Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On To Tennessee

A few days have passed since my Charleston post. Over the weekend we visited with our daughter and her two lovely pussycats. The pretty gray one, Shadow, was selected from a shelter by our daughter years ago and is now 14 years old, but she was a part of our family for a long time and, eccentric as she is, we miss her and her antics.

Shadow (above)

The other kitty, Gizmo, is kind of skittish with us, but loves to be outside on the porch and didn't need to keep us company.

The photos are some of the sights we have enjoyed in the last few days in our travels across the USA. This mill in North Carolina is still in operation and has a shop in the back with different types of flours you can buy which have been ground there. This was something I've never seen before and was not only very picturesque, but also quite interesting.

The geese were at the mill and were quite obviously welcomed heartily with goose food in the feeder. What do you feed a goose? Probably something delicious (to a goose) from the mill, aka grinding leftovers.

Then we came to Tennessee and found these Queen Anne's Lace everywhere. OK, they're weeds, but they are beautiful anyway.

The Queen Anne's Lace were in a field by this wonderful old barn and water or fuel storage container on stilts. This was just such a great scene and will probably end up in at least one painting someday. Oh, I do take these photos with the idea in mind to paint them, and by now they number in the thousands. I could paint for the rest of my life and never catch up to all the photos I've taken with painting in mind.

Make new goals. Paint, paint, paint!

Oh, just to remind everyone, my Etsy shop, DreamON is still open during all of my travels. As soon as I can, I will be painting new things from my trip and getting them in there too. Click here to go to my shop.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On To Beaufort, Isle of Palms and Charleston

After leaving St. Simons Island, we continued north and had lunch this morning in Beaufort, SC and then did some walking around to look at shops and then took some pictures of their beautiful marina. You can find this and more info at http://www.beaufort.com/ , "Known for its Southern hospitality and casual seaside charm, Beaufort reigns as the 'Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands.' With its scenic waterfront charm, quaint shops and historic homes, Beaufort beckons, encouraging visitors to drift back in time and experience Southern hospitality at its finest."

After leaving Beaufort we headed further north and east to the Charleston area where we headed out to the Isle of Palms. I have read a number of books about this area, and I wanted to see firsthand where they took place. Isle of Palms is 7 miles long and 1 mile wide and has about 5,000 full-time residents. The following is a quote from the city of Isle of Palms website, "Novels and poetry have been written about the Isle of Palms. Those who live here and those who visit here seem changed forever because of the island and its people. Some arrive and never leave. Others must return year after year to get their dose of Isle of Palms to sustain them."

We ate on the screened porch of a lovely spot on the waterfront and clouds came in to shade us and cool us off from the 90-degree temperatures.

When the sun started to peep out again, the water just sparkled. However, it only sparkled where the sunlight touched it, and the rest remained gray.

We had shrimp and grits for the second time on this trip. The first time I ever heard of this unique combination, I thought, "WHAT?" But I have found that most times it is deliciously spicy and can come with Andouille sausage, pancetta, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and peppers. At least these are the combinations I have found so far, and I really, really like it. We have even had this at Emeril's place in Nawlins, so it is found at chi chi places too!

I did this painting of the view from our restaurant. It is entitled, West From Isle of Palms. (I sometimes astound myself at the clever titles.) It is done in Yarka watercolors and Sharpie markers on Arches 140-lb. Cold Press Watercolor paper. To see more info at my Etsy shop, DreamON, click here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

St. Simons Island, Georgia

This fresh little watercolor is my Painting A Day coming fresh from my plein aire session this morning on location in St. Simons Island, Georgia. As I sat in the bright sunshine on the pier I was able to capture this 104-ft. tower while enjoying the banter taking place between the fishermen who as far as I was able to determine are probably regulars. Looking back to my left, a giant coastal oak sprawls to the left and some smaller trees are on the left with a lush green lawn in front. The lawn ends abruptly with a breakwater of large rocks dropping off to water below. Last night at low tide there was a small area of beach. This long fishing pier juts out to a "T" at the end. The initial part of the pier is covered, but I was unable to see the lighthouse under cover and had to paint in the sun.

If you want to know more history about the lighthouse, click here. Then be sure to click your back arrow to come back to my blog.

It took some adjusting in Photoshop to get the blues even close to correct. Blues and reds are tough to tweak, unless you get lucky and your camera catches the color just right. I took photos outside under cloudy skies, inside on a white background by a window, and inside away from the window but in very good light. The low light photo turned out to be the best, but still didn't pick up the blue of the sky just right or the greens in the oak tree. All I have to say is that I am so much happier with the painting than I am with the photo, but I guess the painting is what's most important, huh?

For purchase information about this 7 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch watercolor painted on professional quality (Arches 140-lb Cold Press) watercolor paper with Yarka watercolors, click here. St. Simons Lighthouse is available in my Etsy shop, DreamON.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Traveling Art Gallery Hits The Road

I have been absent from the blog for awhile trying to get a myriad of tasks completed before the deadline, which is when I leave for an extended road trip. Since we will be gone a long time, I had to consider what will fit in the car, and so many of the pieces from my Etsy shop are either too large or too bulky to bring along. I will be open for business as I drive along the roads of America and intend to ship my artwork to my customers without any delay. Have Computer, Will Travel!

Some of the places we will be stopping on our trip are places that we've never been before, while many are slightly familiar, but I'm sure changed since we last saw them. I'm planning on keeping a kind of travel journal thru photos, sketches and paintings which I will share on the blog, as we go. It should be fun. Stay tuned. The first mystery location will debut mid-week.

