Sienna Glimpse is about the many subdued colors which autumn brings to the fields, crops, grasses, and bushes. They are stored in my mind and heart; but what pleasure I derive from seeing them in person when autumn brings them back to me once again. Many of the subtle nuances in this painting can be seen only (or much better, at least) in person, such as the slight appearance of a dark, warm purple. Yes, it’s really there, and is one of my favorite parts of this piece.
And it wouldn’t be autumn without the fireworks of the blazing trees of reds, yellows and golds. Those will undoubtedly make an appearance on my palette soon, for we are now approaching peak season here in the middle of Michigan!
If you saw my last blog post, you know I’m on a roll with this treasured schoolhouse. This close-up was calling for a very large (48″ x 48″) interpretation, which also meant that it would have to be approached with a slightly more modern feel. You may not be able to tell by the photo, but the painting fades off on the bottom portion to an untouched white canvas, except for the 3 drips which made their way down right at the beginning and claimed their place.
This old schoolhouse, only a few miles from our house, is starting to get covered up by the encroaching trees. I’m a little worried they’re going to tear it down some day; so I grab a photo whenever I can.
This is the second painting I’ve done of it; the first was two years ago and it quickly sold. I’ve just started a third, much more modern and abstract interpretation of a close-up of the entrance. It will be a 48″ x 48″.
I’m very honored to announce that I have a full feature article in the Fall issue of the Acrylic Artist Magazine. And to add to the excitement, one of my paintings made the cover. As you can imagine, I’m still on cloud nine about all of this!
It was very enjoyable and eye-opening to hear my interviewer’s perspective on my art, including the title of the article, “Shadow Lover.” Jennifer Smith, Managing Editor of the magazine, was a pure joy to work with! We ended up going with a Q&A format. If you’d like to order this issue of the magazine, you can use this link for either a downloadable copy, or to have the magazine mailed to you.
The article helps explain Jennifer’s choice of “Shadow Lover” to describe me/my paintings. One of the components, to give you a clue, is that I’m allergic to the sun, which gives me an appreciation for shade, above and beyond what most people probably experience. So when I paint that luscious edge between the shaded and sunlit sides of a building or structure, I’m actually quite attracted to, and comforted by, the shaded side. At one of the recent receptions at LaFontsee Galleries (where I’m represented), a fellow artist expressed to me her appreciation for the proportion of shade to sun I used on “Little Shed on the Prairie” (shown below). As an instructor at a local art institute, she tries to get that concept through to her students: that it’s not all about the bright colors. The contrasting presence of the shade is what makes the light look so good!
Watch my future blog posts for notice about a two-part online article Jennifer Smith is publishing regarding my style of painting, and some tips from me, including how to overcome one of the greatest challenges of acrylic: its fast-drying quality.
Also, I will soon be posting a new page on this website, just for the purpose of discussing some of the tricks I’ve learned in my experience with acrylic. If you’re an artist who is new to acrylics, I think you’ll discover some great information.
There are plenty of paintings I’ve abstracted in the past, where I ignore the reality in order to gain a desired result. However, there are certain boundaries I don’t cross concerning lighting. I usually stay consistent with the light’s effects from one object to the next in order to express something that is believable to the eyes.
I broke those rules a little on this painting to get some contrasts I wanted. You could say I created a bit of an unreality.
This is a final look at Mackinac Island as it was getting ready to close down for the winter. The idea of being on the island after the tourists all leave greatly appeals to me. A couple of my girlfriends actually stayed there all year, many moons ago, to work and attend the short-lived college. My romantic mind pictures one magical scene after another: horse-drawn sleigh rides accompanied by the jingling of the sleigh bells; large snowflakes falling gently to the ground; the hushed atmosphere created by thick layers of snow “insulation.” A picture-perfect image. But I’m sure the reality is a lot more … realistic! 😉
This piece began with a 5-color transparent wash, of which phthalo green was the main player. I had forgotten how interesting phthalo green is: when mixed with alizarin crimson, it produces such a rich black, it almost belies its cool beginnings (with alizarin crimson also being a cool hue).
My goal for this painting was: “Hold back with brushstrokes. Give just enough (or not quite enough, which is enough).” This is one of the reminders I have printed and taped to my painting table, lest I forget.
Last weekend we hit peak color in my area of Michigan, so we took advantage of it and meandered around for three days. This was one of our stops one day, before we left Grand Rapids. Although I’ve painted this intersection a zillion times, these vibrant trees were screaming at me to catch them showing off! Who can argue when a tree is talking to you?
During our drives, we ate at a lovely place in Newaygo called River Stop Cafe. Old brick walls, extremely high ceilings, and delicious sandwiches. Just south of there near Grant was a farm market which demanded us to stop. Number one, it was called “Nelsons.” And number two, they advertised having the best long johns around. I’m currently on a quest to see if anybody can beat the long johns at Royal Dutch Bakery in Grandville (formerly known as Steenstra’s). Nelsons was good on certain levels (I was all prepared to give you my detailed critique, but then I remembered this is not a food blog); but Royal Dutch Bakery still claims first place for me.
Back to art. I’m painting furiously, before the wind drives all the beautiful leaves off the trees. I’m afraid that once the color outside of my windows is gone, I will lose my inspiration to paint it, even though I have it recorded on some amazing photographs. I know me. I love neutrals; and once the countryside takes on the peaceful, washed-out hues of dried grasses and corn stalks, and the bare trees become elegant statues silhouetted against the steely-gray skies… . My heart will follow.
After two weeks of vacation, and three weeks of being rather sick, I am so happy to be back at the easel!! I was worried I might have forgotten how to paint.
This scene is from photos I took last fall. It is way out in the country, south of us. In fact, it’s so far out, Dennis and I cannot remember the name of the streets that intersect right next to this building. The old structure looks like it might have been a school house, with the front, shallow building serving as an entryway. There were two skinny poles at the peak of the roof which looked like they might have supported a bell at one time.
I hope you’re getting a chance to see some great colors of autumn. Many blessings to you all!