Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kawau Island

Yesterday we took our painting group to Kawau Island, just a 30 minute trip by launch from the mainland. Some of the group painted the landscape while others explored the hiking trails looking for wallabies and weka.  Mansion House on Kawau was the home of New Zealand's first Governor, Sir George Grey.  He also introduced some Australian species to the island, including the wallaby and kookaburra.  Kookaburras have self-introduced to the mainland near Kawau but fortunately the wallabies can't swim.  It's also common to see the Weka on Kawau - a native New Zealand flight bird that is also a pretty good swimmer. They're about the size of a chicken.

This summer has been unusually cold and wet but we've been lucky to have had warm, dry weather so far this week.  Today is a 50/50 chance of rain.  We're spending the morning painting at the retreat then will do a bush walk in the afternoon.  Later in the day we'll be visiting the home and studio of artists Robyn and Valerie Pendred - in the house where my sister  and I grew up!   Must be something in the water....

Kawau Island 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Back in the Motherland!

I'm back in the part of New Zealand where I grew up, on the Kowhai Coast about an hour north of NZ's largest city, Auckland.  It's probably about 70 F, a little blustery at times as if it might rain, but then the sun comes out again.  Starting tomorrow, it is supposed to be clear and sunny - just in time for our Painting Holiday which starts in the morning after we pick up our seventeen American guests at the Auckland Airport. If you'd like to follow along, we'll be blogging about this week's painting holiday at www.PaintNewZealand.blogspot.com.

View from our retreat, looking out over the mangroves of the Eden River, a tributary of the Mahurangi.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quiet Woods

When I first started painting, the first art book I bought was an old classic, The Artistic Anatomy of Trees.  Long before I became an artist, I've been intrigued with what I call the 'grace' of trees.....the beautiful lines of limbs and trunks.  IMHO, nothing will kill a painting faster than stick trees - stiff, straight limbs that make me wonder if the artist has ever really looked at a tree?  This 9 x 12 oil is my continued attempt to paint limbs and trunks that have a graceful anatomy.

Quiet Woods
12" x 9" oil on Ampersand gesso board

I am writing this in the Phoenix Airport, waiting for a flight for LAX - then on to New Zealand, where I'm teaching a painting holiday in the part of the country where I grew up.  Afterwards, I'll be painting daily for a new project called, 60/60 Painting Challenge.  I challenged 26 other artists on Facebook to join me in this daily painting-from-life project.  I'll be painting landscapes plein air - hopefully learning a little more about the artistic anatomy of some of New Zealand's beautiful native trees.  I'll be posting the pieces here daily starting March 6, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Week From Hell!

I spent the last week at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, South Carolina. The first day in Charleston, my artist buddy Joe Garcia and I shared a deli turkey wrap from an unnamed grocery store in the Charleston area, though Joe ate his half a couple of hours after I ate mine.  That evening, my innards started to feel a little unsettled....to put it mildly.  Thus began the week from hell.   Though I am agnostic, I spent the night praying that I would be put out of my misery.  Joe's night was spent the same way, though it hit him a couple of hours later.  I just ate my first meal....five days later.

So how was the show in Charleston?  Not great.  I missed the opening day and the big VIP evening....but frankly Scarlett, even a hotel fire wasn't getting me out of bed.   But I am a firm believer that every dark cloud has a silver lining.  In this case, I now have a really good inventory which will be shipped off to galleries.  The bonus...I shed those last few pounds I was trying to lose before heading off to New Zealand tomorrow.

The two featured artists for SEWE were Dustin Van Wechel (painter) Don Rambadt (sculptor), two artists those work I admire and respect.  I was honored to read their interviews in the Charleston newspaper:

Don Rambadt"  "Who are some of your favorite fellow SEWE artists?  Adele Earnshaw is at the top of my list for the painters.  She's truly an artist's artist., and one who's always pushing her boundaries.  I like artists that aren't afraid to break out of their comfort zone a little, especially when that comfort zone has been successful".

Dustin Van Wechel answered the same question with; " Adele Earnshaw, she's got great style".

Thirty years ago, my artist buddies Joe Garcia, Lindsay Scott and I used to discuss what our primary goals were as artists.  One wanted fame, one wanted fortune but I always wanted 'respect of my peers'. So thanks to Don Rambadt and Dustin Van Wechel for saving my week!  I am honored.

