Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Palmetto Island Adventure

Well today was an adventure for me.  I decided needed  to get outdoors and plein air paint today.  I don't especially care to go alone, but couldn't find anyone who was available to paint, so off I went.  I drove through Abbeville, LA on my way to Jefferson Island (Rip Van Winkle Gardens) and stopped in at the Vermilion Arts Counsel to look around.  I visited with two wonderful people there who recommended The Palmetto Island State Park as a place I might light to paint...well, I thought, yes but maybe some other day.

 Okay, so I was on a mission, headed to Jefferson Island to paint, right.  I chose Jefferson Island because there was an area I noticed in full bloom last time I was there that I wanted to capture.

As I got closer, this little lady peacock was hiding in that tree.  I was afraid to scare her off if I got too close and I couldn't go trampling through the beautiful flowers, so this is the best I could do. She was so beautiful but independent.  Turn around!  Look over here!  Oh well...

I guess my artistic intuition/feelings surfaced.  I took a few pictures and decided not to paint there today.  I will return some other day.  Hmmm...

I left Jefferson Island, headed for home.  When I passed through Abbeville, I don't know what happened, I turned left instead of right and headed for Palmetto Island.   I was very impressed when I arrived there ... cabins, campgrounds, nature trails, canoe trails, ponds, lagoons and the Vermilion River. I decided to check out the WHOLE place before settling in somewhere to paint.  I don't think I missed very much.

Finally, I stopped at this wonderful little creek and painted this picture I named "Hidden Creek".  It was so peaceful here, I wished I could have stayed longer.  While painting, I remembered to keep watch for alligators just in case (see post of Monday, March 26, 2012) .

"Hidden Creek"
(6 x 6 - oils on canvas panel)

On my way out of the park, I decided to ride by the nature trail to check out the irises in bloom.

Well I'm back home safe and sound but I really enjoyed my adventure today, found a great place to paint and enjoy nature.  More adventures to follow...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lake Martin Fun!

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, so my husband and I decided to take the boat out and enjoy the weather.  My husband likes to fish and I like to paint, but these two things do not usually work together so one of us usually needs to forfeit. We came up with a solution where we both win.  We headed out to Lake Martin which is about a 30 minute drive for us.  My husband launched the boat and unhitched the trailer.  This gave me the freedom to use the truck to drive around the lake, take pictures then setup and paint at a spot I decided upon while he fished in the lake.  Our solution worked out really great!

Lake Martin (Cypress Island) is about 9500 acres of lake and swamp and is also a bird sanctuary.  It is Egret nesting time of the year here and you can see hundreds up in the trees from the road.  Its spectacular!  Photographers love this site and it is very common to see them lined up taking pictures.

I setup my easel in a quaint little spot and painted these two little paintings.  Little did I know there was a small alligator sleeping near the water bank about 20 feet behind me.  I don't know how long I would have stayed there had I known.

 "Hidden Cove"
(6 x 6 - oils on canvas panel)

 "Hole In One"
(6 x 6 - oils on canvas panel)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Collage Background Birds

My Collage Background Bird #1 and Collage Background Bird #2 pieces sold.  I decided to paint two  companion pieces on a couple of 5 x 7 canvas boards that I had prepped earlier. Since Spring has arrived and the Hummingbirds are here and nesting, I thought they would be a great subject. I chose the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds because they are common to this area. 

Note: I used the same technique for the background that I did the previous ones. I noticed as I did these the paper background was somewhat distracting, so I painted around the focal point (bird) with a little sky color and faded it out. I antiqued the edges and corners with Liquin and burnt umber which also brings attention to the focal point.

 "Nesting Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird"
(5 x 7 - mixed media (collage, acrylics, oils) on canvas board)


 "Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird In Flight"
(5 x 7 - mixed media (collage, acrylics and oils) on canvas board)



Hummingbird Facts:

  • Ruby-throats migrate 600 miles across the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The male hummingbird weighs the same as 2-1/2 paperclips.
  • A resting hummingbird may take as many as 250 breaths per minute.
  • After mating, the female hummingbird builds her nest and raises the young alone.
  • Female hummingbirds will usually have two eggs laid on different days and can have more than one brood of baby hummingbirds per season. The little eggs will be about the size of a pea or small jellybean.
  • Hummingbirds build their tiny cup nests out of foliage and moss then bound it together with cobwebs.
  • Hummingbirds eat nectar from flowers and hummingbird feeders, insects and spiders.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Acrylic Florals

I usually paint in oils, but every time I pick up my acrylics I have a great time. I enjoy spreading acrylic paint, love the feel and often wonder "Why don't I do this more often?". The answer to that is "I don't know". I do have more oil brushes and not as many "favorite" acrylic brushes as I do in oils, maybe that is why. I never switch mediums using the same brush. If that brush was purchased for oils, it always sees oils until it dies. Same thing goes for acrylic brushes.

