Wind From the Sea by Andrew Wyeth / tempera

I have something in common with this guy.

1947

Here’s a quote from Andrew Wyeth.

“I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and future – the timelessness of the rocks and the hills- all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape- the loneliness of it- the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it- the whole story doesn’t show. I think anything like that- which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone- people always feel sad. Is it because we’ve lost the art of being alone?”

My book says “Many of the cognoscenti found him out of step with contemporary art. Artists tended to see him as an immense talent but essentially an outsider.”

I don’t know what the other artists would say about me, but I can say something about being alone. Since I’ve had practically no obligations or distractions for so many years, the inspiration is endless. If not for that, being alone wouldn’t be worth it.

I get it about the cognoscenti not liking his work. They wouldn’t know inspiration if they saw it. They look for “style” not substance.

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Japanese Garden at Maymont / oil

I took this painting to a critique .....

I took this painting to a critique …..

I like that gallery in Mechanicsville, the Windemere. They have a nice place out there. The critique thing, I wasn’t so sure about, but I thought if I want to show my art there I should give it a try. And it was better than I anticipated.

When Shelby and I were young chicks in art school at York Academy of Art, we had to endure some harsh critiques from teachers that didn’t care if they hurt the student’s feelings. Fortunately for that experience, it’s impossible for an art critic to hurt my feelings.  But you learn so much from a real critique, and I think modern art students never hear it from their teachers these days. I still think no one outside of the academy can critique beyond, “I like it.” or “I don’t like it.”  OK. Everyone’s a critic including me.

What I was glad to learn today is that piece of architecture I painted in the foreground is a Japanese Lantern! I always imagined they were duck houses! hahahah I know if I was a duck, I’d move in to it.

Also, I got an idea of how to paint another duck house so it might come out a little better next time. ( I mean lantern )

Japanese Garden at Maymont / charcoal

This is my 2nd try sketching the pagoda and pond.

This is my 2nd try sketching the pagoda and pond.

I love the Japanese garden at Maymont and wanted to paint there for a few years. The thing that stopped me is the long hill to climb in and out of there. I guess the exercise won’t hurt me. I’m going to get a workout lugging my gear.

When I was down there drawing today, I met a few other artists drawing. It wasn’t a class, they are friends out casually drawing. One lady told me, “They tell you to draw without erasing.” That sounds funny to me because I erase all the time. They looked like VCU students., so I thought, maybe their teacher doesn’t know how to draw. hahahhahahah Drawing without erasing wasn’t on our list of drawing exercises from York Academy of Art. YAA was a school that pushed the students to try to draw and paint in the classical tradition. They don’t follow that path in art school these days.

Wait a minute. Is that a pagoda or a gazebo?

Chicken Coop, Wheat, Crepe Myrtles / oil

chicken coop wheat crepe myrtlesIt was over a month ago when I went out to Cold Harbor and saw the wheat looked beautiful. I wanted to hurry and paint it before it got mowed.  I thought, this will be easy, then I had to go over it 3 times to get it to come out ok. The texture across the top looks velvety and soft. The 1st time I tried to paint the wheat, it was too spotty. So I tried again. The 2nd time I tried to paint it, The texture looked better but the color was off. Finally on my 3rd try, I liked the color and texture. I was a little concerned about finishing the wheat before it got mowed, but Barbara told me the man mowing the wheat was working his way down Cold Harbor Rd. mowing fields on the other side. She said her field would get mowed last when he came back mowing fields on her side of the road. So, even though I had some difficulty with painting the wheat, I got it in before it was mowed.

Then this painting was on hold for a month because I wanted to put the Crepe Myrtles in but they were late blooming. The Crepe Myrtles started blooming in Richmond about a month ago and these are still opening up.

I’m happy to finally see this painting finished.

Greenhouse With Wildflowers / oil

greenhouse with wildflowers

This painting was on hold for months. I painted it in the spring and wanted to wait for the Wildflowers to bloom. All that time, I had it against the wall where I can see it, along with the other paintings in progress. And I wasn’t sure if this one was working out or not.

The thing I wasn’t sure about was those Evergreen trees in the foreground. I painted them a little too big. They covered too much of the hill and path. So today I decided to work on the hill again and put in the Wildflowers. Now I like it more because the viewer can see the way between the trees to the paved path. Also, now I have more space for flowers.

That’s one thing I like about oil paint. If there’s something you want to change, you can easily paint over the bad part, and no one knows, unless you tell them.

Winter Pond with Barley Field / oil

pond with barley

Do you see those bright green fields in the dead of winter out there in the country? I thought it was Winter Wheat but Barbara told me this field is Barley. She said Winter Wheat, Barley and Rye all look the same.

It took me weeks to finish this painting because of the winter weather. When I started working on it the pond was frozen but I knew it wouldn’t last. I was kind of hoping for more cold weather so I could practice painting ice.

That’s the back of the corn shed and the chicken coop in the upper right of the canvas. As I was painting glazes working from background to foreground, and from top to bottom on my underpainting, I was checking if each glaze looked right with the one next to it. First I thought the chicken coop was too bright on the contrast, so I made it less contrast. Then I thought it looked too weak so I changed it back to more bright. That’s how I like to work, correcting is ok. You can change your mind when using glazes and oil paint.

Abandoned Duck Blinds / oil

One day in the swamp / my plein air experience

One day in the swamp / my plein air experience

One day I was on the trail working on my painting and a lot of people stopped to talk to me. They asked me questions like, “Are you taking a class?” etc. I wonder why so many people ask me that question. Anyway, I thought the people were very talkative that day. When I got home I was shocked! I caught sight of my reflection and there was a thick streak of sky blue across my forehead and spots on my chin and cheeks like WARPAINT! I don’t know how I got it on my face because it wasn’t on my hat or gloves or hands. I bet it was there the whole time and no one told me. They looked at me in amazement! hahahaha That’s the kind of weird thing that happens to me that doesn’t happen to anyone else. Oh well, good for my reputation, right?

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