Thursday, February 24, 2011

Earthquake in New Zealand

I've been getting a lot of calls and emails regarding the tragic earthquake in New Zealand.    I leave for NZ in less than a week - and as I haven't posted here in a while many friends and clients thought I was already in New Zealand.  Thanks for the concern - but I'm still in the U.S.

The earthquake hit Christchurch, the largest city in New Zealand's South Island.  New Zealand's small population of four million means that everyone knows someone impacted by the tragedy.  I don't have immediate family in the Christchurch area and hope that Kiwi friends and family are safe.

On a lighter note, I"m returning from the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, South Carolina.  The show was almost back to pre-recession 'normal' with large crowds and brisk sales.  I am represented by The Horton-Hayes Gallery on State Street in downtown Charleston and they report the sales there are also steady.

I am leaving for New Zealand in less than a week to do reconnaissance for an upcoming painting holiday in New Zealand in 2012.  For more information on this and other New Zealand workshops, you can visit our Paint New Zealand blog.

If all goes according to plans, I'll be putting my house on the market in May.  Once it has sold, I'll be returning to New Zealand to live most of the year but will continue to supply my eight galleries and will still do some of the larger shows.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Today's painting...

This is another pup for my Square Dog project.  It's a 5" x 5" oil on Ampersand board.  She's a beautiful dog and fun to paint!

"Paula's Baby"
5" x 5" oil on board


Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Twilight Waltz"

I finished this piece this morning.  It's about 7.5"W x 19" tall.  Oil on Ampersand board.  It's not a great photo as the paint is wet so there's a glare.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"The Colors of the Marsh"

I posted this painting on February 2nd before I added the heron.  I planned to add a flock of white ibis (flying) when the painting was dry.  I tried - but they just didn't work - the painting needed something big as a focal point and to tie the foreground and background together.  This is why I wait until the painting is dry before I add the bird(s).  If I don't like it, I can wipe it off the dry background and try again.  A great blue heron saved the day. 

This oil is on 20" x 20" stretched gallery-wrapped linen.  Gallery wrap means that the canvas has been wrapped all the way around the sides of the stretcher bars and is stapled on the you can leave it unframed.  I use gallery wrap canvas for paintings that are framed in a floater frame.   Usually a narrow moulding, the painting appears to float within the frame, with about a 3/8" gap between the edge of the painting and the inner edge of the frame.  It's a more contemporary look that suits some of my work.  However, for some reason (probably lack of air circulation), the paint on the gallery-wrapped sides takes weeks to dry. Who has weeks to wait?  Not I use a few drops of Cobalt Drier in the oil that I use to paint the sides.  It's usually dry in a day or two.

Like the other work I've been posting here for the past few weeks, this painting will be available at The Southeastern Wildlife Expo, Charleston, S.C.  February 18 - 20th.  You'll find me in the ballroom at Charleston Place.  (with Mr. Peacock and the lead pipe)

The Colors of the Marsh
20" x 20" oil on linen

The Colors of the Marsh

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Carolina Blush"

I've just finished this 12" x 9" oil for The Southeastern Wildlife Expo that I'll be leaving for in another ten days.  I really like this piece - though I can see a few small things that need tweaking.  I don't rush into finishing a piece.  I put it on a low windowsill in the studio so I can see it as I walk by.  In a day or two I know if it's really finished or if I need to work on it a little more.   Funny but I hate deadlines - but I always seem to turn out my best work a week or two before a show when the pressure is really on.

As I write this, my brother-in-law is here working on my house as I'm getting ready to put it on the market; a very cute artist's cottage complete with studio and frame shop in Northern Arizona.  Email me if you're interested!  I'm well on my way towards my goal of returning to live in my native New Zealand.  But I will return to the U.S. for a few months every year to do some of the shows and to supply my galleries.

"Carolina Blush"
12" x 9" oil on board

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A painting in progress

I've been working on taking some of my better ideas from small 7" x 7" paintings and doing 20" x 20"s in a similar way.  It's been a struggle to keep the larger ones as simple as the small studies.  I've done three - though not all finished yet....and I'm happy with the way they are progressing.

My landscapes often have a bird somewhere in the image - not always conspicuous. I let the painting dry before adding the bird...and often I don't know which bird species I'll use or how many.  Once the painting is dry, I sketch in (with a paintbrush)the bird shapes.  If I don't like size or placement, I wipe them off and try again.

When this painting is dry,  I plan to paint in a distant flock of flying white ibis moving diagonally from left to right - a few over the distant dark trees, one or two crossing over from the brown marsh to the distant trees and a few over the brown marsh.  I"ll use the white line of birds to unite the marsh with the distant trees.

Untitled & Unfinished
20" x 20" oil on linen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"The Light Fantastic"

Another painting right off the easel!  This is a 7" x 7" oil on gessoed masonite in a custom frame by Glaser Frames of Denver.  They not only produce really nice frames, they're nice people who stand behind their work.   Anyway, The Light Fantastic is earmarked for The Southeastern Wildlife Expo
in Charleston, S.C, mid- February.

The Light Fantastic
7" x 7" image,  oil on board.