Friday, January 31, 2014

After the 30/30 Challenge - The Happy Recap

Interested in a painting here? Check my Etsy shop OR leave me a comment or an email.

Thank you all for following my painting journey. I hope you'll stick around and to see what happens in the future! I also hope that you've joined my blog with your email  (so you don't miss a post) and/or joined my email list (MUCH less frequent postings!). Please share with your friends.

As in September (and last January) the question is: What's the takeaway? What did I get out of this? And in some ways the answer then, is the answer now. 

My answer is much the same as it was previously - The Challenge is NOT about creating a masterpiece - it's about just doing it – a square inch of a doodle, or discovering a new tool or medium. It's about planning and spontaneity, problem solving and editing. (And to repeat myself) It's discovering your limits in the moment AND that there are no limits in the big picture (pun intended!). 

It's about pushing yourself and honoring a commitment TO YOURSELF. And it's hard to find the time when the rent/insurance/phone needs to be paid and the cats need to eat, so you have to do your "day job," which is a perfectly fine day job, but secretly, you'd rather be tramping about in some farm field or on a rocky coast finding the perfect place to paint. (And then of course selling it before it's even finished!)

In 13 months I've painted more than 90 paintings! That alone is an amazing number! 
In this Challenge I painted:
(some count in multiple categories)
7.5 pastels
22.5 watercolors (White Daisy counts for that 1/2)
7 Birds and Animals
10 Landscapes/Buildings
5 Winter scenes
10 Still Lifes/Flowers/ Vegetables
1 portrait
1 car
2 "Tangles"
Did I miss anything?

This year, I know I had to make a concerted effort to use brighter colors – the weather was dreary and COLD and I think it really got to me!

If you are interested in purchasing paintings from this or a previous challenge, most of the postings have a link to my Etsy shop (or will VERY soon). If there's something that you've seen either here, in person or on my FB page, that doesn't have a link or a price, please feel free to contact me.

January 2013 - 30/30 Challenge

These are the paintings from last January. It's an interesting comparison. 
These seem to be a much brighter palette. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 30 - 30/30 Challenge - Spring Evening, Sod Farm

Spring Evening, Sod Farm
Pastel on colorfix paper, 6" x 6", $35

Paint Brushes Down! Hands Up!

It was not always easy. It was not always on time. Did real work (and by that I mean the stuff that actually pays bills - I'm being realistic here) get in the way? Sometimes. Some paintings, I'm not wild about. But overall? It feels good to have started the year this way.

About this painting: I am always drawn to the flatness of the farms on the North Fork of Long Island. Spring evenings make all the colors glow and intensify. The green sod, the colors in the eastern sky against a bank of bluey-purpley-grey storm clouds combine and contrast to make something really beautiful.

On a technical note: The paper this pastel is done on is a good example of re-using and re-purposing. I had started a watercolor painting on Arches 140lb cold press watercolor paper. It didn't turn out well and I tried to scrub it down and start over again, but it was too stained. I could have just used the other side, but I received a jar of Colorfix Primer at Christmas that I've been dying to try out.
I just painted it on the paper and when it dried it had a great textured surface that pastel just clung to. Super stuff!  It comes in colors and white (which you can tint with watercolor or acrylic).

Tomorrow I'll post all the images from the month!

Day 29 - 30/30 Challenge - Private Gate

Private Gate
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

This is a quiet little spot in Orient, NY – a lovely little village on the north fork of Long Island – where if you squint you'd swear you were in a tiny seafaring village 100 years ago. Lovely old Victorian houses and quaint cottages dot the narrow streets over looking Peconic Bay. (That's Shelter Island in the background.) It's a great place to walk or ride a bike and the reference photo for this was taken on one my evening excursions the summer I worked every weekend out there.

