Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Garden Girl's Reflection"

      "Garden Girl's Reflection" oil on Classen's oil primed linen canvas, 24" x 18".  This is the canvas on which I normally paint.

Diane Tesler's summer studio is in a very old IOOF hall in Kewanna, Indiana, a little old farming town mostly abandoned, on the cross roads of two rarely used state highways in middle north Indiana.  As with many forgotten towns, most of the buildings are abandoned, but the people who live there are a close knit community struggling to survive.  She lives in Alexandria, VA in the winter and teaches at the Torpedo Factory, a beautiful and totally congested part of America.  Years ago, she happened on Kewanna with a friend and fell in love with the old memories lying about in the town and on the surrounding farms.  These abandoned cars and tractors find life in her paintings along with the abandoned farm houses.  You can see her paintings on her web site at  

In this three day workshop, she prepared about ten still life set ups from which the fifteen participants could choose.  I chose this old mirror with a little garden girl and potted plants because it was close to the floor-to-ceiling front window with natural north light.  What did I learn?  hmmmmm  Well, I learned about a couple of synthetic sable brushes that Diane absolutely can't paint without,  the formula for her medium of Damar varnish, Stand oil, and Gum turpentine, and two or three new paints that I want to add to my palette, especially Holbein Rose Gray, and maybe Holbein Gray Green, and Monochrome Warm.  She also told me about a source for "tough as nails" canvas stretchers for large paintings.   Yes, I would like to paint on a large scale occasionally.  Diane's a very encouraging yet truthful teacher who makes comments to each student at that person's own level of expertise, not an easy task.  I suspect it takes a great deal of teaching experience to tactfully cut to the chase with each participant's "baby".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fleeting May Flowers Picked from My Garden

                  "May Garden Flowers",  oil,  14" x 11"

Goodness!  I wish I could make time stand still in my garden for about three weeks while I paint the peonies, European and Japanese irises, and poppies.  Well, I plunked a few into another vase and painted them in my studio a couple of days ago.   The "in my studio" aspect is in preparation for a workshop I'm taking from Diane Tesler this weekend up in Kewanna, Indiana on painting Still Lifes.  I've painted fewer than five still lifes in oil, unless you count these flowers, so it will be interesting to explore this genre and find out why she likes it.  She also paints large canvases, so I'm looking forward to learning her tricks about stretching large pieces of canvas over wooden stretchers.  Have a good weekend!

Remember I always enjoy your comments, and please forward this blog to others who may enjoy receiving it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Flowers from my Garden in a Vase

Having never painted flowers much in oil , I decided to paint another Tree Peony, and then the Iris began to bloom so they ended up in a vase too.  Painting in my studio is a more secure environment when there's a spotlight on the flower in a vase rather than the sun moving, changing shadows, etc.  Here are two examples;  tomorrow, or when ever it decides to stop raining and the sun should come out, I'll tackle the flowers in their natural environment---the garden.

If the sun comes out tomorrow, I'll paint from my garden.  Spring perennials are so fleeting and precious.  As soon as their gone, we have to wait a whole year to see them again!  When I paint them, I see them in a whole new way.  And I hope you do too.
Remember, your comments are appreciated.  Welcome to Spring and soon Summer! For purchase information, see my web site,

Friday, May 7, 2010

Flowers from my Spring Garden

Wow, I see it's been almost a month since I created a post to this blog.  Spring gets quite busy for a landscape painter with all the good weather.  I was supposed to spend a week in New Harmony, IN painting in this quaint, historic village at the tip of the boot of Indiana where the Ohio and Wabash Rivers come together.  My husband, Howard, and I rented a lovely house for the week with some other painters, and I had a great time the first three days painting (finished three) until my back muscles spasmed and I had to come home early.  Now at home my body feels less stressed in my studio so I picked some flowers from my garden and plunked them into a vase for still life paintings.

          "Two Parrot Tulips",  14" x 11", oil on linen canvas attached to wooden panel.

                   "April Tree Peony",  14" x 11",  oil on linen canvas attached to wooden panel.

The "Tree Peony" will be a wedding present, but the "Parrot Tulips" are for sale.  You can see these paintings and others with their respective prices on my web site.  Remember, I always like to hear from you.  Now my back is feeling better and I'm itching to venture out into the uneven ground of the landscape with all my painting gear.