My  next post will be from New Zealand.  I am incredibly excited to be heading home for three months.  Stay tuned!  I will be blogging while there.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We Have Two Last Minute Openings - Come to New Zealand With Me!

I'm leading a Painting Holiday to New Zealand, February 26 - March 4.  That's in just a little more than two weeks!   We were full but one of the painters is sick so she and her husband have had to cancel.  We've got space for two people sharing double occupancy.  Even non-painters will have a great time too.
 Visit the website:http://www.paintingnewzealand.com/ or the blog http://paintnewzealand.blogspot.com/. 

This link will take you to my original blog post on our New Zealand holiday, which will give you some information, except ignore the link in the last sentence.  These links are more current:  Visit the website:http://www.paintingnewzealand.com/ or the blog http://paintnewzealand.blogspot.com/. 

Total cost per person is $2500 plus your roundtrip airfare.  I just checked Travelocity.com and there are seats available at this late date - it lists roundtrip airfare from LAX to Auckland, NZ on Qantas for $1307, including taxes.  Can't beat it!  I paid almost $500 in November to fly from PHX (Phoenix) to BWI (Baltimore).  A little more and you can be halfway around the world enjoying the end of New Zealand's summer and seeing the part of the country where I grew up.  If you like to live life spontaneously and your passport is current, join us in New Zealand.  On February 27th you could be eating fish and chips with us at Leigh, (best fish and chips north of Auckland!) before taking the glass bottom boat at the marine reserve at Goat Island....followed by an afternoon of painting!  Come and join us!!  Email me if you have any questions.

As I write this, I am in the car (as a passenger) driving from Jacksonville, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina for the Southeastern Wildlife Expo, February 17-19.  You will find me, and other artists, exhibiting our work upstairs in the ballroom at Charleston Place, a very ritzy hotel on (Meeting Street in downtown Charleston.  Go to www.sewe.com for more information.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another Road...

In case you haven't noticed,  I like repeating an idea by doing a series, such as my little 4" x 4" series, Color and Light.  I've also got a thing for painting roads; maybe it is because I'm moving back to New Zealand.  The titles of my road paintings seem to reflect that,  Journey Home, One Mile to Go, etc. and this little guy is titled Nearly Home.  It's just a little piece, 6" x 6" oil on gessoed board.  This is one of the 36 originals I'll be exhibiting at The Southeastern Wildlife Expo next weekend!  I'm really looking forward to seeing all 36 of my paintings hanging together, hobnobbing with my fellow artists and eating ribs at Sticky Fingers!

Nearly Home
6" x 6" oil on board

Friday, February 10, 2012

Getting Together With Other Artists...

A few nights ago, I met with my artist friends Susan Faust, Sandy Scott and Trish Smith.  I heard Trish say, 'I'm not an artist'!  But she is - as she makes the moulds for Sandy's bronzes. Susan is a landscape painter (large oils) and Sandy is a master sculptor, having just returned from exhibiting at the Autry's, Masters of the American West.   

It's great getting together with other artists as we speak a common language - but try to get a word in edgewise!  I'd been reaching burn-out after long hours in the studio preparing for the Southeastern Wildlife Expo, February 17-19 in Charleston, South Carolina but I left the restaurant feeling recharged and ready to get back to work. 

 Left to right:  that's me, Susan and Trish

 Sandy also blogs daily so take a minute to check out her great writing and photographs.  If you're into sculpting, she shares her thoughts on the process.  http://sandyscottblog.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Process of Painting a Rabbit

I know that many of those who follow my blog are other artists, so every now and then I like to show how I paint with step-by-step images.  This little oil is a 6" x 6" that will be one of about 35 paintings I'll be showing at The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, South Carolina, February 17-19.

Step 1:  I colored my Ampersand gessoed board with a thin, turpy wash of permanent rose then let it dry for about 30 minutes next to an electric heater in the studio.  The only drawing I do is with a brush....there is no preliminary pencil drawing.  I 'knock in' the basic lines then correct them as I'm painting.  If it were up to me, I would have called this preliminary oil sketch 'finished' and framed it as is.  There's something about oil sketches that I really like. 

Step 2:  Background color.  I usually consult my color wheel, often choosing a complementary color (opposite on the color wheel) which in this case would have been blue-green or thereabouts.  But I was curious how the bun would look with an analogous background color (colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel).  Bleh.  I didn't like it so wiped it off.