For more on Orient (formerly Oysterponds) go to the Oysterponds Historical Society.
For a short video (in which you'll see some of the other spots I've painted like the crab shack, and Latham's Farmstand) go here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Day 28 - 30/30 Challenge - The Giggle

The Giggle
watercolor, 6" x 6"
(Private collection)

I don't do many paintings of people, but this picture of my niece was just too cute for me to not try.
There were lots of giggles on an early spring afternoon, running around and around her grandmother's backyard.  There were so many adorable pictures to choose from! I liked this one because of the gesture of her hands as she was laughing and the fact that she wasn't looking at me.

Portraits are so hard and I made a conscious effort to not over work or over think it. I stopped before I really thought it was done and came back to it a while later. Working on the less-is-more theory, I only cleaned up some edges and created small shadows. I did not think about every hair and eyelash, and ultimately I think it turned out well!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 27 - 30/30 Challenge - White Daisy

White Daisy
Watercolor & Pastel, 6" x 6", $35

Some times the easiest things just don't end up being that easy! A simple white daisy on a green background should be simple and fast and I'll get caught up in no time flat - right? No.
Maybe that simple white flower was too simple and the blurry, green, out-of-focus, and the whole thing was sort of...underwhelming.
I started in watercolor, but added pastel in the background just give it more interest and texture, added a couple of tiny little red ladybugs and "made-up" some texture around the yellow center of the flower. And in the end – I think it's pretty nice.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 26 - 30/30 Challenge - Black Cat on a Yellow Chair

Black Cat on a Yellow Chair
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

The chair was a rescue from the garbage – I just couldn't stand that this happy yellow chair was being thrown away! It now sits in my kitchen under the window that features KittyTV aka a window bird feeder. Both cats can spend hours watching the little house finches, chickadees, cardinals, carolina wrens and other visitors eat and squabble over the sunflower seeds. But all that birdwatching is very taxing and so, eventually, curling up and taking a nap is very much in order.

PS, the cat was also a rescue - from underneath a giant hosta leaf! Such a tiny little angry kitten he was. He's so much sweeter and happier now. But, not smart. Nope, not at all. (I'm allowed to say that because he can't read...) But he is soooo sweet.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Day 8 - 30/30 Challenge - BIG Duck!

Big Duck
Watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

In the grip of a polar vortex(!), I needed to look forward to spring, so I found some pictures of the Big Duck in Flanders, NY, taken last March.

What is the Big Duck? The Big Duck is a very sweet (now) landmark building envisioned by duck farmer Martin Maurer, and built by Broadway set designers, the Collins Brothers, and crafted by locals George Reeve, John Smith, and Merlin Yeager in 1931. (Long Island was home to hundreds of duck farms - "Long Island duckling" was a big thing!) It is made of cement (its eyes are Model T tail lights!) and Mr. Maurer sold ducks and duck eggs from its tummy. The Duck has moved a couple of times, is taken care of by Friends of the Big Duck, and is now a tourism center for the East End.

So, here's a confession - whenever I drive out to the south fork of Long Island, I shout out, "Hi Duck!" as I pass him. Have I mentioned that I'm six years old? (Oh, and for the record? He has an air conditioner in his butt. Jus' sayin'.)

Day 25 - 30/30 Challenge - Box Turtle

Box Turtle
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

A couple of summers ago I came across two eastern box turtles trudging along in Orient Point State Park. This one (the male) was following the female through the gravelly area at the side of the road - I have no idea where they were going, but I helped them across the fairly busy road to the scrub pines on the other side.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day 24 - 30/30 Challenge - Little Red Hen

Little Red Hen
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

This little gal is [safely and perhaps wisely] hanging in the chicken coop area while the crazy ladies from Long Island feed and squeal over the lambs. Yes, we squealed over, and fed, and held, lots of adorable lambs at a farm near Schoharie, New York.
Pretty sure that chickens aren't impressed with being squealed at or hugged. Fed maybe, but not milk from giant baby bottles. Sorry chickens - you don't know what you're missing.

