Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Phlox Bouquet

Phlox Bouquet   18x26"  oil on linen
I've had many of you ask for a record of a work in progress so today I took several shots at different stages of this painting.....I hope you enjoy seeing the steps!  :)

  1. The Block in....I do not always use exactly the same approach for every painting but on this one I decided to block it in using vine charcoal.  It gives me a little more control over the composition and drawing before I begin laying on the paint. 

2. Laying in some of the background areas and masses of darkest value. 

3.  Continuing the block in with some color of the objects working from the darks and working with transparent colors to keep shadow areas "full of subtle variety".

4.  Starting to create volume in the forms by adding middle value and beginning to layer with more opaque color.

5.  Most of the canvas is covered now.  I have to start making judgements on where to soften and where to add more detail.  Sharp edges, soft edges.  Looking for the areas of detail that will lead the viewer's eye where I want them to go.   

6.  Here you see as the details are being played with.  I like to give enough information to describe the flowers, but not too much or the painting loses its vibrancy. It is a continual add and subtract, harden and soften process until I feel satisfied with what the painting has said.

Hope you find this interesting and perhaps educational.  No two paintings require exactly the same steps.....each painting needs to be looked at as it's own individual work.  You must allow yourself the freedom to let instinct flow.  Listen to that inner voice, and don't be afraid to be bold!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Apricot Daylilies

Apricot Daylilies
18x24  oil on linen
I blocked this one in using the negative space around the objects.  By doing this I helped to avoid that idea we have in our minds eye about how a flower is supposed to look.  Instead I closely watched the shapes and created much more interesting flowers.  This set up was predominately dark so I also found that I could cover most of the canvas by blocking in the larger masses and leaving the lighter objects for later in the process.
I really loved the flowing composition and wanted to keep the brushwork loose to keep that sense of casualness.  Like the flowers were just kind of falling all over the place in a sort of "controlled" abandon!
  Thanks for taking time to view my painting!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Red Velvet Lily

Red Velvet Lilly   16x20  oil on linen

Besides being beautiful these lilies also smell incredible!  Every year when they are in bloom the entire side yard smells of it's wonderful perfume!  Wish I knew how to capture THAT in a painting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

News From Barbara

Keeping in Touch........
Well, apparently we have survived the winter of '14! ( Does anyone in Michigan still have snow in their backyard??)  :D :D

I do hope this note finds you all in good health and prospering!

It's been a very busy Spring for me and I wanted to share some of the highlights with my dear friends and family : 
I have been very privileged to have been invited to several competitive events and shows this Spring!  It is such an honor to receive recognition from your peers and to have your work hanging next to such talented artists.  I am humbled to say the least!
The Sailboat Platter  20x24
Astromelia Phlox 24x20
Spring's First Irises  16x20

In February I was accepted to two National events hosted by
Jack Richeson Gallery
Three of my paintings were published in the 
"Still life and Floral 2014" catalog.
While, Fall's Fire and Grand Hydrangreas 
traveled to Wisconsin to hang in the "Small Works Show"
Fall's Fire  12x12
Grand Hydrangeas  11x14
March brought some very exciting news when "Bucket of Sun" was included in the article "Painting Flowers & Gardens From Life", in "Plein Air" Magazine!
Bucket of Sun  11x14
NOAPS featured "Daffodils at Tea", in their March blog...I think everyone was ready for flowers after the long winter!!

April I was invited to show with 6 very talented women artists at the ICCF Spring Floral Show.  It was a wonderful show and there was an interesting panel discussion with the artists to give the public some insights into the varying perspectives of different artists!

May and June seem to usher in the majority of the local and regional competitive events in West Michigan. I was so fortunate to be accepted to show in a few of them! There are so many exceptional artists that participate in these events. It is a great opportunity to share your work to the public and so much fun to "hit" the scene with all the receptions and gala events!
Geisha Roses  19x25
Awarded "The Vie da la Rose Flower Essences Award for Excellence in Floral  Depiction"
Festival of the Arts
  1. 86th Regional............  Muskegon Museum of Art
  2. West Michigan Area....Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
  3. Festival........................Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts

While each and every one of these events have been a sincere pleasure and honor .....the one event that for me has been the greatest personal achievement is the recent acceptance to 
Oil Painters of America
Regional Show in Cincinnati, OH
This is one of those "bucket list" opportunities!  :)
I am so excited about this event!!
Big Yellow  12x18
Big Yellow will be heading to Eisele Gallery for the September show
oil painters of america

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Adding depth to a painting

Strengthen a painting and add depth

After evaluating this painting of Peonies I realized that I could improve the depth and composition.
  My focal point was too vague and my light source needed some "boosting". 
 I defined my focal point better by added a bit more detail and creating some brighter highlights.  I also felt the two flowers on the center left were creating too much of a bullseye effect because the perspective was too direct on with them.  I shifted the flowers so they were "leaning" and the eye of the flowers were no longer staring at you.  I also strengthened the composition by adding stronger value shifts between my highlights and my shadows, providing the viewer with a clearer path to follow through the painting and also creating better depth.  I thought you might enjoy the seeing the adjustments!  

Look at the difference a few minor strokes of the brush can make!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Peonies In Blue and White Vase

Peonies in Blue and White Vase   0il on linen  18x24

I just love peonies!  I didn't have enough left on my own plants to make the lush arrangement that I was wanting so I took a chance and headed to the local Farmers Market.  There is a gentleman there each year that brings buckets full of the most gorgeous cut peonies so I hoped I would find him there.  The weather was very windy and looking like a big storm could roll in at any minute..I thought my chances not too good at finding anyone at the market, but I had to try.  Could not believe my good fortune!  There were only 3 vendors and the guy with the peonies wasn't one of them...but sitting in the back of a truck was one bucket filled with peonies!!
Please, enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Irises and Nectarines

Irises and Nectarines
Irises and Nectarines   oil on linen 18x24

So many beautiful flowers in the gardens now.  Irises are one of my favorites and I have many varieties.  This one is so striking!  The blooms are huge, and the color is unreal.  So this is what I chose. Although the peonies are in bloom too...decisions, decisions.  Hopefully the peonies will still be blooming by the next opportunity I get to paint!
Tom calls these my "ferrari" of flowers because they are the top of the line! (smile)
Please, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Birch Tree Trail

Birch Tree Trail
Birch Tree Trail   oil on linen  16x25

This lovely little trail is just north of Traverse City, Michigan.  It was such a lovely day and we hiked for several miles with our dogs.  Birch Trees are so great to paint.  They have such nice contrasts with the dark canopy of the surrounding woods.
I hope you enjoy!  Thank you for viewing my art.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

White Pine Creek

White Pine Creek  oil on linen    16x18

Took a break from the still life painting this week and decided to do a landscape.  It has been a while.  I found it a little frustrating simply because I am so out of practice.  Just knowing how to create the results you want can make quite a difference between still life and landscape.  I'm glad I did it though.  Now I have the urge to do some more!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Marsh Marigolds

Marsh Marigolds  11x12  oil on linen

Marsh Marigolds are one of my favorite wildflowers.  They come early and the colors are so intense they almost seem to require sunglasses to look at!  They grow in marshy areas which have always been one of my favorites.  I love the lush growth and underlying life that resides in these fertile wetlands.  The Marsh Marigolds don't last very long so you just have to appreciate them while you can!