Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lost Fields/Fog, studio version

OK, here is the recent painting with which I have been struggling. The top one is the plein air painting of the field: fresh and unassuming. The bottom is it's new incarnation. I am edging it closer to violet rather than blue and have increased its distance. Still I am unsure about the bottom corner of flowers, it may need to morph its shape. We artists have so much power:-)

Thank you all my blogger friends for your consoling words for one overworked artist. I always appreciate your comments! Lots of hugs, Loriann

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

sunset forgotten fields series

I have foolishly set myself up for stress. Since deciding that I would not show many other wonderful paintings to instead make a point about the beautiful "forgotten fields," I have been in the studio working on bigger paintings for the show that will open on November 7th. I still need a postcard announcement image in the next week. And as if that isn't enough stress I am battling a sinus infection and the school where I teach has its big curriculum night this week. Yipes. I can't wait till the 14th of October when all is done and all I have to do is paint and bring my work to the faithful framer.
So please excuse me if I post this image done 2 weeks ago, but not posted (illegal spare).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Poignant Last Stand

15x19 pastel on watercolor underpainting
Two weeks ago I was just breaking down my easel, ready to go home for dinner. I turned around and saw a lone deer viewing what was her's.  Shocked I just stood for a long time, then I ran to get my camera.  Luckily I arrived too late, no photo. Honestly I think the image was more firmly lodged in my brain because I only have my memory.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

F Luis Mora and the Expression of Beauty

When delivering my painting to the Mattatuck Museum I was fortunate to see a show of F Luis Mora's work. The exhibition titled Expression of Beauty had a few of the most lovely paintings I have seen for awhile. I had never heard of Mora before, but should have. His birthplace was Uruguay although he grew up in the states.  America's first Hispanic master (1874-1940), Mora painted somewhat romanticized paintings of women, portraits and some landscapes.
My favorite painting in the show, titled Color Harmony was the kind of painting that you just stand in front of and drool. It sort of reminds me of a Jeremy Lipking painting. I have searched to find an image to share, but to no avail, instead I share Color Harmony 2, which is not the in the show, but part of the series.

I will definitely return to see the show again. I am still shocked I had no idea about this master!
I am home now, but after an exhausting, traffic filled trip I am going to bed. I checked in the studio. It's still there, waiting.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hope and Longing and the Mattatuck Museum

21x 27 pastel on oil underpainting

Right now I need to take off for a 7 hour drive to the Mattatuck Museum in Connecticut. I have the honor of having one of my paintings juried into the Connecticut Pastel Society's National Exhibition. Hope and Longing (above) is a picture with a strong emotional concept. I painted it last year in honor of my Mom who died 10 years ago.  While painting I listened to all her favorite arias. Funny how it made me feel closer to her. It began as a sad piece but some how hope wiggled its way in and it became a whole different thing.
Lucky for me I will also use it as an excuse to visit my brother and nephew. I hope to stop and paint along the way, of course!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

clouds and field

                                          cloud underpainting about 15x18
Clouds need movement and light. To provide a focus on movement I first created a watercolor grisaille which I sprayed with Spectra-fix. Next I added the yellow of the setting sun, being sure to soften the edges of the clouds. Since clouds are just vapor, edges are quiet with small value shifts. Color and temperature are very important.

Making the clouds to feel  like air is my struggle.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

lost fields, studio piece

Here is the studio piece again...I have been working with the edges they were simply too hard. I also gave it more distance. Now I am trying to add cool...somewhat neutral shadow in the tree mass...yet still keep it a mass. I also rounded out the main tree through the use of light. Close to done? hmmmmm After seeing it on the screen it becomes obvious that I need to quiet the sky.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fog's Soft Cloak

8x8 pastel on watercolor underpainting

I was supposed to work in the studio all morning before going in to teach. Best laid plans..oh dear. When I awoke, through squinted eyes, I saw fog. I love fog! Change of out to the field.

When thinking of color harmony, fog is the great equalizer. Subtle, beautiful neutrals, the only zings are in the very foreground.
Now back to the studio.

Monday, September 21, 2009

plein air to studio, series of the forgotten lands

studio underpaintingplein air underpainting

Plein air paintings serve many purposes. Many are beautiful pieces that hold on their own as "finished." Others are studies for bigger works. And still others can be both. Because of this I wanted to share one very important tip. Photograph your work in many stages. For me the most important stage is the underpainting.  When you have these photos it makes it easy to go "back into your head" and begin to recreate the feeling you had out there in the field. I often take notes to remember how it felt and sounded when I was on site. When using my plein air pieces I have no real need for photos of the scene. Cool, eh?
This is a studio piece that is almost finished.  It is at the "sit and wait" stage. Think, don't act. hmmmmm that is often the hardest part.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