On an artistic note, I really like the textures I achieved on the wall. I used a combination of wet-into-wet, dry brush, spaying with water to soften edges, blotting and even scrubbing with a slightly damp paper towel. It really evokes the worn wood and chipped and peeling paint.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 23 - 30/30 Challenge - Tom Turkey

Tom Turkey
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

Perhaps I've never reeeaaaly looked at a turkey. Not right up close. But they really are quite pretty - well, their colors are spectacular! Yes, they do actually LOOK like aliens - angry aliens - but bright cadmium red and cerulean blue and lavender and everything in-between aliens.
This big guy was at a little farm we went to in October to pick pumpkins (see earlier post). The hen turkey really liked my turquoise ring. This guy - not so much. Look at that eye!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 22 - 30/30 Challenge - Little Yellow Car

Little Yellow Car
pastel, 6" x 6", $35

Last August a friend and I took a little jaunt up to Beacon, New York. We had a lovely day kayaking (me) and paddle boarding (her) all the way to the Beacon/Newburgh Bridge and back, eating lunch and ice cream, shopping in the adorable boutiques and walking around this pretty little village. This little yellow car was on Main Street and I just couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures.
We can't wait to go back next summer!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 21 - 30/30 Challenge - Big Red Barn

Big Red Barn
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

This big red barn is somewhere near Schoharie in upstate New York. Last March we visited a farm and fed the lambs, llamas, and Scottish beefer cattle (I should paint one of those guys!), this barn was just down the road. We had A LOT of fun that weekend - shopping, making snow angels, lunch at the Apple Barrel, wine at the Grapevine Farms. Looking forward to going back!

Day 20 - 30/30 Challenge - Sargent Study

Sargent Study - Corfu: Lights and Shadows
watercolor, 6" x 6" 

Sunday I [finally] got to see the John Singer Sargent exhibit. I had to go to Boston to see it, but it was well worth the trip.

There were more than 100 watercolor paintings from both the Brooklyn Museum and Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Considered the leading portrait painter of his generation, Sargent was born January 12, 1856, in Florence to American ex-patriots and lived all over Europe. Read his bio here.

Most paintings in this show were painted plein air, during his travels through the Middle East and Europe. Most are painted with a limited palette, but that by no means limits Sargent's mastery of composition, perspective, form, mood, light and color. It never keeps him from describing a stark Bedouin tent encampment, a lush mountain stream or the dappled light of a garden. He travels with his sisters and some other artist friends and it's fun to note that he takes a great deal of time setting up the compositions, and they photograph the scenes.

It was fascinating to be able to see, up-close, the preliminary drawings underneath, the mixing of the paint, the use of white crayon, opaque white paint, and even the applying of watercolors in a thick impasto. The paintings of Venice are particularly interesting - many are painted from a gondola, in a very limited palette. The pencil drawings are very detailed - it almost looks as though he's using a ruler to draw the steps of the building, but the painting is very loose by comparison.

I thought it would be interesting to copy Sargent's painting Corfu: Lights and Shadows to learn a little about his technique. I tried to match his color choices, so I used alizarin crimson, ultramarine, naples yellow, quin gold, aurelian, sepia, prussian blue. In this painting, Sargent wasn't shy about scrubbing and blotting color. He also went back in with opaques and used a white crayon to create resists. I don't think mine comes close - but I did learn a bit about trying to capture the flickering light and shadow.

The next stop for this fabulous show is the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 3/2/2014 - 5/26/14. If you're nearby, go see it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 18 & 19 30/30 Challenge - I hate falling behind!

Four Bottles
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

French Macaroons
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

My time was at a premium in Boston. Not a lot of time to spend an hour or two each day to paint. So I took a few shots of simple things in my cousin's apartment to use as subject matter later. (Also, I somehow forgot my watercolor palette. I had watercolor pencils and pens...but it wasn't the same.)

The four little bottles sat on her kitchen window sill. They brighten up even the dreariest of winter days. The beautiful little french macaroons were almost too pretty to eat and came beautifully packaged in a little black gold embossed box. Presentation!

