Thursday, December 19, 2013

New York City Holiday Windows and Downton Abbey!

It's that time of the year again.  Every December the stores here in New York City decorate for the holidays and it is always beautiful.  I can't wait to see what they come up with every year.  I was a bit late getting them photographed this year, mainly due to our never ending snow/ice/27 degree weather.  It is finally warming up a bit so here we go.


This giant wreath is on the gate leading into the outdoor space of the Frick Museum.  If you look at the top of the bow you can still see some snow.


The front window of the Laduree shop.  I saw some tourists posing outside the window with their bags.  
The shop seems to be a stop for everyone visiting the city.








Next up, Cartier.  Beautiful as always and of course I had to post the panther in their window since I have one of my own.  Well, she thinks she is one anyway!



More shops on Madison Avenue.  Madison was beautifully decorated and not inundated with people.  It was perfect for window shopping as opposed to Fifth which has become impossible the last few years.

Heading east I came upon this adorable little cafe.  I wanted to sit down for a cup of tea, but in our freezing weather everyone else had the same idea, so I settled for taking some photos.



These winter cabbages were still in their planters and covered with snow.  So pretty.




Such a pretty wreath.  The brownstones on the Upper East Side always look lovely this time of year.


Park Avenue in the snow.


This is not technically a Christmas display, but I was dying over the way this window was set up.  Since I would need a brownstone to display these, I'll just gaze from afar.

Don't forget the fur babies in the family!  This store always has the cutest window displays.  I don't know the name of it, but it is a few doors north of the 63rd and Lex subway stop.



So that takes care of the Upper East Side.  Now we're going over to Lincoln Center.  I was over there Friday night and was lucky enough to see some beautiful decorating.





I have to tell you why I was in Lincoln Center on a freezing cold Friday night.  Thanks to the magic of twitter I won a pass to see the season premiere of Downton Abbey!!  Are you guys fans?  I'm obsessed.  
Not only do I love the story line, but I am crazy about the fashions and the set design.  We had a great time and I got a fun shot of Broadway from inside the television studio.



You can see the trees all lit up.  Everything was so pretty you could almost forget it was 25 degrees!


The Christmas tree in the median by Lincoln Center.



I had such a good time seeing all the holiday decorating.  Hope you enjoyed it as well!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A New Portrait

The last few weeks I've had great fun painting a new portrait of the lovely Jamila.  Not only is she beautiful, but she dressed in a great outfit for us - it had a great French/Toulouse-Lautrec vibe and it really made the painting.


This was the first pose.  I put in the background and then blocked in the colors.  These pics are not the best as I snapped them with my iPhone, but as soon as the painting is dry and varnished, I will take proper photos and post them.



This was at the end of the second session.  I put another layer of color on and darkened up the shadows.


Here is the end of our third session together.  The painting is getting there, but clearly needs another session.  As I've mentioned before, I use Innerglow Panels, and the more coats of paint you have on them, the better the painting looks.  Also, if you look to the left side of the pose, her hand is not quite done.  Hands are my nemesis and I always save them for last.


Here is the finished painting.  We all had such a good time during these sessions that we are going to do it again in a few months.


Now it is time for me to get back to my long neglected dahlias.  I'm hoping to have them finished this weekend.  I'll post the painting as soon as it's done.

Have a great night everybody!

Frances

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The American Artists Professional League's 85th Grand National Exhibition

A while ago I mentioned that I had a painting accepted into the American Artists Professional League's 85th Grand National Exhibition.  The exhibition is usually held at the Salmagundi Club, but since they are undergoing renovations, the exhibit was online this year.

On Saturday they had an awards ceremony as well as a portrait demo by Gregg Kreutz.











Gregg completed this painting in 1 hour and 15 minutes!  I was sitting there and I couldn't believe it.  I'm working on a portrait now and I'm about eight hours in and still need one more session.  I'm so glad I was able to see this because it really helped me with the painting I'm working on now.

After the demo and a musical performance, it was time for the awards ceremony.  I was lucky enough to win the Colonel George J. Morales Memorial Award, so it was a very exciting afternoon for me.



Sorry this photo is so dark.  I didn't have a chance to ask anyone to take a photo at the ceremony, so this was taken after while out celebrating.

It was a great afternoon.  Thanks to everyone at The American Artist Professional League.

Update:  I just realized I forgot to show you my painting!  Here it is.

Peonies In A Blue And White Vase, 16x20, Oil

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

San Miguel de Allende: A Visit To El Charco del Ingenio

A few days after arriving in San Miguel de Allende, we decided to take a trip out to El Charco del Ingenio.  El Charco is an amazing botanical garden and nature preserve.  We have several botanical gardens here in New York, but this place was unlike anything I'd ever seen.   For starters, there were almost no flowers.  The preserve is in the desert and features desert trees and all different kinds of cactus, some of which are in danger of extinction.








My original plan was to join my friends out in the field and paint the reservoir.  It is insanely beautiful.  Can you believe the sky and the clouds?  Amazing.





On the way down there I came upon a huge line of enormous ants carrying leaves and building a house (?) for themselves.  I am a city girl and this got me a bit freaked out, but I kept going on and made it to the water.



I set myself up and almost immediately noticed an enormous black bug heading straight toward me.  That was a little too much nature for me and I packed up and headed back to the snack bar!  I know, I'm crazy, but I couldn't help it.  Central Park is about as close as I get to the outdoors and this took some getting used to.




I got myself under the overhang at the snack bar and happily set up my easel.  There was beautiful scenery everywhere and it was not hard to find something to paint.






Much different from what I usually paint, right?  In fact I brought the paintings over to my studio today and couldn't believe the difference from my usual work.  This trip was such a great way to change things up and explore new painting horizons.

I loved El Charco so much that I decided to make a return trip a few days later.  It was so beautiful and peaceful that I could not leave San Miguel without visiting there one more time (I'll show you that painting in another post).

Before I sign off, I must give a shout out to the staff.  Not only did they have delicious food and smoothies, but they didn't mind me and my easel being set up in the midst of their tables.  They could not have been nicer.

Have a good day everybody.  See you tomorrow!