Sunday, February 12, 2017

Yellow House

Since we are so close to Mexico we decided to visit Nogales for a look around. We walked across the border after parking in downtown Nogales. Cooper is a wonderful ambassador and with his company we built some bridges, no walls for us! The wall is actually in great evidence around this border town.
Of course we ate some fabulous street food, bought some blankets and a gorgeous serape, and took a ton of photos with my i-phone. The line to get back to the States was quite long, but they let us through when they saw our dog Cooper and "didn't want him to have an accident in the building". We laughed and went to the next Customs Officer, knowing that Cooper would never go in a building!
Here's my ode to Mexico painting, 8x10, oil on linen panel, from one of my reference photos with a couple of changes to suit my composition. The sky is mostly King's Blue, an Old Holland paint that's new to me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Patagonia Lake Reflections

We've traveled south and are now at Patagonia Lake State Park, which is only 15 miles from Nogales, Mexico. This park is remote and known as a birding destination, where hundreds of species have been sighted. The birding trail winds along the shore and I had to take advantage of a guided bird walk led by a Park Ranger this morning. My binoculars are sub par but I got some good sightings and  tips on how to use them with help from Ranger John and learned something new. Isn't that what it's all about anyway- being in the culture wherever you are and being willing to participate in learning?
These folks are birding fanatics! I loved it and loved even more sitting and painting these reflections in the lake 100 yards from my campsite!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mesquite Tree

I had to fiddle with this a bit as the mountains first had too much chroma, then the value wasn't right. I wish I could have painted this as a true plein air, but my eye wasn't buying it! I did a little research and found out that this is a mesquite tree; they are everywhere in this part of southern Arizona.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Zero In

I always seem to be drawn back to a closer focus, to cropping my compositions to make the space feel more intimate. I need to find out what kind of trees these are; they are abundant in this area and have the most fascinating branches and shapes. They are leafless this time of year; that only adds to their appeal to me!
It was an easier painting than the previous post- goes to show it really does help to become very familiar with your subject. Find something that can hold your interest while you learn more each painting session.
This one is 6x6 on linen.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Arizona or Bust

Last winter we traveled as far west as Big Bend National Park, in southwest Texas before heading back to Rhode Island in February. Now you know coming home in February was not part of the plan; we were headed to Arizona when we decided to come home after talking with Ted's Dad. He was 96, feeling lonely and that's all we really had to hear. He'd had another fall, another trip to the ER and he just wanted us to come home. There wasn't even a conversation; we stayed a couple of days longer then began the long haul home in our motorhome.
Murray died a few weeks after his 97th birthday in July, and we never regretted for a moment coming home. The last few months we spent a lot of time together and knew we'd done the right thing.
So now this winter we breathed a sigh of relief when we made it to Arizona! First stop, about 50 miles south of Tuscon,  Kartchner Caverns State Park. I love the state parks as there is always an abundance of natural beauty and space. 
Happy to set up to paint, although the weather has not gotten even to 50 degrees. And when the sun goes behind the mountains, it gets cold so fast.
My best effort, 6x12 on linen, a challenge to get the colors!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Las Cruces, NM

We are visiting Las Cruces, NM and I was so happy to meet with fellow blogger, inspired artist and perfectly lovely Julie Ford Oliver! As we are traveling this winter in our RV, and headed to Arizona, I wanted to reach out to Julie and see if we could meet. 

She was completely welcoming with a wonderful studio tour, visit to one of her galleries M Phillip's Fine Art Gallery and we met up again for lunch at one of her favorite spots in Las Cruces to talk about art, goal setting and so much we have in common.  Julie has a love for all things avian and since this bird was nesting in the tree right outside my window, I know I had to paint her.
In gratitude for your generosity and the time we spent discussing ART, thank you Julie! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Intentions and Goals with a burst of color

As the new year begins, I once again set my goals and my intentions. I actually set intentions on a daily basis, as a tool to live in the present. The difference between  an intention and a goal? An intention seems to me to be more spiritually centered, where I can detach from the outcome, surrender the process to the universe, and focus on the present moment. My truest intentions will always come from my heart. Intentions are about our inner selves.
A goal will outline the steps I will take to reach a desired outcome. Goal setting is based on reasoning, analyzing and planning. For an artist, it's left brain activity and some of us need help to plan those specific steps that will result in an external achievement at some future point.

And now- on to the painting!

There  is usually one things that attracts me first, the thing or feeling that makes me want to paint. In this case it was the intense burst of color from that tree against the backdrop of the bluest sky. 
I also like how the structural shadow shape from the building counterbalances the organic shape of the tree.

It was a magic moment for me; the goal of completing the painting using design principles, paint application and brushwork. I also set an intention to have the painting give the same feeling to the viewer as I had when I came upon the scene.