Thursday, May 30, 2013

Plein Air to Studio

   I decided to use the "Apple Orchard-May" plein air study (from the last blog) as a reference for a pastel painting. It has been awhile since I painted an orchard scene in pastel, especially one that is back lit.
   Since I was not satisfied with the "back lit" effect on the plein air study, I also used reference photos when working on the pastel in the studio. I wanted to achieve a bright sunlit morning, so I accentuated the tree shadows and tried to keep the core of the apple trees darker than the edges. The blossoms in shadow had to be a blue/purple mixed with a blue/green. The blossoms hit by the sunlight were indicated with a warmer tint, even using a warm peach in a few areas.

Apple Orchard - May II, pastel, 12x16, $800 
Framed with a wide warm silver frame.

Thank you for viewing my work!
This painting will be on exhibit at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Fair, June 7-8.

 See all of my upcoming shows on my new website under Events.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Orchard Blossoms II

  The weather here has finally turned and we had beautiful weather for plein air painting this past week! I was able to paint in the orchards three times this week and hopefully again next week unless the forecasted rain puts and end to them.

   With each orchard painting, I felt like I was improving. Painting trees with white blossoms is more difficult than it seems. The trees are a slightly darker value than the blue morning sky. The core of the tree is a darker value than the sunlit grass on a flat plane of ground. The white blossoms are really not white but should appear so in the painting. I used cool and warm tints.
Apple Orchard Reflections, oil, 8x10, $250 unframed
The subject of an orchard and reflections in a pond. The tree on the right was not so pretty, so I used my artistic license and substituted another.

 Another morning, I tackled this difficult subject of a back lit orchard. 
The corner of an apple orchard, backlit in the morning light.

The start of my blocking in the large masses. I was working on the  apple tree masses when I took this photo, trying to figure out the right tone.

Apple Orchard - May, oil, 11x14, $400 uf

This study will translate well into a pastel painting!

Thank you for viewing my paintings! Please contact me if you are interested.
To see more plein air work see my website:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Orchard Blossoms

With the beautiful weather West Michigan experienced this past week, I was able to paint two more times in the orchards. The apple trees were just starting to blossom, so I chose plum and pear trees, which are the first to bloom. This is a progression of the painting session which took about two  hours.
My subject, a plum orchard.

A wash of transparent oxide brown and yellow ochre. Then massed in the trees with middle value grays.

I left out some of the grass area, condensed it, to add the road for more interest on the left side of the composition.

I spent a considerable amount of time, probably too much, on the tall back ground trees and the negative space of sky holes.

My palette consisted of T.white, cad yellow lt., yellow ochre lt., lt., Aliz., ultra blue, cerelean blue, viridian, transparent oxide brown and maganeze violet.

Plum Blossoms, oil, 9x12

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Magnolia Tree

    Tuesday marked the first day for my spring plein air fling. I went back to a favorite painting spot to try to improve upon last year's attempt (and the year before that). The magnolia tree is beautiful in all it's glory for a short time...usually about a week. I love this short quote by William Shakesphere: "Rough winds to shake the darling buds of May...". I am happy to report that this was a mild and warm week here in west Michigan, so the blossoms stayed on the tree and the plum trees are in their prime.

   This post includes pictures of the painting spot and progress pictures. Just as I started to paint, a flat-bed truck slowly went by me with honey bee boxes that the orchard farmer had rented. The bees did not bother me until I was trying to open my car to put my painting gear away. Several bees did not like me so much, there was a lot of buzzing about, bees in my hair, bees in my car, etc. I must have looked like a crazy woman trying to flee. Oh, the perils of plein air painting!

The subject

Starting with a light wash of transparent oxide brown.

A notan wash to lay in the masses.

Color block-in

A more developed tree...

The Magnolia Tree, oil on linen panel, 9x12

Stay tuned for the next day's painting spot....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Grape Expectations

These three paintings were accepted into an exhibit to take place at the Old Art Building in Leland on June 7 - 8. This is a new event called Grape Expectations, the 2013 Leland Wine Festival. One painting from the exhibit of approximately 30 pieces of art with a wine theme and/or of the Leland area will be selected for the next year's event poster.

After the Leland event, if not sold at the exhibit, these works will be on display at Treeline Gallery in Suttons Bay.

Wine and Cheese, oil on panel, 12x12 $850

Ready for Harvest, pastel, 18x12, $900
Pinot Noir grapes from Silver Tree Winery in Sutton's Bay. I did several plein air studies from this beautiful vineyard.

Vineyard by the Bay, pastel, 16x20, $1300
A winery off of Hilltop Road in Leelanau Co. I did a plein air study, took photos and compiled the two for this composition of a vineyard leading you to a scenic view of Lake Leelanau.

Thank you for viewing my art!