Sunday, December 30, 2007

Winter Bird Watching

Our winter birds are primarily tree clingers, woodpeckers and finches. Their favorite food is the gooey suet seed block that leaves grease spots on the window. These two birds in balance are a Nuthatch & a Black Cap Chickadee.
Today a giant Northern 'yellow shafted' Flicker showed up to dwarf the feeder cage and grab our attention. Missed that photo!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

White still life

Now that I rediscovered painting indoors, I prepared several larger canvases with gesso & sandpaper, and laid them around the studio to dry for the second coat. When I returned to my easel, the snow outdoors and the white gesso paintings indoors created an interesting study in white. I was distracted by the beauty of the day & didn't put on a toned underpainting. The next artwork may have to be pastel.

National Grid Art Market

Just before Christmas, National Grid in Niagara Falls had an art marketplace sale that I participated in with several other artists, jewelers & crafters. This image shows three house paintings on my easel across from the display. The top Altman home painting, in its new frame-still protected in plastic-caused a bit of a traffic jam. It went to its new home for a Christmas surprise.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Just sitting up, waiting for Santa to arrive, so I am sending my Christmas card image here to everyone in the world (wide web).
Merry Christmas.
Winter's Holly Berries, oil 16x20 

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Holding on to the sun

It is early December, and there is a dusting of snow. There's not much, but it is white.

I think this is a good time to share a beautiful paint out morning in September-as morning light & sun shadows from mature evergreens revealed to me the 'Secret Meadow' and gardens in Youngstown.
Oil 12x24

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Quaker Bonnet Eatery

My solo art show, 'Significant Growth: Before & After October Surprise' is now up at Quaker Bonnet. It is a series of 16 plein air paintings featuring the trees and scenery of western New York. The first picture shows me with Liz Kolken, owner, and the second shows my 4 foot tall plein air of Fall trees and a 24"x30" image of the same location a week later.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fall & the Park

It has been a fine Fall, except for the construction of East-West Park Road in Buckhorn. I have missed my regular drive through the park and the opportunity to see the great Oak on the curve as the poison ivy reddens and the leaves darken, lighten and fall. I planned to paint it again during this season, as the vine has changed the tree and buried the base and climbed the trunk. This image, 'Buckhorn Oak' was my first oil plein air-two years ago. It will be in the December-January08 show on Allen Street in Buffalo.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Drying Time

This is finally finished and drying, and I am moving it around my house as I imagine how the Altman's will like it. All that it needs is final varnish and a frame. Note the tiny name sign in the front foundation planting. Let me know when you see this, M.A.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not quite complete

StepByStep-the Altman's

Working on a home in Deveaux, I have a collection of step by step images to show how the painting develops. If I posted as I painted, it would appear with the finished image first, so I waited to put the pics up in order.....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Believing what you read

Windy Mists 11x14 oil - painted during Worldwide IPAP weekend

I was psedo-quoted in a Canadian newspaper-something about shiny things at the Falls. The gentleman who interviewed me took copious notes about my painting process, the International Paintout & where I show my work-as well as the plein air process. I think he remembered something about waiting for the balloon ride to go up again. I wanted the shadow to be accurate, from life. Or else the quote should have been attributed to another artist. Either way, it was nice to be mentioned.
Read it at---
How international!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Falling Water

'Steps at Niagara', 16x20, oil Having painted the Falls en plein aire at different times, I challenged myself to choose a section of water and paint it closeup-except I was thousands of feet away. These steps are on the American Falls, near Luna Island. They take up about 1/3 of the total height of the water in this area.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Worldwide paintout footage

YouTube has a video of the Worldwide International Paintout site in Niagara Falls Ontario last weekend. It's nearly nine minutes long and includes television footage of the event. I am the seated artist, facing the gardens, with greens & an archway in my painting. It is from the 60 minute quick-draw part of the competition. You can see many of the finished & framed quick draw pictures, including mine, hanging on the chrome grid by the tent. Hah!
I tried to cut & paste this address-but all I got was this still picture. Guess I should read directions. It's too long to watch unless you know everyone anyway!

Monday, September 10, 2007

IPAP Breaktime result

I was painting in the Worldwide International Plein Air Paintout in Niagara Falls Ontario. Sherill Primo (on the walkie-talkie) asked for feedback on her painting. It was quite lovely! When I returned, there was a crowd in a line behind my easel. ---They were looking at my painting and the scene. What a shot! Several left when I pulled the camera out, but they left enough space to take this photo. That is my portable easel and carryall in the center.

