Friday, August 30, 2013

Gallery Show Reception Tonight

Hi Everyone.  I wanted to let you guys know that my painting, Rochelle, is going to be hanging in Gallery North on Long Island as part of The Art Of The Figure juried show starting tonight through September 27th.

Rochelle, 16x20, oil


The opening reception is tonight from 5-7.  If you are in the area, stop by and say hello.  I would love to meet you!



Xo,
Frances

Monday, August 26, 2013

My First Successful Sunflowers

Regular readers of this blog know that my favorite thing to paint are floral still life arrangements.  Painting flowers has always come very easily to me with one exception:  sunflowers.  I can't tell you how many times I have started a sunflower set up only to realize it was not working and wipe it down.  I could not understand why I seemed to have a mental block with this one particular flower.

One day I was talking with a group of painter friends and somehow we got to talking about Van Gogh's sunflowers.  One of the women remarked that while his sunflowers were very colorful, they were not luminous.  Ding, ding, ding - we have a winner!  As Oprah would say, I had a light bulb moment.  Every time I was painting sunflowers, I was trying to paint them in the same colorful style that Van Gogh did.  I was not trying to copy him of course, but I think all those years of studying them seeped into my consciousness.  My paintings lean more toward the Old Masters than the Post-Impressionists.  That bright color just does not come naturally to me.  

Last week I started a new still life, and it was amazing.  I finished in just a couple of days and had no problems at all.  This was a good lesson in staying true to your own style no matter what.  


This was my original set up.  It was nice, but something about it was bugging me.  I woke up at 7am yesterday and realized that the problem was that the right side was too empty compared to the left (don't you love it when problems seem to get solved in your sleep?).  I happened to have another bouquet at my house so I snipped off one of those and brought it to the studio.  


Here is the finished painting.  I'm so happy to have finally gotten this right.  I found a guy that has different sunflower varieties and I am going to try them next.  

Sunflowers, 16x20, oil


I'll post the new painting as soon as it is ready and as always, thanks for following along on my painting adventures.




Friday, August 23, 2013

Sunflowers: Monet and Van Gogh

I'm working away on my sunflowers (finally!) and I wanted to take a look at Monet's sunflower still life.  Since my bookshelves currently have a bunch of paintings stacked in front of them, I turned to google and the painting hanging in the Met popped up.

Bouquet of Sunflowers, Claude Monet, Metropolitan Museum of Art


According to the website, Van Gogh saw the painting in the Durand-Ruel Gallery and in a letter to his brother, Theo, remarked that Gauguin told him that while Monet's sunflowers were very good, he liked Van Gogh's better.  Van Gogh said he didn't agree.

Sunflowers, Vincent Van Gogh, Metropolitan Museum of Art


I'm a huge admirer of them both.  I love finding out about these anecdotes.  It seems amazing to me that the masters were having the same conversations with each other that I have with my artist friends.



This is my set up.  I'm hoping to have the finished painting in a few days.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My New Blog Design

Hi Everyone.  I wanted to pop in to let you all know about my blog re-vamp.  Ever since I started blogging I wanted to create tabs so readers could just click and see the paintings they were interested in.  
Last night I was finally able to do it (thanks to some help from my long suffering husband) and while we were at it we decided to change the design of the blog a bit.  When I first set the blog up I read a blurb that you should not use the advanced template if you didn't know what you were doing, so I went with the basic.  Google is not very intuitive (to me anyway) so I never did anything else.  Luckily my hubs has no technological fears and just dived right in and now I have the paintings separated into categories.

Just click on the top tab to see portraits, landscapes, etc.  The new paintings I've written about recently are not there yet because they haven't been varnished and photographed.  If the weather is 90 degrees and sunny as the weather people are saying, that will happen tomorrow.

I hope you guys like the new layout as much as I do.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Frances

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Nectarines Are Done!

In my post yesterday, I said I hoped to finish up my still life today.  Well, I'm happy to report that I was successful.  The nectarines were driving me nuts so I finally decided to just turn around the second one from the left.  It became far easier to paint ( I wish I'd done it days ago).  I lightened up the wood and the grapes, then put in the pattern on the vase.



