A Blog about Finding Inspiration

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever." (Louise Corke)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pawleys Island and Prince George 3 '10

It had been raining hard for two days when there was a sudden break in the clouds yesterday.  Ie rushed down to Pawleys Island to catch some rays and much needed fresh air.  It was low tide, so the entire southern tip of the island was exposed.  Only the narrow neck of the inlet, between Pawley's and Prince George, was underwater.
Both the clouds above, and the reflections below were magnificent.  You can be sure that some of the photos I took will become the basis for some of my local landmark series.   Shortly after the photos above were taken the sky grew dark with ominous thunderheads.  I barely made it home before the deluge resumed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Artist Date at Brookgreen Gardens 3 '10

Author,  Julia Cameron popularized the concept of an "Artist Date" in her book The Artist's Way.  To quote Ms. Cameron, "An Artist Date  is a block of time , perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside  and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist."  There are only two rules for an artist date... (a) it must be something that you enjoy and ( b) it must be done alone.. no friends, no spouses, not pets that will draw you off course.
 I adhere to the principal and put it into practice religiously.   Sometimes my date with my inner artist is a visit to a gallery or museum to look at other artists work,  and sometimes it is just a walk in the woods.   (Now don't go rolling your eyes on me.   Where do you think I get my inspiration?.)
This weeks excursion was to Brookgreen Gardens to look for scenes for my the series I am painting of this National Historic Landmark.   Below: Tree Alley.. a different view.

The Gardens were beautiful..  Most of the bulbs were in full bloom. Magnolia blossom petals carpeted the ground  with pink , and filled the air with a perfume so lovely that  I wished I could find a way to paint that scent.
Above: Daffodils and old mill stone.
It was warm enough that even the boat tours were running (Below).
On the other hand, it was a lousy day for photos.  One minute a scene would be bright with sunshine and billowy clouds, the next gray and threatening.  I spent a lot of time waiting for the light .  Even so, the loaner camera I am using, wasn't fast enough .... many of my shots came out dark or with so much contrast as to be useless..  The wind whipped the flowers into a  blur, and the mosquitoes were ravenous.  Oh well... I  have to look at these photos as a seasonal reference for blooms, tree shapes  and weather.
Below: Snack shop under the cherry tree
At the gift shop,  I found a wonderful DVD of photos of Brookgreen Gardens  taken right after last February's snowfall.  The  photos were outstanding.   The credits on the Dust jacket only said "The Staff of Brookgreen", but  I suspect most, if not all, of the photos were taken by my friend Ann Malarich.    The DVD inspired me to consider a  snow series for Pawleys Plantation  .  The photos I took of this area after that snowfall were equally outstanding.  I should at least consider making them available via DVD.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Myrtle Beach State Park : Reference Photo Shoot 3 '10

I have been working on a series of paintings of scenes in South Carolina's State Parks. Yesterday was such a glorious Spring day that I thought today would be a good day to do some sketching for the series in the Myrtle Beach State Park.   WRONG!  It wasn't supposed to rain until tonight,  but apparently the front moved in early.  By 7 am the skies were gray.   The flat light washed out all the contrast from any interesting features, and the skies were too threatening to risk sketching in the water media I'd brought along.Never the less, I did have have time to make note of several sites with potential for good subject matter.

For example the pond above has strong composition.  It may not look like much under the gray skies of this photo, but given a bright sunny day, I believe the water would reflect a myriad of colors.  There is even a nice observation deck where I can set up my easel .Watch for it to show up as a painting later this Spring in my State Park Series.
I also found out where not to paint ---- at least not in plein air. For example the bog above. Even if I could manage to set my easel up n the narrow board walk through the mire, the mosquitoes on a warm day would turn me into a pincushion before I could make my first brush stroke.

Creating Harmony with a Mother Color - March 20th

A mother color is a color which is used in every mixed color in a particular painting.   You can select whatever color you wish as a mother color. It can be a neutral gray or brown mixed from the leftover colors on your palette, or it can be a straight-from-the-tube color.  The logic behind doing this is that it harmonizes all the colors in an individual painting, creating a unity in the color and composition.

The mother color  can either be used as the starting point for the colors you create by (a)  mixing another color into some of your mother color,or (b)  by mixing a little of your mother color into every color, or (c) by under toning the ground with a single color. And finally you can use a mother color to harmonize a painting  by finishing the painting by glazing over tall the other colors with a single transparent mother color.  I've tried all of these methods but my favorite methods with oils are (b) and (c).

When I am painting a scene that is dominated by blues and greens  I often paint  tone the entire canvas first with a medium shade warm hue  like cadmium red light or cadmium orange.  I try to choose a shade that  is a natural complement to a hue right in the middle of the range of blues and greens  I will be using.  The warm hue will show through in areas where there is no paint adding sparkle, and it will warm other cool transparent colors like ultra marine blue.

When I am painting scenes that require an overall warm palette, I often use a blue hue as my mother color.  Blue by its nature ( even a warm blue) is cooler than most of of the hues I uses in my paintings,  so blue adds a nice touch of contrast.

Which blue you ask?   My four main choices are: Cerulean, Cobalt, Phithalo, and Ultra Marine Blue.  The one I use depends upon the painting.   I let the actual scene tell me which one to choose.

A mother color is that it can be used as a dominant color (or color theme) within a painting, or it can be used less prominently. One problem with  using a mother color too strongly is that the colors are too similar (in tone and hue).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Seacoast Artists Guild Swing Into Spring Show - March 16, '10

The Sea Coast Artist Guild is sponsoring it's Swing into Spring  Juried show this month.  We attended the Opening Reception at the ArtWorks Gallery in Litchfield on March 16th.  The categories for awards were Three Dimendional,  Photograghy,  Professional, and Non-Professional  Fine Art Paintings.  I don't envy the judges ( Linda English: Fine Arts and 3-D, and Kara Stovall: Photograghy) their task of jurying the many fine entries.

Above: Guests enjoying the colored Photograghy and Non-Professional Fine Art.

Above:  Guests and Artists discussing the entires in the Hall of Professionals.
 Below: BJ viewing the black and White Photography exhibit.