One of the ladies in my art group visited Churchill, Canada and took the most magnificent photos of polar bears and other arctic animals. With New Year's Day rapidly approaching and the Polar Plunge taking place in many cities, I thought it would be appropriate to paint this beautiful animal. As a person who thinks anything below 70 degrees is cold, I can't even imagine what it would be like to jump into freezing water.
Thanks to Vicki Marx for the use of her spectacular photo.
This Christmas, my daughter and I made traditional baklawa in our Lebanese tradition, and lemon and chocolate Italian cookies with Mom Campion's recipe. Brushing butter on the phyllo dough with a pastry brush was the closest I came to painting. There has been no time to paint these past few days---yes, I miss it, but spending this special time with my daughter is more important to me.
Is your mouth watering yet?
I am wishing everyone a happy new year. I appreciate all of your kindness through nice comments and encouragement.
It is probably obvious by now that Blue/Orange is my favorite complementary color palette. Funny thing is I never liked the color orange, until I received an orange pumpkin soap dispenser at a luncheon and it discovered how fabulous it looks in my pale turquoise kitchen. It is now my permanent accent color.
As this miserable cold reaches the 1 week mark, the Cuties (vitamin C) are dwindling away. All of Milwaukee is sick!
I took the photo reference for this painting last year in my next door neighbor's yard. Her young dogwood tree was decorated with red holiday balls and the freshly fallen snow had piled up on them. For someone who hates cold and winter, I admit I love the brightness, the shadows, and the colors of the snow. FYI, my husband, my best critic, has absolutely no idea what this painting is all about. That's a bad sign, because, despite his color blindness, he is usually correct.
This is Saki, a lucky little pooch. Her "grandmother" commissioned this painting of puppy Saki for her son and his family. It will be given to them tomorrow, Saturday and I hope they will like it.
A few years ago, my Art Ladies group went on a llama trek through the Rio Grande trails. We each had our own llama, who carried our supplies through the trails to a beautiful spot where we painted and had lunch. It was a wonderful day and surprising how attached we all felt to the llamas. Perhaps we were missing our pets at home. Sorry I can't remember my llama's name.
I painted Lady up close the other day, but I like this painting better. She was a very sweet horse at Ghost Ranch who had free roam, even though she was blind. I learned last night that she is no longer living, and I'm sure she is missed at the Ranch.
This is the second time I have painted this scene. A friend really liked it and wanted it for a trio of autumn paintings, but it was sold. I love the shape of this tree, as it almost looks like a woman's "shapely" figure. This photo shows the painting framed with Franken Frames's floater frame. I really like these frames because none of the image is lost as it would be with a conventional frame.
Meet Lady, a horse we met at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. At the time, she was old and blind and very sway-back, but affectionate and seemingly happy. She has the run of the ranch, unlike most other horses there.
I started this as part of a class on miniature paintings. I didn't fully understand what that entailed, but since I paint "small," I figured it would be a piece of cake. HA! Was I wrong! This is much more detailed than I am accustomed to painting.
Yesterday Jean delivered my order of her meticulously crafted pottery. Some people in my family will be happy to receive it. (Shhhh....) She has changed directions on her designs to appeal more to the "modern" set. Check out her work at her Etsy store here:
Here sugar skull mugs are now sold at Colectivo Coffee. Very cool.
These persimmons were given to me as a gift from a friend after I mentioned that I have never painted persimmons from life. They are such a beautiful fruit and I think look very much at home in my blue and white Jean Wells bowl.
It felt so good to paint again today after a week off, not by choice, but because there aren't enough hours in the day. I am feeling very grateful and humble at the response to my 500th Painting open house celebration last week. It was particularly rewarding for me to have Jean Wells visit and approve of my paintings of her beautiful bowls.
This is a lovely farm near Algoma, Wisconsin. I have never seen so many sunflowers in one place. I am almost finished painting it in a larger format, which I have to say is a heck of a lot easier than this was.
Sunsets are beautiful to watch, but I think very difficult to paint. You just can't improve on something so beautiful. Our family recently spent several days on Captiva, Florida, where the sunsets are magnificent. People line the beaches just to see each evening's performance. It is reported that some see a bright green speck just before the sun sets, but unfortunately we did not see it.
