Friday, November 21, 2014

Jenny's Garden and Norwich Arts Centre Holiday Show

Jenny's Garden - 24"x30" oil on canvas 
Today I finished Jenny's Garden.  I had gotten a bit stuck on this one and couldn't get it where I wanted it and finally after painting some olives and such, I was able to get back on track.  My favorite part is the shadows in the foreground.  

The "real" Jenny's garden is a sight to behold, especially in August which is when I spent some time taking these photos.  There were so many I had a hard time choosing, but I know this birdhouse has special meaning and I really liked the composition. 

Tomorrow I drop off 6 12" and under paintings at the Norwich Arts Center.  I have about 18 I picked out, so I still need to figure out which six will go!  Anyway, come down and see all the great art and do some holiday shopping as well.  What a great way to spend Small Business Saturday - or even Black Friday.  Downtown Norwich has a lot to offer.  Hours for the NAC during December are as follows:

Extended Holiday Gallery Hours December 4 thru December 22: Wednesdays through Saturdays 12-4pm.  Open Sundays Dec 7, 14 & 21 from 12-4pm. Need a special night to come with friends? Call and they will open!  More information is on the NAC website which you can go to by clicking the logo.

Here are two fun photos to make you smile.  One is of Stella making herself comfy on the couch and the other is of Deoje (pronounced D-O-G), our orange tabby.  Hehas found a new bed. I don't have he heart to move the laundry basket!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Two Olive Paintings and the Drawbacks of Using Edible Subject Matter

Well, I didn't think there was any chance one of our four-legged beings would eat green, vermouth-soaked olives.  I was half wrong. 

"Martini Time" Oil on gessobord, 6"x6"
Early this morning, I set up my still life (three olives, a metal pick and a white dish) and sketched out the beginnings of two small paintings.  One 6"x6" with three olives, the pick and the dish and a second 4"x4" with just an olive and the pick.  After my morning paint session, I left the setup there and then worked at the "day job".  I came in during lunch and saw Franklin gingerly, with all his teeth showing, attempting to sample an olive.  Oy.  Luckily he didn't eat it, only took a couple tiny sample bites and left a few tooth marks.  AND he was kind enough to do this on the end of the olive that didn't show.  After that, I covered my setup when I left the room as I've come to realize with Franklin, you only get lucky once.  If you give him a second chance, he WILL succeed.  

I still want to work on the white dish in the 6"x6" shown above. I feel like it needs finishing, but I decided to leave it where it was for now and let it set up a bit before it just turned into a whitish grey puddle on the panel. 
"Martini Time" B&W Value Study

One thing I always like to do is take the photo of my painting and then convert it to a black and white.  Looking at the painting in black and white helps me check to see if my values are correct - and that I have a good range of dark, medium and light values.    "Martini Time" needs some lighter and darker ranges in the top two olives.  To me, looking at this in black and white, it seems too monotone in that area.  I also think I need to even out the background.  

"Shaken, Not Stirred" 4"x4" oil on gessobord
The 4"x4" pictured to the right will be the second in the Cocktail Condiments series.  I really had fun painting the olives today - getting the greens right and painting the pick.  The twirly on the end was especially fun to try to capture.  Next in line will be lemon twists, orange slices/twists, limes and salt and limes!  Oh and cocktail onions. 

Want to win a painting??  Follow my blog!  Yes, I am shamelessly promoting my blog yet again.  You can easily follow me by either entering your email address in the box to the right OR by subscribing to follow via Google+.  I will be drawing the name of the winner on December 26 and the winner will receive my painting titled "Mystic River Sunset" which is an 11"x17" oil painted on linen panel.  

Franklin, caught in the act of sampling
my still life setup.

Stella taking a nap under my desk - either that
or she's contemplating the history of time..

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Two Poodles and Cocktail Condiments

Needs a name!  4"x4" oil on textured gessobord
Today was crazy. I was on the phone for probably at least 6 hours and after being off for Jeff's birthday yesterday, I was behind when the day started, BEFORE all the calls.  