forgotten lands of the ICC, immediately after sunrise

Back to the field. They (the construction people) have begun to tear it up. The flowers have been run over in parts. I feel like I am in the race against time. The more I paint this field the more I love it and feel a deep sadness for what we are doing to nature. I have a solo show coming up in November and I have decided to dedicate it to the forgotten lands. Only paintings from my field series (which means I really have to put on the gas to complete some big ones!) The concept of the sadness of beautiful  land lost to road and development really resonates to my core. Where are all those animals going to go? We wonder why so many deer are hit day after day on our roads. (Could it be we are taking THEIR homes?) I grew up surrounded by fields, lakes and streams. A place that I knew inside out from an early age. That area too has changed, mowed over for development. Where will we stop? It seems like there are better ways to solve our transportation issues than more roads for our big cars. Ok...enough on that rant. Yipes! Any thoughts?

About the painting: still playing with the idea of a warm/cool and a cool/warm, dominant color and of course, simultaneous contrast.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September Sunrise in the Forgotten Lands

Sunrise has a cool light...but in order to create a good feeling it needs to be a warm- cool. And in turn the shadows are warm but they can't be completely warm they need to be a cooler warm.  (follow me?) It all meets in some beautiful glowing neutrals. I tried to capture that in this painting.

Friday, September 18, 2009

3 paintings for the Shades of Pastel Exhibtion

 I am honored to be part of the Shades of Pastel Biennial Exhibition at the Strathmore.    I picked my paintings up  from my framers today and I will deliver them tomorrow to the Strathmore.  The show opens on the 26th of September.  If you are in the area please do stop by to see all the beautiful paintings by artists from all over the country. I can't wait to see!
Wish me luck :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

glazing and my struggles

6x6 oil on gessoed gator board

Here is the slow and unsteady progression I am making studying glazing and tonalist painting. I am working with Deborah Paris, the master of modern tonalist painting.  Use my pastel paintings as my inspiration I move forward to oil.
A tonalist usually first paints a grisaille (bottom)  which is something I often do with pastel pencil.The layering of transparent color is the tricky part because I don't really fully understand  the way the different  colors shime through and mix to make new ones. Any pieces of wisdom from a glazer out there?

The gessoed gator board on which I work produces a slick almost metal plate like effect. The brush strokes become very apparent . That is my favorite part.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I needed to make the space in my head in order to allow freedom from the tyranny of the literal scene. To do that I made the underpainting (middle) at home. First time I have ever done that and I will do it again. I so easily moved trees around when I was using the memory of the place. Then I drove to the field around sunset and began working. The only part that remained true was the color of the sky and maybe a tree or two from different parts of the field... as you can see the rest just came.

Look in the far distance of the photo and you can see the construction vehicles like predators waiting for new prey.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sun Fingers Push through the Trees

9x12 pastel on watercolor underpainting

I can't keep away from plein air painting .... it's like an addiction. It just feels so good to be out there!

Another version of the field, this time a little after sunrise when the sun fingers push through the trees. Finally, I like this one.

Monday, September 14, 2009

study of sunrise

I felt the need to go to the field and "observe" the sunrise. Well when I arrived I was delighted to see a light layer of fog veiling the distance. I couldn't just observe; I was driven to paint. I promised myself I would take the "study" to the studio and use it to create new work. I tried hard to keep the literal out...move trees change the distances. Light was my concern. I didn't even draw first, just jumped in with watercolor.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

soft morning glaze

 Early morning on the field...seems like a cool green/pink light, so I used a warmer grisaille and warm gray purples and burnt siennas in the underpainting. It is always better to use warmer color than you think is necessary in the "skeleton". Actually that can go as a rule for the whole painting. I feel that we as people need to resonate to our land and warmth is appealing.  I tried to soften the edges of everything. I am still playing with that wonderful, new fixative. Della (the creator of the fixative) suggested I try smooshing it around with my watercolor. (Clean brushes well after). It has a different effect I can't quite describe yet....maybe "thicker, with substance."  Check out this fixative. Here -spectra fix.
This is a studio piece  and  I continue to search for luminousity and mystery. I hope I made it warm enough. For reference I have my memory and the paintings I have done at this field so far. 
Here is another quote from John Carlson:
"If you train yourself in memory work, you fearlessly attack and rearrange your material, for your can retain your original impression. Otherwise you have to return continually to your motif out-of -doors, with the result that successive and different impressions may engender ambiguous approximation in you picture."
That is food for thought.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

moving from the literal

7x7 pastel on Uart paper
I went out to the field to study sunrise, but the clouds were still very heavy and quiet after yesterday's rains. It's funny how the yellow flowers draw me to this field but they are also the thing most challenging to fit into a pleasing color harmony. The toned down sky helped me understand a different way to approach it. This afternoon I will take this small painting in the studio and work on a new one with a similar color palette.  There I will have even more freedom.
Today I managed to move from the literal on the live for the painting. Yay!