Meanwhile, I just put this little painting up in my Etsy store. It was painted five years ago, but being a mood painting of a little fishing village, it is timeless. The colors are muted, as a storm approaches. The name of this art is what else, Fishin' Village. Click here to obtain more information from my Etsy shop, DreamON.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Creative Process

Today I am going to give a little bit of insight into my thought process as I begin a new painting. It is going to be a fairly large painting, and it will take a little more time to complete than some of my painting-a-day smaller ones.

First the idea came into my mind that I would like to do a painting about clotheslines and clothes hanging on a clothesline. So I got out my photos of Italy taken in 2004 and found this one (shown top left). We saw laundry hung out to dry throughout Italy, and I thought it leant a lot of charm to the towns and cities. I took quite a few pictures of laundry, but unfortunately most were side shots that didn't turn out well, so this front shot is the one I came back to. Next I went to find a photo of the painting (Hung Out To Dry) that I had done before, using this photo as inspiration (shown top right). This painting had sold right away, and I remembered liking it and thinking I wouldn't mind keeping it around to have for myself.

Then I did some sketches of building and laundry, and more buildings with laundry, and came up with this one. I liked the idea of it being more than just a picture of that subject and having the space broken up with shapes within shapes.

I started out thinking my focal point would be on the bottom left where the dark dress hangs, but by the time I had finished this sketch, I had decided to make the focal point in the right square. The idea of a blue background was my initial concept, but the square on the left has blue sky at the top (similar to the first painting), and this bothered me. So when I painted the background I made it a darker value of textural simulated stone. I will paint the sky in the left square a nice blue, and in the right bottom windows I will show the blue again reflecting the sky. I will probably find blue somewhere else - maybe in some of the laundry.

Here is where I am right now with the painting which is on a half-sheet of watercolor paper. I have painted in acrylics. I have shaded the left sides
of the "squares" to make it look like papers laying on a surface. The "square" on the right will have shading on top of the middle square, so that there will be an illusion that it is on top of the rest of the "squares."

I am planning a sandstone kind of finish for the buildings and some nice colorful laundry blowing across the page.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Painting Of The Day - Yellow Margarita

I seem to be continually falling behind on the Painting A Day plan. I had an artist friend over yesterday, and we talked and painted and talked for close to 7 hours with a little dinner in the middle, and this little painting is my complete effort for the day yesterday. Today I painted with the group at Studio 1212 and only came up with a start for a larger half-sheet painting. Tomorrow I sit in the Artists Guild Gallery on Anna Maria Island. Sometimes when there aren't many customers I can complete a painting. It hasn't been really busy when I've been there the last two Thursdays, but just as soon as I plan on it, we will be busy. So goes the Painting A Day plan.

Anyway I hope you like this little painting, Yellow Margarita. I went out and picked the daily bloom from my ailing hibiscus plant (that I talked about a few days ago on the blog) and put it into a margarita glass, and I liked the complementary (or close to complementary) color scheme of the display. So while Nancy and I talked and painted, this is what was developing on my side of the table while she was doing some watercolor sketches on her side. This watercolor painting is 7.75 x 7.5 on Arches 140 lb. Cold Press Watercolor Paper. Look closely, and you can read the Arches trademark in the lower right-hand corner of my photo. My DH's camera takes such amazing pictures that you can almost see the tooth of the paper. Please check my Etsy Shop, DreamON for more info about the painting (and others) by clicking here.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Single Gull on the Fourth of July

Sometimes I feel like a single girl in my own house. I'm alone in my art room creating or working on the computer or something. There's a ball game on in the livingroom and therefore a complete other zone. Go Rays! Nothing against baseball. The kids next door are playing with poppers in eager anticipation of tonight's fireworks, I'm sure. So the Single Gull and I have much in common. We're alone in our world - kind of.

A Single Gull is a watercolor I painted yesterday while I was Gallery-sitting at the Artists' Guild Gallery in Holmes Beach. She is 7.5 x 7.75 inches on Arches Watercolor Paper using Yarka watercolors. These are my "travel" paints which are very compact and have a lid that comes off and doubles as a palette. These paints are intense colors which come in pan form.
For more information on A Single Gull click on it's name.

Happy Birthday USA! Time to say thank you to our founding fathers for conceiving the Declaration of Independence and coming up with such a document while leaning heavily on the model for the theory of social compact in John Locke's Two Treatises of Government. It is a good time to reflect and give thanks to God for these 232 years since that document was hammered out and signed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Midsummer Amaryllis

Behold the lovely Amaryllis. I can't forget the first time I saw one of these plants, because it had that, "This just can't be real," appearance. The stems were very, very long and coming from a much smaller pot, but atop the stems were these great, big, enormous, exquisite and showy red blooms. It was only a few years ago, and I had no idea such a beautiful plant even existed.

The blossoms fit my concept perfectly for what I was trying to paint today which was a vignette. I painted two of them, which are quite similar, and I still have another idea for a third which is not a vignette but a gradated background. This first one I took from a photo that I had photoshopped with a special effect that had a lot of exaggerated shadowing on the right sides. The second one is more or less a loosey, goosey watercolor with no special effects.

Hopefully tomorrow I will do the third one.

Anyway I have placed the first one up for adoption on my Etsy site, DreamON. You can find out more about it there including how you may purchase it by clicking here.

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Stay tuned! For purchase information about any of the artwork, check out my Etsy store -- DreamON or send me email (conversation) by pressing the contact button at http://DreamON.Etsy.com.