Saturday, August 5, 2017

My summer sketchbook series

Salt marshes behind Shea's Restaurant in Essex, Massachusetts

It's been a busy summer! These days I can't seem to carve out enough time for oil painting sessions (I generally like to give myself a 3-6 hour stretch), so I've taken to making these watercolor sketches to satisfy my craving to create. I wish I had a Medici as a patron so I could play all day with paints.

And here are a few quick watercolor field study sketches that I made this week. By quick, I mean 15—20 minutes. I just want to capture the spirit of the place, the colors and the composition. I may revisit some of these scenes with my oil paints one day.

A lone fisherman at Rafe's Chasm in Magnolia, Massachusetts

A stretch of the Magnolia coastline

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Swiss Alps paintings


Recently I had an interesting commission to paint. A woman who spent her high school exchange in a chalet, nestled in the steep alps of Switzerland, many moons ago, wanted this painting as a gift for the father of her host family who will be 90 this summer. The chalet was so remote that supplies had to delivered to the chalet by helicopter drop. I had little to work with regarding reference photos so I patched together several photos in my mind's eye. I made two paintings with different color palettes and will let my client choose the one that she connects with the most. I truly hope that her 'Swiss Papa' will be happy with his gift.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Flags for the 4th!

Flag Day, Fifth Avenue, July 4th, 1916, by Childe Hassam 


detail from Flags on the Waldorf, by Childe Hassam 

On this—our day of independence—let your flags fly! American impressionist Frederick Childe Hassam loved painting our American flag. He was born in 1859 in the Boston area—in Dorchester, MA., as a matter of fact. After World War I Hassam painted a series of roughly 30 Patriotic "American Flag" canvases. Here are a few of my favorites, and a few other artist's works as well.


Childe_Hassam-Avenue_of_the_Allies-1917
 Flags on the Waldorf, by Childe Hassam


The Avenue in the Rain ,by Childe Hassam



Allies Day, May 1917, by Childe Hassam




+ + +

Below, something completely different by artist Jasper Johns.

Three Flags (1958) by Jasper Johns




Okay, this last painting is of French flags 
and was painted by Claude Monet, 
but since we were in the red, white and blue spirit...
Rue Montorguiel, Paris 1878 by Claude Monet


Click here to see to read more about this last painting.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

An ombré of lettuces


Home grown lettuce—that's a satisfaction that you just can't get by buying lettuce from the green grocers or from a farmer's market. I have two small symmetrical plots on the ends of my veggie garden that are reserved just for salad greens. In front I am growing a mix of microgreens, then above them there I've planted a few rows of about 6 types of lettuces, and above that I have 4 types of kale. I've also just planted some nasturtium seeds—their baby leaves are nice and peppery. I just wish my tomatoes were ready to pick now too, then we'd really have a party in a salad bowl.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Color inspiration—In the pink


I am in a bit of a pink mood today and inspired by these flowers.





To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Flora


Florathe Roman goddess of spring, has cast her magic spell upon my garden. I wish that all these blossoms—the irises, albums, and wisteria—would stay in bloom all season, and that I could bottle up the heavenly scent of the wisteria blossoms.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

High on Highgrove


It is said that a garden is a reflection of one's soul. Being a hardcore gardener I seek out inspiration from books, magazines and from the places we visit. Yesterday we toured Prince Charles's gardens at his home, Highgrove in Doughton England. What inspiration! I admire Charles's philosophy about organic gardening and the only thing that could have possible made the day more enjoyable is if we were able to tour his killer composting operation of which I've read about in depth. The gardens were magnificent—grand but not too formal—with touches of humor and whimsy here and there. I was in heaven. Sadly, no photography is allowed here, but here are some tools and a book that I bought to remind me of a spectacular day.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Stonehenge!


Bucket list item. No further caption needed.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cotswold sketch


Here is a quick watercolor sketch that 
I made of a typical Cotswold cottage.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Charming vignettes abound


We are seeing such charming vignettes driving through this English countryside. We drive though miles and miles of wide open rolling green or golden hills and then suddenly we land in a small village clustered with classic Cotswold homes.

Nestled together in a rabbit warren of tightly knit streets are a melange of brown thatched roofs perched on top of limestone cottages—all with flowing heaps of blossoms that heave and ho over sturdy stone walls. Then through the village we drive and out to more open green hills until we come upon the best village up the road.