HOWEVER, I did accomplish my goal of seeing the John Singer Sargent exhibit at Boston MFA! And it was magnificent! (More on that later! And I'm going to copy a Sargent as an exercise.) On some level, though I didn't actually paint while there, I think that the immersion in hundreds of works of art by a master, count for something!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 17 - 30/30 challenge - Feather-tangle

pitt pen on bristol, 6x6

Busy, Busy, Busy! I did this one Saturday for Friday's piece, but here it is Sunday(!) and I'm in Boston, and I'm just posting...just a little behind.
This image was what I was thinking about at a memorial service for a friend's brother. It seemed very peaceful and meditative in a room so full of sadness.
It's not the best image of it. I'll scan it when I get home. I may color it too, though I do like it in Black and white.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day 16 - 30/30 Challenge - Zinnia

Pastel, 6" x 6", $35

Yes I am late. I have been on deadline with a client and have been a bit under the weather.
BUT here is day 16! Woohoo! These zinnias came in so many surreally bright colors, I think I would actually need day-glow pastels! Bright red and screaming pink! The yellow pollen just sparkles against the vibrant petals. Just beautiful!

I'm likely to get more behind, this weekend – a memorial service upstate and a trip to Boston to visit a darling cousin – with a plan to see the Sargent exhibit at the Boston Art Museum (last weekend - of course).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 15 - 30/30 Challenge - Autumn Walk, Ninagret

Autumn Walk, Ninigret
Pastel, approx 12.5" x 9.5, $150

Two posts in a day! Scary!
Looking back over the paintings I've done so far, one would think that I'm either extraordinarily depressed or I'm enjoying the limited palette experiment. I don't think it's the former, though I think I have certainly had enough of the later. It's not that they're bad, or depressing subjects, or feel depressing when taken one at a time. But when I look at them together...

So from here on out I promise to USE A COLOR! Maybe even more than one.

Update: I felt increasingly yucky as the day went on, so I decided to finish a painting I started back in October on my trip to Rhode Island. Happily, It has a lot of autumn colors!

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

After I visited Pt. Judith (see blog post here) I took a drive over to Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge in Charlestown, about 20 minutes away.

Ninigret started out as farms, but in the '30s the Navy bought up the property and turned it into a flight training facility for the Navy. Known as Charlietown, it was in use, in one form or another, until the early '70s when it was turned over to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Now it is acres of reclaimed marsh land, scrubby forest and huge meadows where the runways once were. I saw wild turkeys, deer and lots of birds. The leaf color was really peaking and I walked about 3 miles. There was something beautiful to paint around every corner. It was late afternoon, and the cloud cover started filling in so I stopped and started to paint this plein air.

I think it's done. I might do a bit with the sky and maybe the upper right side. I have to sit on it a bit and see if it tells me anything.  I hope you like it!

Day 14 - 30/30 Challenge - Thyme In a Bottle

Thyme in a Bottle
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

I'm late - late posting for day 14. The last couple of days have been mostly filled with "day-job" work – the mermaid and some other clients' jobs. Then yesterday afternoon there was the migraine that, for the first time in years, I was simply unable to shake. But I did paint this late last night and technically it was done before midnight.

This jar (yes, it really did say Thyme) was in a house in Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire. I liked the almost monochrome palette and the simplicity of the place, the paper cover and the raffia string and the unexpected very late season tomato.

I'll work on day 15 in a bit, time to get caught up!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 13 - 30/30 Challenge - These Boots are Made for Walking

Sweetheart of the Rodeo Boots
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

My FAVORITE vintage cowboy boots! Bought on Ebay a long time ago, they probably date from the late 40s - early 50s. I just love wearing them with tights and skirts. They make me happy just looking at them.

This is number 13 in the 30/30 Painting Challenge with Leslie Saeta.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 12 - 30/30 Challenge - Mallard

Watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

Another day, another duck! 
Sometimes the not-so-great photos make the best reference. I took the photo for this painting on a dreary day, late in the afternoon, several years ago. I was going to toss it, but the intensity of color outweighed the blurriness created by low light and movement. I love the intensity of the male's green head and conversational quack quack quacking. 
The mallard is probably our most common duck and their beauty is easily overlooked - Ho-hum, just another mallard. Birdwatching groups rarely mention them as they peer among rafts of ducks on a pond, looking for the elusive, green winged teal, or Barrow's goldeneye or redhead.  

