Category Archives: Technique

techniques, mishaps, successes

Magnolia blossoms -Catherine

It’s hard to believe that at 6:30 a.m., the temperature is 39º this late in April!  Being an optimist, I thought to myself, “if it were early March, I’d be thinking it was a pretty nice day!”  The good news is that the blooms on the magnolia tree are a sign that spring is here!

After toning my 12 x 12 canvas panel, I decided to start painting the negative space with some sky color in the distance.

trying for better results with a toned canvas
trying for better results with a toned canvas
magnolia tree
magnolia tree

I’m only going to work with a few colors and hope I get a nice feeling.

I wanted to paint a group of blossoms with only a scattering showing details.

Toning my canvas is something I don’t always do.  I did today and I like the way I could map out the light and dark areas for my composition.

magnolia -Catherine 24apr15
ready to add some blossoms  -Catherine

I did have a mishap this morning…  It was windy, and I didn’t take the time to weigh down my easel (you know where this is going!).  After I picked up my stuff, and brushed off the sand and grass, it was time to pack up.   The blossoms with have to be added another day.  But, this was a great morning!

Foreground and distance -Catherine

This is a view of Mount Whiteface in Waterville Valley, N.H., from The N.H. Lakes Region.  MT. Whiteface, NHI new this would be a painting lesson in pushing the mountain back into the distance, far away from the trees in the snow covered foreground.  It was a clear day, and the clouds were casting dark shadows on the mountain range.  Not having my painting equipment with me, I snapped this photo and worked on this painting in the studio.

Mount Whiteface NH
I blocked in the darks, lights, and the cloud shadows

Mount Whiteface NH

I used the white birches and snow to show foreground, and muted colors in the mountain range to show distance.

Mount Whiteface NH
View of Mount Whiteface, NH, by Catherine

 

Flower arrangement paintings -Catherine

I like to remember flowers that are given to me by painting them.  Here are two flower arrangements that Philip gave to me that I painted.  Click here for link to Flowers by Mary.

White flowers -Catherine
White flowers – by Flowers by Mary, Orleans
White flowers and jug -Catherine
White flowers and jug  Catherine
flowers and candle stick -Catherine
New Years – I love my starfish candle sticks!

Continue reading Flower arrangement paintings -Catherine

“Patience” at Taylor-Bray Farm -Catherine

Sheep, goats, and cattle enjoying a warm morning at Taylor-Bray Farm in Yarmouth Port.

My mind was set on painting the sheep grazing in this pasture
My mind was set on painting the sheep grazing in this pasture.

 

My mind was set on painting the sheep grazing in this pasture.  Then I noticed the sunlight highlighting the foliage on the trees.

I went to work on the the foliage.  (This is were I only needed to make color notes on my canvas of the foliage so I could get back to painting the sheep).

The light changed quickly, and the sheep moved to the back of the pasture, ugh!  I didn’t take the time to block in a few of the sheep that made up my composition.  It was time to stop… WIPE IT OUT!  Yes, it’s o.k., it is my painting and there will be others… Continue reading “Patience” at Taylor-Bray Farm -Catherine

Mill Pond – flat bottom boat – plein air – Catherine

I liked this flat bottom boat at Mill Pond Landing.  Click here for link to Mill Pond Landing.  The angle of the boat resting on the hill and the tree trunks made strong shadows.  I was hoping to capture these shadows to give the impression that the boat was resting on a hill in my painting.  I didn’t bother putting in the leaves.  I am learning that there are times I just want to work on one aspect of a painting.

You don’t have to put everything that you see in front of you in your painting.  My husband, Philip, always encourages me to “keep it simple!”  This way I don’t put pressure on myself to complete a painting in one attempt.  I can focus my attention on one or two challenges that day.  -Catherine

Taking my time at Taylor Bray farm, Cape Cod – Britt

BM2014 Taylor-Bray Farm
Taylor-Bray Farm October 2014

Sooo, as I attempted to explain in my previous posts, I am working on a specific technique that I have either been reading about or someone has explained to me — last time I was concentrating on not just hurrying and almost panicking to get paint on the canvas and tried to block in the darks and the lights that I saw.  This day we were painting at the Taylor Bray Farm and I wanted to  add one more layer to my study.

 

That layer is to think about where the light source is, where it is coming from, and what color is it.

View from Taylor Brae Farm
Scene from a distance

I really don’t get yet how to determine the color of the light — I think I am getting there, but this study is about continuing to take my time to block out the color AND to think carefully about the light.

 

Painting Taylor Bray
I actually was brave enough to give this to my daughter, Ashley

 

BM Taylor-Bray Farm
Britt at Taylor-Bray Farm

 

Late April – Mill Pond

As you can tell from these photos of this painting excursion, I have a long way to go with color.

This is a photograph of what I was trying to capture.

 

Photo of Mill Pond - Late April
Photo of Mill Pond

The colors that i put on the canvas in the photos below are much too vibrant and bold  and as you can see with the initial blocking of color – the undertones were too bright for this day.    Soooo much to learn and to practice.

IMG_0321
Trying to follow the rules for blocking in shapes
Mill Pond - Late April
After a couple of hours of painting – so much to learn about color

 

Scoop from the coop! – painting my chickens – Catherine

Scoop from the coop!
The girls – Fiona, Molly, & Mona Lisa

Not only do I look forward to finding an egg in the nesting box, I am enjoying learning how to paint my chickens.  Anyone who has chickens for the pleasure of having fresh eggs understands how quickly they become fun, family pets.  What I am practicing, is trying to capture the softness of their feathers and personality in their movements.

Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa hitching a ride!

We have a beautiful hen, named Mona Lisa.  Her feathers are a shiny, black iridescence in color.  Molly is our country hen, with her spotted feathers.  Sadly, we recently lost our Fiona, the colors of her feathers were similar to a pheasant.  We’ve all seen white and brown eggs, but Fiona laid a robin’s blue colored egg:  Enough about my chickens– back to painting them.

 

Nasturtiums and coop
Garden view of the coop
Nasturtiums and chickens
Nasturtiums and chickens by Catherine

I painted the nasturtiums and coop plein air.  The chickens were added back in the studio. Catherine

 

 

 

Continue reading Scoop from the coop! – painting my chickens – Catherine

Starting out – plein air on Cape Cod – Britt

Very First Attempt
Skaket Beach on a cold March morning

This is a photo of my very first attempt at oil painting last March.  What I hope that it conveys is the theme of this blog.  To be specific that theme is to have patience in yourself and to  allow your personal journey in this world to be exactly what it is supposed to be.  For a while, and  I really, don’t know why actually, I wanted to put paint on a canvas in a sort of bold ish way.  so without study, classes, or much knowledge at all, I just did it.  For me, the patience is being ok with, or comfortable with the knowledge that just getting out there and doing it, is a good thing.  The practice then is to continue to show up to paint,   or to run,    or to swim, and to hopefully reach another level.

Skaket Beach photo Mar2014
Skaket Beach photo
First Day by Britt
First day plein air painting at Skaket Beach, Orleans, MA 

I did take a picture of the beach that morning and printed the photo back home.  I painted this, the first picture, from that photo.

It might be worth considering if you are a bit nervous of just setting up your easel outside in front of the whole world:)  that you start slowly and have patience with yourself.