasp the likenesses of these lovely people the best I could so there are a lot of tiny portraits in this. It was an awesome experience. Now to get back to my bigger brushes!
While visiting my son in Princeton, New Jersey, we took a train into Manhattan and spent the day. The weather was perfect and warm for early November and the sun stayed out all day, giving us this display of light and shadow through the trees. Central Park is to the left and just across the street, out of view, was the stunning Guggenheim Museum. This painting is available at Castle Gallery Fine Art
I haven't been posting much, just having a lovely but busy summer and fall, so I'm going to try to catch up a bit over the next few days. This is my city, painted from a photo I took while my husband was driving. I was experimenting with a new camera which I clearly did not have on the right setting to avoid the blur, but then I liked it. I think the painting captured that feeling of dynamic activity and potential I always feel when coming into downtown. This was for an Indiana Bicentennial invitational exhibit held this summer at Artlink Gallery.
Although there's nothing autumnal about this scene, painted plein air on a very hot July day, it is so named since I was facing the Fall Pavilion in the beautiful Calendar Garden of The DeFries Garden in New Paris, Indiana. The garden is divided into the fourths, encircling this lily ladened koi pond with lovely little buildings and seasonal flowers to glorify each of the four seasons. It's also marked with each month of the year and the brick walkway is imprinted with each day plus holidays. For details, visit the garden's designer Jon Cutrell's Flickr page by clicking here. Two artist friends and I painted in this paradise last week and though it's over an hour away, I was so impressed, I drug my husband back there yesterday so he could admire it as well, gardener that he is. It's no wonder it's a popular destination for weddings and other events. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the drive and I'll be painting for quite awhile from the many photos I took.
The magnificient old Bass Mansion on the grounds of the University of Saint Francis with the spring flowers in full bloom. It is a spectacular structure and is now the centerpiece of the university. There is a beautiful pond just behind it, complete with swans.
Still trying to get some exercise for those plein air muscles but this one was done from a photo taken in Yellow Springs, Ohio during the Tim Horn workshop. I did, however, paint it fast, as if I was working outside and had to make decisions and strokes quickly. All in, it took about 90 minutes.
Last night was the artist's reception for a juried exhibit held annually, called Ventures in Creativity. It's always fun event since most of the artists are known around Indiana and largely from here in Fort Wayne. I entered four that were all accepted, which of course made me very happy, but that was nothing compared to how I felt when they announced the winners. My self portrait, "Selfie in a Pink Hat" won Best of Show. What a rush. So a big THANK YOU to judge Lynn Dunbar who came up from Louisville Kentucky to be the juror for this event. Here, again is the painting...
Our city hosts several farmer's markets throughout the summer, but this one, The Barr Street Market, is my favorite. I painted it last year and enjoyed the process, and the outcome, and I especially enjoyed that it sold right away! So when we visited it a couple of Saturdays ago on a beautiful sunny day, the bright canopies were practically glowing, inspiring me to give it another go.
This painting came out of a need to harness these gorgeous colors. It began with the little bouquet from our yard plopped into the green Ball jar and a stack of fabrics I bought to make pillows for our patio furniture. I was captivated by the sight of those colors together and started gathering anything that might play off that palette. I really wanted to add a tiny baby doll that I've kept from childhood, but I'll save her for another time. I arranged about 50 different poses with all kinds of props before settling on this one that includes my grandmother's old banjo-uke, my aunt's cut glass bowl, and the rose colored wine glass and applique hankie I found at a rummage sale. I absolutely loved painting this, especially in air conditioning.
I've been investing a lot of time trying to up my game in plein air. It takes an entirely new set of skills and I'm acutely aware of just how much of a novice I am at painting from life outside. But it's been fun in spite of the sunburns, mosquito bites, and other mishaps, such as when the wind picked up my entire easel, along with the painting, paints, brushes, and solvents, and blew it all into a pond. The fun part includes a paint out where my painting sold right of my easel and a fantastic workshop with Tim Horn.
Here are a few shots from that amazing time with Tim. It was held in a charming college town, Yellow Springs, Ohio, and was attended by the nicest bunch of folks I could hope for. We bonded together over our shared passion for art, especially Tim's, and after painting all day, would meet up each night for margaritas and dinner in town. Unfortunately, we never got a group shot.
Tim with one of his incredible demos. I wish so much now that I'd bought this one.
My effort on the last day. A painting of the home of Tim's friend, Branson Pyles.
Me and Tim at the end of the day with temps in the 90's. Still happy.
Maybe you've heard the phrase, "there's more than corn in Indiana". Absolutely right. One very small and charming northern town draws gourmets to what some publications have judged the best French restaurant in Indiana. This is a view looking down the street towards the restaurant. The town is rich with great plein air subjects, a painter's dream.
We recently stayed in a great hotel, which was new but designed to replicate the old motor courts. Really cute. The room included an aqua, deco refrigerator, barn type sliding doors to the bathroom, cement floors, and big rustic wardrobes. This car with their logo, was parked outside along with the Airstream food truck I painted earlier. Such fun.
Brooke again! This time with her little passenger more clearly defined in this more classic approach. I kept it loose with my big round brush for most of this painting. When I stepped back, I was amazed with how well the silky brocade drape turned out.
I've collected some fun, colorful bottles and other assorted glass lately just for the pleasure of painting them. This still life was set up in our back window with a nice view of the pond with ice building up on it. I love that fish bottle and the Buddha bottle!
Colorful Koi, greens, blues, orange, and browns. I totally indulged myself with color today after seeing nothing but white, gray, and dull brown outside. And I know winter weather has just begun up here in the north so that's going to pretty much be our palette for a while. This was painted from a photo I took in Florida a few years ago.
Ever since our son moved to Austin, Texas for grad school, and I started making visits there, I've become increasingly charmed with their food trucks, particularly the old Airstream type trucks. Now I'm obsessed with painting them. It's one thing that Austin offers the most amazing food I've had, but some of the best is brought to you in these incredibly cute and kitschy traveling kitchens! Driving around and spotting them is my kind of Easter egg hunt. This one was parked just outside our hotel.
I love, love, love painting the crazy abstract colors in the reflective metal and then standing back and seeing how it all makes sense.
A Sweet Ride
12 x 16
oil on canvas
This truck is parked on one of the streets popular with tourists and locals, where you can buy a pair of cowgirl boots that costs more than our first house, a cheesy souvenir piece of knicknackery, have an incredible meal, an incredible cup of coffee, go listen to great blues or jazz, and have a cupcake. All within a couple of blocks. I love this truck. I LOVE that city!