Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spring Poem

by Michael Kalinowski (age 13)

After Winter, when the snow melts,
When the air becomes wet and glum
At first it is chilly when felt
But it will be warmer to come

It rains and it pours, it never seems to stop
But the sun gets warmer every day
The the leaves begin to pop
And before you know it, it's May

Everything begins to grow
For one single reason
Everything begins to show
To prepare for a new season

Spring Landscape, oil, 6x6, Grand Gallery

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Capturing the Essence of Spring

"Red Barns and Orchard", oil, 12x16
I am always looking for the essence of the current season and trying to take advantage of the motifs that help communicate it in a painting. I sometimes paint at the same location off and on throughout the years, finding that there is always a new way to see what is there. "Creek in May" is one of those spots that I really love in the month of May. I had to change the scene slightly by moving the red bud tree and lowering it a bit like I remember it a few years ago, but the essence of the scene is the same as you see it in the painting.
I was looking forward this spring to painting "Red Barns and Orchard". I was in almost the same spot last fall painting the pumpkin field in the foreground, in front of the apple trees.
"Creek in May", oil on linen panel, 14x11

Spring Breezes

Last week I went to back to paint at the farm that I had visited last fall. I remembered a few good spots and wondered how it would look with the orchard blossoms. The farm sits on one of the highest points in Ottawa County and on a clear day you can see Lake Michigan and the dunes. It is also very windy most of the time and that morning was no exception. I quickly painted my two pieces, hanging on to the easel from time to time so it would not blow over. The spot with the pond was the first painting that I started. As I was painting though, I kept turning around to see this incredible sky and the back lit orchard trees. I put the pond painting away after I got a good start and proceeded to paint the other scene. This is not the normal way that I work, but sometimes you have to try to catch those moments as they happen. After battling the wind, the paintings were finished and I was really glad to be back in the warm car but am happy that I took the chance to go back to this beautiful place.
Cherry Orchard Reflections, oil, 8x10

Cherry Orchard and May Skies, oil, 8x10

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Still lifes with Iris

Japanese Iris and Pear, pastel, 12x6
Dwarf Iris in Vase, oil, 6x6, Grand Gallery

The small iris are blooming in my garden and I could not resist painting them. The challenge was  finding the right vessel to hold them! The small tete-de-tete daffodils provided just the right contrast to the purple.
The other still life was inspired from a Japanese Iris that was included in a bouquet of flowers. I liked the idea of a tall narrow composition. The green pear was a nice accent!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Magnolia Tree

Magnolia Tree, oil on linen panel, 11x14, $800. framed
This week I also went back to paint a favorite plum orchard. The plum trees always bloom a few days before the apple trees. When admiring the plum orchard, I was struck by this beautiful old Magnolia tree in full bloom. The owner of the home came over to see what I was up to and said the tree has scale and will soon be cut down. So here I am painting something that will never be there again. I am glad I chose to paint it and think it turned into a nice painting. You can see the plum orchard behind the lovely farmhouse. I was able to finish the painting before the clouds rolled in.

Blossoms and Bees

Pear Orchard, oil on linen panel, 8x10, $500. framed

Blossoms and Bees, oil on linen panel, 8x10, $500. framed
The warm weather has me outside painting on a regular basis...when it isn't raining. We have had our share of rainy weather lately. So when it rains I work in the studio.
I always look forward to painting the fruit trees in blossom and there are some wonderful orchards near my home. I so admire the farmers and their dedication and love of working the land. Some orchards are changing as the owners decide to take out the old trees and substitute young new, more efficient varieties of trees. This kind of makes me sad because the knarled old trees have so much character. As I paint in the orchards, I imagine the history behind the tree, how old it is and how much fruit it must have produced through the years for us to enjoy. The pear orchard is over 60 years old and I am sure the orchard has been in the same family for that long as well.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tulip Time

Tulip Beds, oil, 6x6
My Mother's day gift from my family was a trip to Holland, MI to paint with two painting friends! We had a great time finding a place to set our easels in this picturesque town. We settled on Veldheer Farm just to get  as many tulips in our paintings as we could. Our goal was to do a painting during Tulip Festival to enter in the Plein Air Painting Exhibit at the Holland Arts Council. The paintings that are on display will be up for sale at their silent auction until May 14.
Tulip Farm, oil, 12x9, SOLD

Bear Creek - Old Mill

Spring Landscape, oil, 6x6

Spring Landscape, oil, 12x9

Last week Thursday I gladly painted with some friends at the old Mill on Chauncy Road. Every year we paint there at least once and always find a nice composition. Bear Creek was still high from all the rain this spring. I choose a view looking towards the bridge where the road passes over the creek. A nice pond is on the other side! I thought the bridge made a really good focal point. I like painting here in the spring because the foliage doesn't obscure the view of the creek. The peachy tone of distant budding trees was very evident this day.

Jumping into Spring

Blue Barn - Spring, oil, 9x12

Haybales and Rolling Hills, oil, 9x12

These two paintings were from the 1st Sunday of May. I ventured out to paint with my friend Holly  and we ended up on Giles Road because of the high winds. It felt really good to paint something other than snow!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Art in Bloom

Yesterday, I participated along with Marianna Heule, Margo Burian, and Beth Charles (Tulip Time Poster winner), painting in the Grand Rapids Art Museum during an event called Art In Bloom. We set up a floral still life and painted for four hours while museum patrons watched. The paintings were sold during a silent auction. It was a fun event and we met some really great people! Here are some photos of us painting.
Margo and her painting in progress.

Marianna's painting in progress.

My painting is finished!