Tonight I did have time to complete a little painting that will be the first in a series of cocktail condiments.  I don't have a name for this one yet so if you have a good one, don't be shy. I'd love to hear from you! This one is 4"x4" oil on textured Ampersand gessobord. I'm not sure about the textured gessobord yet.  I'm also not sure if this one will go in the January exhibition or if it will go up for sale on Daily Paintworks.  Time will tell.

I realized yesterday I never talked about the reasoning behind the name for my new blog, Two Poodles and a Paintbrush.  We actually have three dogs and two cats, but Two Poodles, a Bichon, Two Cats and a Paintbrush just seemed like overkill.  Our boat is actually named after Stella Blue, our Bichon, so don't feel bad for her being left out.  Anyway, back to the two poodles.  What more does someone need other than their animals and a paintbrush?  Oh, and a husband.  That pretty much makes me happy, hence the name.  The two poodles we have are LARGE standard poodles named Franklin and Iko. Both are big goofballs and many times steal the show.  

Reminder:  I will be giving my painting Mystic River Sunset away on December 26th to one lucky individual.  You can enter by following my new blog between now and then.  You can either follow via Google+ or email.  

Here are some photos of the two poodles. I won't bore you with a photo of the paintbrush!
Iko, our Standard Parti-colored Poodle.
Those eyes pretty much get him whatever
he wants
Franklin, our red Standard Poodle.  He
is a total clown.

Both boys out on the Stella Blue last
Summer.  All the dogs, especially
Stella, love the boat.

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Blog, Artist Block, Holiday Contest and more!

It's about time I sent out a blog post!  I've been MIA in the blog and social media department for the last little bit - some of it was due to me wallowing in my own artist block misery (which I'll get to) and most of it was due to the fact that life got in the way.  It sounds like an excuse, but it kind of is the truth.

Mystic River Sunset, 11x17 oil on linen panel
This painting will be given away to a lucky subscriber
First, on to the fun part!  The Holiday Contest!  I'd like to welcome my new blog with a painting give away.  Yup, you read right.  Anyone who signs up to follow my blog via email by 11:59 PM EST on 12/25/2014 will be entered to win this painting titled Mystic River Sunset.  It is oil on linen panel, 11" x 17" and will be shipped to one lucky subscriber unframed once a name is chosen at random on 12/26/2014.  

Now on to the big, ugly block!  I had gotten myself all sorts of blocked up in a creative sense.  I had been chugging along this year (latest count: 235 finished paintings so far in 2014) and creativity and inspiration hadn't been a problem.  Then BOOM.  It hit me out of nowhere.  Paintings that normally would've taken me a few hours were taking days.  Pet portraits that would take me a day were taking a week, sometimes two, sometimes more.  I had trouble getting inspired and nothing I painted seemed quite right.  I was getting frustrated really easily and things were just weighing on me.  

Rough Day - Oil on Ampersand Gessobord, 6"x6"
This painting will be for sale at the Norwich Arts Center Holiday show.
More details to come!
I realized I was overwhelmed by the fact that my website was sorely out of date, I hadn't blogged in a couple months and I had commissions that needed completing but I couldn't seem to complete them.  I had also gotten really busy with what I call my Day Job (I work for a financial services company that serves credit unions throughout the US and the day job sometimes turns into a day AND night job).  I just couldn't seem to get it together.  Rather than sit in front of the easel stressing about my block, I decided to just CHILL out and paint a few things that I found inspiring.  I also at about the same time ordered some new brushes and those along with a few very supportive friends (who probably don't even know how much they helped - Tara, Sarah, Elaine, Ron - thank you) got me out of my funk.  I started by painting something I really had been wanting to paint: some Scotch!  I poured a glass of Macallan and got to work - with my new Rosemary and Co. Ivory brushes.  I was pretty happy with the outcome and I think i'm going to start a new cocktail condiments series.  That led to a salsa ingredient painting that I really had fun working on.  I feel like I'm finally back in the saddle so to speak and this new blog is one more step in the right direction.  

Just a reminder:  follow my blog via email in order to enter to win my Mystic River Sunset painting!

More tomorrow on the Norwich Arts Centre holiday show as well as an upcoming exhibition I will be taking part in this coming January.