Thursday, April 30, 2015

602 Will or Cramer?

For a full 24 hours, we could not find the family of Great Horned Owls in the neighborhood, and sadly assumed they left the area, but we joyfully discovered they had moved only a block south from the willow tree.  The babies are more mobile now, but still, at least one parent is usually nearby.  They are not visible to us during the daytime, but at dusk they are busy.  Since they are now a block closer to our house, I am hoping they will get "carry out" from our yard.  I have chased squirrels and chipmunks from our bird feeders, thanks to Oliver's guard.

A giant thank you to Steve Gardiner for taking such beautiful pictures of the owls, including the reference photo for this painting,  for sharing them with friends and neighbors, and for granting permission for me to paint them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

601 Dilapidated

I love old buildings with character, including dilapidated farms.  If the walls could talk, I'm sure the stories and history would be very interesting.  This is a watercolor painted from a photo from The Morgue.  Watercolor was my first love, beginning in high school.

Monday, April 27, 2015

600 Learning to Fly

I am excited and proud that this is my 600th daily painting in two years with Daily Paintworks.  I never imagined how rewarding this experience woud be, but I have enjoyed every minute of it, meeting new DPW artists along the way, and certainly learning a lot I didn't know about painting.
Oh happy day!

As you may know from previous reports, my neighbors and I are all hooting with joy over the Great Horned Owl family in a nearby willow tree.  I can't seem to get enough of this experience, so there was no question as to what my 600th subject would be.  We have been watching this family grow since January, now with two babies.  I took the photo of this owlet on the day when we first saw the chicks moving about the branches, spreading their wings for balance, and maybe even flying a little.  To see these beautiful creatures with their Mama is such an awesome experience---she never takes her eyes off of them, each day giving them more independence, all with a motherly nurturing we share.  She calls them to come for breakfast and dinner and it reminds the human mother observers of the days when we called our little ones down to eat, only we weren't serving rabbits.  Tonight's crowd of owl-groupies neared 20 people, and all agree it will be very sad to see them move on, although we know that's the way it works.  "hoo ooo, ca CHOO"

Saturday, April 25, 2015

598 Bringing Spring In

Last weekend I bought 2 flats of pansies but it has been too darn cold to go out and garden.  So I just brought some indoors to paint.  Pansies are so sweet and simply say "happy."

Friday, April 24, 2015

597 View of Lake Michigan From the Harvey's

I've been working on sea/skyscapes for the last several months as inspired by Roos Rose Schuring.  I just love her work, which is so free and seemingly so simple, but really so very difficult to achieve.  I am not trained in oil paints, so I am learning that too.  The photo reference was taken in the early evening on the shore of Lake Michigan.  I cropped out my garden club friends (shhhh...don't tell).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

596 Retired

A long-time Garden Club member is a landscape architect and she has the most beautiful property overlooking Lake Michigan.  It is all simply magnificent.  In the Fall, she so graciously gave us a tour of the gardens and pathways.   On our way up the beautiful lannon stone steps from the Lake was this little vignette.  I knew I would paint it someday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Off to Door County

It's official.  My paintings are now on the walls and one in the calendar of my favorite gallery in Fish Creek/Door County, Wisconsin.  The second batch of paintings shipped to them yesterday is shown in the first photo, framed with my favorite floater frames from Franken Frames.  The first batch, framed with gilded frames as shown in the second photo, was delivered by the kindest of friends to the gallery. All in all, there are 26 paintings from my blue and white bowl series.  I hope they will be well received.

I didn't finish my painting of Mama Owl today, hopefully tomorrow.  It was thrilling to see Papa and the two babies, who are nearly as big as Dad now, posing for me this afternoon, third photo.  Pretty cool, isn't it????

Monday, April 20, 2015

594 Reflections

I was thrilled to see this rippled reflection in the water of a boat in a marina at Captiva, Florida.  As artists, we are encouraged to look at shapes, not articulating or thinking of exactly what we are drawing or painting.  That was no problem for me since I don't know a thing about boats, so I wouldn't know what to call it in the first place.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

593 Great Horned Owlet

I have so much on my mind today.  I painted up a storm, but this is what I am most proud of.  As mentioned before, we have a Great Horned Owl family with two babies in our neighborhood, and I can't visit them enough.  I am learning so much about these magnificent creatures and have such a respect for Mother Nature.  We live in a fairly urban area with houses very close together not far from Lake Michigan, but we have more than our share of wildlife.  On Easter Sunday, we had two giant turkeys in our front yard.  We have had coyotes visit as well as deer.  (That combination did not go well.)  Last year, we had baby racoons on our patio. But the owls....they have captured the hearts of many, including mine.  We are waiting for them to fledge, which will be a huge community event.  We are hoping they hang around the neighborhood to keep the rabbit population down.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

592 Forsythia and a Polka Dot Bowl

I know the bowl looks a little off kilter, but it is a hand made bowl and it IS off kilter.
The color yellow is my least favorite color to paint, especially in flowers.  It is very difficult to get it right, despite my "special" paint colors.  The forsythias in my studio are a joy to behold.