This is my 500th Daily Painting. I am so proud and happy. I obsessed over this painting for days, even more than for my first painting. So many possibilities for subjects were considered, each evoking a surprising emotion . I wanted to reflect gratitude for the past as well as demonstrate hope and promise for the future. This has been such a rewarding experience--I can't even begin to tell you how much I have learned from this experience. Along the way I have met so many nice people, strangers who take the time to complement each other's work because they know how important it is to an artist. I have been asked many times, "Will you stop at 500?' Heck, no.
Thank you to all of you for your kindness and encouragement.
Since it is such a cold, ugly grey day here in Milwaukee, I thought I would take myself back to the warmth of summer. August 20 was the day of my first official organized plein air experience. It was hot and I was comfortable on a very small foot bridge overlooking a lovely scene. I saw my first woodchuck swimming in this shallow stream, and it was all so peaceful and beautiful. But at some point I got that uh-oh feeling. What to do with all this GREEN? In the nick of time, my friend and I turned in our two pieces, called it a day, and chalked it all up to experience. I felt like I wanted to tackle the painting again today. It's better than it was on August 20, but not something I want to tackle again.
There is a property not far from my house that I cannot pass on foot without stopping to admire this cluster of trees and the beautiful lighting and shadows. It seems to be breathtaking any time of the day. I never even noticed the house until I looked at the photo. It is tucked away, so the trees are the stars, in my opinion.
I was away on vacation without paints for a week. I felt a little rusty today, but am eager to get back to the routine. The reference photo for this paintings was taken a little more than a week ago. Many more leaves have fallen since then.
On the return from our Door County plein air painting trip, we passed through Algoma, Wisconsin, where we saw such a beautiful turquoise barn with yellow trim and a salmon colored roof next to a breathtaking field of sunflowers. I doubled back to photograph it and am nearly finished with a larger painting of the image. I need to set it aside for a little while to critique it with "fresh eyes." I am so drawn to this farm that I have been tempted many times to make the nearly 2 1/2 hour drive to see it again.
One of my favorite places to get away is Big Bay Park which overlooks Lake Michigan in my community. At this time of year, the maples are so vibrant along the way leading to the path that takes you to the lake. This Fall I've stopped my car many times to take pictures of the trees in all their glory and brilliance, and couldn't resist the impulse to paint them. I squirted out the Indian Yellow and Nickel Azo Yellow for this one.
This is one of the eight beautiful bowls I purchased at Empty Bowls Milwaukee. I purchased three bowls made and donated by Jody Nolan, all are free formed and irregular and beautiful and I don't think I can part with them. I don't know much about making pottery, but they look to me like they are made from a slab of clay rather than a thrown pot. Here is the link to Jody's site: http://jodynolanclay.com/
A week ago, I attended my first Milwaukee Empty Bowls, a fundraiser for the hungry in our community. I arrived 15 minutes before the event officially started and was shocked at how many people were there. The volunteers were quite humorous--you had your choice of going to the "in control" (long) line where you could see and choose your bowl(s) or the much shorter "don't care about control" line where you picked a bowl in a brown paper bag. You've probably guessed by now that I like choices, so I went in the long line. I ended up buying 8 bowls, presumably for "gifts," don't know how I can part with any of them, all so beautiful. I know I'm getting too wordy here, but the object of this fundraiser is to pick a bowl, have it washed, then take it upstairs where your bowl was filled with soup. That day, Empty Bowls raised $46,400 to feed Milwaukee's hungry! I was excited to read on my cousin's Facebook page that there is a similar event in West Virginia too.
My recent series of bowl paintings has been to celebrate "home" and 38 of the paintings have featured bowls hand made and purchased years ago from Jean Wells Smaglik, one of the artists and organizers of Milwaukee Empty Bowls. These are 3 of the 7 pieces of Jean's.
I tried something a little different with this painting. I nearly always ground my boards with black gesso but so many artists are presently grounding with a soft orange/coral color, so I thought I would try it with this painting. Carol Marine just mentioned it in today's post, and one of Milwaukee's favorites, Shelby Keefe often uses this color. I am eager to hear what you think.
You will obviously gather from the title that this is a new bowl, which I purchased at the Whitefish Bay Farm gallery in Door County when we painted there en plein air in early-September. There were so many beautiful bowls and other items, including hand spun and dyed yarn, that it was hard to choose what to buy. I love the dark stripe in this bowl, calling out for an eggplant, and the irregular colors of the glaze.