Wednesday, June 29, 2011

rose exercises

It was a dark and stormy day today in upstate NY. The sky never did turn blue and from time to time it got so black and threatening that I thought we were going to have another big thunder and lightening thing like we had last night. My dog has never been much of a marine, but last night she was super-scared - cowering in the corner farthest from the window. Today, she spent the day curled, quaking, in the armchair in my studio where there was little light, but a lot of nice roses picked from the wild and gnarly bush by the barn. The roses are very delicate, even a little malnourished - not your chubby English types at all. And they open from bud to fully formed bloom very very quickly. The weather made me just as jumpy as the dog and so I sort of flitted around my studio throwing paint on various surfaces hoping to make something that resembled the roses I had brought in from the cold. Don't know if I managed or not, but I learned a little something. And I was rewarded for my efforts when, listening to the glorious "Softly awakes my heart" aria from the Saint-Saens opera "Samson and Delilah", I looked out my studio window and saw not only a rabbit in the grass, but also a beautiful deer leaping across the pasture AND a blue heron flying overhead on its way to the pond!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the girls

Cows are surprisingly curious creatures so when I was out walking with my sketchbook and found these girls in a pasture over near East Meredith, they came right over to the fence where I was standing and actually stood there long enough for me to draw them - sort of. I also took a photo and though we were leaving pretty soon for the city, I spent a couple of hours out in my studio trying to capture something of the cute profiles they offered to me as well as the color of the deep, rich, green foliage which - right now in Delaware County - qualifies as a wonder of the world. Sold

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June Virtual Paintout - New Zealand

When I arrived at my son's college graduation a few weeks ago, I realized that I had forgotten my little point and shoot camera. So in a moment of largesse, brought on not only by the great pride of this second child finishing a degree but also by the happy conclusion of more than 23 years of paying tuition, my husband drove us straight to Best Buy where we purchased a much fancier camera than we either could afford or could figure out how to use! With a quick glance over the start up pages of the handbook, I managed to have it up and running in time for the ceremony and the family gatherings but now that I am back in my studio trying to take accurate photos of my paintings I am totally lost. This is the best image I could manage of this painting which is my submission to the June Virtual Paintout blog. What you see is way more vivid than the Google street view it is based on and only slightly more colorful than the actual painting. Next post, I hope to do better!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

liberty and old glass

8" x 9" oil on stretched linen
click here to purchase


This is prime time for wildflowers in upstate New York. The fields and roadsides are covered with daisies and clover, little pale purple flowers that look like a cross between asters and daisies, tiny blue flowers - it is really quite something to see. I remember the first run I took here 24 years ago this month, I kept myself occupied by counting the different varieties of flowers I saw as I ran along the back river road: I stopped counting somewhere in the fifties and that didn't include flowering shrubs or trees. If you look out into the distance right now, you can see fields of pale yellow - not the brilliant solid patches of lime-yellow like the mustard fields in France, but a richer shade as if the color has been lightly scumbled over the green grasses beneath. Those are masses of buttercups - one of the daintiest little flowers around. When I was a child we used to hold them up under our chins and the bright reflection would prove just how much we loved butter!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

some kind of flower

We don't really have a "garden center" up here in farm country. What we have is a house on the corner of Route 23 and East Meredith Road where, for many years, the family sold garlic. Yes, a garlic stand on the side of the road. A fine, french idea if ever I knew one. There was a greenhouse or so at the back, but their main product was, yes, garlic. Then several years back, they expanded. One greenhouse followed another and now, though they don't sell tools or fertilizer or wood chips or burlap, they do sell annuals and perennials, herb and vegetable plants and, if you get there early enough in the season, seed potatoes. Every year now, they expand ever so slightly and this year's improvement was a big one. It used to be that you would turn into the parking area from Route 23 then, leaving, have to back around and go out the way you came in. This year they bulldozed a driveway from the parking lot out behind their house and onto the East Meredith Road which makes the business of getting in and getting out so much easier! When I went there this past week, I bought a few herb plants and a huge tomato plant (having already ordered my seeds and potatoes from Burpees) and I also splurged on the annual (painted above). I think it is an annual, anyway. When I got home, the labels had fallen off so I don't know the name of the flower, whether it is an annual or perennial, whether it grows in sunlight or in shade or any other important pieces of information. So I planted it next to the herbs in my vegetable garden figuring that everything is happier around basil and rosemary. And because I spent a good part of the last few days digging and planting, I have only had enough time to paint this small canvas depicting my new, unnamed flower. For this week however, I feel that my beautiful potager, which is the french word for vegetable garden, is enough of a work of art.