One of my favorite books as a child was Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. The book is honored with a sculpture in the Boston Public Gardens.

Statue of the title characters of Make Way for Ducklings by Nancy Schön, found in Boston Public Garden
Photo by Gareth Owen

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 11 - 30/30 Challenge - Pair of Pears

Pair of Pears
Pastel, 6" x 6", $35

I love pears, but I can't buy more than two at a time. Once they ripen, I have a very small window of time to eat them up before they're just mush. I hope these warm yellow pears and glowing burgundy background, warm your dreary winter day!

I set these up yesterday in the kitchen, with some burgundy tissue paper, with the diffused afternoon light at my back. But for some reason, I struggled. I got frustrated. I scrapped what I was doing and started over. I even considered doing them in watercolor, but persevered with the pastel and I think, ultimately, the exercise was successful. 

Thanks for following along! You can find more artists participating in this 30/30 Challenge at Leslie Saeta's blogsite.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 10 - 30/30 - Bowl of Lemon Yellow Sunshine

Bowl of Lemon Yellow Sunshine
Watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

We tell people, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! As if having lemons was a bad thing! I don't see anything bad about these lemons in a cobalt blue enamel bowl. My kitchen's not complete without lemons. a slice in tea with honey, a squeeze in chicken soup or on veggies, in lemon cookies...mmmm.

This is day TEN of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge and guess what?? We are officially 1/3 through! Follow along and discover new artists at Leslie Saeta's Blog.

Here's a yummy zucchini, lemon and cannellini bean recipe. It's actually yummy hot or cold. I like it with farfalle pasta and parmesan cheese. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 9 - 30/30 Challenge - Tomatoes!

Tomatoes on the Vine
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

A trip to the grocery store today made me realize how much I miss tomatoes. Real summery tomatoes that smell like sunshine and rich soil, not pale, hard, faux tomatoes that bear more resemblance to apples. Tomato plants that grow into shrubs and create cool green leafy caves. If I was a fairy, I'd live under those leaves and wear a necklace made of basil (that would be growing right next to my front "door") and eat tomato sandwiches everyday. (On white bread, with salt and pepper and mayo - now I want one!)

My summer garden simply cannot happen soon enough!

This is the NINTH painting in the 30/30 Challenge organized by Leslie Saeta. Check it out, you'll undoubtedly find new and amazing artists to follow!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 7 - 30/30 Challenge - Mermtangle 1

Mermtangle 1
marker & watercolor on arches hot press, 6" x 6", $45

"Well, here's something different!" I can hear everyone saying. I needed to do something brighter and more colorful! I love the wintery limited palette, but I needed something cheery and fun.

I'm working on a new mermaid for the Great South Bay Music Festival, so I draw a lot of mermaids. I actually started this one a couple of weeks ago as a doodle (after I'd been researching Zentangles - which is a story for another day). I finished it up and colored it in – which I seem to rarely do with these ink doodles, I usually prefer them in black and white.

And, I haven't even seen the Peter Max exhibit at Nassau Museum yet!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Day 6 - 30/30 Challenge - Two Swans A-Swimming

Two Swans A-Swimming
Watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

I didn't mean to reference any Christmasy sort of thing - not two days in a row. Really, I didn't. But technically, Jan 6 is the 12th Day of Christmas - the Epiphany - so it's appropriate. And I honestly didn't title the painting until I started typing. It's like realizing someone's made a pun and not being able to stop the inevitable response(s). I'll try not to do it again. :-)

I went for snow-shoeing hike today in the always lovely Shu Swamp Preserve in Mill Neck. The ducks and geese and swans, as well as the giant carp and huge snapping turtles pass through this little tunnel from the cozy little pond out into the bigger Beaver Dam Pond. In the summer, swallows nest in the banks, bitterns quietly stalk through the reeds and ospreys fly over head. There may be river otter somewhere nearby - I've heard rumors that they live further upstream.