Below is one cluster of homes that we came upon (Not by chance, mind you. Dan had researched this place and we actually sought it out as a destination). This is Arlington Row, Bibury (in Shipton Moyne). These stone cottages were built in 1380 and, like so much of Cotswolds history, are tied to the wool trade. Very picturesque.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fields of gold


Leaving Oxford proper and driving out through the Oxfordshire countryside we saw fields and fields of this golden flowered crop called rapeseed, which is harvested for its oil. It's something that neither Dan nor I expected to see in England, and in some vistas even reminded us both of Tuscan hillsides.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tea time at Badger's Hall


We had a quintessential English tea yesterday at a charming little establishment called Badger's Hall in an even more charming town called Chipping Campden. The recklessly high-carb lunch included tea sandwiches—cucumber for me and salmon for Dan—scones with clotted cream and jam, and treacle pie (which our waitress described as being very naughty). Oh, and a pot of tea, too. Being a huge 'Wind in the Willows' fan I was smitten by the ambiance of Badger's Hall and half expected Mr. Toad to pop in for a cuppa.



Four fine gents


Dan and I are touring though England and Wales for a few weeks, and bumped into these four fine gents today. You just never know who you will meet when traveling—and everyone has a story to tell so I am nerver too shy to ask them about their own stories. Who could resist talking to these men? Not me. The shorty story is that the gentlemen were fundraising for a charity, which is why they were dressed so patriotically. They had to 'collect things' along the way and asked us to sing our U.S. national anthem for them so they could check that off of their list. There was a lot of happy energy there!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Color Inspiration—ripe apricots

 

Pow! How about those colors? 
Ripe apricots looks irrisistable against a turquoise tabletop

To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bodacious bunnies


Wishing you all a happy Easter. These darling little bunnies were made by Beatrix Potter, from her  book 'The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies', published in 1909. Sure—they look adorable here but any gardner will tell you that rabbits are quite a nuisance in the the garden! 


Here's a bunny sunbathing in my veggie garden. Rascal!




Saturday, April 8, 2017

Color Inspiration— scrumptious garden


 


I'm still dreaming of spring, and until ours arrives I'll have to settle for colorful photos and paintings of flora. American artist Childe Hassam painted these sorts of wonderfully detailed paintings, of the seaside and of gardens. This is one painting he produced in a friend's garden on the Isles of Shoals. I love the delicate splashes of color against the greens and blues, which really help the background recede. To me this garden is scrumptious—truly, truly scrumptious.

To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bouquets to tide us over

Here in New England, our spring is a bit slow in emerging this year, so here are several incredibly beautiful bouquet paintings from centuries past to help tide us over until the earth explodes with color. Look at the scrumptious colors and the details! One interesting fact about these sorts of flower paintings is that a tulip would never be in bloom at the same time as, say, a larkspur or a rose. Artistic license was at play, as the artist included flowers from spring, summer and autumn. The little insects that these artists included in these paintings are a delightful surprise—butterflies, dragonflies, snails, and ladybugs, to name a few. Can you spot them?

This 19th-century watercolor,
 by Antoine Jules Pelletier


Bouquet of flowers placed on a pedestal in stone, with a dragonfly
by Abraham Mignon


Flowers in a Vase
by Paulus Theodorus van Brussel, 1792


Still Life of Flowers, by Ambrosious Bosschaert, 1620s


Cornelis Van Spaendonck



Still Life of Flowers, by Ambrosious Bosschaert, 1620s



Here is one more—Contemporary painter Yana Movchan has embraced this style of floral still life painting quite successfully. Here, his Bouquet with Gladiolus has that old-world charm, right down to the little snail climbing up a leaf on the left side of the canvas. See it?

Bouquet with Gladiolus, Yana Movchan, 1980

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Foolery, sir...

Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb 
like the sun, it shines everywhere. 

~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night 

Hans Hanberg in 1568


Mother Nature is playing an April Fools trick on us today with a spring snowstorm. When will spring ever arrive? This beautiful etching of a fool was made by Hans Hanberg in 1568. He is resting his chin on his right hand, wearing a chain with a large medallion, with a fly on his fool's cap. I'm pretty sure he is looking for signs of spring!




The Fool By Heinrich Vogtherr, 1513-1568
  Print made by Hans Hanberg 1568

After Pieter Jansz Date 1638-1678

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hello Spring!


We made it through the winter! I'm excited to smell the earth warm up, to hear the birds singing and to see the trees and flowers come to life. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Let the sun shine in!


I love that citrus season falls mercifully in the middle of our deep, dark winter days—just when we can all use a blast of vitamin C. What better way to brighten up a morning than with a sunshiny plate of colorful citrus fruits? Here, I sprinkled crunchy, salty pistachio nuts over a mélange of citrus fruits, including white grapefruit, blood oranges, CaraCara oranges, meyer lemons and kumquats. Let the sun shine in!



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