“God created great whales”…

… And I painted one. 

The word “serene” kept coming to me during the creation of this painting.  I started this with the remaining pigments on my palette after completing the Honu painting featured two posts ago. (Link goes to the post.) This painting is quite a bit larger than that one: 24″ x 30″. I had planned to hang it in my office at work, but a buyer came along before that happened. 🙂 I can always painting another one (or two or three if there are any interested parties out there).

Hope you enjoyed this little whale-watching trip. ‘Til next time.

Paintings from Paradise

Alooooooha! Two and a half weeks ago, I returned from my first visit to the Hawaiian Islands–Kaua’i and Hawai’i (the Big Island), plus a day on Oahu. The different environments, animals, and a number of the local art galleries, inspired some fun, artistic exploration once I got back to the mainland. That’s what I’m sharing today. 

  1. Some pen doodles inspired by some of the simple graphic designs on National Park pins. My traveling party saw green sea turtles (honu in Hawaiian) on two occasions: once at Punalu’u, a black sand beach, & again at Kaloko-Honokohau, a National Historic Park.

 

2. Ginger plant (acrylic, 8 x 10″). The ginger blooms in several different colors — red, white, yellow, & pink. The pinks & reds were quite striking against the green foliage of the rainforests.  

3. Painting of a honu resting (oil, 9″ x 6.5″). This was painted more like a watercolor would be (in terms of layers & values). First I painted the yellow across the whole hardboard (such that it started off looking like a background color), and then the blues on top of that, preserving the lights. Many of the greens were actually mixed right on the surface when the blue & yellow paint met. 

Mahalo nui loa for reading. 

Viking Spirit!

Ahoy, avast, and all that. It recently occurred to me that it had been a year since I stepped aboard the Draken Harald Hårfagre, a Viking great ship built in modern times, on September 1, 2018, while it was docked at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. This educational visit prompted a 6- to 7-month (painting) voyage on my part, and I realized it had been about as long since I had completed it– without yet sharing it here with you. Lest anyone wonder, it wasn’t a solid 6 months of painting, but rather 6 months or so from start to finish. Sometimes I let her (the painting) sit docked, as it were, for a few weeks while I worked on other things & thought about what to do next. Also, this painting is not of the Draken, but it is decidedly inspired by the ship. I found the deep red sail of the ship particularly striking and thus chose a red color for my painting.

Here is the irrefutably concise–in comparison to a 6-month, day-by-day version–travelogue of this painting’s development. Medium: tempera & acrylic. 

1. An acquaintance had given me a sizeable twice-painted-over painting on hardboard (with hanging wire already installed) that she no longer wanted. I sanded and gessoed over the old image. (Photo might be of the second layer of gesso. Gesso is essentially a primer.)

2. Next, thumbnail sketches (drawn in the car during a road trip).

3. Starting to add base colors/underpainting. The painting was too big to do on a table or my easel, so I propped it against a bookshelf.

4. Adding local color & developing water. I like a number of qualities about the water at this stage– there’s a looseness, an energy, the play of light & dark–but somehow as the painting continued, it got tighter, more controlled, and, because the green water seemed a little too tropical for a Viking voyage, darker & bluer. If I ever paint another version, I’d like to try to keep that looseness.

 

5. Bringing focus to the ship itself, including the sail. Somehow, over the several months, the visual line/direction of the composition changed  from something more linear to a kind of whirlpool. The water in the above photograph is constructed in an angular/zig-zag manner up to the ship; over time I embraced the whirlpool or vortex spiraling around it. 

6. Completion. I took this photograph outside (because my apartment does not have great lighting), so the colors look a bit different than in the other photos. Somehow it also seems flatter…but it gives a lot of depth to the corner where it hangs in my apartment. Curious contrast. 

Ready to cross the North Atlantic?

February 2019

Happy New Year, happy Presidents Day, and everything in between.

My art adventures took a little holiday during the holidays, and I traveled a bit as well. Between everything, I’ve quietly and slowly been working away at a handful of things on the drawing board (or, rather, the drafting table): a painting of a shipwreck from my trip to Oregon & Washington in August, custom Pandagram paintings for a client, a large painting of a Viking ship, and just a little bit of illustration for the long-time-coming John Churchmouse. 

While I work on those, please enjoy this painting from my Oregon trip (meaning the subject matter is from the trip–I painted it after I returned). Click to enlarge.

December Showings

I’m pleased to announce that 2 paintings are be part of exhibitions this winter. First, included in the Light Space Time online art gallery’s 2018 seascapes competition is the painting À la côte sud d’ Île Sainte-Marguerite, which was the subject of this post in July and was included in the competition’s Special Merit category for painting and other traditional media. Check it out: https://www.lightspacetime.art/seascapes-2018-art-exhibition-special-merit-painting-other-category.

Second is a new piece painted at the end of November for Trenton Artworks’ annual 10 x 10 Red Dot fundraiser event. (This is my first year participating.) Artists in the area are invited to create art on a 10″ x 10″ picture plane. Each piece sells at the event for $100, with proceeds being split between the artist and Artworks or, if the artist elects, 100% to Artworks. The oil painting I created for this event is called “Promising Day” and is based on photography from my travels in Oregon and Washington state in August. 

The opening reception was this past Saturday, December 8. I attended with fellow Principia art alumna and Tenacre cabinet painter Marissa Bunting. Now a few words about the name of the event: When any art sells, a red dot (sticker) is put next to the painting. Sensible enough. If any happy art collectors wish to take home their prizes before the end of the show, they can; the Artworks staff then hangs red paper plates, which are just bigger red dots, on the wall in place of the art.

Ironically, Marissa also painted coniferous trees against a cloudy blue sky for this event, and her painting also had “day” in the title. And–I kid you not–the show organizers put our paintings next to each other. What can I say? The Force is strong with this one.