I’ve been very lucky so far in 2017 to have the time to take two professional watercolor classes with decidedly different approaches. I find both intriguing and am delighted in the results from both instructors. Above are my latest paintings completed in a 3 hr workshop in North Jersey.
Using watercolor pens without an underlying sketch proved interesting. The loose, playful way in which I painted the geranium flowers in the first painting proved that I could “loosen up” as it has an oriental feel which I really like. The second painting was revamped at home darkening the dogwood to reflect more of a shaded environment. In class, we were attempting backgrounds that produced sediment upon mixing two colors together. Here, I used ultramarine lite and burnt umber. The pink cast is opera.
Both paintings will be matted and available at this weekend’s fair…..Niska Day May 20. Come out and visit!
Spring is a time of rebirth and reflection. We have a chance, yet again, to do it differently and with greater awareness. These days, my preference is to walk gently upon the Earth taking time to observe and be grateful for its offerings. I am always amazed by what has lead me to this place. I now delight in remembering the childlike wonderment of my youth always by water; always in the woods. White trillium was painted from a picture I took on a walk with a close friend observing the beautiful Spring holdings of the well known LongwoodGardens https://plantexplorer.longwoodgardens.org/weboi/oecgi2.exe/INET_ECM_FindPl?PLANTNAME=white+trillium&FINDPLANT.x=0&FINDPLANT.y=0 Being in such a beautiful calm place is my church; a sign that God is present in everything. I am always at peace in such surroundings. Painting comes as an extension of this and is centering and grounding.
As a child I found myself embracing all that Nature held, seeking out Jack-in-the pulpit, violets, arum, & indian smoke pipe plants of early Spring. Ferns were facinating to me unfurling with texture and color towards the dappled light of the canopy of trees. Violets of purple and white in abundance were always my first choice for picking. Dozens would be presented to my mother who would place them in a tea cup on the kitchen table. She’d express that I was the only one who ever gave her flowers. Raising three children alone was difficult. Making her smile was the least that could be done.
Artistic drive came early, spending many evenings with my mother doing paint by number oil paintings. Mom would carefully paint within the lines following number by number. As for me, going my own way mixing colors and extending outside of spaces got it start with this medium. To date, I still prefer a different path… Cards for my mother were crafted from available card stock or construction paper but always held a emblematic red rose on the cover. She’d always say “Just give me one red rose; that’s all I want”. Love became the underlying meaning for the many hours spent drawing and perfecting that one red rose for her. Later it would translate into another medium, photography. The “One Red Rose” photograph taken by me at Longwood Gardens hung in her home till the day she died.
On April 2 I take more “gentle steps” towards being my best self at Spirit Tree Connections http://www.spirittreeconnections.com/. I am very lucky to be teaching in such a wonderful location. I love to share and still look for those gentle smiles as people begin to relax and appreciate what watercolor and art in general has to offer. It is a medium that is theraputic, gentle, playful, and exciting too. I find that my students, if only for a short time, go into themselves and find unsuspected talent and joy. The process for me is quite rewarding. My class is posted on the calendar on the site. Just click on the title for details.
The title of this painting is “4116” just one of the many RS’s from Alco Locomotive Works in the fleet of regular service for the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. I’ve always loved these engines taking pictures from the early 70’s throughout NJ, Pa, NY, Mexico, and New England in whatever paint scheme they would display. The picture that served as the subject was taken by Tony, my husband, and is part of his vast collection as a former employee and admirer of the railroad. I am fortunate to have use of it for my painting but still rely on detailed photos from friends who are authors of D & H books.
Trains are very difficult to paint. The “devil is in the details” every step of the way. It is decidedly more perplexing to know how many parts of an engine, wheel set, hose assembly, or venting should be added than any subject I have ever painted. I started this painting over two years ago and shelved it. After our model railroad open house in October, I decided it was time to give it one more try. I was still plagued by the complexity of the features of the engine. I took new photos from the original projected slide and went to work using my Photoshop program to enlarge it so as to clarify what was hiding in the shadows of the original. In the painting, I chose only the most obvious and hinted by shadow some of the others. What I found most curious was that in adding these details, my painting became more an extension of the rail enthusiast that I have become over the years. I reflected on the location, Greenwich, NY and remembered many cherished visits, some 40 years ago, from riding the Battenkill RR with my late husband, to walking through nearby rail yards to take photos for future work this past fall. I’d spent so many hours involved in the development of the painting, It had to be finished! After some 40 hours of work, this is the result. There still may be a few “tweaks” but I’m happy with how it feels.
For 2017 I have set a goal for myself to paint only railroad themed subjects as a series. I’ve collected a vast array of photos, books, slides, and a Fogg pictoral for influence. I will try to use all those hard learned lessons from my many watercolor instructors to improve the quality of my painting. Being told to “paint what you know” and paint every day will be my challenge as I start a new year. Enthusiastically, I look towards painting the next engine, switch stand, crane,or station.