Monday, September 1, 2014

Round 4 of the 30/30 Challenge - Day 1

Sailboats and Clouds, pastel, 9x12

Here we go again! The fourth go-round of the always interesting 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. This little challenge was dreamed up by artist Leslie Saeta about two years ago. The rules are very loose – although the obvious stated goal is 30 paintings in 30 days – there are caveats. You can paint more than one a day, you can skip a day, etc. The ultimate goal is to paint everyday. There are about 700 artists participating over the next 30 days...That's potentially 21,000 pieces of art work! (Go to the link above to see where the participating artists are located.)

I will first confess, that it is highly unlikely that I'll get 30 paintings done this time. I have a number of paintings I need to do for a variety of reasons - not the least of which is a solo show – my first EVER – coming up in November! I know from past experience that working bigger than 6" x 6" will simply not produce a painting a day (I do have to pay my rent!). I will, however, try to paint something everyday – I need to paint something everyday. And I will post the progress.

I also will probably not be putting these up on Etsy immediately. Some may end up in the solo show – I need to fill those walls! (If you are absolutely in love with something, contact me and we can talk...)

Above is the completed pastel painting I started plein air last weekend. I finished it yesterday.  I just love the clouds and the sky. I don't know if it will be part of the November show, time will tell!

Oh and by-the-way I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop. Anything $35 and more is 15% off. (The mermaid has to buy some picture frames for that solo show, you know.) Use the coupon code below...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Landscape Show at Huntington Arts Council And 30/30 Challenge

Firstly, let's get this out right at the top: I am honored and delighted to be a part of the (very exclusive)  Landscape show at the Huntington Arts Council from September 5 - 29. Please join me and the other artists at the Opening Reception, Friday September 5th!

Second, the marathon 30/30 Challenge is starting TOMORROW! And I am remarkably unprepared! 

Looking back to last year at this time, my workshop plans did not work out for Acadia, so I planned a trip to every painter's bucket list – Monhegan. Since the object of the trip was to paint, I killed two birds with one stone. And I did paint. Despite near constant rain and dripping fog. Despite the fact that with the humidity at 125% watercolors wouldn't dry. I now have enough photographs to paint Monhegan for quite some time, though, for the most part, I'll have to imagine the sunshine.

It was sunny when I got there and hiked out to Blackhead.
But I loved it. It's a beautiful place. It's not for everyone – too small, too not-modern, too much walking ALL walking, what the hell is there to do?, slightly grumpy year-rounders, an hour-and-a-half on the ferry, scarcity of credit card machines and ATMs, shared bathrooms, walking-up-the-stairs (no elevator???), no air-conditioning – are many of the complaints. (You can't believe the silly things people say on Trip Advisor!) But I loved it! 

I digress. The 30/30 Challenge. I will warn you now...I may not paint a full painting every day. I have a solo show coming in November, so I need to make some larger paintings (that clearly will take more than a day). But I will paint every day. And I will share the project here.

This year, I'll be finishing the 30/30 while in Maine. I'm so excited to be taking a pastel class with the amazing Michael Chesley Johnson at Acadia Workshop Center! YAY!

Last but certainly not least, I'd like to tell everyone that I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop. 
The mermaid needs some frames for the paintings in that solo show in November, so please help a girl out! (They sorta frown upon just sticking them to the wall with white tape. I don't know why.)

It will be an interesting month. Enjoy it with me.

PS: I'm relieved/excited/happy/ecstatic to tell you that The Art Guild of Port Washington is BACK in their home at Elderfields! Woohoo! We are planning LOTS of things, exhibits, classes and more...please check out our website! If you're an artist and on Long Island, please consider joining us! The Welcome Home Show is September 20 - October 19, with the Opening Reception on Sept 21.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Opening Reception - Annual Lighthouse Show - Open 'til July 20

It was a perfect evening in late June. A delightful walk along the boardwalk with my mom, music, wine, gentle breezes and wonderful artwork. (I love the march of the clouds in the picture above.)

Obligatory shots of the artist and her work. 
(After School Activities, Monhegan Schoolhouse, watercolor.)

Do I look sweaty? I feel sweaty. It's always hot in that building on opening night.
(In Memorium, watercolor)

There's so much to see - paintings are downstairs and there are two rooms of photography upstairs. Don't miss this wonderful show – at the Fire Island Lighthouse, on display until July 20. And don't forget, all the art is for sale and a portion goes to the Lighthouse Preservation Society (and the balance goes to an artist who probably needs the sale too!).
Looking back at the lighthouse as we leave.