The following little mini floral paintings were created in acrylics on masonite board. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did creating them.

"Cream Hibiscus"
(6 x 6 - acrylics on masonite board)

"Ranunculus - Pauline Violet" [member of the buttercup family]
(4 x 4 - acrylics on masonite board)

"Protea - Silvia"
(4 x 4 - acrylics on masonite board)

This floral species is native to South Africa and Australia.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Plein Air Painting in the Park

I met a friend, Denise Broussard, last week to plein air paint in the park. I haven't visited that park in a few years so it was interesting to me to see how it has changed and also the things that remain constant there. Of course, I had to bring bread for the ducks...
It was windy that day and as I walked away to play with the ducks (can you tell I was a little distracted), my easel blew over (my fault I didn't have it weighed down). That says a lot for my new Open Box M setup...nothing harmed. I have the option with this new setup to weigh down the tripod and/or open the legs of the tripod so wide it couldn't blow over (unless I were in a hurricane...LOL). Lesson learned!
Needless to say after that I weighed down my easel, paid attention and focused.
It was a fun painting day for me...

"Girouard Park"
(6 x 6 -oils on canvas board)

Baby Artist

My three year old grandson, Clayton, was visiting at my house this weekend and wanted to paint with his Nana. I gave him a 4 x 6 canvas board and let him play (with supervision, of course). He was so cute picking all the colors and painting them on. Then I put a palette knife in his hand and showed him how to pick up color and put it down. There is nothing like watching a child enjoy art, so free. We both had a great time!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Plein Air Painting in "Rip Van Winkle Gardens"

Previously I blogged about ordering a new plein air setup...well it has finally arrived! It came in on Friday and I had my maiden voyage on Sunday. I traveled to Jefferson Island to Rip Van Winkle Gardens (a short 25 minutes away) and painted there. I love my new setup and it was very enjoyable being outdoors in the beautiful weather. The grounds are in bloom and it is always beautiful to visit.  Here is the little landscape I painted while there.

"Rip Van Winkle #1"
(8 x 10 - oils on canvas board)

You guessed it, I went back again today and painted this little landscape. It was such a beautiful day; I really enjoyed being out in the sunshine and visited with some really nice people there.

"Rip Van Winkle #2"
(6 x 6 - oils on canvas board)

I was so glad that this time I remembered my camera. There are some resident peacocks there and I have to admit I couldn't resist chasing them down for a few shots.

This guy was resting next to a bench, but oh no he would not let me get too close. He was very curious though.

These guys were hanging out but would move as I got closer.

Well these two were intense and much too busy to worry about me.

As I was exiting, there was this bird pen with a few birds in it and as I got closer I noticed another visitor, one of the resident cats keeping them company. They were so funny...

It was a great day! I'll be at it again tomorrow. I'm meeting a friend in the morning and we will be painting at Girouard Park (local park in Lafayette, LA). More to follow...

Mini Floral Series

This is the most recent in my "Mini Floral" Series. I'm having fun playing with my palette knives. I'm attempting to paint looser and faster. It's a struggle, but I'm not giving up!

(6 x 6 - oils on canvas board)

Bird Series #10

This little guy is the newest member of my bird series, completed this weekend. He is a "Kentucky Warbler" found in the Eastern and Southern United States. He is very shy and although I painted him on a branch he is mostly seen on the ground, hopefully not in my backyard because he would be "kitty dinner". More to follow...

"Kentucky Warbler"
(6 x 6 - oils on canvas board)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Trying a Triad Competition

I'm a member of the Lafayette Art Association and our latest juried competition is titled "Trying a Triad" using 3 colors or shapes to create your artwork. I was not going to participate in the competition and was making one excuse after another but at the same time debating with myself because I felt I really should participate.

A couple of nights ago I had a bad night waking with stuffy sinuses then unable to sleep, so I got out of bed and was up most of the night piddling around my house. I crawled back into bed just as dawn arrived and slept most of the morning, which I never do. I woke feeling very rested but with this competition thing still on my mind. I've been dabbling in collage and mixed media lately with my "Fashion Diva" series and have been painting a "Bird Series" in oils. I decided to combine those techniques to create my entry.

I worked on bird sketches until I came up with something that would work using shapes (circles, squares and triangles). I decided on two 12 x 12 x 2" canvases. I first cut shapes from decorative paper for the bird parts in sizes to fit on the canvas (head/circle, neck/triangle, body/circle, tail/triangle, wing/triangle). I glued decorative paper on the canvas for the background, then roughed up the edges. After the glue dried I positioned my shapes on each canvas so that one bird was looking up and the other looking down then glued the body parts on.

I used acrylics for details on the birds, edges of the canvas and antiquing, thus producing this little whimsical pair I call "Pecking Order".

"Pecking Order #1"
(mixed media on 12 x 12 x 2" canvas)

"Pecking Order #2"
(mixed media on 12 x 12 x 2" canvas)