Sunday, July 27, 2014

Inspired By Italy: My Painting Adventure In Assisi

Hello Everybody!!  I'm so glad to be back.  I hope all of you are enjoying the summer.  I just returned from a visit to Assisi, Italy.  I was there on a painting trip with my teacher, Gregg Kreutz, and some other students.  To say I had a great time would be a major understatement.  We painted every day with the exception of the day we arrived.

Assisi is one of the hill towns of central Italy and is best known as the birth place of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, the environment and Italy.

Upon arriving I went exploring around town.  This is down the hill from the hotel where I stayed.  Assisi is one of Italy's hill towns.  Going down is fine, but sometimes you need a cab for the way back up!

As I continued walking under the arch, I came upon this scene.  There was a little observation area that looked out over these beautiful fields.  It seemed that no matter where I looked there was something beautiful.

The next morning it was painting time.  Our hotel has a terrace that is as big as my apartment so we set up out there for the first painting day.

This is the view I was looking at when I began painting.  I had never painted roof tops before, but it went surprisingly well.

Here is my start.  I blocked in everything and then began painting the sky.  In a landscape painting, the sky is the background, so I always start with that first.

I then moved on to the houses.  The roof tops had the most light on them, so that took awhile to complete, but it just meant putting multiple coats of paint on the canvas until the painting looked the way I wanted it to.

This is the finished painting.  I was happy to complete a painting on the first day, especially one with so much perspective.

To cap off the evening, the hotel set up a huge screen to show the World Cup finale.  A few of us watched it along with the hotel employees.

So that caps off my first two days in bella Italia.  It was the trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad I was able to paint there and explore the lovely town of Assisi.  I have many more pictures to show you, so I will have a few more posts with paintings and pictures of the city.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Hi Everyone,

I hope all of you are enjoying the summer.  I've been very busy painting and working on my updating project.  This weekend I finished two more paintings.

I originally began work on this painting last October.  I painted it on and off but after letting it sit for a few months, I realized it needed something more before I could call it done.

This was the original set up.  The finished painting bears no resemblance to this.  Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten to document the process, so I'll just show you the finished painting.

The Purple Flowers, 12x16, oil

Everything on the canvas has been done for months with the exception of the flowers.  I knew I wanted to add something to the top half of the painting, and when I was wandering around the farmers market this past Saturday, I spotted these gorgeous purple stems and knew they would do the trick.

Next, I finally finished this still life that I have been working on for years.  Yes, I originally painted this about five years ago, but as I gained more knowledge I realized that it needed some work.  Even after I repainted it I was still not happy.  I just couldn't get the green bottle the way I wanted it.

This was the first re-do, but I was just not happy with the bottle.  The light green just did not work for me.  I let the painting sit for awhile, then luckily I happened upon a great dark green bottle.  You know me, I painted the old one right out and now the painting is finally finished.

The Genie Bottle, 16x20, oil

I am so happy with both of these paintings now.  Some paintings just flow off of your brush, but others take time and I've learned that there is nothing wrong with that.  When the right elements showed up, everything clicked into place.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Still Life Redux

I've finished a few paintings over the last couple of weeks, but I'm going to write about this one first.

Do you remember this set up?  I think I began this back in February or March.  I thought it was going to be very easy to do, but as it turned out, this painting was just the opposite.

This was the original block in.  I worked on the painting for a few weeks, but it never really came together.  Add in models coming and going and flowers starting to appear at the markets and it got pushed to the sidelines for awhile.

I did work on it a bit in between other projects.  After I realized that the shape of my vase was wrong, things went a bit more smoothly, but there were still issues.  The most difficult: the white cloth.  If you look at the photo of the still life set up, the cloth was beautifully draped, but I just could not get those folds to look the way I wanted them to.  After several weeks of trying, I decided it was time to move the cloth so that it was easier to paint.  It was still a battle as the cloth looked like it was flowing as it hung off the shelf, but after many coats of paint I finally got it.

I was finally happy with the vase and the cloth, but I felt the painting was still missing something.  I decided to add another spray of leaves behind the orange slice on the right.  A still life should be set up as a triangle so the eye moves from one side of the painting to the other and I felt there was a bit of a gap on the right hand side.

This is the finished painting.  A long haul to be sure, but definitely worth it.  I'm very glad to have this painting done and I'm so happy I did not give up on it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

NYC: Walking The High Line

Hello everyone.  I hope all of you are enjoying the warmer weather after our never ending winter.  Now that the temperature has reached bearable levels, I have been out and about in the city.  A few weeks ago I visited the High Line.

Have you guys been there?  It is an amazing public park built upon an old elevated freight rail line.  It starts at 14th street and ends up around 30th.  It is quite long, but there are benches and lounge chairs all over to stop and rest as well as a little food area with tables.

The views are amazing and the flowers and shrubs are beautiful.  I went in mid May and it was so nice to see all the greenery after our freezing, snowy winter.

The Empire State Building

Flowers planted within the old tracks

I was so happy to see all of this color after our never ending gray winter

I think this is my favorite shot of the day.  Such a peaceful setting.  

Judging from the number of tourists there, the High Line is popular with visitors and locals alike.  There are also special events and programs open the public.  You can check out the schedules here.  The park is now on the summer schedule, open from 7am to 11pm.  Do visit if you get the chance.  It is a lovely place right above the bustling city.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Painting At The Martin Viette Nursery

Hi everybody.  I hope you are all enjoying your weekend.  We are having a three day weekend here in the US and I have been getting a lot of painting done.  Recently, I was lucky enough to take part in a painting day at the Martin Viette nursery on Long Island.  What a beautiful place!  I had never been there before and I was amazed at all the beautiful flowers and garden accessories.  We were allowed to paint anywhere on the property.  After a walk around the place I set up in front of some huge hibiscus plants.

Here is the start of the painting.  I used an old canvas that had a green background so that made it a bit easier for me.  When you are painting en plein air anything that saves time is very helpful.

I wanted to paint in the whole hibiscus bush with a few of the flowers.  I never paint anything like that so it was a new experience for me and outdoor painting is always an adventure.

This is where I ended up at the end of the day.  In the early afternoon the weather changed from sunny and perfect to cloudy, windy and cold.  I have a ton of photos so I may try to do something with this in the studio, but even if I don't finish it, I had a fun day and a great time painting at the nursery.

Here are some other photos I took that day.  The giant peonies were killing me!

Thank you to everyone at the Martin Viette nursery for a great painting day!