This was the set up.  Once I changed the position of the nectarine, the rest of the painting went very smoothly.  I also lightened up the wood.  It is hard to see in the picture, but the vase was casting a cool blue light on the shelf.  When I added that it really livened things up and the fruit no longer looked like it was floating above the shelf.


Here is the finished painting sitting on the easel.  If you look to the upper right hand corner, you can see the still life set up.

Blue and White Vase With Nectarines, 16x20, oil


And here is the finished painting.  I'm very happy to have it done.  Now, on to the sunflowers!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Still Working On The Still Life

I thought I'd be back with a finished painting to show all of you, but I'm still working on the new painting.  Every day this week I thought it would be done, but it still needs some tweaking.  Well, more than tweaking.  It needs work.  In the meantime, I thought you would like to see some in progress photos.  I usually wait to post until I have a completed painting, but since it was slow going on the last few, I may post as I go along.


This is the original set up.  I was half way to the studio when I realized that I did not have anything to paint!  So I popped into the grocery store and grabbed some fruit.  This vase was already in the studio as I had it planned for something else, so it went into the set up.



I also didn't have a canvas (yes, there was a complete lack of planning that day), so I picked one to paint over.  This was an early nude that was never completed.  Once I started painting in my grey background it became kind of weirdly interesting, but I did cover it up.



This was the start.  Just a simple block in and then shadows.





This is what transpired over the next two days.  I thought all I had to do was put in the vase pattern and I would be done, but something was bugging me about the painting.  The next morning I realized what it was.  There are an even number of fruits (you should always use an odd number) and those two nectarines on the left are just hanging out by themselves and don't seem a part of the painting.



I got myself to the store, grabbed another nectarine and cut a slice.  I put it in front of the two whole nectarines and it made an enormous difference.  It gave a nice pop of color to the painting as well as making the whole set up look more cohesive.  Also, I painted it in about ten minutes.  The whole nectarines have been driving me bonkers, so it was nice to have something easy to do.

Tomorrow, I have to put in some more detail on the wood as well as the pattern on the vase.  I have to get done quickly as I have a gorgeous bunch of sunflowers waiting for me.

I'm not promising, but I hope to have a completed painting to show you tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed that it all works out!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day Trip: Southampton

Hi all.  I apologize for the lack of posts last week, but the painting that I had such high hopes for ended up being a wipe down.  It was just not working and by Thursday there was no getting around it, so I decided to stop work on it.  While disappointing, this does happen at times.  Years ago when I visited the Musee Marmottan, they had canvases there that Claude Monet had abandoned.  If it could happen to him, it can happen to any of us, right?

Anyway, yesterday I had an appointment on Long Island, and since I was halfway there, I decided to continue on to the East End.  I had not been out there in years and we finally had some gorgeous weather yesterday, so it seemed like the perfect time to visit.  Not only do I love to stroll around and window shop, but it was the perfect opportunity to do some studio prop hunting.  I did find two things on my wish list, but unfortunately they were way too expensive to use for studio props so I passed, but it was fun to look around anyway.

As usual, I snapped a bunch of photos.  Hope you enjoy seeing one of my favorite spots in the world.



This adorable pelican was guarding the front of his store.  Around the corner there were some paparazzi going crazy trying to get a photo of someone, but we never found out who it was.



We stumbled upon this cute beach shop.  Made me wish I was staying in town so I could visit one of the beautiful beaches.



Some shops on Jobs Lane.  If you love little, interesting, independent stores, this is the place for you.


All along Jobs Lane there are little alley ways that lead to great stores that are hidden away from the main road.  It's such fun discovering them.






This is the Topiarie Flower Shop.  I'm obsessed with this store.  As you can see in the pictures above, they have gorgeous flowers and accessories.  Unfortunately, I don't have a garden, but if luck is with me Wednesday night, I will be the proud owner of this house and will have an enormous flower garden to paint.


Yes, I am planning on winning the big Powerball ticket and hanging out in my East End garden painting for the rest of the summer!







Another little alley led to these great shops and this lovely fountain.  It was a great day, but now it's time to get back to the easel.  Have a good day, everybody!