This was challenging to do in watercolor. I had to edit out most of the branches. They were pale grey with small red buds. Too complicated for this challenge. The grey/green/brown of the embankment/side of the tunnel behind the tree trunks also confused the issue. I wanted to try to keep it as simple as possible - the swans, the tunnel creating the reflected circle and the pond-scape beyond  - as well as a sense of season.

Now back to working out a new mermaid - but more on that another time.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Day 5 - 30/30 Challenge - Christmas Crab Shack

Christmas Crab Shack
watercolor, 6" x 6", $35

This little crab shack has sat on the edge of this marsh overlooking Orient Harbor (NY) for as long as I can remember. It sits right along Rt. 48 at the end east end of the causeway. It has weathered many a major storm and has looked a little forlorn at times, but someone always seems to make repairs and even hang a wreath at Christmas.
I'va also created a card on Zazzle for it. Click here.

The picture I used for reference was taken last year during the first 30/30 Challenge when I painted this image of a frozen Dam Pond (in my car!) just west of the shack.

It's one of my favorite things to see on my trips to the North Fork of Long Island.
I've painted it before - a pastel Moonrise, Orient Point.
Moonrise, Orient Point
Pastel,  16"h x 21"w (mat included), mounted on acid free board
$400 (includes shipping)
I got curious about its origins, so for more information go here and here. It even has its own Facebook page with some cool old photos from the 40s! Who knew?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 4 - 30/30 Challenge - Pair of Pumpkins

Pair of Pumpkins
Pastel, 6" x 6", $35

Last night's blizzard and today's digging out left me with a little time to try to get ahead for this challenge.
I picked these two pumpkins back in October with my niece, sister & mom on a beautiful sun-shiney warm day. We went on a hay ride and ate fresh roasted corn on the cob. There were some farm animals, goats and cows, a pony, turkeys and piggies. One turkey liked pecking my blue ring and the piggies liked to have their bristly backs scratched.
I'm amazed that in January, these two pumpkins are still looking good! I'll have to cut them up, cook and freeze them soon. They'll make fabulous pies and muffins. Mmmmm.

Day 3 - 30/30 Challenge - Abandoned

$35, watercolor, 6" x 6"

I came across this boat on an afternoon walk after a snowfall at a nearby marina. I am always drawn to derelict and forgotten structures, old buildings, old cars and old boats. This boat has likely been in this spot, abandoned and forgotten, since Hurricane Sandy.

This the third painting the January 2014, 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. It is watercolor on 140lb cold press Arches watercolor paper. I used a limited pallet of only four colors, quinacridome gold, alizarin crimson, burnt siena and prussian blue.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day 2 - 30/30 Challenge - Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl
Pastel on mi teintes paper, $35

These beautiful birds usually inhabit the tundras of the Arctic, but in the winter they move south to find food (mice, voles, small birds) more easily. Some years only a handful of owls are spotted along the beaches and dunes of Long Island and some years there seems to be a plague of them. This is one of those plague years.
If you've never seen a snowy owl in person, it's not terribly hard to find them - just look for the photographers.
If there is even a whisper of a snowy owl at Jones Beach, there will be 25-40 photographers each with $10K worth of camera equipment combing the dunes. Once the celebrowl is found, they stake out at "decent" (questionable) distance and spend the rest of the day – 'til the sun sets – as slo-mo paparazzi. The silliest thing I've ever seen. The owl turns his head, stretches a wing, or moves a talon and the perfectly synchronized whir of shutters can be heard 50 yards away.
It begs the question: Exactly how many photographs does anyone need of a snowy owl? Every day. All winter. 100s of thousands of photos. Of the same owl, by 35 photographers, all standing in the same spot. Is there a big market for snowy owl pictures? Who knew?