Friday, April 17, 2015

591 Spring Has Sprung

I have missed painting blue bowls, but have looked forward to this day when the forsythias are in bloom and can add them to the still life.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

590 Instead of Frida

On Tuesday, my husband and I set out for the NSU Art Museum in Ft. Lauderdale with GPS programmed for the correct address.  We were going to see the "Frida (Kahlo), Diego (Rivera) and Friends" exhibit.  But something strange happened.  We ended up way too far east and ended up at the beach by following every instruction accurately.  It was such a beautiful day that we decided to stay and I was happy to get more sky and water painting references.  Amazing that a few weeks ago, I stood on the shore of the same ocean, but was freezing.  It was probably in the low 90's and felt so good.  Today, we are back in Milwaukee, and I worked in my garden with my winter coat on.   Oh boy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

589 Retail Therapy

I've been away from home for a few days but  I brought my watercolor paints with me so I wouldn't go through painting withdrawal.  This is another floral arrangement from Crate and Barrel in Lincoln Park/Chicago, peonies, lime green tulips and lilies.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

588 Retail Therapy

Why the title "Retail Therapy," you ask?  One of my favorite stores, Crate and Barrel in Lincoln Park/Chicago carries beautiful fresh flowers, the only C and B to do so.  Their arrangements are always unusual and delightful to see amidst all the cool stuff.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

585 Back Road, Plymouth, Massachusetts

I fell in love with this sweet little scene.  The beauty of acrylic paint is that you can change things very easily.  The little hut was originally white with a pink door and shutters, but it didn't translate well into a painting.  I has been transformed numerous times.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

584 Pier at Big Bay

Big Bay Park at Lake Michigan is one of my favorite spots to go any time of the year.  There are two paths down to the beach area, one with at least a million lannon stone steps, that completely immerses you in nature, and the other is a gentle winding slope.  The beach is fairly small but that's where I like to go to pick rocks and the occasional bit of sea glass.  I never come home with empty pockets.  The pier is a favorite place to sit on a calm summer day.  During the summer months, there are quite a few visitors there because it is easy to manage, but during the winter is when you see the dramatic ice that has formed on the lake and the pier.  Here are pictures I took this winter of the pier and the winding steps to the beach. The reference photo for the painting above was taken a week or two ago.

Monday, April 6, 2015

583 New Mama

We have a new family in our neighborhood and I am over the moon smitten by them.  I visit them many times each day and take photos with my 20x zoom lensed camera.  Mom and Dad have two or three kids.  They are Great Horned Owls and the babies have just recently become visible.  The babies are SO adorable---like little puffs of cotton with perfectly round eyes and little hooked beaks.  Did you know that what look like ears are not really ears at all?  (I hope I got that correct.)   We find feathers, squirrel tails and tufts of fur throughout the neighborhood, and everyone is hoping they keep the rabbit population at bay this summer. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

582 Lake Michigan at Beach Drive

When we first moved to the Milwaukee area, people talked about the "witch" on Beach Drive, which is located on a dead end drive on Lake Michigan.  The "witch of Fox Point," Mary Nohl created wonderful works of art, animals, people, dinosaurs, etc. out of cement.  She would haul buckets of water from the Lake, and people assumed she was strange, weird, witch-like.  Now that she has passed, there has been a movement to make her home a museum, but the neighborhood is resentful and doesn't want the traffic that goes with a museum on a dead end road near the lake. She has finally gained her notoriety and the respect she deserved as an artist.   I took a ride there the other day, where you drive so very close to the lake.  It was a beautiful day and brought back many memories of driving with my frightened children, who bought into the whole witch idea as children. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

581 Door County Sunset

I thought I'd take a little break from the grey winter skies and seas and paint from a reference photo taken last Fall in Door County, Wisconsin where the sunsets are spectacular.  There is a particular restaurant, Buster something or other, where tables are set outside for all to witness the breathtaking views.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

580 Atlantic Ocean at Plymouth

My enthusiasm for learning to paint sky/seascapes was rejuvenated after re-watching Roos Schuring's videos from Holland, and after a very nice e-conversation with admired artist, Donna Shiver, who gave me good advice for painting this subject.  I figured I should capitalize on the moment and give the oil paints another try.

I am relatively happy with this painting attempt, except for the glare, and am baffled as to how to photograph a wet painting. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

579 So Happy Together

Still working on the greys so prevalent on a dreary winter day, as this was.  These two swans were so beautiful.  The photo reference was taken on the back roads of Plymouth, Massachusetts.