Gorgeous clouds and sky and dunes.

The photo doesn't do this justice. We like to pretend that the clouds are faraway snow-capped mountains with the sun behind just turning their peaks crimson and gold as it sets.
Does anyone other than us make those imaginary landscapes?

The show is open 'til July 20 (Did I mention that?) and I highly recommend spending the day at Robert Moses State Park, walking the beach or the boardwalk, seeing the show, climbing the tower, walking into Kismet to The Inn or The Out and having lunch, or relaxing with a book on the beach. 

Need more info? Go to the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society for directions, hours and more. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fire Island Lighthouse Show - June 26 - July 20.

After School Activities, Monhegan Schoolhouse
watercolor, approx 10x14, $350
In Memorium
watercolor, approx 10x14", $350

I am proud to announce that for the sixth year my work has been accepted into the Fire Island Lighthouse's Annual Art Show. (The two paintings above.) 

This show means so much to me for so many reasons. In addition to being the first show I entered after  beginning to paint (as in "fine art" paint) it is one of my absolute favorite places.

Growing up on the south shore, the Fire Island Lighthouse was the first lighthouse I knew about - the only one I could see from out little town beach. There it was winking at me across the Great South Bay, every 7.5 seconds, "Hello....hello...hello..."

When I was about 10 or 12, the Junior Audubon Society took a trip over there and we stood under its (crumbling) magnificence. The guide explained how, once-upon-a-time, the end of Fire Island was less than 200 yards from where we were standing (it's now approx 5 miles away). How the mail and supply boat could pull right up to the base of the lighthouse (the bay is maybe 200 yards away now). I was fascinated – and hooked.

By 1973 it was decommissioned and the beacon moved to the Robert Moses Causeway water tower to the east. There was serious consideration to knocking it down. I was heartbroken – how could they? Luckily, local outcry got results and they stopped the plans. Long story short, in 1986 the Lighthouse was recommissioned.

Today it's part of the Fire Island National Seashore, but much of it's day-to-day funding and the maintenance of the beacon itself, comes from the work of the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, a non-profit that gives tours, puts on events and collects donations to keep the place running. It's still one of the prettiest places I know of – far from the hum of suburban life. Few cars are allowed here – the salty air is filled with only the call of red winged blackbirds, gulls, and other birds, the crash of waves and the occasional happy "ting!" of a bicycle bell. It is peaceful.

So – I would be delighted and honored for you all to join me (and about 100 other artists and their guests) for the Artist's Reception, Thursday June 26 from 6 - 9 pm. (Details HERE).

Friday, March 28, 2014

2012 Great South Bay Music Festival Mermaid

2012 Great South Bay Music Festival Poster
(If you are interested in a copy, please contact me. There may be some printed copies available)

2012 rolled around and the organizer/producer of the festival wanted a NEW Mermaid and a new look for the poster. We wanted to do something a little different and new, but again, the problem is always that the image and look must be easily adaptable to the variety of sizes we need. 

This was a tough one - I had an entirely different idea and I really LOVED it (and still do). It's a little conceptual, but, to me, in the land of poster design, it wasn't that much of a stretch.
But that one didn't, back to the drawing board. We moved her around, re-proportioned the festival and the water, but he felt he need to see more people at the festival (making the festival itself more important). 
Some more sketching and we/I came up with a "cartouche" style (is that the right word?) that would stand alone with the name and date and the schedule and other info would go on an area outside the scene.

Oooh THAT mermaid's face is baaaaad. I REALLY liked the other mermaid, so I photoshopped her into this new look.
See? Much better.
With a few revisions - adding a banner at the top, adjusting the banner at the bottom and making it a little prettier and flowy-er. and here's the drawing on the 140lb hot press Arches watercolor paper.
It's sort of light. Can you see it? 
Here it is close up
I like to play with the mermaid's jewelry. Earrings, necklaces and bracelets are so much fun.
I want you to notice that there are NOT hoards of people at the festival.

I love that bird (common tern, for the curious).

This is 21" wide, by 14.5" high and most of those little teeny people are 3/4" high or less. 
Watercolor, colored pencil and ink marker on Arches 140lb hot press paper.

Finally coloring in! The best part. 

I like to borrow from the past mermaids and then add something new. This mermaid is playing the guitar that the 2011 one is riding through the sky.
And, just to cut to the chase, here's the finished piece. Hand lettered. I would like to point out the billions of people in this scene. Every time I showed him the progress he would say - "More people! I want people to know it's a festival! That it's a happening place!" O.M.G. This was a really intense piece.
I had to buy stronger reading glasses after this. 
There are some really fun little people in there - a strong man, a hula hooper, a guy on stilts...lots of people.
As usual I had to scan and piece together in photoshop.

More borrowing: In the finished poster I used the sky from the first painting and the braiding and corner pieces from the second. 

Overall, I think the mermaid in this one is my second most favorite. So far, which is your favorite?

Next up: Mermaid 2013.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The 2011 Mermaid for Great South Bay Music Festival

(Please let me know if you are interested in purchasing - copies are in storage somewhere.)

While I'm working on this year's mermaid, I thought I'd share the making of her "sisters." 

In 2011 the festival organizer wanted a new mermaid. We would still use the original for "branding" and for general ID, but a new mermaid every year would give new interest moving forward. I was able to use the same sky and most of the festival grounds, but I had to eliminate the carnival altogether and add a larger stage and ADD MORE PEOPLE. Teeny tiny people.

We went through a number of drawings and ideas. We liked this one, with the floating guitar and the mermaid giving the peace sign, the best.

The original sketch idea (l), and the working drawing of the merm and her flying seahorse guitar (r).

Close up of the merm's face.

Finished merm on guitar with seahorse and bubble holes and moonshell head.

Corner pieces of the border.

New, bigger, badder, gianourmous stage added on left...and more people.

I drew/painted the new stage and new people and placed them in photoshop. The new mermaid, braided border, corner pieces and banner were also painted separately and assembled in photoshop.

Materials: For the mermaid and the festival scene, I use Arches 140lb HOT press paper and a combination of watercolors, colored pencils, and pitt pen. I feel that it allows me to get more detailed,  though I have to give up the lovely grainy textures of the cold press paper. The sky, however, was painted with watercolor on Arches 140lb cold press paper. The moon (in the original painting) was also painted on cold press paper.

Coming soon: 2012 Mermaid.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

First Plein Air of 2014 - Fire Island Lighthouse

A Trip to the Lighthouse and the Ocean
Saturday was (finally) a beautiful day. I had heard that the [Fire Island National Seashore’s] boardwalk to the Fire Island Lighthouse had finally been rebuilt and was open for walking! I packed up some painting and drawing supplies (tried to keep it light) and off I went.

I'm always so happy when I cross the Causeway
This post Sandy landscape always freaks me out.

Pretty new boardwalk on National Seashore property. 
(Looks like recycled plastic. Really beautiful and clean.)

YAY! Walking up to the lighthouse and the lens building.
This is the boathouse behind the lighthouse on the bay side. 
I love this composition, but standing here on the boardwalk is awkward and blocks the path for people. So, I'll take the reference shot and move on.

Cool stuff on the bay beach. I love old rusty stuff like this. Looks like a big winch. 
I wonder what its story is?

I came back up and found that I could sit in this spot, on the edge of the boardwalk, out of the way.
(In my sketchbook, NFS)

Then I walked down the beach almost to Kismet. It was windy, and a little cold, but not terribly uncomfortable. I did think that the barefoot people with their feet in the ocean were pushing the envelope, but we really need some spring around here!
This is a really creepy photo for me. Hurricane Sandy stripped away all the dunes, scrub pines and other vegetation. This used to be a dune...not flat as you see it here. You could see the lighthouse and the roof of the keeper's quarters, but not the whole building.

Sand carved by the wind.

That huge dune, sticking out all by itself, is all that's left of the primary dune line in this (approx 1 mile+) section. (Looking west.) 
Walking back along the Burma Road.
I have to go back to the lighthouse. It is my favorite place.

I really enjoy the colors and the graphic-ness of the building, sky and surrounding area.

My happy place. I could sit on this bench all day and watch the sky go by.

Drawn on-site and painted at home from memory.
(In my sketchbook, NFS)

And I was entertained by this little whirlwind of purple and red racing 'round and 'round the lighthouse with her father and brother. (Drawn on site and painted at home from memory.)
Bye-bye Lighthouse - See you soon!