I do go to see the owls, and pay my respects to the beautiful birds. I stay pretty far away, watching through my binoculars, take a couple of pix that I know won't be magazine quality, and hope that the photographers aren't stressing it out to much. Then I go and look for the harbor seals playing in the bay and ruddy turnstones running alone the boardwalk, loons and brants and the occasional peregrine falcon.

I often stay to see the spectacular winter sunset and (sometimes) the moon coming up. 

The golden grasses, white sand, cold greenish blue ocean and purply eastern sky make the winter beach anything but drab and boring.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR! The Year in Review and a NEW 30/30 Challenge

Day 1, January 2014 30/30 Challenge
Hazy Light, Point Judith

Happy New Year! And it was a very Happy Old Year!
It's been very busy and exciting!

Here's a recap:
• I've painted A LOT this year.
Probably more than I ever have before. An artist's “bucket-list” trip to Monhegan Island, Maine, two 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenges, several classes and workshops, have not only netted more paintings, but (I think) improved my skills as an artist. I've met some really wonderful new artists and friends.

• Exhibited in three shows
The Art Guild's Member Show at the Graphic Eye Gallery
Concert of Color at Chelsea Mansion with The Art Guild
Port to Port Show at Bridgeport Arts Council with Port Jefferson Arts Council

I've also sold more paintings than ever!
It's always exciting to sell a painting. It's personal - like sending your child out into the world.
I spend a great deal of time, deciding what to paint and getting it right. Sometimes it's quick and seemingly easy and the birds sing and the sun smiles on you. Sometimes it takes planning and agonizing. Some days you go off in the perfect sunshine to one of your happy places and nothing turns out right. Sometimes you go on that special trip and it rains. And you're there. 500 miles from home and you have to muddle through it. And sometimes a little procrastination can get in the way, or you get bored and creative block creeps up and you have to figure out how to shake it off and move on.
So, given all that, the back story, the process, I always hope that that person loves the painting as much as I do.

Where they went to live:
• Everyone's favorite Blue Truck, North Fork, found a new home with a friend – so I get to visit it from time-to-time. Her husband is in LOVE with it and it has a place of honor in their living room.
Evening, Bayville Bridge was also sold to a friend. She bought it as a gift for the gentleman who owns the marina next to the bridge – a perfect fit!
• Quite a few smaller 6” x 6” paintings from the Challenges sold too. Lighthouses seemed to be popular - both Sunset, Orient Point and Pemaquid Point, Maine were also sold to friends. While Green & Blue Summer Day, Jordon Pond & the Bubbles, Clearing Skies Over Oyster Bay, Monhegan Fog, Blue on Blue Boat, and Buoys at the Lighthouse, Bernard all sold via my Etsy shop.
• Prints and cards were also sold via Fine Art America and Zazzle. I'm looking forward to uploading more images and creating new products.

Painted a beautiful new mermaid for Great South Bay Music Festival 2013 (and I'm working on a new one for 2014).

Painted a ceramic plate pet portrait - It was fun to do this again! I'm looking forward to doing more.

What I'm looking forward to in 2014
• As I just mentioned, painting a new mermaid for 2014's GSBMF and doing more pet portraits.
• January 1 starts the first 30/30 Challenge of 2014. See above!
• I'm looking forward to seeing some interesting museum shows. Peter Max is at Nassau Museum 'til February. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get to Boston to see the Sargeant show I missed in Brooklyn.
• I'm looking forward to (hopefully) helping plan some fun art/painting events at the Art Guild. It will be nice to use our building again!
• I can't wait to get back to Maine. It likely won't be 'till late September. As much as I loved Monhegan, I missed Mt. Desert and my friend Gail.
• Painting, learning, creating, exploring!

I'd like to thank everyone for their support!
I'd like to thank my friends and family, everyone who follows my facebook page, blog and emails, for their love and support. Being an artist is often a solitary affair – so your comments and feedback are always important to me. I am thankful and honored to share my work with you. Please share with your friends, come to shows, and tell me how you feel about my posts.

I wish you all a very Happy 2014!