While painting, a breeze blew the Balloon ride in front of the Casino & it reflected in the glass building. Then it landed & never went up again. I waited an hour for it to take off again so I could paint it in the sky, I suppose it was grounded. I have to use a reference photo to finish the balloon shading. The resulting painting "Skylines" 16x20, oil, has a foreground of large red Canna flowers mirroring the positions of the USA buildings.

Support Local Arts

This is 'support your local arts organization season.' At least it seems that way-my mail is full of social fundraiser invitations and requests for donations of artworks to raise money for galleries, museums and non-profits of all types. It is hard to choose who to support, because there are so many worthy organizations and so many reasons to want to help. I just delivered this painting 'Walton Woods' (oil, 10x14) to Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University for their gala next month. It was my first plein air with Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters. The day was cold and damp, but the Spring thaw was well on its way and early weeds were beginning to sprout. The white birches across the pond were a main attraction for me that early Spring day.

'One Bloom for Summer' (pastel, 15x23) is my record of a renegade Christmas cactus, sending out a single July flower. You can see my reflection in the glass as well as the daylight bulbs in the studio. Oh well, I had already cleaned the glass & assembled the frame before I took the picture. I gave this to Impact Art Gallery in Buffalo for their 'Starry Night' fundraiser in October.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Appropriately named

The Art room has a name-'The Holes in the Wall Studio", appropriately labeled with a sticky tag sign on the molding.

Check this article out-as long as the link lasts.

What a nice lady that Kathie Duffy is!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

ay yai yi yi yi

A step by step of a new rose-pink, on the green background. Several people have asked why I choose to paint on top of colors. Why not? Working on a middle value color gives me control over lights & darks. Sometimes it is completely covered over with paint, but I know it is there-other times, I let the background colors show through. This painting has been evolving for more than two weeks. The colors in the room change daily as I experiment with various lights. With the window open in the summer, light attracts bugs through the screen- so I am trying to face the light away from the woods and all its flying night creatures. They are fine stuck in the paint-but I jump when I get hit in the face when I am concentrating and wind up with wet paintbrushes hurling themselves through the air to land wherever they cause the most damage.
I do my best work at night. I paint a whole canvas at the same time when I am outside, but this is a studio piece from my photo, it is filling itself up from the bottom. The real rose was originally in a bouquet from Charles.

Spinning my brains as I deal with deadlines and paint. 5 new pictures to post, but I would rather work in the art room.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Warm Lake Estates in Niagara County makes a lovely Pinot Grigio wine. As part of a weekend wine trail event, I was invited to paint at the winery and I set my easel on the deck. Scattered clouds left light & dark areas on the grapes & a biplane practicing rolls over the field was a bonus. The tiny figure in the foreground is another artist at an easel.
Warm Lake Estate Grapes 10x14 oil

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunshine & Lake Air

Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters met in Olcott to paint on Wednesday the 15th. It started out overcast & I foolishly chose to stand in a treeless area-in front of a glorious forest of full grown sunflowers by to the Riverwalk area. Well, the sun came out & I nearly wilted in the heat; not only was I hot, but the sun was on my canvas & palette-I know better-so I took frequent shade & water breaks under the eaves across the street to evaluate my progress.
These sunflowers consumed more of my yellow paints than I have used in the entire past two years, and I thank Youngstown Carol for donating some medium and some juicy opaque 'sunflower' appropriate yellow hue.
Working in the sun? I came home & the harmless house was suddenly downright scary-so my [no more than]15% change involved adding a pink light glaze on the facade-and window details to take away the haunting. It worked.
Sunflowers in Olcott 20x16 oil.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Living on an island

North North Bridge, pastel 11x14

100% of the bridges on Grand Island are rated below poor by the Thruway Authority. However, artistically, I would rate them higher, the arches and the curve are quite graceful, and the views are amazing in all seasons. My favorite time is early morning in Spring, when the river haze diffuses the colors of dawn and the horizon is just not there. The only color is brilliant, blinding gold reflected on the water where the sun breaks through.
Everyone is talking about the bridges to Grand Island; their truss support system is the same-but older-than the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Taking Inventory

For the past two days I was at my first outdoor art festival. It was wonderful to see friends and meet people talking art talk! The outside section of my tent with local paintings of the Niagara River views, boats and harbors was a people magnet; some identified their own boats and homes on the rivershore, and they spent time looking for other familiar places inside the tent. It was a lot of fun-except the rains came on Sunday and we packed up early. I always hesitated to have an outdoor show because of the potential for damage to artwork and frames. Fortunately, most of the weekend was gloriously sunny and the crowds were constant.
My studio is now clean and organized, framing and preparing for the show is over, so it is time to paint. Something big is in the works!