Step 3:  I settled for a purple/blue with a bit of green added, so the background is almost a complementary color to the rabbit.  I don't like painting cute as it is almost as bad as doing a painting to match someone's couch...but there's no way of painting a baby bun without it being cute, especially when painted as a portrait.   

Step 4:  The finished painting, framed.  (the frame is not quite this shiny)  When it is completely dry, I'll add a few highlights to the bun, that are the same color as the frame and a few other bright highlights, such as a stronger pink on the ears.  I call this 'crossing my t's and dotting my i's'. 

Step 5:  A title.  I'm still working on it! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Three Little Cows

The first two oils are 6" x 6".  I guess I've got cows on my mind as I'm heading off to New Zealand soon and will be there for three months.  New Zealand is known for sheep but there are a lot of cows too.  You'll also see many Wapiti and red deer farms.  Wapiti is a North American elk that is raised in New Zealand for export.

When New Zealand was first settled by the Europeans in the mid 1800's, my ancestors included,  many animals were intentionally and accidentally introduced including the deer, opossum, hedgehog, stoat, weasel and the European rat.   As New Zealand has no predators, the introduced animals rapidly destroyed forests and flightless bird life.  The war against the rat, stoat, weasel and opossum is ongoing with predator-free islands and peninsulas offering refuge for New Zealand's endangered birds.  While in New Zealand for the next three months, particularly the last month while artist in residence at NPS Mt. Bruce, just 1K from the Mt. Bruce sanctuary for native birds, I'll be studying and painting New Zealand's birds.  When I return to New Zealand full-time, I hope to live near a Kiwi Sanctuary in Northland (the top part of the North Island) where dogs and cats are not allowed.  Dogs are the #1 threat to the Kiwi. 

Planning the Escape
6" x 6" oil on board

6" x 6" oil study on board

The third cow painting, The Local, is an 8" x 6" oil on a Raymar linen panel.  I did it a year or two ago and put it aside as it lacked punch...but I couldn't figure out what the problem was.  After doing all of my little 75/75 bird studies, I looked at this little painting and knew what that it needed stronger color and broad brush strokes, though I didn't touch the background. Ten minutes later I was very happy with it.

 The Local
8" x 6" oil on linen panel

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Last of the Studies

I think these might be the last two studies!  The first is a little fox that started life as a larger piece but has been re-sized to a 5" x 7".  The second is a female wood duck.

I'd like to thank all of my blog visitors and those who purchased my little studies, making it possible for me to become a better painter, a paying a few of the bills too.  I'll be starting the 75/75 project again on April 8th while in New Zealand, painting both New Zealand and North American bird species. Many thanks! 

247 - Red Fox
5" x 7" oil on board, unframed

236 - Female Wood Duck
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Another piece for Charleston

I just finished this little pup today.  She was so much fun to paint because her head and feet and so ridiculously big for such a little puppy.   Painting a piece like this makes me appreciate what my little 75/75 studies have done for my brushwork. This is one of the 30+ oils that I will be exhibiting at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, South Carolina, February 17-19.

Big Foot (for lack of a better title)
10" x 8" oil on panel

Another study....

Well, technically this didn't start out as a study. It was a larger piece that I abandoned early on.  As I start with the bird and work my way out, this part of the painting was finished so I creatively cropped it to a 5" x 7".  I used to paint quite a few statues with birds - many of them were angel statues.  You can see an angel wing feather behind the bird. 

245 - Finch
5" x 7" oil study on gessoed gatorboard, unframed


Two More Studies for Today

I've only got two studies left - but I've been going through my stash of larger pieces that I started and abandoned - some a few years old.  A little creative cropping and I have a few more 5" x 7"s.

This little raccoon is a night scene with much more detail than I am painting nowadays. I scanned this piece but the varnish is reflecting the scanner light, giving it a strange sheen.

246 - Raccoon
7" x 5" oil on board, unframed

This golden eagle is the very last of the unsold for my latest 75 for $75 project but  I have a few more pieces I'll post later today. 

227 - Golden Eagle
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed


Friday, February 3, 2012

Another Little Study

This rooster was painted early in the 75/75 project.....he has #20 written on the back. As with the last few pieces in the current project, his price has been reduced.

