Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 29 - 30/30 Challenge - Trying to Finish Strong (Painting 24)

Summer's Last Stand
8.5" x 10", watercolor, $100
Will be available in my Etsy shop soon - If you are interested, please leave me a message below.

This was my first painting on Saturday at Planting Fields. There was a woman named Susan painting on the other side of the path, looking at the other side of the archway. We had a great morning chatting about all the fabulous places to paint and hike on Long Island. 
The flower beds are overflowing with goldenrod (? could be something more domestic?) asters, and some other pretty yellow flowers. The honey bees and little bumble bees were everywhere gathering pollen from the last of the summer flowers. 
There was so much to look at, I had to do a preliminary sketch before starting. 

In progress.

Looking at the scene

Susan and her painting.

Susan's view.

It seemed like all of a sudden the light and shadows changed dramatically. It was time to take a break, get something to eat, and find another spot to paint. (See day 28.)

Day 28 (aka Painting 23) - In Which I'll Start Counting Backwards to Fullfill The Challenge!

Autumn Peaking Through
10.25" x 10.25", Watercolor
Soon to be in my Etsy Shop - In the meantime, please contact me 
in the comments below if you are interested in purchasing.

Saturday, I made it to Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay for a lovely day of painting with a group via Annie Shaver-Cranston.
I met some nice people, including a lovely woman named Susan who also knew some wonderful places to paint all around Long Island! It was so funny to find out that we had many of the same places in common - Bayard Cutting Arboretum and Caumsett State Park, and we shared some new places with each other - I told her about Uplands Farm and she said that the gardens at Farmingdale College were fabulous!
We chatted like old friends and I hope to meet up with her again for walking or painting!

This is the second painting of the day, looking north from the Maple Field area south of the playhouse and lilac and rose paths. The fall colors are juuust starting to peak through.

The lindens are getting greeny-gold and the Norway maples are starting their signature blazing red-orange. I look forward to getting back over there in another week or so.
In the final, I closed up a lot of those white spots (too distracting), made the dark area darker and cropped - the middle sliver of blue and the dark areas under the trees are what I liked best. Hmm, maybe I made the lindens too orangey....

Ok, off to enjoy the day - not many more left to sit at the beach or by the shore with out freezing!  Maybe I'll do another painting!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 22 - 30/30 Challenge - Wide Open Pastels

Wide Open
pastel, 6" x 6", $35

And...back to Monhegan! Well, in this case, on the way to Monhegan. This is a quick pastel I did last night. (For Day 22 - as opposed to being AHEAD for once. Yes, today is Day 23. Working on Day 23 later!)
I was working with some ideas I got from the Doug Dawson workshop and playing with the dozens of new pastels I bought at Blick. Unisons. On Sale. Mmmmm. Nice.
I can confirm that they are delicious and superior to the Blicks and the Rembrandts I have been  working with.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 20/21 - 30/30 Challenge - I for Incomplete & Workshop Painting


So, here I am, indoors, at my desk, (with a half cup of gone-cold coffee) working on a project for a client and the sun is shining and summer is slipping away! Not only do I need to get my vitamin D for the day, but I have to (need to) do my painting for the day! What to do? I sketched out a little pitcher I have and ... oops got busy again. And, that's as far as I got.


Pastel Workshop with Doug Dawson. We start out at the Nassau County Museum, but it started to rain! :-(
Back to Elderfields we went to work indoors.
I worked on one painting - that I won't count as my painting for today because Doug sort of worked on it a bit. I get credit for 3/4. It's from the Monhegan trip, on Horn Hill Road, heading out to the Burnt Head trail.

However I did start on a second one and came fairly close to finishing it. I think it's pretty interesting. (From the same hike - at the Ledges.)

A few things I learned - work dark to light (opposite of pastel - that'll mess me up!) and work large shapes to small, unify your strokes, if you blend too much with your finger or something else, then you've committed to that color, and that though Canson feels you should use the textured side of the paper, you really don't have to - many people prefer the smoother side.
I find it very interesting watching him work - starting out with color 180° opposite from the original and use that complimentary color to make a vibrant painting.

Then I went to Blick and bought more Unison Pastels for $1.69 (Reg $4.99). It was so fun. It's like being in a candy shop.

And when I got home, his book was waiting for me on the doorstep!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 19 - 30/30 Challenge - End of Season & Doug Dawson Demo

End of Season
6" x 6", watercolor, $35

I need to keep this simple, but this morning I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with deadlines to meet and [more] catching up to do. A client is on a deadline, another has an interesting proposition, and I need to choose paintings for the two upcoming shows for the Art Guild.

I went down to the beach late in the afternoon, to clear my head. I love it there this time of year - quiet and not too hot - a lovely place to read a book for an hour or so. All the kayaks and canoes are lined up waiting for somewhere to go -  all the kids are off doing homework or sports, the adults are back to their regular work schedules - and the sun sets earlier every day. Officially, Fall's a few days away. and the leaves on the trees are getting that crispy brown/green/reddish tinge.

Wednesday night I went to a pastel portrait demo by Doug Dawson at the Art Guild. It was very interesting and he had some great insights that I think will apply to landscape as well as portrait. I'm really looking forward to Saturday's class and wish I could go today and tomorrow, but the aforementioned commitments have to come first!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 17 & 18! - 30/30 Challenge - Doubling Up Again!

Green Apple
6" x 6", watercolor, $35

Susie Sunflower
6" x 6", watercolor, $35

A couple of busy days in a row and more in the future mean: 
  • A. the complicated little pastel I was working on, gets pushed to the back of the line, and 
  • B. it's time to revisit a couple of tried and true subjects. 
Singly or with other items, in a basket or bowl, or simply on a table top, apples of all sizes, shapes and colors make the old school drill of drawing or painting light and shadow, and color study interesting (and delicious!).

Sunflowers are more complicated - the many radiating petals and the way light get layered through them can get confusing quickly. The foreshortened petals and the twists they can make, add to the difficulty. Much like Van Gogh's Sunflowers, the petals do seem to be moving and changing - there's a shadow and then, maybe there's not! These were given to me by my dear friend Michele (also a fabulous and creative artist) for my birthday. Thank you Mimi!

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 16 - 30/30 Challenge - Life is a Bowl of Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes in a Blue Enamel Bowl
6" x 6", watercolor, $35

Day 16 and I need to take it a little easy on myself in terms of subject matter. I've got a busy week and I know that I'll be spending most of the week trying to keep up. 

I love these shiny red cherry tomatoes in the blue enamel bowl. 

I wasn't terribly diligent with my garden this year - got started too late, then July was an inferno. I didn't plant cucumbers or cayenne peppers or radishes or beans like I usually to and I didn't pay enough attention to my tomatoes - which are my favorite part. Every couple of days though, I did manage to collect a few handfuls, and they are ALWAYS sweeter and tastier than anything in a grocery store!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 15 - 30/30 Challenge - More Biking & Painting

Greenhouse, Bailey Arboretum
6" x 6", watercolor, $35

I love to ride my bike - and I don't do it nearly enough. Today I took a longer excursion to Bailey Arboretum in Lattingtown. It's a lovely little place - with free admission.

I love this little visitor center house and greenhouse. I just sat in the grass and sketched and painted. Chickadees and nuthatches were all around in the trees. Little butterflies flitted about. The sun peaked in and out of the clouds. Painting plein air is a wonderful way to experience the outdoors.

The Volunteers for Wildlife also make their home here in the carriage house and there are birds (hawks, owls, crows) that are housed here because they have been injured in someway or can't hunt for various reasons.

There are some lovely features there - a children's activity garden, a pond, a tiny little castle, beautiful and rare Dawn Cypresses, small but pretty lawns and acres of woods to explore. It's a great place to go snowshoeing in the winter.

About Bailey Arboretum:
Frank Bailey was born in Chatham, New York, in 1865. He became a senior officer of the Title Guarantee and Trust Company. However, he felt “something was missing from his life.” He looked back on excursions with his father, keeping “a sharp lookout for unusual trees and plants” as some of the happiest moments in his childhood. In 1911 Bailey bought a house and 45 acres in Locust Valley.

He was not interested in building a “French chateau or an English castle, like so many other houses in the vicinity,” and mocked the pretensions of his neighbors by naming his property “Munnysunk.” What distinguished “his place from all others is the enormous number and variety of trees.” His hope was to influence the practice of horticulture so that “tree gardens may some day become as common as flower gardens.”

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 14 - 30/30 Challenge - Bike Ride & Painting

Clearing Skies Over Oyster Bay
6" x 6" watercolor, $45

I went out for a bike ride and I brought my little to-go painting kit in my pack. The sky seemed so clear and the weather was perfect. However, as I looked back to the west - WOW! Some crazy clouds were coming my way. I stopped to take some pictures, got a phone call from a friend who said that it was pouring in Glen Cove. 

Then it rained, but not hard. I braved it out for a 
while. There was even a rainbow!

I love the colors of the marsh and water! There's so much going on there!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 13 - 30/30 Challenge - Elderfields

6" x 6", watercolor

This is Elderfields, the home of the Art Guild. I started this painting while sitting in my car, waiting for a board meeting.

The farm and homestead of various prominent area landowning families over the years, the four acre preserve includes the Hewlett-Munson-William House, one of the oldest surviving structures on Long Island, the earliest section of which dates to around 1675. Also a carriage shed, other small utility buildings, and a walled garden. Carlos W. Munson bought the property c.1900, named the home Elmsfour, and began buying up acreage in the area. Munson was president and chairman of the Munson Steamship Line, founded by his father Walter D. Munson in 1884. Munson donated the land that would become St. Francis Hospital, and by the time of his death in 1940, had sold many acres to developers who began to build up Flower Hill. The property [at 200 Port Washington Blvd, Manhasset, NY] was left to Nassau County [NY] in 1996. (From

After a series of calamities, including a fire during Hurricane Irene in 2011, and the breaking down of the furnace earlier this year, we are hopeful that we will be up and running again SOON!

Day 12 - 30/30 Challenge - Gourmet Frozen Apple Cider

Gourmet Frozen Apple Cider
6" x 6", watercolor, $45

I need a short break from Monhegan, so here's a scene from the Hopkinton State Fair in New Hampshire. There were lots of things to see! Lots of cows and sheep and goats. Baby piggies, 4-H projects of all kinds - from raising rabbits & chickens to training dogs. We missed most of the equestrian categories but we watched the oxen/cattle pulling competition and a little of the dog jumping competition.
There was also tons of food! Gianourmous turkey legs, bacon on a stick, all sorts of bbq & pulled pork, lobster rolls, fried oreos, Frozen (Gourmet) Apple Cider, ice-cream and lots more.

It was a really fun day! Thanks Bob & Lisa! I always have a great time on our adventures!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 11 - 30/30 Challenge - Still Virtually Visiting Monhegan

Monhegan Lighthouse Buildings, Sunrise
6" x 6", pastel, $35

Monhegan Lighthouse is such a "photogenic" lighthouse. With commanding views of MaƱana Island as well as the coast of Maine (on a clear day), this is one of the most popular places to paint and photograph on the island. The light and shadows on the angles of the buildings - the walls and the roofs, the sky – are just fabulous. I love the blue of the sky, the red roofs, the weather worn white buildings and the green, green grass. 

 I could probably paint on this hill for a month. Just delicious.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 10 - 30/30 Challenge - Shed on the Edge of The Marsh

Shed, Edge of the Marsh, Monhegan
6" x 6", watercolor, $45

As you can see, I changed the colors of the kayaks from this reference shot. I love the golds and greens of the marsh as fall approaches and the fog adds a softness to the landscape. I like that the owner of the little grey brown shed added a bit of whimsy with the smiley fish plaque on the door.

Ice Pond supplied the island with ice. The ice was cut, stored and used all summer.

Grey dreary skies dominated my stay on Monhegan. It was impossible to paint outside using watercolor. I noticed that not even the bravest of oil painters tried. Heck, it was hard to paint INSIDE with 100% humidity! (See Day 3. That was torture! It simply would not dry!)

Beautiful spot overlooking a cove, just north of Ice Pond.

So, when your painting trip turns out to be a hiking and relaxing trip, you gather info, take pictures, visit the (few) shops and galleries, and imagine - as hard as you can - that the sun might come out!

Pretty overlook, at the corner of someone's yard, just up the trail, past Ice Pond

This is a road on Monhegan. Heading north.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 9 - 30/30 Challenge - Henny Penny Goes to School

Henny Penny Goes To School, 6" x 6" watercolor, $45

One of the charming things about Monhegan is the chickens that sort of pop up all around the village. In someone's side yard or garden, or in the shrubs and weeds next to the road. You're walking along and out pops a chicken! Oh, Hi!
This pretty buff girl and her sisters hang around the schoolhouse, wandering under the apple trees and picking at insects. I really enjoyed watching them. They struck me as pretty world-wise for chickens.

The Ladies of the schoolyard.

Spot the Chicken.

She's a character. She pops up everywhere.

Exploring beyond the picnic table and the flag pole.