I end with a quote from Carlson:
'Too much reality in a picture is always a disappointment to the imaginative soul. We love suggestion and not hard facts."

Friday, September 11, 2009

reveal what is essential

6x6 pastel on watercolor underpainting
For a while now I have been desiring to move on to new territory. It's funny I could see it, but not clearly. Finally I think I understand.So here it is:
As you probably know, I feel compelled to paint a scene again and again, till I really know it, till it is part of me. The repetition helps me reveal what is essential. Discover why this small piece of nature is so beautiful.
Now I am going to also spend much more time in the studio with these more literal views and find the essence. Using my knowledge of color and observations of light I will create new works based on the literal but more emotional- pushing the limits of color. The hard part will be a little less time outside, on site. Gulp! Now that is hard. Let's see what happens. I guess I will just have to learn to enjoy the struggle.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sweeping Field: One of the Forgotten Lands

8 x14 pastel and watercolor on Uart
I returned to the field late yesterday afternoon. The light was right and I wanted to finish the painting I began the day before with a watercolor underpainting. It's unusual for me to take two days to make a plein air painting. I am trying to move more slowly- anyone who know me realizes that alone is difficult. The real challenge in this painting was to paint the yellow flowers without "painting them." I think I became too literal for my liking.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happiness in Pink and Yellow

6x6 pastel and watercolor on Uart
Same place and same goal....neutrals at the forgotten lands.
I came upon a good quote from   John Carlson.
"Rest assured that if you work every day at your art, using the materials nearest at hand, you will gradually discover such beauty in them that they will fill you with happiness."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dream Field

6 x6 pastel on watercolor /Uart

For me, it is essential to paint my subject over and over until I know it. I guess it's like not kissing on the first date. I have to really KNOW it to feel comfortable. I think this one is much better than yesterday's. I painted another as well, but I only finished the underpainting. More on that one tomorrow.

My goal was to create appealing neutrals in addition to my more saturated color.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Forgotten Land

about14 x14 pastel on watercolor left-painting, right -underpainting,  underneath- preliminary sketch

The light was consistent (overcast) today which allowed me to work bigger. The state of Maryland is putting in a new mega-road, sort of another beltway, called the inter-county connector. This is one of the beautiful fields that will be lost because of it. Sadness.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dawn Slowly Brightens the Empty Baseball Field

This is the first painting I did yesterday.  I began at daybreak with the set up and then when I did the watercolor wash I solidified my time of day/light.  The light in the sky feels good in this one, although my placement made the composition was a lot harder to manage.
Even though I did not place with yesterday's plein air painting, I still like it. :-)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shine Down on that Babe of Mine

about 9x11 pastel and watercolor on uart
This is one of the paintings I painted for the Kensington Plein Air Paint Out. The way the light made big shapes made this an easier painting to create. Earlier, at sunrise, I did another of Stephen's house but that one needs a visit to the studio before posting.
I made the shadow shapes first with the watercolor. I was happy that I didn't chase the light after that.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sunrise by Stephen's House

about 8x 13 pastel on watercolor underpainting, uart paper
Tomorrow is the Kensington Plein Air Paint Out. so I went scoping out a new place to paint. I have been eying the light in this park each morning as the sun rises, so this was my choice (and maybe tomorrow's choice.) The only snafu is that it is a dog walker's paradise and as any painter knows dogs are wonderful, but unpredictable. Just one moment of excitement can knock over your easel and destroy hundreds of dollars of pastels. Yipes!!!!!
The roof of Stephen's house, a lovely, hundred plus year old house was catching the light of the rising sun beautifully. oooooooooooh!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Solo Swim

9x12 pastel on watercolor, Uart paper
Plein air work does one very important thing, helps me understand HOW to make the light I see. It's not always what you think at first.
This is a quick study done early morning.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

memory is the best filter

16x21 pastel on oil underpainting on marble dust board
Memory is the best filter. This one I began long ago and put it away. Now I have returned to it fresh and only with the feeling I remember from the scene and my written notes.  No photos. All that is unessential has been removed. Now I am free to strengthen only that, that is the concept.

Thank you to all of you who took the time to make supportive comments yesterday.  I really appreciate it!  Two more days......who's counting?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Last Light through the Trees

36 x36 continued work
This is my hardest week because since it is the rare time I must work full time. Painting time is so limited and reluctantly moved into a less productive time. "Push through, it is only temporary," I tell myself.  It certainly makes me realize just how important habit is (a real schedule from which to paint.) I think it is the certainty... the unquestionable nature of it that I appreciate.
Today's work was to go back to the field on which I have based the bottom painting. The top painting is my plein air work today. I painted the light just before the setting sun; the  second painting's light. After finishing I just stopped  to observe. A camera will never capture the light I need. Instead I must feel it and remember. I return to the studio ready to continue.