Saturday, July 28, 2007

Golden beets

And they are. They don't shimmer, but they are a lovely red-gold color, small and well-shaped. Cooked and skinned, they are like little jewels. Here they are in the raw, though. They are much more interesting that way. I'd already cut and cooked the tops, which left the roots exposed for me to enjoy-- so of course I had to make a painting of them in my little sketchbook. This was actually last night, but close enough to today to count.

Canson watercolors and india ink on heavyweight sketch paper, 9x11 cm (3.5x5.5 in.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

The old barn on a sunny day in spring

Pastel on Tiziano with lightly sanded ground, 35x35 cm (c. 14x14 in)

I am proud to introduce my barn. A small old carriage house, actually, still outfitted with the horse stall, saddle block, tack hooks, and even a space for chickens to share space with the horse. A loft for hay, still with shreds of hay drooping from the spaces in the floor boards. Sadly, I have no chickens, nor a horse.

It pleases me no end to own such a barn, though. And to run a clothesline from the barn to the house on hooks that clearly were meant for that purpose.

I am not sure I am finished with this yet. But it is close. I have been working on it a little at a time over the last two weeks: time to let it out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Queen Anne's Lace with Astilbe

I am working on a large (for me) pastel painting, but it is going slowly. For the past two weeks I've been listening to the abrupt whine of a chop saw next door as my neighbor puts new siding on his house. In the meantime, the town is installing new water mains, and it seems that every moment of every day someone is running a loud mowing machine nearby. I have a headache. I am used to living in the boonies. I find even normal town noice difficult. Ah, but soldiering on while I plot to escape.

The tiny little watercolor sketches that I've been doing in the evening help ease the frustration of dealing with the noise. As casual as the little paintings are, I feel as if I've accomplished something. And, I have. I go to bed reminded of the small beauties I am surrounded with. This one, an informal bouquet from my garden, in an old olive oil jar on my table.

Canson watercolor on heavyweight sketch paper, 9x15 cm (3.5x6 in)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pabs' beets

The other day, a delightful English artist who goes by the name "Pabs" posted a photograph on an artist's forum of a box of fresh beets, taken at a farmer's market. I couldn't resist painting those beets, so here they are, in all their rotund glory.

Soft pastel on Tiziano with sanded ground, 15x20 cm (6x8 in.)

I am doing a lot of quick small paintings right now, as I work out a larger painting with a lot of detail. The little paintings give my creative juices both a break and inspiration, since I get to make things without any particular end.

I haven't been posting lately, though, as we've had one thunderstorm after another, one of which also resulted in some scrambled files on my computer needing repair work. Lovely weather again, so I'll be catching up on some of those posts today too!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Raspberry shortcake with ice cream and journal

Here's another of those little sketchbook paintings. Now, you didn't think I painted this from life, did you? The bowl was empty when I drew it, which might account for the fact that it is somewhat lopsided. I was making allowance for the space formerly taken up by the shortcake, which I'd already eaten. However, I did have some raspberries handy for reference. I ate those too. The journal is my word journal, which wanders around with me.

Canson watercolor and india ink on 93# sketchbook paper, 14.5x7 cm. (5.5x2.75 in.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Kitchen rack

On my dining room table I keep a little sketch book and my field kit. Often while working on something more involved, or in the evening to relax, I sit down and do one or two quick ink and watercolor sketches of whatever catches my eye. It's fun doing these informal, sometimes whimsical little studies. And fun to share an occasional one, too. Do I label these? Oh, I suppose...

Canson watercolor and india ink on heavy sketchbook paper, 9x15 cm. (3.5x6 in.)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Two easy pieces

The light has been lousy today, changing from bright sun to overcast to dark and stormy within moments. I'd intended to do the setup for a large piece I'd been planning. But I need steady, even light to do that. So I played again at doing little studies. This is actually good for me, besides being fun. Here are two: a small pastel, and an ink and watercolor in my littlest sketchbook. They are actually almost the same size.

The pastel: Flower Jumble, an impression of the flowers just outside my painting bay. Very very quick, in the ten minute period between sun and downpour. Daisies, bluebells, beebalm, celosia, daylilies, hosta, coneflower. Yes, all blooming at once. Vermont's season tends to compress everything together.

Pastel on Tiziano sage, 12x9 cm. (4.75x3.5 in.)

The watercolor: Summer window. An informal ink sketch of my southeast-facing dining room window, with impressionistic watercolor washes. Yes, it sort of looks like this. Sort of. The window looks out at a tangle of overgrown lilac bush, giving the room a delightfully mysterious feel.

Mixed media on 93# sketch paper, 9x15 cm. (3.5x6 in.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Back to pastels. A quick little sketch of me this time, loosely based on a photo taken by a friend. I'm getting ready to do a portrait of my friend and her husband, so this just seemed fair. Just for fun, I decided to mess with the colors to see what would happen. Only four colors, loose strokes, rough edges. Some mistakes along the way, but I found I like working this way. I might use it as a study for a larger work later on.

Pastels and colored pencils on Tiziano cream, 11x11 cm. (4.25x4.25 in.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Little cove at Bayview Park

Watercolor on Arches 300 gsm, 16.5x24 cm (6.5x9.5 in.)

For the last week the weather here in New England has been hot and horridly humid, with thunderstorms and heavy downpours every day. I sorted through the photos my sister-and-law and I had taken during my visit to the NW in May, and a photo of this rocky outcrop caught my eye. This is at Bayview Park, west of the Anacortes ferry landing. When I lived in Washington, this was a favorite place of mine.

Though the painting is a conventional landscape, I like the peaceful feeling and memories it carries. Painting it gave me a chance to work at retrieving some lost skills and practice a few new ones, while pretending I was still there, with a cool ocean breeze in my face.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rhubarb pie

On a sort-of challenge by a fellow artist who also has a penchant for drawing what he eats, I did this little pastel of a rhubarb pie I baked during a too brief one-day period of coolness earlier this week. Knowing the pie wouldn't last long enough to paint "live", I took photos while it was still intact. Nothing is left now but the pan. But here's the evidence.

Soft pastel on Tiziano cream, 10x12 cm (4x4.75 in)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The other side of the hill

This little piece started out with the title, which just popped into my head. I know why: there's a personal symbolism at work here. But then I had to come up with something visual to express it. It's a lovely day today, sunny and just warm enough to be comfortable. And I live in Vermont. So here is a Vermont hillside in the early morning sun. On the other side of the hill, far far away, is home.

pastel on Tiziano sage, 10x10 cm. (4x4 in)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sometime in October

watercolor on Arches 300, 25x25 cm. (10x10 in)

The last couple of days have been downright cold. I woke up to temps in the 40s. A bit of a shock after the hot humid weather of the last couple of weeks. I even had the furnace on! Perhaps that is what inspired this watercolor, which started out to be a summer rain... instead it is a misty autumn rain with late afternoon sunlight breaking through the clouds. Ah, symbolic: the seasons confused, and so am I.