Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Painting a House Portrait

For a long day, morning to night, I worked on this house portrait, indoors but with dreams of plein air. I had sketched it the night before and knew I would need a lot of time for all the nooks and crannies and landscaping. I left it outdoors to hasten drying while I grabbed my lunch. I was leaving Texas on a plane the following day and needed to complete the painting which was commissioned the day before. It is always interesting to see how a project like this progresses, not every home starts with the sky, and unless it is plein air they are never finished in less than a week.

The title is from the homeowner's beautiful red bushes, clusters of Texas flowers that can be planted like hedges.

The final picture had a bit more texture on both the roof and brick as well as stronger shadows in the eaves. I didn't get the final photo was dark out and I needed southern daylight to shoot the picture. I am surprised the wet paint did not glare more than this.

Rocket Roses, oil on canvas panel 10x14, 2013

WInter in the Schifano Studio

Ice at Niagara Falls oil painting
Kath Schifano, Winter Divot
 Is it climate change? Am I just lazy? Is it age? I have a harder time each winter choosing 'good days' to paint out, particularly at the Falls. I go with camera and paint supplies on a January or February morning and come home with...photographs.

I planned to work with fresh images of snow and ice at the park, but find that the scenery is not very inspiring and that the photos are mostly black and white, or even just grey if the sun isn't resplendent.

In order to paint the Falls, but not stand around with frozen feet and goosebumps everywhere else, this winter I finally tried painting from photos and memory and have been having a perfectly lovely time in my warm studio, with great music, a glass of wine and every brush and color at my disposal. I discovered that the warmer seasons often provide the best views. Here are some of the paintings that will soon be in the Art Dialogue Gallery Collection in Buffalo

Goat ISland painting Niagara art
Kath Schifano, Goat Island Stroll

Niagara Falls oil painting
Kath Schifano, Peek at the Plume

Winter Divot 8x12 oil, 2013 
Goat Island Stroll, 8x12 oil, 2013
Peek at the Plume 12x8 oil, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Texas architecture paintings

Park Island Court Cyress, Texas Kath Schifano
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My March 19 post contained a plein air painting I did in Houston. That outdoor excursion resulted in two new commissions, two similar homes in the Cypress area, both had many roof peaks and mature landscaping obscuring the beautiful architecture.

I often wonder why photos do not have layers; if only I could peel trees off the front to see what is underneath. Even with a handful of clear photos I had a hard time painting the whole shape of the structure. My habit is to paint the building and place the trees afterwards so some structure shows through.

An interesting detail by the architect was to include color variety with the brick, around the basket handle windows were outline layers of a different brick, orange, giving definition to the repeating triple windows. When I return to Houston I will look for more examples of two brick combinations. I have seen stone and brick as well as frame and brick homes here, but I had not noted the detail before, it breaks up the long facade and adds visual variety to it.

Park Island Spring, oil on panel 10x14, c. 2013