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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Styrofoam daisies and twin portraits.

While we were visiting my family on spring break, I took a few photos of gifts that I have painted in the past year.  This is my niece, it was intended as a present for my brother, but somehow my mom "forgot" to pass it on to him!  These photos have a bit of glare on them that I didn't notice when I took them.  The paintings are too far away to take more photos now, but I'll try to replace these with better images when I can.

The painting is part of a diptych of the twins.  Each painting is 8x10 inches.

Here is a quick portrait of the twins reading with Grandpa:

And finally, this is a painting that I did when I was about 10 years old.  My teacher had me cut up and paint Styrofoam meat trays to make the daisies!  I really like this one, even today!

Grandma's mountain

My grandmother, Carrie Vanderbilt Hoover, started painting late in life, after she retired as a registered nurse.  She passed away at the age of 94 after spending many years quilting and painting.  This is an oil painting on melamine, hanging on the wall at my mother's house.  I think it is just gorgeous with the vibrant colors.  It was painted sometime in the early 1980s or late 1970s.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More example paintings

Here are some more paintings that I am making as examples for classes.  I made these before I started party-planning last week for the big cake decorating party, you can read about it here.

My rules for painting these were once again pretty strict:  the paintings had to be straight forward, not too much mixing of colors, and paintable with only 2-3 brushes.  Also, in order for students to complete the painting within a couple of hours, there can't be too much drying time necessary, and I restricted myself to about 45 minutes per painting.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Getting ready to paint with kids (or their parents!)

 I've had a lot of requests for the kids in the neighborhood to come over and paint, which is really fun when I have the time.  The problem is that when everyone has their own painting to work on, it gets extremely labor-intensive for me, and a little chaotic.  I've been reluctant to do these sessions this winter, but it really is kind of fun to paint with the kids, they are so enthusiastic!  So for the last couple of days I've been working on some small sample canvases that I could use for kids to paint from.  Wouldn't this make a great Ladies' night out, too?!

My rules for painting these were pretty strict:  the paintings had to be straight forward, not too much mixing of colors, and paintable with only 2-3 brushes.  Also, in order for students to complete the painting within a couple of hours, there can't be too much drying time necessary, and I restricted myself to about 45 minutes per painting.  I'm really excited about the paintings from my long session!

I used acrylic paint and a stack of canvas boards that really have no other purpose in life...they are all 9x12 inches, and the stores seem to not carry this size of open back frame!  Right now I have a stack of my own kids' paintings that size that need a frame, and a lot of molding that I need to cut and glue to make them.  

This is still a work in progress, I'd like to have at least 15-20 samples representing a broad range of difficulties and subject matter.  This way I could easily offer a set rate per painting, and have everyone in the group do the same painting.  And keep my sanity.  (maybe!)
The never-ending snow...


The Swallowtail Butterfly

Midnight cherries

Technicolor butterfly

Wild Cherries!

Sunset at the Summer Cottage

Sunset at my Uncle's Summer Cottage
This painting is by my first-grader, almost 7 year-old.  He wanted to paint something meaningful, and this is probably his all-time favorite place to be.  He painted this from a photo we took last time we were in Finland.  I love his finger-paint clouds and glaze on the water!  He also did a great job with the dock's shadow.  He likes to go sit on this dock, and play with all the frogs in the grass nearby.  The water around the dock is shallow, sandy, and full of oyster shells.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finland has the most incredible sunsets.

Baltic at Night, 11x14 in. on stretched canvas
Finland has amazing sunsets.  The Baltic on the west coast and the wide open skies create perfect conditions to enjoy the spectacular show.  The sunsets last so long at Northern latitudes, in summer the sun follows the horizon most of the day and night.  In the midwest where we live now, the sun blazes down in summer, from straight overhead, making it something to be avoided.  But in Finland the sun comes at a welcome angle from near the horizon in summer, perfect landscape lighting!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The weight of snow on the redbud tree

The weight of snow on the redbud tree, 11x14 inches acrylic on stretched canvas

Like I've said before, I don't generally paint snow.  When I was a kid, I enjoyed painting pretty little scenes of animals and cheerful snow with beautiful pastel blue highlights, but that was back when I didn't have to spend days cleaning it and driving through it, or worrying about my family trying to get home.  Funny how growing up changes your perspective so much.  Today is actually a bright, sunny day, with sunbeams radiating off of the close to three feet of snow on the ground.  Only about half an inch fell last night, just enough to make everything clean and crisp.  I sat down to paint a joyous tribute to the beautiful winter landscape, but quickly decided to finish another blizzard painting that I started during last week's blizzard.  Then I found this photo of our redbud tree that I took two nights ago with the intention of painting.  Something about the desolate beauty of this twisted tree struck me.  It was glowing in the light from the house, and the reflected light from the snow.  I have no idea how to capture this glow and majesty with my camera, it seemed whatever settings I used, the camera just couldn't capture what I saw and felt staring at this cold tree.  I snapped a few mediocre photos and tried to remember the rest of its desolate beauty.

The Icy Road, 16x20 inches acrylic on stretched canvas