20 - Rooster
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed


If you're looking for my little oil studies, scroll down to my previous post.

I just finished this large oil this morning.  Last Dance is a 24" x 48" oil on gallery-wrap canvas. It is a companion for Counterpane...not that they have to hang together forever, they'll probably go their own separate ways when purchased, but I like to show work in pairs. I'll be exhibiting these oils plus 30 more originals at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, South Carolina, February 17-19. 

Last Dance
24" x 48" oil on gallery-wrapped canvas

24" x 48" oil on gallery-wrapped canvas

Almost The Last of the Studies

Today's little studies (reduced in price - I've got to sell them all before I leave for three months) are a spotted towhee and a rabbit.   I painted the rabbit when I first started the 75/75 project more than a year ago, but it was WAY too detailed so I put it in the reject pile. As you must know by now, my goal for the project was to become more painterly.  As I painted more of the studies, I learned to just wipe them off and start again if I found myself painting too much detail. 

There are a few more left.  I may post another two this afternoon.  

244 - Rabbit
7" x 5" oil study on board


230 - Spotted Towhee
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Work in Progress

If you're looking for my little oil studies, I'll be posting more tomorrow!

This is a 24" x 48" oil that I'm working on, photographed at a strange angle to reduce the glare.  I can't move it because I've just painted the gallery wrap sides.   Perhaps it's finished....I won't know until I live with it for a couple of days.  It's a companion to Counterpane,  a painting I finished last week and posted here.  (it's also on the front page of my website, www.AdeleEarnshaw.com.  Both pieces will be exhibited at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo (SEWE) in Charleston, South Carolina on February 17-19.  You can find me at Charleston Place, upstairs in the ballroom with the lead pipe where I'll be exhibiting my work.

Gallery-wrap sides take forever to dry unless you put a little dryer in the paint.  I use Cobalt Dryer - just a smidgen is more than enough.  I mix enough paint for all four sides.  Then I paint three sides then let it sit overnight....the extra paint goes in the freezer.  It's usually dry enough the next day to move off the easel.  The following day I flip it upside down and paint the fourth side using the paint that I stuck in the freezer.  (let it thaw first!)  This way all four sides are exactly the same color.

I'm stuck for a name for this piece.  Remembering that the companion piece is Counterpane, do you have any suggestions for a title?  I'd like a name like, End of Day or The Remains of the Day, but I've already used those names for other pieces.  Sometimes I think that naming a painting takes more effort than painting it.

 Work in Progress
24" x 48" on gallery wrap canvas

Two More Studies...

Here are two more oil studies.  I painted the raven when I first started my 75 for $75 oil study project then I realized I'd painted it on a 6" x 8" board rather than a 5" x 7" so I put it aside.  I just remedied the situation by trimming it to a 5" x 7"....and find I like it better anyway!  As these pieces are already dry, I'm scanning them and getting much better images than when I photograph the wet studies. 

There aren't many studies left but I'll have a look around the studio and see what else I can find.

243 - Raven
5" x 7" oil study on board


215 - Swallow
7" x 5" oil study on board


Another Study for Today

I've found some pieces that I painted for my 75/75 project and never posted - this cow is one of them.
As I'm leaving for three months and don't want to haul all of these pieces with me to New Zealand, I'm seriously discounting the remaining studies.  There aren't many left.  I might post another this afternoon so stay tuned!

241 - Cow
7" x 5" oil study on board


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Plein Air Study - Cows

Wow - it didn't take long for this morning's studies to sell.  I'll be posting a few more tomorrow.  In the meantime - here's a little piece I did on location a few years ago...it may have been a demo for students.  It's been gathering dust in my studio so I'm including it in the sale.  It's a 5" x 7" oil - a quick plein air study.

Cows - A Plein Air Study
5" x 7" unframed


"I'm Leaving the Country" SALE on remaining studies

I leave in a couple of weeks for a show in Charleston, South Carolina,  then I'm off to New Zealand for three months.  I've been trying to figure out how to handle my 75 for $75 sales while I'm gone...so I've decided I'd better sell them before I leave.  For the next week, I'll offer a few studies a day for $45 each plus $6 shipping.  There are about ten left - out of the 100+  I've done in the past few months, that's not bad!

228 - Flicker
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed


222 - Chipmunk
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed


208 - Loon
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed